Drip… drip… drip…
The rain was accompanied by the water dripping from the rooftops. All around him the rain fell, soaking his shirt and hair, sending water coursing in rivulets down his face. He was surrounded by stone cottages, each with the Athian crest carved into the door.
“Cora!” he called in a hiss. Behind him in an alley, a woman peeked out. She was beautiful even though she was soaking, with her long black hair and glittering, royal blue eyes.
“Benjamin!” she whispered, “I shook them off. They think we’re going through the back passage.”
“Good,” the man – Benjamin – said. “Come on this way. You’re sure no one’s following you?”
“Where did Jared and Lizabell go?”
“Toward Kiyon. With the rest of the servants.”
“And… and the children?” The man’s strong posture dropped a few degrees and he looked worriedly at the woman.
“Ben…” Cora said sadly. “Lizabell took them. They’ll be safe. But I’m not sure we should try to meet back up. It’s too dangerous. If we were being followed, they could get hurt.”
Benjamin looked miserably at Cora. “I know.”
There was silence for a moment, broken only by the pattering of the rain. Then a faint yelling reached their ears. Benjamin looked up. The night sky was orange with the glow of fires from the castle, which even the rain couldn’t put out. “Cora…” he whispered hoarsely, “They’re coming. They’ve realized where we are. We must run!” He reached out and, grabbing her arm, pulled her after him down the perfectly cobbled street.
But before they had gone more than a hundred paces, shadowy figures leapt out. They grabbed Cora and Benjamin and held their hands roughly behind their backs. A few of the many figures held onto a struggling young man; the stable hand at the castle.
“Jared!” Cora gasped.
“Queen!” the boy of about sixteen replied, still struggling against the shadowy men. “Queen, I tried to warn you, I-”
“Shut up!” one of the men growled, shoving Jared into the mud. He landed face first, and the men laughed. Then one of them stepped up and placed his foot heavily on Jared’s back so he couldn’t get away. The boy writhed on the ground, finally pulling his mud-caked face up and gasping for air.
“Jared! Jared, what about Lizab-”
Benjamin cut Cora off with a glance. She understood and clamped her mouth shut. If the shadowy men knew about Lizabell and the rest of the servants, then they would be captured also. But they weren’t. That meant they were safe. The dear maid was safe. Cora’s children were safe. Lizabell will take care of them, she tried to mentally tell Benjamin. But he wouldn’t meet her gaze.
Because he was focused on a tall man that had just stepped out of the crowd of men. This man had uneven stubble covering his chin and dark, scraggly black shoulder-length hair that fell over his coal-black eyes. He wore a scornful grin, and had his cold gaze fixed on Cora. “Ah, hello, Mighty Queen Cora. And this must be King Benjamin. How lovely to see you both.”
Cora suddenly went white. “T-Tero…?” she whispered hoarsely.
Benjamin looked from Cora to the strange man and back again. “Cora…?” he muttered darkly. “Do you know him…?”
“Tero!” Cora whimpered, ignoring Benjamin. “Tero, you wouldn’t do this, would you? Not to me…?”
Benjamin’s dark green eyes suddenly flared. He had no clue who this man was, but obviously Cora knew him, and she was scared. Any man who could make Cora’s face look like that didn’t deserve to live, as far as Benjamin was concerned. He lunged at the man, his expression wild, but the shadowy men held him back. One of their swords flashed out and plunged into Benjamin’s chest. Scarlet blood streamed everywhere; Benjamin’s eyes dulled and he crumpled onto the floor, unmoving.
“You fool!” one of Benjamin’s captors snarled at another. “The boss told us to wait till he gave the signal! Now you’ve gone and killed him!”
“Benjamin, Benjamin!” Cora screamed, struggling vainly to get to him. Finally she broke down weeping and the men had to force her to stay standing. Sniffing, she turned to Tero. “Tero…” she whispered, eyes full of sorrow and anger and yet pity all at the same time. “Tero, you can’t do this!”
“Cora, Cora, Cora…” Tero said slowly with his sly smile, unsheathing a sword and pointing it slowly at her neck. She tilted her chin back as far as she could, but the men kept her still. Tero pressed the sword into her neck, and red blossomed from the tip. Cora gasped through gritted teeth. “Cora,” Tero repeated, drew back his sword, and thrust it into her chest. She fell to the ground, eyes closed. Tero’s words seemed to echo, as if there were more than one of him speaking. “I already have.”
(So, since this blog is about my adventures in writing, I guess I should actually post my writing, huh? Well, this is the prologue of The Wishing Stone, the longest story I currently have going. I’m in the process of re-writing what I have, though, so updates won’t be in quick succession. Any and all feedback whatsoever is greatly appreciated! Oh, and sorry for killing people off right off the bat; don’t worry, most of the story isn’t this bloody! ;))