War Swords

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The Dream

Prince Carlowe found himself back on Friar Rock. He was kneeling on the ground, a dead Rebel soldier beneath him. His sword was dripping with blood, but he stood, just as another Rebel attacked.

The Prince matched his footwork perfectly, tipping his sword in all the right directions.

With one final blow, the Prince knocked the helmeted soldier from his feet. In one swift move, he removed his head, the body of the soldier silently falling to the ground.

As he looked back up around him, he found that Friar Rock was deserted. There were no signs of a battle, the rock completely clean.

A strange feeling overtook the Prince as he looked back down on the soldier’s helmet. Slowly, Prince Carlowe reached forward and lifted the visor.

Beneath the metal was the lifeless face of his father; pale and blankly staring up at him.

The Prince’s mouth dropped open in horror as he backed away from his father’s dead body.

With a jolt, the young Prince sat up in bed, breathing heavy. His entire body was covered in sweat as he wiped his forehead. He removed the blankets from his bedding and swung his legs over the edge, staring blankly across the tent.

The image of his father’s dead cold eyes haunted him.

After all this time; all of the days that had passed since his death, still, he felt nothing.

Looking out the crack of his tent, the Prince knew that it was early, however not too early that he couldn’t rise for the day. He looked over at the food, untouched and laid out so perfectly on one of the tables. None of it looked appetizing, though he knew he should eat.

The Rebel was still asleep, chained to the post again. He knew that she should eat as well.

Slowly, the Prince rose, wrapping his robe around his shoulders lazily. The cool morning breeze that wafted through the tent felt good on his heated bare skin.

Prince Carlowe set out two plates on the table. He made as much noise as possible, attempting to rouse the prisoner from her sleep without having to wake her himself.

It seemed to do the trick because eventually she lifted her head, observing his movements silently.

Without saying anything, Prince Carlowe walked over to the post and unhooked the shackles from it; giving her some room to walk around while still chained up.

He walked back over to the table and sat down, waiting for her to make any sort of movement.

The Rebel simply stared at him, a perplexed but curious look on her face.

“If you want to eat, you’ll have to come sit down,” he relented, grabbing the pitcher of water from the middle of the table.

Prince Carlowe watched out of the corner of his eye as she drug her feet over to the chair. Slowly, she sank down into the seat, closing her eyes in relief.

At first she was hesitant; as though she was unsure if this was a trick.

But when the Prince showed no signs of trickery or anger, the Rebel began to pile more food on her plate. He watched as she grabbed a few slices of bread, jams, various cheeses and fruits. She looked very pale, he now noticed.

There were feelings of guilt that began to ball up in his stomach.

Frustrated, the he stood, leaving the food on his plate.

The Rebel stopped, looking up for some signs of disapproval.

“Please,” he muttered, looking away. “Eat.”

Prince Carlowe walked back over to his bed and sat down on it for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts. He knew he should hate her. She was a leader of the Rebellion. She killed his father. She should be dead already.

The image of King Norman's dead face flashed to Prince Carlowe's mind again. Quickly he shook away the thoughts and sat on the bed motionless.

However, the sounds of the prisoner pouring more water and setting down the cutlery distracted him so much so that he eventually gave up and sat back down at the table.

After simply watching her eat for a moment, he spoke up.

“What’s your name?”

The Rebel stopped and looked up at him. She didn’t speak, but there was an expression of disbelief clearly etched across her face.

“I know you’re a Shakel; your sister is Shalene, the leader of the Rebellion. But I do not know your name. What is it?”

The Rebel looked back down at her plate, taking a small bite of bread before she spoke. “I don’t see why it matters to you.”

The Prince folded his arms up on the table. “I like to know who I’ve imprisoned,” he mused. “It makes keeping track of them a little bit easier.”

The Rebel looked up at him through her short blonde hair, a hint of amusement in her eyes. “Adrina.”

“Hm,” he responded. “That’s strangely pleasant. What does it mean?”

Adrina folded her hands beneath her chin, her elbows leaning on the table. “Does a name have to mean something?”

The Prince smiled for half a second at her playful personality. “No. But most of them do.”

