WWE TLC 2013 Prediction Contest

wwetlc

Welcome back to predictions! Even if you’ve done this before, make sure to read the rules. I have the right to change them at any time!

The Contest: If you don’t know, this is all about predicting the PPV! The person who best guesses the matches and then possibly the tie-breakers ends up winning the prize!

The Prize: This month we are giving away 4 T-shirts as a grand prize! These are thanks to @JuicyPatLucey, @Right2PlayGod, @TTOFS, and @WWEThatsNotPG. As always you MUST be following these accounts: @Right2PlayGod, @TheJuiciDetails, @TTOFS, and @WWEThatsNotPG, or you can not win the prize. (You are free to enter, but you forfeit the prize. If you only follow, say, @Right2PlayGod, you will win the prize from her and the NEXT person wins the prize from the others if you are the grand prize winner).

The Secondary Prize: This particular part of the contest requires an $1 entry and requires a follow to my @SolaceAutumn account. What’s the prize? You’ll find out if you are following that particular account. You are not required to play for this prize, and you can still, for free, enter the other part of the contest as you always have been able to. $1 entries should be sent to Paypal (only way, sorry guys). SolaceWinter@yahoo.com – Last month was a $7 jackpot.

The Jabroni Jobber Prize: For the person who does the WORST at predicting, you get an autographed Zack Ryder DVD from @GlamourNMetal.

The Rules:

  • You MUST have a Twitter account. If I don’t get a twitter handle from you I will not go searching for you to find you and you will not be entered. Please include it when you send in your predictions.
  • You MUST be following me (obviously), @TheJuiciDetails, @TTOFS, @Right2PlayGod, @WWEThatsNotPG, and @GlamourNMetal. There will be no reminders. If you are not following the account you will not get the prize and I move on to the next person. You may enter the contest without following them, not following them only disqualifies you from the prize.
  • I just want names for who wins. I don’t care who retains. I don’t care how they win. I want to know who in each match is declared the winner. No Contest is an acceptable answer, but it’s the only answer that is allowed besides names.
  • You MAY name names that aren’t in the match if you think they are going to swerve us. HOWEVER, if you are purposefully going for the Jabroni Jobber prize, and I can tell, you will be disqualified. (ie: answering Batista for 3 of the matches will get you DQ’d. If you purposefully predict the opposite of who you think will win, I let it slide).
  • You may NOT change your predictions once they are entered. Period.
  • The predictions are open from now until Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Once closed, they are CLOSED. The only exceptions are those who ask for it before hand and it’s within reason. 2:00 pm Sunday afternoon is NOT within reason.
  • I will announce when I have entered you into the contest. You will get a number and a welcome on Twitter. Give me 48 hours before asking if I got your predictions, I’m one person taking care of this, and I currently have three jobs! If you ask me before it’s been 48 hours, prepare to be ignored. (The exceptions to this is if I have announced I am through all of the predictions I have, if you haven’t been announced then you should ask me).
  • You may enter your predictions by dming me on @SolaceWinter, by emailing me SolaceWinter@yahoo.com or by leaving a comment below. If it is your first time leaving a comment it will not show up until I’ve approved it.
  • Good luck!

THE MATCHES TO PREDICT:

  1. Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler
  2. John Cena vs. Randy Orton
  3. CM Punk vs. The Shield
  4. Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
  5. AJ Lee vs. Natalya
  6. Big E. Langston vs. Damien Sandow
  7. Fatal Fourway Tag
  8. Tie-Breaker 1: How many tables are broken through the night?
  9. Tie-Breaker 2: How long will the TLC match last?
  10. Tie-Breaker 3: How many times will they re-show Stephanie being knocked down?
  11. Tie-Breaker 4: Will there be a Pedigree from Triple H during the PPV? If so, on who?

The Winners, and Loser, of the Survivor Series 2013 Prediction Contest

Here it is, what you came for! It was a long night, especially since most of the matches were kind of dull, or maybe I’m just overly tired. Either way, it’s over, but we do have some prizes to give away.

First, to our jobber. To the man who had 1 match correct, and no tie-breakers, @juicypatlucey! Please see @NevadaWolfe for your prize!

Then, to our JACKPOT winner! That would be @aPsychoSoldier for getting all of the matches correct, though he didn’t win the grand prize because his tie-breakers weren’t quite there (but you did win $5!).

The winner, with the best tie-breakers out of the 12 remaining people who had the perfect match combination… @VinceMcMinistry! Congratulations! Please see @NickGator about your prize!

Next month… I don’t even know what I have a couple of things lined up and looking for more, and for the Royal Rumble we have something big again! Congratulations to the winners, and lose, and see you at TLC!

Survivor Series Predictions and How To Win

SSSeriesMost of you already know how the game is played. The person with the best match predictions is the winner. In cases like tonight, where there’s almost a clear split and it WILL come down to tie-breakers, that’s where the fun begins. I don’t always use all of the tie-breakers. I start with tie-breaker 1. If that doesn’t break the tie, I move on to the next one and the next one and so on until the tie is broken. If the tie is broken after the first one, there’s no need to move on. ONLY the people who get the first tie-breaker correct move on to tie-breaker 2, and so on.

In extreme cases, which has never happened but I feel likely will tonight, all four tie-breakers will determine final “winners”. But there can only be one true winner. That winner will be chosen by a panel of non-biased judges.

The Jabroni Jobber prize is for the person who absolutely predicted the worst throughout the PPV, tie-breakers included.

I will update this space throughout the PPV to show how many of the matches you have correct, so you can see where you stand in the competition.

Your numbers and your predictions are below!

  1. @SolaceWinter*
  2. @TheSupremeForce*
  3. @TeamHellions
  1. @Right2PlayGod
  2. @BrothaCheese
  1. @WWEThatsNotPG*
  2. @BizarroDoom
  1. @VrySrsBsns
  2. @aPsychoSoldier*
  3. @MarkBilly
  4. @gulag1930
  5. @IchibanDrunk
  6. @RegalSays
  7. @Shawndecker
  8. @ThisIsChev
  9. @RayLott2
  10. @SirTweets_ALot
  11. @Kristoffrable
  12. @ZOMGItsIngrid
  13. @Melodelish4286
  14. @TomQWood
  15. @bradshawireland
  16. @NickRedMachine*
  17. @wvawser
  18. @karnuj
  19. @evilkarebear
  20. @thagr8short1
  21. @jjmwwe89
  22. @stateofthelinds
  23. @Jasmine_Galan
  24. @sXe_Edd
  25. @shute915
  26. @NickGator
  27. @FallsDownOften
  28. @DXDONMEGA
  29. @IamLWilliams*
  30. @leeman7959
  31. @bwilli27
  32. @CoreySantiago
  33. @thechris316
  34. @ZigglersQueen81
  35. @jmt5887
  36. @JakeGronie
  37. @sallen_87
  38. @Prfct_Princezz
  39. @ayumidah
  40. @James_Milne*
  41. @Big_Thor_Dawg
  42. @micahhhh
  43. @TheBigBrebowski
  44. @badwolfbay10
  45. @RealDealDiPirro
  46. @SkeltonQ
  47. @MzBiracialAngel
  48. @alindanielsmom
  49. @TheSilentSavior
  50. @allnewtpir
  51. @ScoglioSpeaks
  52. @steve_o_v1
  53. @juicypatlucey
  54. @UNCuse15
  55. @geisey54pkp
  56. @BrandonDNH
  57. @DarkFalz83
  58. @Andrewthemark
  59. @AmplifiedtoRock
  60. @bqsl
  61. @VivaMattyVegas
  62. @stvstheworld
  63. @JVLewis77
  64. @jen07201
  65. @DanTheDazzler
  66. @ChrisRiddle
  67. @CLangton_V
  68. @HaveTilFive
  69. @RandyDunn555
  70. @BradWardFGN
  71. @VinceMcMinistry
  72. @I_Am_ALo
  73. @HurriOwl
  74. @Jhorton92
  75. @Justin__Cena
  76. @DayVan_TeaMal
  77. @dwalker87
  78. @Jay_Lee101
  79. @BravestPAPaya
  80. @iammichaelfann
  81. @MrSoze
  82. @insomnivic
  83. @TomJamison
  84. @mtforbes
  85. @RatedRPeep
  86. @Breakdown62
  87. @notoriouseddie
  88. @MattWard2387
  89. @JackForster92
  90. @AgitatedJim
  91. @JPierceO
  92. @TheJasonBilling
  93. @TheNoorelYaqin
  94. @NYC3MBFan
  95. @Brysynner
  96. @Manda598
  97. @AJLeeFan4Life
  98. @Jbibbsy
  99. @BigTimeAallyhia
  100. @BHINDER1
  101. @FandangoMark
  102. @theunderwanker
  103. @DearSheamus
  104. @ashleybbycakes
  105. @WritingFemme
  106. @BirdistheWyrd
  107. @kakarotLUKE
  108. @empress_nei
  109. @JodyNice1
  110. @Luke_Compton
  111. @BigRedMC716
  112. @WilliamWhy7
  113. @ShayLMitchell
  114. @crabshamanrun
  115. @TheJonOMalley
  116. @loveablelinds
  117. @SiByNature
  118. @kayetbh
  119. @rosamundmilne
  120. @thekyledeck
  121. @_kidincredible
  122. @GT2o1o
  123. @AirheadArmy
  124. @RichardChriston
  125. @FnRenz
  126. @PhidMcAwesome
  127. @KiannaFury
  128. @domenicbartone
  129. @Nuttley4T3
1 MIZ ORTON DEL RIO WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
2 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
4 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
5 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
6 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
7 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
8 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS NON 4
9 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
11 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
12 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT HEELS NON 3
13 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
14 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
15 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
16 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
17 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
18 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS NON 4
19 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
20 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
21 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES NON 3
22 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
23 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
24 MIZ ORTON DEL RIO WYATT HEELS TOTAL DVAS 4
25 MIZ ORTON DEL RIO WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
26 MIZ ORTON DEL RIO GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
27 MIZ ORTON DEL RIO GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
28 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
30 KINGSTON SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
31 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
32 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
33 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
34 MIZ SHOW DEL RIO WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 2
36 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
37 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
38 KINGSTON SHOW CENA WYATT FACES NON 1
40 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
41 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
42 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
43 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
45 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 3
46 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
47 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 3
48 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
49 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
50 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
51 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
52 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
53 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
54 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
56 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
57 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
58 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
59 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
60 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
61 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
64 KINGSTON SHOW DEL RIO WYATT HEELS NON 1
65 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
66 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
67 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS NON 5
68 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS NON 5
69 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
71 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
72 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
73 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
76 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
78 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
79 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
81 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
83 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
84 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 3
85 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
86 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
88 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
89 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
90 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
91 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
92 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT HEELS NON 3
93 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
94 KINGSTON SHOW DEL RIO WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 2
95 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
96 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
97 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT FACES NON 2
100 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
102 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
103 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
106 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
107 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
109 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
113 KINGSTON SHOW CENA GTYES FACES NON 2
115 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
116 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
117 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
118 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
119 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
121 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
125 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
126 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES NON 3
128 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
129 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT FACES NON 2
130 KINGSTON SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
131 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
133 KINGSTON SHOW DEL RIO WYATT HEELS NON 1
136 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
137 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
138 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
142 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
143 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
144 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
145 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
147 KINGSTON ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
148 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
149 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
150 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES NON 4
154 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
155 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
157 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 5
158 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
160 KINGSTON SHOW DEL RIO GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 2
161 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
162 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 5
163 MIZ ORTON CENA GTYES HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 6
164 MIZ ORTON CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 4
165 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
166 MIZ SHOW CENA GTYES FACES NON 3
167 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT FACES NON 2
168 KINGSTON SHOW CENA GTYES FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
169 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4
170 MIZ SHOW CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 3
171 KINGSTON SHOW CENA WYATT FACES TOTAL DIVAS 2
172 KINGSTON ORTON CENA WYATT HEELS TOTAL DIVAS 4

