The Fanged Throne

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 4

The door opened with a loud croak. Grimacing, Elora scrambled through the door and shut it quickly behind her. The stable yard was teeming with guards and staff, the stable boys were getting the horses ready for the men. Creeping behind some wooden barrels, she studied the movements of the morning before her. The commander was shouting orders at the men to move faster. The stable boys were running in and out of the stables, carrying bags and weapons before strapping them onto the horses’ sides. The other guards were putting on their shiny armour and helmets. Their chainmail rattled loudly as they mounted their horses.

It wasn’t often the official soldiers of Wirenth visited the prison, only for important matters. It was clear, that an attack on the prison by the insurgents was important enough. Elora wondered if the citizens down in the houses below knew of the attack on the prison, perhaps they thought we deserved it. Her thoughts were interrupted by a door opening next to her. She squeezed as far back behind the barrels as she could, making sure to breathe quietly.

The door was opened by a prison guard carrying a large lump over his shoulder. As he walked further into the yard, Elora watched as he dumped the lump onto the back of a wooden wagon. Upon closer inspection, Elora could see the lumps in the wagon were piles of bodies from last night’s battle. The door opened again, and another guard carried some more bodies through the yard and placed them before the wagon, waiting for them to be loaded. Her plan was coming together smoothly, she just had to get to the wagons without being caught. Without realizing it, her fingers had slipped into her pocket and grabbed the coin, which now rested between her anxious fingers. She needed to make her move soon, the sun was starting to rise higher in the sky, making her chances of getting caught even more likely.

Moving silently, Elora stayed hunched behind the barrels as she moved along down the wall and quickly ducked behind the stables. With her back pressed up against the wall, she scrunched her nose. The smell from the stables was a terrible stink of rotten hay and horse manure. She swatted at her face, even in the icy cold the flies persisted. Her feet were covered in a mix of filthy mud and snow that had started to melt. Taking another deep breath, she began moving along the back of the stables until she came to the end of the building. The wagons sat just ahead of the stables, luckily one of them was close to the shrubbery, offering coverage from the guards and soldiers.

She sat on her haunches watching, waiting for a gap. This is taking too long… she worried. One of the horses neighed in the neighbouring stable, staring at the horse, an idea formed in her head. When the stable boy closest to her turned around and walked off to collect some more luggage, she lunged forward and grabbed the empty metal bucket lying on the floor next to the stable door.

Looking around to make sure no one saw her, she threw the metal bucket down towards the horses, hard. The loud bang of the bucket hitting the ground spooked the horses, sending them into a frenzy. The horse closest to her started to buck against the door, desperate to get out. The soldiers sitting atop their horses yelled in surprise as their horses reared up, their snorts echoing throughout the yard.

Using the distraction, Elora sprinted across the snow and mud, diving wildly behind the shrubs. Breathing hard, she waited to see if anyone had noticed her. She watched, guiltily, as one of the soldiers grabs the stable boy by his ear and yelled at him. Grimacing, she looked away and back at the wagon before her. The guard had walked away, his helmet glistening like a beacon in the sunlight. Carefully she pulled herself alongside the wagon and looked inside. Already the wagon was filled with bodies. Their limbs lying tangled with each other, some bent at odd angles and others missing completely.

Steeling her nerves at what she was about to do, Elora gingerly climbed over the side of the wagon and dropped into the soft pile of bodies. The cold air played its part in preventing decomposition, their bodies were cold. Breathing heavily through her mouth she wedged herself between two bodies, pulling them over her own body. Hearing the approaching footsteps of the guard, she held her breath and kept as still as possible. She could hear grunting from the guard and then a heavyweight was dropped on top of her. The long white hair of the body above was resting on her forehead, her eyes glanced at his face. Her body gave a startled jerk, it was the old man who fought her in the gardens. His haggard face was covered in a large slash that started from his chin to his forehead. Breathing heavily and slowly, she ignored the urge to be sick. It took a while for them to pile all the dead in the wagon, when they were done, she could feel the weight of the bodies in the wagon pressing down on her.

Another guard joined them, both of them standing alongside the wagon. “We need to start moving them out now, commanders’ orders.” The footsteps faded away “and make sure they’re dead. Don’t want to mess up like last time…the commander was pissed!” The other man mumbled under his breath and unsheathed his mandatory short sword that they all carried. Elora could hear as the sword plunged into the abdomens of the bodies above her, a common practice used to ensure the prisoners were dead before taken to be buried. A sharp sword would be thrust quickly and efficiently into the abdomen, up through the chest. This cut down the number of people faking death to escape the prison, which Elora was doing now.

She could hear him getting closer, his sword squelched in and out, in and out. His movements slowed as his aim became lazier, the sword hitting the arm of the body next to her. Holding her breath, keeping her body taut as he approached her. She heard the sound of his sword being raised in the air to be brought down, breathing heavily she shut her eyes firmly. The glinting sword came down on her side, narrowly missing impaling her ribcage. The cold metal tore through her soft flesh, she could feel the blood soaking her shirt. Her teeth bit down hard on her lips, drawing blood, to stop her from crying out in pain. The man pulled back the sword, moving half-heartedly through the rest of the bodies.

The pain in her side was almost unbearable, being pressed against the hard floor. The wagon gave a sudden jolt and started moving. Elora let out the breath she was holding and relaxes her body, staring up, between the gaps, at the lighting morning sky above her. The horses set a good pace, she could feel the hooves trotting on the stone and then stopped. She tensed, wondering what they were stopping for, did they know she was there?

A loud clanking sound began. The bridge. The drawbridge was opening…I’m doing it. I’m doing it! The intense joy and relief she felt numbed the pain in her side, she was finally leaving the prison. The bridge landed on the other side of the river with a loud boom, the wagon shook from the impact of the large chains. Her heart was beating wildly in her chest as they travelled slowly over the bridge, leaving the smoking prison behind them. She felt excitement, fear, and disbelief that she was leaving the only place she had ever called home. She could be free to be whoever she wanted to be and go wherever she wanted to. The wagon bounced and jostled with each bump in the stone road that led into the city, she could feel the road levelling out, meaning they were close to the city now.

Using her hands, she pushed the bodies above her to the side, clearing the space around her. Ignoring the throbbing in her side, she sat up slowly, making sure to keep her head down, out of the soldiers’ view. They were still a little way out from the sleeping city, the trees around them were missing their leaves and covered in white snow. Glancing behind her, the two soldiers were looking ahead, chatting amongst themselves. She gripped onto the sidewall of the wagon and jumped out, rolling roughly into the deep layers of snow. Keeping her head ducked, she crawled further away from the road to rest her back against the big tree.

It was done, she was free.

Continue Reading

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.