Chapter 1 - Kidnapped
The once-thought secret tunnel leading out from the safety of Castle Krillian’s fortress-like structure was entirely pitch black inside, as only the light emanating from the flame torches showed the way ahead.
King Rathman and his soldiers marched their new captive, Queen Lillian along over the puddles of water and rocky ground below their feet; a soldier latched onto either of her arms tightly as she was forced to move along at a quickened pace in their attempt to escape.
Turning her head to glance back in the direction they had come from, she wondered if anyone had realised what had happened to her husband, King Draxus by now. She was deeply concerned and preyed that Draxus had been found, and that he would soon be coming to her rescue, though she couldn’t count on it. The poison from the dart he had been injected with could have been any number of poisons; it could even have been lethal!
She pushed the thought of his possible demise from her mind as they continued along in the darkness.
“You haven’t won, you know!” Lillian snapped angrily, glaring at the King who was leading them ahead. “Don’t think for one second this is over...”
Rathman suddenly stopped and let out a big over-exaggerated sigh. He had been listening to her threats the entire time and his patience was beginning to thin.
"My god, do you ever shut up!" he spoke as if intended for his ears alone.
Turning around he walked across to one of his soldiers and grabbed the edge of the soldier’s brown cloak which hung down behind his back. The soldier watched on in interest as his King then proceeded to tear at the fabric until he had two long strips of brown fabric which he held in both hands as he stepped across to where Lillian was being held by two other soldiers.
Lillian continued to taunt her captor with her apparent harsh words as he approached her; not for one second showing any signs of fear.
“Draxus is probably already on his way here now! He’ll kill you all for what you’ve do-”
Her words silenced suddenly as Rathman forcefully shoved one of the now scrunched up pieces of fabric inside of her mouth, then proceeded to wrap the other longer one over her mouth to gag her, tying it in a tight knot behind her head.
“There, that’s better.” Rathman teased with a satisfying smile, his hand giving her a gentle pat on her cheek.
“Mm-mph!” was all she could manage now as she glared back at him with hatred for what he had done.
"Come on, let's get a move on..." Rathman commanded his men as he took the lead once more.
"I hate to admit it, but she may be right!"
Meanwhile, by now the General and Zaar had located the unconscious King and accompanying soldiers on the floor in the basement of the castle. With no idea of what had happened and no signs of the Queen, they feared the worst.
"I'll check for a pulse." General Shasharan suggested.
Quickly crouching down onto his knees, Shasharan looked down at his King who lay lifelessly on the floor with his helmet still over his head.
"Take that thing off first!" Zaar pointed to the helmet as he spoke.
The General quickly slid his King's head out of the helmet and proceeded to feel his neck for a pulse. There was a haunting silence for around ten seconds before Shasharan's dark eyes lit up with relief.
"He's alive, he's still alive!" he reported.
"What the hell happened here?" Zaar asked, checking on the other two soldiers who also lay limp on the floor.
"I don't know, but we need to try waking them!" Shasharan commanded.
As he spoke, he quickly reached in under his cape and pulled out a small vial of liquid, his fingers working to unscrew the lid.
Zaar caught a glimpse of what he was doing and spoke with a frown.
"What's in the vial?" he asked.
"Just a little something for emergencies..." the General spoke as he carefully began to pour some in between his King's parted lips, which were now pale and blue.
"Seriously, what's in the vial?" Zaar seemed concerned, but Shasharan turned to him with a serious expression.
"Can we talk about this later?"
With a nod, Zaar reached out and took the vial from his General, who handed it carefully over for his companion to feed to the other two soldiers on the floor.
"Just a few drops, it's powerful stuff!" Shasharan warned Zaar.
Their attention suddenly focused on Draxus who let out a small groan as he began to move his body and slowly opened his amber eyes, looking around at their strange surroundings and seeing his General looming over him.
He frowned, seeming confused.
"What happened?" he asked, moving his hand up to meet his head as he struggled to manage the horrible feeling pulsing throughout his head.
"Thank the gods... We feared you were dead!" Zaar spoke with unease.
"Apparently not." Draxus joked as he went to sit up.
"Slowly, master. Take it easy." General Shasharan warned, grabbing him by both shoulders to support him to sit up properly.
"We believe you were attacked by the ones who breached the castle's defenses. Do you remember what happened, anything at all? How you got down here, perhaps?" his General questioned calmly.
Draxus closed his eyes, trying to think for a moment as the other two soldiers began to stir in the background.
"My King, do you know where the Queen is?" Zaar questioned from behind him.
"Lillian's missing?" Draxus spoke softly.
Then like a light switch, it all came flooding back to him and his amber eyes widened in concern.
"Lillian!" the King announced with urgency. "He took her, that fucking bastard drugged us and took Lillian!"
"Who?" Shasharan asked.
"King Rathman Ortega! An old friend of mine." the King explained sarcastically. "Come on!"
He began to pull himself up to his feet, but his body was still weighed down by the effects of the drugs still swimming around in his system.
"Wait, stop! My lord you're in no condition to go after her like this! You first need to rest."
But his General knew his King too well; there was no way he was listening to his advice. Not when his wife had been taken captive by the enemy!
"I'll rest once I found Lillian. Now help me up, both of you!" Draxus commanded angrily.
Zaar and Shasharan moved to aid their King, assisting him to stand up on his own two feet, though he was still wobbling slightly from side to side.
"Zaar, get as many men down here as you can find! I want the whole Kingdom put on full alert, that means no one gets in or out without my permission, understood? General, you're with me."
With their assigned commands, both men moved off in their different directions as the Dragon King and his General began to make their way down through the pitch black tunnels, after the enemy.