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 7

Chapter 7

“Alana, I don’t want to do this,” Oralee begged, down on her knees and only the tip of her head appearing from beyond the window. She was frightened one of the archers would see her and she would be murdered with an arrow through the head as Wyborn had threatened. She was ready to start crying if Alana kept pushing.

And she did. “Oralee, you need to get your butt out there and out of the castle,” Alana hissed. “We don’t know what happened to Lena and I don’t want to lose you like I did my parents. You have to live.”

“What about you?” Oralee asked. “Why are you staying?”

“I am not abandoning the castle to them,” Alana said. “I will think of something. My only priority right now is getting you out. The rope is sturdy, I promise. All you have to do is climb down and run. Run like you never have before.”

Oralee gritted her teeth and looked down at her ruined skirt. Alana did her best to cover her to some level of decency while making movement in the dress easy.

The candles and torches had been put out in Alana’s room, leaving it lost in darkness. Their only light was from the torches outside and the moon overhead, and even that left them mostly cast in shadow. Alana was praying that the archer would never see Oralee come out. Oralee’s dark hair an dark clothing should leave her mostly disguised in the darkness as long as she was quiet.

No one had snuck past the warriors yet. A few men had tried from the village. Some had died, some had simply run away after the confrontation, but none had made it past from what Alana and Oralee had gathered from tidbits of conversation outside of the door.

Alana only prayed that Oralee would be the first.

Alana slowly pushed the windows open. The glass reflected along the torch and she held her breath, waiting for the archer just out of sight. He either did not notice or was simply waiting. She took the risk and gathered the make-shift rope and slowly began feeding it out of the window. Oralee’s head popped up again and big brown eyes watched the once-dresses swing down. If she moved to her left she could lose herself in the burned gardens. If she moved to the right she would go past the kitchen and straight to the wall that lead to the path that would take her to Ackerlea.

Ackerlea was the closest noble home they could trust. Oralee barely knew her way, and only because of maps that Alana had shown her through the years. There were no maps now, and Alana had been forcing her to memorize the directions for the last three days. Oralee was frightened she would screw this all up. One wrong turn and she would never find her way anywhere. She would wander the woods until she starved to death. She was no scavenger.

“Are you sure you can do this?” Oralee asked of her sister. “You have not eaten in three days-”

“Stop it,” Alana insisted. “You need your strength more than I do right now. Take what little you have and bring it with you.” But please, just don’t get caught.

Alana did not say the words, but it was all she thought as her heart pounded and she ran out of rope. She looked down and cursed. “It’s too short.”

“I guess I can’t go,” Oralee said.

“Nonsense,” Alana countered. “Drop the rest of the way.”

“Are you crazy?” Oralee hissed.

“It will only hurt a bit. Aim for your butt.” Alana twisted the end around her hands tightly and took a deep breath. “Now go.”

“This is stupid, Alana, they are going to-”

“Go!” Alana cried, even while keeping her voice low. “This is our only chance. If Lena escaped she’ll be in Ackerlea. Adare would have taken her home. You’ll be safer with them.”

“I’m never going to make it.” Oralee was near hysterics as she was pushed and pulled and forced to grip the rope they had made. Oralee looked down, and looked at her drop. It was not terribly far, but if she fell wrong she could seriously hurt herself. Alana was willing to take the risk, but Alana wasn’t the one who had to make the drop. “I don’t have the upper body strength for this.”

“You better hope you do,” was Alana’s reply.

Oralee sneered and gripped the rope and prayed. She did not want to die with an arrow in her back, it sounded painful and slow. When she was still breathing and Alana was not screaming because of something Oralee could not see the girl took her first move to actually going down the rope. She let her hands travel the rope, hanging her down the wall and she squealed. She slid down, feeling her hands ready to give before she squeezed tighter. She held on with all of her might and looked up. She did not fall nearly as far as she thought. If Alana reached down to her she would still brush her fingers along her sister’s.

Oralee’s entire body was tense. She was afraid to move.

“You have to go,” Alana hissed.

All of Oralee’s fears were pulled tight around her like a cloak, but she did as she was told. At this point she did not have the strength in her arms to pull her up those few inches, and Alana would never help her back through the window.

Oralee was halfway there when the first arrow whizzed over her head. She heard it and for a moment paused in absolute fear that it would strike her. It struck the rope and sliced into it. She felt it start to give from the force of the blade.

Alana let out a curse from overhead and then disappeared. Oralee panicked, feeling the dresses tearing. She moved quicker down but saw what was charging towards her, waiting for her.

My only hope, she thought to herself, is that they don’t want me dead. It might give me a fighting edge.

Not know where Alana had disappeared to, Oralee watched the men gather under her feet. She watched them smugly waiting for her to fall. This was going to hurt.

Oralee pressed her feet to the wall and pushed. Her light body swung far enough out that she fell behind them, landing on her feet before feeling the shock of the landing go through her ankles. She cried out in pain and fell to her knees.

The barbarian reached for her, and Oralee kicked out futiley. He went to grab her before he was knocked away from her. Oralee glanced up and found two large figures standing over her, but these large men were not made in the same material as the barbarians.

“Harding!” Alana screamed out from her window.

Fergal reached down and snagged Oralee from the ground and put her on her feet. “Can you move?”

“Yes, I think so,” she lied. Her ankles were aching, but if she needed to run, she would run. Fergal nodded and Oralee grimaced before turning from Harding and Fergal and charging herself towards the fallen bricks that were once a beautiful wall surrounding the castle. She winced and cried the entire way, but Fergal and Harding were doing their best at avoiding the arrows being shot down at them and at fighting off the barbarians coming towards the commotion.

Oralee was nearly caught by another barbarian, but a knight she did not know as well as the other two came through and knocked him down. “Keep going,” he called to her.

She simply nodded, not knowing if he saw it, and she ran. She was just moving at this point, climbing through the bricks and rushing out into the light of torches that were slowly being lit outside of the walls. One knight stood in the center. Ethen. He had escaped.

Oralee charge to him and he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “Ethen!” she cried out and sobbed, her body giving out. She fell against him and let him take her up.

“Hello, Princess,” he said. “Sorry it took us so long.”

“Alana’s still in there,” Oralee cried into his shoulder.

“We’re trying,” Ethen said.

“How did you do this in three days?” Oralee asked as he carried her towards the other knights who were gathered.

“It was less than a day,” Ethen told her. “We’ve simply been waiting for an opportunity to get you girls. Lena’s safe, by the way. Some men saw her and Adare on their way to Ackerlea.”

“We can’t retake the castle like this,” Oralee said. Ethen did not put the princess down, simply gathered with the other knights.

“We know,” Ethen promised her. “We simply want you princesses back. They can have the stones.”

“Ethen?” one of the knights asked. It was Dempsey, the man Ethen had taken down just three days ago in a fight. Dempsey did not look great, but he was there, defending his castle. It as an amazing sight to the exhausted princess. “Should you not be in there fighting with the rest of them?”

“Can’t you just go back the way you got out?” Oralee suggested.

“We can get back in the dungeon,” Ethen said. “Sorry, my lady, I do not know the way back into the castle besides direct routes. The dungeon is secure at least in that one way. Luckily for us, the king and queen did not know that there was an escape route.”

“I can’t go fight,” Ethen said, answering Dempsey and looking his companion in the face. “I will not let the princess out of my sight again.”

Oralee blushed and allowed Ethen to hold her close to him. She felt safe with him and had never been so grateful to have someone hold onto her.

Alana stood and watched her sister run through the pattern of barbarians waiting for her as knights she thought had been lost in the fight came to rescue her, helping her through the broken wall. Harding and Fergal were in a tussle with the two barbarians that had been waiting for Oralee to fall. It all seemed so fast, as every fight that had happened recently did. Alana’s head spun. Days of nothing and then a rescue party.

