The False Betrayal

The dungeon floor was cold, hard, and grey with a mixing of brown staining that scattered itself across the stone. The clanging of chains could be heard echoing across the hollow chambers from the neighboring cells. The musky scent of excrement and sweat lingered in the air causing a foul odor to weave its way into every crack and crevice like a snake slithering slowly towards its prey. The stone walls were perceived in the morning light as having a sharp and rough texture that blanketed the walls. A figure was lying on a bed of straw upon the ground bundled in a faded red cloth. It’s murky locks were tangled and strewn across it’s dusty face. The room was quiet, with a sense of peace and tranquility as the figure lay asleep. A loud clank sounded from down the hall which abruptly woke the figure. It sat up, rubbed the dust from its face and turned its head as it examined its surroundings. The heavy thud of boots was heard approaching the cell. Quickly the figure drew itself to its full height as the clinking and clanking of keys were hurried into the rusted lock. The heavy steel door, slowly scratched open and a tall built man stood in the doorway. Behind him were two other officers in a silver set of armor, their hands at their side resting upon their sword at the ready. The tall man had dark hair with a unkempt beard framing his face. Upon his head he wore a helmet with a gold and red sigil of the royal household engraved in the center. From underneath this helm pierced two dark eyes that examined this small figure before him.


“You Rhea Thorne?” he spat tersely. The figure nodded. The man pulled out a scroll from his pack, and unrolled it. “Yous been sent for,” he stated and continued to read. “By order from the King, yous to ‘pear before the household in the royal court, discuss your crime.” He re-rolled the scroll and stuffed it back into his pack. “Well, Ms. Thorne,” he snickered slyly. “Let’s escort ya to His Majesty.”

* * * * *



Rhea stood in front of two large golden doors. They teetered upwards towards the massive ceiling that was painted as if with the intent of re-designing the heavens. The doors themselves were decorated with a silver lining that wove throughout the marble. Placed in intricate shapes and designs were brilliant jewels that lifted their bright faces to the light that spilled into the corridor from the floating orb in the sky. The tall officer had his rough hand placed squarely on Rhea’s shoulder. His fingers dug into the earth of her simple material. She tensed as he drew her to her full height. She moaned with the ache of the muscles that had so long been in a resting state. “Hush girl!” and a second streak of pain ran from Rhea’s shoulder and continued to race across her body. Two of guards approached the gold doors and with all of their might they began to pull the doors open. The weight could be felt in the ground as the marble scraped across the polished floor and in the grunts of the men as they slowly persuaded the door open. The tall guard wrapped his other arm about Rhea and shoved her into the hall. Rhea continued to stumble down the walkway, the sharp pain still ringing in her ears until she had reached a raised platform in the center of the hall. The man placed her up on this platform and commanded her to “stay put”. He and his guards exited the room and slowly shut the beautiful golden doors leaving Rhea alone to face her judgement. She turned towards the front of the room and before her stood a beautiful women posed upon the side of the throne in which her husband, the king leaned out of. His bright blue eyes bore holes into Rhea’s mind, reading her very thoughts, and he knowingly caressed his cheek. The queen shifted her weight from leaning upon the throne to a threatening form with crossed arms impeding any sense of grace that Rhea desperately hunted for.



“Rhea Thorn,” addressed the king, now drawing himself to his full height. “We trusted you, placed the entire weight of our kingdom squarely upon your shoulders. Was it a difficult task? Yes. Was it one we knew you could handle? In essence you could call it a simple task.” The queen slowly circled the throne, never once losing her penetrating stare which pinned Rhea to the floor. She stared at the ground again, she couldn't make eye contact. “Why then,” the king continued, “would you DARE betray our trust.” He slammed his fist onto the table before him, his anger echoed in the great hallroom. “We have now lost our greatest prize! How COULD you?” He rose from his seat, the queen rushed forward to help steady him, while the king waved his hand, relieving the queen of her assistance. Rhea shook inside, her stomach now in shambles as the beating of her heart attempted to place it back together. Gathering her courage, Rhea lifted her head and faced the king. “Well?!” he roared, “what say you?”


“Highness, I know not what to say,” her voice rang clear and strong. “Your task was indeed simple, however, other… elements came into play.”


“Elements… ELEMENTS!” The roar was now morphing into a cry. “He was my son! I placed him in your care! In the care of the Thorn family, as this nation has for centuries. BAH! My folly lies there, right at my feet mocking me.” He looked down at Rhea, his stare of hatred poured down the steps of the throne, and Rhea could see that his eyes were now hazing with tears. The room fell silent.


“We… we were on the eastern roads,” she began. “I knew them well, so danger was definitely not on my mind. Your son and I traveled along the road, laughing and talking as had become the common activity throughout the journey, until we came to Gothea Bridge.” Rhea continued to recount that fateful day. How such a small bridge would not have been able to hold the horse’s weight, so they took the packs and released them. Rhea took the first steps out onto the bridge and after about a fourth of the way, she beckoned to Prince to come forward. “….and...” Tears were swelling to her eyes, Rhea gulped them down and continued. “It...all happened so fast…”.



Devon stepped out onto the bridge behind me. Half a dozen steps forward and a plank snapped. I flew to him and held out my hand—He grabbed my arm, while still grasping the edge of the board, but our weight was just too much. I could hear the creaks and cracks the wood beneath me, it was going to give way at any moment. Devon stared at me with those piercing blue eyes, he leaned forward and carcassed my cheek, “I'm going to let go, it won’t hold us both,” I could see the tears bringing in his eyes. I screamed at him, “DEVON! NO! THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!” But….in a moment, he was gone.” Rhea fell to her knees and sobbed into her hands, attempting to muffle her grief.



The king and queen stared at the crying child before them. This was Rhea Thorn, she was strong, a great warrior, hunter and tracker. She was known throughout the land, but now she lay there on the floor, broken. “She loved him, John….” the queen said as she brushed away a stray tear. She moved from her husband down to Rhea’s small platform, she took the child in her arms and cried together. “I…..I didn’t know,” and with that the king fell into his throne, and the room was silent once again.






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