Assassin's Accomplice

Lady Rachel Whitely finds her entire world flipped upside down when her father is assassinated. Forced to flee, she seeks vengeance against the man she believed killed her father; the King. Rachel finds herself slipping into the castle walls, obscured as a maid, with a hidden agenda. To find the King and make him pay. Her plan seems to be working perfectly, until she is fed another shocking piece of information. Rachel, under the guidance of a former King's assassin, must travel across the land in order to save everyone from a violent ruler and a terrible fate. Will she make it in time, or will she be condemned to a life of servitude while watching her country fall apart right before her emerald eyes?

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1. Prologue

The Prince brooded at the very top of the northern tower, his vibrant cloak curled around him in brilliant contrast to the dull grey of the stone encased structure in which he sat. 

“My lord,” a pleading voice sounded from the other side of the tower.
“Leave me.” The prince rested against the only window in the highest tower of the Imperial Castle. 
“But Sire-”
The Prince whirled around, his cloak billowing behind him in a swirl of crimson. He glared at the cowering man, his bald head bowed so deeply it was as though he was trying to curl into his own overlarge body. “I said leave me!” he screamed viciously, his eyes flashing in anger, forcing the man to stumble backwards. 
“Sire, please! I have news!” The royal adviser spat. 
Prince Arrington’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, but he allowed the man to speak. “I trust this is about my father, Collins?” 
Collins nodded, “Yes my lord!” he said attempting to console the violent prince. 
Prince Arrington waited only momentarily before sighing loudly, “Get on with it Collins!” he growled, “Are you so useless that you have lost the ability to speak?”
Collins took the jibe without rebuttal, “The physician has deemed your father without recovery.”
A cruel smile flittered across the prince’s face as he turned back to the window, staring at his people below, swarming like ants. “How much longer?” he asked, but his voice was as flat as the floor and held none of the emotion that the eager smile had shown on his face. 
“A few days, a week at most.” Collins answered. He knew he should not be shocked at the Prince’s lack of compassion for his father, the Prince was a cruel, unjust man after all but he expected some show of emotion, some give away that alerted the advisor to any hint of regret or remorse. He found none.
“Excellent.” The Prince nodded to himself before stopping abruptly. “What of Regan?” he asked.
Collins looked hesitant, “He is still in the castle, my lord.” At the Prince’s silence he quickly continued, “He is still injured from the last confrontation, his days as an assassin are over, sire.” 
The Prince turned slowly to face him, his blue eyes like darkened storm clouds. “Excuse me?’ he whispered, deadly quiet, a threat underlying his tone. “He is still in the castle?” The Prince’s question was rhetorical but Collin’s answered anyway. 
“Yes sire,” he panicked, “but-but-but-he is of no threat to you.”
“No threat?” his shaking hands closed into a fist, his deathly calm demeanour exploding. “Must you always be a blithering idiot, Collins? He is being kept as a trusted adviser of my mother!” 
“Sire,” Collins attempted to placate the future-king, “Are you forgetting who will rule? You will be King my lord. Anything she or he says against you can be charged as treason.”
The Prince mulled this over. “Fine.” his tone was sharp and Collins could tell he still was not completely content with the idea. “I will set my plans in motion while father is ill. Mother will be preoccupied and Regan will be with her. Have you selected the assassins?” The Prince turned to the snivelling little man. 
“Yes my lord, trained by Regan himself.”
The Prince slammed his hand onto the windowsill, “Regan? Are you sure they will remain loyal to me?”
“Yes my lord, I am positive. They are assassins after all; they do not care for whom they kill as long as they are compensated for it.” 
Arrington scowled, “Double their pay to ensure their loyalty and inform them that if I catch even a hint of an idea that they are wavering I will slaughter both them and their families.”
“Yes my lord.” Collins was beyond the point of shock at this stage and simply continued without falter. “According to plan, the first region we will take is the Blackcoast Region,” he paused, “Sire.” He added for good measure. 
“Why have we selected this one? Remind me Collins.”
“It is heavily protected around the sea. Duke Whitely expects an attack from the coastline; he will not see an inland attack coming. Besides,” he added when he noticed the Prince’s bored expression. “Duke Whitely and Duke Fontaine are the only possible candidates for the throne. It is wise to get rid of them as while the King is alive the Queen can abdicate to either of the two. They are eligible for the throne, and she fears you too young, sire.”
Prince Arrington scoffed, “Me? Too young?” The idea was laughable. “What of the other noblemen?” he questioned.
“Counts and Barons, my lord. They cannot hold the title of the King.”
Prince Arrington nodded thoughtfully, his bright eyes searching the cold room. “What of their children?”
Collins nodded, collecting his thoughts. “Your plan is perfect my lord. We take their sons and under the threat of their children’s lives, you will be compensated. The land will become yours instantly. We simply must keep them hidden until you become King, for if the people were to find out what was happening-”
“I know, Collins!” the Prince snapped, “I am the one who conceived the plan after all.”
Collins barely concealed a scowl. “Of course, sire.” he said, falling into an unnecessarily deep bow. He straightened and continued. “What of Duke Whitely’s kin? He has one daughter, seventeen at most. Do I instruct the team to assassinate her as well?”
The Prince hardly considered it, “No. She is of no threat to me. Leave her; the land will fall to me anyway. Women cannot rule, let alone one’s of seventeen years.”
“Of course, sire.” 
The Prince turned to the window, his mouth opened to speak, before he abruptly stopped. He leaned out of the window, looking down then side to side. 
“My lord?” Collins skittered over to the window. “Is something wrong?” 
“Did you hear that?” The Prince’s eyes were quick as they searched the plain brick on either side of the window. “Someone is listening in.”
Collins leaned over to the Prince, “I highly doubt that, Sire.” he said looking down at the courtyard, so far below. “It would be almost impossible.”
The Prince’s eyes flickered suspiciously from side to side, his hand gripping his dark hair in agitation.
“Step away from the window, my lord.” he said, shutting the aforementioned window and blocking out any noise from potential listeners. ‘Paranoid man.’ he thought. 
The Prince nodded, and left the window.


Regan could no longer hear a sound from the room. He heaved a sigh of relief and cursed his damned foot for slipping, it was an inexcusable mistake. He was simply lucky that the Prince had not looked up to where he lay flat against the stones, suspended only by a thickly woven rope. He fretted briefly about the information he had heard, he had no doubt that the Prince execute his plan. His mind flittered, jumping back and forth between one unusable idea and the next. He could tell neither the Queen nor another royal adviser, as they would be in grave danger if they made any attempts to stop the Prince’s plan. He knew without a doubt that Arrington would not hesitate in harming his own mother, he was a vile and vindictive man.  It was already rumoured among the servants that the King’s sudden illness was not an unfortunate tragedy but rather a maliciously planned attack by his own son. Regan had doubted it at first, but upon hearing of the Prince’s plans… He now knew it was a distinct possibility. He needed to warn the other noblemen but they would not believe him. They would not even speak to a King’s assassin, let alone conspire with one. It was simply unheard of. He let out a growl of frustration. There was no way he could convince these noblemen of the Prince’s plans, without being imprisoned for treason. Regan scowled as he lowered himself, his feet landing silently on solid ground at last. If only there was a way to convince, if not the noblemen, than at least their sons. Yet again, however, he was faced with the conclusion that the children, teenagers, would not listen to him either. Regan was back to square one, until he remembered something that Collins had said. The girl, she was the key. She was not to be taken, but she would be the first witness to the Prince’s plans. She would be able to convince the other children.

The girl, Rachel Whitely, he must get to her before the Prince does.

 

 

 

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