Weeks had passed since he had last been able to speak to Cybil alone. Anothy stood seething at the edge of the training ring where he was watching General Williams training the newer knights for combat and battle.
The reasons were many, if he was not busy with learning his duties as a prince of Mornalva, Cybil was out on scouting missions or something or other that kept them from having a moment to talk. He hoped to rectify that soon.
"Anothy, you and Darren face off. I want to teach these girls their lessons of close combat fighting" Williams shouted, jerking Anothy back to the present place and time.
Nodding Anothy stepped into the ring with Darren. They set their 'weapons' of staffs and wooden swords aside. The two men faced off with just their hands and feet their only weapons for the lesson at hand.
While they fought William's booming voice told the younger ones the basics and pointed out what each man did to keep the other from doing maximum damage during a fight.
Andreas walked up to the ring, and watched his son fighting the other well built man. He grabbed a metal sword; "Grab a weapon of your choice son" he stated, as he entered the ring, his voice carrying to the two fighters.
Anothy and Darren stopped simultaneously to look at his majesty as he walked towards them. Both confused and a bit sweaty.
"Are you deaf son? I said grab your weapon of choice. I am going to spar with you and see what that old oaf from your mother's home has taught you while you were away" he said, his voice tinged with a bit of anger.
Anothy turned and grabbed a steel sword, and turned to face his father while Darren quickly exited the ring they would be using.
The sparring began, with Andreas leading off the attack. As they fought, Andreas strikes became more and more dangerous. Anothy's eyes narrowed as he realized his father was not sparring, but trying to kill him. If it hadn't been for his training he would be skewered right now.
Cybil rode into the bailey of the castle from one of her scouting missions, followed by the pounding hooves of a mass entourage of guards, and a carriage that had the crests of Grandula. She quickly dismounted and shouted to the stable boys to come and take the horses.
People gathered around the carriage, all murmuring their surprises as a woman, with flowing blonde hair, sea green eyes and a regal gown of green silk stepped out of the carriage. All those gathered knelt, curtsied or bowed their heads to the woman.
"My lady, we did not realize you were coming" the steward blubbered nervously; "His lordship will be pleased to see you have returned."
The woman sneered at the steward; "Oh jibberish, we all know that I can't stand that fool. I came because I wanted to be here with my son and ease his transition into his role as lord." she said, "Where are they Micheal?"
Cybil woke up feeling disoriented; when she looked around she found that she was not in her room, nor the barracks where she usually slept.
The sounds of a baby suckling had her sitting up to see Alice nursing her new child and the midwife sitting there with a smile.
"What time is it?" Cybil asked groggily, as she rubbed the sleep from her eyes.
"Just past sunrise... little Nathanial woke up hungry. I'm surprised you slept through it" Alice said, "Come officially meet your nephew Cybil."
Cybil smiled and went to sit beside Alice and looked at the tiny infant in her arms. Her eyes watered slightly at the resemblance to his father she remembered from old drawings of her brother.
"He looks like his father," she said softly; "You did well Alice, real well. Now I have to go... I have training to do and I also need to go get washed up and something to eat."
Cybil left the house and headed for the barracks where she cleaned up and donned some new clothes before heading out to the training arena where training was in full session.
Throughout the day she remained busy in the training fields, working on her fighting skills and hand to hand combat.
Once she was finished she entered the barracks which were empty, stopping dead when she saw King Andreas was there waiting. She made a face and let the door close behind her.
"What are you doing here your highness?" she asked acidly as she went to her trunk, and opened it.
"Now is that the proper way to greet your king?" Andreas said while he tsked, "Cybil, Cybil, Cybil... my dearest pet. You should show me proper protocol in my presence."
Cybil grit her teeth, she hated this man more than anything. If she could she would slice his stomach open with the dagger she carried.
She remained silent though as she rummaged in her trunk for something anything to keep her hands busy.
Andreas stepped up behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist; "What you looking for?" he asked huskily, as she pressed himself up against her. She tensed up immediately upon the unwanted contact.
"Nothing that concerns you, could you please leave. I have thirty minutes to be at the stables cleaning stalls."
"Leave them to the others, and stand up straight." Andreas murmured, as he reached to grope her breast. Cybil stood up straight though she didn't want to.
"MM... so fine... you know I don't think we even shared a proper kiss my darling, darling Cybil." Andreas whispered into her ear as he groped her freely. The spell he had on her making her immobile and easy to use.
