War Swords

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Jordanna the Mystic

Adrina Shakel woke up on the front of one of the Dominion’s wagons, still seated by Egor. They had been traveling since the morning but it was nearing dusk now, the sun slowly descending below the trees.

The forests up north were different than the ones she was used to in the southern parts of Calaria. There was something different about the air here, almost like it was thinner.

Egor had been humming a tune for most of the trip nonstop. Adrina shifted in her seat irritably, eyeing him with a look of disdain.

“Can you stop that humming?” she snapped. “It’s driving me insane.”

Egor chuckled to himself, scratching his short black beard. “My apologies, Miss. But I don’t think you’re in the position to give orders.”

“Well I didn’t really give you an order, did I?”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “Ask nicely and maybe I’ll think about it.”

They hit a bump on the road, and Adrina rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she mumbled, rubbing her wrists. They were starting to grow raw.

“I’d unlock those for you if I could,” Egor told her, adjusting the reigns in his large hands.

“Thanks. I appreciate it.”

The large man laughed to himself again, causing Prince Carlowe to turn and look at the two of them.

“I’m sorry, Prince Carlowe. Are we disturbing you?”

Adrina watched as the Prince turned his head forward, facing the road. “Ah, no. No.”

He kicked his horse and moved down the path a little ways in front of them, just out of earshot.

The Rebel soldier eyed him for a moment and then turned to the giant-like man beside her.

“Is he always like that?”

Egor smiled a little. “Yes. Though I’m sure he’s especially not fond of you, all things considered.”

“Right,” she mused, trying her best not to smile.

As they continued to move farther north, she was surprised that Egor was being so candid with her. He was, after all, with the Dominion. She had killed his King. In fact, everyone was being so indifferent with her, especially Prince Carlowe. It felt unsettling.

“Can I ask you something?” She inquired, glancing up at him.

He shrugged. “I suppose so.”

“Why are you so...” she trailed off, trying to find the polite way to word it.

“I’ve got Giant’s blood in me,” he finished for her, unaffected.

Her eyes widened. “Giant? So, you’re--”

“My father was half-Giant.”

Adrina thought about how large he must have been, considering Egor towered over her even now.

“Why did you join the Dominion?”

He looked down at her, his thick eyebrows furrowed. “No one has a choice up north.”

She looked down at her shackled feet and thought for a moment. After picking over her words carefully, she spoke again. “Unlike the Dominion, no one is forced to join the Rebellion.”

The large man paused before he turned to her. His eyes were convicted. “I was forced to join the Dominion because of the Rebellion.”

There was a heavy pause that ensued after his response.

His answer surprised her, and Adrina watched him shift his eyes forward again, his disposition changing.

They sat in silence for a little while more, his words echoing in her mind. She’d never considered it before.

For a moment she glanced behind her at the Dwarves, walking in chains. Their heads were cast down, their tiny feet shuffling almost in unison.

A burning feeling entrapped her mind, causing her to snap her head forward in frustration.

Abruptly, Graymeer rode by them and up to the front with Prince Carlowe. She watched the Prince’s back stiffen at his approach.

They began to converse and after a few more moments Prince Carlowe turned his horse away from the skinny man and trotted back to their wagon. The Prince’s jaw was clenched as he met them, his gloved hands tightly gripping the reigns of his horse.

“Egor,” he said, halting their wagon. “We’ll camp here for the night.”

“Of course, Prince Carlowe.”

Adrina watched the his eyes cast over her quickly before leading his horse away from them.

She had to wait on the wagon as Egor and the Dwarves unloaded everything. It was still light outside by the time they set up Prince Carlowe’s tent, but it was nearing dark.

Adrina was not looking forward to spending another night chained up to a post. Her neck was still sore from the night before.

“Let’s go,” Egor said, lifting her from the wagon.

The Rebel Soldier walked along in front of him, dragging her chains along with her. He sat her down, once again, in front of the dreaded post she hated so much. But fortunately for her, he gave her some more bread and even a few sips of water.

Adrina sat there silently, hopelessly trying to plot an escape. There were no tools within her reach that she could use to try and unlock or break the shackles. Besides, even if she did make it out alive, she didn’t know the terrain enough. She’d get lost and eaten by some creature eventually; probably a Wolverine or Snowcat. They were common up north.

Adrina looked up suddenly at the entrance of the tent opening, expecting Prince Carlowe to walk in. Instead she was met by a tall slender woman with long red hair and a crooked smile.

Adrina recognized her from battle as Jordanna the Mystic, daughter and successor of Onar the Mystic. She had been the reigning Mystic in Calaria for almost a hundred years, now; taking over upon her father’s death.

While Onar had been a Mystic of water, Jordanna was a Mystic of metals. Her ability to control the weaponry used by the Rebellion had been plaguing them since she came into her powers.

