CHAPTER 1: THE MERCILESS RULER, THE PROPHESIED BIRTH
Nobody knows where did it start. The beginning of where the cruelty prolongs drink with the blood of those who perish at wars. The ground bathed in a deep seethed color of red, the tears poured the array of those emerald green trees as if it is what keeps them alive. The anguish that the land breathe had not been conformed, and the distress—cries of agony and mercy that remain unheard.
Nobody pay heed. No ruler, nor king glance back to hear their pleads. The people ask, where was the king? Where was the monarch when in need? The hunger that killed many. Famished children loitered and the lingered souls who seek refuge to avenge the life they lost. The beginning of the downfall awoken the clamor, ruptured the peace and the balance that was supposed to be in the land of SALEM. The great kingdom that ruled between human and the bestial creatures that hid in secrecy towards the shadows they had been made from.
The negligence destroy the solitude that the great kingdom once have.
“Quick! Take my daughter away!” In haste, the Queen whispered in a low voice. Agatha, the ruler next to the former King who had died for a very long time and so a new King ruled, but his reign ruined what her spouse had put forth all his effort just so he could maintain the balance.
It was the late Kings brother, his greed brew the destruction and the storm it had brought them with.
Her face looks pale. Tears streamed on her eyes as she felt her offspring’s warmth on her chest. The very first time she had seen her, and might have been the last time they would see and feel each other again. Agatha had just given birth, when the attack happens. It was the wolves who was there for the abomination cause by the current king, Asmodeus. She didn’t know what happened, but the messenger relay a message that it was because the King ordered the warriors to raid the pack and her stomach still churns at the sudden thought of how grotesque the vivid images are as they plunge on her head and swarmed.
They show no mercy even to the pups!
“B—But I can’t just leave you here, your majesty!” Alliah, her most trusted servant cried.
“Yes, you can, and you will, Ali.” Agatha bring her hand close to her cheeks and gently caressed the soft skin. “It will be my last order for you.”
“B—but—” The latter looks torn. She was biting her lips so hard, her eyes move back and forth towards the Queen’s visage back to her daughter, who had the same features as her mother.
She haven’t had any name yet, but she is so beautiful. Her eyelashes are thick and long, curving in an arch as it perfectly suit her small aristocratic noise. Her lips are reddish in color as if the blood annihilated by the warriors of the kingdom itself, she breathed of the same hue, where the others are tormented with such agony they had least expected. Her eyes are still close, but her skin—she was pale, as if her complexion regards the first fall of snow during winter season.
“Your majesty—” The young child felt light as she carries her on her arms. She looks fragile. As if one mistake, and Alliah would be able to hurt her, which is most afraid of.
“Please.” The Queen laid back her head as she felt the pain driving across to her core. “Go now, before they could find you here.”
Her face contorted with an agony she couldn’t voice out. It worries Alliah. The Queen were like a family she never had. She had taken her from the street, when nobody would. Save her from how cruel the world was and so she serve her for those years with an utmost loyalty she had sworn in her heart, just so she could repay the deeds she had not hesitated to bestow her upon. Feed and protected, a firm and a determine expression flashed on Alliah’s face.
She bring her child up to her close and lowered her head.
“I will take care of the princess, your majesty.” She muster her voice to be strong.
“I know you will, Ali.” The Queen replied.
When she lifted her head, it was so shard for Alliah to turned her back from the Queen she admired as her smiling face were the one who would be her last memoirs. Her soft features and the motherly concern, although she herself could not even put herself first.
Every steps she had taken felt heavy. The heart she poured for her she knew would be left behind the moment she manage to escape the Kingdom and be regard as not her servants anymore. The riot outside is so loud. The screams routed, but the howls and growls, the madness radiating from the wolves were more ferocious, much louder and more…terrifying. Alliah knew that the Kingdom wouldn’t stand a chance against those creatures.
If only…if only King Cairo did not die.
“And Alliah?” Agatha calls her.
She did not glance back, but stop on her tracks. Because if she did, she knew how much it would both pain them—her to see the departure of her child just so she could save her from what doom was coming, and her as a servant who had looked the Queen as the motherly figure she had never have.