"How often do I have to say I'm not interested?" she demanded angrily; "I don't want you or anything to do with you."
"Ah you'll change your mind sometime, my pet..." he answered.
Just as both hands came up the door opened, and Andreas stepped back twice to avoid being seen. He hissed when he saw Anothy enter the room.
"Am I interrupting something?" Anothy asked looking innocent as can be.
"No! No you aren't come on in" Cybil chirped up happily, gesturing for him to come inside; "Was there something you needed Lord Meryl?"
Andreas's eyebrows rose a bit, but he didn't say anything; "I will leave you to your duties then Cybil." he said, "Oh and I expect you to come to the ball tonight!!"
Cybil gave a quick nod, and waited until he left before letting out a quick huff of breath; "Thank you, Lord Meryl once again. Your timing was impeccable."
Anothy's eyebrows rose; "Was it now?" he asked, "How so?"
Cybil's eyes flared, "I'd rather not talk about it," she stated, "Now... tell me what brings you to the barracks?"
"Well I was taking a look around and wanted to see what was in this building." he said.
"I was just on my way to the stables. Look around all you like m' lord" she said, before walking past him to head for the door.
Anothy gently placed a hand on her arm, "Cybil, was the king giving you unwanted attention?" he asked.
Cybil's eyes narrowed, but then she slowly nodded; "Indeed he has, been doing so since I first met him." she said, before she gently extracted his fingers from her arm and headed out the door.
Anothy followed her and gently stopped her again; "Cybil, would you do me the honour of going for a ride with me before the gala that his highness plans for this evening?"
Cybil thought about it for a moment then nodded; "Meet me in about two hours at the stables. I'll have your horse readied and mine as well."
She ran the rest of the way to the stables while Anothy continued to walk the grounds. Watching the men train and the maids do their gossip and washings.
At the appointed time Anothy entered the stables and found his horse and Cybil with her horse waiting.
"Here, he's ready to go," she stated, as she gave him the reigns; "I have to give Lady Luck a workout so this will be a great chance to do so."
Anothy watched her mount up, and he followed suit before heading towards the main gate. Cybil followed through without feeling the twinge of the spell that would keep her from leaving and frowned.
They headed for one of the nearby fields far from where anyone was working, walking, or riding.
"Cybil, if the king is giving you any unwanted attention. Why don't you leave?" inquired Anothy finally after a long moment of silence.
"I can't, as much as I would love to!" she replied tersely, "I have tried many times, but the spell he has me under keeps me from leaving."
Anothy grabbed her reins, "What spell?" he asked harshly his anger apparent in his flashing blue eyes.
"I don't know what spell, just that if I leave the grounds without the King's express permission. I get such intense pain that I collapse from it;" she said; "My section commander has to ask for permission for missions before I can even leave."
Anothy's teeth ground in intense anger; he sat up straight and kicked his horse into a gallop.
When they slowed again, they were already returning to the inner bailey. They both dismounted. Cybil took the reigns of both horses and headed into the stable, Anothy followed.
"I can look after my own mount Cybil," he said, as he took the reigns; "So where is your family?"
"Well you know my brother had just died in the ambush, and Alice is my sister in law. My parents are still in Novalia; where my father works as a small time farmer even though he is a Duke."
Anothy stripped his saddle off as he listened to her talk about her family.
They worked together in silence for a long while. Just as they finished off wiping down their horses and giving them feed, King Andreas walked in and seeing the two his eyes narrowed.
"Aren't you two getting cozy ?" he asked; "Anothy you are needed inside. Cybil, I expect you to be in the hall for dinner and dressed appropriately."
Cybil glared, and nodded; "Very well I will be there m' lord" she said, "Dressed in more than my manly grubs."
Andreas nodded; "Good, I will see you at dinner then." he said before turning and walking back out of the stable doors.
Cybil hissed, but went back to work while Anothy put away his mount and walked out of the stables after giving his mount a carrot and a pat on the neck.
Once she was finished, she headed into the castle and up to her appointed room, where she washed herself up and sighed as one of the maids came in with one of the dresses that had been a "gift" from his highness.
"Ms. Cybil, you are so lucky to have the king's attention. Most of the ladies are jealous of how he looks at you" the maid said as she helped with Cybil's hair braiding the sides into a crown.
"They can have his attentions Mary" she said, "I don't care for them, and they can take him to their beds all they want. I don't want him there either."
