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 Ash and Ice. Please read and leave constructive criticism.
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Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:01 am
Posts: 1
Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:57 am

Chapter 1

Via

 

I pulled myself up onto the ledge, swinging my legs onto the roof of the cottage I was climbing. My legs surged forward, adrenaline pumping through my veins, urging me on.

This was the routine. Get there, get in, do the deed, and then get out. By do the deed, I mean kill the target. I am an assassin, training since I was seven years old, becoming the killing machine Grier wants me to. I slid into the window and silently placed my feet down on the rich, red carpet. My body faded into the shadows, creeping towards the silhouette of the bedframe I needed to reach. I saw him in the bed, snoring as loud as a lion’s roar. Do the deed. Do the deed. Do the deed. Do the deed. Do the deed. I repeated to myself, letting the words guide my hand to my knife and helping me take a deep breath. And then I did the deed.

 

➵  ➵  ➵

 

Once again, I was on the rooftops, thinking about who I had just killed. Who was he? Did he have a family? Did anyone love him? If Grier deemed him worthy of death, he must have deserved it. Who knew what kind of person he was?

I opened the doors to the Guild’s palace aggressively, putting my walls back up. Everyone here was trained to do exactly as they were told. I reached the back of the palace, swinging the doors to the throne room open.

“My queen,” I said, pulling my hood off my head and getting down on my knees, “he is dead.” I kept my head down, not wanting to disrespect Grier. She knew me better than anyone, well almost everyone, but she did not know how much I despised her. She killed for sport, not caring who she affected.

“Good, my child. Get rest now. You will be heading out again in two days’ time.” she said haughtily, knowing the power she held over me. I got up, bowed once more, and then left, leaving my hatred for her behind. As I was climbing the stairs up to my tower I was pulled into a room roughly, darkness enveloping me.

Instinctively, I jabbed my elbow into my pursuers gut, sending them spiraling backward. “Hold on! Hold on!” my attacker exclaimed. Then I recognized his voice.

“Asher,” I whispered weakly, “I’m so sorry.” I ran into his warm arms, his strong arms surrounding me, making me feel safe. Asher was the only one who I could open up to, instead of putting my walls up, I could tear them down. A cloud moved out of the way of the moon, the new light spilling into the room. I saw his smile, and instantly, my day was better.

“She sent me out again.” I confessed. His eyes instantly filled with understanding and pity, knowing I didn’t like killing unless I had to.

“I know, Via. I know.”

All I needed was his embrace to help me recover, refusing my shattered heart back together. Soon, we knew we could not be found together as his station as a guard was lower than mine, an assassin. He left before I did, and soon the room was empty again.

 

I made the trek up the stairs, my tired legs almost giving in as I pushed onward. Eventually, I reached the top, lazily opening the door and flopping down onto my bed. I was soon tired of the darkness, and lit the lights.

I could summon fire and use it at my will. Until it consumed me and destroyed everything I once loved. Now, it is a burden I must carry everywhere, everyday, until I die. Hopefully, that will be later rather than sooner.

 

➵  ➵  ➵

 

My elbow dug into the training dummy’s side, sending it spiraling backwards. I brought my leg up, nearly over my head, and brought it down. The force sent a vibration up my leg, but the adrenaline coursing through my veins numbed it. Soon, my knife was out of its sheath on my side and the dummy’s head rolled to the floor.

I swept the hair out of my eyes and brushed the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand. “Good job, young one.” Grier acknowledged, advancing towards me as if I was prey.

“Thank you, my queen.” I respond through gritted teeth. I get down on a knee and a thousand thoughts run through my head. Why do I bow to her? How much longer can I tolerate this? Those are the main thoughts that run through my head then, and they haunt me for the rest of the day.

My routine for a ‘typical’ day is very basic. Wake up, eat, go for a run, train in hand-to-hand combat, then practice with weapons. I find myself next facing an archery target. My feet are shoulder-width apart and the bowstring is pulled taught. The arrow hits the center with a satisfying thud.

