Chapter 8 – Fleeing the capital
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Royal capital Ramur – Castle

 

A man ran into the throne room, crashing to the ground before the majestic throne placed at the end of the room. He stopped there, kneeled with his left knee on the ground as his right arm lay on his other knee, hand closed and resting before his heart. In normal times he would have made the perfect figure of a knight before his king, demonstrating loyalty and strength. But here he kneeled, grim-eyed, his silver armor representing the royal knights was covered in red flickers of blood and dented by strikes with murderous intention.

“Your Highness, you have to flee the city.” He looked up at the young man sitting on the throne. His eyes shined golden in the light of the illumination-stones. His hair a fiery red like the descending sun in the afternoon. Both were the characteristic traits of the royal family.

“Sir Edmund, I believe you walked off with my father to strike these wretched creatures back.” The man looked at the knight, the first of his order, searching for the reason of his distress. “Has father not said, that the likes of goblins and others are no match for our family?”

“Your Highness, his Majesty…” The knight started to speak, only to stop thinking how to continue further.

The prince leaned forward, fixating his gaze on the knight. “Tell me, what happened?”

“His Majesty is dead.” The knight sank his head, depressed over the failure to aid his lord. “We fought against a horde of goblins, lead by half a dozen hob-goblins, as another troll came through the broken gate, catching us unprepared. We tried to fend him off and get his Majesty to safety, but he was hit by a stone as the troll smashed into a house. It broke his neck, killing him on the spot. We struggled against the troll, but his powers are beyond ours, which is why me and a handful of men left the others to reach and warn you.”

“You said another troll, what happened to the first one, the one you originally set out to kill.” The prince looked at the knight, unperturbed by the news of his father’s death.

“It was already killed by a stranger, most likely the one who shouted out in front of the castle. By the time we were there the only thing left was the troll, decapitated. The search for his subjugator was soon put on a hold as more and more goblins came through the passage left of the gate.”

“I see.” The prince stood up, walking down the velvet carpet. He turned to his servants as he shouted his order. “Call the soldiers! Let them ready their provisions and make them gather at the western gate. We are going to breach through to make a way to the city of Toa for the denizens which fled to our castle! We will go in half an hour!”

He turned to the knight which still kneeled on the ground. “Give one of your man the fastest horse available. Let him ride forward to notice them of our coming and warn them of the invasion.”

“Yes, your Highness.” The knight shot up, wanting to rush past the prince to his man, waiting outside.

“And Edmund.” The prince started to speak.

“Your Highness.” Sir Edmund once again clashed to the ground.

“My father is dead. As the next in line I am going to take over his duty.” His tone turned colder, seemingly to warn the man in front of him.

A brief moment of sadness twisted the knights face. “I understand. His Majesty is dead, long live his Majesty!”

The words echoed in the room as the other people started to repeat him.

 

 

The castle was thrown into a ruckus, servants rushing to and from, preparing for the leave as the soldiers got together at the western grounds, leaving only the fewest of them to guard the castle wall. But as they mingled around no one seemed to notice that not one word was said about the people left in the city, warning them for what is to come or preparing them to flee together.

And no one noticed the new king, looking over them all with disinterest. Foolish old man. You finally drop dead and you can’t even let me take over this place whole, instead letting it be torn to pieces by animals.

He stepped away from the window and walked down the corridor. “Is everything ready?”

An old butler stepped forward, walking behind the king. “We are nearly ready. The soldiers are gathered and proviant has been loaded onto the horses. But we don’t have enough carriages to fit the wounded and old.”

“Let them here.” The voice of the former prince brought a chilling coldness to the corridor, but his words didn’t even seem to disturb the butler slightly. “We don’t have enough time to save everyone. What about the gold and silver inside the treasury?”

“It was stashed away in the luggage carriages.”

“Good. Then we are going to start.”

As they reached the door the butler stepped forward to open the door. Passing through it he raised his voice. “Attention! His Majesty, King Solis the seventh.”

Solis stepped forward to the stairs leading down to the grounds. A benevolent smile plastered his face though his eyes showed hints of sadness. “My beloved people! It ails us to see you here, stricken by terror as these monsters befell our city, being forced to escape. We may seem to be fleeing tonight but we must not falter, for we are the only one who can help our people escape this plight and return to safety once again. Some may say that we should fight them, reclaim what is ours. Some may call me a coward. But we say that we are not fleeing! We are not leaving behind this city to hide ourselves, but to save our family, our children from harm! For this we shall strike a path through these monsters. We shall crush those on our paths as we reach for the chance to live. To survive through this night and fight back. To fight and help the people of our kingdom. We will not forget this night, when the terrors of darkness once again struck. We are not going to just let them swarm over us, destroying everything we build. Now, we will march onward to Toa. But once we are there, once all your families are safe, we say that we shall strike back even harder to reclaim what is ours. To bring peace back. And let those who we’ve lost rest in peace.”

He walked down the stairs, passed through rows of soldiers standing the clod night air. When he reached the gate, a knight came over to him, leading an armored horse, cloaked in white steel covered with a crimson caparison. He stepped into the stirrup swinging himself onto the saddle. He turned the horse around to the soldiers and pulled his sword.

“We will become the guiding light for our people.” Light began to gather on his sword and soon spread all over his body, bathing the surroundings in it. “And lead our people to safety. For the star of dawn shines the brightest in the night.”

