15 years ago
Steel pierced the boy’s flesh like a needle puncturing cloth. He let out a deafening scream, but it was for no use because tonight mercy would not be on his side. The soon to be king — a dour, middle-aged man — knelt down and spat in the boy’s face.
“Where is it?” He demanded.
“I don’t know,” the bloodied boy replied.
The courtiers shuffled anticipating the awaiting scene. The man wrenched his blade from the boy’s abdomen, and the boy let out another cry as he keeled over into a pool of his own blood.
“I will give you one last chance to tell me where the key is,” the man said preparing to strike again.
“Wait,” the boy raised his hand garnering what little strength he had left, “I will tell you where it is if you do something for me in return.”
“And what does that entail?”
“I wish for you to ensure the safety of both my brothers while you keep them in this castle.” It was a bold move for him to challenge a man who had just stormed the castle and slaughtered his parents, but the boy had not forgotten a few minutes ago he was a prince with a hefty sum of authority. “Not one of your men shall ever lay a hand on my brothers, nor shall your men deprive them of food.”
“Unfortunately for you, I can neither guarantee safety nor food to your brothers.” He let out a haughty laugh, “But I do very much like the part where you tell me the location of the key.”
“Go burn in the chasm.”
“You’re not the first person to say that, but you certainly will be the last to say it to my face.”
A chorus of gasps filled the air as the man drew his sword. For the first time that night, the boy surveyed his surroundings and all the faces in the crowd. Some seemed amused, others appeared shocked, but only three faces were familiar; his two brothers who were being restrained by guards and a girl who looked half his age. She too was being held back, though not by brutes who considered themselves men, instead, it was by her own fear.
“Have you any last regards?”
He was truly afraid now — frightened of what would happen to his nation. But rather than answer, the boy met the young girl’s eyes and mouthed a single word.
The man then let his sword fall and the whole room was plunged into chaos.