Jonathan rushed about his room, grabbing clothes and personal items as he saw them, stowing them unceremoniously in a small pack. Akor’s eminent approach kept everyone in Rune Castle on their toes. The rebellion that was sparked by the Pythun invasion was not completely unexpected, but definitely not forseen so soon. Leader’s from the Pythun empire provided Akor and his followers with the necessary troops to take over and gain control of the Rune castle. Once Rune castle was taken, the kingdom of Opar was not far from lost. But there was one more factor in the equation that could change the outcome of the Rebels’ War, three stones. Though the stones could do very little to prevent the invasion of Rune castle, they could return the power to its rightful king. Both Jonathan and Isabelle knew that. They also knew that at this point there was nothing they could do to prevent the loss of Rune castle. As Isabelle and Jonathan ran about their room, there came a rough knock on the door. Isabelle looked to Jonathan, her eyes questioning. He motioned for her to stand behind him. All was silent except for the rustling of Isabelle’s dress. Then, when they both expected the worse, Vaun entered, rubbing his hands together nervously.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I thought you should know that both Roman and Tosumaar have safely taken the stones. They left over three hours ago, as you also should have.”
“I had some last minute papers to sign,” explained Jonathan, still dumping clothes at random in his pack.
“Papers can wait. You need to get out of here now, while you can.”
“I am packing as we speak.”
“There may be no time for packing. If Akor pushed his troops, he could be here within the next hour.”
Jonathan gave a wry smile. “Then we may be wasting our time. If they’ve already come this close behind us, is it possible for us to run? Surely they would be able to catch us?”
“At least you could say you tried, sire.”
“I think, then, it is time to run,” he resigned. He took Isabelle’s hand, leading her to the door. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be a better father, but maybe I can still be a better king.”
“Excuse me sire. I also have some last minute duties to attend to.” Jonathan simply nodded as Vaun left.
“Shall we be off?” offered Jonathan, putting out his arm.
“Only if my king wishes,” played Isabelle, placing her arm eligantly on his. “You’ll never loose your charm.”
They twisted their necks to hear the screams of Vaun, not half way down the stairs. Jonathan jerked Isabelle away from the door, pushing her behind him once more. The door swung open, bashing against the wall. Jonathan stepped back, drawing his sword from its sheath. A Pythunian soldier stepped into the room.
“Tell Akor that they’re here.” He reported to a nearby soldier.
Ten more soldiers filed into the room, each holding a sword in the ready position. Isabelle clenched Jonathan’s arm with one hand, her other hand slipping behind her to retrieve a dagger lying unpacked on the bed. She clenched it tightly.
“I would suggest you don’t move,” barked one of the soldiers. Then, swiftly, Isabelle hurled the knife at one of the soldiers. It struck its target, the neck. He fumbled at the protruding knife, his fingers slipping over the hilt as he began to suffocate. A paroxysm of tremulous coughing followed as blood surged down his chin. But the other soldiers stood their ground, unmoved by their dying companion. The soldier toppled to the floor, eyes glazed in death. Isabelle had hoped that they would be caught off guard, but she was given a rude awakening to the crude training of the Pythunian army.
“I said don’t move,” shouted the center soldier. In a blur of movement, the soldier withdrew a small knife on the back of his belt and threw it with deadly accuracy at Isabelle. It, as Isabelle’s throw, struck true. But the soldier’s target was not to kill Isabelle. It sliced the side of her shoulder, causing blood. Isabelle fell back in surprise. Jonathan caught her arm as she fell, slowing her decent. He tore a strip of her skirt, and tightly wrapped it around her shoulder expertly.
“You always were resourceful.” muttered Isabelle. Jonathan gave a small smile. He put her good arm over his shoulder, delicately helping her up.
“What do we do now? How will we hide the stone?” whispered Isabelle.
“I’m not sure,” he felt the chain around his neck that held the stone, “We must find a way to hide it from Akor. If he found it, we may be in more danger than I thought”
“And I was just thinking things couldn’t get worse.” teased Isabelle. Almost on que, the man they least sought to see entered the room, Akor himself. He was older and had long, graying hair tied back in a low ponytail. His face was rigid and held high. He walked with a smug expression, though the signs of fatigue were not untraceable on his face.
“Finally can the people of Opar take what belongs to them,” began Akor. “now that the king can truly gain perspective.”
