A Long Overdue Confrontation
Radix laughed hollowly. “Why would I kill you? It will be more fulfilling to leave you as you are. Pathetic.”
There was only silence in reply.
Then loud sounds indicating Radix made his way through overturned furniture, to the door of the house. Heedless of what impeded his path.
Alazar swatted her mare’s rump and jerked Riaura around the side of the house.
Once there, he spotted the corpses of the old milk cow and other animals usually loitering about the yard. Seeping red wounds marked their bodies. The edges burnt black.
Riaura’s lips parted on a scream, but Alazar pulled her against him and covered her mouth. Her huge eyes locked on the dead animals.
Radix made his way to the closed yard gate, stalking in his rage. His image in the gray robes shimmered as he passed through the gate as though it’d not been closed. Then his image darkened again. Radix took only a few more steps, before beginning to quake and then dissolved completely.
When they were certain he was gone, Alazar made his way into the house. To see if I can help the Barristers.
Riaura was on his heels.
A small rickety table dominated the main room. Empty bowls were laid out on the Dining Hall table.
In the kitchen there was a pot over the fireplace exuding a burnt aroma.
Someone was cooking when they were attacked.
Splatters of blood stained the floor. There was a bloodied hand visible from beyond the edge of the pantry door. Alazar recognized the large ring as the one Mrs. Barrister wore.
They’re dead. We’re too late.
“Get out.” He told Riaura before blocking her view of the doorway.
In the back room they found Danbury sitting on the edge of the cot. Elbows resting on his thighs and head cradled in his hands as he cried profusely.
“How could I not see how weak and selfish he is?”
At length, Danbury looked up and saw her face. Tears still trailed his cheeks. Snot smearing from his nostrils along his lip as he looked fearfully from her to Alazareth.
He should be afraid.
Her expression was unflinching. Mouth tight. “Everything you’ve done, you did for your own gain?”
“Be honest, for once.” Alazareth barked.
Or I’ll kill you where you sit. I can no longer bear any of your lies.
Danbury nodded and evaded their gazes.
Riaura looked from the intimidating blonde man behind her to the sniveling one on the cot. “You pretended to like me?”
He smirked at her. “I’ve no desire to be around a woman like you. My preference leans more towards my dutiful servants. You were never anything.”
Because she was too strong-willed. Alazar knew then that they’d never been intimate. Danbury couldn’t have dealt with her unbridled passion. Or her demands as a lover.
Things which I enjoy most about her.
“Where are the Barristers?” She demanded.
Oh, not that question. Alazar shot her a sad glance.
“He got to them after he baked their cattle.” Danbury sobbed. “I thought he was going to kill me too.”
That’d be a lovely day. One thing I could thank Radix for.
“It must be quite frightening.” She remarked coldly.
Alazar gave her a sharp look. Surely she bears no sympathy for him now?
“Why?” He looked at her, hopeful for some sympathy.
“I imagine starving to death in an abandoned house or potentially freezing to death here when the fire burns out, must be a terrifying prospect.” She said flatly.
“Surely not.” His shoulders and neck straightened. “You’ll take me to Nightway.” He ordered, shooting her a contemptuous look.
She certainly won’t. I’ll never let that happen. Alazar took a step toward him to tell him so but Riaura’s hand catching his forearm did it job.
He stayed where he was.
“No. I will not.” She said equally as coolly. Giving Danbury her back as she aimed for the door.
Danbury harrumphed behind her in disbelief.
She pivoted near the door and startled Alazar who stepped from her view of Danbury so she could ask the last. “Why were you killing my serfs?”
His shock at the prospect she’d leave him was blatant on his face. He stuttered softly attempting to answer. “I thought it’d be quite apparent. To find out where the Rebels were and to make you look the weak queen you are. If you’d wed me as intended, the murders would have ended. I would’ve killed all the rebels.”
He looked at the floor. “I thought the anger of your people would’ve hurried along the wedding. Then I’d have ruled Nightway.” Arrogance touched his voice.
“It’s ironic that all your efforts were for naught. I’ve wed the leader of the rebels.” She said with a flourish. Laughing coldly. “And it would’ve been greatly amusing to watch you confront him.
She shared a knowing look with Alazareth.
“He’s no man to be toyed with.” She sneered at Danbury.
“No!” Danbury cried. “I’m too close for it to all be stolen away by him!” He pointed at Alazar.
“He has foiled you at every turn.” Riaura said with feigned sympathy.
“No!” Danbury lifted a quaking finger. “You’re a meek, scared girl. Easily swayed by your emotions and opinions. You’re nothing without me!”
Alazar laughed uproariously. “That’s how you see her?”
“You never knew me.”
Riaura and her husband exchanged smiles.
“I-I controlled you.”
“No.” She shook her head sadly. “You thought you did. You gravely underestimated my lifelong bond with my lover.”
“You underestimated her in general.” Alazar added. Savoring the pained suffering on Danbury’s face.
He hates hearing it. It feels wonderful.
They both turned and began walking from the room.
“Riaura!” Danbury pleaded.
She stepped off the stoop. Meeting the piercing gaze of her lover.
She flew into his arms.
He collected her in a passionate embrace. Eventually, pulling away to see her. “What would you have me do with Danbury?”
“Let him rot.”
“Done.” Alazar affirmed.
Together they exited the yard. Making their way back to Nightway.
Inside the house Charles Danbury, abandoned by everyone, had overheard them. Shivering he began weeping again. Charles cradled his face swearing one day he’d have his vengeance.
“No. You won’t.” Came Alazar’s haunting voice.
Charles wrapped his arms about himself as the cold descended.