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The Series Of Kardone
Akeelé’s army had descended upon most of the lands of Kardone. They marched day and night, burning, destroying, and creating a path of destruction and death. Her army would advance on the temples at noon. The monks would be arrogant, mocking even. Akeelé would watch them burn, and scream as the books that the gods themselves had written, would turn from marble white, to charcoal black.
Akeelé smiled to herself in satisfaction. The secret of the gods would be hers. The gods, good and evil would bow to her power, loath it, despise it, and hate it. She would succeed, the world would be plunged into everlasting evil were she would rule over all.
“Majesty,” whispered a small distant voice. Akeelé spun round to look at her companion.
“Savna, state your business,” she said sternly, annoyed that her thoughts of victory were interrupted.
“I...I have a message my dark lady,” he wheezed.
“Yes, what is it?” Akeelé snapped.
“I have had vision, majesty, the gods are not pleased with you’re... let’s say activities,” he stuttered. Akeelé sighed in annoyance, and said “yes Savna I have heard this”
“It was different this time my lady, it contained a warning” He wheezed.
“And how is that different to always?” she yelled.
“M-m-majesty” he stammered “It was the soul keeper, who came to me this time, and he...he... he said he would take your soul from your living body if you…proceeded” trembled the petrified monk. Akeele laughed her shrill awful laugh and said “how easy a sacrifice, except I do pity the soul searcher, as he will have some difficulty finding mine, I believe it’s rotting in hell!”
With that Savna nodded and left Akeele road on to triumph, leaving the gods worrying for the survival of their world and more importantly, for the survival of their own being.
The day had taken an abrupt turn towards the harsh cold. Elizabeth’s eyes lingered at the window, finding herself feeling quite disgruntled, as she stared at the heavy grey clouds rolling impassively across the sky, with the promise to bring rain. Little did they know they had just ruined a day’s worth of enjoyment?
Elizabeth continued to stare out the window, even as soft rain drops splattered against the glass, her mood sinking lower with each minute. She wanted to go to the town square today; this she had planned last night. It had only been a week since her father had left, and she conspired, her mother including herself in this, to use his absence to her advantage.
Her father so rarely let her out the house, if he did; it was strictly limited to her father’s property only. Though, she didn’t exactly know the reason to this. But now that he had left the reason to this unknown to her as well, it gave her the most perfect opportunity to explore all the places of the state she desired. It was only a little more than luck that her mother agreed to this, however reluctant. Elizabeth was sure her mother only let her out of the house because Elizabeth knew just how to play it so that her mother felt guilty if she didn’t. She felt it ought to bother her that she sent her mother on guilt trips, but it didn’t. After all, she did deserve the right to travel the world for herself.
But Elizabeth had only been out of this house twice so far. The first, she reconnoitred through the forest that lies just beyond her father’s land, this she found rather too difficult to venture through to again. The second time, she had tried to get to the towns square, but had taken the wrong road, never reaching it in the end. Though, last night she had sought the right information from the maid who does the regular shopping at the market in the town square. She had geared herself with this, and she had planned to leave the moment she was dressed down the direct route to the city square. Of course, the weather had taken to hating her, and rained. It was not that she was scared of a bit of rain, but she was neither particularly interested in getting wet and sick.
Staring sullenly out the window, she wondered what she ought to do for the rest of the day. She never expected this.
Elizabeth turned unwillingly from the window to face the questioner.
A maid, the very one she had asked about the right route to the city, was standing in the threshold of the room, her plump arms filled with satin bed sheets. She was a round woman, shorter than Elizabeth, with wild orange hair with hardly ever stayed beneath the pins. This maid was rather nice, and Elizabeth found her a useful source of information that others couldn’t give her. She felt slightly awkward at the fact that after the several years she had worked for the Smith family, Elizabeth never bothered herself enough to remember her name.
The maid was peering, her small face dotted with freckles was pulled together, looking concerned, at Elizabeth. Elizabeth felt she was about to be queried on what she was doing staring out the window so absently, just what she wasn’t in the mood for.
“Yes?” Elizabeth sighed, her voice having a little more indignation than necessary. The maid turned a sudden delicate pink, and she dropped her eyes to the floor.
“I was just noticed you were looking rather downcast”, she said sheepishly, “I just wondered if I could be of any help?” She looked up hopefully.
Elizabeth felt herself soften, knowing the maid meant well.
“Sorry”, she apologised slowly, avoiding the maid’s eyes, and then looked wistfully out the window. “I was just hoping for a nice day out to day. It is apparent that will not be happening today”. She sighed again.
As she turned back to the maid, the maid was smiling.
“I think I can help with that”, she said, and then hurried to Elizabeth’s side. Elizabeth felt like shifting sidewards, away from the maid, but fought against it, knowing this would come across rude, and this might make the maid change her mind about helping Elizabeth.
The maid looked out the window and pointed a short stubby finger to where she was looking. Elizabeth followed her gaze, peering through the window, and there, a good distance from the location of where Elizabeth was presently, was blue sky. The clouds were rolling away from this blue patch of sky.
She smiled, and turned to the maid. The maid smiled back at her, and began to walk away from the window.
