Felicia: Blood Bond
Author's note: This is a continuation of the book Felicia.
DamirAs the sun started to rise I searched the small town one last time and for the first time I was finally confronted with the sound of another horse’s hooves hitting the ground. I was sent a letter from one of the towns of Parethia that was near the border we shared with Radia that said there had been recent sightings of strange men. All night I had been circling the nearest town to the one that sent me the letter and now felt adrenalin pumping through my veins. I made Sapphire quietly sprint towards the noise but she stopped when I pulled on her reigns. We were just far enough from the people that the fog of early morning hid us enough that we would not be easy to see. I got off Sapphire and crouched on the ground to wait while I already had a bow and arrow set up and ready to strike. I watched as five men came into view and quickly shot at the bow on one of the rider’s backs. It flew off into the distance as the five men became aware that they were not alone. I quickly got onto Sapphire and rushed in front of the men with my sword drawn.
“Who are you and who do you serve?”
One of the men moved his horse closer, “Who gives you the right to interrogate us, Miss?”
I moved my sword so that its tip was at the man’s throat, “Answer my question before I become annoyed, sir,” His face finally came into view as the sun finally reached above the ocean line to the west. Brown eyes and white hair calmed me slightly but not by much, “Who is it you pledge your loyalty to?”
“You are Parethian, Miss?” The man in the middle of the group asked and I slightly lowered my sword as he moved next to his comrade, “Please excuse my soldier’s rudeness, Miss. My name is Damir and these four men are my soldiers. We are merely traveling through Parethia to reach your wonderful sea.”
“May I ask where you hail from? What country do you call home?” I asked as I put away my sword but kept my hand on it.
“We hail from Atria, my lady,” The man with slightly darker brown eyes than the rest said, “And by your attire and archery skills I presume you are part of the Parethian army?”
I watched the man without trust, “Yes, you could say that, but all Parethian civilians are considered soldier,” I looked to the rising sun, “You are trying to reach the sea? Any part of it in particular?”
“We have heard rumor that the ocean is at its most beautiful near the capital, Miss.”
I turned Sapphire towards the town I had been circling, “I am going to be heading back to the capital in a few hours and I suggest you do not go through our fair country without an experienced traveler of these parts. In some areas it is not possible to go through with a horse.”
“Oh? And you are an experienced traveler of these parts?”
I smirked towards the man, “You could say that,” I looked away from him, “I need to retrieve my things in that town but then we may leave. I suggest you follow me because most soldiers of Parethia do will not allow people of brown eyes to live if they are seen skulking around.” I slowly started Sapphire towards the town and when we arrived at the inn I had stayed at during the past afternoon a young man greeted me by bowing with his right fist over his heart. I smiled to him before allowing him to take Sapphire. I looked back to the brown eyed men, “Please wait here.” I insisted before going into the inn and retrieving my single bag of belongings before going back outside but had to turn around when I felt someone tug on my trousers. I knelt down to the small girl that had followed me out of the inn. The young girl had greeted me the afternoon before because her father was the owner of the inn, “Good morning, little one.” I said kindly.
“I got this for you!” She exclaimed as she handed me a flower, “It is for the princess once she if born.”
I took the red flower happily, “Thank you.” I replied before standing and going to Sapphire. I got on her and then started ridding as the men followed behind me. We kept ridding for hours but I suddenly stopped as the sun reached its peak and the five men following me nearly trampled me.
“Why did you stop?” The darker brown eyed man growled but they all fell silent as I loaded an arrow into my bow and aimed to our right. When I shot a man hollered as two others came out of the surrounding trees. I pulled out my father’s sword and jumped off of Sapphire as the first man got near.
“For King Darius!” He hollered and as he lunged towards me. I dodged his sword but as I stabbed him a bow string rang and I was barely able to doge it. The arrow cut the entire right side of my face as I ran at the man and stabbed him before he could shoot me again. I put away my sword and went over to the three men.
“Is everyone alright?”
The darker brown eyed man watched me in awe, “How did you know we were going to be attacked?”
I smiled, “They were heavy on their feet.” I replied before getting onto Sapphire and started riding again. We did not stop again until we reached the capital city. I looked back to the man, “If you continue east you will find the ocean.”
I snickered, “So now you are going to admit your true destination? You are going to the Royal family, correct?”
“How did you know?”
“There is almost no Ocean near the capital, sir,” I replied, “Follow me and I will lead you to the castle.” I started off and did not stop until we got to the gate.
“Open the gates! The Queen has arrived!” A soldier hollered and the gates opened to present Dimitri and Vladimir sitting at the front steps of my home.
“Mama!” Dimitri hollered as I quickly got off of Sapphire and embraced the child when he reached me. I then stood and Vladimir kissed me kindly before looking to the men who followed me.
“Brother, what are you doing here?” Vladimir asked as I gasped.
“This is your brother?” I asked and he nodded. I watched as the man with the darker brown eyes came over and shook hands with Vladimir before smiling towards me.
“I would’ve never guessed such a ferocious warrior would be the Queen of Parethia.”
I watched him but regardless of his connection to Vladimir I could not forgive his dark eyes, “No wonder I did not recognize you.”
“But we look fairly alike.” Vladimir argued but we all turned when a deep voice sounded.