Mary grinned; "You may one day change your mind, but if not then perhaps that Lord Meryl would make a good match for you." she said.
Cybil laughed; "Trying to play matchmaker Mary?" she asked; turning her head once her hair had been pinned up.
Mary shrugged with a smile, "Perhaps, but you are so beautiful Cybil. Even with a sword in your hand, you are so pretty."
Cybil hugged the woman gently; "Thank you Mary, but I do not wish to marry, at least not yet."
The two left the room, and headed downstairs to the main hall, Andreas stepped forward and extended his elbow; "Congratulations, Cybil you will be getting an honour seat beside me tonight." he said.
Cybil growled, but she placed her hand in the crook of his elbow and walked with him to the head table, and took the seat that was pulled out for her which was on his right while Anothy sat at his left.
The meal was delicious, and despite the mix of feelings she had Cybil ate heartily. She took extreme care to look like she belonged at the head table and not amongst the rest of the folks gathered at the lower tables with the rest of her friends from the barracks.
Three days later, there was a feast for Caine. It was to commemorate his bravery and his friendship to the military units of Mornalva.
Alice, Caine's wife sat sobbing as each toast was said; her eyes red and puffy from crying the last few days; mourning the loss of her husband and friend. Cybil sat beside her and gently stroked her back.
Anothy sat with the rest of the men; his gaze was riveted on Cybil. Whom he had learned was the deceased man's sister. She had clear eyes, but they held the sadness of one who had lost a loved one. She was a silent stone beside her sister in law.
He didn't miss the small angry looks Cybil would give to his father on occasion when he spoke or when he did something.
The moment supper was cleared, Cybil excused herself, and she and Alice left the table and headed out of the castle doors.
Anothy stood up, excusing himself as well then he went towards the front doors approaching the two ladies; instantly helping Alice as she walked down the stairs with Cybil on the other side of her.
"Oh thank you m' lord, you did not have to come and help me. Although I greatly appreciate it" Alice said with a soft smile to Anothy; "You are most kind, carrying this baby is making me waddle like a fat cat."
Anothy grinned; "A beautiful cat though," he commented making the woman blush as they walked along.
"Caine will be remembered by all here tonight, he was a wonderful warrior and a great husband." she said her voice choking on a sob.
Then she gasped, and groaned wrapping her arms around her middle, "Oh Oh" she groaned.
"Alice, is it the baby?" Cybil asked with worry.
Alice nodded, before groaning; "It's coming" she groaned; "I'm going to have the baby."
Cybil panicked; "Oh my god! Oh my god! We need the midwife, and to get her home fast." she said
Anothy scooped Alice up into his arms; "Where do I take her?" he asked and started to sprint after Cybil told him; "Go get the mid wife Cybil"
Cybil didn't hesitate she took off to grab a horse from the barn and rode bareback shouting for the gates to be opened so that she could get the midwife from town.
She felt the pain of leaving the gates but didn't stop as she headed for the midwives cottage.
The woman heard her calls and came running with her already waiting bag; she saddled up her own mount. Together the two galloped back into the keep and right to Alice and Caine's home where they could hear her cries of pain.
The midwife clambered off the horse, and rushed inside. A few minutes later Anothy came outside looking pale. Cybil tied the horses up and ran inside the house to be by her sister in law's side
Anothy waited outside while the screams from Alice echoed through the night when finally everything quieted a few hours later only then the wail of a baby could be heard through the thin walls.
He sighed and the door opened, Cybil came looking haggard and tired; "It's a boy," she said, "Alice is naming him Nathanial Caine Novalia" she said; "He's healthy and the midwife is cleaning her up right now. She wanted me to thank you for getting her home so quickly."
Anothy pulled Cybil into his arms and hugged her; "You should rest, you have had a trying three days Cybil" he said softly.
"I will go to bed later; right now Alice needs me to help her with the baby." she said, gently pushing him back; "Thank you Lord Meryl."
Anothy stepped back, watching Cybil enter the house again. He turned and headed back to the castle.
King Andreas stood in the entrance to the main hall, his arms folded across his chest and an angry scowl on his face.
"I heard that Alice had her child?" he said; "Where is Ms. Novalia?"
"She remained with her sister in law, not that that is any of your business" Anothy remarked with a small snap.
"It is my business, she is not to leave the castle grounds without my say so, yet she left in a hurry to get the mid wife." he said his eyes narrowed.
