The Midnight Sun Rises
The royal palace of Solland now erupted in a terrible clamor as the royal family bellow a hue and cry, calling forth those of the guard not killed or suborned by the assailants. All throughout the castle a clash of steel rang as loyalist and traitor ambushed one another in the halls and the rooms. Floors soon stained red, slick with the shed blood of hero and villain alike.
From the royal quarters, Zebulon and Keela cut their way through a section of men clad as his own bodyguard- some of whom were his own bodyguards! Husband and wife, king and queen, fighting as a preternaturally-attuned team carefully cut down the traitors seeking to murder them while their daughter fights alongside Zacharion as they seek an escape from the palace.
Outside the palace halls, astride their horses, are a trio of men as black-clad as the infiltrating dagger-men inside. Two of them are, even in the darkness, visibly men of arms. The third man, carefully concentrating on a crystal sphere, was nothing of the sort- instead, frail and withered as if drained by years of dissipation and debauchery had extracted a deep toll.
“Resistance gathers within,” the withered man said, his voice as ruined as his body, “now that surprise is gone. Even with the assistance of those you…convinced…to turn against the king, their failure to slay them in the initial moments is likely to lead to this assault’s failure.”
One of the two warriors dismissed the withered man’s report with a wave of his hand. “It matters not.”
“I concur.” The second warrior glanced over at the withered man. “The men sent are entirely expendable dupes, members of secret groups that we control by the purse and outsiders ensorcelled easily by easy coin for bloody work. Let the Usurper and his whore butcher them like cattle. They shan’t be missed by us, and their deaths serve our ends- beyond this night if need be.”
The withered man cackled, his mouth smirking. “Your necromancy is far more subtle than any I’ve seen in the tomes of the Old Regime.”
The first of the two warriors moved alongside the withered man. “I’d expect humility and prudence from such an experienced scholar of things long forbidden by the Usurper’s master, and not insolence. Now, tell us of the boy.”
The withered man sighed, as if disappointed, and then returned his focus to the sphere. A few moments later, he nodded his head as if satisfied with himself.
“The boy evades your men, and he has the princess with him.” The withered man shot a look at the first warrior. “She seems to be quite good at sticking grown men like pigs with that spear she wields. The boy is no novice either, cutting down men twice his size.”
The second warrior now joined the other two and clapped his hand against his fellow’s shoulder. “The boy, fellow Master, is the objective. The girl can wait.”
The first warrior gritted his teeth, biting down his frustration.
“Masters,” the withered man said, “something is happening. Attend! Look into the sphere with me, and see as I see.”
The three now gazed into the sphere. Therein they saw, as if watching from above, the boy and the princess quickly cut away yet another handful of hostile invaders. As they escape, more come unto them and now outnumbered greatly they are pressed into a corner. As their minions close for the kill, the boy grabs the girl and turns her face to the corner. Then, facing the murderous jackals, Zacharion glared at them- and then a brilliant light, like the midday sun, flashed before them. It burned their eyes, and their horses reared themselves for being spooked. Unable to shield their eyes and regain control as one act, each fell from their saddles- and the sphere of crystal shattered upon the ground.
Stunned, dazed and confused the three men did not arise immediately. Fortunately, their horses did not run; some patron of fools took mercy on them that night. Yet, as the clamor from the palace revealed, their assault would indeed fail- but their objective is had nonetheless. By morning, confirmation would reach their ears that the boy escaped in the night- the game is on!