“Perspective?” mocked Jonathan “For a man whose only will is that of his own.”
“My good sire! My only will is that of the people! I live to lead this rebellion and seize what is rightfully ours. If I gain certain items of power along the way, I can’t help but accept fate. Which brings me to the reason I came looking for you. The stones if you will?”
“What makes you think I have them? You couldn’t possibly believe I would hold them all myself? How do you know that I haven’t already sent them away, somewhere safe?”
“Good point. But I know that you wouldn’t trust to give all the stones to other’s keeping. Which leaves me with the belief that you have at least one in possession?”
“Then you believed wrong.”
“Have it your way.” Akor hissed. He motioned some of the soldier’s forward. Two came toward Jonathan, swords in hand, while three others surrounded Isabelle, pulling her from Jonathan’s protection. Jonathan lashed out, doing all in his might to keep Isabelle safely behind him. He killed one of the soldiers holding him back, striking powerful blows at his chest while seriously wounding the other. But while Jonathan was keeping the two soldiers at bay, the others took Isabelle in an iron grip. Akor moved next to her, placing his sword uncomfortably close to her neck. She lifted her head high, trying to escape the blade’s sharp edge.
“I don’t like to play games.” Akor lifted his sword closer to her neck, her breath quickening. There was a long pause.
“I’m a very impatient man,” he hissed.
“Wait. Maybe we can make some sort of agreement.” pleaded Jonathan, his eyes shifting between Akor and Isabelle.
“No agreement. I want the stone or she dies.” Then Akor’s eyes shifted to the iridescent chain suspended around Jonathan’s neck. A smile made its way across his face.
“Grab him.” he ordered the soldiers. Jonathan backed away, the soldiers encircling him. He swung his body back and forth, hoping to fool the soldiers so he could make a run for Isabelle and the door. He made a leap to the right, but before he had gotten anywhere, rough hands clamped his arms, pulling him away from escape. Three soldiers held his hands behind his back as he struggled to break free while another snatched the sword from his hands. Akor sauntered over to Jonathan until their noses were almost touching. Akor’s adroit fingers took the chain, nimbly unhooking it from Jonathan’s neck. His eyes lit up when he caught sight of the stone, his face in boy-like wonder.
“Interesting.” mused Akor. “Very interesting.” He held it to the light, and just as he hoped, he spotted the translucent glow of the Chimera stone.
“The Chimera stone. An odd thing that you’d choose this particular stone to protect,” Akor chuckled softly, “I should have known better.” Akor’s eyes lifted from the small stone treasure, pupils widening as his eyes probed Jonathan’s face for any trace of falsehood. “It is truly an unfortunate thing that you didn’t have the time to use the Chimera stone. Or perhaps you were too cowardly to put someone else in your stead? To die as you are about to?” Akor’s lips remained in the shape of slight pouting curiosity.
“At least before you die, you can know what will become of your precious world.” Akor turned to face the main guard.
“I would like you to escort Queen Isabelle down to the servant’s quarters and find her something more fitting to wear. She will be serving dinner tonight and I wouldn’t want her to be caught wearing anything unfit for someone of her….status.”
“Yes, sir,” replied the soldier, motioning the soldiers holding Isabelle to carry out orders. Two soldiers shuffled out, taking Isabelle with them.
“And now Fanvauve, you meet your end here. Fear not, for I will run the kingdom of Opar dutifully.”
Akor rubbed his eyes, clearing them of exhaustion. He thought he had seen a slight tremor in the air, almost a blurring of Jonathan’s image. Akor simply reminded himself of the long journey he’d just made, thinking on how well he would sleep that night. Fatigue was clearly settling in. He squinted his eyes in concentration as he raising his sword once more.
“Hold him.” Akor commanded. The three soldiers holding him stepped back a bit, tightening their grasp on his arms. He made no resistance. Strange, thought Akor, that he would seem so confused. He didn’t even give a struggle. Did he finally resign and accept death? Akor lifted his sword up, placing the tip delicately on Jonathan’s chest, right above his heart pounding heart. Then, with a rough thrust, he drove the sword straight through the poor man. Blood trickled slowly down the handle of the sword, staining the carpet crimson red. Akor brought his face up close to the hilt of the protruding sword and whispered in the dying man’s ear.
“Good bye, Fanvauve.” With that, Fanvauve tumbled lifelessly to the floor, eyes perpetually locked in death.