Chapter 25 : Disturbance in the Realm of Night
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The warmth of spring was in the air, and so as a result Prasutagus was outside with his family. The burly elf in human form ran out to the center of a grassy meadow, before withdrawing a steel practice sword from its sheath. (A/N: Elves normally only use steel blades for practice; Mithril is used in real combat.) Calling out to Carrie, the younger of his two daughters, the elven lord began to spar with her as she joined him.
The female’s gleaming blade swished an arc through the air as it was brought up to meet her father’s, and Carrie smiled at the sparkle in her patriarch’s warm hazel eyes as he acknowledged her improved reflexes. The two then began a fiery swordfight frequently sailing through the air with supernatural elven grace. Many of Prasutagus’ subjects gathered to watch the drill, and there was soon a crowd at the field’s edge. After a long while, the girl tired visibly and surrendered to her father. The man drew a hand across his sweaty brow, and gave his daughter a courtly bow. Carrie replied with a frivolous grin, and ran off the practice grounds to sit with her sister in the tall grass.
Spring was now long gone. Indeed, winter had since come, and Prasutagus had forged an alliance with the ever-watchful Roman wizarding empire… not knowing such an action would ultimately bring about his downfall.
It was a hard winter, and the elves dared not stray from their snug homes unless it was absolutely necessary. Knowing this very fact, Boudica was perturbed when her husband insisted he had to visit the home of his second- in- command.
“Why must you do so now, my husband?” Boudica asked, standing in between Prasutagus and the door. “It is because you wish to speak with General Suetonius about the way his legionaries are interfering with our daily lives, is it not?”
“Let me go, Boudica. Something must be done about the problem!”
“You are only going to make the problem worst, you know. Why do you think Nero insisted you leave our land to the empire in your will, and told our people to refrain from using their powers? These vile, barbaric soldiers will kill you, my lord! (A/N: LOL, it’s ironic… I know. For those of you who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about; the word barbarian comes from the Greek barbaroi, which referred to the “foreigners” or the Celts, Gauls, and other peoples. The Romans later borrowed the term and made it their own.) And after they steal our land, they will enslave our people!”
“And that is why I must confront the General, love. Let me go.” Thence, Boudica wrapped her spouse in his sheepskin robes, and kissed him goodbye, before retreating to stand beside their daughters.
Later, as the siblings assisted their mother with preparing supper, they noticed she appeared withdrawn and anxious. Carrie opened her mouth several times, intending to inquire what was wrong, but each time she did so: Eithne pinched her arm and glared. Suddenly, just as the family was sitting down at the table… the door slammed open and Liam, the very same second-in-command whom Prasutagus had spoken of earlier, stumbled into the room.
“My lady… your lord… I was accompanying him to the house when an… assailant attacked from behind…” The man then collapsed to the floor in exhaustion, as two young men entered the house bearing… the body. The aforesaid adolescents carefully set their leader on his bed, and expressed their condolences before hastily backing away to the wall. Boudica, however made no reaction to their words, and the normally imposing woman stood stunned with her sword arm still resting upon her sword hilt.
“Curse those imbeciles! Curse them! Oh, why did he have to be so foolish, and go out? I told him not to! I knew this….” Boudica began to weep, and staggered blindly to her husband’s deathbed. The body was already cold and lifeless as she reached it, and the shell’s eyes were wide with shock. Wiping her eyes to rid herself of the tears, Boudica silently reached up and closed her love’s eyes.
“I swear I will avenge your death, my dearest.”
Merely a month had passed since her father’s death, and yet the prospect of the future was already dark for these elves. Carrie shivered with fear as she glanced up at the stormy sky from inside the family hut. It was an omen.
“Come away from the window darling, and close the shutters.” Boudica went, and drew her youngest close, kissing the girl’s flaming red tresses. “It’s going to rain.”
“No,” Carrie murmured to herself, as she welcomed her mother’s open arms. “It’s not going to rain, we’re merely going to be tortured…” How true were her words? Very. For, at the week’s end… there came a pounding on the door.
“Open up!” A voice shouted, “This is Aurelius, Centurion of the Fifth Century in the second regiment of the Roman Army! I command you to open this door!” Cautiously, Eithne watched for her mother’s approving nod before doing as the soldier bid.
“Out of my way, wench!” The burly man snarled, knocking the girl to the ground. “Boudica! You’re coming with me!” Instinctively, Boudica drew her sword as the man approached her, and Carrie rushed to help her bruised sister.
“How dare you touch my daughter?” Boudica roared, towering nearly a head over the centurion. “How dare you! You, Roman scum!” Unfortunately, insulting the warrior only angered him further and he brought his gladius hilt up and over, in a sweeping arc, onto Boudica’s scalp.
Immediately afterward, the door was blown off its hinges, and four more men stormed into the house, binding the girls with a wave of their wands. The soldiers paraded the unconscious widow and her daughters outside, as the woman’s subjects looked on in fear.
“Look, people of the Iceni! Here is your lady, stripped of all dignity and wealth!” Aurelius shouted, gloating with pleasure. The soldiers then proceeded to truss Boudica to a broad tree trunk, and Aurelius took up the strip….
“STOP!” Carrie called, struggling in the fierce grasp of Evandar, her captor. “DON’T TOUCH MY MOTHER!”
At this, Aurelius whirled to face the pale, shaking girl and his lips curled into a sneer.
“Well, then… lass… did your mother not teach you your manners? SILENCIO!” The wizard then, returned his attention to Boudica and awoke her with a flick of his wand. “I’m going to flog you now,” he mocked. “And, afterwards I’m going to destroy your daughters.”
Carrie sat up in bed… breathing heavily. It was a dream, one she had had many times before. Especially, when the Iceni had been on the road to Londinium, on the road to battle with the Romans…. The elf shuddered when she recalled the look of pure bliss on Aurelius’ face as he lashed Boudica… “I’m going to destroy your daughters.” And so he had, for no man wished to wed an imperfect woman… one stripped of her virginity.
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