I Know He's a King Ch. 04byJane Shield©
Author’s notes: Fuor is pronounced Fju-or, just so you know.
I was thinking of not continuing to write… I felt that the two second chapters were not as appreciated as the first one. I know that they are not as good, but I have been trying to figure out what to come next. The second and third chapter I actually had no idea, so they were perhaps slow, and even a bit dull (okay, a lot) but now I know where this story is going at least for the five chapters coming up. So have patience, please! And do not forget to write if you liked this, I’m not that good to take criticism, but I do need the roses – I’m low on self-esteem.
I have to say this as well, the first chapter was one where I could do it in my own time. I felt a bit… well, how to say, in a hurry writing the next two. Now I will not rush. This will come in due time. If I take my time, it will be so much better, believe me.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The beauty of the castle lying before me was greater than anything I knew. The façade glowing white – how could it get so white? – and the towers climbing high in the sky. Our rich country overpowered by this green prosperity. Perfect lanes of trees, full of juicy fruits, gardens and fields colouring the landscape green, yellow and blue. This was the land of Veriton.
Alexander and I had run away. We had to see those creatures that children heard tales of, the beautiful Wilijies. Alexander stole two horses – well, he did not steal, they already belonged to him – and in the dead of the night we rode. (I remember now that the border-country between Veriton and Aarenion, our land, was then as green as ours and theirs. I wonder how it got to be so… dead.) We rode for three days, never stopping, just for an adventure Alexander had conjured for the sake of him soon to be a king.
The Wilijies are… beauty in itself. They look androgynous. Velvet black hair. Long graceful limbs. My mother used to say that they are the offspring of elves, the race that was endangered and exterminated by the so much more fertile humans. And the legend says that an elven man fell in love with the Wolfgoddess Fuor, the black wolf shapeshifter, whom treaded the earth when only a few elves still lived. The elf was named Wilij, the tale goes. Fuor rejuvenated the elven race with more fertility and an almost vicious look, like beasts of prey. Wilij’s and Fuor’s children were half immortals, not living as long as an elf, but neither as short as a common human.
Then, Veriton was peaceful. We were not harmed, even though we ended up in trouble – trouble that Lex caused. Soon the king came for us – for Alexander. I got a good beating when I finally came home, a week after my departure.
Huh, I could not sit for another week.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The beautiful man led me to the camp of the Moonsisters. I noticed many soldiers looking at me, almost staring. When I stumbled someone grinned, showing a lecherous smile.
“I told you that many will take joy in your mishaps.”
I kept silent, afraid to stir anyone else to speak to me. I was afraid of their looks, not too few showed the same vision in their faces as the officer had had in his face when he first saw me – the officer I had killed last night. I walked with my head facing the ground, believing it would make me invisible.
“Here we are. Let me introduce you to the Wizers. This is Amram Lothansdaughtir, she ended up in some trouble and I think she will fare better here, than walking in the end of the army when we march. Amram, this is Joanja Greens, and here we have Goovar Berdesdaughtir. I trust they will see that you get a weapon and a shield, because there will be a… small skirmish today and you’re expected to fight, just as everybody else. Now I bid you farewell.”
He walked off, and I followed his back with my sight. I did not like how Joanja looked at me; I could see her in the corner of my eye, staring with a vision of hatred. When I turned to face the Wizers again I was toppled over by the weight of a sword and a large wooden shield.
“Prepare yourself for battle, Amram Lothansdaughtir…” Joanja almost spat out the last syllables of my name. “From now on you will not turn away from our gaze when we have your attention and you will every time refer to us as Wizer Joanja, or Wizer Goovar. Is that clear?!”
Goovar helped me up from the ground. “I understand… Wizer Joanja.”
Joanja turned around, leaving Goovar and me alone. “Don’t take her the wrong way, Amram, she seems not to care, but instead she does. Although there might be one objection from her side, she cannot speak of it, as it will judge her to be unjust.”
“What injustice might that be?” I asked, trying to hold the heavy sword in my hand. I had grown weak in my hands, these last few days, away from home.
“You noticed that she spat out the ‘daughtir’-part of your name, and she can never claim herself to be a ‘daughtir’ herself. That is the injustice.”
“I am sure she holds greater power than me…”
Goovar gave me a hard look. “Most girls here – well, except me, but I am no girl any longer – they are… just like her. They will all envy you of your upbringing and your name.”
“They would not like my father…”
“Yet you hold his name.”
“Well, I did not ask for it.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“She will not live the day!”
“How can you say that? You do not know of her fighting ability”, Goovar argued.
“I know this: She’s a pain in the ass… She has been cuddled all of her life, she could have dealt with the man, lying on the ground, not making a noise. That would make her a nicer girl anyway… She knows nothing about pain, yet she killed a man just because he was kissing her…”
“Quiet now, Joanja. It is not wise to shout inside the thin walls of this tent.”
I was standing outside the tent, hearing their argument. I started crying when I heard Joanja saying that I should have endured the officers ‘caresses’.
“She will not live the day, she is not strong.”
