Lord Lawrence “Ghost” Shepherd
“Come back.” I slapped my hand once more above the duct that the boy climbed into. Nothing but silence echoed back at me. The boy was long gone. I slumped down on the ground, my back against the wall. I ran my hand down my face, closing my eyes. My heart pounded in my rib cage, trying to get out like a trapped bird. I made a choking sound, my head pounding in tune with my heart. Maybe she won’t notice. Maybe she won’t know that I had found the child she has been so desperately looking for and let him get away. It wasn’t like it was my fault. I had commanded Varian, that stupid, stupid fae to grab him, but he denied. So as long as Varian keeps quiet, she will never know.
I opened my eyes and brought my right hand near my face, my hand quivering like hummingbirds wings. Purple and black bruises forming on my palm and fingers from hitting the wall. My breath hitched. Who am I kidding? She’s going to kill me. She’s going to torture me senseless then kill me.
Varian won’t keep this a secret. He’s probably on his way right now to tell Nyx what had happened.
Tears rolled down my cheek.
She’s going to kill me. She’s going to kill me. She’s going to kill me.
I couldn’t breathe. I desperately try to suck in air. Each breath felt like I was drowning.
I grasped the sides of my head and pulled my hair.
I want this to end. I want the suffering to end.
I want the power to force her to her knees.
To make her suffer.
To make her fear the person that she made.
I want to tear her apart piece by piece.
I could hear the ever-persistent pounding on the door of the room where I’d locked Jack in. Yelling. Screaming at me to let him out. To leave the boy alone.
I got up and flipped a table near the door on top of the other table that I had already used to blockade the door, the vase sitting on the table shattering as it hit the golden floor.
“Shut up!” I screamed.
At least Jack is safe. For now, that is. Though it might have been better to give him mercy and kill him rather than have one of the faeries kill him later. I tried to warn him. I wanted him to leave and find somewhere safe to go where the faeries would never find him. I thought I wanted him dead, but I realized I didn’t want anyone to have the same fate I now have.
I picked up my blades from the ground. Eric, still in his ghost form, handed me the sheaves. The blade refused to fit in the sharkskin casing. What? I paused and examined the blade, the metal bent, almost bowing in half. Several pieces of the blade chipped away or dented. What in the world? What is Jack using? I picked up the dagger that I had used to stab Jack in the leg, the blade broken in half, only sharp spikes protruding from the handle remained.
“Argh!” I cried in frustration, storming away down the hall. Eric scrambled to follow me, grabbing hold of my blades, keeping them out of view. My other men, Warin, Ulrich, Eli, and Ferit, followed close behind.
Those were my best blades! Made from Dkana. Only Ationit or dragonhide could have damaged my metal so well; both are illegal. What had Jack gotten himself into?
Fine. Just fine. I can still kill with the broken blades. Everything is fine.
I looked down the hall. The fox that Varian had shifted into was nowhere to be found. Fine. If Varian won’t escort like he is supposed to then I will escort myself. I’m already going to be late for this meeting as it is.
I hurried down the stairs, my men close behind me, and I flung open the double golden doors of the council room. The high officials in the room gasped and stood up from the long table in the center of the room. The four guards by the door drew their weapons.
I felt the smallest of smiles lift on my lips. I have waited far too long for this day. I strolled into the room, my hands outstretched to show that I was unarmed. The officials slowly sat back down in their seats and the guards warily sheathed their swords. Warin, Ulrich, and Eli stood behind the three officials while Ferit and Eric stood near the guards. All of my men were invisible and armed, awaiting my signal. The Golden people were unaware that they were there.
I bowed my head, stopping in the center of the room without taking my seat. This was the closest I could get to the Golden King, who sat at the end of the table, without the guards trying to detain me. “My fellowmen, thank you for joining me here once again on such short notice.”
The Golden King dropped his glaze, his face pulled into a scowl. “What is the meaning of this, Lord Shepherd? Where is your escort?”
I grabbed the nearest goblet and chugged down the red wine, a slight burn going down my throat. “My escort ran after a black and white fox down the hall. I didn’t think he would be back, so I made myself right at home.” I studied the warily faces that I had familiarized myself with. The Golden King, Gen. Deshawn, Capt. Bernard, and Commander Graham. One was missing. Someone who I’d hoped would show her face to this meeting. “Where is Ambassador Frida?”
“She doesn’t know about this meeting,” the King said through clenched teeth. “I told her to get some rest. She just recently lost her betrothed.”
