Linet and LuciusPlease add comments!! I love to hear your feedback!!!!!
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A Well Executed Plan
The slave trader had the slaves all lined up, ready for Prince Lucius's arrival. It was a special bunch this time, as the slave trader had managed to get ahold of a queen, a prince, a knight, and a soldier. The Prince had the first choice, of course, and the slaves he didn't pick were to be put onto auction.
Prince Lucius walked in, flanked by two of his royal guards. He walked up and down the aisle, studying each slave carefully. “I will take the queen, the knight and the prince,” Lucius announced.
The slave trader was surprised, but pleased. “That will be 1,000 drachmas for the queen, 500 drachmas for the knight, and 1,000 drachmas for the prince. In total, that will be 2,500 drachmas. Do you agree to those terms?”
“I do.” Came the reply. “I will get the money to you by midday tomorrow.”
“Very well then, the slaves will be delivered to you within the hour. Thank you for your purchase.”
Nodding, Prince Lucius left. The slave trader turned to his men, and told them to bring the slaves to Prince Lucius.
Half an hour later, the slaves arrived in Prince Lucius's chambers. They were thrown on the floor, and then the slave trader's men left. When they did, Prince Lucius turned to the slaves. “I hope they didn't mistreat you too badly. Two of you are royalty after all.”
The queen lifted her head defiantly. “And what would you care if we were mistreated? You are a Roman Prince, for Zeus's sake. Your kind never cares for the likes of us.”
“And what is my kind exactly?” Asked Lucius.
“Roman royals. You are all the same. Your father killed one of my closest friends, you know.” The queen spat at Prince Lucius's feet.
“Who was this friend of yours? Do I know him or her? Please, if the emperor has harmed you in any way, I should know about it.” The prince seemed genuinely concerned.
“It was not the emperor that killed my friend. Your real father killed her.” There was ice in her glare.
“I am truly sorry for your loss. If I knew who she was...” The Prince trailed off, making his point that much clearer.
“I will not tell you who she was, as you would think me the enemy if you knew. To another point, what will become of us?” The queen asked, curious.
“I would not think you the enemy,” replied Lucius kindly. “You will be safe, and that is all I can promise.”
“You are the Roman Prince Lucius, right?” asked the queen. Lucius nodded, and the queen continued. “You must be wondering by now who I am. My name is Linet, and this is Gareth,” she said, pointing to the slave prince. “I do not know who this other young fellow is, but I hear he is a knight of great stature.”
“It is a pleasure to meet you, officially, Linet. Where are you from? Your name doesn't sound like it was from any country I can think of,” asked Lucius, bewildered.
“I will tell you everything in the morning, but for now, I think it best if I get acquainted with my fellow slaves.” Linet looked at Lucius, but then added, “With your permission of course.”
“Of course. I too think it best that we wait until tomorrow to get to know each other better.” Lucius promptly left the room.
As soon as he did, Linet turned to Gareth and winked. “That wasn't so hard, now was it Gareth? And you thought this plan would never work.”
Smirking, Linet held up the handcuffs that had been attached to her wrists. “Hey! How did you get out of those?!” exclaimed Gareth, who was still struggling to get out of his. Linet held up the keys that she had gotten off of Lucius. Gareth tried desperately to grab them, but Linet kept them just out of reach. Finally, she gave in to his pestering and gave him the keys.
After both Gareth and Linet were out of their shackles, the two of them helped the young knight get out of his. He was very thankful, and thanked them several times. Once everyone was ready, Linet yelled frantically, “Prince Lucius! Please, help me! My friend is injured, and I can't help him!” Of course, Lucius rushed into the room, being the honorable man that he was. He looked around, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't find Linet, and he couldn't see anyone hurt. He was just about to turn around to leave when he heard the door slam shut behind him. Lucius tried to grab his keys from his hip, but was surprised to find nothing but air.
Linet came out from her hiding place near the door, waving the keys in the air. “Are you looking for these, Lucius? Sorry, but you won't be getting them anytime soon.”
As she was speaking, Gareth moved stealthily behind Lucius, took Lucius's sword out of its scabbard and pressed the cold metal to his throat. Lucius slowly turned around, and raised his hands above his head. “Linet, you are making a huge mistake. The imperial army will kill you for this.”
“Make any attempt to cry for help and you will be dead before the sound leaves your lips, prince or not,” Linet stated, walking up to him and slapping shackles onto his wrists.”