“You’ll have to forgive Felicia, Vladimir,” Brother said as he came over and kissed my cut cheek, “It is very difficult for us to trust anyone with brown eyes other than you. If you did not have the curse, we would never have trusted you either. That is just how we grew up. We hated anyone we could associate with Darius.”
I turned to him, “Brother, have the captives spoken to anyone yet?” I asked and he sighed.
“They refuse to speak.”
I looked down to Dimitri when he tugged on my shirt, “Mommy, what is that in your pocket?”
I pulled out the slightly tattered red flower, “A girl I met asked me to give it to your little sister once she is born.”
“Speaking of our princess, Vladimir,” Brother asked, “Have you sensed anything from the baby?”
He shook his head, “Not yet.”
I looked to the castle as I heard someone move to see Prince Peter trying to sneak over to me, “Prince Peter, what in my father’s name are you doing?”
He flinched before showing me an awkward smile, “Dimitri and I have been trying to scare each other all day.”
I let out a laugh before messing up Dimitri’s hair, “You certainly enjoy having another boy here to play with, don’t you? Well I will not keep you from playing any longer,” I turned to Vladimir’s brother and felt a chill go up my spine, “Please make yourself at home,” I reverted back to my brother, “I would like to interrogate these attackers.”
I looked to Vladimir, “I can handle them, Vladimir.”
“But they are dangerous criminals who were sent to kill you.”
I frowned towards the sky, “Maybe I should make an example out of these men.”
“You cannot be serious, Felicia!”
I looked to brother, “What is wrong?”
“Killing those men will not help!”
I looked to the castle, “I will not kill them until they tell me everything they know.”
“Mama…” Dimitri whispered and I looked to where he pointed to. A boy of white hair and eye of storm clouds sweated while breathing hard and holding onto the gate of the castle I had passed through just before.
“My Queen! I must speak with you! Please!” The boy of about 13 begged as he shook slightly.
“Soldiers! Open the gate!” I hollered and when the boy got in he ran over to me with a horrified face. I put my hand on his sweaty face, “Is something wrong, my young warrior?”
He took in a large breath, “My Queen! It is my mother! She is ill and I don’t know what to do! Please! Help my mother!”
I kissed the boy’s forehead before turning to a soldier off to my right, “Send five men to follow this young man to his mother! Bring her back here immediately!” I turned around to see another soldier, “Prepare the infirmary and tell the doctor what is happening!” As soon as I was done talking many people went into action, including the young boy. I turned to brother, “Where is Miss Lydia?”
“Inside tending to dinner.”
I looked to a female soldier coming out of the castle, “Send for Miss Lydia!”
I looked to Vlad who had been interpreting my entire conversation for his brother and his brother’s soldiers, “Felicia, isn’t that a little strange that a boy came to you for help? How do you know he does not want to avenge Darius?”
I smiled to him slightly, “The ring on his finger gave me all reason to trust him. He was part of our army when we took over and now bares the crest of my father’s soldiers.” A ringing touched the back of my mind and I quickly shoved Vlad and his brother to the ground, “Everyone get down!” I hollered and everyone near hit the ground as an arrow flew over my head. I jumped up and shot in the direction I had heard the bow. When I heard a yell of pain I turned to a very young woman soldier, “Bring ten other soldiers with you and go check to see if I hit my mark.” She started running as I put one hand out to Vlad and the other to his brother. They accepted the help and got up as I looked to Dimitri to see him watching where I had shot.
“Mama, you also heard that ringing?”
I nodded to the boy, “You certainly have my hearing, my child. That was the sound of the string of a bow humming as an arrow was shot.”
“You cease to amaze me, my sister,” Henry said with a smile, “Oh! I forgot to mention…”
“Felicia!” A familiar voice hollered and I whipped around to see Rebecca running over to me. When she embraced me she was held slightly away by my stomach, “How long were you planning to keep me waiting, dear Felicia? I was worried!” She looked to my face and gasped before touching my now healing cut on my cheek, “Who injured your beautiful face, my dear friend?”
I smiled to her, “I was ambushed on my way back here so I was delayed. I’m sorry I took so long but I did not know I had company.”
She smiled, “Well I wasn’t sure when you would have your daughter and I also wanted to spend some quality time with you, Dimitri, Henry, and Vladimir.”
“Truly? You want to spend time with my fiancé?”
She nodded, but Henry spoke first, “They have been talking all morning about you.”
“I had to explain to him that there were very particular ways he will have to treat you once you are married since he did not know the customs of Parethian marriages.”
I smiled towards her, “Thank you, Rebecca.” I quickly turned around when I heard someone running. One of my soldiers came sprinting around the corner with a woman only ten years older than me in his arms.
“My queen!” He insisted as I hurried to meet him halfway from the gate and where I had been standing, “She is horribly ill, my queen.”
I slowly took the wounded woman into my arms and held her closely to me, “My warrior, how can we help you?”
She watched me with dim spirit, “I am beyond salvation, my queen. I have been ill for quite some time.”
I frowned towards the woman before turning to Rebecca, “Fetch the doctor and as many nurses as you can find. I will meet you in my old room.” I hurried inside with Henry at my heels and rushed the woman upstairs.