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Kingdom of Blood and Ruin

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Seraphina has reached the age where she has to be married off, if not then she may end up in the outer villages of the Kingdom. Her mind is filled with worry of having to fit into a society where she is told that she is lower than men. When secrets and malicious intent is relieved to her, she decides on the only option left to her. Caspen is investigating what could be causing women to go missing. Only to find a darker plan in place. While working towards getting his crown back from his uncle, he now has to find a way to bring forth the rebellion in hopes of breaking the grip of whatever holds his kingdom under its control.

Fantasy / Adventure
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

A pink glow cascades over the morning sky as I walk towards Nathaniel’s place with his weekly supply of horseshoes and nails. The sound of shops opening and people starting their day flies through the air.

It’s always busy at this time here. I wave at a few of the shopkeepers as I pass by them.

The shopping district is my favorite place with the constant noise as well as having many of my regulars. Nathaniel is probably my favorite customer. We grew up together, and his father was a regular customer of Aiden, the man who took care of me.

I reach the end of the shopping district and approach the working section. Nathaniel’s stables are close to the walls that surround the Kingdom. As I get closer to the wall, I hear horses neighing and pawing at the ground.

“Hey, Seraphina.” Nathaniel is standing at the front of his stables. He waves. Despite being a few years older, he is shorter than I am, but not by much.

“Hey Nate, is your dad around? I have a new order in at the smithy, and I need a little help with it,” I say, tossing his order at him.

“Nah, he won’t be back till the morn. You have been getting better at the simpler things, though.” He pulls out one of the horseshoes and scrutinizes it before dropping it back into the bag.

His father has been helping me at the shop since the guards told me that Aiden was found dead outside the walls. I lean against one of the gates to the stables and start to braid my hair.

“Have you thought about cutting it?” Nate asks as he reaches over and tugs on a strand of my black hair that I missed. “It’s too pretty to be kept tied up all the time.”

“Long hair is a hassle; that’s why I keep it up, but my mother loved my long hair, and I don’t think I could ever cut it.” The air feels sad for a moment as I fix my hair and push off the fence. “But maybe I’ll cut it when you get taller than me.” I chuckle as Nate shoots me a glare then rolls his eyes.

“You know that will never happen,” he softly chuckles as he heads inside the stables to put his order away. I follow in behind him, walking towards one of the last stalls. As I reach the stall, the gray speckled mare pokes her head out to greet me.

“Hey girl,” I coo at her as I rub her head. This mare is my favorite, mostly because anytime Nate is around her, she tries to eat his hair. “Have you been annoying Nate as much as always?”

“Even more than normal,” he says as he puts fresh hay in her pen. When he passes by her head, Envy reaches forward and starts to lip at his hair, causing him to grumble and push her head away.

“Maybe she does that because she thinks it’s hay,” I say, and he shoots me an icy glare with his piercing blue eyes. He sighs with a shake of his head and walks towards the entrance.

“Don’t you have a meeting with a matchmaker, Miss eighteen and unmarried,” he jeers at me. I roll my eyes as I push off the stall and follow him. In this Kingdom, women must marry before they reach twenty years old. Aiden, as my acting father, was supposed to arrange a marriage for me as well as have a dowry, but since he passed, I have had to take care of myself and not many people are willing to marry off their son to a working woman with no promise of a dowry.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. The meeting is today. But what good is it going to do? Not like anyone wants to marry a blacksmith’s daughter anyway,” I grumble as I dust off my simple dress. We leave the stables and start walking back towards my workshop. Nathanel always walks me back from his stables when I drop off his orders.

“Well, you never know, there may be someone who doesn’t care how you were raised,” Nate says aloofly as he walks ahead of me to keep up appearances.

I don’t really fit in in this society and I honestly don’t even know if I want to stay here, but I don’t know what I would do if I left this place.

