The town was still, and the last lantern of the night had burned out leaving only the moonlight. Ryker’s guard became lazy at this hour providing a window of opportunity for anyone brave enough to seize it. Lurking in the shadows a figure waited… as the main guard passed a female voice called out. The guard startled by the voice went to investigate but he met his death before he could raise the alarm.
The young women bent down taking the keys with a smirk, quickly she unlocked the door and disappeared within the castle walls. She stuck to the walls and dark corridors, winding her way up the stairs and to the door of Ryker’s bedroom door…. it stood ajar; fire light flickered across the corridor. A knife slipped from its hiding place and into the girl’s hand as she slipped into the room, Ryker sat in a chair facing the window, an untouched goblet sat on the table next to him.
“Nadora, I’ve been expecting you”
When he spoke, there was such calmness but an undertone of malice behind the words, in the firelight she saw a cruel smile rise in the corner of his mouth.
“the guards alerted me to my daughter being out of the city, which normally they are alerted to so naturally I looked into this…. My daughter was practicing with a blade all afternoon, which left me with only one other conclusion…… you”
“you killed my mother and hold my sister as a slave…” the girl spat
“is that what those nasty druids told you?” Ryker was now walking towards her shaking his head.
“my dear child I would never do such a thing…. I loved your mother very much and as for your sister she is free to travel from time to time in fact she is one of the greatest hunters of my kingdom.”
Rage began to build, and a hot anger pulsed through Nadora’s veins, she was about to lunge at Ryker when she felt a presence, something moved in the shadows… in her distraction she felt the cold blade press against her neck
“it was kind of foolish coming here to kill my father” the voice was soft and yet commanding. Ryker clapped his hands together in triumph. Instinct took over and Nadora who had been in many situations like this one turned to instinct, she pulled the strangers arm closer slightly nicking her neck as she pulled it down, using her weight to flip the stranger to the floor. The girl got ready to spring to attack but as she looked upon Nadora she gasped scrambling backwards
“what trickery is this?”
“Aidene it is me….”
“who are you?”
“I’m….” the guards sprang behind her restraining her to prevent her from speaking or moving
“father…. what is going on?”
“tricks and disgusting magic by my enemies, and they wonder why I enforce the laws in the way that I do” he turned to the guards
“find out who sent her and what ever else you can and then do what you must”
“father, who is she?”
“I told you it doesn’t matter who she is and after tomorrow you will not need to worry about her…. Take her away now.” He waved his hand dismissing the guards.
Nadora was roughly removed from the room as Aidene looked on hopeless, Ryker walked around his daughter striking her across the face.
“if you hadn’t of hesitated then we wouldn’t have this mess” his face was angry
She hung her head, a tear rolling down her cheek “I am sorry father it……. It won’t happen again”
He wiped the tear from her cheek, “we are only human child, only a moment of weakness that I don’t think will repeat itself…. now the guards will walk you to your room, you need your rest.”
She kissed her father’s hand “as you wish father” she left the room closely followed by the guards,
As she walked thoughts were swimming through her head what had she just witnessed, why would her father’s enemies send someone that looked like her to kill him and why did this stranger act like they knew each other. Something about the stranger made Aidene feel uneasy…. She needed answers she stopped walking turning to the guards.
“don’t you lot have something better to be doing?”
The guard was young not much older than she was “orders are orders princess”
“so no, then?”
“I will return to my duties soon enough”
“I am perfectly capable of taking myself to my room it is only one left down the hall and a right BOOM my room”
“just trying to keep you safe”
“safe? You know I am a hunter for this kingdom, the food you and my father fill your bellies with killed by my hands.”
“I do princess”
“not to mention the monsters I have faced, without a single guard by my side” she pulled herself up taller walking towards the guard now filled with an arrogance.
He bowed and turned down the hall again. Aidene ran down the halls to her room almost crashing through the door, she paced the floor how would she get to the dungeon without being detected? The moon shone onto the floor of her dark room, she threw open the window and climbed out onto the ledge, the cold night air of a full moon took her breathe away for a moment. Her years of hunting in the wild had taught her many skills and so she scaled down the side of the castle with ease, until she reached the servants quarters. Aidene had ventured here many times with her kills to be cooked and knew her way around well enough but the servants feared Ryker too much to be trusted not to fetch a guard, so had to take care here or she would never make the dungeon.
Nadora lay on the cell floor in the light of the moon coldness filled the dungeon, she wept her only chance to save Aidene was gone in a moment of weakness and tomorrow she was set to die after the guards were finished with her of course.
“now there… there pretty it will all be over soon” the guard rattled the bars as he spoke a smile crossing his grotesque face.
He disappeared up the stairs and then….
“what are you doing down here……” the guard landed at the bottom of the stairs with a great thud
Nadora got to her feet, shaking a look of fear crossed her face as footsteps echoing around the dungeon now. Aidene descended the stairs kicking the guard hard as she passed, other prisoners were now stirring in the commotion.
