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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4. Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4

Azrael

 

Crawling through the window, Azrael gently put the stirring maiden on his bed. She was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.

Her peaceful face was surrounded by a long mass of curly brown hair that ended upon her nearly flat chest, and her body was still generously curvy despite her old living conditions. But his favourite feature of all—when she was awake—was her eyes. They were as green as emeralds, or perhaps the forest canopy.

Azrael’s mouth went dry as he wondered what she had looked like before imprisonment.

“Ah, Thanatos.” his father sneered, moving from his position in the shadows. “What brings you back so early?”

Thanatos. Only the Saints new he hated that name.

On instinct Azrael touched his hands to his daggers, saying their names—and jobs—in his mind. The one sheathed at his left arm was Saint Vladimir—used to draw blood only—and at his right was Saint Romand—used to take lives. On his thighs were Saint Lerineon—for torture—and Sankta Anastasia­­—for throwing long distances. The only ones he didn’t have now were his swords, but he still named them anyway. Saint Aquarus and, his most treasured sword, Justice.

It was known to every assassin in Azrael’s guild that whenever he touched his hands to his daggers that he was either sad, scared or very pissed. It helped calmed him down even in the direst of moments, when he felt like giving up on everything, namely his grandfather’s death day. But of course, he had better things to do than dwell on the past, especially when his father was there and a girl in his bed.

“What do you want, father?”

As he spoke, each word was clipped with hatred.

“You know my name,” — his father spat back  “so use it.”

Never, Azrael snarled in his mind. He weighed the consequences. He could refuse or give in. The former would gain him nothing but a bruised face and possibly some broken bones.

With great reluctance, he gave in. “Yes, Hades.

His father only turned to walk out the door, muttering a curse to his god as he went.

^^^^^^^

Aven awoke with a groan. Where she was or what had happened yesterday slipped out of her grasp every time she searched for a single memory of it. It must have been the guards, she thought to herself. Their safety procedures are quite strange.

She scanned the room around her and its contents — as she always did whenever she entered a new room. A map of the continent was spread upon a round table and weighted by two swords, one which had a pearl embedded in the hilt. A wardrobe leaned against the far wall, empty but for a few books of human sciences. A dark cloak along with a black leather suit hung on the back of a chair and was placed in front of a mirror that looked to be imported — or stolen — from Indesh. The air seemed to smell of spice — also from Indesh — and a hint of… sewer.

She raked her fingers through her hair. Of course there was a catch with being let out of her cell, she’d have to live in probably the smelliest part of the castle — and clean it by the look of the thick leather in the suit.

“Good morning.”

Aven shrieked, falling backwards off the bed with a thump. Apparently she’d have an unwelcome roommate as well.

“Relax.” Thanatos smirked from his place on the bed. “It’s only me.” Though his smirk suggested otherwise, his tone was as if he was talking to a startled horse. Both gentle and soothing.

Aven’s eyes raked his very bare torso. “What do you think you’re doing here? Get out,” she sputtered out as heat crept up her cheeks.

“Sorry, Your Highness, but I think you’ll find this is my room.”

His teeth were gritted in suppressed anger and wolf-like ears seemed to prick up from within his tangle of black hair. Aven shook her head. Perhaps it’s just the trick of the light.

Visions of yesterday washed over her like an unexpected storm on a clear day. Dozens of stinging raindrops, each carrying a said line, invaded her thoughts. The General ripping her from her cell, the promise of her survival. The half-clothed boy knocking her out with a deadly embrace.

Aven scrambled backwards. “Y-you.” She barred her teeth, hissing as a cat would when disturbed by an unwelcome pat. “Where have you taken me?” Venom laced her every word.

Something like pain flashed across his face at Aven’s hostility.

With a few graceful movements, the assassin padded over to retrieve his cloak — hood back in place — all traces of the hurt boy gone.

“Forgive me,” he almost whispered. “Welcome to the Assassin’s Keep of Port Rilee… Hendriks Street more specifically.”

It was getting harder and harder for Aven to keep herself from screaming. Maybe — just maybe — she was better off here than at the hands of the King and his sandy-haired Prince. Maybe she’d learn to survive here.

“You might want to calm down before you pass out,” Thanatos spared her a glance. “I recommend deep breathing.”

“‘I recommend deep breathing’,” Aven mocked. “I recommend you let me go.”

He sighed through his nose and Aven watched his hands as he produced not a knife, but a deck of cards from his pocket.

“As much as I’d love to get rid of you, I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Well…forgotten one.” Aven watched as he paced the room, shuffling the deck as he went. “I need to get your little cousin from Rilean — though, he’s probably dead and/or broken now — and take him down to Lyra, restore him to the throne, yada yada yada.

He paused only to look her in the eyes. Deep green met blue and red.

“I’m also meant to get you back on the gold somehow…” A thoughtful look at the ceiling. “It’s gonna be hard with that King and his little son in the way.”

Aven felt like she’d been slapped in the face as yet another wave of memories washed over her. Her cousin was far away in Lyra not Rilean… Or was he? Each attempt to remember was as hopeless as trying to catch a fish with bare hands.

Darkness fell when she finally caught the slippery fish by the tail.

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