This is around the time of the story where I started to get bored of my own storyline and thus my writing failed, as well as the character development. 😛
Anyways, here’s the next bit of my short story-ish series thingamajig:
Rokam returned to his kingdom late into the night when only the cruelest of the pale people wandered the streets, committing their evil deeds. He entered the gates near silently. Beyond the click, clock, click, of the horse’s hooves, no noise could be heard.
Dismounting from his steed, Rokam led the horse into a nearby, stone barn where other animals, more white and pale than his, were housed. He unsaddled it and carefully put the various tack items into a small room inside the barn.
Rokam jumped and his hand flew his side, where he would usually keep a sword, but he found that he had removed his weapon when he had arrived in the barn. But the gentle hand the touched his right shoulder caused him to relax. He let out a calm breath as he turned around.
“Evony,” he stated calmly as his eyes rested on the kind, blue eyes of a young girl, “What has you up at such an hour? You are putting yourself in danger, darling.” he placed a gentle kiss to her forehead once he had finished speaking.
“It is my father.” she whispered, her eyes falling to the ground as she spoke. “Rokam…” she said as her voice began to shake with held back tears, “He changed. His eyes are…they aren’t his. He…he got angry and…he prohibited me to see you again.” she looked up as the tears overflowed from her eyes.
Rokam frowned, “He prohibits you to see your own husband? What then does he plan to do with the child? He certainly does not expect you to raise him – or, perhaps, her – by yourself.”
“I am uncertain.” she whispered, “I merely hope you can sway his decision. I do not wish to be away from you.”
He nodded, “Perhaps I can speak to him now? I have nowhere that I must go presently so I can spend many hours kindly correcting his new restrictions on his daughter.”
Evony shook her head, “No, he is in bed and was rather frustrated when he decided to rest, best not to bother him tonight. And to note, he would then find that I have been out and he would be furious with me.”
Rokam sighed, “Tomorrow then…” he said, his eyes filled with sorrow.
She smiled softly, “Tomorrow.” a moment passed before she spoke again, “Did you learn of anything from your venture?”
His eyes grew dark, “Aye. I learned of how to return the sun. Though I cannot say that the solution is one I am at all fond of.”
“What is it?” she asked hopefully.
“I must kill the king. Luckily, he has no current descendants, but if he did it would be necessary for me to do away with them as well. We must not let his family’s reign as royalty continue and so, I’m assuming, we would also have to appoint a new king.”
“How do you suppose you shall go about doing such things?” she said, a frown crossing over her face.
Rokam shook his head, “I do not know as of now. I will work out how to get close enough to the king for an assassination tonight, I suppose.”
Evony sighed, “And what of the new king? Who is to say that they would not appoint an equally cruel king to replace the last?”
“I am unsure.” He said, “I…can only leave that up to Shaddaih.”
She looked up at him, her eyes twinkling a bit too brightly as she looked into his, “Be careful, Rokam.”
He smiled softly and wrapped his arms around her briefly before pulling away, “You should be going, lest your father finds out of your little escapade.”
She nodded and turned away. Her thin form vanished into the darkness.
Rokam did not sleep that night nor the one after that. Many times he went to the house that he knew Evony and her family were staying in, but his knocks at the door were left unanswered. As the days passed, his heart grew heavy with the task he knew was at hand and the ever growing worry for his wife and child’s health.
Three days passed and Rokam stayed quite busy as he gathered information from various sources about the weakest parts of the castle security. After many hours of planning, and multiple surreptitious meetings in the darkness of the night, he had plotted the assassination of his king.
He sat in the darkness of his home one night while he ran through the plan in his mind again. No fire burned where it usually would. Instead, the fireplace contained no more than red ashes of a fire that once was. A mere candle lit the small, home enough so Rokam could see his own hands.
sat on the table in the middle of the room, leaning on his elbows as he bent over an open scroll. His face wore a frown and his breath came out shallow and nearly silent. One of his hands was on the table, curled into a tight fist, as most peoples’s hands fist up when they are thinking deeply about things that could change their life and many others’s.
A soft knock came at the door, causing Rokam to look up from the scroll before him. He quickly curled the paper around the roller and tucked the scroll away on his bed, underneath the pillow.
He then grabbed a cloak that hung on the table’s chair and slipped it over his clothes, being sure to pull the hood over his head and cover his dark eyes and hair. He hesitated at the door.
A moment passed.
The knock came again, more urgent this time, but still gentle.
Rokam shook himself out of his paused state and opened the door. He felt his heart jump into his throat when he saw whom had knocked. After he took in a shallow breath to keep himself from rushing at the person, he quietly stepped aside, allowing his guest entrance into his home.
