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A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part Six

by dudeiloled


      Nabile, Tomos, Vyssa and a group of six Eyrie guards reached the well early in the morning. Passing the nearby village (with all in disguise as a group of peasants) had not been difficult, as only the shepherds were awake, so they slipped past largely unnoticed. The well seemed more imposing than before, with everything now knowing what was beneath it. After Tomos had shown Nabile and the guards where the secret entrance was, he then left Nabile and three of the guards there, bringing the remaining three back with him. These three were going to fly to nearby areas and pick up as many rocks as possible and then bring them back here. Their work would begin immediately after Tomos and Vyssa had jumped down into the well. Meanwhile, Nabile and the other three guards were off to search for a bigger, heavier rock and then simply had to wait until Tomos and Vyssa came out again, eventually being joined by the other three guards when their work was done.

      Everyone understood what they had to do, and all that was left now was for Tomos and Vyssa to jump down. Nabile had given them a pillow each, suspecting that their soft landing last time was part of the entire plan by Sankara, Frezon and Morgana. Plus, they should always be on the safe side. The spell was in Tomos’ back pocket ready to be used if need be.

      “If you’re longer than three hours, I’m sending in my guards.” Nabile had told them both firmly as they set off that morning. “And if they’re in there longer than an hour without coming back out I’m going straight back to Qasala and alerting Jazan.”

      “Alright, alright, calm down, Nabile,” Tomos had said. “We’ll be fine. But thank you.”

      Now, Tomos and Vyssa stared down into the well and then back at each other. “Here we go again,” Vyssa said with a weak smile.

      “Except this time, we’re a bit more prepared.” Tomos answered in a much more assured tone. “Come on,” he offered his hand to Vyssa, “let’s do this together.”

      Vyssa took it. They stood holding hands for a moment. Above them, the sun was beginning to scorch their backs. “On the count of three?” She proposed.

      “Excellent idea,” Tomos agreed. “One…two…THREE!”

      And with that, they leapt to their fate once more.

* * *

      Frezon felt on top of the world. He was king of Sakhmet, and Khamtef, and the entire day yesterday he had been drawing up plans to invade neighbouring small towns and villages to take them under his control. He had the army to back him up; these tiny territories stood no chance. He was confident and secure and most of all, he had immense power. Of course he felt fantastic.

      In fact, the only slight concern in his mind was his sister, Sankara. She’d accepted becoming a princess with no qualms whatsoever, had even suggested the entire idea. It was all very strange coming from her, possibly even more ambitious than him. The following morning, exceptionally early, he met with the general of his army, a battle-scarred Grarrl called Hadon. It was Hadon Frezon had often turned to during the most terrifying points on the battlefield, or in times of crisis and they needed to hatch a battle strategy. Hadon was also utterly devoted to Frezon and had for many years already behaved like he was a king, so Frezon felt very much at ease in his presence.

      “What is it, your Majesty?” Hadon asked, concerned. The sun, after all, had only just begun to rise so in his mind the matter must be urgent. “Is it to do with the escaped prisoners?”

      Frezon frowned. He did not like to think of Vyssa and Tomos out there, most likely in Qasala, and he knew he couldn’t sit by and let them be free forever. But right now he had more pressing matters on his hands – like expanding his territory to the point where Qasala was the only place in the Lost Desert not under his control.

      “It’s not about them, Hadon.” Frezon said. “It’s actually about my sister, Sankara.”

      “A brilliant Field Marshal,” the Grarrl instantly said, “and a formidable princess. I am honoured to be commanded by her.”

      “Formidable indeed,” Frezon agreed. “Actually, this is what I wanted to discuss. You will no longer be commanded by her. I am going to send her away to Khamtef, where she will rule in my stead, and things will be as if she is queen there again. Although of course she isn’t.” He added, rather smugly. “The people know and adore her. It will be perfect. She has been welcomed back into Sakhmet and so my family name is no longer under scrutiny and I believe she has served her purpose here.”