“What does your name mean?” She inquired, taking a sip from a metal goblet.

Prince Carlowe grabbed a goblet full of water for himself. “Nothing of much worth. It was the name of where my Mother grew up; a small village that doesn’t exist anymore.”

He didn't know why he was sharing this. Most people did not know this. His father certainly hated to talk about it.

Adrina set down her goblet as a response. “That is rather uninteresting.”

“Yes, but my younger brother Wren does have quite the name.”

“Really?” Adrina asked, raising her eyebrows. “What does it mean?”

“It means “ruler,” actually,” Prince Carlowe revealed, clearly bemused.

Adrina rolled her eyes. “You're right, that is quite the name. I’m afraid that mine too isn’t of much worth either.”

“What is it?” he inquired, his eyes focused curiously but intently on her.

“Happiness,” she admitted, her green eyes staring back at him.

Prince Carlowe looked away suddenly, casting his gaze somewhere else. He wasn't sure how he felt.

“You really should eat, you know. You’re starting to look a bit skinny.”

The Prince scoffed in response, but grabbed a piece of bread nonetheless. “I didn’t think a Rebel would ever care about my well being.”

Adrina’s casual smile faded.

For the rest of the morning the two of them relaxed inside the tent, an uncomfortable silence about them.

Eventually Graymeer slipped in, suggesting that they leave. However, Graymeer’s suggesting was more or less informing .

After the Dominion’s adviser left, Prince Carlowe seemed agitated.

″I can see why he gets on your nerves,” Adrina mused.

The Prince clenched his jaw tightly. “He gets underneath my skin. I’m not a particularly angry person, but with him, I...” He trailed off and then shook his head. “Never mind.”

After a few more moments, Egor came inside. He waved at the Rebel prisoner fondly, something Prince Carlowe noted.

“Prince Carlowe, the Dwarfs have come to take down the tent to ready our cargo for the road.”

The Prince’s eyes shifted towards the Rebel, then away and towards the ground. “Very well, uh, thank you, Egor,” he said gruffly. “You can load our prisoner-- uh, Adrina onto the wagon.”

“Of course, sire.”

Prince Carlowe stormed outside into the cool morning air. He looked up, noticing how dark the sky was. It appeared as though it could rain.

Bored, he made his way over to his horse, Pax. Prince Carlowe stroked his neck gently. The black stallion had been his companion for awhile now and he was very fond of him. He remembered the first day he ever saw him, only seventeen years old.

Eventually, the entire camp was packed up and ready to leave. It was the last travel day before they reached Aesir. They would reach the city just before dusk if they made good time.

Upon their departure, Prince Carlowe was just about to climb on to Pax when Graymeer came trotting towards him. A wide grin spread across his face, and he halted the horse. "Prince Carlowe, I thought I'd join you up front."

The Prince scrunched his face, not hiding his disdain. Suddenly his eyes flashed towards the Rebel, sitting on the front of the wagon.

"Actually Graymeer, I won't be riding Pax today."

"Oh, no?"

Prince Carlowe shook his head. "No. I'll be riding on the wagon with Ad-- the prisoner, to further question her about the Rebellion."

Graymeer paused, as if to think over his response. The wide smile faded away slowly. "A wise decision, my liege. I suppose I will go back and monitor the rest of the troops."

"Yes. Thank you, Graymeer. Your service is always appreciated."

The thin man raised his eyebrows. "Of course," he said, smirking and then riding away.

Prince Carlowe sighed heavily, looking into the eyes of his faithful steed. "No riding today, boy."

He lead Pax over to the wagon and tied him to the front, just as Egor was walking over. Adrina had been watching him curiously, but had yet to say anything.

"Prince Carlowe?"

He turned around. "Ah, yes, Egor. I won't need you guarding the prisoner today. I won't be riding for the rest of the journey."

With a short nod Egor turned away and headed down the line.

Casually, Prince Carlowe sat down beside the Rebel on the front of the wagon. "I hope you don't mind that I join you."

Adrina said nothing, just stared in front of her, a defiant look about her.

The Prince chuckled, picking up the reigns. "This ought to be fun."

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