Anothy rolled his eyes, "Of course she left to get the mid wife, neither she nor I knew how to deliver a baby!" he remarked, "She wouldn't leave her sister suffer without someone who has the knowledge to help us there."
Andrea's looked around; "Where is she?" he asked; "Why did she not return with you? She has a room here in the castle."
Anothy stared at his father; he had no clue that Cybil had a room inside the castle, and since the castle usually was for the royals he became suspicious of his father's words.
"You know son, I think it's time you took a wife. Alice is a fine woman, and has already given birth to one child. She would be still able to give birth; perhaps you should look into having her as a wife." Andreas stated with a thoughtful expression.
Anothy's anger peaked and he turned his back on the man he had refused to call father since his childhood; "Forget it; I am not looking for a wife. As of yet, and I will not use a woman the way you seem to enjoy doing."
Andrea's fell into step with him; "It will be good for you and the future of this kingdom if you take a wife now." he continued; "I'm sure I can arrange a ball that would allow you to meet the eligible princesses."
Anothy stopped and turned his hate filled blue eyes on the man who had birthed him; "Back off father, I will choose my own bride. Now stop hounding me about it." He snarled. Then he bolted for his bedroom on the next floor slamming the door shut behind him.
Cybil Novalia strode into the heart of King Andreas Mornalva's throne room, her platform heel clicking on the grey slated floor as she made her way towards the dais where the King stood waiting. Torches sat upon brackets along the twelve pillars of the throne room providing the light for the entire room.
Kneeling, Cybil placed her fist to her lips then to her heart and then onto the floor, her Auburn hair cascading around her bent head as she waited her instructions from the King himself.
"Rise warrior," Andrea's deep voice resonated through the room. The room was empty all except for Cybil, the King, Lord Neil Molandia, the king's personal bodyguard, and Amber Leonard Amalinov; the captain of the army. A scribe sat off to the side under a brightly lit space farther back and out of the way.
Cybil rose to her feet, her green eyes looking deep into King Andreas's eyes. Her outfit of black leather and a rapier strapped to her hip. The rapier had been crafted especially for her with the kings own magic entwined in its blade. A green emerald glittered in the dim light located on the hilt of the sword.
"How may I be of service to you, your majesty?" she asked, her hand resting upon the hilt of her rapier. The trench coat had a badge with a grey dove carrying a sword surrounded by three crowns; this was the kingdoms symbol.
"I have a mission that only you can carry out" Andreas stated, as he swiped his long bangs aside. Today he wore his shoulder length hair in a ponytail, which revealed the grey dove and sword surrounded by three crowns tattoo at his throat.
"I am honoured," said Cybil, her green eyes met his chocolate brown ones evenly.
Normally this kind of act would have a person beheaded, for being so bold to look at the king equally, yet Cybil was the only one allowed the privilege to look at him directly.
"There are men; very important men to be exact; who are coming to Mornalva," Andreas stated, "They are the high mages of Melandia. I would like you to gather your most trusted colleagues together and head out to meet them at the border near Frosty Creek."
Cybil bowed to him, "I shall do as you request, my lord," she said; "I will return with the group safe and unharmed."
"Lord Anothy Meryl will be accompanying the high mages;" Amber piped up from her place just beside the dais. She stepped down from the stairs of the dais towards Cybil, "He will be heavily dressed in robes to keep his identity safe from those he travels with. No one, not even those amongst your troop is to know he is there. Is that clear?"
At the mention of Lord Anothy Meryl, Cybil paused briefly. The infamous Lord was a ruler of the kingdom of Aviant, a kingdom that was a week's ride away from the Kingdom of Mornalva.
"He has been asking for an audience with me for some time," Andrea said, "I am most curious as to why he has been demanding so often and so aggressively. Considering that Lord Meryl has never left his kingdom for years."
It was legendary that Lord Meryl had never left his kingdom since the war, in the early years of his country's existence. It was rumoured that no one ruled that kingdom, and that he had actually died in the end and someone was now playing the part of ruler and was afraid to that he would be discovered by the people.
Cybil bowed again; "I will provide ample protection for his lordship then, and get my best men to accompany me on this mission." she said, "No one will know who is among the high mages except for me."
Amber's grin was cold as mid-January winters, "See that is so. For if he is attacked in this realm then his father Myron Meryl will declare war on us for putting his son in danger."
"Go now Cybil Novalia of Langua and make haste to bring our visitors back in one piece and be careful. There have been reports of ambushes taking place amongst the forests," Andreas declared.
