Adrina Shakel found herself leaning up against a post in the middle of the Dominion's camp. Blowing a piece of her short blonde hair away from her forehead, she sighed. It was sticky with sweat and dirt.
Some of the soldiers were sitting just a few lengths away around a fire. They were removing their black armor and dressing some artificial wounds.
Every once in awhile they would glance back at her, loathsome looks spread evidently across their faces.
So this is the end, she thought to herself. How quaint.
She supposed this is what one got for killing the leader of the Dominion. The image of Norman Ramos' dead, cold eyes was still so evident in her mind. It brought her great pride.
She hoped Shalene was alright.
The wound on her leg would heal enough in a week or two. That would be ample enough time to plan for battle.
But Adrina knew that she would surely be dead by then. It was too dangerous to risk a rescue mission, even if she was the younger sister of the Rebel Leader.
Suddenly, black horse rode by and stopped at a tent with Dominion flags. A man dismounted and removed his cloak, revealing a head of long dark hair. He moved into the tent silently, almost like he was floating across the ground.
Adrina could hear two voices inside, assuming that that was where Prince Carlowe was.
She supposed he'd be around sooner or later to end her life himself.
A few of the soldiers looked back at her again and this time Adrina challenged their gaze. One of them whispered something to the other and they turned back around, attending to their supper.
All she'd seen were soldiers, and Adrina wondered where the Mystics were. They may not have travelled with the rest of the Dominion's army, but she doubted that. The two always seemed close together.
The Rebel soldier looked up at the moon which she noted was extremely full. She thought of the Rebellion's young soldiers, the ones that had been guarding the supply ships.
They were too young to deal with that sort of horror.
But something had changed during the battle. The moment that lone arrow was released, something changed. Now there was an overwhelming feeling of chaos; like there were now no more rules to this war.
Adrina's thoughts were broken by a light from Prince Carlowe's tent spilling out into the campsite. The man with long hair emerged and sauntered off between the tents, disappearing into the night.
She looked back ahead of her just as two of the Dominion soldiers made their way towards her. One of them remained standing while the other, with red hair and a short beard squatted down to eyelevel.
"Well hey there, little lady," he said, showing some crooked yellow teeth.
Adrina said nothing, just crinkled her nose in disgust.
"I didn't know little ladies were able to fight like that," he said, looking up at his friend with a grin.
"Fight like what?" She asked. "Like plunging my dagger into the heart of your worthless King?"
The red haired soldier whipped out a knife so quickly Adrina barely even saw it. "You'll pay for that!"
She lifted her chin, the cool blade kissing her neck harshly.
The soldier laughed. "Ah, now see? That's how I like my women. Silent."
The one standing laughed and Adrina furrowed her eyebrows. Just as the red-haired soldier looked back at her, she spat in his face, sending him backwards.
He kneeled, his face contorted with anger, and slapped her across the cheek. The soldier pulled back his hand, ready to swing again, when someone grabbed it.
Prince Carlowe glared down at the red-haired soldier with a steely gaze. "What are you doing?"
"Oh, uh-- Prince Carlowe, I uh-- I was just--"
He released the soldier's hand, throwing it down. "I will deal with this one," he said. "She is my business."
"Yes, Sire," he said standing, bowing pathetically.
"Sorry, Sire," the other one grumbled to the ground.
The two of them waddled away silently and Adrina gazed up at Prince Carlowe. He didn't look at her.
"Egor!" he called, removing his black gloves.
Eventually a tall, very large sight of a man skulked over. He must have been at least eight feet tall. Far taller than any normal man.
"Yes, Prince Carlowe?" he said in a low, gruff voice.
"Take her to my tent."
The giant man nodded and Prince Carlowe stalked off into the camp.
Any other time Adrina might have tried to fight a lone soldier off, but not this time. This man looked as though he could crush her head between his hands.
Egor ushered Adrina across camp and into the tent of Prince Carlowe.
