Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2316444-Chapter-016-A-Requiem-not-Given
Rated: 18+ · Novel · Fantasy · #2316444
A tragic turn in Carter's life brings him to the brink.

In the cool mist morning, the sun crested the town's wall, and two royal carriages, surrounded by guards and horses, were seen in the main yard of the castle. The King, Queen, and Princess Camille traveled in the first carriage. It was spacious and had lots of room and comfort. The second carriage was for the supplies. I guess it was a long, arduous trip to the Capital. The trip spanned the whole continent and would take weeks by horse.

Angelina and her four guards road in front. Four of the King's guards would be in the back. They just needed to keep monsters and rogues from attacking. Assassination attempts were not heard of because everyone was at peace. The Amazonians sometimes bother travelers on the Capital Road, but nothing Angelina can't handle.

Angelina sounded the horn, and the horses started moving. Carter waved goodbye to Princess Caroline, Ursa, Rita, Cern, Cape, and poor Iris. She wanted to come so bad. Iris waved the most, and her tail was not wagging. Princess Caroline didn't wave back at all. She just put on a pouty face and then waved at Angelina.

"I'm only thirteen, and I don't understand what was going on there, but that's her problem, not mine," whispered Carter.

The Queen moved up next to Carter and said, "What's wrong with you and Princess Caroline?"

"I'm thirteen years old, my queen. I haven't the experience or telepathy to understand what she is thinking," said Carter as he sat back down.

"I don't know if you know this, but my Caroline might act young, but she is already thirty-four years old. That young in Thresh, but that is probably old on Earth. She had always been picky but has chosen you for some reason. Give her time," said Queen Lorien.

Carter looked over at the Queen and then back to his hands. He didn't know what to say to that. The Queen patted him on the head and sat down beside her husband.

Carter had taken some books with him that he would read on the way. Once in a while, a wild beast would attack, and the guards would scare it off. The Queen had brought along a cleaning stone, so they didn't have to stop anywhere to wash. The cleaning stone tickled your insides.

The King wanted to stop many times at lakes and ponds on the way, allowing everyone to bathe and get clean. He stared at Angelina like a cat does, watching a bird. The Queen knew what was happening and tried to save Angelina from the King's lecherous ways. Despite these faults, she still loved him with all her heart, and he loved her.

"We've been together for centuries," the Queen would say. "If he were to die, I would join him wherever he goes," she would add. The King smiled and said, "Whoever shall go first, the other shall follow."

The trip drew Carter closer to these two. They didn't act like a King and Queen, but parents who loved their children. They talked about the future, usually with Carter and Caroline, and how we, as a couple, will bring prosperity to Dale after they are gone.

"I don't know about all that," thought Carter. He told him that he loved them. It was hard because he felt he couldn't love his parents or sisters like he had given up on them. He hadn't; he just extended his family.

Angelina stuck her head inside the door and said, "We are coming up on Cob. The guards and their horses must rest and gather more supplies before heading north along the forest."

The Queen answered, "Of course, dear." The King just drooled. The Queen looked at Carter's face and whispered into his ear. "The King is a man. After all, if he weren't excited by some beautiful women, I would think something was wrong," whispered the Queen.

"You don't mind? You're not jealous," whispered Carter back.

"Not at all. He has sixteen wives and several dozen other women, but which one is he with?" said the Queen with a smile.

"What are you two whispering about? Let's get out and stretch our legs," said the King as he pinched the Queen's butt right in front of Carter.

They walked around Cob and visited the stores. The King and Queen danced, walked, and enjoyed the local cuisine. Carter had the best time of his life. It was good to be a Princess.

Twilight shined through the large town as many people continued to walk up and down the street. At a small tavern called the Lock and Step, a large table of Royals and guards ate a large meal together. The King made toasts, and they drank and were merry.

A single person in a hood walked up to the table. She looked at Carter with her green eyes and moved towards the King. Angelina stood up, placed her hand on her sword, and stopped her from getting too close.

"Angelina, I'm surprised you don't recognize me," said the woman as she pulled off her hood. Carter could see that it was a beautiful, slender elf. Her hair was long and white, flowing out of her hood. A suit of black armor held in her ample bosom and skinny waist. She couldn't keep her eyes off Carter.

"Perch Li of the Census Court. It has been a long time. About a century? The last time I saw you, a poor human was hiding in that small town of Cherub, and you tore the poor child from that woman's bosom," said Angelina.

"I have come to talk to your King, Queen, and the little princess," said Perch Li, ignoring her jab at her humanity.

"We have no sins with the Elves," said the Queen.

"The sins have not been shown, but they will be uncovered," said Perch Li.

"Perch Li, the Perch Li from the Castle of Kek?" said Carter silently.