Cybil bowed once more and spun on her heel walking out of the throne room. Once the doors closed behind her she hissed out a breath and continued outside to where the military base was located on the west side of the walled castle.
Calling out to her most trusted comrades Maya Barlov, Carlos Beyon, Caine Lance and Meagan Torrentia and a few others she told them of their mission. Excitement grew amongst them at hearing they would be getting to meet and escort the high mages back to the castle.
They all saddled up and rode out into the early morning fog filled woods that led towards Frosty Creek, a town that bordered along Mornalva and Bristle. Cybil had kept her word upon not telling her friends about the one extra person who would be accompanying the high mages.
The border was a four and a half days ride through heavily wooded areas; and it would be ripe for ambushing from enemies. The mountains to the east provided a cool humid climate and fair protection against eastern attacks.
Cain rode up beside her; "You okay?" he inquired to Cybil, "You seem less than thrilled about this mission."
Cybil shrugged; "It's just another mission" she responded her gaze straight-ahead; "Nothing special. We will rest at the Yule Tide Inn in Greendale for a meal and give our horses a break. Then it'll be hard ride for another day and a half."
Cain nodded and fell back to let her take the lead, they all rode with minimal chatter through the Glesion Woods; it was the most dangerous part of the ride since Glesion Woods had many dangers including bandits.
They reached Yule Tide Inn and as she had said, they all rested and ate a meal letting their horses rest. They were back in the saddle and on the rode a few hours later, riding through the towns of Brisson and Camole, before heading east towards the town of Bristle. They rested briefly since they were to reach the border as soon as they could. One resting place was near a set of hot springs. Both the warriors and the horses enjoyed the soak in the relaxing waters that were provided. They unrolled their mats and settled in for the night.
"I can't believe that we're going to be escorting the High Mages of Melandia," Megan Torrentia said excitedly, as she passed the bowl of stew to Carlos Barlov, "I am glad you chose us to come with you Cybil."
"Who else would I choose?" Cybil asked, as she dipped bread into the bowl of thick gravy; "No one else is as highly qualified from our section of the garrison, and we couldn't take everyone when I was told to only select a few?"
"True. We are the best warriors in the Defense and Weaponry section of the garrison;" Carlos said, "But wouldn't the Kings Elite have been better as escorts for the High Mages? After all that is their job as the Elite guards and it is in their job description to escort nobles and other people of importance back to the castle."
"I guess this could be a test to see if we're worthy of promotion. Perhaps this might get us up into the ranks of the Vanguard?" Lance suggested; "I, for one wouldn't mind getting promoted to a higher rank that has more jobs than just defending the castle."
"I second that statement;" Caine said "We've been on the Defense squad for 10 years and no one has ever recommended any of us for high rank missions"
Cybil listened to her friends and comrades bicker and talk with only half of her attention on the conversation they were having.
She did not mind being on the Defense squad; since there was less to worry about than with the higher Vanguard and Elite groups. Even though she was an exceptional soldier and warrior she did not want to rise any further in the rankings.
Anothy Mornalva sat among the High Mages of Melandia. His anger simmering underneath the outward calm façade he had on his face.
It was a lesson in patience for him not to snap at the whining from such a high order from Melandia, being in disguise as Prince Meryl from Aviant and it was hard not to reveal his identity.
The High Mages duty and obligation was to go and see King Andreas to hand him the scroll of Emeli. None of them seemed too fond of sleeping outside on the cold ground nor were they much for living off nature. All they had been doing was complaining since they had stopped on the borders, and it was starting to get on his nerves.
"Relax my brother Emilio; we will be in a warm bed and have a hot meal soon. I'm sure that would make you happy," the more practical mage said.
Anothy had heard someone call him Salam Dehandro.; "It was the council's decision to send us with the scroll and you know we cannot deny our elders!"
Anothy ignored the whining as the man named Emilio continued to complain about their conditions for their journey from Melandia to Mornalva.
"What do you think of Mornalva's King Andrea's stranger?" asked one of the mages; "We have heard many tales of King Andrea's and are wondering if you have too?"
"I have. I hardly know the man though since this is my first journey outside of Meryl since my father passed away" replied Anothy; being careful not to let the disgust and feelings of anger he felt towards the topic seep through in his tone, "So I can hardly form an opinion without meeting the man first."
He had not wanted to return to Mornalva, but the job he had been hired for called for him to return to the home of his birth.