      Hadon was nodding slowly. “I see.” He was not stupid. But he would not acknowledge what the two of them were thinking out loud for that very reason. “She will make an excellent acting regent over there. But who will be Field Marshal of the Sakhmetian army?”

      “Well, you will of course.” Frezon told him. “We will appoint a replacement general when the time comes but for now you will hold both titles.”

      “Your Majesty…” Hadon was momentarily speechless.

      “You’re welcome.”

      At this, Frezon waved his hand at Hadon, gesturing for him to leave. “We’ll talk again this evening to sort out the official documents. I just wanted you to be aware of this plan before I inform my sister tomorrow.”

      Whilst Hadon was agreeing to this, stood just outside the slightly ajar door was Sankara herself. She stood with her thin arms folded, an amused expression on her face.

      Well, she thought, so that’s how he plans to be rid of me. We’ll see about that.

* * *

      Tomos and Vyssa landed on the ground feeling thankful for the cushions Nabile had supplied. The soft pillow Morgana had provided for them previously was gone and had clearly served its purpose. It would have been an otherwise very painful fall. The atmosphere was as tense as the day was hot, and thinking of this, Tomos wiped a bead of sweat from his brow.

      Vyssa stood up and sighed. Here they were again. But she quickly pulled herself together and helped Tomos up. They stared at the tunnel entrance, before both walking through and resigning themselves to whatever was going to happen.

      “It’ll be fine,” Tomos whispered as they walked, “you’ll see.”

      Finally (the two had almost forgotten how long of a walk it was), the tunnel came to an end into the next cave. There were less candles than before, giving the room a less grandiose and spectacular feel which had enraptured the two of them previously. Instead, they now noticed the dark shadows in the corners of the cave. The stove in the corner was not cooking anything, but there was a fire burning beneath it, making the cave feel hot and claustrophobic inducing. Importantly though, the shelves with bottles and ornaments covering them still held loads of old books scattered around. It was no longer the secret cavern full of treasures. It was a cavern which could save them all.

      “This place gives me the creeps now,” Vyssa muttered under her breath. The same paintings hung on the cave walls of wizards and witches. The painting of Razul, which had unnerved Vyssa the last time she looked at it, got her full attention this time. This should have been a clue Morgana was not who she seemed. It pained her now to remember their anxious desperation, their need to be on a strict time limit. She looked at all of the books and wondered where to even begin searching through them for something, anything, which might link her to Frezon and Sankara and most importantly Amira.

      Tomos nodded at Vyssa as she stepped towards the bigger tunnel. This, clearly, was where they were going to find Morgana again, and it was better to face her now than wait for her to sneak up behind them. Right now, they had the element of surprise and they had to use it.

      The bigger tunnel revealed the smaller cave as before, with the bed and the rug and the chair. Everything was looking a lot less…neat and tidy compared to last time. The bed was unmade and rumpled, the rug was looking frayed, but the chair contained the same image as before. Sitting on the chair was that old, desert Uni. She had clearly been reading a book, but it was now splayed open on her lap as she stared intensely at the two of them. This time, there was a definitely a look of surprise, though it was very quickly masked by anger. Her large dark eyes seemed even more intimidating now that they were filled with disgust, but the pair knew they were still full of knowledge too. She was dangerous.

      There was at least a minute of complete silence. Vyssa was half expecting that same first line she had spoken to them despite her clear shock at them appearing in her home again, that crackly voice which sounded hoarse, as though she need a drink badly. Instead, Tomos made the first movement, stepping forward and speaking with remarkable, unexpected confidence.

      “You weren’t expecting us this time, were you, Morgana?” He said. “Because this time, we’re in charge.”

      To be continued…

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Other Episodes

» A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part One
» A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part Two
» A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part Three
» A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part Four
» A Queen's Ascension - Justice: Part Five

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