“Her name—” There is momentarily paused. “—It should be Leandra.”
Leandra…what a beautiful name for a royal blood, whom her name should speak of for herself. The bold, the courage she should muster as Alliah didn’t know what might have been waiting for them the moment she set foot outside.
“I will name her Leandra as you wish for, your highness.”
“Thank you, Alliah, and I will always be grateful until my grave for the favor you have carry for me.” That was Agatha said before her and her daughter silhouette disappeared from the doorway.
It was chaotic, when Alliah manage to escaped from three debris and ruins. It was beyond that word. There are corpses outside, some are gutted, gauge orbs and bite marks chunked their flesh as large as their own body. They were bleeding non-stop. There are bloods everywhere—countless of them, yet she had not seen any single person, but the warriors who serve the kingdom.
She gulps, her palms get clammy. It was no doubt that they had not stand a chance, and the wolves may have been penetrated the capital of Salem already. They have no match against their strength bestow by the goddess who had both curse and protected them for ages. If only the current King had not disturb the peace….it shouldn’t have, the life of many wouldn’t have been loss this way.
“Alliah!” The voice of a male calling her name caught her attention.
If she isn’t familiar with it, she could have sworn to run and escape no matter what it takes. But relieved to know who it belongs to.
It was Valerian, the man, whom she grew up with in the Kingdom. When she whipped her head across to greeted her, Alliah’s relief disappear.
“Val—” Her voice trembled.
Fear gripped her chest. It turned into worries, then morphed to concern. Valerian’s handsome face had some wounds and scraps, his arms is bleeding and on his legs, a bite mark made it visible as the metal armour he wore had crumpled and marks left perhaps by the wolves he had encountered.
“O—oh my god! Are you alright?” Her eyes widened, she immediately meet him halfway.
“Don’t mind me.” He have a serious expression on his face. “Worry later on, because we needed to leave otherwise we would get killed as well.”
“W—where could we head to?” Allah gnawed her bottom lips. “And where was the King? Isn’t he doing some thing for us?”
“The king.” Valerian’s visage conformed by both anger and hate. He uttered the word, spat out the title as if it utter disgust him. Venom drips on his tone. “The King is incompetent, Alliah. He is a complete fool.”
“W—what do you mean—” Her guts churned.
Valerian cut her off. His eyes narrowed.
“The king long abandon us, Alliah.” She could see the anger fueled by what he said. “His cowardice gets the better of him.”
What he said left her bewildered. She was beyond shock and stunned. Now, she can fully understand, where was his anger is coming from.
“Val—“ But Alliah stop.
She didn’t know what to say. Why woirs should be uttered, because same with Valerian, she felt lost, as if the promises she oath earlier felt impossible as of the moment. The royalty abandon their people, and that it means one thing…they were left to die into the hands of those wolves as their King could not bear the consequences of his action. They pay for his debt using their blood, while he run affront to save himself solely to be left unpunished.
“W—What are we gonna do—” She had not yet finish her sentence, when Valeian screamed.
His orbs expressing the panic she could not comprehend at first.
“Alliah! Watch out!”
She didn’t have the time to react, when Valerian launched himself to where she was, circling his arms around her torso and pulling him closer to protect her from the impact. She’s been caught off guard, but Alliah pulled herself and wrapped her own arms towards the bundle she carries—Leandra. She shut down her orbs tightly. Alliah was waiting for the pain, but it never happened.
She heard Valerian cough, that made her opened her eyes, but the horrors enevr fade.
“V—Val.” She trembles, seeing the bloods treating in his lips and the large silhouette standing behind him.
“Its alright.” He smiled, in spite of the wounds he had taken severely as he shield Alliah. “I’ll protect you, Ali.”
His grip tightened. However, she felt her feet glued. No words could have explain the overwhelming horrid feeling that was slowly spreading across her body. Behind Valerian, there stood a large beast. It was enormous, it cast shadow all to the pair and block the light coming from the sun. It size was monstrous. What was horrifying were the large canines protruding from each side of its large lips and snout. Its eyes were red, a darker color that made it more terrifying at one glance. Its limbs were long, they were hind, but the claws driven out deems to bestow doom whenever it wanted to. It reminds her of the myth that she will often heard around the palace.