A noise just past their firelight had them all standing and turning to look at in the direction that the sound had come from. Anothy withdrew his sword, and waited tensely.
Cybil's group came into the dim firelight, the crest of Mornalva visible as they approached the High Mages group.
"My lords," Cybil said, as she dismounted and bowed to the group. She was clad in black armour with the crest of Mornalva etched into the chest plate, "I am Cybil Novalia of Langua, commander of Team 6 out of Mornalva barracks Section 12. We are here to escort you back to Mornalva Castle."
"It's about time you got here!" one of the High Mages snapped, "We will start gathering our things."
"Very well, we will wait;" Cybil said, "Then we will take you to a small inn a few miles from here for a better rest."
At the mention of warm beds and a roof over their heads the mages rushed to pack their belongings and douse the fires. Anothy watched with a slight amused grin, never having seen them pack this fast before since they had started out on their journey.
Anothy moved towards his mount, untying it, after tightening the girth he climbed up into the saddle and went to wait with the small group.
Once the mages finished packing and on their horses; they all set out to head for the small inn. The inn was only about two miles away from where they had been camped.
"Why were we not told of this place?" High Mage Moran asked Cybil, as they dismounted from their horses upon having reached their destination, "This not only would have been safer for us, but it's more comfortable."
Cybil did not reply to the question, she had no idea why King Andreas had made the High Mages and reported Prince Meryl wait outside the border of his land instead of giving them the name of a nearby inn.
As they entered the establishment Anothy took a deep breath and smiled; "After we settle in I think I'm going to eat something smells wonderful" he said, and headed for the bar where the innkeeper was.
The plump elderly woman looked up and smiled; "Hello, are you looking for a room?" she asked.
"Indeed we are," Anothy replied, "14 rooms please, the best you have in the house."
The woman's face beamed, "14 you say, unfortunately I only have 8 rooms so some of you are going to have to bunk up or sleep outside or here on the main floor" she said.
Anothy turned his attention to the group behind him, seeing the distaste on the High Mages faces at hearing they would have to bunk either together or with the escort party.
"Very well, we will do that" Mathias said, with a bit of disgruntlement; "We also require food and bath. We are tired and covered in filth from travelling."
"Right Away sir. I will notify my staff," she said, "It'll be forty five Vinpels please!"
The mages and Anothy added their money to the table for the woman to look over, some grumbling over the price ensued, but they did not outright speak against it. Once she counted all the money she put it in the small lock box and disappeared in the back.
Cybil watched as each of the mages headed upstairs, before she sank into a chair at on of the tables.
Anothy sat down across from her just as a group of men came into view carrying tubs and water.
A young woman came out carrying a tray of food, which she placed before Cybil and Anothy; '"Lamb stew, and butter rolls" she said, "Our house special. Madame says to treat you to the best for your money."
"Cybil?" the older woman chortled; "Cybil Novalia, my goodness dear it has been a long time since I saw your face."
Anothy watched as the innkeeper rushed over to engulf Cybil in a hug. Cybil was smiling as the woman chattered taking a seat with them.
"It's good to see you too Louise" Cybil commented, "Thank you for providing us with rooms to stay"
Just then her comrades walked in; when Louise saw Caine she went to engulf him in a hug too. Her voice was full of excitement as she greeted the man and asked after his wife.
Anothy sipped his drink of apple cider and watched the commotion as the two rejoined him and Cybil at the table.
Cybil told her group of the arrangements for the rooms. A few declined declaring they would sleep in the hayloft of the barn instead. More food was brought for the group, and soon the Mages joined them.
As the night wore on, everyone from the group slowly meandered towards their accommodations for the night. Anothy remained sitting with Cybil, he watched as she sharpened and cleaned her sword with expert moves that showed she had been a part of the garrisons a long time.
They chatted a bit, before he too excused himself to get some rest. The moment she was alone Louise appeared and took a seat beside her.
"He is doing well I see, that brother of yours. Expecting a child is he?" She asked, her brows drawn; "If I had my way I'd skewer him for what he had done to you. Betraying you like that was the ultimate sacrilege."
Cybil sighed and set her cup down; "I don't want to talk about it Louise; what's done is done. There is no going back." she said, tiredly.
Louise snorted, "He should be ashamed of himself," she said her eyes dark; "My god girl if that was me I'd be seething with anger, hurt and plotting revenge."
