Chapter Four: A Queen And Some Murder

Chapter Four: A Queen And Some Murder

A Chapter by Greystone

Despite her threat, Mirage felt unsteady on her feet. The light that glowed in her dark blue eyes was fainter then when she had slain the giant: A day of fighting, traveling, and looking over her shoulder had finally taking its toll on the young Stormbringer. For a moment, the hunter stared at her with an expression that could only be intrurpated as fatally serious. Then he began to laugh, even his softly accented chuckle caused pebbles to fall from the edges of Parfrey's Rock.


"You're going to kill me, are you, child?" He gazed at her eyes, as though trying to send a warning message. Mirage stared right back.


"Yes, I am."


"No, you're not." Mirage turned her head towards Henry as he went on. "He'll kill you, Mirage. Just like he killed mother, father... Aunt Liae. For once in your life, think about what you are doing!"


"Ah, a family moment. How..." He smirked, "Touching." Silence for a moment, and then a cry of pain echoed behind the gathering of Hunter and Stormbringer. As the hunter hopped up and down, clutching one of his feet, Alexi laughed.


Both Mirage and Henry saw that Alexi had kicked the hunter as hard as he could, and from his set expression, they recognized the sighs of a tantrum. Mirage (the only stormbringer unbound) stepped back a step as Alexi's shoulders straightened, as he raised his head.


"You killed my mother," he screamed, "and Mirage's is going to kick your large, happy a*s--"


"ALEXI!" Cried Mirage and Henry together, watching the Hunter's face turn a grisly purple.


"I say," the purple hunter said conversationally, "did you just call me fat?" He turned to his army. "Lookie here, boys! The littlest ones trying to INSULT me."


"I would call you more," said Alexi, "But why bother with words when there are actions to prohibit them?" The Hunter snorted.


"You talk intelligantly for the son of a... well, nevermind the specifics." Henry flushed, and Mirage cried out-- Alexi had lunged at the Hunter, flinging his fists anywhere he could reach.


He did not get far. In a moment, a single moment, the hunter swung his mighty scmitar; and Alexi's severed head rolled toward Mirage. She screamed, and then she fainted. Watching her little brother's massacre was too much for even strong Mirage. The Hunter stuck his bloodied sword into the ground.


"I say," He said to henry, "would you care to have a go? I'm rather stuck in a lust for blood now, I'm afraid, and..."


"Jump off a cliff," Henry replied coolly.


"Oh, what's this!?" The Hunter laughed, "Channeling your sister's spirit? You insult me-- and here I thought you couldn't get any more stupid then that little monkey I just slay..."


Henry stared at him with a look of peircing hatred. The Hunter rolled his eyes and punched him in the face, knocking him out. A small trickle of blood fell from his nose.


"Tie them up!" Snapped the Hunter, "We must bring them back."



Mirage's vison was fuzzy. The shapes and shadows blurred wildly, and for a moment she feared she had died with Alexi. Then she felt the scratchy rope against her wrists and feet, noticed the lack of weapon against her waist. In seconds, the cruel reality of it all slided into place.


She screamed again, only to hear a loud 'shushing noise.' She turned her head to see Henry and Violet, both of them bound in a similar fashion.


"H-henry? Was it a..." Henry's face was grim.


"No. It was not a dream, a halluncination, or a trick. In fact, Alexi's head is now sitting on the hunter's desk." He was gritting his teeth. Violet was pale as a ghost, staring at Mirage.


"Is she going to be all right, you think?" Mirage asked, nodding at Henry.


Henry's face was hopeless. "She hasn't eaten a thing since Alexi... well. She hasn't slept, talked, or even moved."


"Violet?" Mirage's voice was shaky, layered with concern. "Violet honey, you going to be okay? Look, I'm sure it was just his time. And I bet we can ask.. er... them if they have Gyk..."


"They burned Gyk," Violet replied shortly, "I couldn't do anything, they made me watch. I was too small... too small!" Tears were running down her face now: Mirage and Henry exchanged a horrfied glance.


"Bravo, Bravo, Bravo." The Hunter's applause was strangely familiar to the children. "Tired of watching your numbers be extinguished? I came to inform you that, for two of you, your porpose soon shall end for my employer. He said I may dispose of you at my lesiure, so..." A sickening grin spread across his face.


"One of you I'm going to hang, after being beaten ruthlessly. The other I'll give to my men and let them pick--forgive me, whoever gets that option, they're not very creative-- something like a Gunshot, perhaps, or a whip..."


"You will not get away with this." Mirage whispered, her voice barely audible, "The Sharp Star council will not stand for torture of faithful Maelstroms!"