I reached behind me, to find my quiver empty. I rush back to the armory, eager to get back to my training. The blacksmith acknowledges my entrance with a nod, and then returns to the sword he is welding. My legs take me to the back, almost by instinct, where the arrows are held. I chose arrows with razor-sharp points, that could easily kill if fired correctly. Fortunately, I knew how to shoot a bow.

Five minutes later, I am back at the shooting range and nock the arrow, preparing myself for the release. Then, a firm hand grips my arm, stopping me from releasing the killer loaded in my bow.  I see the face of a page, who brings messages around the castle.

“Grier wishes to see you.” he says with a bow. I guess this arrow would have to wait even longer to reach the target. The arrow’s goal is the target, mine is freedom, Asher’s is me, but what was Grier’s target? What did she want from me? The fact that haunts me is that I will never know, and no one else will either.

I stand in the throne room, taking in the lush carpets and tapestries once again. Then, I snap to attention and realize I should be on my knee. I decide against it. I am just as much of an important person as Grier. She doesn’t control me. Before she can say anything my voice echoes out, coursing through my blood. “I challenge you to the throne.” I exclaim.




 

Chapter 2

Atala

 

“You will get refurbished for the cost of your pigs.” I assured the old lady standing in front of me, “I’m sorry for your loss.”

The old lady nodded her head and waddled away. I looked past the vast palace doors, looking at the line extending for what seemed like miles. It was barely noon and I was already exhausted. “Hello!” I said, greeting the next subject almost too cheerily.

 

➵  ➵  ➵

 

I threw myself onto my bed, groaning in exhaustion. I dealt with almost 200 people today, and had more to do tomorrow.

But this was the price of being king, making sacrifices for you people. They were all I had, besides a full bookshelf and echoey bedroom. I lost my family. I know how they died, but I was not positive they were dead. My advisers told me they found me covered in ash, nearly seven years old. I find it amazing how one fire could take away so much from you.

None of my people know who started the fire, or who put it out. There were two charred corpses among the wreckage, but there were four of us, including me. That meant someone was alive. That meant there was still hope for a family, still hope for a new life.

I took off my large, heavy robes, throwing them onto the floor. Lighting the candles in the bathing room, I looked at my face in the mirror. I analyzed the burns licking my face, a constant reminder of my past.

My feet took me out of the room, leading me to my bookshelf. I chose a book I read as a child, about a boy who fought a dragon. The pages flew by, and soon I reached the ending. At that point I remembered the ending. The dragon wins. The boy dies.

At this point, my eyelids felt heavy, like weights I was forced to hold up. I couldn’t sleep yet, or else I would never stop. My curious eyes drifted over to the warm map against the far wall of my bedroom.

Walking over to the detailed map, I leaned over it and sighed. There was much to read on the map, and not enough green. We had Flicar and Zelco coming from the North, and Sellito in the South. We were surrounded. There was no escape for this kingdom. It will come tumbling down, just like the old castle, just like my past life.

I walked back over to my bed, laying down and burrowing in the covers, hiding from my responsibilities, hiding from my past. Except I knew I could not outrun my past, and that is what I feared the most.




 

➵  ➵  ➵

 

The next morning I felt re-energized, knowing I could, and would, help anyone. I would save my people and I would do it confidently and strongly. I tell a page to call a meeting with my military leaders.

I go to the meeting room, a group of expectant officers sitting patiently, all turning their heads toward me as I walk in. I sweep the room, dramatically sitting in my chair, acting like I belonged there.

“I brought you all here because I have a plan. You all know of our current situation. We are blocked in and have no seeming chance of survival. But I am here to tell you that we do have a chance, and we will survive.

“The answer to this problem is Selitto. They are the stability of the alliances proposed against us, and they are easily the largest and most powerful country on the continent. If we take them out, Flicar and Zelco will fall out. Selitto has sent their troops to each of our borders. What we need is an elite task force, or death squad, frankly.