The cursed beast, whose breathen remain on the dark. They show no mercy. They kill non-stop until the moon goddess punished them and imprisoned them for a very long time into a form of a beast that were feared of by many.
Alliah….didn’t know that she would encountered one….what much worst was the fact that it’s eyes are both blazing with hate and anger she could feel brewing.
“Wolves.” Her teeth chattered.
The loud beating of her chest did not help at all. She could feel the warning bells, urging her to runaway and never look back, but she couldn’t move. She was paralyzed by fear. And how can she outrun such beast? They have strength compared to her. They are strong and wicked, and she wouldn’t want to get killed until she had not yet fulfilled the promised she oath to the Queen—Agatha.
“Ali—” In spite of his injury, Valerian never loosened his hold. “—If I told you to run, runaway, okay?”
“W—what?” Regardless of how hard it was, Alliah manage to tore her eyes off from the beast itself. “W—what about you?”
“Don’t mind me, I’ll meet you half away at the cathedral where the forest meet.” He firmly said. “There are missionaries out there that could have lead you to a safe place, and her—” His eyes landed to the bundle she was holding.
“How did you know—” Her eyes widened.
Not many had not know that the Queen had given birth.
Valerian cut her off.
“It doesn’t matter.” He shook his head off. “The most important thing is you could escape.”
“Can you promise me one thing?” Alliah begs.
“What it is?”
“Live.” Although what she was asking for is impossible, Alliah still hope that perhaps Valerian would be able to escape alongside with her. “Live, Val. That’s the only thing I am asking you for.”
“Ali—” He looks torn.
“I’ll wait for you.” Alliah whispered softly before she tiptoed and planted a soft kiss on his cheeks. The feelings she had keep for so long she had express, because her gust were telling her…that it could be the last time she might have seen Valerian…alive.
This caught the warrior off guard. But his trance were soon caught off, when the beast growled loudly from behind. He bear the pain from the wound from his back. He pulled his sword, which glinted at the sudden strike of light.
“Signal me when it is the time for me to run off.” Alliah said, and tightly hold the bundle, which not fair enough to hurt Leandra.
He turned his back from her and hold his sword. They may have been human, but every warriors, those who have chosen were trained to used the incantations that were taught for them to protect the kingdom. If the wolves being darkness and chaos, they bring peace and light routed to defeat them.
“I, Valerian, son of Cashmere of Salem—“ As he speak of, a blinding light covered his sword, and a symbol Alliah isn’t familiar with formed in a circular motion underneath the male. They were emitting light, so bright that it even repel the shadows carrying by that wolf. “I command thee to bestow the strength I seek and help me annihilate those who bring storm and catalyst.”
At that exact moment, the light travelled until it envelope Valerian entirely.
Alliah shield her eyes until it disappear. The moment her orbs fluttered open, it wasn’t the same Valerian she knew. His armour change. The metal plate has been replaced by something anew and his sword took a form of a winged creature she had not heard before. His glory took the form of an ancient warrior that every books of their kingdom retell.
She didn’t know! Her never told her that he was one of those few who had been chosen as to protect themselves, it was a law, the verdict to never revealed one self and identity or suffer a punishment that could have strip one’s honor.
“Val—” Alliah calls his name.
He glance back at his shoulder. Even his face has been covered by that thick armor.
“Run, Ali.” His voice were much deeper, but there’s no time to compare Valerina to his old self and towards the revelation he had let her see.
Alliah nodded her head.
At that exact moment, Valerian made a stance and so she run, she turned her back, but that doesn’t mean Alliah had not heard the thunderous growl that shook the ground, and clashing of sword against claw; such destruction, yet she still hope for Valerian’s safety, and his promised, although he didn’t voice it out, to meet her at the cathedral.
“I’ll wait for you, Val.” Alliah whispered right across and wipe the tears that escape on her eyes.
A small and low cries caught her attention. It was Leandra. A small smile in spite of fear grave her lips at the sight of her.
“We’ll wait for him, Lean.” Alliah said, pushing herself to reach the place that could have keep them safe or so she thought.