“Sometimes” she said, almost wisely, “You have to look beyond what is right in front of your eyes. Now how about you go and get dressed, and it should be completely sunny by then.
“Thank-you...” she said, and hesitated, as she went to say the maids name, but forgot she didn’t know it. The maid smiled again at her.
“Julie.” She reminded her patiently.
Elizabeth nodded again. “Thank-you, Julie”.
Julie chuckled to herself as she said, “Your welcome, Miss Elizabeth”.
Elizabeth followed Julie out to the corridor, and waited at the doorway, waiting until Julie walked into another room, and then she broke into a run down the corridor, eager to get to her room. On the way, Elizabeth almost knocked over a few of the servants, but she barley took notice. Finally she slowed as her room came into view, and she stopped as she came to the door of her room.
Elizabeth’s room was one of the larger rooms of this small mansion, and one would assume that she would love it. Instead, she despised it. How long had this room been her prison, her dungeon. How many days had she waisted away sitting in this room, imagining just how the world was? She wrinkled her nose as she entered, the room still having the same effect over her.
In her hurry to be out of the house, Elizabeth was even more eager to get out of her very own room, and she ran to her wardrobe. She pulled out the first piece of fabric, and, without so much as a glance at what she had in her hands, pulled it on. Then, as though she was in a race, she hastily sat at her large mirror that was attached to a chest of draws.
Finally, she decided to calm down, and take her time. Firstly, she looked down at what she was wearing, and nodded, decided she had no need to change into anything else.
It was a deep, ocean blue dress, nothing too special about it, and fit enough to ride a horse in. She sighed, unsure of why, and slumped slightly in her seat.
Picking up a brush, Elizabeth combed slowly through her hair. Elizabeth had silky honey blonde curls that looped into small ringlets till the middle of her back. She had soft, smooth ivory skin, with delicate pink cheeks. She also had bright blue eyes, framed with think long lashes, and small light pink lips. Elizabeth never doubted her beauty, and if she were completely honest with herself, she knew that she was prettier than most girls around her age, not that she had seen many.
Sighing again, she hoped that her father stayed away for as long as possible. Perhaps that way, she might actually meet girls her age and befriend those in the city.
It was at least an hour later that Elizabeth was finally on her horse, and on her way.
Her ha mother insisted on her taking some money with her, and that she should take a cloak so she should not get cold. Elizabeth was slowly getting the impression that her mother was beginning to seem a little doting, but she as unsure as to why. Her mother had never paid all that much attention to her, as did her father. But now, her mother showed excessive affection, almost forming an obsession to make Elizabeth pleased. It was odd; there was no other word for it.
Shaking that from her mind, Elizabeth focused her mind on where she going. The sun was shining warmly down on the wet land. The trees, still dripping with the rain, were now slowly becoming full of life once more. Birds sat on the branches, singing softly to one another, and Elizabeth saw a squirrel, or two scamper up tree trunks.
She smiled to herself. Feeling bliss, and closed her eyes briefly. How could her father forbid something so wonderful?
At first Elizabeth began to think she took the wrong road again, when something appeared at the horizon. Houses began to form, and Elizabeth began to see people. She felt excitement bubble inside her, and she nudged her sleeky black stallion, Philip, gently, encouraging him to go faster. He broke into a run, and she smiled as she watched the city square rush into her view, getting larger and larger.
Her excitement was so high, it took her a moment to realise that most of the people in the towns square had stopped what they were doing, and were staring at her. Elizabeth paused, and then felt her smile slide off her face, replaced by a blush. She slowed Philip so he was hardly walking, he was that slow, and she ducked her down, embarrassed.
Barely looking where she was steering Philip, Elizabeth kept her gaze locked onto his back, until she was game enough to glance up. By the time she did this, most people had resumed what they were doing, and were no longer staring at her. There were a few, however, whose eyes lingered on her, looking more amused than any thing.
Elizabeth could not understand what their problem could be. She assumed that she had interrupted a quite morning with her galloping in quite boisterously, and perhaps even ruined one’s perfectly good morning. But the way they all stared at her was as if they recognised her, but Elizabeth knew this surely was not possible, as she had never been to town. It didn’t take long until the few stares remaining began to annoy her, and thus, she began to see things critically.
The town square was a small one, made of houses built in a form of a street, the walk way being the town. The houses where old, all most all of them looked poorly built, and at any rate, ready to fall apart. They were pressed tightly together, and as the street was cluttered with people, Elizabeth began to feel slightly claustrophobic. The people, other than one or two, all looked very poor, and the very sight of them caused Elizabeth to wrinkle up her nose. They were wearing clothes that looked as though they had not been washed perhaps only ever once, if ever. They were torn, and so covered in dirt, it was almost impossible to tell exactly what colour they were. Elizabeth shifted uncomfortably in her own soft dress. Never would she dare wear some thing like that.
Of course, as Elizabeth glanced down at a small five year old darting across the street, she altered her thoughts slightly. ‘It is not their fault,’ Elizabeth thought reasonably, ‘but their parents. If their parents really cared, they would do all in their power to make sure their children get a better life’.
Elizabeth felt pride of being the daughter of Amadeus and Lucilla Smith