This week is Part Four, the final entry, of the Rule Of Three Blogfest. Each Wednesday in October, I, and the other participants, will post a portion of a story set in a shared world called Renaissance. Other than the shared world, there are only a couple of other rules: there must be 3 characters, there is a 600 word limit for each part, each week’s entry must be based on one of several writing prompts from the organizers, and the entries go up each Wednesday or Thursday.
This week’s entry is really late going up. It would have been late, regardless, but at the last moment, I decided I didn’t like it, and hit delete, giving myself about four hours to write, edit and post. Made it with ten minutes to spare. 😀
Participants were given the following prompts for Part Four:
The misfortune is resolved/accepted.
Relationships mend/ are torn asunder.
The final event becomes another secret for generations to come.
There is a new arrival in town.
I chose the first: The misfortune is resolved/accepted.
Visible anger reddened Londehen’s face, warning of an impending explosion. Eriahne figured she would be the first target. Her marriage would be a betrayal, though there had been no commitment from her.
Londehen raised his hands above his head, and a tiny pale glow appeared, growing and brightening. With a flick of his fingers, the glow flew toward Teguere’s head with lightning speed.
Teguere dodged, and bark blasted from the tree behind him. With a twist of his hand, a shimmering wave flowed toward Londehen.
The wave hit Londehen, staggering him, even as he built another light ball to hurl at Teguere. Before he could finish, another wave hit him, nearly knocking him over.
“Give it up, Londehen.” Teguere punctuated his statement with a blast of light that left Londehen scorched and singed.
Londehen stepped back, his handsome face ugly with fury. “Not bloody likely.” He twirled his hand in the air above his head, then flung an invisible something.
A heavy gust of wind from nowhere buffeted Teguere, but he stood his ground. “Enough.” He raised his hands and fire danced between them. “Last chance, Londehen. As King Thoranak’s Wolf, I will bring you down. One way or another.”
Londehen stood silent a moment, then began to chant aloud. Overhead, a smallish dark cloud began to gather, and wind picked up dust.
Teguere launched his fire.
Londehen screamed as flames engulfed him.
Sudden silence. Nothing. No fire. No Londehen.
What just happened? And why? Eriahne carefully climbed to her feet.
Teguere looked back. “You okay?”
Eriahne took a deep breath to calm herself. “I’m okay. What was all this about? Is Londehen okay?”
He helped her sit back down and sat across from her, arranging wood he’d gathered earlier. When he had a healthy fire going, he spoke. “He’s dead. There’s no body to be found. People will ask, then assume he just left.” Raising his head, he met her gaze straight on. “Let me tell you all of it before you get angry. I’d hoped to before Londehen took action, but there just wasn’t time.”
Eriahne considered a moment, then nodded permission.
“A few weeks ago, we, the King’s Wolves, caught Rehdevek, the sorcerer who tried to assassinate the King with magic. Our investigator learned that Londehen sought training from Rehdevek, for, among other things, a spell to allow him dominion.” Teguere went on to explain that, by doing so, Londehen became a traitor and a danger to the throne. Part of the spell required the complete subjugation of a virgin within the sanctity of a new marriage. Meaning Eriahne would have been raped as part of the plan.
Which reminded her. “What about our supposed marriage?”
“You are my wife, by order and decree of the King. It was his idea, so there’s no way out of it.” Teguere paused, looking down at his hands. “I’ll see that you’re provided for, and if you prefer, you’ll never have to see me. I won’t object if you take a lover, have children.” He looked back up. “Unless…” He shook his head. “Forget it.”
All during their conversation, Teguere’s mouth and hands had drawn Eriahne’s attention. An unaccountable urge to touch him overcame her better judgment. She scooted around to his side of the fire, knowing she shouldn’t.
When Teguere faced her, she tentatively touched his cheek, surprised at the smoothness of his skin. He moved slightly and her fingers encountered the rough stubble of his beard.
Something about his tone made her draw her hand back.
He groaned, as if in pain, then reached to touch her cheek.