Blades of Green and Gold

Gardain: a once barren wasteland known as Antarctica. After the great floods people started showing up where a very clever man saved and claimed the land as his own. The king had a daughter and she was loved by her people.

Soon the young princess’ world crashed down and her throne was taken away. She wishes to claim it but she can’t do it alone…

A madman with a thirst for freedom.

A healer who went bankrupt in the wrong place.

An assassin with an unusual look.

A girl with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Four unlikely friends. Three monsters from old stories. Two forgotten heirs. One crumbling world. Aven’s crew is the only thing that stands between the king and his plans for a world of mindless slaves—if they find the other heir first.

COVER BY: Mini
EDITING: DeeundDrang

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5. Chapter 5

CHAPTER 5

Aven Gerrith

She was the smartest in her court.

But to the court itself she was nothing but watered down blood due to her mother’s side of the family. To them, she was not a true royal nor fit to be a Queen when she came of age. She would try to teach the other children of court about the History of Gardain though it was frowned upon. Teaching is supposed to be for teachers and not royals. Her great knowledge was said to be a gift by her motheror a curse.

That had been the great debate between her mother and father for the first 10 years of her life. As she grew older and it became more apparent that while she inherited most of her mother’s looks, she’d received her father’s great love of learning and his stubbornness to do so, the accusations became more frequent, made by the court and rulers of other far countries.

And on a day like this, she knew that everyone would hear of the event, simply so they could bring disgrace upon the family  

She was supposed to be asleep, and was wearing one of her favourite nightgowns, her parents having tucked her in roughly an hour ago. Though they had said they weren’t, she knew they were disappointed, and angry. She saw how the court had acted, and how they looked down at her with disapproving eyes and told her parents to get rid of her and to bed. Now.

But she couldn’t sleep. Not when her door was mere steps away from the lounge and she could hear every single word her parents said as they argued; words that mixed and clashed with the noises coming from outside the open window. They thought they were speaking quietly and that she was asleep, but it was with her mind spinning in worry that she stayed up and listened in the dark.

“I don’t know what you expect me to do, Rhiannon,” her father spoke. She could picture him pacing before the giant gold couch, the one which she favoured the most. “You can’t stop her from doing what she loves.”

“Tell me: why does she love learning and reading and teaching so much?” her mother hissed. “Why is it such a big deal to love books?”

“That isn’t important.”

Tell me.” When her father said nothing more, her mother sighed deeply. “She is 10—almost 11—and she has told me that she wants nothing more than to teach her people of the past. Of the mistakes humans once made.”

“At least the children talk to her.”

“The children will only talk to her as long as she’s alive, Damien. William wants her dead for she is ‘not fit to rule’. She needs to be straightened out. No more reading. No more teaching.”

“How do you think I’m gonna tell her?” her father said with great reluctance.

“I don’t know. Just do it. First my sister and her family passed and soon it’ll be her. I do not wish to die because of a child’s love of learning.”

Shouts and screaming came from the courtyard and the tang of burning flesh filled the air.

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that, Rhi.”

She became dizzy and couldn’t move, the smoke and horrid smell stunning her.

Her father burst through the door seconds after she fell.

“Aven,” he said as he shook and pleaded for her to get up. “Aven.”

 

^^^^^^^^

 

Aven bolted upright, the movement sending bolts of pain down her spine. It had been those words — those gods-damned words that had triggered that memory. It was agony seeing her parents’ faces, hearing their voices talk of her fallen cousin.

All the Saints.” Thanatos barked a cursed while he clutched his nose. “Warn me never to shake you.”

Oh gods. Aven lept from her spot on the floor and touched her hand to his, gently moving it away from his nose. Nothing major seemed to show up — just a small stream of blood trickled from his nostrils — nothing she couldn’t fix.

Aven tore the sleeve of her tunic, pressing it to Thanatos’ nose. “I’m so sorry, Than—”

“Azrael.”

“Beg your pardon?” She let the assassin take hold of the makeshift tissue and tend to himself for now.

He sighed deeply. “I go by Azrael.”            

Oh. Aven let it sit in her mind for a while. It must’ve taken him a lot to give her his real name. She was honored to have him — one of her people — tell her of it. She said as much.

He snorted. “It’s no big deal.” 

“I think it is.”

 

^^^^^^^^

 

Azrael couldn’t believe he told her his name. It was something he held dearly.

Months of heartache came flooding back and he touched his hand to Saint Lerineon — Saint of truths — earning a wary glance from Aven.

This’d take some time to get used to, but all the better to be truthful than to be a liar.

“Ok,” Azrael flashed his brightest, most sincere smile at the princess. “It is sorta a big deal — for me anyway.”

She smiled back, though her smile didn’t completely reach her eyes.

His own dimmed in slight concern. “Are you hungry?” A small nod. “I make the best waffles in the guild.” Azrael winked in a flimsy attempt to make her laugh.

It worked apparently and she rolled her eyes laughing all the while. “I see you’re very humble.”

“And modest.”

“Very modest.” Aven giggled. “But let’s try these waffles, shall we? Before you start gloating till my ears bleed, huh?”

Azrael stood, bowing as he went. “I’ll see you soon, Milady.”

Please spare me the fancy talk and just call me Aven.” She shook her head as she got up.

He was a whole head taller than her and Azrael thought her size made her slightly cuter, but still intimidating. He was standing in front of probably the most powerful person on the planet. Perhaps it wouldn’t be the last.

“Sure.” 

“Say it.”

“Say what?”

“Say my name. Say, ‘Sure, Aven.’ ”

He rolled his eyes. “If it pleases Your Imposing Crème de la crème — and you won’t burst into song — I shall call you by your first name.”

“Crème de la crème.” She rolled the syllables over her tongue. “I like it.”

“Thought you might.”

After a few more attempts to leave her be, he finally made his way down the kitchen. He hummed one of his grandfather’s old songs all the way. Yer a chip off the old block, my boy. Eight-pence to the shilling you may be. But one thing that I know for sure, is you’ll be much better than me.

Perhaps not, Pa. Azrael thought. No one could live up to your legacy. Not even me.

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