The thin figure of a person walked inside the hut. The visitor’s feet made no sound as they walked along Rokam’s wood floor and stopped only after having reached the table. They turned to Rokam. Pure white hands reached up and removed the hood of the cloak that had shadowed everything, but their bright eyes.
Evony looked up at Rokam, who stood in front of her, tears glimmering in his eyes. Her own blue eyes held a deep sadness about them, almost as if a cloud of darkness rested upon her. A red bruise covered her right cheek and she had a small cut on her lip, both of which looked as if they were recently received.
Rokam reached his hand up and gently brushed it through her golden hair.
“What happened?” He said, his voice nearly a whisper.
Evony took in a near silent breath before responding slowly. Her words came out small and her voice sounded minuscule in the open hut that contained little furniture.
“He – my father – was angry. I don’t know what originally got him ill-tempered but he was in a rather dangerous mood when I came from the market.” she paused to draw another breath, “He and my mother were fighting – from what I can tell he wished for her to denounce her loyalty to Shaddaih and she refused – and he-”
“Did your father strike you?” Rokam growled, his voice coming out more menacing than he had intended. He held himself back, attempting to be gentle for Evony’s sake. He was certain she would not enjoy having him upset as well.
“No.” she whispered, shaking her head slightly, “He had a greater sense than to do that, I suppose. He, instead, said that if we did not change our allegence, we could not live in his house anymore. Therefore, he forced my mother and I out. We were making our way towards here when two men came and,” she paused for a moment, holding back a sob before continuing, “One of them had a knife and he…killed my mother and took a gold bracelet from her wrist the other one tried to hurt me, but I kicked him and ran for what must have been fifteen minutes or so… Then, when I was exhausted, I came here.” Her voice faded away as she finished her tale.
Rokam frowned and searched for words.
A few minutes passed where silence flooded the room. Evony’s explanation hung in the air, waiting to be responded to.
Finally, Rokam stepped away and placed a few pieces of wood in the fireplace. He took a match from the shelf that was above the fireplace and lit it, then threw it into the dark corner. A fire slowly grew on one piece of the kindling until all of it was aflame and the entire room was lit. He then set up a kettle with some water in it, to make tea after the water had been brought to boiling.
Once Rokam was done with this he turned to see that Evony sat on the bed, holding an open scroll in her hands as her eyes studied the page. Rokam sighed and sat down beside her.
“You should not be looking at that.” he said as he took the scroll from her, curled it up, and placed it beside him, “Best you do not know all that I plan to do. Ignorance will save you if everything does not work as anticipated.”
Evony nodded, “When?”
“When to what, my dear?” Rokam responded.
“When will you…” she motioned to the scroll beside him.
“Oh,” Rokam paused before answering, “Tomorrow. Once the street fires have been put out for the night.”
Rokam walked down the dark streets. He could not see the ground which his feet touched. Therefore, he counted his steps to remember when to turn and where he was. He turned to the right once he had counted to thirty, into the street that he knew would lead to the most secluded castle entrance.
He heard water trickling bellow him as he crossed a bridge, his sense of sight still not assisting in his walk, though he began to see fires in the distance.
Slowly, as Rokam walked further, the road began to be scattered with the occasional fire, until there was a stream of them on the dirt road he walked on.
Now that he had more light he could see that he had walked around the castle and ended up on the other side of it. His back faced the ocean and he could hear the waves as they crashed against the rock on the shore. A large, stone wall stood before him, and he walked beside it for some time before he began to hear soft footsteps.
He paused. Pressing his back against the wall, he continued edging in the direction which he heard the footsteps. Once he could see the shadows of the guards on the ground, he pulled the hood of his cloak over his head.
He took in a deep breath. The entrance to the castle was directly beside him. He just had to get past the guards. His heart pounded hard in his chest and a terrible lump built in his throat. But there was a task at hand.
Something stronger, a longing to see the sun again, came over Rokam and if only for a moment, his fears and worries seemed small. Taking in another breath, he edged closer to the entrance and waited.
The guard turned on his heels and walked back around, passing the wall which Rokam was pressed against. The guard’s eyes barely caught the sight of a cloaked man and his hands reached to his sword. Though the weapon was not removed from its sheath before a hard object struck his head and he crumbled to the ground.
A second guard had seen it all and quickly unsheathed his sword. He hurriedly lunged at Rokam, but his blade was dodged. The second guard tumbled to the ground. Unconscious.
Rokam dropped the large rock he held on the ground. His hands reached up and he adjusted the hood of his cloak so that it overshadowed all but the small white that surrounded his dark eyes. Slipping his right hand into the sleeve of his left, he pulled out a dagger and concealed it with his cloak.
