Taking Back The Crown – Part Seventeen

 Sonya put all her efforts over the next few months into not only recovering physically, but emotionally from her last encounter with Seta. After looking in the mirror, Sonya concluded it was hardly surprising that Seta had not recognized her. It was a long time before her face did not bear horrendous scars from the disastrous battle in Helena. Sonya was surprised at the number of recruits that remained. They had lost almost a quarter of their number in the battle, but almost everyone that survived remained loyal to the cause. They even had new magicians turn up, eager to fight.

 Linden seemed suddenly reluctant to talk about plans with her. Every time Sonya suggested how they would attack next time, he shrugged her off, saying they needed to be patient. This went on for about five months, until one night, her turned around and put his face uncomfortably close to hers.

  “We need to play the long game.” he began, quietly. “If we had another Litian heir, we’d have more of a chance…”

 “You’re not suggesting…” He put a hand on her hip, making it perfectly clear what he was suggesting. “It’s out of the question.”

 “You’re being selfish. These men are laying down their lives for you, and you won’t even do this to help them?” He stayed where he was, still gripping her with his left hand.

 Sonya thought about it. Was she being selfish?

 “No. The next battle, we do things my way.” Sonya pushed past him and walked out of the room.

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Taking Back The Crown – Part Sixteen

“Do you think she’s any closer to waking up? It’s been weeks.” Sonya heard Orika’s voice, but couldn’t open her eyes. Her body seemed to be made of pain. She paid for every breath with agony.

 “She sustained serious internal injuries, especially on her brain. Even if she wakes up soon, it will be months before she fully recovers without a properly trained healer.” Linden replied. “We need to go. It’s time for another patrol.”

 After both Linden and Orika had left the room, Sonya finally managed to lift her eyelids. When she’d almost gotten used to her aching limbs, she pulled herself out of the bed she was in. Once stood, she felt heavy but delicate. Most of all she felt defeated, and she could think of only one place to go, of one person that she wanted to be with.

 Using energy she didn’t know she had, she warped to the Natetic training ground. She ended up in the upstairs corridor and stumbling towards Seta’s room. It was empty, so she went inside and ended up sitting on the floor, her back against the wall. She didn’t have to wait long. She heard voices outside in the corridor.

 “Elder, I don’t understand why you want to see my room, there’s nothing in-“ Seta’s voice suddenly stopped as they opened the door and saw her. Sonya had never seen an elder before. “Who are you?” he abruptly asked. Her heart sank. How could he not recognize her?

 “Seta, you must leave us alone while I talk to her.” the elder said. Seta reluctantly obeyed.  The elder watched him leave then turned back to Sonya. “I know who you are. I know why you’re here. We are not interested in your wars or agendas. We won’t tolerate you coming here ever again.” He turned on his heel and left.

Summoning all of her remaining strength and swallowing back tears, she warped back to the camp.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Fourteen

For months there were arguments about how they should oust the dark magicians from Helena.

 “We should approach from the North and slowly clear everyone out.” Linden advised. “There aren’t enough of us to split into groups. If all the Rutilus come in from the Back Desert, they’ll be able to pick us off, one by one.”

 “No, we need to take them by surprise. If we take Magdalene, the leader, before she can call them in, they might just leave us.”

 “Your highness, I appreciate you are concerned, but I have experience in these matters. You must trust me.”

 Sonya walked out of the room, frustrated.

While the plans were discussed, Sonya spent time teaching new recruits everything she knew about magical combat. She was even taught new things by those who had studied different methods under trainers from other lands. In the end, Sonya had her own style that she was comfortable with, but she never stopped feeling guilty about her incomplete training with Seta.

 She made friends with Orika and, six months after moving to the camp, confided in her about the Training Ground and the circumstances in which she left. She neglected to mention her feelings for Seta, but Orika understood and comforted her.

 “Why not go back and explain properly? He might want to fight with us.” Orika suggested.

 “For a group of magicians who train in combat, they’re very anti-conflict. They don’t get involved with other people’s wars.”

 “Maybe in general, but he might not be.” she pointed out. Sonya was doubtful. It was best to leave Seta and those painful memories behind.

Taking Back The Crown – Part Thirteen

If I’m completely honest, writing this part made me a tiny bit emotional. Also, I may not get around to posting tomorrow as I’ll be out all day.

 

 “Who is he?” Seta asked. He was sitting on the floor in her room. He’d clearly been there for quite some time. Sonya had warped in fifteen seconds ago, and now stood in front of him, unable to move or answer. To let him think that she had been visiting a boy was unbearable, but if he knew the truth…

 “If you won’t tell me where you’ve been, then I have to assume the worst, Sonya.” Seta’s lips were turned down firmly at the edges. It was clear he found the whole situation unpleasant. “Sneaking out at night, the way you’ve been distracted… I suspected what was going on, but I really didn’t want to think it was true. Give me any explanation…” He was almost pleading.

  Sonya couldn’t even look at him. The shame burned her chest and eyes.

 “I know the rules are strict but, in the end it’s your choice to stay here… You’ve really disappointed me. I can’t ignore this deceit. I have to tell the Elders.” He walked out of the room, leaving her drowning in the sense of her own disgrace.

While he was gone, Sonya made up her mind. She quickly searched through her room for things she wanted to take with her, but realized she never really kept any personal effects here. Taking a deep breath, she transported to the camp and went straight to Linden.

 “Back already?” he asked, looking concerned.

 “I’m back for good. I’ll be staying here permanently until we take back Litia.”

Taking Back The Crown: Part Three

There was a smell of sweet incense. Sonya awoke on a thin futon, under fresh sheets. Her shirt, coat and boots were next to her, and somebody had treated the wounds on her chest and back while she was unconscious. She sat up quickly and started redressing. She needed to get back to the woods in case Trin was looking for her. There was an open doorway into a courtyard only a few metres away. Sonya could see the clearing she had collapsed in last night. Rather than risk being seen, she teleported to the woods.

When she arrived on the little pathway, startled birds flew away. Sonya turned on the spot. On the ground, the marks created last night by Vyant’s magic were still there. There were no signs of anything else. If Trin had been here, she would have left a message, surely? There had been a lot of Rutilus last night. Maybe it was taking a long time to clear them all out and herd them back to the Back Desert? It didn’t matter, Trin had told her not to go back to the Palace by herself. She knew better than to disobey Trin’s orders.

She waited for hours. She sat beneath the same tree she’d enchanted last night and began to do the exercises she had been taught. She meditated and controlled her breathing. She stretched her senses and counted all the people nearby. She could tell that there were many powerful magicians in the complex she had slept in. They must have saved her from Vyant. Now it was daytime, she could see that the main entrance to the complex was only slightly down the path. The sign had been hidden by overgrown trees. Maybe Trin had meant for her to take refuge there.

 “We wondered where you had gone.” Sonya had become distracted by her thoughts of Trin, Naria, the Rutilus and Vyant. She opened her eyes to see a dark haired man with a stern expression.  He had eyes that were the same colour as the tree trunks and his skin was a deep tan. Though he was frowning, he didn’t seem cold. “I did you a favour last night by protecting you from that guy. It’s rude to run away.”

 “Where is he?” Sonya interrupted. “What did you do to him?”

 “He was vicious and determined to get at you. In the end I had to kill him. You at least owe me an explanation. Who are you?”

 “Sonya.” After speaking, she pushed her lips together. She shouldn’t tell him anything.

 “I’m Seta. I think you should come back inside. It’s obviously not safe for you to be wandering around on your own.” He bent down and offered her his hand. After a moment, she took it and allowed him to help her up. Trin must have brought her here for a reason.