“Please, Linet. There is no way you can escape this castle with your life. My guards will—”
“Do something horrible to me unless I listen to every little thing you say? Yeah right. Now, shut up, and follow me.” Lucius didn't talk again, but simply followed Linet and Gareth as they slipped into dark passage hidden beneath a trapdoor. Seeing that everyone was leaving, the young knight hastily followed them as well.
When they arrived at a fork in the passageway, Lucius decided to make a run for it. He turned around, and he only had gotten a few feet before the back of his left calf felt like it was on fire. Crying out in pain, Lucius looked around, trying to see who had delivered the blow. Then Linet turned around, smirking,“Well, I guess you won't be getting away anytime soon.” The threesome crept through the dark and somewhat creepy tunnel, through a labyrinth of passageways that seemed as if they hadn't been used in centuries. After what seemed like forever, they stepped out into the sunlight at last.
Linet and Gareth sashayed out into the light, whereas Lucius was still trying to walk on his injured calf. Breathing hard, Lucius cried, “W-wait! W-wait! I-I can't k-keep u-up. P-please. Slow down.” His captors turned around briefly, whispered to one another, turned back around, and started walking at an even faster pace than before. Lucius limped as fast as he could, struggling to keep up with them. This continued until the three of them were miles from the palace and in the middle of the forest. Only then did Linet slow down, and finally stop.
She sat down by a tree that must have been a hundred years old, and Gareth sat beside her. “Come here, Lucius. You deserve a break, as we have been forcing you to walk at an excruciatingly fast rate, considering the damage I have done to your left calf muscle. Plus, the reason we kidnapped you in the first place is that... well... we need your help.”
“Why do you need my help?” Lucius asked, somewhat curious.
Linet sighed, “I need your help because my people are in danger and I need all the help I can get. If it is too much to ask, then tell me.”
“Fine, let's say what you are telling me is true and you do really need my help. What could I possibly do to help you? You deceived and kidnapped me from my palace without anyone noticing, and I don't think there is a person in this world that you couldn't defeat. If someone is invading your kingdom, than I don't think you have anything to worry about because they won't ever defeat you.”
“Flattery won't help you, Lucius, but I see what you're getting at. I also see that you really have no idea what is going on. That's good, because that also means that you don't know who we are, other than what we told you. Now, I know that you really want to get back to your palace, so I am willing to give you a chance at freedom. You are told to be a skilled swordsman, possibly the best, so if you best me in a duel, I will set you free. However, if I best you, than you will have to swear not to try to escape. Can you agree to these terms?” Lucius nodded.
There was a long pause before he whispered softly, “I yield.” Linet helped him to his feet, and Lucius held out his wrists, ready for them to be placed in chains. “I am a man of my word, so I will not run. But if you wish to put me in chains, I will not struggle. I only ask that I be able to see my wife-to-be before you take me away. I would do anything for her, and I do not wish to break her heart. Please, allow me to see her one last time, I will do whatever you wish.” Lucius's eyes pleaded sorrowfully.
“Who is your wife-to-be?” Linet inquired.
“Her name is Kiarra,” Lucius answered.
“Where is she from, and does she know her family?” She asked, curious.
“She doesn't know her family, as they abandoned her as a child. All she knows about her heritage is that she hailed from Egypt.” Lucius sighed.
“Does she ever wish to know her heritage?” Linet inquired.
“I don't know, you'd have to ask Kiarra that.”
“I guess we'll just have to ask her when she gets here then. I'll be right back.” With that, Linet took off deeper into the forest. She ran for about a mile before she came to a small village. Immediately after entering the village she ran to where horses were being sold and bought two with some of the money she had taken off of Lucius. Once on her new horse, she galloped toward the palace as fast as she could. While she rode, she let one horse follow behind, but still keeping pace. It took an hour or so for her to reach the palace, and when she did she stealthily climbed up the outer wall, in a place she had noticed no guards ever looked. Once inside, Linet went to the servants' quarters and changed into a maid's gown. Then she went down to the kitchens, took a cart of food that was waiting there, and headed to Kiarra's chambers.
No one took any notice of her as she walked up the stairs to the floor that Kiarra was staying on. When she arrived at her room, she knocked on the door and asked to be let in. Kiarra came to the door, and opened it. As soon as she did, Linet told her of her husband-to-be's predicament. “How do I know I can trust you?” Kiarra asked skeptically.
Smirking, Linet replied, “You don't, but if I don't return within a day, my husband will kill Lucius. So it is in your best interest to keep me alive and to do what I say.”