"Oh, but they will." The Hunter said, examining his fingernails in an almost compulsive manner, "They will, believe me. No one questions Arathas' Judgement... a Storm summoned, for no reason other then to... to what? Warm your feet? Punishable by death anyway."


"The laws of the Stormbringers are dealt with by the Council, Arathas, you should know that-- Hold on! Your name is Arathas?!" Mirage said, "Not... not THE Arathas?!"


The hunter spoke in a low undertone. "Watch yourself, Stormbringer." With that, he left thier holding cell.


"He's going to kill two of us." Henry said, "I knew he wanted Stormbringers, not one of us!"


"We need to get out of here," Mirage said, "Its our only chance!"


"Good thinking," Violet said, "But HOW?" Mirage eyed Henry.


"You can summon animals, can't you?" She said calmly, as though she were speaking about the weather. Henry nodded.


"I can, yes."


"And... how do they feed us?"


"They take us outside-- we are fed before the other soliders, so that few as possible know we are here. I suppose it is a moment of sanctuary, but we're still being watched. You know, in case something goes wr--" A grin spread over henry's face. "OH."


"Now listen carefully, here's the plan..."



The snake was silent. Lithely, it slithered up the table, releasing its' venom into the yellow cup as Henry had instructed. Then it slid away into the shadows of the Tengurthian forest, forgetting all about the promises for steak as a field mice scurried across his path.


The bell rang. "DINNER, STORMBRINGING SCUM!" Shouted the cook, pounding a wooden spoon on a pan. The three remaining Stormbringers, tied together, moved like a funeral procession towards the fire. A large boar was roasting on a stick, its tongue sticking out. Violet (who was a vegan) shuddered.


As he doled out the boar onto three plates, handing it to the three of them, he took a sip of his yellow coffee cup. Suddenly, he dropped the food. He began to seize violently, and then he threw up-- extinguishing the fire with the petruid scent.


"HELP!" Mirage screamed, winking at Henry and Violet, (who looked horrfied), "HELP, THIS BLOB OF A MAN SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN INJURED! AYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"


"Melodramatic," Muttered Henry. As several soliders came towards them, weapons drawn, Violet whispered something in Mirage's ear.


"Now, Sister." And Mirage obeyed. Her eyes clouded with grey smoke, and a mist settled over the hills. Lightning and rain struck the soliders, electrocuting over half of them and seriously injuring the rest. Then the fire swurled up and melted the chains, leaving Mirage,Henry, and Violet free.


"RUN!" Screamed Violet, and the three of them took off. Violet, being the slowest, was caught almost immedately. Henry, being faster then light, turned back to get her-- both of them were re-captured. Mirage was a fast runner...


Not noticing the lack of her siblings, she retreated into the forest.


Mirage had always been a fast runner, and at that moment in time she ran as fast as an elephant fleeing a mouse; throwing herself into the labor. She ran straight to the fields of eastern Zrael, passing the great road through cover of darkness, as the stormbringing family had planned. When, at twilight the next evening, she finally stoppedm, the dim lights from Zrael's capitol--Rayson-- gleamed in the distance. It was then that Mirage wept. For her family, for 'auntie' Liae.


She knew she should go on, to the SharpStar council, the call a hearing; but she has exhausted. For a short moment, she was allowed to rest. When she awoke, she was surrounded by twelve black wolves and one white. Her hand flew to her sword and she drew it (in vain, for they had the higher ground.)


"Put that stick away, human," an amused voice said, "It's insulting to those of us who can actually fight. There's twenty enough, and one of you. We're not hungry, we're only here to introduce our queen." Mirage rubbed her calloused hands over her eyes-- how could a WOLF be talking to her? That had not happened since Natalia had...


"Your QUEEN?" Squeaked Mirage, "Queen?!" She fought back a mental image of a black wolf in royal clothing. There was a strange type of growl coming from the wolves. It took a moment for mirage to realize that they were laughing.


"We are not so-- what is your human word? 'Primitive,' is it? Yes, that must be it. We are not so primitive as to have someone in wolf form rule us. We are more power hungry then you would think." There was a hint of smugness behind his duclet tones, but then he added, "but fear not.. we bare you no ill-will, Stormbringer." Mirage took one look at his golden orbs of eyes and knew he meant it.


It was then that the horns began to blow. The wolves-- even the one with the white fur, who Mirage had taken to be the leader of the group-- sank into unmistakable bows.


A woman moved down the rows, regal and poised as a lion in the empty night. Her movements were lithe and wild, in a way that cannot be described by even the power of words. She had silkily fine hair that was bright as the stars in the navy sky. Her skin was pale, as though she had a great fear of being seperated from something she loved. Her lips shamed the reddest rose blossom, and below them a perfectly pointed chin looked down at the wolves.