Women here are expected to be submissive to men, we are to be seen and never heard. If Nate and I are in public I am not able to walk by his side or even look him in the eyes. My father taught me how to act in public so that I don’t get in trouble but he also taught me how to protect myself.

Him teaching me that and having to support myself for the past three years has made me a bit independent and made it hard for me to be okay with submission. Nathaniel kept chatting about his horses as we continued to walk towards my house. As we approach the building the bell tower chimes signaling noon.

“Oh no! I have to be at the square at half past noon!” I frantically say bye to Nate and run towards the square, pulling my hair out of its braid, smoothing it down as best as I can without a brush.

As I near the town square I slow down to a walk. It’s busy as usual, with people milling around and shopping. In the center is a clock tower with benches surrounding it. I walk over to one and sit down. I watch people bustle about as I wait.

It seems as if I managed to make it here before the matchmaker showed up. Casting a glance around the people I don’t notice anyone looking for someone. A hand caresses my shoulder and startles me out of my observations.

“You must be Seraphina,” a male voice says.

I turn around and look up behind me. A tall lanky man with hair black as oil and eyes so dark they look like obsidian smiles down at me. His smile sends shivers down my spine, I look at his hand before he notices I made eye contact with him. His hand looks as if he hasn’t worked a day in his life with long thin fingers.

I stand up and turn to face him, I notice that there is another man standing behind him. The guy is meek with brown hair and is dressed in butler attire. I give the man a curtsy and take the matchmaker’s hand.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you Seraphina, you may call me Sir or Baron Locholt, and that’s it,” the matchmaker says as he places my hand in the crook of his arm, and starts to walk around the square.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you as well Baron Locholt,” I say as I let him lead me around.

“So in talking about what is needed for finding you a husband we will need to be sure that you know how to act in higher society so that we can expand your pool of possible suitors. I was thinking, why don’t you stay at my manner for your lessons?” The baron asked with a smile.

“Is there any way that I could possibly stay here? I have regular customers that need my services and I would like to be sure that the blacksmithy stays in working order,” I ask in a meek voice.

“We shall see, take me to the blacksmithy. If it’s worth anything I may send some people to watch over it.”

I nod and direct the baron towards the place that I have called home for the past sixteen years. As we walk in the direction I notice that the butler walks slightly behind us and never says a word during the entire conversation.

The baron talks about some of the different things that we will be covering in the lessons and how long they may take. I can already tell that I am going to dread the dancing lesson.

As we reach my house, I notice the baron screwing up his face in distaste. The shop was a decent size, a narrow two-story house with an extension jutting out from the side that held the forge and anvil.

“It may be best to just sell the building, you may get a small amount of silver for this….shop,” the Baron says, distaste oozing off every word. “There is really no point in you staying here.”

His statement shocks and angers me, causing me to pull my hand from his arm“Please! This is the last thing I have of my father, I-I can’t sell it!”

The sharp cold sound of flesh being struck reverberates through my ears and stars blossom in my vision. Stunned, I place a hand on my now stinging cheek and look down as the butler steps back behind the baron.

“How dare you look at him with such an expression, you petty…” the butler was quickly cut off with two sharp slaps.

The baron’s voice fills with malice. “One for hitting her, and another for stepping out of bounds.”

The air gets heavy for a moment before the butler speaks in a tiny voice. “I’m sorry, sir.”

I feel a cool hand on my other cheek as the Baron tilts my head up to look at the offending flesh.I drop my hand from my cheek. “This may bruise, so you should tend to it quickly, we don’t want a damaged doll to sell.” His thumb lightly strokes my cheek as I look up into his emotionless eyes and the feeling of dread slithers over me like a snake.

I look away and take a step back coving my cheek once more as I curtsy “It was a pleasure meeting you, Baron Locholt, I should be getting back to my orders.”

“I shall be back in two weeks to collect you and your belongings; please take care of any other affairs you may have, including selling this building,” he says before he bows and walks away.

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