Perch Li's eyes zeroed in on Carter's as soon as he said that. It must be something she doesn't like to talk about. Carter almost feels like she is his friend; he has to remember it was all magically made up from the witch's book.

Four other Elves stood up and took their hoods off.

"I must insist on talking to them alone for one moment," said Perch Li to Angelina.

Angelina looked back at the King, and he shook his head up and down. The King, Queen, and Carter stood up and followed the five elves to a room in the back.

"Harm one hair on any of them, and you will feel the full wrath of the Capital," said Angelina.

"I am here to do my duty, much like you, King's herald. There will be no problems," said Perch Li as she walked by Angelina, rubbing her hand across her armored chest.

The door shut, and Perch Li looked at Carter and said, "I'm not one to beat around the bush. That's what you humans say, right Princess Camille?"

"You know? How?" said the King.

"That's interesting as well. How's that saying go, 'A little birdy told me,'" said Perch Li.

She looked at the King and said, "We will dispense with punishments since you are known to the Elves. We just need to take her back to our Capital as entitled to us by the law," added Perch Li.

The King looked at the Queen with sorrow in his eyes. The Queen patted Carter's hand and smiled.

Perch Li stood silent for a moment and turned her head.

"I'm not heartless," she said as she turned back towards them.

"Since you're going to your Capital anyway, we will follow you. That way, you can say your farewells. You have no say in this," said Perch Li. You could see it in her eyes; she didn't like doing this, but it was her duty.

"Nothing to say? She is our adopted daughter," said Queen Lorien.

Perch Li looked at the Queen, saw the sorrow in her eyes, and softened her face. "It is for the betterment of Thresh. She won't be locked up; we will give her the best treatment. You will be able to visit anytime. Besides, it's the law," said Perch Li.

Perch Li looked down at Carter and smiled. "I'm sorry, but you will have to serve the World of Thresh in a different capacity," said Perch Li.

Carter didn't know what to say. Cidred's face flashed in his mind. "I'm sorry about your mother," said Carter and placed his head down.

Perch Li stood there momentarily, contemplating what this small child had just said. A small tear came down Perch Li's face as she stared at Carter's innocent face. She wiped it off and walked out the door with her guards.

The King and Queen held Carter in their arms for a while. The King was the first to leave. The Queen looked at Carter and said, "We will visit yearly. There is a boat that sails there every month.

Carter wiped his tears away, smiled, and said, "I understand."

Dancing and drinking surrounded the large table, with somber guards watching the little door to the back room. The elves first walked out of the back room, followed by the King. The King sat down, a grimace on his face, and took a big swig of whatever was considered Ale in this large town. He refused to answer any of Angelina's questions and decided to drink his problems away.

They hopped in the carriage the following day and started their last trip together. Carter wasn't about to make it a sad trip. He laughed and played with the King and Queen for as long as they had time together.

The caravan pulled over in an empty grassed field, and everyone got out. The guards jumped off their horses and stretched their legs. "We will rest here for about half an hour. We will ride all night tonight to get to the city of Dis," said Angelina. She wiped her brow with her hand and jumped off her horse.
She walked up to the carriage and stuck her head in. "We will be riding next to Quietus Forest. Do not enter it. You will die," said Angelina sternly.

"Thank you, Angelina, we will be ready," said the Queen.

"Die?" said Carter to the Queen.

"The Great War left a lot of curses on this world. That is one of them," said the Queen.

"The spirits will feast on your body and your soul," teased the King with his hands about to grab Carter.

Carter laughed and jumped out of the carriage to run from the King. He ran right into Angelina's arms as he came to a dead stop.

"Please be careful, Princess. This is not the place to run around and play," said Angelina as she looked towards the forest. Carter turned his face and saw white wisps floating in the woods.

"The spirits from the war," said Perch Li as she approached Carter.

"The dead shall be held, the living shall die, and the touched shall scream," said Carter out loud. He didn't know why he said that.

Perch Li looked at him and said, "Where did you hear that?"

"Hear what?" asked Carter as he stared into Perch Li's eyes.

"Nothing," said Perch Li as she returned to her horse.

Carter looked back into the forest, and the wisps seemed to stop in place.

Angelina grabbed Carter's shoulder and pushed him towards his carriage. As she helped him to get into the carriage, she said, "The next hour is the most treacherous part of the trip. The path goes close to the forest because of the hills. Be on the lookout for anything evil and disregard what they say."

Carter looked out the windows towards the forest. Something called his name.

"They call this path the Repose Ridge, a narrow road with a hill on both sides. It's dangerous because of the bottom of the hill. If you fall, you fall into the deadly forest," said the King as he looked out the window.

Carter snuck under the King's arm and looked in the direction he was pointing. The King got a smile on his face and pointed to the prominent ridge coming up. The hill going to the forest was at least thirty feet high. Its incline was at least 40 degrees. If you fall there, you're not coming back up.

