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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Blackthorn - Prologue. Prologue

mock-oranges - brotherly love

Isle of the Dead

He had often wondered what gave the lush little island in the middle of the Hyrcanian Ocean such a gruesome name, Isle of the Dead. Now, lying in the midst of a sea of dead he wondered if this was a normal occurrence to the island. When they landed in the cover of coming dusk, hiding them from the prying eyes of the world, they had spoken in whispers to their guardians who had promised them that the isle was secure, and he had no reason to doubt them. After all they were the finest mercenaries in the entire kingdom. He had not known how the vicious hatred and the jealousy of one man could overpower anything, anything, standing in his way.

Prince Kato, the Crown Prince of Tlemecene had been in love. He tried to stop the giggle that tried to escape. He should not have bothered for only a bit of a gurgle left his mouth which was instantly drowned in the groans of dying men around him.

He and the bodyguard had accompanied his prince to a dilapidated port in southern Taurus after weeks of weary traveling and hiding. From there, they had hired a boat – an old weary thing – that took them to the Isle of the Dead under the pretense of visiting the Temple Island to the south of the Isle of the dead. Nobody paid any attention to the odd devotees from Varat travelling to the Temple Island during the stormy season on a pilgrimage for it was their custom. They had sailed to the Temple Island first, and then gone to the Isle of Death from there, and then scaled the steep cliffs of the southern side of the isle to reach the camp set up by their welcoming party. The Dyausan mercenaries had been jovial and he had not expected them to be so, for Tlemecenean mercenaries were a dreaded sight to behold. After a short hike the thick woods had parted to reveal the camp and the Prince had run ahead, leaving their party behind and scooped his lover in to his arms.

“Oh Kato, my love.” The Princess had slid her fingers into the Prince’s hair and kissed him until they both were breathless.

Everyone had looked away, hiding small, but happy smiles.

Princess Adhyant was the Crown Princess of Dyaus, the most powerful kingdom their world had ever seen. She was also a very sweet and silly woman. The Prince had met her when the Princess had visited Tlemecene on a State Visit, as it was the norm of the future monarch of Dyaus to visit all the countries on the continent before their coronation. The Prince and the Princess had been made to spend most of her visit together as the future monarchs of their kingdoms and he had watched them soon abandoning state talks to escape into the gardens or reading halls to make out and murmur to each other for hours as if they were kids who just reached majority. He had been their lookout.

“Come to Dyaus with me.” She had pleaded the Prince one evening as he said good bye to at her chambers.

“I can’t let my father down, mi loca.” The Prince had replied.

Princess Adhyant had adamantly refused to even think of moving to Tlemecene or give up her crown despite swearing that she loved Prince Kato. He could not understand how the Prince was accepting her decision. She should have given up the kingdom or offered the Prince to become the High King instead of asking him to be the High Consort. No respectable woman in Tlemecene would have thought of such an atrocity. It chaffed him the wrong way, however the Prince had shut him down quickly when he tried to voice his offence and he had not wanted to upset his Prince.

“You really think the king would give you the crown? You are not even safe here. You want me to leave you unprotected in a land where I can’t keep you safe? Please, come with me.” She had pleaded.

“I’ll be fine. I’m sure your father wouldn’t be all that impressed with the headache of taking in a Crown Prince either. I must come up with a way to deal with things here before we can be together. I owe it to my father and the kingdom, my love.” The Prince had insisted.

“Fine, I’m leaving Iain here. I’ll make up some lie and leave him to protect you. Kato, don’t argue.”

“I don’t want to argue, but I’m sure the Deputy Imperial Commander will happily slay me in my bed.”

“Kato,” the Princess exclaimed. “For the hundredth time, Iain is not in love with me. As adorable as your jealousy is, I want you to stop being so antagonistic towards my deputy. He isn’t in love with me. You have to accept that if we want to spend a lifetime together. Iain is going nowhere.” The Princess’ voice had taken a steel edge that carried the power of generations of Dyausan monarchs, sending chills down his spine.

“Fine, fine,” the Prince had raised his hands in a placatory gesture. “He is creepy, you have to admit that.”

“He has his reasons. May be he’ll tell you someday. Also, after a while it grows on you. He grows on you.”

He doubted the steely Deputy Imperial Commander will ever make friends with Prince Kato. He knew that he and the Prince had been correct all along about the Deputy Imperial Commander, Iain Khatri, as he watched the man slaughter their mercenary guard. The Deputy Commander’s people had killed Prince Kato and the commander had not been quick enough to follow them to stop them from running a long sword through Princess Adhyant who was in a sailor’s cloths just like the rest of them.

The deputy Commander had been inhuman as he roared and drove his double swords through his own men. He watched with a heavy heart as the Deputy Imperial Commander slashed through the neck of the last mercenary standing guard over the dead royals, sending the head rolling, and kicked the decapitated body aside before reaching for the Princess.

“No, no. Adhyant. No.”

The scream that followed had shattered the sacred silence of the dawn sending hundreds of birds flying off of the peace of their nests in to the orange skies. He watched in awe as the man tucked his head in the nook of the Princess’ neck and keening the sounds of a wounded animal.

His eyes grew darker and darker as the sky pinked and brightened until it was blue and a streak of sun fell on sea of frosty mock-oranges smudged with blood while the keening in the background grew hoarse until silence accompanied him to the blissful darkness.

Happy Hunting...

Copyright © 2021 Ruslana di Angelo; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Wow!

I always taught my students to read the first page or two of a book to see if it ‘grabbed’ them.  I told them it was likely to keep their interest all the way to the end.

This was a ‘grabber,’ alright!

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7 minutes ago, Clancy59 said:

Wow!

I always taught my students to read the first page or two of a book to see if it ‘grabbed’ them.  I told them it was likely to keep their interest all the way to the end.

This was a ‘grabber,’ alright!

Thank you. 🙇‍♀️ This is a labor of much love. I hope to hold on to you till the end.

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Hmm...it will be interesting to see the relevance of this on the story. Must admit, was slightly confused as to who killed who. Iain's men killed the Prince (with his blessing) and the Princess (by mistake)? Also, who was telling this story?

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7 hours ago, Buz said:

Hmm...it will be interesting to see the relevance of this on the story. Must admit, was slightly confused as to who killed who. Iain's men killed the Prince (with his blessing) and the Princess (by mistake)? Also, who was telling this story?

The point is to not give you the answers to those questions until the end 😉

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Okay, not sure how this is going to go; but enough of a mystery for me to at least move forward.  Writing was good but the pacing wasn't smooth as I would have expected.  

Just enough of the background so you know sort of what is going on; but not really sure how the players revolve around each other.  Could be the start of a grand adventure.

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