“How unfortunate,” I said, walking to the window, looking up at the spires of the castle to see the red and gold flags still flapping in the light winter breeze. “It’s too bad I will no longer have the pleasure of meeting him. Well, at least the ambassador won’t be making any babies to fight in the war.”
I smiled. There is so much hatred behind those two words. Maybe Nyx didn’t take all the wickedness out of me after all. “I suppose I’ll have to see her later and give her my condolences personally.” I turned to face the officials again, their faces lined with anger. They didn’t like me talking about their beloved ambassador like this. Her father, Commander Graham, had his ears drawn back, and if he would’ve been a wolf, I could imagine fangs being barred.
“You’re all probably wondering why I had called this meeting at such an unholy hour. It has come to my attention that the peace treaty is flawed.” I walked over to the scribe’s little table and snatched the treaty. The scribe reached up with his hands to try to stop me, his teenage arms unable to reach his country’s most important document. “Let us go over the treaty and I’ll show you the flaws in your document.” I ripped the treaty into tiny little pieces scattering the shredded paper over the room. Their only hope of winning this war crumbled in a single hand. I laughed. Peace really was a fragile thing. “Ahh, yes. There was nothing good about it.”
Gasps and shouts came from everyone in the room and many of the officials leaped back to their feet, the guards redrawing their swords.
“You said you were satisfied!” Capt. Bernard barked out.
“You signed the treaty!” Commander Graham accused.
“Your people agreed on peace!” Gen. Deshawn bit out.
I held up my hand, more paper fluttering to the floor, laughing. I dropped my goblet, the wine spilling over the table and shredded paper. I walked back to my spot near the King and grabbed a new goblet, taking a small sip. “Please. Did you really think that the Black kingdom has really been on the path for peace? If so, then you have all been played. No. We want the Golden kingdom as our own.”
The King drew out his sword. “Silence!” He demanded. “Lord Shepherd, there are repercussions for what you have just done.” He pointed the tip of his sword at my chest. “I command you to stand down!”
I tapped the point away with my fingers. “Stand down? Since when have I ever stood down? I’m a killer. Killers don’t stand down.” As if to sanction my words the battle sirens, a chiming bell, rang throughout the castle and the entire region of their precious city.
The officials gave furious glances at me. I smiled. Really smiled. I felt more alive since I had found out that I was entangled in Nyx’s web. “I had a horde of Worms standing by since the very beginning. I had my captain organize the army when you allowed him to leave to supposedly bring the news of peace to our people. Even now as we speak, my men are lowering your flags and rising the pitch-black flags of our kingdom to signal my army to attack. What better time to kill your people than when they are bound together by peace? You have lost.”
“Seize him!” The King demanded, keeping his sword steady at my chest.
The guards came to pursue me. I glanced at the King, giving him a wicked grin, the hooting, hyena laugh bubbling from deep down in my chest. “You forgot one thing, sire.” I threw my goblet at the guards, they dodged it, dark red wine splattering on the iron armor. “I am a ghost.”
I shifted, my skin disappearing and retaking the form of the blue wisps. My clothes bending into the wisps and out of sight. The guards stopped midstride, horrified looks flashed on their faces, their eyes darting around the room for my flesh. The King’s eyes also widened, but he kept the sword steady to where he thought I still stood.
The blue wisps of Ferit flickered in the corner of my vision. His dagger sliced the throat of the guard on my left. The guard lifted a hand to his throat, making a choking sound, collapsing to his knees.
Panic flooded in the room. The officials scrambled from their chairs, drawing their weapons, trying to make their way to the doors. The King dropped the sword from my chest, his eyes frantically looking for movement, his stance tense though powerful even now.
Eric handed me my blades and dagger, nodding at me. His form flickering in my glaze. I nodded back, making my way to the King through the chaos. My men slicing and stabbing the officials and guards in their ghost forms. The Golden people were powerless to stop us.
I stood behind the King and wrapped my arms around his chest, clutching my broken dagger. The King struggled in my grasp, slamming my back against the wall. I regained my posture, wrapping my arm tighter around his throat, cutting off his airway.
“I know about your son,” I whispered in his ear, moving my hand between his armor and chest, stabbing the broken dagger into his heart.
The King grunted in pain. His hands grasping onto my fingers and the hilt of my dagger, trying to pull it out. Blood coating both of our hands.