“That death squad will be crucial to our survival. With deep consideration and thought, I have decided who will make up this force. We need a skilled group of people. Those people are the members of the Assassin’s Guild, and they will save our kingdom.” I declare.

I look around at the awed members of my advisory board and laugh. They all think I’m crazy. At this point, I might be. I will do anything to save my country.

“You can’t do this!” Lieutenant James said angrily. His face turned a deep shade of red, and I struggle to keep my cool. I breathed deeply and closed my eyes for a moment.

I rise to my feet suddenly and quickly, snapping many out of their trances of disbelief. “If you do not agree with me, you are welcome to leave James! We do not need you here! I’m sure Zilco is very hospitable to its hostages!” I shout, losing my usual shield of placidity. “We need this, and unless we all want to be dead in the next two months, action needs to be taken! I may not be able convince you of this, but this risk may very well save all of us. Every. Single. One. Every servant, every officer, every king!”

“The Assassins will kill us!” he counters, “I would not trust the life of a single swine in their hands! They could, and would, easily kill us all!”

“This kingdom is going down already, why not try to fight? I’m done, James. Leave.” I say with a sigh, suddenly exhausted. James looks at me in awe, as if he was not aware of my easily triggered anger. He straightens his uniform and walks out like he has a status, even though his rank was just torn from him.

“Anyone else?” I question, scanning the room. When there is no objection, I begin to speak again. “Good. I want you all to begin writing our request of assistance to the Guild. I have a war to prepare for.”








 

Chapter 3

Via

 

The room is astounded, an unanimous gasp and look of awe spread across the room. This has never happened before, and I bet it is the last time it will. I kept my gaze set on Grier, her long, serious face not changing.

“So be it. Gather the people. We duel at twilight.” she said, standing up and strutting out of the room. As she left, the member of her board relaxed, their posture shrinking. The room swirled around me. My feet were glued to the floor, and quickly seemingly sinking, as if I was stuck in quicksand. And the more I struggled, the more I would sink.

I would have to take this head-on and with grace, or else Grier would see me as even weaker. The damned words came out of my mouth, so I have to deal with the consequences. I didn’t know what I was doing. The phrase flew out of my mouth, uncaged and reckless.

Asher soon pulled me away, out into the hall. “What was that?” he whispered urgently. His face was dark, shadowed by the lack of light in the room.

“I don’t know.” I said honestly, burrowing my face into his chest, “It just came out, and now I have to deal with repercussions. I am the people’s choice. I am one of them, and all I want is freedom. I don’t want this castle, I don’t want these responsibilities.”

“She could, and might I add will, kill you!” he exclaimed. When he was angry, his face scrunched up. The small things I noticed of him made me love him even more.

I reached out and put his cheek in my palm. “But isn’t that the game we all play? We are all pawns in a greater game and this kingdom is just the chess board. Every time I kill, every time I leave the safety of this palace, my life is in my own hands. And I have not failed before, and I do not plan on failing ever.” I counter.

He sighed and pulled me into an embrace, drowning out the fears and misery aching in my chest. “I just can’t lose you.” he whispered into my ear, seeming weak. A tear rolled down his cheek and soon, my face was wet too. I placed a kiss on his lips, feeling his warmth and love for me, and then slid away, into the chaos of the corridors.

I can’t break. I can’t or else Grier will end me, like she has done to countless others. Her way of killing is brutal, not soft or quick, but a slow, painful death that makes you feel pain just watching it. I cannot envision her knife at my throat or it will become a reality, so I put my shoulders back and lift my chin up.

I begin to prepare for the battle. I dress in a loose pair of pants and a shirt that will be able to easily conceal things. I strap a knife to my right thigh and left arm, so both hands have access to one, and put a small knife in each of my knee-high boots. My quiver and bow are slung over my shoulder, and I am almost ready. I walk over to the vanity in my room, pulling one of the drawers open. Digging through the bottles of other medicines, I see it, a light shade of green, looking like a killer already. The substance is an acid, that will send its victim spiraling into agony on contact.

