The Tyrant and the Traitor

The Tyrant and the Traitor

A Chapter by SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
"

Prince Folco learns the horrifying truth of who is behind his imprisonment and exile and that if you're considered a traitor in Dremeadow, you're going to have a bad time.

"

"You!" Folco stood shakily, ignoring the dizziness threatening to overwhelm him. He wanted  to march right up to the elf and shout every furious thought coursing through his head. But he couldn't do it. He remained rooted to the spot, petrified. It took all his willpower not to look away like a  cornered beast anticipating the worst.

 

The acid-green eyes of Jarmir Esteel, one of the advisors to his father King Hrothgar, glowered down at him. “Me, Your Highness,” he chortled softly.

 

Despite himself, the young prince shrank into the dusty, moldy stone wall.  “What the plague are you doing here?” he managed to squeak. He hated how frightened his voice sounded. He needed to stand his ground, for both his own sake and Lindo’s. He could not give his enemies the satisfaction of seeing his terror. It was amazing that Jarmir was even bothering to show his face. He tended to have others doing absolutely everything for him, particularly the dirtier, less honorable tasks.


 Lindo stood and placed himself next to Folco. Jarmir drew himself up to his full height but otherwise so much as blink to acknowledge Folco's friend. “Well, Highness, I am surprised. You ought to know by now that I have leave to go where I plea se in your father’s kingdom. Unfortunately, the same can no longer be said for you, my young friend.”


“I’m not your friend!” Folco snorted.  He then asked in trepidation “so, we’re in Drémeadow then?” Dread was in the pit of his stomach. He felt certain that was where they were, but he’d never heard a word of places like this existing. It did not seem right. How could horrible places like this exist in his homeland without his knowledge? Why would his father have this, let alone keep it secret from others in the royal family?


Jarmir cackled softly to himself. “You are.” He moved uncomfortably close. Folco felt body heat radiating from the elf in the frigid cell. He might have backed away, but his back and palms were already against the rough wall.  He moved closer to Lindo instead. “It is so fortunate that the youngest member of Drémeadow’s royal family was rescued from a brigand by my men, wouldn’t you say so?


“Rescued?” he scoffed, anger temporarily replacing fear.  Scarily enough, Folco thought, he and Lindo likely would have been safer with them. Even if the bandits handed them over to slavers for profit. At least they'd been unaware of who he was, unaware that he had a price on his head.“I’d prefer the bandits!”


The elf smirked, brushing aside a few black hairs that fell loose from his silver head ornament. “Dear me, Prince Folco. Still have your cheeky mouth on you, do you? I am sure your father would have hoped a few weeks in the wilderness would teach you respect.  Judging by your blatant lack of gratitude for those who came to your aid, though, I’d think not.”


            Folco's jaw dropped. Lindo took a step forward, visibly enraged by the  comment about how they ought to be grateful about being blindfolded, trussed up, gagged and brought to Drémeadow at breakneck speed with nothing but a piece of bread for food. “Why, you-!”

 

 Reflexively, Folco extended an arm, preventing his friend from advancing any closer to the menacing elf. Lindo tried to push Folco’s arm out of his way. “Lindo, please,” Folco said pleadingly. He appreciated his friend's loyalty but did not want him taking heat for his own troubles. Lindo snorted, but desisted.


Esteel looked merely entertained. His eyes glimmered with malicious mirth. “Well. Seems you are still able to command one of your subjects- excuse me, former subjects-  and have him obey, hmm? “


It was Folco’s turn to laugh. The quick hollow laugh lacked jollity. He’d known Lindo since he was five, years before Drémeadow’s Council ceased to exist and his father was crowned its first king.   “He’s my friend, was  long before he was ever my subject.” He swallowed back the lump rising in his throat from dread. “As you ought to know by now,” he continued, emphasizing the very words Jarmir Esteel had used not long before. "He was certainly in my family's life long before you were."


“How touching,” simpered the unwelcome visitor. Without warning, he clapped loudly, hands at ear level.. Both young hobbits startled. The cell door opened, revealing two guards. They looked to Folco somewhere between orc and human.


“You wanted us, sir?” one growled. 


Jarmir turned his back on his quarry. “Take young Prince Folco’s friend to Number Six. He can stay there.”


Folco’s heart sank. It was bad enough here as it was. Without the presence of his friend to comfort him, he felt as though he’d lose his mind. As the rancorous half-orcs made for Lindo, each seizing an arm in a bone-crushing grip, he said “Just keep us together.” A slight whine to his voice at the end of words intended as an order made it sound like a question.


Jarmir stooped enough to put his inauspicious face close to his prey. His words came in a low whisper as he seized the hobbit by the collar. “I’m the one calling the shots, Your Highness. Note how all those orcs obey me. Besides,” he chuckled faintly, “we cannot have you and your friend concocting  foolish schemes to get out of here, now, can we? Well?”  The elf relinquished his grip. He was met with a long, obstinate silence. “Oh, don’t you fret, I assure you that you two shall be seeing plenty of each other during your time.”


