"I don't care how many men my uncle has at his command, he stole from me and that shall not go unanswered." he spoke calmly but it was plain for all
to see that Prince Rayne had menace in his Emerald toned eyes, his charcoal hair brushed his shoulders as he glanced at each of his companions in
turn. Xander rose from his chair to speak, he was a large man with short Golden hair and Muscles that bulged through his tunic. "Your highness i
understand your eagerness to strike but we are but five and skilled though we may be, we are no match for the Armies that your uncle has under his
control, I beg you my Prince we must wait for the perfect opportunity."
"I have waited long enough, it's been five years since the pretender murdered my mother, brother and father and took the throne. He keeps my Sister
hostage in a tower only the gods know where and all the while my mothers people suffer from his greed and cruelty." his tone was soft yet threatening.
"The people loved my mother dearly, she was a good and gracious Queen who always put the needs of her people before her own. A quality i mean to
emulate, i will retake my mothers lands from the betrayer who has stolen them and i will free her people from his tyranny." Four faces turned toward
their prince as they began to realize that he had a plan. "Xander you will take the fastest horse you can find and ride north to the Shadow lands,
once there you will be my representative in all things. I need you to forge an alliance with the shadow tribes, Raven will accompany you, she still
has family and friends among the tribes, her father is a chief. Perhaps with her assistance you can bring them to our cause and Xander everything is
on the table, whatever their price for an alliance i will gladly pay it."
"What of you my Love? i do not wish for us to be parted" Raven spoke in a delicate tone that was rare for the feisty warrior. Rayne considered a
moment before answering. "My journey leads me toward certain danger and possibly death but i see no other option, i plan to set sail for the islands
"You cannot mean it your highness, the pirates can't be trusted." It was Leo who spoke, the youngest of the companions. Short of stature but what he
lacked in size he made up for with Intelligence and bravery. Prince Rayne considered this for a moment before giving his reply.
"My friend, i am aware that they can't be trusted but my plan doesn't depend on their loyalty but on their lust for riches and legitimacy. i will
parlé with the black prince who leads them and make him an offer that he cannot in good sense refuse. I will give him what he desires most, trade
rights in the kingdom, safe passage through the straits of sorrow so that he and his men may pillage the riches of the western kingdoms."
Four faces looked upon him with shocked admiration. " Leo. You will accompany me, i shall need your wits if i am to succeed and Michael my oldest
friend. The task i have for you is the most important of all, i need you to return to the capital and quietly find us the friends that we are surely
going to need. Lord Royk is my mothers oldest friend his loyalty is beyond question, in him you will find yourself an ally and perhaps he can point
you to those that would be useful friends, i will send word to you when it is time to strike. Until then stay in the shadows, find us friends and if
you can do so without drawing attention to yourself find out where he is keeping my sister, she is nine years old and the rightful Queen of the
kingdom, her safety is paramount and remember timing is all. Look for me on the full moon, you all know what is required. Be safe, be vigilant and
above all be clever." He looked to his companions with a sly grin, took Raven in his arms and kissed her. "Fear not my love, i will return and when
this is all over you and i shall spend our remaining years drinking wine in a garden of roses while the sun beats down upon our faces." With that he
walked through the door out into the pouring rain with Leo hot at his heels.
The journey to the Shadow lands was long and arduous and as they crossed the border into the wild terrain the days became grayer and the nights
darker. "how far until we reach your fathers village?" Xander asked
"Not far, they already know we are here." Raven spoke in cautious whispers that made Xander feel uncomfortable. like he was being watched from the
"Are we in danger?" he asked with a hand on his swords while glancing from left to right, the darkness hindered his vision so that he couldn't see
more than a few yards from his own face. "Only if you draw your blades you fool, my fathers scouts are the finest warriors the tribes have to offer,
if you fight them you will die." She spoke with such confidence that Xander began to doubt his own abilities with a blade despite his training and
skill. "We shall camp here for the night, go find wood for a fire, I'm going hunting" with that she dismounted and stalked off into the trees silent
as a ShadowCat. Xander hobbled his horse and set out to make a camp fire, by the time Raven returned from her hunt the fire was burning away nicely
and Xander was stretched out beneath an oak tree staring at the stars. "Beautiful aren't they? it's said that only in the Shadow lands is it possible
to see the heavens in all their glory."
Xander continued to stare at the sparkling sky. "I have never seen the stars burn so brightly nor have i ever seen so many. i never thought to see
such a beautiful sight." He spoke the words of a man that had seen too much war and not enough beauty.
"I'ts darker this far north, it's why we are called the shadow tribes, even the days here are darker than in the south." as she spoke she skinned the
Rabbit she had killed, she turned to Xander and spoke with a childish grin "I killed it, you cook it" and she tossed the carcass at him laughing.
As dawn broke Xander awoke from his dream looking for Raven, she was nowhere to be found. Probably hunting he thought to himself as movement in the
bushes caught his eye and before he knew what was happening he was surrounded by no less than five shadow warriors. He moved for his swords but
thought better of it, all too aware of the fearsome reputations of the shadow warriors he raised his arms in submission. One of the warriors
approached from the left and quick as cat Raven was behind him, her shiny black dagger at his throat, the camp was silent as a graveyard as Raven
began to speak. "My name is Raven Al Zahr. I'm sure you have heard of me, all of you will kindly lower your weapons and escort me to my father or i
will open this ones throat before i end every last one of you." she spoke with total authority, each of the warriors bowed their heads in agreement
before leading the way from the clearing as Raven released their young companion. "I thought you said if we fight them we will die?" Xander asked, i
said "if YOU fight, you will die but i could carve them up with my left hand while picking flowers with my right." She laughed as she followed the
tribesmen through the woods towards her ancestral home.
edit on 8/4/2015 by Ph03n1x because: (no reason given)