A Thief's Loyalty

October 5, 2010
“I hear you are very handy with a sword…or two.” mocked Lord Edmund. “I’ll let you fight for your freedom.”

Iya struggled against the grip of the guards. “I don’t want your pity.” She spat on Lord Edmund’s shoes as the guards slammed her to the floor. They tugged her hands farther back behind her causing her to flinch. They ripped her hair with their sweaty palms; Iya let out a raw yelp. Her vicious, green eyes stained with hatred towards Lord Edmund.

He just sniggered, “Calm yourselves, men. What do you suspect from a barbarian of Kkiathan?”

The men just laughed as Iya grew heated from the insult of her beloved country. She seized her opportunity, ripping through the guards as a hiatus interrupted the laughter. Iya dashed en route of Lord Edmumd with determination. But he just entangled his fingers together like he was watching an entertaining demonstration of combat. Two guards drew out their swords to blockade their Lord. Iya ducked as her tied wrists stayed up, and the crystal blades slashed the worn fabric in threads. With her feet continuing to slide, she snatched one of the swords from his palm, cutting a deep wound. She slit the others guard’s neck, clutching his swords. With two swords handing in her palms, one dripping with fresh blood, Iya laid her icy, green eyes upon the next poor soul. They landed on a man, in his late youth, who stood with his sword at ready.

He swirled his sword around, striking Iya’s swords. Energy transcended from her blades as she slashed a counterattack. They battled against each as the other men stared blankly at each other and upon the two swordsmen, locked in war.

“Tak. Tak…” They chanted around them in a circle. His blue eyes illuminated as the chant grew louder.

Tak moved like the perilous wind; Iya moved like the hurricane waves: each battling the elements.

Tak moved his swords with a swift and precise movement, slicing through Iya’s attacks. Iya’s movement was ridged and clear-cut, halting Tak’s attacks. As they moved around the circle, they never took a recess.

After a half an hour of fighting, Iya grew exhausted, gasping for air. Tak raised his swords in attack as he came over to Iya. He dazed into her green eyes. She gazed into his tranquil blue eyes. He seemed just as fatigued as she was. He smiled as she clung to the blades. She unfolded the swords like they were extensions of her limbs. Iya and Tak danced with their swords as their blades collided like rolling thunder. A stalemate grew between them, neither one able to break or retreat the other opponent.

Tak’s eyes grew wide with astonishment as Iya’s movement began to break through his barrier. Her movements began to speed up with shrift and sharpness, striking down Tak’s attack. She slit his first sword into the air and the other gone before he could blink. He stumbled backwards and flopped to the floor. She crossed her two swords around his neck as his blue eyes glistened off the blades.

“Kill him.” Lord Edmund commanded.

Tak stared at his lord in bafflement. “What? But my Lord…”

“I said kill him.” Lord Edmund repeated, ignoring Tak’s cry for help.

“I fought and I won. So let me go.” Iya reminded in broken Kkiathan.

“Kill him and I’ll drop all charges against you.” Lord Edmund proposed.

Iya sighed in defeat as she thought, “Typical Kyethan. All of them liars.” She turned her attention back towards Tak who was sprawled on the ground looking into the distance.

Once again Iya sighed as she removed the blades from Tak’s neck, offering a hand. Tak, not hesitating, grabbed it and pulled himself up. He placed his hand upon her shoulder as Lord Edmund’s lips quivered in angry.

“Take this thief to the brig and tell the gallows that there will be a hanging tomorrow at dawn.” Lord Edmund announced as two guards snatched her wrists and wretched them behind her. Iya freed the swords as they clunked to the floor.
Tak stepped between Lord Edmund and Iya, “My Lord, how can you…”


“Stand down, Major Tak. Or the gallows will see you for treason.” Lord Edmund stated and Tak back down, avoiding Iya’s eyes. She was dragged away like a bag of potatoes.


***

“By order of Lord Edmund, on the seventh of June in the hundredth and twenty year of the Fidèle Dynasty, that the Kkiathan, Iya, be hanged to death. She had been accused, trailed, and found guilty of attempt assassination of Lord Edmund and theft of the royal sword, Saida. The punishment shall be carried out at dawn of the eighth of June in the hundredth and twenty year of the Fidèle Dynasty.”
The prosecutor read the scroll as a noose was placed around Iya’s neck.

Iya didn’t move or speak, as a blind fold went around her eyes. A soft pause ran through the crowd when the executioner grasped the handle of the trapdoor. He pulled the handle and Iya’s feet dangled in midair. She didn’t make a sound as the noose tightened around her neck. Within a few seconds, she was dead as the sun peaked over the horizon.

***

Four people sat in a train cart as the train roared past the empty vast land of Kyethan. The woman gazed out the window, as two swords rested by her thighs. One of the men brought her over a cup of hot green tea. She came out of her half-sleep as the man whispered, “You need to focus, Iya, or Lord Edmund will change his mind.”

Iya sipped the hot liquid as her tired eyes came to life. “Sorry. “ She said softly as she rested her tired head upon the window. The land moved past between them in a hurry as farmers and towns passed without a second glance.

