Click here to read Part One, here to read Part Two, here to read Part Three, and here to read Part Four.
“Good, then let’s continue.” Amir sheathed his sword. “The gracious king has agreed to spare anyone punishment if they tell us what is going on.” Silence. “Well?”
A young woman broke from the crowd. Her hair was knotted and soaking wet. Her dress of torn and covered in mud. She crossed her arms. “It will cost you,” she sniffed.
“Cynthia, no!” someone hissed.
The captain smiled and motioned for the soldiers to let her approach. “You look like a smart girl. Cynthia, right?” she nodded. “A name worthy of a princess. What can you do?”
“I’m a seamstress.”
Amir smiled again. “How would you like work in the castle sewing robes for the priests and the royal?”
Cynthia nodded primly and turned to the villagers, scanning them. She lifted her finger and pointed at Isaac and his mother. “They’re the ones you want.”
Katarina froze and gripped the stone wall. No!
The captain snapped his fingers as a cruel smile tugged at his lips. “Bring them here.” Two soldiers broke off and marched over, swords extended. Elizabeth’s face went deathly pale and she gripped the shoulders of her son, but stepped forward with her head held high. The soldiers prodded them on.
“Faster!” one growled and she tripped as she hurried to obey. Isaac quickly grabbed her arm and steadied her. Amir chuckled.
“Your son?” he asked as he looked Isaac over. Elizabeth glared calmly back, her grip tightening. Isaac scowled.
“Yes,” he spat. “I’m her son.”
Captain Hanzan smiled. “And a feisty one too! Tell me,” he said, turning back to the seamstress. “What is it that these two have done?”
The woman bit her lip, refusing to look the two in the eyes, and cleared her throat. “The boy listens to the stories of the old man on the cliffs,” she announced. “And spreads them to the village children. And then they all go around with them.”
No one spoke. Words were gone. They were betrayed.
Mothers cradled their children and drew them closer. Men clench their fists and glared, but in their glares was sorrow and despair. The wrath and storm of the Dethroner had come. All hope was gone... or was it?
Never lose hope, the Light had said. But what could Katarina do?
A couple men and women fell to their knees. “We didn’t know!” they shrieked and cried. “We didn’t know! Please! Mercy! We follow the priest! We follow him and the king and his gods!”
The captain ignored them and snatched Isaac up at the neck. The boy struggled and tearing at the huge hands and kicking the air, gasping for breath, but Amir did not let go. “Where is this man, boy!?” he screamed.
Isaac shook his head. “I’d...” he struggled, “rather... die.”
The man shoved Isaac down into the mud and drew his sword up to Elizabeth’s neck. “What about her?” He smiled cruelly. Isaac pushed himself up, heaving.
His mother shook her head, tears streaming. “Don’t Isaac! Don’t do it!” Thunder crashed as a lightning bolt split the sky. “Don’t tell him,” she sobbed.
Isaac bit his lip, tears beginning to fill his own eyes. He shook his head. “Mother...”
“Don’t!” she screamed. “For the Creator! For Him, Isaac! Don’t tell!”
“Well, boy?” the captain snarled and increased his pressure. Elizabeth flinched as some drops of blood began to trickle down her neck. Before Isaac could react, Katarina jumped out of the shadows.
“Stop!” Everyone turned. “Stop,” she sobbed. “I know where he lives.” For moment no one moved, and then the captain lowered his blade and pushed Isaac’s mother away.
“Good girl,” he sneered and pointed the sword at her. “You will show me. You hear?”
Katarina’s gaze wandered to Isaac. He bit his lip. He was crying. She looked back at the murder before her and nodded. “Yes. I will show the way.”
“Good.” Amir waved the soldiers to the villagers. “Bring them to the priest's sanctuary and let no one out until I come back. And I want a couple of you to come with me, while you,” he turned and grinned at Katarina, “while you and I go fix the root of this problem. The king will be very pleased.”
The girl nodded quietly and wiped her tears away. Please, she prayed, Creator, let the others escape. “You might want to take as many soldiers as you can,” she added. “The old man often has visitors and he’s really good with the sword... he also,” Katarina added, “shows off what he can do with magic.”
The captain smiled. “Good girl. You’re a very good girl.” He spun and beckoned over more soldiers. “I want ten of you.” He chuckled and added to himself, “A false prophet and dark sorcerer... the king will be very happy.”
That will leave just a dozen here. A dozen against fifty.
Katarina looked back at Isaac and smiled through her tears.
Like helping you, he had said. That’s Light.
Written by Evelyn Kelly
Illustrated by Jeremiah K.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.