“Maybe you will be surprised…”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The rest of the girls in the camp glared at me. I supposed that they already knew of what had happened to me and what my family name was. I endured their looks; they were so much easier to handle than the men’s. I did not bother to talk to anyone; I doubted that they would even answer me. Instead I took the time to try to prepare for the battle.
I figured that all the girls in this camp had magical powers, as the beautiful man claimed that I had as well. They would be able to fight with those powers, I presumed, but I had no idea what good my ‘powers’ would do in battle.
I did not understand what Goovar thought to be surprising of me. She wanted me to survive, that much was clear, but how to survive? I was good at fighting, but that was with a wooden sword – not with a real one in metal, so much heavier than a wooden one. I hoped that I would not stand in the first line, where the mortality rate was near to complete.
I wrapped my hands in torn bits of linen cloth, trying to make my hands more callused than before. My hands had grown soft and round in the wet state they almost always were in when I had been in the cooking and cleaning camp. Goovar passed by me and gave me a pair of leg pads and a heavy leather armour, worn and used and battered to a light colour – the pads brown of dirt – but useable and would do me good in the fight.
“I’ll help you. If you rise, Amram it will be easier”, she said.
She also held a pair of garments to change. “The dress will do you no good. Let’s go inside my tent, so you can get dressed.”
I followed her into the tent she led me to. It was bigger than most of the tents, and I did not have to bend as I used to do in my and Bea’s tent. In the middle lay a lot of cushions and a pair of quilts. The smell in the tent was of warmth and of a tangy sticky kind as well. I had never felt such a smell, its musky tone stuck in my nose, but I did not find it uncomfortable – instead I wondered where such a smell could come from.
When Goovar found me sniffing the air, she smiled mysteriously. I smiled back at her and blushed in the same instant. Somewhere deep down back in my conscious I knew what that smell was, but I never realised what it was until I myself could conjure the smell.
She helped me undress, murmuring comfortingly when she saw all my bruises over my body. “You should not listen to the evil things people will say to you. You had courage to do what you did, and every man who has that intent with you should from now on fear you.”
“Like a battered dog fears his owner?”
“A battered dog bites his owner… No, more like the mouse that flees the preying hawk.”
“I do not see men as prey”, I said before I could stop myself.
She laughed, her laughter bright – enlightening me. “Perhaps not, but they will still be afraid of you.”
A strange feeling rose inside of me, the looks Goovar gave me was different. She seemed to praise me when she gazed all over my body. I did not know someone could look at me that way. I liked the way she looked at me, but still I felt strange inside, like there was something wrong. She noticed the expression on my face and dared touching my breast. My nipple felt cold against her warm touch, and then warmed to its touch, although it went stiff as if her hand was cold.
Then, as if nothing unusual had happened, she withdrew her hand. I dressed quickly and she helped me on with the leather armour, drawing in the bands as I imagined the pretty ladies of court drew the bands of their corsets. I felt a bit constricted, but the leather softened a bit when it warmed up against me. I did not have to worry about my breasts wiggling at least.
Finally I gave sound to what had scared me since I had heard of that I had to fight.
“What if I kill someone?”
Goovar looked up at me and then secured the last string and hid it inside the leather. “I can assure you that the one you kill, if that will happen, is going to kill you if you don’t protect yourself. And there will surely be someone that will try to kill you. It’s a war. People die and get killed. Yesterday you killed a man because you were protecting yourself, and you have to protect yourself today. Whether it means you have to kill, or just injure, it’s nothing you can foretell.”
“And what if I die?”
“I don’t think you will. Bea told me about your premonitions. If you still can see them means that you will live to see them in reality. Come now, it’s time.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Moonsisters were not to fight at once. The girls were annoyed, irritated, that they had to wait for a signal to fight. At last – well, I resented that moment – the signal sounded and all the girls, including me, ran and clashed with the enemy.
The enemy was the Wilijies. They were tall and beautiful, almost all of them wearing armour ornamented with gold and silver. Their long limbs gave them better reach than any human had. I was surprised that we could hold for so long, and we did not seem to have any major problems yet.
The girls chanted, all of them different murmurs. Some Wilijies fell down, and darkness seemed to consume them, leaving them vulnerable to whoever wished to kill them. One Wiliji stopped in his movements, and I cannot remember seeing him move again.
I could only fight. A Wiliji attacked me almost instantly, and I fell down to the ground, but before he was able to strike me he was struck down from behind. It was Goovar.
“Get up”, she yelled and then turned to fight another Wiliji.
I got up and again I clashed with another Wiliji, but this time I held my ground, did not slip. He was hard to fight, he was so much faster than me and I was beginning to tire. His movements were swift, and in his speed lay a beauty. Their technique was so much different to the one I had been taught.
When I got an opening I went for his arm, but he could foresee where I was aiming. He kicked me to the side and cut me. I cannot remember the pain now anymore, but I remember a fire that started in my lower back, close to my waist. I was angered, and I struck him with all the force I could summon. He was taken aback and could not raise his sword before I killed him.
A sound of a horn blew over the plain. The Wilijies retreated. By then I could not grasp where I was, and I drew my sword against anyone who came near me. But I was overpowered and then my memory is all fussy.