Solis turned his horse around, letting it trot through the opening gate. The soldiers set into motion, following behind their king. As he passed the gate all benevolence previously shown left his face, as a cold mask was left behind, unseen by those behind him. Now, let us see how many of you are needed to get us out of here.

In front of the gate were the monsters, waiting for their chance to feast upon the bodies. The king rode on, swinging his sword as blades of light passed the way he swung, flying onwards and cutting the monster, burning their flesh around the wounds.

 

 

Behind the army were the denizens of the city who could make their way to the castle. Some rode inside the coaches or carriages they got from the castle, or ones which the richer people rode to the castle, but most were left with only their own two feet two walk behind them. On both sides of the denizens were a few dozen soldiers, left to protect the denizens, fighting off the remaining monster.

Inside a particularly spacious carriage, one for crates of items originally, sat a young child amongst other children and their parents.

“Thanks mister, for helping us out of here. These little ones would have never gotten all the way to Toa without rest.” A young mother said, holding a small baby in her arms.

“No need to thank me, just doing the obvious thing. I have a little daughter myself.” The driver looked back at the young child, sitting alone in the group. “And it’s not like I’m doing this for nothing. The wealth of a merchant comes from his patrons, right Marie?” He called out to his daughter, trying to divert her from the situation.

But Marie just looked back, out of the carriage and to the city. She watched the flames burn down the city as she thought about a boy. I hope you are alright. She clasped her hands together and started to pray for his wellbeing. Seeing his daughter like this the man turned around to watch the slowly walking masses, the two horses of him pulling the carriage followed them on their own.

 


 

“Shit, why is this gate also pressured by monster?”

The mercenary trio crouched in an alley, separated from the wall only by the last row of houses, hiding themselves in the dark. In front of them was northern gate, leading to the town Halmar. This was supposed to be their escape path as the road crossed through a forest which would hamper any monster which followed them if they properly erased their tracks.

“Too many to take care of right now. Hey women, it was your plan to go here, any plans to get through there.” Durak spoke up, looking at the gate as he dropped the boy, he carried till here to get a little bit of rest.

“Brute, are you up for another fight by yourself?” She looked at Brute, slapping him on the shoulder. “If you make it back, I’ll pay for the drinks next time.”

Brute stared at the elf, his face neutral and his voice flat as he started to speak. “Firstly, I’m not gonna pay anyway next time, I killed so many fuckers tonight there’s no way I’m in last place. Secondly, and the much more important thing. Do you want me to die?” His face changed into a grimace. “There are at least two dozen of goblins, three hob-goblin, and another handful of these flying pieces of shit.”

“And? It’s not like you didn’t fight through three times the numbers tonight to reach this point.”

“I support the women’s plan. You are still young; you should work out a bit.”

“It’s not a bit.” Brute sighed. “Now then, any doable plans?”

“Maybe something to pull them away from here.” The elf proposed.

“Don’t think that will work. They should have been left here to make sure no one gets outside. Probably the work of that demon from before.” The dwarf sighed as he thought about a way to get outside.

“Shit, maybe we should have adhered to our original plan and went to the guild.”

“It’s not like the situation would be better there.” The elf complained. “Most were out there hunting something or clearing the regions. And those who were there have most likely gone to fight by now seeing how the whole city is under attack.”

“At least better than these bastards in the castle.” Brute cursed. “Hiding like rats as the people die outside. If we could have gotten in there, we wouldn’t have a problem now.”

“It’s not like it will make a difference if you complain about it now.”

“I know, I just want to. Al, Dur, at least cover me a bit. Let’s get through this and get to Halmar.” Brute lifted his body, starting to walk towards the monster as a hand grasped his ankle. “Shit!” He stepped back to looking down to the one who stopped him. He was stupefied as he saw who stopped him. “The boy?”

The dwarf rushed at Aiden. “Boy, you’re awake.” He looked at him. His wounds have closed, scarring the boy all over, the biggest one left on his stomach. Over the course of the last hours his grey hair turned silver, taking a closer look to the color of the old man’s energy. His eyes were half closed as he started to speak like in trance.

“Not there, death awaits.” His arm shot to the side, pointing further down the alley. “Search for the passage.”

“Shit. You said it wasn’t a ghost!” Brute yelled, nearly alarming the monster nearby.

“Shut up, you fool.” The elf cussed, pressing her hands on Brute’s mouth.

“Seems like he is not awake yet.” The dwarf said, examining the boy. “What the? Please tell me I’m not getting senile right now. When we found him earlier, he only had one spot at his star mark, right?”

The elf nodded, trying to get the dwarf to continue, her hands still pressed on Brute.

“Damn, this is getting too crazy for one night. How does he already has his second spot?”

The elves eyes widened in shock, as she unconsciously let go of Brute. But even he didn’t say a word and only stared at the boy.

At last Durak progressed on. “He’s even using his magic while unconscious.” The spot on Aiden’s body was lit, glowing in a dim light. As they looked at him his arm dropped down. Soon the light faded leaving them left in the dark once again.

“I don’t like this one bit.” Brute said quietly.

The dwarf looked at him. “Let’s see. Would you like to fight against all these monsters at the gate, most likely running into certain death, or would you call upon the already dead, as you think he is, and possibly survive.”

“Fucking shit.” Brute stepped in front of the boy, grabbing him and lifting him up. “If there isn’t a way out, I’ll personally make sure he ends up a ghost.”

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