The barbarians were in no way surprised by it. Wyborn and Halvor came tromping into the room. Wyborn gripped Alana’s arm and dragged her away from the window. “You just cost your allies many lives,” he told her, dragging her out of her bedroom.

Alana kicked and fought at him, raking her nails at him. He was expecting it, shaking her and throwing her to the ground.

“I’m not in the mood, princess.” He nodded to Saldis, who had been standing in the hallway with her staff, a terrible grin painted along her lips. “Take her away somewhere they won’t find her. We’ll kill them all if we have to. Especially that… Harding was it?”

Saldis was dragging the princess to her feet by her fiery red hair, but it did not force Alana to back down or lose her fight. “You’ve already taken my parents from me, how much more do you need to take?”

“Everything!” Wyborn roared. “I will take everything, including every stone of this castle. And once it is all mine only then will I be satisfied.”

“You’ll never take it all! As it is your little army is showing cracks.” Alana’s voice was harsh and her face fierce. Wyborn stopped and took her in and for the first time really saw her. This was the heir. There was no way that Kinsey Kenrick was going to take on a task like the one he had without someone in his family knowing. Alana was not only brave, she was minded enough to go down with the castle. Unlike her father she would rather die than betray her family.

But she was still just another woman.

“Tell me what you know,” Wyborn said. “Tell me what you know of the attack on my people and I will let the rest of those knights live. Especially your little Harding you called out for so desperately.”

“You’re insane!” Alana screamed. “You have made up some attack that has never happened. Don’t you think I would have known? That someone but my father would have known? Perhaps if you wanted answers you shouldn’t have killed my father and mother so blindly! There was no attack! If someone betrayed your people it was not us!”

Wyborn yanked Alana from Saldis’s grip. She screamed out in pain at the strength as for a moment both resisted each other. Saldis released Alana and dragged her across her bedroom to the window once more to gaze down at the people. Wyborn’s finger pointed down towards Harding, but not at the man who had given Alana her first kiss. No, his finger moved to the right and to Fergal. “Then why was he there?”

“You’re mistaken,” Alana whispered.

“I’m not, I assure you,” Wyborn said. “You keep thinking I don’t know what I was talking about, but I was there when our leaders were taken out. I was supposed to die out there with them. But I had lucked out in my circumstances and was not there in time. Now, well… You are paying for your father’s mistakes. So tell me again, princess, why the attack happened, or I will let every single one of them die. Including your little sister.”

Alana, for the first time since he had seen her, was calm with her answer, looking him directly in the eyes, pleading for him to see the truth there as she whispered, “I can not tell you what I do not know. There is no war and as far as I know whatever happened that day was a fluke.”

Wyborn pulled Alana from the window and led her back to the hallway where he passed her back off to Saldis. Saldis seemed more than pleased to take the princess.

“Take her somewhere, anywhere, that isn’t the dungeon but is secure enough she’s not escaping.” He turned to Halvor and said, “We are going to retrieve a princess. Try to keep some of the knights alive, because they know something this princesses do not.”

“Then why keep the princesses alive anymore?” Saldis sneered. “They are fodder now.”

“There is still a sister out there we have yet to retrieve,” Wyborn reminded her. “And as it was suggested to me, they would make wonderful trophies for some of our men back home. They are exotic and soft and might prove to be something to enjoy… by many.”

Alana did her best not to show an ounce of fear, though she was trembling. Saldis did not miss it, but only grinned internally. She dragged Alana away and to a room where there were no windows and only a fallen in closet. The room that Lena and Adare had escaped from and the barbarians now knew there was no alternate way of escaping.

Alana was still a prisoner in her own castle.

 

Survivor Series Prediction Contest 2013

Suvivor Series 2013

Welcome back to predictions! Even if you’ve done this before, make sure to read the rules. I have the right to change them at any time.

The Contest: If you don’t know, this is all about predicting the PPV! The person who best guesses the matches and then possibly the tie-breakers ends up winning the prize!

The Prize: This month we are giving away SURVIVOR SERIES 2014 TICKETS thanks to our always great pals over at @FutureEndeavors! As always you MUST be following these accounts: @FutureEndeavors, @NickGator, @CoreySantiago, @DXDONMEGA, or you can not win the prize. (You are free to enter, but you forfeit the prize).

The Secondary Prize: This particular part of the contest requires an $1 entry and requires a follow to my @SolaceAutumn account. What’s the prize? You’ll find out if you are following that particular account. You are not required to play for this prize, and you can still, for free, enter the other part of the contest as you always have been able to. $1 entries should be sent to Paypal (only way, sorry guys). SolaceWinter@yahoo.com – Last month was a $5 jackpot.

The Jabroni Jobber Prize: For the person who does the WORST at predicting, you get a Brodus Clay action figure! Please follow @NevadaWolfe for this prize!

The Rules:

  • You MUST have a Twitter account. If I don’t get a twitter handle from you I will not go searching for you to find you and you will not be entered. Please include it when you send in your predictions.
  • You MUST be following me (obviously), @FutureEndeavors, @NevadaWolfe, @DXDONMEGA, @CoreySantiago, @NickGator. There will be no reminders. If you are not following the account you will not get the prize and I move on to the next person. You may enter the contest without following them, not following them only disqualifies you from the prize.
  • I just want names for who wins. I don’t care who retains. I don’t care how they win. I want to know who in each match is declared the winner. No Contest is an acceptable answer, but it’s the only answer that is allowed besides names.
  • You MAY name names that aren’t in the match if you think they are going to swerve us. HOWEVER, if you are purposefully going for the Jabroni Jobber prize, and I can tell, you will be disqualified. (ie: answering Batista for 3 of the matches will get you DQ’d. If you purposefully predict the opposite of who you think will win, I let it slide).
  • You may NOT change your predictions once they are entered. Period.
  • The predictions are open from now until Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 at 11:59pm EST. Once closed, they are CLOSED. The only exceptions are those who ask for it before hand and it’s within reason. 2:00 pm Sunday afternoon is NOT within reason.
  • I will announce when I have entered you into the contest. You will get a number and a welcome on Twitter. Give me 48 hours before asking if I got your predictions, I’m one person taking care of this, and I currently have three jobs! If you ask me before it’s been 48 hours, prepare to be ignored. (The exceptions to this is if I have announced I am through all of the predictions I have, if you haven’t been announced then you should ask me).
  • You may enter your predictions by dming me on @SolaceWinter, by emailing me SolaceWinter@yahoo.com or by leaving a comment below. If it is your first time leaving a comment it will not show up until I’ve approved it.
  • Good luck!

THE MATCHES TO PREDICT:

  1. Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
  2. Randy Orton vs. Big Show
  3. John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
  4. CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family
  5. Survivor Series Match
  6. Diva Survivor Series Match
  7. Tie-Breaker 1: Who is the first eliminated in the Diva SS Match?
  8. Tie-Breaker 2: Who is the first eliminated in the Traditional SS Match?
  9. Tie-Breaker 3: Who wins it for the Diva SS Match?
  10. Tie-Breaker 4: Who wins it for the Traditional SS Match?

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Lena felt her heart racing, keeping her back pressed tightly to the tree. If they simply moved in either direction and she was not fast enough they would see her beyond the tree. The tree was not thick and luckily her dark hair and brown dress blended enough she looked more like a tree from behind than a princess.

Adare was across the path, hidden amongst the tall grass that had grown wildly through the summer. She hated him being so far away as the two barbarians walked down the path, taking their time as they moved. It as almost as if they could sense Lena was near. When Adare had noticed them, had heard them coming down the path, they had been moving quickly. Before the two could separate and hide the barbarians had slowed and began searching more diligently.

Lena had been less afraid in the castle when they had been attacking. At least then she knew there was a fight, she knew that she would be found. She had been scared, but not nearly this heart-poundingly frightened. Perhaps it was the slow wait. The attack simply a step away.

Adare did not want to leave bodies behind, that much Lena knew. It would alert someone to their direction. There was the possibility that someone on their side would find it, that no one would be alerted and no one would care beyond the fact that two of the barbarians were dead, but it wasn’t a chance they were willing to take.

The barbarians stepped off the path and walked towards the area Lena was standing. If they came too much closer they would see her. She squeezed her eyes shut and palmed the dagger that was hidden in her sleeve. She tried to control her breathing and remember everything that Adare had taught her over the years when fighting hand-to-hand. He said he believed in her, but she knew that she would likely be overpowered. She was small and they were large. No matter the training she had in protecting herself she would never ben an excellent fighter, it was not in her genetics.

She had accepted that, but today she wished it was not true. She would have one chance to drop them, and there were two to her one. She would have to pray to the gods that Adare would make it to her on time to keep her from being murdered.

Adare made enough commotion on the other side that the barbarians stopped before they truly saw her. They turned and looked to the knight who was now standing in the middle of the tall grass, hands on hips. “Hey there,” he said casually.

The barbarians exchanged looks before turning to Adare. “We have no qualms with you and no need to attack,” one of them said. “We simply need the princess you have behind the tree here and we’ll be on our way.”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that,” Adare said. “You see, she’s my responsibility and I do have qualms with you trying to take her. I will allow you to walk away. If you take a screaming princess with you then you are bound to attract more attention than you want and someone else will stop you, even if you think you could take me down here. You’ll never make it back to the castle with just the two of you to take her.”

“That’s why there is more than just two of us,” one of the barbarians called.

That was why they had slowed. They had been sure. Two other barbarians stood from the fields, better concealed than either Adare or Lena had been. One of them stood practically in Lena’s face with a grin that read he had simply been waiting for her to move.

