A chance meeting between a prince and a peasant results in consequences that will not only change their lives, but also the kingdom.

Cover by Zillah Designs.


18. Chapter Eighteen: Khyber



      “Is she going to be alright?” I whispered, horrified by the sight of the beaten and broken body of Samera.

      The warehouse had been up and running for a few days and when I had arrived this morning it had been to find the three healers, Myra, Celeste and Kushla, rushing around like headless chickens. Samera and a young man, who it transpired was Omer, Samera’s husband to be and Myra’s son, had been found in the mines unconscious and badly hurt.

      Celeste, who was an elderly woman with a hunched back and intelligent eyes, was busy setting Samera’s many broken bones. “It’s hard to tell, your highness. It may be that she is fine, but... she could never wake.” Celeste wiped tears from her eyes.

      Everyone liked Samera. She was kind and thoughtful. I’d spoken to her a several times and even helped her with a few of the patients. At first it was difficult trying to coax words out of her, but after a while she spoke voluntarily, even telling me stories of her childhood, of Omer. I glanced over at him. He didn’t look as bad as Samera and I resented him for it. That surprised me. Why should I resent him? Omer might have been a very nice person, yet the sight of him lying there with fewer injuries than Samera made me infuriated.

      Kushla, who was thin woman with curly hair, came over and started cleaning the many cuts on Samera’s body.

      “Can I help?” I asked. I felt useless just standing there.

      She looked up in surprise but nodded. “Could you clean her face, your highness? That way I can help Celeste with the broken ribs.”

      I took over cleaning the cuts on Samera’s face and averted my eyes when the two healers removed Samera’s dress. After a while Myra joined us. She looked exhausted.

      “How is he?” I gestured to her son whose arm was in a sling. From where I was sat I couldn’t see what other injuries he had.

      Myra gave me a grateful smile. “He should be fine, thank you, your highness. He should wake soon.”

      “Do you know who did this to them?”

      Her face was pale. “I have my suspicions.” she whispered.

      All of a sudden three men burst into the room. They were bloodied and hobbled over to us.

      “Torrance!” Myra cried, throwing herself at the shorter of the men. He was going bald and had a broken nose.

      His eyes widened at the sight of Omer and he rushed over to him. It appeared that Torrance was Myra’s husband and Omer’s father. The two other men hurried to Samera’s bed. I presumed that the younger man was Samera’s brother Menul, who looked like a male version of his sister, and the older man was their father, Rasun.

      Rasun fell to his knees sobbing. “No! Sami! My beautiful Sami!”

      Menul talked rapidly to Kushla and Celeste. I stood up to leave but Menul spotted me. “Who are you?” he demanded.

      Celeste kicked him for his insolence and murmured something to him.

      Menul blanched and hastily bowed. “Please forgive me, your highness.”

      “That’s quite alright.” I replied. “I hope your sister wakes soon. I will pray for her.”

      “Thank you, your highness.” he bowed again.

      Pulling him aside I said. “Menul, who did this to Samera and Omer?”

      Fear flickered in Menul’s blue eyes and he cast a glance around the room. “It was Kale, your highness.”

      Orien who had been playing with some of the children walked over to us. “Did you say Kale?”

      Menul nodded.

      “What is it?” I asked feeling uneasy.

      “Kale’s one of the worst, your highness. The guards never seem to be able to find him. He is always one step ahead.” Orien explained.

      “I want him found.” I growled. “And then we’ll have a public execution.”

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