A distinct quiet played in the dark sky of the night. It was a quiet that chilled bones and struck fear into the hearts of children. It was a quiet hard to put a finger on while it was muffled by the soft fall of rain and hidden by the occasional clap of deafening thunder. Only someone specifically looking for it would hear it. Still, the quiet was able to bring the clutch of unsettling fear.
A red, crescent moon peeked from ominous clouds forewarned with signs of tragedy to strike. The ire clanking of armor boots rang among a vast corridor. Flashes of light illuminated the dark maze of the castle. One soldier’s heart beat furiously in fear as he ran.
Only a few minutes prior had the soldier received a message from the neighboring town of Rabunste arrived. A castle soldier had overheard rumors of a suspicious shadow lurking; how it neared the kingdom each night and how the night before it was seen near the kingdom’s gates. Usually the head guard would brush off this kind of rumor, leaving it for what it was; a rumor. However, the kingdom’s estranged witch had passed by earlier that day, muttering about how the night will be full of spilt blood and devastating sorrow. Though the witch was labeled madden by her temerarious dabbling with forbidden forces, her tedious riddles often spoke truth.
Not wanting to take any chances, Kazac hurried to the princess’s room. Her safety was his top priority. She stood as the future of the kingdom. Though she was young, she was bright and mature for her age; full of spirit and morality. And though her naivety could be considered crippling, it was a trait she flourished into strength.
Reaching the stairwell to the west wing, Kazac spun around as he heard a strange sound. It worried him and he felt a chill run down the arch of his spine. He climbed the stairs to the princess’ chambers as quickly as his legs would allow him. He opened the door, hand readied on the hilt of his blade.
By the window, the princess’ long black hair glistened in the moonlight. She turned, revealing eyes as blue as the ocean with a tint of the sky which seemed to pierce into one’s soul. In her hands she held a necklace embedded with a royal stone; a garnet the Royal Family and scholars from around the world called the Sun’s Heart. Her slender body swayed in hypnotic grace with each step she took.
“What is troubling you, Head Guard Kazac?” her soft voice asked.
“I fear a rumor may hold truth and something sinister is approaching the castle. I must take no chances and take precautionary measures for your safety, your Highness,” Kazac spoke, bowing respectfully to her.
Almost as if on cue from a play, the sound of a window’s glass crashing echoed from the hall. The noise was soon followed by the chamber’s window sudden shattering. A man dressed as a minstrel stood in the middle of the shattered glass. He unsheathed twin blades, cocking his head to the side, letting the moonlight reveal a slight grin. Kazac drew his sword, ordering the princess to step behind him. Another crash came from the hallway.
“Oh no, FATHER!” The princess exclaimed running out to the hallway.
“Princess! It’s unsafe!” Kazac shouted. The minstrel attacked, jumping into the air and swinging his blades with incredible speed.
The princess raced through the hall towards her father’s sleeping chamber. Glass shards broke underneath the weight of the princess’s feet, cutting the skin of her bare soles. The split moment she began running, the princess noticed a small pack of minstrels chasing her. She turned left, going into a door leading to the weapon’s room. She grabbed a staff from a wooden barrel in the corner. The minstrels emerged a second later, each holding a pair of twin blades. The Princess readied herself for battle. Memories of combat training with her father and some of the guards flashed through her mind. She took a battle stance, her brimming desire to save her father fueling her strength.
. . .
The iron blades clanged with each strike. Kazac thrust his sword to the minstrel’s heart, only to have been repelled and countered. Kazac barely redirected the twin blades, losing any time to counter. The minstrel bounced around the room, making his strikes unpredictable. Gripping the hilt harder, Kazac readied to launch. The minstrel leaped to action, swinging his blade at the soldier’s back. Kazac launched forward, avoiding the minstrel’s strike. He ran towards the door with thoughts of rescuing the princess in his mind, though he realized he was being followed by the minstrel.
Unable to turn, Kazac continued forward towards the door. The minstrel was not far behind. Before exiting through the doorway, Kazac raised his foot to the solid wooden door, shifted his weight, and launched back to the minstrel. The minstrel unable to react in time left himself to the inevitable fate of his heart being run through.
. . .
The Princess parried the remaining minstrel’s strike. She stepped to the side in an attempt to recollect herself. Her foot bumped into the lifeless body of one of the felled minstrels. She quickly glanced to the lifeless body of the other minstrel she defeated. Seeing an opening, the last minstrel threw one of his daggers at her. The Princess didn’t have time to defend and in her brief state of panic, tripped over the felled minstrel in time to avoid fatal damage. While falling, the dagger slid across her shoulder, leaving a shallow cut. The minstrel had already leaped into action and was over her. With pure instinct and a flash of fear, the princess thrust the end of her staff into the minstrel’s chin. The head snapped back awkwardly and the minstrel fell limp.
The Princess climbed to her feet and stood over the three minstrels, staff in hand and blood splattered on the floor. For a moment she stood above the bodies with a feeling of woe brewing inside. She never wished to take a life. Taking a deep breath she continued to her father’s chamber. Kazac soon reached her as they approached the huge doors. Wasting no time and adrenaline coursing through their veins, they rammed the doors open.
The king lay motionless on the ground. Standing above him was a man in a white coat and hidden by shadows. As lightning flashed, the man’s eyes illuminated; demonic eyes. He turned toward the open window. Raising a hand, a red orb of light surrounded by crackling white light appeared, shifting the atmospheric pressure. As the orb continued to grow, the shadowed figure looked back. Kazac could barely make out the form of a smile.
The light enveloped the shadowed man while contorting the surrounding air. Then the orb of light disappeared along with a crack. The man was gone, leaving the King lifeless on the cold floor. Tears ran down the princess’ cheeks, mirrored by the fall of the rain.