The War Within
Nicola C. Matthews
~~ 2 ~~
The Jewel of Naferia
copyright 2017 Nicola C. Matthews All Rights Reserved
Calista Vasco hissed around the soggy scrap of cloth still lodged in her mouth. One of the guards hit her between her shoulder blades with the handle of his energy sword, nearly knocking the small fairy off her feet. She stumbled, unable to right herself with the canvas bag still obstructing her view.
Angus, the older of the two guards, grabbed hold of her arm, steading her on her feet as his counterpart shackled her right leg to a ten-foot length of iron chain. Instantly her former screams of frustration became shrieks of pain, her body jerking violently. The two men stared at her in bewildered concern, not quite sure if something was actually wrong with her or if it were all merely an act, a desperate attempt at escape.
She began stomping her feet, frantically trying to rid herself of the chain. Her actions caused the two men to take notice of the angry red burn marks popping up everywhere the chain touched her fragile, ivory-colored skin.
Angus smacked the younger man in the back of his head. “You were supposed to wrap her ankle before you put the chains on her. Don’t you know anything about fairies, you simpleton?”
The younger man, Thomas, hunched his shoulders as he squatted down, cowering in fear. “I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t realize.”
“Aren’t they teaching you anything these days?” Angus asked as he held onto the screaming girl. “Fairies are allergic to iron. See how’s it burning her skin?”
Thomas nodded his head fiercely, but did not move.
“Take the chain off of her, you fool!” Angus bellowed, causing Thomas to flinch before he threw himself onto the floor.
The door to the room swung open, admitting Alexander into the fray. He took one look at Calista screaming in pain before his temper immediately flared. “For the love of the Transcenders, why is that woman screaming?” he asked as his long legs took him across the room in just a few short seconds.
“Sorry, Your Grace, but Thomas here didn’t wrap her ankle before applying the shackle. He’ll have her fixed up in no time,” Angus said as he bowed before his king.
Thomas made no move to help the woman or to move from his spot from the floor. Alexander grabbed hold of the screaming fairy and jerked her away from Angus. “Just take the shackle off of her already, Angus. She’s giving me a splitting headache with all this screaming,” he said as Calista’s screams became high-pitched wails which were like daggers to the inside of his skull.
Angus immediately set to doing his king’s bidding, removing the shackle from the woman whose screams slowly subsided to a mere whimper as soon as the iron was removed from her skin. The mottled, angry-looking burns slowly healed right before them, sending the fairy’s health level shooting from a steady decreasing 65% back to 90%. Angus then took a length of cloth and wrapped it around the fairy’s ankle, replacing the shackle and ensuring it was secured to the metal ring embedded in the stone floor.
Alexander made certain her hands were still bound securely behind her back before he finally ventured to remove the rough sack still enshrouding her head. Having never seen Calista before, Alexander’s eyes drank in the sight of her once the bag was removed.
He had always been told fairies were beautiful creatures, but the photos he had seen in his story books as a child did not compare to the creature in his arms. Her hair was long, a deep shade of mahogany in stark contrast against her alabaster skin. Even with it tangled and matted around her head and shoulders, it was still softer than the softest silk and glittered in the late afternoon sun streaming through the nearby small oval-shaped window. Her eyes were almond shaped and bluer than the ocean, fringed in long, reddish-brown lashes.
Alexander’s eyes roamed freely over the woman, takin in her slender, delicate build, the small, slightly flared hips and rounded cleavage barely visible in the stained green gown she wore. She had given his men quite the chase, leading them through thick underbrush and across savage rocks before they were finally able to subdue her. Calista’s dress was streaked with mud, leaves clinging to the frayed edges, twigs stuck in her tangled hair, and her bare feet bore the marks of multiple scratches from the briars she had lead them all through. There was no denying she was a lovely creature, but her beauty served him no purpose. He was only interested in what having her as a hostage could do in terms of increasing his land holdings throughout the Naferia kingdom.
He released her suddenly, his too-thin lips pulled down in a frown as he moved quickly away from the woman. She stumbled back, her arms still behind her back and her mouth still stuffed with the soggy rag. She tried speaking around the gag, but her words were completely incoherent.
“Sire, does she really need that gag in her mouth at all times?” Angus asked, eyeing the woman warily before he took a few steps away from her. Something about the woman made his skin crawl. Maybe it was the fact she could easily level their entire castle if she wanted to. Or at least that’s what he had been told as a child.
Alexander turned back to stare thoughtfully at the fairy for a few seconds. “For now –yes. I need to speak with the Drucynd Councilmen, and I will mention this. We’ve all been told stories about fairies and how they can use their magic, but I fear it is just stories told to children to frighten us. I want hard facts as to what she can and cannot do before I remove her gag or her restraints,” he said before turning sharply on his heel. “Get her fresh bedding, make sure she’s comfortable. Until I can consult with the Councilmen, that gag is not to be removed, not even to eat, understand?”
Angus opened his mouth to argue, but thought better of it. He personally felt better knowing she couldn’t conjure up some evil Earth demon to eat them all while they slept. “Yes, Sire,” he said instead, holding the door open as his king exited the room.
“You two listen to me, and listen well,” Alexander said as he turned to face his two men as they locked the door. “No one is to know she is here. The fewer people who know of her existence the better it is for all. She does not leave, she is not to be seen under any circumstances. Lanett will be bringing food for her each day. No one is allowed inside this room aside from myself and my advisers. Do you understand?”
Angus and Thomas nodded their heads, answering quickly, “Yes, Your Grace.”
Alexander stared at the two of them for a second, his dark brown eyes boring into theirs to make certain they understood how important it was. Satisfied they would not speak a word of their captive under any circumstances, he left the two of them to guard the door, leaving the jewel of Naferia under their careful watch.