“It is still hard to believe that seven hours ago I thought I was to be hanged at dawn. Why did Lord Edmund change his mind?” Iya whispered as Tak settled in the seat next to her. He placed a friendly hand on her shoulder.

“I try not to question him; it just makes him mad. But I guess he saw something in you; something that he couldn’t let die.” Tak informed as he tucked a string of hair behind her ear. Iya looked at him and shook her head, smiling.

“You aren’t anything like the stories.” Tak responded.

Iya’s eyes went cold, but soft. “Some of them are true, but some of them are fabricated.”

“Which ones?” Tak asked with curiosity.

A sly smile crawled upon her face as she took another sip of tea. “I’m not telling!” She teased.

“Just tell me this. Can you really…?” Tak started.

Iya stood up abruptly, spilling the rest of the tea all over the floor. She gripped her swords as her ears heard a distance noise. She eyed Lord Edmund who was chatting with Emperor Roi of Kakastan about making a non-aggression pact if war breaks out between Kkiathan and Kyethan. Iya stepped towards the front of the train car and held her stance. Tak just stared with interest.

“What is she doing, Major Tak?” Lord Edmund asked annoyed.

“I’m not all that sure, My Lord.” Tak informed.

“Well, whatever it is, make her stop. She is embarrassing me in front of Emperor Roi.” Lord Edmund barked.

“Yes, My Lord.” Tak bowed and hustled over to Iya who are still standing in a “ready” position as she gripped tightly to her swords.

“Iya, you need to…” Tak started until Iya elbowed him to the floor as a bullet crashed through the train car window.

With fast reflex, Iya ripped the swords out of the hostler and sliced the bullet in half. She quickly gained her stance in front of Lord Edmund, protecting him. A man kicked the train car door off its hinges with his herculean heel. He plopped down on the floor with his black trench coat hanging down to his hunter, brown boots. Iya just smiled as the man seemed puzzled by Iya’s present.

“So the rumors are true. Iya has become a servant of Lord Poulet de Lâche.” The man chuckled.

“Hello, Vole.” Iya spoke with a dry expression. “Get Lord Edmund and Emperor Roi out of here, Tak.” Iya ordered.

Tak did as he was told and led the two men out the back.

“What do you want, Vole?” Iya asked with irritation rising in her voice once the train car door was closed.
“I’m here for what is rightfully mine.” Vole said as he grabbed Iya. He pulled her into his embrace as his lips pressed hard against hers. Iya was purely disgusted, thrashing against his embrace. When he finally pulled back for air, he gasped, “I’m taking you back with me, Iya.”
“You wish.” Tak’s voice called from behind them. With a swish of his sword, Iya was free from the brute’s grip. She readied her swords as Tak came next to her. Vole was holding the side of his cheek which had a deep wound. Blood dripped between his fingers.
“You little B******!” Vole roared. He pulled out a sword and stood ready.
Iya was the first to attack as she crashed down upon Vole’s sword; Vole counterattacked but was blocked by Tak’s blow to the arm; soon a battle had broken out between them. Iya moved like the sea and Tak moved like the air; they moved with the elements as each worked with the other’s weakness and strengths. But Vole moved like a volcano, erupting through the attacks.
Iya pivoted around after an attack, but a second to late with Vole’s blow to the side. She collapsed upon the floor, gripping the wound to her side. Vole elbowed Tak into the side of the car. Tak collapsed in pain. Vole marched over to Iya who was trying to stand up. He kicked her to the floor.
“You have decided to love that man. Fine, I’ll make sure Kkiatha loses a traitor.” Vole slammed the blade of his sword into Iya’s palm. She shrieked in pain as blood began to paint her hand. Vole pulled his sword out and slammed it into her thigh. She gasped for air as the pain vibrated through her skin.
“This is what you have chosen, Iya. You must accept the consequences.” Vole smirked as he rested his sword across her throat. Iya’s eyes were impassive. “But…if you beg me to spare you and say that you’ll be mine forever, then I’ll stop this.” Vole proposed.
Iya’s ragged breath could barely handle a word as she rasped, “Never!”
“So be it. Farewell, Iya.” Vole stated as he stated to plunge his sword into her chest. It was only a few centimeters when a loud CRACK echoed in the distance. Her limbs and mind went numb. Everything went black.

***

“I, Lord Edmund, knight you, Iya and Tak, as Kyethan Royal Knights. You both have shown great loyalty and strength in the call of duty.” Lord Edmund announced as he lowered Saida upon each of their shoulders. Six months had passed since Iya awoke in Emperor Roi’s palace dressed in bandages.
Iya and Tak mounted their horses as they trotted through the roof of swords proceeding to the head of cavalry. Lord Edmund was mounted upon his stallion where he held Saida up. The two knights raised their handcrafted swords, touching Saida’s tip.
“My loyalty is yours, Lord Edmund. And it shall be that way till my death…” Iya whispered as they drew back their swords. She swallowed her pride, “…My Lord.”
Lord Edmund gave a slight twitch of the lips.





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