Kiarra sighed, realizing that there was no other option. “I swear I will, but if we get there and Lucius is dead, I will kill you as slowly and painfully as possible.” Linet nodded and led her through the tunnels to where the horses were waiting. The twosome galloped back to where Gareth and Lucius were waiting, and arrived within the hour.
When Kiarra and Linet arrived at the campsite, Lucius jumped up and ran over to his fiancé. “Thank the gods you're safe!” he cried. “I was so worried!”
“Sorry to break up the reunion, but we have some important matters to discuss. The real reason I kidnapped you wasn't to ask for your help, but to warn you that your life was in danger. Don't ask me how I know, but I have reliable intel that you will be assassinated within a year by someone you trust. I know who that person is, but I do not know how widespread the plot is. The only people that I know for sure are not involved in the plot are you two. Now, before we go into detail about who is a threat and who isn't, I need to talk to Kiarra in private for a few minutes.”
“Wait a minute, what could you possibly have to say to Kiarra that you can't say in front of us?” Gareth asked.
“If it is alright with Kiarra I will tell you later.” Linet replied. She then took Kiarra by the arm and led her through the forest for awhile. Coming to rest by a dead tree, Linet asked Kiarra, “Why do you think I wanted to talk with you?”
“I don't know, you probably wanted to know something about Lucius or something,” Kiarra shrugged.
“Actually, I wanted to let you know that I knew your mother, and I know your heritage if you wanted to know.”
“How did you know my mother? She must have died before you were born.”
“Appearances can be deceiving, Kiarra. I am much older than I appear. But you didn't answer my question: do you want to know your heritage?” Linet asked.
It took a long time before Kiarra answered. “Yes, I do. Tell me all that you know of my mother.”
“Very well, if you really want to know, I will tell you.” Linet cleared her throat and began. “Your mother was a very brave women named Cleopatra, and she was the ruler of Egypt. Your father was a brilliant Roman Emperor named Julius Caesar, and you have a very important destiny. As soon as I heard your name and knew that you had survived; that was the happiest moment of my life. For Cleopatra did not die all those years ago, her death was faked, and I know this because I was there. I helped your mother escape, as I did your father. They are both still alive, and they both love you very much. I placed you in the care of the palace because I knew you would be safe there, but I had not hoped that you would fall in love with the prince. If some think you are some poor orphan that just showed up on the front doors of the palace, then you must show them how wrong they are. Be the princess you were born to be, and I will be with you every step of the way.”
Kiarra swayed on her feet, unsteady, too stunned to take it all in. When she finally regained her footing, Kiarra looked up at Linet with a different emotion in her eyes, as if seeing her for the first time. “So my parents—they're alive? But...how? All my life I thought I was an orphan, abandoned by my family, when all along my parents were alive.I have so many questions.”
“And I am ready to answer them,” Linet replied, smiling.
“O-okay,” Kiarra seemed a little flustered. “How did you find me again? Why did you leave me with the people you did? Why haven’t you ever visited me? How did you know my mother? Did you know my father too? Where are my parents? Why...” Kiarra trailed off.
“Well, I knew that there was a plot against the prince, so I came back here to save him. I had no idea at the time that you were here, though. He spoke your name, and I knew you were safe and happy,” Linet smiled, and went on to the next question. “I knew the people I left you with personally, and they owed me a favor, so I thought it was as good a place as any to leave you. I couldn’t visit you, because if I did, and it became public knowledge who your parents were, you wouldn’t be safe anywhere in Rome. I couldn’t bear to make you destroy your life just for the simple pleasure of my visit. I—”
Kiarra interrupted, “Wait. Why would my life be destroyed just because you visited me? How well did you know Cleopatra, exactly?”
“Alright, I guess the truth had to come out at some point,” Linet sighed. “You see, Kiarra, I’m not just a friend of your mother, I am your mother. And Gareth is your father.”
“I knew it,” Kiarra said softly, smiling and hugging her newfound mother. Breaking away, she asked, “But that still doesn’t explain your age. Wouldn’t you be much older than you are now if you were my mother?”
“You make an excellent point, Kiarra, for I look much younger than I truely am. But before we delve into the complications of my age, I must tell you something. This will be a lot to take in, so be prepared.” Linet took a deep breath, and started her story. “I am not just the Queen of Egypt, and Gareth is not just the Emperor of Rome. I am also the queen of another kingdom. The kingdom of the dragons.”