On the other side stood a large ditch, and a hill about one hundred feet back blocked the other way. If you go either way, you'll get stuck.

The rain started about two minutes into their trip through Repose Ridge. The horses had no problem in single file, but the carriage was broad and started to shake with the wind. They slowed down their speed and moved down the road slowly to avoid getting too near the side of the cliff. The clouds made it darker outside than it should be.

Carter moved from window to window, ensuring the carriage wasn't too far over on either side. His hair and clothes were getting soaked from the rain.

A lightning bolt lit up the darkness, allowing Carter to see movement on the above hill. He stopped for a second and stared. The wind picked up, and the sky lit up again, showing three people standing on the hill. The light went as fast as it came. If lightning would only strike once more, he could see if the three people needed help.

The sky radiated again; he could now see the three people better, and one of them had their hands stretched out towards the wagon. He couldn't be sure, but it looked like he saw blue hair. Her eyes locked on to his.

A gust of wind, stronger than anything he'd felt before, walloped him hard, and Carter lost his grip on the carriage. The force tossed him from the carriage, and he tumbled down the hill. The raging storm muffled his screams as he tumbled to the bottom of the hill. The jutting rock cushioned his head with a cracking noise as he stopped moving. He couldn't move, and his vision started to blur red. His eyes focused on the King's carriage flying down the hill and crashing into some trees. He went to scream that he was alright, but all that came out was a gurgle and blood. He slowly moved his eyes toward the carriage and saw the King's body broken over a jutting rock farther up the hill. His eyes started to glaze over as he wondered what his next adventure would be like.

Carter smiled as a bright light shined into his face from the sky. Thinking it was someone to save him, he reached up to help them. His attention was diverted as he saw his father float into the sky along a light beam with a wide smile. He yelled to Carter to come. The King then looked towards the forest and held out his hand. Carter turned his head slowly and saw the Queen, rising on another light beam, lifting her hand out towards her husband. The light felt warm and welcoming to Carter, who looked up into it.

But something happened that wasn't right. The Queen pulled her hand back and started frailing in the sky. She was being pulled down by what Carter believed was many hands. She was starting to scream and tried to claw at the open air above her. Carter also felt a tug at his feet. The inviting light beams, Carter's and the Queen's, went dark. The King was screaming as he floated towards the light. Carter's world went black with pain.

"We can't go down there," said Angelina.

"That wind came out of nowhere; it was too strong, and we barely made it ourselves," said another guard.

"We have to go save the human boy!" screamed Perch Li.

"What human boy?" said Angelina.

Perch Li looked at Angelina and knew she said too much. The rain had stopped, and the sun shone, lighting up the hillside. Perch Li walked down the cliffside and stopped near the forest. She found the King impaled on a rock, but the boy and Queen were nowhere in sight. She looked around, conscious of not getting too close to the forest, looking for any clue. The carriage was still on the hill, stopped by four rather large trees, dozens of heads from the forest. The King's body, broken and bloodied, was lying only a few heads from the wreck. No one was brave enough to have mapped the forest's perimeter, so Perch Li didn't know where the forest began.

"Oh, Nature," said Perch Li as four large mangled bodies appeared near the forest line. The horses had been cut, more like pulled in half, missing the top half of their bodies, bifurcated on the border with the forest. She turned and vomited. Her eye caught more blood.

Perch Li walked past the horses and found a large pool of blood on a rock and a torn-off dress of the Princess's. Drag marks went off into the forest. She looked up at Angelina, who nodded, signaling not to do it, and started walking into the woods. The sky turned dark instantly. Unsightly decayed trees with limbs that looked like they would grab you assaulted Perch Li's eyes. She had never been so scared in her life. Several spirits wafted towards her past the trees, causing her to freeze. She let out a scream, and Angelina grabbed her and pulled her back. "Don't look at them!" screamed Angelina.

Angelina had pulled her back from the border of the forest, but not before one of the spirits tore into her arm. Perch's arm was profusely leaking blackened blood as Angelina carried her up the hill to the road. Angelina dropped Perch Li onto the road and fell herself from exhaustion. Angelina sat up and started putting pressure on Perch's arm to stop the bleeding. Perch Li seemed to be in shock.

Perch Li looked to the forest as her eyes darkened and said, "The dead shall be held, the living shall die, and the touched shall scream." She looked down at her unholy wound, started screaming, and didn't stop.

Ginger and the other guards walked down to the blood-stained rocks and looked around again for the Princess. She looked down at the ground and found a small stone shaped like a woman. The symbol on it meant Fable. She placed it in her pocket and shook her head as her eyes followed the bloody trail into the forest.

"No more fables for you," said Ginger sadly as she returned to the convoy.

© Copyright 2024 Troyizen (troyizen at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2316444-Chapter-016-A-Requiem-not-Given