The Lion's Banquet

The Lion's Banquet, a competition held for the newly crowned King to select his chief diplomat, his Crown and his secret weapon, the Sword. Anima Blair has been freed from captivity on one condition: win the tourney and become the Sword to make her employer, Andras Szent, the Crown. With no choice, she must fight for her freedom and win over the approval of the Royal Court. However, no one in the Royal Court can be trusted and no one escapes the Royal Court unscathed.

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2. Chapter 2

The descent down Tiamat's Peak should have taken two days at the most, instead it took a week. The knight Anima traveled with was her sole companion and he didn't want to move fast. He regulated movement and kept the pair at a steady but slow pace.

This had irritated the woman. Sure, the knight had given her a change of clothes to help her keep warm. Apart from that, he ignored her. He kept conversation kept to a bare minimum. Any exchanges were about food or supplies and perhaps where they should set camp.

They were moving at a snail's pace, and showed no signs of hastening their descent. She shouldn't have complained, she was free. However, she could have been doing something useful. She hadn't heard from Elizabeth even before she imprisoned. She needed to track her sibling down and aid her with whatever she needed.

But Calian wouldn't allow her to do a single thing. She started praying for the strength not to kill him with anything she could find. But no matter how long she complained for, Calian did not change his plans. He kept to the same pace every single day and she thought he even slowed for spite's sake.

It was the final night of their descent that the pair began to communicate about something other than conditions. He began to inquire about her time spent in the Sky Cells which lead to a stunted talk at best.

"How long were you in those cells?"

Anima didn't answer but chose to take a bite of her bread instead. That was clearly more interesting than information he could get from his sister. Her lack of response caused his expression to turn sour.

"What was it like?"

She looked him dead in the eye, cocking her head. She considered her answer for a couple of seconds, interrupting his sigh of annoyance. "It wasn't a good experience."

"No shit. What was it like? How did they treat you? You hear rumours about people beaten and starved to death up there."

She gave a long sigh, look down to her feet as she spoke. "They're most not rumours. Everything you heard is probably right." And then she shot a warning look as he formed an answer. "Don't go any further."

He gave a sharp nod, before shaking his head. "I shouldn't ask. I don't want to know. I just want to get my job done so I don't have to see you."

"You and me both." She huffed. Her face returned to an icy scowl and the pair finished their meal in absolute silence. Not a single word exchanged between the two until they both retired to their tents. 

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