“But what if we get foolish ideas about escape?” Folco asked innocently. The flippant question earned him a chilly stare.


“I do not believe I need to concern myself too much about that,” his father’s advisor responded confidently. “Now, then, I suggest you make yourself at home…”


“Then keep us together!” Folco shouted.


The elf leaned in so close that the prince could feel hot , moist breath tickling his face. “Be warned- you are in no position to be insolent. You and your friend are traitors to the Crown, a crime punishable by death. But first, there is information I need from you.  I intend for my people to get it out of you one way or another. Rest assured of that. And we'll get you to admit your crimes, one way or another.” Folco shuddered involuntarily at the ominous implications of those words. “Fear not, though, being royalty, traitor or not, does have its privileges. I’ll ensure my people go easy on you. Pity the same cannot be said for your friend." Folco froze in horror. Was Jarmir saying what he thought he was saying? "Don't worry, you won't miss a thing. I'll see to that. Now, to ensure you don’t try to escape…”


There was nothing he could do to prevent it. Jarmir’s hand suddenly shot out and touched his left hip with his ring finger. On contact with the hipbone, an explosion of pain took away Folco’s breath as it shot through his hip, down his femur, all the way to the tip of his toes. Folco’s left knee buckled, unceremoniously toppling him to the stone floor. He slammed the ground hard in a crumpled heap at Jarmir Esteel’s feet, teeth gritted against the agony in his left leg. The impact of his already bruised torso striking the ground sent a fresh wave of pain reverberating  throughout his body.


Presently, the pain gave way to a creeping numbness. It was eerie. It was as though the pain were taking any sense of life with it as it dissipated. Once it had been thoroughly distinguished, Folco prodded his left leg. Bile rose in the back of his throat at the sensation. He could feel the leg with his hand, but he might as well be touching the ground for all the sensation he had. The prince stared at it in horror. He devoted all of his mind into imagining his left leg moving an inch on its own, but to no avail. It was as though all the life had gone out of it.


With one final look of disdain, the elf left the cell. Folco inhaled sharply. “What the plague did you do to my… Jarmir! JARMIR!” The elf ignored him. The young prince pummeled the ground with his fists, then curled up into a shivering ball best he could with a leg that might as well not exist the way it felt now. What happened? What had that execrable elf done? How long would his leg be out of commission from the spell or whatever it was?

~*~*~


            Some time later, the door opened again. A guard he had not seen yet, a human with wavy brown hair and icy-blue eyes that might have been handsome were it not for the glint of malevolence coloring his visage as he looked down at the prisoner as though he were carrion for vultures.


            Folco, who had not moved from the spot where he’d fallen when Jarmir had hit him with what he now understood to be some sort of spell, pushed his head, shoulders and chest off the ground so he might give the jailer a defiant stare, fully expecting the man to lay hands on him and drag him to wherever they did interrogations with accused criminals. Instead, the prince noticed that he was carrying a large bucket, and a cup. He wore a thick black belt, which had a shortsword, dagger, keys and a sack hanging from it. The man lowered the bucket to the ground, dipped the cup in, and placed it several feet from the huddled captive. He then slid his hand into his pocket, extricating what appeared to be a molding piece of bread. To his revulsion, the guard dropped the piece of bread onto the floor. That was what they were going to feed him here?


            The human snorted. “What’s the matter, Your Highness? Provender not what you’re accustomed to?” He chortled. “Well, I assure you, this is all you’ll be getting until you’ve eaten it. We do not let food go to waste here. And I don’t feel like bringing the food to you. You’re going to have to come get it.”

 

 Folco glared but remained silent. Doubtless the guard was hoping for him to lose his temper so he might have an excuse to inflict the very “punishment” they’d promised they would deliver whenever  it was permitted by Jarmir.  Or, presumably, his own father. How could his father be okay with this? Did his father know he was here now or anything that had happened between when his identity was discovered and the present? Did he even care?  “You need to learn to do things- you no longer have servants at your beck and call virtually breathing for you, after all.” Folco scowled, stung by the taunt. He hated this guard already, just as he’d always hated when people outside his family assumed he never did anything for himself, whether it was people speculating that his servants did his homework for him or comments that he’d only been accepted on the upper school’s archery team because of his status as a prince.


Those petty matters had seemed so huge when things had been normal, when his mother had been alive. Now, she lay buried in the ground somewhere, likely after a grand funeral that had taken place while the refugees were just leaving Drémeadow, and people assuming he couldn’t do anything for himself was the very least of his problems.

 

The guard swore, advancing upon the stubborn prisoner. He drew back his foot to deliver a swift kick. Reflexively, Folco tensed and flinched, bracing himself for impact while trying to evade the blow- only for him to hear a thud on the stone wall. The sentinel simpered, “poor lad, did I frighten you?” with an expression that was the worst effigy of sympathy Folco had ever seen. It was soon replaced by a look of aggression. “Move! Or it will be your face I kick next!”