This was my backup if all else failed. I refused to think of the access Grier had to thousands of bottles of acids like this. I looked up, seeing my face scrubbed of all makeup or anything pleasant looking. I looked raw and vulnerable this way. Grier would be surprised to feel my strength as I plunged my knife into her side.

I put my hair in a braid, and threw it over my shoulder. Glancing out the window, I saw the position of the sun. In line with the trees, slowly sinking. Its Grier’s time to die.

I left my room, hoping it will not be the last time I occupy it, and head back down the stairs. I reach the throne room, where the battle will take place, and am immediately taken aback by how many people are present. There is an area in the center cleared, its perimeter secured by a ring of guards. There is a constant hum of chatter filling the room, but once my presence is known, the room falls silent. A page glances out the window, and with a hand signal, another page winds up to ring the gong. The ring goes far, silencing the area even further, hushing the whispers that danced across the room. It was time for Grier to die.

We both set off towards the center, mentally preparing ourselves for what was to come. I drew the knives from my thigh and arm and spin them menacingly. Grier drew her sword and grinned diabolically. Cocky bastard.

We met at the center, her sword gleaming bright. “So our blades will clash after all.” she spoke, “I always knew you were not to trust. Always trying to get my throne.”

I glared at her, grateful for how she was filling me up with rage. With hate coursing through my veins, we both retreated to opposite sides of the ring.

The gong rang and I charged, adrenaline released throughout my body. She parried my first stab, which was aimed at her stomach. I felt a flame curling inside my body, but I could not show her my power. No one could know, or else I would become another experiment, another specimen.

We danced for what seemed like ages, parrying and thrusting in varying patterns over and over again. Sweat dribbled both of our bodies, but I was not tiring yet. Pure hate bubbled through me, powering me with the ability to kill. My guard fell for one moment, and Grier took the opportunity. Her blade slid across my upper arm, a burning sensation spreading across my arm. I shrieked out loud, a new wave of power coming over me.

I spun, with both blades in hand, sending a cut across her face. I felt the warmth of blood seeping through my shirt. My sudden attack surprised her, so she let her guard down. I took this chance to kick her back, onto the floor. She laid there sprawled out for a moment, until we both snapped back into attention.

I reached down to my boot and unleashed one of the smaller knives, I threw it down at her, impaling her hand into the floor. She screamed, wailing like a banshee and could not move. “You have fallen, just like your rule has.” I challenged.

To my surprise, Grier reached across her body, sword in hand, and cut off her hand. She wailed, feeling more pain, but she was free. I backed away, as she was now numb to the pain. Grier is insane and needs to be stopped.

She approached me, a maniac’s grin spread across her face. She would kill me. If she wanted to play this game, then so be it. I lunged toward her, cutting her side with a longer knife, but she kept on coming. She shoved me to the ground, her weight stopping me from rising. She unsheathed a knife, and started to cut along my collarbone. This is where it all ends.

She kills slowly and painfully. Watching her victims fall apart mentally and physically. Pain roared through my body as she kept cutting.

“Tag, you’re it.” she whispered into my ear as she slid her knife across my chest. I cried out, not able to take any more pain. In that moment, Grier’s body went limp and fell over, the crowd screaming. Finally free, I scrambled away from her. As I looked over, I saw an arrow lodged in her back. A guard’s arrow.




 Re: Ash and Ice. Please read and leave constructive criticis
new

Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 8:01 pm
Posts: 270
Mon Jun 06, 2016 6:25 am

This book is quite good, but please don't swear. Write more, but cut down on the swearing.

-Dragoncrown485




 Re: Ash and Ice. Please read and leave constructive criticis
new

Joined: Wed May 11, 2016 11:21 pm
Posts: 2
Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:29 am

did you copy of a e-book did you? beacause that is a lot of writing or not




 Re: Ash and Ice. Please read and leave constructive criticis
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 1:52 pm
Posts: 20
Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:39 pm

An amazing book! I have to know what happens next! If you haven't made the next part, I suggest the person who fired the arrow challenges her and loses. Keep writing!

 

                                          - amberdolphin1094




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