She locked eyes with Adrina almost immediately, and gave a menacingly beautiful smile. “Well. I didn’t know Prince Carlowe was entertaining guests,” she said, her voice almost melodious.

Adrina said nothing, not moving as she glided a little closer, her dark green dress trailing in the dirt behind her. “Oh, poor Rebel prisoner. Did they rip out your tongue already?”

“No,” Adrina muttered. “But I wish someone would rip out yours.”

Jordanna bit her lip and smiled again, then looked around the tent.

“You haven’t seen Prince Carlowe, have you?” she asked, running a slender finger along the edge of a golden goblet.

“No,” Adrina answered, watching as the Mystic raised the goblet in the air, allowing it to float in the space just above her hand.

“Hm. I was hoping he’d be here. I always do enjoy his presence.”

She moved the goblet back onto the table with a wave of her hand and then glanced back at Adrina, her black eyes seeming to swallow her up.

“He is handsome, wouldn’t you agree?” she asked, raising an eyebrow at the Rebel soldier.

Adrina didn’t answer, trying to keep her mind from thinking on such things.

Jordanna smiled, revealing perfectly white teeth, amused at the reaction she’d received. “You don’t need to say anything,” she assured her, taking a seat across the tent. “You’ve already said enough.”

They continued to sit in silence, challenging each other’s gaze until the Mystic sighed loudly, crossing one leg over the other. “So,” she began as a metal pitcher rose in the air behind her, pouring wine into the golden goblet. “You’re a Shakel sister, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” Adrina hissed defensively.

The gold goblet was lifted from the table and into Jordanna’s hand. “Well,” she mused, raising the goblet to her lips. “I must admit you are the more attractive of the two.”

Adrina remained silent as the Mystic took a sip from the goblet. “And you’re obviously the more accomplished one as well. Killing the leader of the Dominion; the King of all Calaria. That is quite a feat.”

“He was no King to me,” Adrina boasted, challenging Jordanna’s dark eyes.

Another goblet sailed through the air, pausing just in front of Adrina’s eyes. She took it with both of her hands, the smell of the sweet wine teasing her, and set it down beside her.

“Suit yourself.”

Jordanna shrugged, taking another sip herself.

“I don’t drink with those that enable the Dominion,” she said, gritting her teeth.

“Oh no, dear. That’s where you’re mistaken,” Jordanna told her, her eyes turning dark like a warning. “The Dominion enables me.”

Adrina felt the room grow eerily quiet.

“Besides, you should be so honored to drink with a Mystic,” Jordanna said as she set down the goblet and stood. "Let alone the leader of the entire race.”

“I’d rather die,” Adrina spat.

The Mystic raised an eyebrow and suddenly Adrina was lifted from the ground, the chains from her shackles tightly wrapping around her neck.

She pulled at them with her hands, choking from the pressure. Jordanna’s gaze never faltering.

Suddenly, Prince Carlowe entered the tent. “Jordanna, stop.”

Adrina dropped from the ground abruptly as Jordanna spun around, a bright smile spread across her face. “Prince Carlowe! So nice of you to join us.”

The Prince shook his head and walked across the tent as Adrina caught her breath. “I don’t appreciate you toying with my prisoners.”

“Oh no, sweet Prince,” she coaxed, tracing a finger over his chin. “We were just have a little conversation.”

He yanked away from her touch and shook his head. “Anyway. Where have you been? I summoned you yesterday.”

Jordanna shrugged, flitting across the room to sit herself on a chair. “The Mystics and I were celebrating, of course. Another battle won, more Rebel lives lost.” She peered over at Adrina, taunting her with a small smile.

“Ah, I see. So you were celebrating as your King lied freshly dead in a wooden coffin?”

Jordanna stuck out her lip. “Aw. Don’t get so dark, Prince Carlowe. Your kind, lovable father wouldn’t want that.”

The Prince’s jaw clenched tightly, his hands balled into fists.

“Or should I say, King Carlowe?” she asked, a coy smile playing on her lips.

“Where do you get off speaking to me like this? Do you know with whom you speak?”

Jordanna stood, her expression plain. “No, Prince Carlowe. The real question is, do you know with whom you speak?”

Adrina watched as the Prince tore his eyes away from her and walked away, his back towards her now. “The next time I call for you, I expect you to answer me right away.”

Jordanna moved over to him, placing a hand softly on his cheek. “Of course... your majesty.”

Prince Carlowe was unmoved as she went to leave his tent.

“Oh, and Jordanna,” he called after her, his eyes fixed elsewhere. “What you pulled on the battle field,” he paused, Adrina shifting her eyes between the two of them. “Never again.”

The Mystic smiled. “Whatever you say, my sweet Prince.”

Without another word Jordanna left the tent, her long red hair trailing after her.

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