Folco made a futile attempt to stand; his disabled leg buckled when he’d risen only a few inches. The guard looked amused. Swearing under his breath, he tried again. No luck.


“Need a hand?” the guard snapped. He slapped Folco across the face to urge him along. Blinking away the stars that sprang up before his eyes, Folco finally managed to gain his feet by using the wall to support himself as he used his good leg to force himself up. He hopped towards the cup and moldering bread, allowing himself to slide down the wall only when he’d drawn level with the provisions. A glance into the mud-streaked cup made his heart sink. It was only half-full.


“We haven’t poisoned your dinner, so you know. Everyone will be quite offended that you thought we did. That's why you're not already shoving it down your throat, am I right? Though,” the guard gave a very nasty smell, “I suppose I can see why that might occur to you given how your friend the paladin left a New Years’ gift in the Queen’s wine that made her go out with 3014…”


Folco, aghast, felt like one of his captors’ boots had struck him in the stomach again. How could anyone be coldhearted enough to say such a thing?


            Then there was the possibility his food had been tampered with, the very possibility the guard had brought up. That comment suspicious in itself. Not poison, necessarily, though that was possible. Folco remembered hearing mention of potions that would force people to spill their darkest secrets. He absolutely could not permit himself to be drugged in that way. If it meant suffering the ravages of hunger and dehydration, so be it.


The guard moved towards the door, finally convinced that he would not get the satisfaction of seeing the inmate try to choke down moldy bread. “Well, as I promised, you shall not be getting anything else until that’s finished. I’m confident to the utmost you’ll reach a point where you’ll no longer care if your food is poisoned.” He pulled the cell door back open to walk out. “Your good health, Your Highness..”


Folco flicked a rude gesture at the door as it slammed shut behind the warden. He did not like the sound of those parting words one bit.




© 2014 SpeedyHobbit Armstrong



Author's Note

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
Please give me any constructive criticism you can think of as well as comments on strengths you notice. I hope to be a published author one day, so I want this book and all of my books to become awesome and as close to perfect as is humanly possible.

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Featured Review

Truly a low point for Folco, and I truly feel sad for him and wonder how much worse his situation is going to get. A lot for a young hobbit (who seems a little headstrong, not surprising for a prince) to go through. I'm reviewing the book to get a feel for it as a whole but simply had to comment on this chapter.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

The situation indeed is the stuff of nightmares. You're not kidding about his being headstrong! I'm .. read more



Reviews

Awwwww Folco!! Great continuation. Sorry if my reviews seem out of order, I'm trying to see what I haven't reviewed yet! XD



Posted 2 Years Ago


Quite the mess the young prince finds himself in. Another good chapter.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

2 Years Ago

Right? Nice going, Your Highness! Seriously though, poor kid. Folco and Lindo are definitely in it u.. read more
I diigo where this story is moving (see what I did there? HAHAHAHAAAAAHAHA... HAHA......)
Jarmir is a real party pooper. I mean, it wasn't much of a party, but seriously. He's quite rude.
this whole situation is pretty scary. I'm wondering if Falco's dad really does know if he's captured here. I'm especially worried for Lindo. What Jarmir said about only royalty getting special treatment...
Good move separating them. Gotta love making things worse for your characters.
Notes here: https://diigo.com/060blg
Excellent work!

Posted 3 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

LOLOL "I Diigo!" Perfect Alpha Reader joke! Yeah, Jarmir can be just a WEE bit of an a*****e, hmm? .. read more
Truly a low point for Folco, and I truly feel sad for him and wonder how much worse his situation is going to get. A lot for a young hobbit (who seems a little headstrong, not surprising for a prince) to go through. I'm reviewing the book to get a feel for it as a whole but simply had to comment on this chapter.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This comment has been deleted by the poster.
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

The situation indeed is the stuff of nightmares. You're not kidding about his being headstrong! I'm .. read more
Doing a good job describing Falco's emotions. Perhaps a touch more description of the awful cell that he's in. (And here I was telling you earlier that I don't like a lot of description.)

Very good so far.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

I'll have to edit that description in, the, today or later in the week. Let's just say it's definite.. read more
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

Welp, at work until 7 and it's a very slow day and I'm the only one in, may take a crack at the desc.. read more
I think you should continue allowing the idea to manifest itself! The clothing part was a little unexpected, and I liked how the scene went about it. :D Also, letting the idea manifest itself leaves room for improvisation if needed. Nice chapter!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 3 Years Ago


SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

3 Years Ago

Thanks so much for the review!

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Added on December 18, 2013
Last Updated on September 30, 2014
Tags: fantasy, prince, bondage, captivity, abuse, scary, dark, captive, threat, hunger, suffering, torture, food, prison, traitor, tyrant


Author

SpeedyHobbit Armstrong
SpeedyHobbit Armstrong

Long Island, NY



About
My name is Cher Armstrong, also known as Speedy Hobbit. I'm a USATF athlete in racewalking for the Raleigh Walkers club team. I just graduated from Queens College in Queens borough in New York Ci.. more..

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