“Alexander? That is his name, right?” I laughed, my voice stained as I held up the weight of the King and the dagger in his chest. “I await the news of his death. Several of my men have been sent to the north to find him since my arrival.”
I watched his face, watching his eyes widened in fear and pain as he struggled to get out of my hold, his strength leaving him even as he fought for his son.
“It is only a matter of time. I will not rest until he is dead.” I twisted the dagger, making sure to go deeper. “Goodbye, old man.” I pulled the dagger out, letting go of the King, letting him fall to his death. A guard cried out, sprinting to the now-dead King.
I swung around, hitting the guard in the chest with my blade, the clang of metal on metal echoed throughout the room. My blade shattered. My eyes widened as I glanced at the broken blade, flickering with the blue wisps, the shattered pieces returning to their solid form. The sword must have taken more damage than I thought with my fight with Jack.
Eric stepped in front of me, slicing the guard with his blade. Eric glanced at me questionably. I shrugged, dropping my broken blade.
Commander Graham thrust his dagger in the air, unsure where to hit. His ears twitching as he tried to concentrate on our footsteps. Eli tried to creep around him to get a hit, the commander’s dagger stabbing him in the arm. Eli cried out in pain, blood visible around his blue wisps. The commander must’ve seen as well as he redirected his dagger to Eli’s heart. I came around the commander and stabbed him in the back before he could injure Eli further. My blade snapped in half when it went through his back. I dropped the handle. The commander dropped to the floor. Dead. Just like the others.
The room went silent.
I shifted back to my solid form, walking over the bodies, stepping over the pools of blood. Red and gold mingled together. The King’s scribe sitting behind his overturned table, his knees drawn to his chest as the young boy whimpered. The only boy left alive in this room. My five men shifted back into their solid forms as well, standing over the crying boy.
“Get up,” I commanded him.
The young teen looked up at me in fear, eyes wide, and slowly rose to his feet.
I clamped a hand on his shoulder, smiling at him. I could feel him shake as his glance went to the bodies spread around the room. “I need you to spread the news of the Golden King’s death.”
The teen stared at the King, tears in his wide, frightened eyes. I let go of him and he ran to the doors, falling over an overturned chair in his effort to get out of the room.
I glanced at my men, only Eli got injured. “Go and join the others in the fight. Don’t let anyone escape this castle except for the young scribe.” I picked up one of the Golden guards’ swords laying on the ground. I swung it a couple of times. It wasn’t as nice as my now broken blades, but it will have to do. I have no idea how my brother managed to get something that could break my blades. He’s been gone for a few weeks and managed to get involved with illegal weaponry. Maybe I should want him dead.
Eric nodded. “What about you?”
“I need to kill the ambassador and find the boy before Nyx finds out.” I focused on changing my skin, how the air feels different, how every fiber flickers unseen to the eyes of the unfortunate. My body shifted into the little blue wisps.
“Lord Ghost, wait,” Eric reached out to touch me. “Your sword. It’s visible. Everyone will know where you are.”
I looked down at my hand. The handle was quite visible in my grasp. I threw it on the ground in frustration, the metal clanging to the golden floor. It wasn’t dyed with the faerie wings and I didn’t have any extra dye to spread on the sword. “I’ll kill her with my bare hands then!”
Eric reached into his boot for his tiny needle dagger. He laid it in his hand holding it out to me. “Take this, I’ll be more effective.”
I eyed the tiny knife, the handle was diamond-shaped at the end and the sharp little blade looked perfectly balanced. Made out of Dkana, the same metal as my twin blades. I grasped the handle, the knife changing its form to the little blue wisps. I smiled.
I’m going to make it. I’m going to kill Frida and find the boy. I’m going to make it to power.
And when I do, Nyx is going to pay.
They all will.
To Be Continued
This is my trouble episode. You know, fight scenes are SOOO HARD!!! So I spent the night rewriting rather than drawing. In short, the drawing will come out in October. 😉 Can’t wait to show you guys!
Update 1/7/22: I added the drawing for this episode! =D I drew Ghost in his ghost form. I realize that the drawing doesn’t like exactly how it should look. In the story, it is said that Ghost had blue wisps flickering around him. I thought that this effect would be fun to draw but didn’t realize how difficult it would be to achieve this effect. This is a good first try though and I plan on trying again someday soon to hopefully capture it the way it should be. I hope that you enjoy anyway. =)
I hope that you have enjoyed this weeks post! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments below. =D
Enjoy the Adventure! =D
Grace M. Morris
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