The After Effects

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One Hundred Battles

Thesaurus Dictionary:

Acer (Adjective): Someone or something exhibiting expertise in some activity.

I could tell I hit home as Soren’s eyes flickered darkly. I thought he was not going to answer for the longest time.

"My father sent me away at the age of 14 when my mother died. 14 is an important age for any young boy and I didn't have my father." Soren sighed.

I did some quick mental math. Knowing that the queen died during the first year of the Plague, I knew I was ten when the Plague started. Therefore Soren and I are four years apart. Making him 25 years old while I sit at 21 years old.

"I saw him on several occasions, and every single time I saw him he was always talking about this Acer guy. Apparently my father saw all of his fights, from the very first to the last one." Soren explained.

Wow, I didn't realize that the King sat through all one hundred of my fights.

Oh right, you read that right. I fought one hundred battles in the Northern Arena from the ripe age of 14 to 18 years old. That's roughly 25 battles a year and I barely had two weeks to recover from each fight before my father was forcing me into that retched arena again.

After my hundredth battle, I was deemed the Acer. Because if there's one good thing I'm good at in this current day in age, it's killing.

By some miracle, my father granted me my freedom after I fought and won one hundred battles. That's when Locke and I were finally able to get away from the North and came here.

My title of Acer always haunted me. It always struck fear in people because it claims me as a killing machine with no remorse and well that may be true sometimes, I like to think that there's still some light in my heart.

The battles I fought were always more difficult as they progressed, a test from my father I realized at some point. Sometimes I fought more than twenty men in one battle. So although I fought one hundred battles exactly, my body count was so much higher than that, roughly nearing a thousand.

That's why people trembled and ran at my title, because I single-handily killed more than a thousand trained warriors in my teen years.

My brother was there for every fight too. See he was dad's favorite of the three siblings, probably because he was the only male. He got to sit next to Dear Old Dad, DOD, on the podium, watching as I fought for my life at least two times a month. Locke even got to stay in a nice room, while after every fight I was sent back down to my dungeon cell.

To be honest, my cell was a comfort. I spent my time in there reading educational books and healing from my latest fight. Locke would join me, usually slipping me whatever medical item I needed to heal whatever ailment was weighing me down. He also helped teach me how to write and read to the fullest extent.

Locke is the reason I'm still alive to this day, whether it be from the physical support or mental support he provided, I owe him my life.

Soren's voice pulled me from my thoughts.

"My father always pushed me to train harder and be like this Acer. Whenever I did do something, I always felt overshadowed by this person that I've never even met." Soren said, his hands spread in frustration as he ranted.

I realized why he hates the Acer. He's Jealous.

"So you hate the Acer because you feel that he took your father from you?" I asked, my voice soft.

"Exactly." Soren sighed, his blue eyes looking up to me showing vulnerability.

"So you think the only way to get your father back is to kill the Acer?" I asked.

"Yes... No? I don't know." Soren slumped in his chair. " I do know that killing the Acer would prove to my people that I can lead them into battle, that I have what it take so to be King when the time comes. I know that the Acer's in the castle, while his horse is at least."

I stilled in my seat, hoping he didn't notice. "His horse?"

"I visited the stables yesterday and saw the famous black stallion." The Prince explained. "He's here which means that the Acer can't be that far."

"You're set on killing the Acer?" I asked, hoping he would say no.

Soren never responded as the meeting room door opened and The King and my brother walked in, laughing.

They stilled as they saw Soren and I.

"Aww did we miss the threats?" Locke pouted as he walked up to me and ruffled my hair.

"Do that again and I'll send your ass back North." I glared at my brother, the threat spilling from my lips with ease before I realized my mistake.

The King frowned at me. "You're in my seat."

I turned to the King. "Bummer." I smiled.

Dark blue eyes rolled heavily before The King went to a shelf and pulled out alcohol. "Always a pleasure." He cheered before he knocked back a shot of whatever burning liquid was in that glass.

It was my turn to roll my eyes at his dramatics before I got out of his seat. "Lucky for you, I've got to go and get in some quick training before I go pick up Harper."

I hoped to slip through the door, alone, but that hope fell flat as I heard footsteps leave behind me.

A warm hand pulled back my shoulder, turning me to face furiously icy blue eyes. "What do you mean back North?"

"What?" I asked, suddenly thinking back to the threat I made to Locke.

Speak of the devil, red hair strolled out of the meeting room, his face falling slightly as he saw Soren's figure towering over me.

"Why Do You Mean Back North?" Soren enunciated every word, very clearly for me. His hand remained on my shoulder, unnerving me as the action threatened to bring up bad memories.

"We're from there." Locke cut in, standing to the side as he watched Soren glower down at me.

"Interesting." Soren released my shoulder, though he remained standing over me. He was taller than Locke by at least two inches, which would put him around 6 foot 2, making me feel pretty small as I stood about 5'8.

"No, it's not interesting." I glared right back at Soren. "Don't ever touch me again unless you want to lose your hand."

A sneer crossed Soren's face as he looked down at me. "Try it, Ivy." He made to lift his hand again, and I reacted.

My dagger was out before I could second guess my actions, and the factor of surprise allowed me to push him to the nearest wall. Where I pinned the same hand that had grabbed my shoulder to the wall, driving my dagger through the palm of his hand. His only cry of pain was a grunt as the dagger penetrated his palm.

My glittery dagger glinted as it embedded in the wall, pinning Soren's hand to the wall.

"I warned you." My eyes flicked to Soren's. Who's watched me, not with pain or surprise, but with curiosity. His eyes flickered with what looked like understanding or realization as he stared back at me.

I watched as blood trickled down the wall, staining the creme paint that coated the hallways.

I knew to stab the Prince was a bad idea, but I warned him. After many years of fighting in the arena and being around people, I knew self-control. I knew self-control very well. But as soon as someone threatens my personal space, especially a male, that self-control melts away. Replaced by The Acer.

"She was the girl kidnapped by Vikings years ago," Soren whispered, his eyes searching mine as he mentioned Harper.

I nodded, not trusting my voice to come out steady.

"You said you related to what she went through." Soren started putting the puzzle together, a different puzzle-not the Acer puzzle.

I didn't bother answering as his eyes flicked to the bob of my throat as I swallowed.

"Ivy, I'm so sor-"

"I don't need your pity." I spit the words at him before leaving. I made my way down the corridor, finding familiar big doors that led to the library. Sneaking in the room, I found a reclused spot tucked behind a shelf as the tears finally fell.

And they didn't stop for a while as my body trembled and I officially broke down into a valley of awful memories.

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