Image: Luis Royo
Kelsera walked into the hall, graceful and dangerous, a shield with her tribe’s crest emblazoned on it across her back, an intricately carved sword at her side. For a moment, he regretted his decision to employ this woman. She scared him, as much as he hated to admit it. “My lord,” she bowed low, but the hard glint in her eyes and the mocking half-smile on her lips let him know that she was merely obeying custom, no more subservient than a tiger to a mouse. Fat and pampered, he sat behind his heavy oak table, pushing aside the stack of papers that he had been contemplating and studying her. The warrior, for make no mistake she was a warrior at heart not the mercenary she currently presented herself as, had tattoos on her face and body that she didn’t bother covering, markings clearly showing that she still believed in the old ways, the old gods. His jaw clenched as he considered this outright display of heresy against him, the Crowned Head, the only one she should offer worship or tribute to, but he let it pass without remark. Today, he needed her.
He showed her the portrait he had before him. The drawing was of a handsome young nobleman whose outspokenness against the current regime had been garnering attention. apparently, despite claims to the contrary, even the king was worried, concerned enough to have him removed.
She committed the man’s face to memory, turned and left without a word. The man breathed a sigh of relief and felt the tension leave his shoulders. Again, he wondered at his choice, but his advisors had assured him that she was the best person for the mission, that the money would convince her and her skill was unparalleled. He had been informed that his nephew was in hiding in the woods to the west of the city, a small, but dedicated army with him. He couldn’t risk a true confrontation, fearing that a show of the King’s strength would pull more of the people to his nephew’s cause. The consequences of such an act might not be favorable. All he cared was that his nephew was killed. If this woman had to kill every man in the encampment to get to him, she was capable of it.
Outside the palace, Kelsera ducked into a niche between two buildings were a man waited, a dirty brown cloak wrapped tightly around him, hood pulled up shadowing his face. “You were right,” she stated with a low laugh. “It’s time.” She felt the pull of her sword, could already hear the battle cries echoing in her head, could see the dragons, the ones the king refused to believe still lived, flying over their heads, raining fire upon the king’s guard. They would be victorious.
Dottie at Tink’s Place has a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge that I’m enjoying. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate you post your story on Friday – 350 words, give or take.