"He is my brother Louise, how could I hate him. He was young, stupid and in love" she said, "Still is in love, and I can't hold that against him."
Louise sighed, and patted her arm, "I'm sorry dear, but you have been coming here since you were a toddler and I am wishing I could have protected you more."
Cybil gave a small grin; "Still make those apple pies?" she asked, "I'd love to have some!"
The woman laughed and got up going behind the curtain leading to the kitchen. She came back with a huge slice of pie on a plate; "Only the best for my little Cybil." she said, setting the plate down and watching as Cybil ate it.
Cybil and Louise talked until the woman finally left to go to sleep. Alone Cybil relaxed, enjoying the silence of the Inn. Thinking over the past and the present and wondering what her future entailed for her.
Dawn came and Anothy was the first one to come down the stairs, he heard Cybil chattering with a man in the main room. As he entered he saw a burly man with a beer gut standing at the bar cleaning cups with a cloth.
Cybil sat on a stool sipping on something while she talked. When Anothy came up, taking a seat beside Cybil.
"Ale, Milk?" the bartender asked, with a friendly smile on his face
"Ale please, " Anothy replied; "When will breakfast be ready?"
"My daughter is making it now. Eggs and bread with bacon we just got from the butchers down the way." the man said, "We will serve you all as soon as it's finished."
"Thanks, I'm starving after eating trail food for the last two days;" Anothy stated, "I had travel a long ways to meet up with the Mages, then I had to stay with them for the rest of the way."
"So Cybil, when will you be recognized and rewarded for your duties to King Mornalva?" asked the bartender.
Cybil shrugged; "I really haven't been aspiring to go up in the ranks. This mission is something for the higher ranks which has surprised me since we are lower in the ranks."
"Perhaps this is will show him that you are worthy of a higher rank then?" the man said, giving her a scowl; "You deserve it."
The bartender disappeared back into the kitchen just as the rest of the group headed down and took their seats around the table. Soon they were all eating and laughing over some of the stuff except the High Mages who seemed to be in even grumpier moods than last night.
By noon they were continuing on their way, they were making good time. As they came over a rise they were faced by a group of six armed men. Cybil called a halt and went to demand that the men stand aside.
They laughed, and then a war cry whooped and more poured from the surrounding bushes and trees. Cybil called her comrades into arms and they all drew swords.
The fight was gruesome, and hard as men were slain and swords continued to swing. Cybil was in the midst of a small group that were intent on driving her away from her comrades it seemed.
She whipped around slashing, kicking and striking at them, when her eyes spotted Caine who was fighting one man. Behind him another snuck up, before she could call out a warning the man who had snuck up on him drove his sword through his armour.
She screamed as she watched the man fall, and renewed her attack on the group that surrounded her. Taking them down with no problem, she ran towards where Caine lay and fell across him. Hearing the shouts for a retreat just as horns blared in the distance.
Crying she begged Caine not to go, to stay with her and not die. That he was needed in this world but it was no use he was dead and no longer there with her.
Riders approached over the distance bearing King Mornalva's colors and even the king himself appeared.
King Mornalva dismounted his horse; approaching Cybil his eyes showing no remorse nor feeling as he placed a hand firmly on her shoulder. When Cybil struck out knocking his hand off her shoulder, Andreas wrapped his arm around her waist and whispered into her ear.
Anothy watched the exchange with narrowed eyes; ~Typical man, no remorse same as always~ he thought with anger building up in his chest.
Cybil's eyes turned to glare at King Andreas, she knocked his hands away from her body and stormed over to his horse and mounted up.
Meanwhile some of the guards had made a pallet to carry the dead body on. It was first to lead the way back to Mornalva Castle, and as it passed by Cybil again she broke down and started to sob again.
Andreas mounted up behind Cybil, and clucked his horse into a trot while everyone else was still mounting up. The trip back was now gloomy and solemn.
The pain was horrendous for Cybil, as she watched her brother's body being carried into the castle walls and set down by the church.
Melissa's sharp cry told her that the woman had seen her brother's body and she immediately clambered off the Kings horse and walked to her pregnant sister in law wrapping her arms around the distraught woman.
They remained with the body as it was moved to the church. There the body would blessed by the priest and then lay to rest with everyone who knew Caine there to say their prayers the next day.
Read Chapter 2
Read and enjoy as I work through my novels. Since I rather it be online. If You are inspired and like to draw scenes or fan art of the stories you are welcome to do so. They will go into a gallery.