Ardent (The Kingdoms of War)

Part of the multi-author novel compilation deemed The Kingdoms of War. Brycin de Mursch isn't all that she thinks she is. Not under the King, anyway. *Republished for additions to what is now the first chapter.*


3. Two.

The small pointer on the time-glass had gone past the realms of Venus and Earth; sixty was twice done. Brycin had left Kurabrae at the point of Venus, and completed the business of hers with which she was preoccupied.

            It was a simple matter of not-so-simple consequences; Brycin duly felt that people found too much ease alongside creatures of magyk - so much carelessness ended up with chaos, just like what had happened with Mister Rodnin after striking a deal with lycanthrope. Yes, she herself found company in the littler ones, the direwolves and the phen, but a lycanthrope or a pureblood? They could be obvious trouble.

            A respected merchant and trader, Mister Jac Rodnin and his family had worked in the central areas of Kalis since the time of the Coup,  back when the High King saved the realm from the evil grasp of Len, supposedly innocent, but secretly plotting to take over possession of any earnings of every resident.

            Rodnin’s name was held in honour and fame in the area - his chain of shops provided ingredients for every serum, hand-crafted furniture for homes and essentials for all. But it apparently wasn’t enough. He decided to collaborate with one of the werewolves living down at the West Gate, and the result of it certainly didn’t earn him more money.

            Not only did it cause disruption ‘twixt individual lives, matters like that in question took up the precious time allocated to Brycin. Or Aeimon, more specifically. Being the King’s Hand was the most tiresome of occupations, but certainly rewarding. The family of Rodnin had been given compensation for their losses: hundreds of ryans and a caretaker, but Brycin knew nothing could pay for the loss of a father.

            She decided to return to Kurabrae; there were many hours until dusk, when she was due, and she would be glad for a wash.

            Breathing heavily, Brycin walked towards the gully behind Mister Nuebond’s apothecary, letting all previous matters escape her, allowing but one word, unutterable, unknowable, become, once again, the sole purpose of her existence.

            It was a secret; her and her King’s little secret.

            Closing her eyes, she was cocooned in a sensation of unfamiliar (despite the amount of times she had felt it) nerves, a wave of icy air hitting against her perfectly still body, until a soft thud was heard.

            Brycin’s eyelids separated, revealing the elaborate scenery at the gates of Kurabrae; wrought-iron, the blackest of black; ebony serpents of stone writhing between the bars almost moving, actually moving, before one decides to blink.

            They swung open excruciatingly slow, creaking as though it had worked since the very beginning of time, or even as if they were taking their time, adding to the sinister atmosphere at the palace-place; allowing Brycin to shiver even more.

            She slipped through them. They had opened just enough to let her through, and she didn’t want to wait until they opened completely. She didn’t want to wait until the twenty foot high, ten metre wide gate had opened for her. It was much too intimidating. And Brycin didn’t like intimidation.

            She stepped forward, walking on the cobblestone path leading to the castle. It was grand, as a castle is, but it was dark, as a castle isn’t; the brick foundation had been dyed a murky brown, the three towers that shaped a triangle held the three flags of Doran: the green flag of will, the red flag of power, and the black flag of determination, all together to make up a perfect kingdom.

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