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Truth in Lies

by Veers 

Posted: 12 May 2009
Word Count: 1425
Summary: When Gwen is found wounded by the theif, Jon, a hunt begins to find a kidnapper and save a princess. However, Adalai's disappearance is linked to a larger mystery which will put everyone at risk. Can Gwen and her new friends save the land from the long forgoten monsters or will she lose their trust and friendship when her secret is uncovered?

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The moon shone brightly in the sky as the old butcher left his shop at last and headed home. He whistled a merry tune to himself as he walked. The streets were empty at this time of night but there were still lights on in the windows. The stars were out in thousands tonight and they shone with such brilliance. The old butcher looked down at the road to see where he was going and stopped. He had just reached a cross road when he noticed a trail of Crimson liquid on the floor. It led in the adjacent direction to the one he had planned to take.
The old man knew straight away it was blood. And a lot of it! He looked up and down the street wondering if he could see the wounded soul. To his left not far down the road was the old Minister’s Mug Tavern. He could hear the drunkards singing ‘King's Mistress and her ostler’ from where he stood. As he looked towards the pub he caught sight of a hooded figure stumbling down the road. It wasn’t a drunken stagger, more a painful walk or a ‘struggle to keep awake’ walk. He watched the odd figure for a moment wondering if he should assist or not.

The Minister’s Mug was alive with activity. All sorts of people were here, from smugglers to scribes to prostitutes and even the odd noble. The inn was packed to the rafters and Old Thom and his waitresses were run off their feet. A hearty laugh ran out above all the rest. The source was a tall, light-skinned man with curly, straw blond hair and hazel eyes.
He was in his early twenties. His name was Jon and he was a well known thief in these parts. His drinking companion was a slender man with reddish-brown skin and a long mournful face. He had pepper and salt speckled hair and barely visible green eyes. He’d had a few extra flagons of ale and was a little drunker than Jon. The young man laughed as his friend pulled a waitress onto his lap and began to flirt with her. The waitress giggled and attempted to escape but he pulled her back down.
“Let ‘er go old friend. She's business ta attend to!”
With a throaty laugh the man let her go.
“I can’t believe…” He began sluggishly, “that Ol’ Thom’s worked here all ‘is life and never married a single lass!” He slammed his fist down on the table and tipped sideways, falling on the floor in a drunken sleep. Jon burst out laughing again.
Suddenly the door burst open and the cool night breeze swept in snatching away all the noise. Every head turned towards the open entrance. A hooded figure stood, face shadowed. After a slight pause, the figure moved forwards towards the bar and the cloak separated slightly. A blue satin dress of fine quality became visible as a young lady stumbled against the counter. Thom approached her cautiously. She looked round at all the faces in the tavern until she found the old bartender. A pale, elegant hand snatched out from beneath the cloak to grab hold of the counter. Thom looked under the hood and saw a pair of blue-grey eyes staring at nothing in particular.
“Ad…Adalai…help…Adalai…” She whispered. Her hand fell back under her cloak and she turned to look at the rest of the tavern. Thom stared at the place her hand had been. A bloody print was visible, shining in the light of the candles. The lady swayed, dropped to her knees, her eyes rolled up and she fell to the floor.
Jon quickly stepped forwards and caught her before she hit the ground. He delicately lowered her to the floor, causing her hood to fall back revealing chestnut-hair and a small-featured, delicate face. He stared at her transfixed for a moment before remembering the blood. Reaching down he pulled her cloak away from her waist. She wore a satin blue dress decorated with gold and silver lace. Her hands and dress were stained with crimson blood and a deep gash ran down her side from the bottom of her rib cage to her hip.
“Someone fetch a healin’ woman!” He shouted. For a moment nobody moved, until finally a waitress ran across the room and out the door.

* * *

The young eighteen year old, chestnut-haired girl in the satin blue dress and brown velvet cloak was walking down the corridor. She was heading outside for some fresh air. As she walked past a slightly open door she stopped. There were two men inside. One man was big boned with golden skin and a small featured face. He had long, silky, brown hair and brown eyes. This was King Phillip. A man well known for his need of action. He was never known to sit and wait for things to happen. His companion was a muscular, ebony-skinned man with shoulder-length, wavy, dark brown hair. The girl didn’t recognize this man who had his back to her. Unlike the king who was wearing expensive fur and cotton garments, he wore a plain dark shirt and buck skin breeches. A pair of leather boots covered his feet and a plain well-used sheath held a dagger at his waist. This of all things scared her. It was almost like it had a pulse and was calling to her, to be sheathed in her heart.
The girl pulled away from the dagger’s captivating closeness and focused on the conversation. The king was speaking.
“… topmost tower at the west side of the palace. Leave no trace!”
“Never do your highness. Excuse my boldness me lord but may I ask; what about the Lady Shanti? She is your wife after all!”
“Shanti is my wife yes and she is a beautiful wife but she has little dowry! Adalai will give me Lamenthos! After that I will simply have the Aridian desert and Helos to conquer. You needn’t worry yourself about these things though. All I want you to do is dispose of my wife and bring me Adalai! Do this and you will be richly rewarded.”
The girl clapped her hand to her mouth and fled, unaware that the man with the dagger had heard her and was leaving the room with extreme haste. She ran for all she was worth, paying no attention to where she was going. She ran and ran and ran until she could hardly breathe. Skidding to a halt she ducked round a corner. Breathing hard she took in her surroundings. She was near the great hall! Not far and she would reach the large double doors leading to the outside world. She waited a few more seconds making sure she was ready to run again. She pushed away from the wall and…a firm hand covered her mouth and the ebony-skinned man pulled her back.
“You were eavesdropping!” He whispered as he spun her with his other hand back against the wall. She saw him reach to his dagger and bit hard into his palm while at the same time bringing her knee up into his groin. He yelped and let go, doubling over. She dashed past him and away down the corridor.
Unfortunately this man was trained to suppress pain and recovered immensely quickly. He leaped for her grabbing the hem of her dress. She tripped and the material ripped. In a flash he was on her pinning her down with his weight. He raised the dagger high and prepared to strike. She rolled and knocked him off just as he brought the blade down. It pierced her dress and skin biting into her muscle just below her rib cage. She bit back a yelp of pain. She kicked him again and he fell backwards, pulling the dagger with him. The stab wound turned into a deep gash reaching to her hip bone. She stumbled upright, grabbed a rock and threw it at him. It struck on his chest and she heard at least three ribs crack. The man’s eyes creased and shut as he groaned in pain. She got up and ran muttering to herself
“Must…Help…Adalai! Must…help…her!
She sat bolt upright. She was lying on a comfortable bed in a small plain room. She felt soothing hands on her back and a strong calming voice next to her. Looking around she found herself face to face with a tall, light-skinned man with curly, medium-length, strawberry blond hair and hazel eyes.

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Comments by other Members

NMott at 23:22 on 12 May 2009  Report this post
A good opening. I like the pub scene - although when you're describing characters it's best to put something unusual about them, or what they are wearing, rather than eye and hair colour, which the reader won't remember.
And I like the flashback of the girl's memories.

I don't think the opening couple of paragraphs with the old man witnessing the staggering figure works, mainly because it's a moonlit night, so he wouldn't be able to see the crimson colour of the blood - it would just be a darker grey patch on the ground. Also he doesn't do anything to help the figure which is frustrating for the reader who would want him to go and help, so as to discover more about him/her. All in all, I think you have enough without it.

- NaomiM

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