A small nose, unusual in a pleasing way dotted the middle of her face. A scent of flowers wafted from her skin. She was clad in a cloak that showed her to be of great wealth. A red dress with golden thread around the low v-neck top looked like a gown from a fairy tale. Daintly elegant feet come out from the edges of the swoth of cloth she wore.


Despite all her beauty, Mirage was frightened of her for one reason:
Her eyes.


Her green, beautiful eyes. They made her look like an animal-- wild, desperate, and dangerous. Something hunted by things far greater then anything Mirage had ever seen.


"Hello," she said, with a haggard voice that matched her eyes, "I am Persephone."


Mirage stared at her for a moment.


"Queen Persephone? Of the underworld?"


"That is a very long title, Stormbringer, and it reminds me of my pain!"


"I'm sorry." Mirage hestatied, but before she could Persephone calmly stated Mirage's unspoken question.


"You are wondering why I am on my mother's realm when it is autumn, are you not?"


Mirage nodded.


"My husband and I have been thinking about having a child, you see. The problem is, that would mean a family of living people in the kingdom of the dead. Can you imagine the troubles?!"


"Cerebus would probably eat him, you mean-- the selfish b*****d!" The white wolf spat this with some amount of digust, silenced only by his Queen's silent glare.


"Hush, Borius," she chided gently, and the wolf bowed his head.


"My apologies, Queen."


"Hades feels the need to send a body guard every time I leave my garden," she whispered to Mirage, "I am sorry about that." She cleared her throat loudly, and then said, "But Borius does indeed name a challenge my child would face. So, we decided to achoose a child that was already deceased-- and raise him as our own."


Several of the wolves muttered to one another, Mirage suspected that Hades had 'conviently' neglected to mention this to his subjects.


"We chose a small boy with angel-blond hair, whose name was Alexi." Mirage let out a soft scream.


"But Alexi was troubled. He would not play with his golden toys or sit on my lap. He would not be peaceable to the other gods and goddesses. Hera eventually got him to reveal that this world was in grave peril from a man who called himself 'the hunter.' So Hades sent me to protect his new son's family, so that the family of our joy will rest forever in the fields of elysium. We found his mother, his father, his aunt."


Mirage was nearly overwhelmed by joy.


"We discovered, however, that they were not spirits."




"Yes, Mirage. They are not spirits. They never will be spirits. All of them have been reincarnated as drops of rain, at the request of a powerful Starmancer whose identity evades even my husband." Her eyes glimmered with a forgotten dream for a brief moment, and then her green eyes turned to Mirage.


"Mirage, what do you say of this?"


"A Starmancer!? But.. that's impossible. For one thing-- what star would help such a beast as this!? For another... the only star mancers are ones who have..."


"A person," Borius cut off Mirage, "who has slain a God."


"I am aware of this," the Queen said sadly, "but no Gods have acted strangely. But still, Mirage, I must help you."


"Help me? How?"


"That is your choice." Persephone said, "choose wisely, Stormbringer." Mirage thought for a moment.


"Firstly, send a messenger to my family in Agna. Explain everything. Secondly, take me back to the camp. Give me the speed to rescue my family." Persephone snapped her fingers, and they appeared at a hill. There was ought to distract them but the sound of cheering and drums of war. The drums themselves played only a single beat: Thrump. Thrump. Thrump. Mirage shuddered: Already, the sound of the instruaments melody went beneath her skin.


"Why aren't we IN the camp?" Mirage hissed at the eloquently bent Persephone, who raised a hand as though to silence her.


"Watch and see," Persephone whispered back. A tall, muscular, black-clad figure was making his way though the crowd of the Hunter's soliders-- easily a foot taller then the bigger ones. He solemnly held a blood-stained axe, inscribed with runes that Mirage did not recognize. A large black mask-- horrible and grotesque-- protected his face from view.


He lead a carriage of two people, two people that were very dear to Mirage. Henry was worse for wear. Hiseyes were empty and a-cold, his face bruised; with no remant of the energetic young hero who had left their house a week before. Violet had obviously lost a lot of blood and seemed almost cordial, which was somehow more heartbreaking than Henry's desperation.


The hunter stepped forward and said a long speech about how these children were responsible for this, and that, then nodded to the executioner. As Mirage ran, she saw the ropes grow tight:


Even as her feet reached the bottom of the hill, Henry and Violet Stormbringer were no more.

© 2008 Greystone

Author's Note

I am not the best at battle scenes. I warn you now. Ciao!

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Added on December 23, 2008



Fort Atkinson, WI

I've been writing for about five years. Mostly, I focus on fantasy, although to be honest I've dabbled horribly in Romance, Science Fiction, and modern-day roleplays. I enjoy drawing, painting, wood c.. more..

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