Lena inhaled a deep breath and knew what to do. He had not been watching her closely enough. She had the advantage over this one and she was going to take it. She slashed out, catching him in the thigh, enough to debilitate him as he had not been expecting the razor sharp edge to dig in so deeply. He went down crying out and Lena took off into the fields.

One of the barbarians called out, but Adare was fast. Out in the open Adare was faster, stronger, and had the advantage. Adare could not have fought off three of them in close quarters, that was their strength. Adare’s long sword, even with his shorter reach, was made for fighting in the fields. It had been one he had been trained in.

He didn’t want to have to kill these men, but in no way would he allow them to take the escaping Lena.

“Stand down,” Adare called out to them as he felled the first man. The two barbarians refused, if by pride or over-confidence. Adare nodded his head and went to war against their blades. This was not a fight where five moves would simply take out these men. They were strong, they were well skilled, and one false step would cost Adare his life. But he had something more important to fight for.

As the three men fell he trudged over to the fallen barbarian still grasping at his chest and gasping for air. Lena had struck him deeper than she probably knew, puncturing his lung in one quick swipe. Her fear alone had her working deeper and quicker than she ever had in practice.

“Why are you attacking us?” Adare asked of the dying man.

“We’d like to know the same thing,” the man gasped.

“I couldn’t let you kill her.” It was not in answer to the barbarian’s question. The barbarian knew it, but it was all Adare had to offer. The man made no sense to Adare. They had never attacked the barbarians. It was a dying man spouting nonsense.

“There is no way to save you,” Adare said. “Even if I had the best medical equipment, she punctured your lung. You are living off of nothing more than your will right now.”

The barbarian nodded his head and leaned back agaisnt the grass. “You taught her well.”

Adare took his sword and moved it to the man’s throat. In one thrust he took the man out of this world and offered him to Libitina, Goddess of the Dead. Adare whispered a small prayer for all four of them before he sheathed his sword and began charging in the direction that Lena went.

If he had taught her anything she would be zig-zagging through the field. She would find cover, stopping to see who was following and in what direction before she moved again. It wouldn’t be a speedy process, but she had certainly had enough time that it would be tough to find her.

Tough, at least, if he had not been the one who had trained her since she was under his care. Before he had ever been knighted.

It took longer than he expected, but he found her, standing again behind a tree, watching him come. He didn’t know when she realized it was him coming for her, but he suspected it had been longer than just this last tree. He crossed his arms against his chest, though inside he might have been smiling. She was in good enough spirits if she thought she could play games.

“I am assuming we are no longer going in that direction?” she asked, stepping from around the tree and playing with the brown borrowed skirt.

Adare looked her over and said, “We have to. We are sticking to the plan. We are just taking the longer way in that direction.”

Lena nodded and said, “I miss the horses.”

“They would have been too obvious.”

“Albeit faster.”

Adare would concede that. They might have beaten the barbarians completely if they had used the horses, but at the same time, since two had been ahead of them, waiting, they might have been caught and attacked sooner. It was harder to be watchful from a horse.

“Forgive me?” he asked.

Lena looked over his bloodied clothes and took a deep breath. She allowed herself one moment to mourn death, as she mourned all death, and then she nodded her head. “Can we find something to eat soon? I’m starving.”

“That’s a good princess,” Adare chided.

She smirked and followed where he led.

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 5

Chapter 5

“Are you going to miss the dresses?” Oralee asked, her tiny hands gripping onto the fabric and pulling with a strength that showed her desperation.

Alana, weaving the dresses together, tying them tightly from end to end, and looking out the window at the same time, said simply, “I’d miss my life more.”

Alana looked around the window at the barbarians placed along the high windows. She had opened the window of her bedroom on the first hour and had an arrow impaled into the wood as a reminder she was a captive in her own home. When this was finished she would simply have to wait for the archer’s attention to turn elsewhere.

Alana was mostly positive this chance of escape was going to result in her death or Oralee’s death. She was willing to risk it. She would rather die trying to escape and save the kingdom than die by starvation locked in her room. Or worse.

She hated to think of worse.

Her eyes glanced to Oralee, who resembled her father’s side of the genetics more than she or Lena had. Oralee was slender but short of stature, her face more angular, her hair straighter. It did not take away from the beauty. Alana hoped she survived long enough to realize how beautiful she was.

Alana’s attention was caught and her head jerked up. She quickly moved from the window and started shoving fabric beneath her bed. Oralee followed suit, scooting across the floor and quickly hiding the ragged fabric. Oralee moved to sit on the bed and Alana hurriedly took her place back at the window, not wanting the archer squealing that she had hurried to change positions. She did not know how much the archer could see, or was reporting, from him unknown space, but as long as she was allowed to continued the weaving she would do just that.

The door of the bedroom opened and the leader along with two of his large companions came into the room, filling it easily with their size. They could easily make a room feel large or small with just their presence and mood, and this time it felt positively claustrophobic.

The leader, Wyborn, pointed to Oralee and said, “Bring her.”

“No!” Alana screamed and shoved away from the window. She threw herself in front of her sister and flung her arms out as Halvor and Hamar made to take away the girl. “Do you really need three large men to take a small girl?”

“Small girl?” Wyborn asked, glancing at Oralee cowering on the bed behind Alana. “Did she not just come of age? Was that not what that whole tournament was about? I think I will be safe and use the three large men to take her away.”

“You won’t,” Alana said, holding her head higher.

“Alana-”

“Stop it, Oralee,” Alana said. “You don’t need her. If you want something, you come at me.”

Wyborn blinked and stared at her before it dawned on him what the princess was thinking. He cleared his throat and said, “Don’t be a daft child. We have no interest in you ladies. We just want answers. Answers come better when you are separate. Now move aside or I will make my way past you on my own.”

Alana stood her ground. She kept her arms out and kept her stare on Wyborn. “I will not.”

“Have it your way.” Wyborn moved to her and was in her face before she could blink. He smiled a bestial grin and said, “Boo,” before grabbing her arms and turning her body. Her back was pulled up against his chest and he let a free hand travel her side while his other gripped her wrists and held her firmly in place. “Though maybe you had the right idea.”

Alana’s foot came up and struck him in the shin. He knew it was coming and braced himself. He laughed, though he felt the sting, and threw her down on the bed beside her sister. “You have my word that your sister will not be ravaged and murdered while she is out of your sight.”

Alana spat at him, trying to drag Oralee close to her while Hamar gripped her and pulled her away, dragging her from the bed. “How can I trust your word? You’ve left us locked in here with nothing for two days. We could have died just from sitting here.”

“And you will be fed in short time,” Wyborn said. Another promise. “Now kindly remove your claws from your sister before you do her more damage than we would ever do.”

Alana debated, holding her sister’s arm while Hamar was pulling her from the other side. Unable to stand seeing the grimace of pain on Oralee’s face Alana released her. She straightened her back and looked to Wyborn. “I’m holding you to your promise, but I promise you if any harm comes to her I will find a way to destroy you if it is the last thing I do.”

“I believe you will try,” Wyborn said and stepped away from the princess. “But try is about all you have going for you.” Wyborn, Hamar, and Halvor left the room with little Oralee between them.

They led Oralee through the hallway, which had been cleared of bodies and people, and down to the dining area. Oralee quietly took in her surroundings and tried to hold back screams of sorrow and rage. She knew where blood had been spilled and she knew where someone had likely died. The barbarians might have removed the bodies, but they had not removed the evidence of the deaths that surrounded the spots.

In the dining area sat a veritable feast. Much of the meat and delicacies had been made and laid out, the aroma of food catching Oralee’s nose and making her empty stomach rumble in pain. Halvor forcd her down into a chair and Oralee felt it grow harder and harder to show any restraint. She wanted to reach out and tear into a drumstick off of the bird in front of her, to feed her face until she was sick and then possibly do it again.

“Give the girl some water,” Wyborn suggested.

Oralee happily and greedily took the cup she was offered and drank the water. She was surprised at the feeling it gave her, filling her enough she was no longer sick with the need for food, though she couldn’t deny the hungry rumble still happening.

“Would you like to eat, princess?” Wyborn asked. Oralee could only nod, it was hard to deny what was obviously being heard from all of them. “Then you need to tell me what you know.”

“What I know?” Oralee asked, dumbfounded.

“This is stupid,” Halvor remarked. “There is no way this little girl knows anything.”

Oralee sat up straight and crossed her arms in a huff. “Excuse me, but I’m an adult now.”

“Yes, but an adult for how long? Two days?” Halvor offered. “You have no need to pretend that on your birthday you were suddenly alighted to all of the ways of adults.”

Oralee was embarrassed to admit, even to herself, that she did not know what the word “alighted” meant. She sat prettily and just tried to make sense of the sentence and simply said, “You have not actually asked me what it is you want to know.”

Wyborn pulled up a chair beside her, leaning in to gaze into her face. He saw a child there, a child playing at the facade of a grown woman. That was the way of the world, though. He needed answers, and she and her sister might be the only ones who could give the to him.

Why do we need answers?” Saldis had tried to argue when she had Wyborn alone. “What good will it do now? You’ve succeeded in killing the king and queen. We’ve taken out their rules.”

There are more rulers to a kingdom than a king and queen,” Wyborn had told her. “You have the nobles who work with them, manipulating them. You have the religious figures they turn to. The reason we need to know why exactly we were attacked is because we do not know how far their plan goes and to whom.”

You aren’t getting answers from those two.”

Saldis might very well be right, but at this point he didn’t know who else to find answers from. There were knights in the dungeons who were raising a stink and trying their hardest to escape, but Wyborn did not know which ones he could trust. He only knew the knights who had promised him easy entry into the castle, and they seemed unaware of exactly why the barbarians had been attacked. They only promised that it would be easy to take out the king, and it had been.

Wyborn knew he was set up for a trap, he just did not understand where the trap was coming from. In his rush for revenge he had accepted the bait.

