The High Queen Sorceress (complete)
Author: jessicaw

Chapter 17
chapter 17

Smoke could be seen far off in the distance. It ate into the sky like a disease. Queen Valencia sat huddled with her son between some large rocks. It had been raining all morning and the ground was to muddy for them to move through. They watched the smoke and the pale orange glow reverberating off of the nearby mountains. The flames were very large and unabated by the rain.                                                             

Mett pushed himself closer to her breasts as thunder rolled across the sky, shaking the ground in its fury. She held him protectively to her body. One of the soldiers came over to her, squatting down as close as he deemed safe.

“Any word of my husband?” she asked, leaning forward with anticipation. The man slowly shook his head as if trying to apologize without actually speaking. “No word majesty.” She slumped back against the rocks, clutching her son and staring at the ruined muddy hem of her fine velvet gown. “We cannot stay here too much longer. The King is marching this way. His soldiers have fanned out and are flushing out every living being as they go. They will be upon us before the end of tomorrow.” She bit her lip and stared at the large clouds of grey smoke. “I don’t know what else to do.” She said.     

“Maybe I can be of assistance.” Came a voice from behind them.  The soldier jumped to his feet, his sword making a sharp ringing noise as he quickly pulled it from its scabbard. A well-built man in his mid-forties stood before them. He had on a white shirt with a black vest and thick brown pants. He did not have any amour and carried only a long sword, for which he had no cover.  The sword was well made and elegant. It was like nothing the soldier or Queen had ever seen before. The metal shined even in the rain. He did not draw the weapon, but left it hanging naked at his side. He smiled and held his hands up in peace at the soldier’s plain and bulky sword.                                                                                              

 

“I do not mean you any harm.” He said, still smiling with his hands in the air. “My name is Gorden Joustafix and I’m here to help lead you all to safety. My son is a commanding officer in the king’s personal guard. He pledges no allegiance to the king. He is aware that you escaped the raid on your home and has asked that I help protect you. The king of the oppressed conquered your home and killed your husband. He will kill your son and do with you as he pleases. I beg of you, your majesty, to follow me and allow me to aid you in seeking out a safe haven.”  

 Mett let out a gasp of terror and began to cry, wedging himself further into his mother’s chest. Queen Valencia paled and choked back tears of her own, trying to comfort her son as she stared at the man before her. “How do I know that you are not a messenger from the King sent to bring my son and I to his feet? How do you know, if you are not working for him that my husband is indeed dead?”

Gorden knitted his eye brows and frowned. He wasn’t sure how he was going to explain that he knew the king was dead without telling her about the sorceresses. He thought for a minute, his hands on his hips and the rain beating down on his head. 

 He was so grateful it was raining. It was the first time in months that he had seen, felt or tasted rain. It washed down his face; that was it, his face! The King’s head! “I saw it myself.” He said to the Queen. “You saw my husband murdered?” She asked, her eyes growing wide and her bottom lip beginning to tremble. “Not quite. The soldiers are marching the prisoners with them. One of the guards for the prisoners is walking next to them; he has your husband’s head on a pole and waves it back and forth for all of the prisoners to see.” Mett burst in tears anew and the Queen bit her trembling lip, clutching her son tighter in her arms.    

“I am just a simple farmer, too poor to move out of King Haden’s realm and into yours, but I have always followed King Jarone. I wish to see King Haden’s head so badly mulled that they can’t even place it on a pole to parade around. I know this hurts you, majesty, and I know that you do not trust me, but time is of the essence right now and if I’m going to save your life, then I must ask you to take the chance and follow me. What have you got to lose at this point anyhow? King Haden has already killed your husband and taken your kingdom. Soon, He will find you too and when he does, your life will come to a violent and painful end. If you follow me, I can help to protect you from that.”                                              

Queen Valencia blinked up at Gorden in the rain. Water blurred her vision and she couldn’t tell if it was the rain or thick tears. She weighed her choices. Go with this man who might still deliver her to the hands of the terrible King who had already slain her beloved husband, or stay here and face certain death. She looked around at all the women and children and the few soldiers that protected them.

They stared back at her with sad and scared eyes. She glanced to the soldier standing protectively in front of her and to her son, clutched in her arms, crying in grief. She wanted so badly for this to be nothing but a terrible, terrible night mare. One that she would wake up from any minute now.    

Knowing it was reality and not the deep, disturbing chambers of sleep that she so longed for; she looked back up at Gorden, swallowed her pain and regained her composure. “Alright.” She said. “We will follow you, but be warned, if you try anything, my men will spare you no mercy.” Gorden smiled a sigh of relief as the rain continued to hammer down on his exposed neck.                                                        

“Yes my Queen.” He said, moving to offer her a hand up. The soldier standing between them reacted quicker than a striking serpent, blocking him with his sword, a deep, grave warning chiseled into his muscular features, his sword inches from Gorden’s throat.

 

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