It didn’t take him long to make his way to the entrance of the castle. He quietly took a window off of its frame and sneaked inside. It was nearly as dark in the castle as it had been in the courtyard, only that the hallways were lined with small candles on the sides. The candles provided enough light so Rokam could see where he walked.
Now that he was inside, he attempted to remember the layout.
Right, right, left, right, left, left, Rokam kept track of how many turns he had made as he walked through the silent hallways. Few guards were on watch inside the building and those who were contented themselves by sleeping on chairs beside the doors. Their heavy breathing echoed throughout the halls.
Rokam walked faster as he passed another guard. He took another right turn. This was his last one before he came to the large doors that led into the king’s sleeping chambers.
The doors were made of pure gold that seemed black in the darkness of the castle. Two guards slept on either side of the door. Neither of them moved.
Rokam glanced at the guards, taking note of the swords strapped to their wastes. His eye caught some rope a few feet away. Quickly striding over to the well-crafted material, he picked it up then walked back to the guards.
Within a few moments, the guards had both arms and legs tied. And yet they still slept soundly.
Rokan shook his head slightly. They had been drunk before they passed into sleep no wonder. He sighed, considering that these men would probably not live another day after they were discovered to be the guards that had been on watch that night.
His sympathy was short lived though as his mind jumped back to the task that was placed before him. He lifted his hands and pressed against the large doors.
The doors groaned then opened slowly. With the sight of a large room, with fine furniture and advanced architecture, came a rotten sent. It smelt as though a body had been slain and left in the room to rot.
He grimaced at the odor and took a step back. Once he was accustomed to the smell, he took a few steps inside the room. Unlike the stone which lined the hallways, this room had carpeted floors, which masked the sound of his footsteps.
A large bed stood before him, with collumns that reached up and created a canopy above the mattress. The sheets, which appeared to have once been white, were stained with bits of brown and some red stains from what appeared to be wine. Though, the brightest of the stains could even be mistaken for blood.
He walked up to the bed. Laying on the mattress, with a thin white sheet covering him, slept a man. He had long, blond hair that was knotted and covered the pillow which his head rested on. His skin was pale and a short beard was beginning to grow on his face.
Rokam paused beside the man. The shadow of a dagger appeared as he removed the weapon from his cloak.
The king was merely thirty years old; he had a full life to live. He had no sons or daughters. No wife. He would never know the feeling of love or the joy of being a father. Perhaps he was not as evil as his servants had described him to be. Maybe he was merely a lost soul, trying to find his way.
Rokam thought of all these things as he looked at the man whose life he was about to end. Was he doing the right thing? Should he be listening to a stranger he met only once? Who’s to say that her word was correct?
Yet as he pondered the man’s loss of family and life, his mind drifted to his own family. His wife that waited for him. The small child that was growing. Whether the baby be boy or girl, he was a human life, and much loved by both mother and father.
Rokam’s jaw tightened. He had to finish this, if not for himself, for his child. So that he would grow up in a world with a sun. So that his son, or daughter, would be safe and not have to worry about leaving the house at night or announcing his faith.
His fingers tightened around the hilt of the dagger. The weapon was raised in the air, above the king’s body. The tip of the blade shimmered as it caught the light of a candle.
He took in a deep breath. His knuckles turned white. Closing his eyes, he let an image of Evony play before him.
“Shaddaih, forgive me.” he whispered. His words floated into the silence of the night and faded away.
The dagger came down quickly. It pierced into the king’s chest. The sound of echoed in the room, shortly followed by a gasp from the king.
When Rokam opened his eyes, the man’s body lay limp before him. He slowly removed his hands from the dagger that protruded from the man’s chest, and took a step away from the bed. His hands shook and air came in short, small gasps.
A moment passed as he composed himself. Once his breathing had returned to normal and the shaking in his hands had slightly subsided, he turned back to the large doors he had entered from. He walked towards them, but paused just before stepping out of the room.
His thoughts spun, as if a million voices spoke to him at once. He could still feel the his hands quivering with the thought of what he had just done.
A minute or so passed as he stood there, listening to the incoherent thoughts in his mind. So many emotions ran through him in that moment; anger at himself, pity for the king, sadness because of loss, joy that he had finished his job… But the one feeling that stood above them all was something Rokam would never forget. Guilt.
As Rokam began his walk back home, he looked up into the sky. Outside, walking on the deserted, dirt road that was far from the main part of the kingdom, he had expected to see something. A star. The moon. Anything.
But as he looked up, he felt his heart sink and a terrible pit in his stomach formed.
There were no stars. No moon. Not even the grey shade of clouds that hid some form of light behind them. It was pure darkness, as it had been for hundreds of years.