Wyborn caught Oralee eyeing the food as she tried to remain haughty. Her hunger was winning against her. She was used to being pampered and she was a tad spoiled. Wyborn thought it would work.

“Tell me about your father’s war plans,” Wyborn said, cutting into a brick of cheese. He sliced into it with ease, taking a small chunk between his fingers. Oralee watched it and licked her lips as he stuck the chunk in his mouth and slowly chewed on it.

“There were no war plans,” Oralee said, her back stiffening. For a moment the need for a bite of food was forgotten and all she could think of was the insult to her father. “You are mistaking. Why-ever you are here, you are mistaking. My father may not have been perfect, but he would not have thrown his country into war. You are monsters for attacking us.” Now the girl was remembering that she had not seen her parents, that she was unaware of where they had disappeared to, or if they were even alive. Tears began to burn her eyes.

Hamar had been expecting the reaction and he reached forward and took the next chunk of cheese from Wyborn’s fingers and handed it to Oralee. She took it gratefully, having seen Wyborn eat it, knowing it was not poisoned, and placing it to her lips, savoring the taste as if it was a delicacy and not just a simple block of cheese.

“Your father was not the good man you thought he was,” Hamar said, plucking fruits from the table and filling a plate slowly.

The past tense was not lost on Oralee. She swalled that bite of cheese as if it had molded over and gone rotten in her mouth as she was chewing. Silence filled the room, Oralee’s heartbeat the loudest sound. Hamar realized where he had gone wrong and turned away to grimace.

Oralee’s voice was quiet and slow, “I want to see my parents.”

“I’m sorry, Princess, that is not possible,” Wyborn said.

Oralee knocked the heavy chair back as she stood, ready to run. The men would move faster than her if it was needed, but for now they allowed the the movement to back away from them. “No. I want to see them.”

“You already know that is not possible,” Wyborn told her sitting back in his chair. He did not want to move too quickly and scare her. If they did not have to chase her it would be better. For her. They were determined to pull their answers from her one way or the other. If she knew anything. Wyborn highly suspected she did not, but there was a reason he grabbed the youngest before he grabbed the oldest.

Oralee’s eyes were running with tears but she impressed the men by not breaking into a sobbing ball of misery. She simply stood there, allowing the tears to fall, not wiping them away, but not hiding her pain. “Their bodies have to be somewhere.”

“They are,” Wyborn said, “but their bodies are in a mass with all of the other bodies. They were taken down in fight, they were shown no more respect than anyone else who died, and no less.”

“Wyborn, was that necessary?” Halvor growled as Oralee let out her first sobs. She began to shudder and fall to her knees before them. Hamar was the first to reach her, gripping her arms and keeping her from laying out on the floor. He moved her back to her chair and placed her down. She sat, wrapping her arms around her face and leaning against the table to keep her keening quiet.

“This is reality,” Wyborn snapped.

“Those were her parents,” Halvor snapped, reminding Wyborn of his own father’s death. Wyborn shrugged it off. He did not cry like a child when his father died, and he had been younger than this girl when it had happened. His father had been bitten and poisoned by a snake in the swamps surrounding the temple where the priestess stayed hidden. She refused to treat his father’s wound and he had died, protecting Wyborn from the very snake.

Your husband or your son,” Zarya had said to Wyborn’s mother.

His mother had looked back and forth. She had seen her husband dying in an immense amount of pain, screaming out as the poison worked through his veins. She glanced to her son, who stood strong, holding his head up, giving every indication of strength and a full life ahead of him.

Leave my son alone,” his mother had said, wrapping her hands around Wyborn’s shoulders.

Very well,” Zarya said. She shrugged her shoulders and stood, a sensual being in a diaphanous gown of red and gold. She walked to Wyborn’s father and simply drover her dagger through his heart. He let out one last gasping breath before dying.

What are you doing?” his mother had screamed.

Taking him out of his misery. It was going to be hours before he would die. Now, I am assuming you came here about your boy…”

“Princess,” Wyborn said, taking the plate of fruits from Hamar and placing them next to her head, “eat something. You are dehydrated and exhausted. Your parents are gone, but you still have a sister to think of. Two, actually, since your other sister is out there somewhere.”

Only turning her head enough so her voice was not muffled by her arms she ased, “Aren’t you going to tease me with food until I answer questions?”

Clever girl. “No,” Wyborn said. “I want you to eat. I want you to feel good. But remember that every moment you waste my time down here is another moment your sister is not eating. It’s another moment Alana starves.”

Oralee reached out and plucked a grape off of the vine. She moved it to her mouth, but it went into her sleeve, not into her mouth. Hamar caught it, but Wyborn and Halvor missed it. Instead of saying something he simply sat back, watching her carefully. She was more clever than she was pretending to be.

“You are asking me about something I don’t know the answer to,” Oralee explained. Straightening her back in the chair she reached for another grape. This grape she did slip into her mouth, and just like before she chewed slowly, and there was no difference in her chewing. If Hamar had not seen her slip the grape in her sleeve he never would have been able to tell that she had been faking the entire thing.

“I feel you are mistaken, though,” Oralee continued. “My father would not have started a war. His council would have known.”

“And how do you know the council didn’t know?” Wyborn asked.

Oralee’s eyes shifted, then she reached out for the grapes again. She took a handful and Hamar watched as several more disappeared into her sleeve. Her other hand was hidden from view and he had a feeling she was guiding these grapes to a pocket hidden in the dress.

Wyborn yanked the grapes from her hand, throwing them across the room. Oralee did not lose her calm, she simply leaned back and waited for Wyborn’s tantrum to continue, but he halted. He watched the exterior of this girl, one that had changed drastically several times since she had been brought downstairs, and he realized she was playing a game with him as much as he wanted to play a game with her. There was innocence there, that she could not fake, but she was not as naïve as she pretended to be. Pretended to be so much that those in the castle believed she was nothing more than a pretty face, and a weak link. Go after her and th others would fall.

“I asked you a question,” Wyborn said, gaining some semblance of his calm again instead of growling at the girl.

Oralee leaned back and said, “The council didn’t know, isn’t that enough?”

“No,” Wyborn said, “because it makes it seem like you do know something that you shouldn’t know.”

Oralee chewed her lip, deliberating, and for once Wyborn knew better than to push. He simply pushed the plate of fruits back forward and slowly stood. He moved away from the table and over to Halvor and the two stood facing away from Oralee. Hamar busied himself with cheeses and meats, which Oralee watched the entire time.

Hamar held up a plate for himself and sat back. “I might as well enjoy it while we’re here,” he said. “We don’t eat like this at home.”

“What do you eat, then?” Oralee asked.

“We might eat the same meats, but they aren’t seasoned as well. We are a community that tends to cook things together. A few women cook it all and we all eat at a mutual table.”

“We do the same here, and we have seasoning,” Oralee sniffed.

“Do the women who cook your food share your table?”

Oralee grimaced. “That’s an unfair comparison. Besides, you were talking about seasoning, not the degragration–”

“Degredation.”

Oralee flushed. “Right. Degredation of people. They are maids, they are hired to cook for us. They are paid for it. But they go home at the end of the day and can cook how they want.”

“And do you think after a day of cooking meals for you and your family they want to go home and cook with the same flare, or will they just throw things in a pot and call it a meal? That is what I am saying. Our women work all day and then just want to make sure we all eat. I am not insulting your ways in any way, just telling you I enjoy the seasoning. Sometimes it would be nice to do things more in your way, where a woman doesn’t go hunting with the men, or fight in the armies, or have to work the same hours in a field. Where she can take care of her family first.”

Oralee picked at her food. The conversation was making her uncomfortable. Hamar saw the compassion in her eyes and the grimace on her face answered his question. She did not know of a plot against them. Whatever she was keeping from them it was not an answer to a plot.

“Lena knew things,” Oralee whispered. “She always knew what the council knew. She and Alana took turns listening in when they weren’t invited, though Alana was often invited. But Lena actually talked to me about it. If something like that had been discussed Lena would never have been able to keep quiet about it. Not from me.”

“Unless she was protecting you.”

Oralee’s head jerked when Wyborn’s voice interrupted. She looked back at the leader and again she went cold. Wyborn returned to his seat and said, “She was your older sister, and the other one seems protective of you. Would Lena not be the same way?”

“No,” Oralee said. “She and Adare were open about what they knew with me. They always said… what if…”

“Don’t start crying again.”

Oralee sniffed and had her emotions back in control. Running her hand over the fruits and picking at a round and red succulent morsel she said, “Lena is not the protective type. Alana is. Alana would not have told me.”

“Could Alana not have told Lena?” Wyborn suggested.

Oralee shrugged.

It was enough for Wyborn. He had known all along that this girl wouldn’t have the answers he wanted about why the attack had happened, but it was enough to know that Alana was his best chance. The heir to the throne was the likely one to have the answers, and meanwhile he was able to drive her crazy by “torturing” her sister.

“Come on, Princess, let’s bring you back to your sister.” Wyborn stood and allowed her to stand on her own. No one touched her, they only crowded her and lead her through the halls. Upon opening the door the princess that greeted him was a completely different version than the one he had seen before.

This one had wisened up.

He barely dodged the blade of the arrow. She swung it at him and screamed out a feral cry he never would have expected from the pretty little figure. She was too slow and he easily yanked it from her hands, but for a moment she was nearly able to take him down. If her aim had been better he would have been bleeding at the very least.

Wyborn grabbed her wrist and dragged her back into the room, Oralee following behind begging him not to hurt her sister. They were completely different princesses around one another. Alana, seeing her sister, calmed and wrapped her arms around her. The two cuddled back together on the edge of the bed, shooting daggers from their eyes in their glares.

“Where did you get an arrow any–” Wyborn looked to the window and noticed the notch of arrows at the wood. He cursed and turnd to Halvor. “Remove those. Tell the archer to stop giving her warnings. If he sees her head stick out of there again, he’s to shoot her.”