It was brightly lit with multicolored rugs laying haphazardly on the floors. Food covered one of the tables while several papers and maps were strewn across another. The Dominion's War Sword was leaning up against a barrel, glinting in the light of the tent.
Egor sat her down in front of one of the posts that held up the tent. He chained her hands behind the post and then sat on a bench across from her, his large dark eyes never leaving her.
Adrina did her best to look away from him, but then slowly began to grow irritated with his unrelenting gaze.
She rolled her eyes and sighed loudly. "I can't escape. You know that, right?" She asked, holding up her shackled feet.
Egor simply blinked and continued to stare.
Adrina was just about to say something else when she heard voices coming from just outside the tent.
"I did what I felt was best at the time," she heard Prince Carlowe say.
"Well, your actions may have consequences you hadn't considered," the second voice hissed. "I wonder if it was truly wise to pull back the army at that time."
"Are you questioning my judgments, Graymeer?"
There was a pause. "No, Sire. I only thought it best to advise you."
"You were the advisor to my father. Not me," the Prince said. "He was just killed in battle, need I remind you?"
"A loss we all felt, your highness, I assure you."
"Question me again, Graymeer, and I will throw you from the city wall."
"My life, is but to serve you, Prince Carlowe."
"Then find that archer and bring him to me."
There was silence and then the sound of a horse trotting away.
Adrina looked away as Prince Carlowe walked inside.
"Oh, uh. Thank you, Egor. That will be all."
Egor stood and finally looked away from Adrina, causing a sigh of relief. He ducked out of the tent and the two of them were alone.
She watched as Prince Carlowe paced around the tent, his hands behind his back, eyebrows furrowed. He always had a constant look of frustration on his face any time that she'd seen him.
The Rebel soldier had just now noticed another table in the far corner. On it was the outline of a figure, hidden beneath a thin white sheet.
Adrina swallowed hard and twisted her wrists in the shackles that bound them.
"In my opinion, it was smart to pull back," she said suddenly. "It's not wise to continue battle after losing your leader."
"I know," he said distractedly. "Graymeer thinks he knows so much. I have been studying the art of war since I was a boy, I--" he stopped in realization and looked at her abruptly, his strangely dark blue eyes finally catching hers.
Prince Carlowe looked away, pretending the exchange never happened. Adrina watched him as he continued to pace until the entrance of the tent flew open.
The man with the long dark hair entered, bringing with him a young Dominion soldier. Adrina assumed this man to be Graymeer, Norman Ramos' old advisor. Now that he was closer she could see the chalkiness of his skin, and the way his eyes seemed to hold no color; just black.
"Upon your request," he said, sending the soldier, he could be considered only a boy, to his knees.
Prince Carlowe nodded.
"Oh, and Lady Jordanna is indisposed at the moment. She'll meet with you tomorrow."
The young Prince gritted his teeth. "Fine."
Graymeer glanced over at Adrina and smiled, his black eyes sending shivers down her spine. He slipped out silently into the night and was gone, the sound of the horse's hooves hitting the ground only evident for a moment.
"Sire, I-- I'm sorry, I-- I only wanted--" the young soldier stammered shakily. His skin was the color of dirt and his hair was dark and curly.
Prince Carlowe removed his sword, the sound echoing throughout the tent. "You know the law," he said indifferently.
"I know, but I-- I couldn't let her kill the King, I--"
The Prince took in a large breath. "I know why you did it. But now, this war has changed. Things are different because of what you have done."
The soldier closed his eyes, silently sobbing.
Prince Carlowe stood behind him and raised his sword.
Adrina watched as the Prince closed his eyes for a moment, and then opened them again, the look on his face now blank.
He swung his sword swiftly, removing the head of the soldier easily. Without another glance he walked away and took out a cloth, silently cleaning the blade.
After a few more moments of silence, Adrina felt restless. She spoke up, despite knowing that she shouldn't. "Thank you for sparing me earlier."
Prince Carlowe didn't even flinch at the sound of her voice. "Don't be foolish," he said indifferently. "You're only a bargaining chip."