“I have so many questions and I fear I may never get the answers…. who are you? How do you know me?”
“my name is Nadora and I am your sister” a weak smile crossed Nadora’s face.
“I have no sister”
“you heard me”
“then that scar on your left hand…. how do you explain that?”
“i…. I don’t know”
“you fell off a horse trying to jump a fence”
“how do you know?”
“I dared you to do it…. we are twins you and I” Nadora smile grew.
“My father is Ryker and my mother lived here with us”
“no, your mother and father were artists who lived with a group of druids…. Ryker killed your father and kidnaped you and our mother, but she refused to settle, and she too was killed”
“no, I speak the truth…. Have you ever felt like something wasn’t right with your life or the way he treats you?”
Nadora pulled a locket from her dress handing it to Aidene, who opened it to find two pictures one of her as a child and the other of her sister. Her eyes filled with tears; her mind raced as the guard let out a groan.
Shaking she raced over clumsily grabbing the keys from the guard and rushed around the dungeon unlocking all the doors.
Nadora called out “what are you doing?”
“we will never make it out of these walls without a distraction…. ALL OF YOU ARE FREE…. NOW RUN”
They all thanked her as Aidene unlocked the cell holding Nadora
“he will kill us both”
“only if he catches us Aidene, you much stay strong and help me get out of here and then I will help you”
They bolted up the stairs, being greeted by the commotion of the freed prisoners, the servants and some guards all fighting. Aidene became panicked and seemed lost for a moment, Nadora pulled her into a room which lay empty.
“Aidene… please where do we go”
She took a deep breath taking in her surroundings, they were in the kitchen store and if they headed to the room on the right, they would find the servants passage then three floors would take them to the servant’s entrance. Aidene signalled for Nadora to wait, she walked into the room where guards were eating
“QUICK the prisoners have escaped…. What are you all doing go help round them up”
The guards almost fell off their stools in fright, but they grabbed their weapons and rushed out, Aidene called for her sister and together they ran all the stairs with ease, bursting out of the outer door and into the night. Aidene fell to the ground sick panic taking over, her sister stooped over placing an arm around her shoulder and pulling her onto her feet with a weak smile. The sound of clinking armour made Nadora pull them both into the shadows, she signalled to her sister to stay silent and to follow her. They made it out of the gates when a great cry from the castle made them freeze
“AIDENE” It had come from Ryker himself
Nadora didn’t wait she grabbed her sisters’ hand and pulled her into the darkness of the city, they wound their way through the streets to a graveyard, entering a crypt…. or so Aidene thought, once inside she realised that they were in fact inside an entrance hall.
“where are we?”
“I thought a great hunter like you would know” joked Nadora
Aidene raised an eyebrow “hardly a time for joking is it?”
“I think so”
“Of course, you do…. Now answer the question please”
“we are in the smugglers tunnels”
“well I am a smuggler by trade really…. so free passage and if we follow the tunnels, we will make it out of the city by night fall tomorrow”
“and then what?”
“well…. whatever you feel like… personally I want the death of Ryker”
“then why risk your life to save me?”
“well you are my sister dummy…. But you should rest”
The sisters rested for many hours before Nadora stirred Aidene, then rummaged through several barrels making packs for them both. Then they began their hike through the uneven tunnels, as they walked Aidene quizzed Nadora about her life and their real parents. Nadora explained why she wanted revenge so badly and how she had found herself in the employment of smugglers and the life she had with it, they spoke of stories they had heard of and Aidene challenged her on the tale of the girl who entered the under water realm of the sea king and was granted powers.
“Nadora…. When we get out of this wretched tunnel….”
“where do we go?”
“well I would tell you…. But given your lack of belief in magic I shall hold onto that for now”
True to her word they left the tunnels at sundown the following day, and for several days the girls wandered through the wild country that surrounded the city, Nadora who was overly cautious made them stay off the pathways and the journey was made harder from this
“the guards might be watching the roads”
On several occasions it seemed as if she was looking for something but got lost along the way, turning back onto the way they had just came. Then one night she stopped
“we are here”
Aidene looked at her like she had lost her mind.
“erm… Nadora… there is nothing here just a clearing”
“precisely” she signalled for her sister to wait.
Aidene watched as her sister Nadora appeared to knock gently on thin air, a confused look crossed her face when she did it again only this time seemingly a little harder. A great white light burst forward from nowhere followed by a little voice.
“oh crap” and with that the light was gone.
Aidene rushed to Nadora’s side who was now banging on air with her fists and then she kicked it, only it made a thud, she threw her hands up.
“this guy…. some friend he is”
“friend?” Aidene was even more confused.
“LORCAN LIGHTFOOT YOU OWE ME…… NOW OPEN THIS DAMN DOOR”