Halvor did not question Wyborn’s orders. He only nodded and moved across the room. As the largest and strongest he was able to remove the arrows cleanly. Wyborn stormed from the room with Halvor and Hamar behind him.

“The young princess stole fruit and secreted it away in her dress,” Hamar said.

“What? That doesn’t help my plans any,” Wyborn sneered, his ire growing. “Why would you allow that?”

“Because it gives you more time to look as if you are trying to starve the princess out while you know that she will not be starving.”

Wyborn rocked back and then smiled. “I like it.”

“Did you really want me to tell the archer to shoot her?” Halvor asked uncomfortably.

Wyborn snored and shook his head. “No. But can we not leave arrows there for her to use as weapons? We’ll figure something else out.”

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Lena, this is Adare Boyce.”

An eight year old Lena, with eyes too big for her face and hair in dark wild curls too unruly to manage, glanced up at the teenaged Adare, who was soft in facial features and stoic. His eyes and face remained completely unmoving as he was introduced to the small princess.

A pleasure to meet you, Sir Boyce,” Lena said, holding out her skirt and curtseying like a proper princess, her voice the only thing tame about her. “We welcome you humbly to our home.”

Rayne stood over them both, though Adare would soon catch up and pass her in height. She smiled and said, “He’s a good man but needs to be taught something in patience. He is too hurried yet to finish any training as a knight. For now he is to be your companion.”

Lena made a face that was quick before she perfected it. She did not want a companion like him. She was fascinated by boys, but he was nearly a man and had such cold features. Why would she wanted to spend her time with him? He would likely talk about boring things such as swords and fighting. She had little interest in either and wanted to go back and lose herself among the flowers.

Adare only nodded his head and allowed Rayne to leave the two of them alone in the gardens. Neither knew what to say or do. Lena turned from him and walked down into the heart of the gardens. More curious about the child than wanting to spend time with her, Adare followed her to the heart of things.

In the center she plucked a peculiar violet flower and Adare’s heart raced. He watched her placed it in her hair and say, “I will keep this, and if you ever get out of line I will force it down your throat and make you eat it.”

You’d kill me so easily?” he asked.

It was a test. Lena had wanted to know if he knew what it was. She turned her head to the side and she offered a kind smile. “I think for now, though, w can be friends.”

Adare felt oddly comforted by the words. He sat down on one of the benches and said, “What do you know of that flower?” He pointed to a scraggly red thing that looked as if it was falling in on itself with the weight.

Lena pouted and said, “I can’t find anything on that flower.” She looked ashamed at her lack of knowledge after coming off haughty and smart only moments before.

Instead of Adare growing bored with her already he said, “I will teach you about that flower if you take the flower out of your hair.”

Lena gently took the flower out of her hair and placed it on the ground before kicking dirt over it and burying it. Adare raised an eyebrow and she tried to look casual with her, “I don’t want an animal to eat it.”

Lena curled up on the bench next to Adare and allowed him to talk to her about a flower. She couldn’t remember when conversations did change from flowers to sword fighting to politics to cultures, but over the years Lena and Adare spoke of everything. There is only one thing he had never said to her.

“Your highness?”

Lena shifted in the blackness and cleared her throat, her only indication to him that she was awake and listening.

“Are you all right? You were talking in your sleep.”

“What did I say?” Lena asked in a panic, reaching for her heart and feeling it begin to pound in fear.

“Nothing I understood,” Adare assured her. She wished she could see his face, though she was sure it would not offer her much understanding. His face rarely changed from his stoic expression, how could she think seeing him now would let her know if he lied?

Because that was not the reason she wanted to see his face.

“It shouldn’t be too much–”

“–further, I know,” Lena said. “You’ve been saying that for a day now. What if we took a wrong turn somewhere?”

“There are no wrong turns,” Adare assured her. He reached into the darkness and gripped her hand, pulling her to her feet. “I know you are tired and hungry, but we are almost there. We need to get out of here, sooner rather than later.”

Lena followed where Adare led, his hand never leaving hers. “Because we are running out of air, or because I dehydrated myself too much when I cried for my family who very well could be dead now? Because there are creatures in here waiting for us in this darkness so they can nibble on us while we sleep? What reason, Adare?”

“Because I am growing weary of the blackness, your highness,” he said.

Lena respected that answer. She was often afraid when they stopped for a few minutes they would somehow turn themselves around and start heading back towards the castle again. She at one point had panicked, mildly, over the fear the had just been walking back and forth between the same path for the entire day, not actually making any progress. Adare had calmed her down by simply lifting her again in his arms and said, “Then I will carry you through the circles so you will be less weary.”

They walked in silence, though neither released the hand of the other. It felt like days to Lena, though Adare assured her it was only hours. It did not change her exhaustion. She followed him, anxious for relief from the blackness. When they finally came upon a barrier Lena almost gasped with relief. They dropped hands and began to push. Then they pulled. Then they pushed.

Lena opened her mouth to scream before she hesitated and clamped her mouth shut. She only let out one shuddering sob and slid down to her knees. She knew not to make too much noise. They never knew what would be on the other side.

Adare shifted his stance and instead of pushing forward reached to the low hanging roof over them. He pushed his hands against it and both watched with fascination as small cracks of light came through with every push. Lena stood again, forgetting her momentary sobbing, and helped Adare push. She may not have been as strong as him, but she was willing to give her all to escape the blackness of the passage.

“There’s something on top of it,” Adare said.

“No, no, no, no,” Lena huffed. She pushed at it again, slapping the wood over her head. “Let me out of here!” Her voice was raising in near hysteria. Adare grabbed her and placed a hand over her mouth, hearing the scraping that was coming from the wood over their heads.

Adare pushed Lena back, drawing his sword in the small space, ready to attack whatever came at them. The people on the other side were just as ready with pitchforks and red hot branders pointing down as soon as the cover was flipped back. The four people on the other side would never have survived Adare’s attack, but he held back and lowered his sword. These were not warriors, these were common people of Chatham.

“Sir Boyce?” one of the men asked. He lowered the branding iron and looked down into the pit. “What are you doing beneath the floorboards of my house?”

“Escaping,” Adare said honestly. “How far out are we?”

“Not far enough,” the man said. He reached his hand down and helped Adare out of the hole before Lena stepped forward. The men looked down and quickly bowed their heads, one simply falling to his knees. “Your highness.”

“Please help me out of here,” Lena said, never betraying her panic. The men reached down and pulled her free and she dusted herself off as prettily as she could. She knew she had to look a fright, but she would not go racing towards a mirror first thing.

“Your highness,” one of the men said, “knowing you are safe helps my heart. We already have a group lead by Harding and Fergal planning on attacking the castle.”

“Do not,” Lena said hurriedly. She cleared her throat at their looks of surprise. “Do not attack the castle. They are well armed and have strong warriors. Hold back, but gather as many of your men as you can who will attack.”

“Seeing you would sure help things, your highness,” another man suggested.

“She can not,” Adare said, stepping forward. “You four will have to be the word that she is alive. I need to get her as far away from Chatham as possible right now. We will go to Ackerlea, my family will take care of her. From there we can send word at what the next step is, but until I have her secreted away she is a liability. They will be searching for her and if she stays and word gets around to them then our leader is destroyed. We will rise up, but it will not be until we have time.”

“What about your family?” another man asked.

“Why Ackerlea? There is hardly a fortress for her to hide behind.”

“I have horses to help you travel faster.”

Adare held on to that last line. He turned to the man and said, “How fast can you get me the horses?”

“I will run now, I should be back by nightfall.”

Adare nodded his head. “That is perfect. We will travel in the dark, it will give us the advantage. Do you have a bath here in your shop where her highness may clean up before we travel?”

“I do,” the man who seemed to be the owner of the place said. “I also have a few of my wife’s clothes that might fit her, if she wants to change from a royal gown.”

“Perfect,” Adare said. “Your highness, let us follow this man. Any questions the rest of you have I will answer while she is away.”

Lena followed, knowing Adare had just lied to these men, many times.

Neither had said the words to one another, but Lena and Adare both knew they had been betrayed. By who, they were not sure of, but until they had any answers only the two of them would know where they were going. Her eyes filled with tears that would not fall. He might have just condemned his family to protect her.

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Dawn broke over the horizon and left the warriors awashed in sunlight in the breakfast room of the castle. They had destroyed most of the doors on the castle, and the doors that were not destroyed were holding people behind them. Like the closet door in the kitchen where three maids who had been found huddling together in fear had been shoved to keep them out of the way.

Halvor had kept them from screaming by threatening to gag them and tie them down. They agreed that simply huddling in the closet as opposed to under a table was better and had kept their mouths shut.

Wyborn lounged back, his feet on the table, a mug of ale in his hands. He had no problem stealing come of their supplies before they left. He drank from the mug and grimaced before looking down at it. “What weak water this is,” he commented. “Much like everyone else in this kingdom.”

Three cheers from the warriors surrounding him, a select group of his finest. At least he called them his finest when in fact they were nothing more than the bedraggled group of friends he had grown up with. They were tough, the lot of them, but they were still no more than fresh faced adults, just having come of age the majority of them.

“This was too easy,” Halvor groaned again. It was not the first time he had bemoaned how easy it was.

“Were you hoping for more of a fight?” Saldis asked, leaning her elbows on the table and gazing over at him with a calculation that he hated seeing.

“I was hoping we would know why it was so easy,” Halvor continued. “After a night of sleep you do plan on us heading back, correct?”

“Of course not,” Wyborn said. “I have warriors out there searching for a lost princess. We can’t just abandon our post and leave them to return with her, tied up in a bow, and then have him be captured. Besides, can we simply leave after this?”

“What do you mean?” Trigg asked. Trigg was identical to his sister, Tove, in nearly every way. They were both slender of build, of face, of structure, and he kept his hair close cropped to his head to differentiate himself while she kept her hair long and pulled back in a ponytail to keep some feminine attributes.

