Sword of Aranus Chapter 2

The following is an excerpt from the book I’m writing.

     Ashlynn Ascalon walked quietly through the nearly deserted courtyard, pausing every so often behind one the statues that were being silhouetted from the moonlight and the faintly lit torches that were scattered about. Lightning backlit the sky to the west, drawing the ire of the guards that were patrolling the area. Ashlynn laughed quietly at the complaining guards as she came into earshot. They were supposed to be the best that Tranax had to offer but Ashlynn always seemed to elude them when she made her midnight strolls. She hated being confined and guarded all hours of the day. The properness of her station was ill-suited for her and she wanted out so badly. She looked up into the starry night and the longing she had to be transversing those same stars was emblazoned on the look on her face. Her brother, Gaiden, was the lucky one. He was allowed to join Starfleet whereas she was forbidden to. Not that she hadn’t tried, though.
     She smiled and closed her eyes as a gentle breeze fluttered through her long brown hair. For a few seconds she breathed in the warm air that flowed through the courtyard. She opened her eyes back up and gazed back into the night sky, this time at the twin moons of Tranax. They shimmered brightly like pearls in a vast ocean. She sighed and knew she had better get back to her chambers before she was actually caught.
As she made her way back to where the window to her room was, she heard movement and saw two more of the guards caught up in idle chatter. She grinned as they walked by, not paying any attention to their surroundings. She laughed quietly and she quickly ran behind them and hid behind a new set of statues. She shook her head in mock disgust of her “protection.” It was all useless. She could at anytime “escape” and return to her chambers without being caught if she wanted. Most of the time she let herself get caught just so she could see the look on her father’s face. She guessed that was the reason why he considered her a danger to herself. Well, as Prime Minister of the Tranaxian Council, he was entitled to his own opinion. She didn’t care if it upset him or not, which was her problem and she knew it. She grinned as she slowly crept toward her chamber window.
     “And that is why little miss Ashlynn Ascalon is such a pain in the butt,” she said to herself.
     She sighed softly as she again closed her eyes and smelled the wind that was still blowing but had picked up in the last few minutes. Something didn’t feel right as the air around her changed. She quickened her pace as she started toward her chamber window again. The walking soon turned into a run as a voice she had never heard before spoke.
     “Over there, she’s running back toward her chambers. Quickly now, before she can get to safety.”
Now she was scared. Looking from one side to the other to check that she was clear, Ashlynn darted behind every statue she could reach. Because she knew the terrain, so well, she easily eluded her potential kidnappers right up to the next to last statue that was closest to the rope that was laying hidden near the cornerstone of the palatial sleeping chambers. Not watching where she was going, she tripped over something laying in the grass. As she landed, her breath was knocked hard from her lungs with a loud “oof.”
She raised her head slowly and looked behind her to see what she had tripped over. To her surprise, it was the legs of one of one of the guards she had just seen patrolling the area. Next to him was his partner. They had been both brutally slaughtered.
     She turned back toward where the rope and her window was. She crawled silently, hoping against hope she would make it.
     “Be with me Ananke,” she whispered to herself as she clutched her necklace tightly.
     She could hear footsteps getting closer as she inched toward her destination. Slowly but surely she made her way until she was just inches from the rope. As she reached for it she heard a gruff laugh and then something hard hit her on the base of her skull. She then heard another wheezy laugh as everything went black.

     Ashlynn woke up in a dimly lighted room that immediately smelled of rank mustiness. She squinched up her nose as her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room. She then reached up and felt the back of her head, which had been aching badly, and felt the huge knot that had formed where she had been hit. Her head pounded with pain as a wave of nausea nearly overcame her as she fought the urge to vomit. She took a deep breath and refocused her eyes. Glancing around the room, she noticed it was extremely small and there was no window to speak of.
     “Where the hell am I?” She muttered as she stood up and tried to walk around a bit but only wobbled as she grasped the metal railing of the bed. “Maybe I should sit a bit longer.”
     She rubbed her eyes as they went in and out of focus again. Another wave of nausea hit her and she felt ready to vomit. She held her stomach and grimaced as the feeling came and went.
     “That wasn’t good,” she acknowledged as she took another deep breath.
     It didn’t help as the vomit forced it’s way out her throat as she retched on the concrete floor. As she was doing this, the door to her room slid open and a pleasant older-looking woman entered the room carrying a tray. She smiled at Ashlynn as she placed the tray down on a table near Ashlynn’s bed and walked over to closet and grabbed a towel in which she cleaned up Ashlynn’s mess.
     “I see you’re finally awake,” she said as she stood up and disposed of the towel. “Don’t worry, the feeling will pass. You have had a slight concussion from the blow.” She then poured Ashlynn a glass of dark liquid that she did not recognize. “Would you like some tea? It is an Earth drink that Lord Ganelon is fond of.”
     Ashlynn frowned. “Why would I drink something that Ganelon likes?” She asked defiantly. “What right does he have of holding me here?”
     The woman gave a small smile. “Lord Ganelon wishes you to drink it,” she replied with an almost tired tone. “The tea has a calming effect, or so he says. He understands that you are being put through a very trying and emotional change. But I advise you to drink it, for your sake. He is not a patient man when it comes to his concubines.”
     With that, she turned around and went out the door without another word. As the door closed, Ashlynn heard the click of a lock. She then slumped back onto the bed. The last sentence the woman had said hit her. Concubine? Well not if she could help it. There was no way she was becoming one of Ganelon’s little love slaves. She glanced back over at the tea and saw a little note sitting by the glass along with two small white tablets. Ashlynn opened the note and read.

                                      “For your headache.”



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