“They will simply retaliate.”

“Way to think of that now,” grumbled Hamar.

“I thought of it,” Wyborn said. “It means we have to stay longer. They will rebel against us. Those who were not at the castle last night and those who are further out in the territory will try to fight against us, but we’ll be prepared for it.”

“You make it sound like you plan on staying,” Saldis commented. Her voice was casual, but her jaw was tense.

“Why not expand our territory?” Wyborn asked with a shrug of his large shoulders. “Too long to them we have been nothing but barbarians. It was time for Chatham to fall. We have the rights to being the kingdom of Schachar. We have the priestess, we have the religious rights, why are we not the ones in power? Why is it that Kendrick and his family are the ones marrying a daughter off to the ruler of the country?”

“This was your plan?” Saldis screamed. Her façade of cool and calm was broken and she was tilting her chair as she stood and slammed both fists against the wood of the table. “Your plan was to take over the kingdom and become, what? A king? A chieftain is not good enough for you? You were voted in, over Vili who was ahead of you for every possible reason, and you are saying we are not good enough.”

“I’m saying nothing of the sort,” Wyborn said, not losing his temper as she did. “I am saying I want our country, our people, to be more powerful. I still believe in our system, I just think we could have more to rule if we had someone here.”

“This is daft,” Halvor huffed. “We don’t have the resources to take over the kingdom, much less house someone here all of the time to rule it. We’d need two chieftains, working together, and you can barely work together with the elders and council.”

“Wyborn has a point,” Hamar stated, ever the voice of reason. He remained calm as everyone’s voice rose and remained silent until they all understood and fell silent as well. “We all agreed to this retaliatory attack. What was the point of it all? We knew that this would become a back and forth revenge plot if we did this. What were the rest of you thinking would happen? We would go home and this would all be over?”

“No, they are going to attack,” Saldis sneered. “First they will try to take back their castle, and when that fails, they will go after our homes.”

“And we have a well trained army back home,” Wyborn brushed off. “They will protect home while we takeover here.”

“It’s not that simple!” Saldis screeched. “You can’t just takeover a kingdom because you wanted to on a whim.”

“This is no whim.”

“Really? Because I heard nothing about it until now. If we are staying, then you should kill the princesses now. You don’t want to leave any connection to the throne.”

“Why does this have to be that hostile?” Wyborn asked. “Besides, a connection to the castle might prove an easier takeover.”

Saldis’ mouth dropped and her ire rose. “You had better not be thinking what I think is going through your mind right now, or so help me, Wyborn, I’m leaving. Right now. Tell me.”

Wyborn simply shrugged his shoulders and was answered for by Hamar. “He’s looking at reason before making a rash decision. The smoother, the more peaceful, you can make this the more of a chance of having less of a fight. There will be a skirmish or two, but even with the princesses simply relinquishing-“

“Since when do high born nobles ever simply relinquish? They can’t get along amongst themselves, why would they want to hand over a kingdom to us? They look at us as if we are savages and not someone on equal grounds, simply because we, what, don’t believe that baubles are worth as much and that religion is more important than duty? That strength of mind is a better attribute than a bloodline?”

“Don’t you see?” Wyborn asked. “That is just it. The nobles can not even get along, if we can win over a few children that are now the heirs to the throne we have made some headway.”

“Can you please make some sense of this?” Saldis demanded.

“Wyborn, we are with you no matter what you decide,” Halvor said calmly, “but you do realize you have no middle ground. If we leave, we prepare for them to retaliate, though it could take years. You’ve left them unprepared for an attack and with children as their leaders. Though there is likely a council to guide them, and a higher king that stands behind one of those children. Though by killing the contract holder you might have destroyed any chance they had of marrying a daughter to that man. They may have lost all defense.

“On the other hand, if you want to claim this kingdom as your own, you are leaving yourself weakened by having the heirs left alive. There are too many stories of banishment where they return and destroy everyone because they are able to gather a stronger rebellion, even if it is decades from now.”

“To that regards,” Hamar said thoughtfully, “we could very well have it take decades before a true attack comes at us from this side. Wars do not always take place within a timely matter as we would prefer.”

“We are not barbarians,” Tove said, speaking up for the first time. “We did not come here to mercilessly kill. We already killed the queen and she had nothing to do with the king’s decision to attack us.”

“Because a dying man told us that?” her brother scoffed. “How can you trust his words. He wanted to save his queen, nothing more.”

“Do you believe the princesses have something on this plot?” Tove asked.

“There are innocent lives lost every day,” Saldis shrugged it off. “Three princesses gone is hardly worth the complaining.”

“It might be worth it if it means more men are lost on our end for it,” Tove whispered. “We might only scare them into planning it out better.”

“There are many what-if scenarios,” Wyborn took control again. “It is why I do not want to make a rash decision.”

Saldis finally threw herself back into her chair, crossing her arms over her chest and planting her feet firmly on the floor, ready to rise again at any moment. “The whole decision to come here was rash. You went from leader to war-maker in a matter of days. You are chieftain, and sometimes decisions must be immediate, especially if you are making them with only your own council to go by. The elders didn’t agree and stayed behind, the council didn’t agree and stayed behind, yet you did this anyway. You made a decision, without thinking it through, and it was the right one.”

Wyborn fingered the piece of metal on the chord hanging from his neck. “I will make a quick decision, but it will not be immediate. A day to think is not a bad thing after a night of battle.”

A throat cleared and everyone looked to Vili in the corner, the dark figure who had stayed silent throughout the debating. “What not one of you has stopped to consider is that we might, if anything, be able to get answers from one of the princesses. And, instead of killing them, or banishing them, we can simply send them back to our home as trophies.”

Saldis let out a growl that had some of the men chuckling. Wyborn did the right thing and kept a straight face before drinking the watered-down alcohol and putting the mug down. “I need sleep. I’ll think more about it when I get sleep. Until then no one is to make a decision about the fate of the princesses. Saldis.” It was a clear warning to her. It was not recognition of her feisty temper. She was being ordered. It was not often Wyborn took his path as leader seriously enough to bring it down on Saldis, and he had been leader of this bunch longer than he had been leader of a nation. Saldis bowed her head in submission and allowed her chieftain to walk away from her.

#NaNoWriMo 2013 Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Confusion broke out through the castle, which only made the ensuing attack that much worse. No one was prepared for the onslaught. The best army in all of Schachar was being bested, and quickly, out of the simple fact that they were not prepared.

As with any battle, no one expects they were betrayed by one of their own.

“Rayne!”

“I see it.” Rayne was standing at her window gazing out upon the gardens that were already burning. All of the care and love she had given those flowers over the year, all of the days she had spent in there, watching her daughters grow amongst brightly placed flowers, it was all gone in a flash. Her daughters had blossomed with those flowers and it meant little now. All that mattered was saving the lives of her daughters.

Selwyn joined her by the window. Both were surprisingly calm as the invaders came over the gates and through the holes that were broken through brick. Every weak spot in the aging castle had been found and they were taking down the gates surrounding it with ease. There was no stopping the onslaught, only minimizing the damage.

And saving her daughters.

Rayne’s biggest fear was that she would not be able to save them all. She glanced at Selwyn and said, “You know what to do. I will go to Alana’s room.”

Selwyn gave a short nod, his heart aching for her decision. He moved from the room and turned the corner. He passed the king’s room and went to the next door. Adare was already standing in the doorway.

“She’s getting dressed,” he assured Selwyn. “She won’t be a m–”

“I’m here,” Lena said, appearing in the doorway. “What’s happening?”

“To the spare bedroom,” Selwyn ordered.

Adare did not question the captain. He simply gripped Lena’s arm and began leading her down the hall. There were many spare bedrooms in the castle, but adare knew what Selwyn was demanding. Lena looked confused, but like the docile princess she was she followed the orders of those who knew more than her.

Down the hall Rayne could hear the invaders coming up the stairs. She looked between her eldest and youngest daughter’s doors, one across from the other. For one moment she hesitated, not because she did not know who she was meant to retrieve first, and who she would, but because she was saying a silent goodbye to the one if she had no time.

Rayne turned to Alana’s door and pushed it open. Maynard had his sword to Rayne’s throat in a moment. He had been prepared. He lowered it as soon as he realized it was the queen and he bowed his head. “Apologies, your majesty.”

“It is fine,” she said. “To the spare room.”

Maynard nodded and gripped Alana’s arm. Rayne followed them out of the room but as she suspected time was already running short. Kinsey was in the hallway with Edric, the royal sword. He was ready to fight the warriors coming up the stairs and invading the hallway, but when he saw Rayne with Alana and Maynard and without Selwyn he realized what she was doing.

“Alana, back in your room!” Maynard cried, realizing it was too late at the first sight of the blond heads filling the hallway.

“Barbarians,” Alana had time to hiss before she was pushed into her room.

“Your majesty,” Maynard said, glancing back at her, “go into the room with Alana.”

“I can not,” she whispered and fled towards Oralee’s door. Oralee would be alone. Ethen had not taken up his duties yet. She was probably alone and scared and Rayne would not leave her youngest daughter to fend for herself.

Kinsey stopped her, grabbing her shoulder. “Where is Selwyn?”

“We don’t have time for this!” Rayne cried, the few knights in the hallways keeping the warriors at bay, but the quarters were cramped and even small injuries could prove detrimental.

The warriors broke through, men painted in red, but it was not an insurmountable amount of blood, it was the face paint of their people. They were backward, often referred to as barbarians by those in the kingdom, but they were strong and swift. The one in the lead grabbed a hold of Rayne’s arm and forced her to the floor. She screeched out in pain while he towered over her, raising his sword.

Kinsey stood, simply watching his wife get taken down. Then, like a true coward, he turned to run. Kinsey was headed off by warriors coming up the other set of stairs, closing in on the hallway. The knights had barely recovered from the drunken revelry they would have had that evening in celebration of defeat in the tournament. Even with fewer numbers the warriors had a better chance.

“Some king,” the man above Rayne hissed. He bent down and gazed at her for a moment and said, “Don’t worry, I have no need of shedding your blood. Stay down.”

The warrior stood and Rayne rolled out of his way. A woman followed him, tall in stature with hair that was shaved close to her head. She carried a staff and looked down at Rayne with a look of pure hatred. She kept moving, leaving Rayne to lay on her side. As long as they were more distracted by her laying there they would pass Alana and Oralee’s doors

Down the hall Selwyn and Adare were dragging Lena into a doorway that was hidden in the closet. Lena was fighting tooth and nail now, no longer the docile princess. “I won’t leave without them!”

“They will follow us shortly,” Adare told her. “There is just no reason for us to wait behind. We can open the door on the other side and be prepared for them.”

Lena stopped struggling, looking into Adare’s gray eyes. “Do you promise?”

Adare nodded his head. “I promise, your highness, that your sisters will not be far behind.”

Lena looked to Selwyn who had a cold face on, which was his usual look. She could read nothing from it. She turned to Adare and took his hand. He began running with her down the corridors that lead them under the castle and out to the other sides of the gate. It was a hidden passage that had not been used in their lifetime. It leaked and there were creatures that were unpleasant to find, but it would save their lives if they made it to the other side.

The rumbling that followed had Lena in a panic. She dug her heels into the floor beneath her and looked back. The light that had been offered was dying out. The doorway as closing.

“You lied to me!” Lena screeched. She turned to Adare and screamed at him at the top of her lungs. “You promised me they would be right behind! We can’t leave them!”

“I’m sorry, your highness,” Adare said, meaning every word. “It was the queen’s orders that you would be saved. If the castle is to be taken down, one must be there to take the throne.”

“That’s Alana!” Lena yelled, pounding on his chest with small fists. “I’m not supposed to take the throne.”

Adare reached for Lena’s body and pulled her up, throwing her unceremoniously over his shoulder. “I’m sorry, your highness.”

With Lena still screaming he took her down the passage, disappearing deeper into the darkness with her.

“What have you done?” Kinsey yelled as he stepped into the room, seeing the destroyed closet. Selwyn stood over it looking satisfied, a different look than his cold calculations.

“I saved the heir, you should be thanking me,” Selwyn said.

“You fool, we all could have lived.” Kinsey stepped further into the room, Edric raised and pointed at Selwyn’s neck. “You’ve condemened the rest of us.”

“Where’s your wife?” Selwyn asked calmly.

“She’s on her way.”

Selwyn knew a lie when he saw one. “Your majesty, you do not want to raise your sword to me. I will take you down. Where is Rayne?”

Warriors filled the hallway behind Kinsey and pushed through the door, finding the king, their true destination. They wrapped their arms around his limbs and dragged him down to his knees while Selwyn stood still, his sword still at his side, never having been drawn. The warriors looked to him and seemed to have no fight with someone with their weapon not drawn.

Oddly respectful of a race that they referred to as barbarians.

A big bulking man stepped through the door and glanced down at the king, a sneer on his face. “You took our leader from us. It’s only fair we leave your people without a leader as well.”

Selwyn blinked. “You must be mistaken,” the older knight said. “We have never-”

“I know when a war has been waged, old man,” the warrior spat.

Selwyn reached to his sword, his wrinkled fingers playing along the end. The warrior who seemed to be in charge gave him a look that clearly said he would regret pulling the sword. Selwyn felt that was true, if only because he was vastly outnumbered. No amount of sword skill would keep him alive cornered in this small room where the only opening had been taken out in order to save Lena and Adare.

The warrior, seeming satisfied that Selwyn needed the comfort of the sword opposed to the fight itself, glanced back down at the king who had submitted easily. “Not so strong yourself without others doing your dirty work. When all we wanted was a treaty you gave us death. Are you going to beg for your life or are you going to submit to death like a real man?”

“I will not beg, but you will not kill me.” Kinsey’s eyes fell to Selwyn, sure the knight would save his life.

Selwyn had no inclination to do so.

The warrior looked satisfied and raised his sword.

“Oralee!” the scream was clear enough through the commotion that all of those standing in the room turned to look out the door. Kinsey took this as an opportunity to pull free from his captors and reach for Edric. Ethen rushed into the room, driving his sword at the first of the warriors he saw. The group separated and divided and made the small room seem larger than it was. They were well oiled and worked together well, but they were not a match for Ethen and his rage. Ethen went at the warriors with blind rage, glancing through the room and taking three down to their knees.

“Ethen!” Selwyn cried, one of the warriors behind him. Ethen stopped swinging and the warrior slammed his fist into the man’s skull. Ethen fell to his knees and pulled his sword again. He rolled out of the way and to his feet, despite an obvious dizziness. He faced the warrior that was in charge, who sneered down at him.

“You were too ambitious.” He raised the sword and started to bring it down. Selwyn barely moved fast enough, taking the blow to his side instead of allowing Ethen to take it to his head.

Selwyn fell to his knees and said, “The princess, he only wants to protect his charge…”

The warrior stepped back and turned, finding the king charging down the hall, away from the warriors who clearly had the advantage. The man flipped blond hair over his shoulder with a roll of his eye and turned to a woman who stood in the hallway. “Tove, take him down.”

“Yes, sir,” she said. She pulled her bow up, an arrow already knotched, and released the arrow. The hallways, mostly empty, left a clear shot for her. The arrow found its mark and he went down.

“Seems an unfitting end to a king,” the warrior stated.

Down the hall Rayne, who had stayed pressed against the wall, watched her husband fall, an arrow sticking out of his skull. His eyes were glazing over, even as he searched around, wondering what happened. She held back a horrified scream while the warriors who kept knights down in the hallway seemed satisfied with the results. They leaned back on their heels and waited.

The lead warrior stepped out, dragging Ethen and Selwyn behind. He threw them both to the floor and laughed, “This seemed to be the best they had.”

“Selwyn!” Rayne could not keep her scream to herself this time. She rosed to her feet and found an arm to her throat, pinning her to the wall.

“Take her out,” the woman with the staff said. “Leave them without a king or queen. Leave the kingdom to their rotten daughters. It would be similar to how they left us that way.”

“The queen is no leader,” the man said.

The woman sneered and whispered for only his ears, “Do you want to look weak already?”

“I just brought a castle to its knees,” he snapped, pushing her back. “You can stop questioning my every move.” He stepped forward, leaving Selwyn to bleed and Ethen to stretch and try to lift. Ethen had fight left in him and two of the warriors were standing over him ready for him to make a mistake that would cost him his life.

The woman raised her staff high. “They took out our chieftain and three of our senior council. Yay or nay to allowing the queen to live?”

Hands went up, either with a full fist or with a pinky. She seemed satisfied as the fist outweighed the touch of pinkies in the sky. She glanced over at the warrior in charge, who turned his head and stared into Rayne’s eyes. Even with an arm at her throat she stood with her back straight and an accepting look on her face.

“I will make it quick,” he promised her.

The warrior holding her back pulled away and left her to stand, waiting for her death.

In her bedroom Alana was searching desperately for something to use as a weapon. Maynard had not returned and she had heard her mother scream Selwyn’s name. If the knight had fallen then she would not, could not, believe that Maynard had survived. If she was going to die she was going to go down with a fight.

She reached for the candelabra and tried to heft it into her hands. She never had tried to pick up the thick silver before and did not realize how heavy it was. This was the scene that the warrior walked in on as Alana was falling to her back, the candelabra falling beside her and a small fire catching to the curtain beside her. Alana rushed to pat out the fire and only a smoke trail was left.

The warrior crossed his arms and said, “I’ve found one of them.”

“I found another.” Oralee was thrown into the room beside Alana by a man who was bigger than the leader in every way. He was nearly a giant to the small girl and when he threw her she practically skidded.

“Saldis,” the leader called out, “where’s the third?”

Saldis came in shaking her head. “No one has seen her. I believe that room with the fallen in closet had an escape route. She’s hiding under the castle somewhere.”

“Send four men after them with orders not to kill her.”

“Are you sure?” Saldis asked. “We should destroy them all-”

“I know you are angry,” snapped the leader, “but we are not murderers. War and murdering is different. We do not kill an entire nation because they took out our leaders. There is a plan and we are sticking to it, do you understand me?”

Saldis bowed her head and turned to the hallway, searching for warriors. She gave them their marching orders while the leader stepped further into the room, crowding the two princesses. “It’ll be easier,” he told them, “if you tell me where the passage leads out to so we aren’t hunting down your sister. No more people need to get hurt.”

Alana’s blank expression must have told him something. He shook his head and said, “In due time, then.”

Her eyes roamed over his body and to the blood that stained the already red warrior paint. She grimaced and looked away, unaware that the blood on his hands was her mother’s. She pulled Oralee to her and they wrapped their arms around one another. Alana was glancing around for another weapon, wishing she had not been so quick to put out the fire.

“Wyborn?” a man asked from the door, a soft spoken man who stood tall despite an obvious quiet nature. The leader looked back at him before the man continued, “What should we do with the knights who are not injured?”

“There has to be a dungeon around here,” Wyborn suggested. “Throw them all into their own dungeon.”

“Shouldn’t we just leave?” the largest man suggested. “We’ve done what we came to.”

“I’ll say when I’ve decided we are leaving,” Wyborn growled, though his eyes stayed on Alana and Oralee. “And right now, we aren’t leaving yet.” He sent his men out of the room and slammed the door. Alana was smart enough to know there was someone on the outside making sure they stayed in.

“What just happened?” Oralee asked.

“I’m not sure,” Alana admitted, “but I think we’ve been invaded.”

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