Category Archives: Storytime

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 13


Harren could not help but to repeatedly glance out of the carriage window, looking for the queen’s men. It had been three days since they had left the safety of Picket and Valor was still at least a day’s journey away.

Their food was running lower and lower as each day passed and the comforts of the carriage began to feel like a prison cell. There was naught to do but listen to Lord Tallgrow’s guards gallop alongside the carriage and it was like to drive him mad.
The carriage came to a halt and Harren’s heart jumped to his throat. The door to the carriage creaked open and one of the guards poked his head inside. “Forgive us m’lord but may we stop for a moment to rest. The horses grow thirsty as well as the other men,” he asked with his head bowed.
“I am no lord. You and your men may rest, you deserve it”.
The guard gave thanks and departed the carriage.
“Harren, would it be alright to step out and stretch my legs? They are cramping most horribly,” asked Kyran.
“It would be best if you didn’t. You never know who could be watching the carriage. The queen’s men could be spying even now,” said Harren, pulling back the curtain a bit to glance out the window once more.
“As you say,” said Kyran with a groan.
“You will have your chance Kyran. We should reach Valor on the morrow and you will be safe,” said Harren reassuringly.
He didn’t know why he kept telling Kyran that he was going to be safe. The truth was that he would never be safe. Lord Tallgrow’s words had rung true. The queen rules all of Ethios, not just the Queensgrove. She could easily send her men into Valor.
Perhaps it was the idea of rebellion that gave Harren the false sense of safety. Perhaps he found solice in the fact that the queen had many enemies within the Riverlands, ones who have pledged their allegiance to her but would betray her at the slightest hint of a usurper.
Will that be what they call Kyran? A usurper?
Harren knew Kyran’s claim wasn’t strong and that many Lords will try to squash his chances but he had to try. The queen was not like to marry again and her rule was driving Ethios into poverty.
The foreign merchants saw it as well. They run back to their countries and tell their people that Ethios is weak and ripe for the taking. Rentos had been itching for their chance at Ethios for centuries if history could be believed.
The queen saw herself as a just ruler when it was the exact opposite. She loathed her people. The highborn lords and ladies were the only ones with which she gave her courtesy and even that was coldly given. The smallfolk were of little matter to her. She harvested them like vegetables for the slave trade and shipped them off to the far corners of the world to be beaten and worked until their days were done. She overtaxed the poor and used their scraps to pay for her many feasts that were always taking place in the castle.
She would even send her brother Gabrial and her Royal Guard to the streets to “cleanse” the sick by slaughtering them where they lay dying in their own filth.
Memories of Harren’s sister came flooding back to him. Her smiling face, her laugh, and even the way she always pinched his cheeks and called him little brother.
He would never have the chance to see her again, to hear her voice or talk to her about her life or his. His family was gone and all he had was the one he made for himself.
It was then that he remembered Tymen, Hannah and his other children. Lord Tallgrow had received his letter and had sent his guard out every day to look for the children on the road. They had been doing just that when the guards brought Kyran and Harren into the city. They had not made it to Picket but he prayed they did soon. He wondered what had befallen them. It worried him to think that they had been captured by the queen. She had been on her way to Picket when they had left the city and could have very well found the children on their way.
He pushed the thought from his mind.

They don’t know what any of my wards look like. Lord Tallgrow said he would send a bird to Valor if the children arrived safely. I can only trust in that.
As the carriage began to move forward once more, Kyran reached into the small chest that sat on the floor of the carriage. He pulled out two loaves of bread and handed one to Harren.
Lord Tallgrow had seen to it that they were not like to want for food on their journey. He gave the guards ample amount of food for themselves and did the same for Harren and Kyran.
The bread was still warm, even after three days. Rich and creamy butter filled the center, giving their mouths much welcomed flavor.
“Harren, do you think Lord Galia will claim me for his King,” asked Kyran after a moment of silence.
“Im like to think so. We can not be sure but I trust in the man I once knew”.
The Elliot Galia that Harren knew as a boy was no longer a child. He was a man grown, and quite renowned for his cruel and violent actions during “The Beggars War”. There was also the chance that Lord Galia no longer remembered Harren.

There was so much at risk that Harren began to doubt if it was worth the trouble.
If Lord Galia does not claim Kyran as his one true king then we will have no choice but to flee. We would board a ship from Galenport and sail to Godsland, that is the only place where the Queens armies cannot touch us.
Godsland was considered “holy land”. It is where the priests and priestesses claim their titles and learn to spread the faith.
No armies dared set foot on the Godsland or risk the wrath of the gods.
Even on the Godsland, Harren could not say for sure if the Queen would try to retrieve them or not. There was no limit to what she would do in order to retain her crown.
Harren spent the remainder of the day thinking about all that could happen when they reached Galenport.
Harren’s stomach turned to knots when the shadow of the Great Gates of Valor began to emerge from the morning fog. The gates were eighty feet tall, made of stones that looked dark blue. Moss and vines draped the walls of the city, making it look as if it had just burst from the ocean.
Two guard towers with a portcullis in between stood as the entrance to the city. Laying out in front of the city was the vast expanse of The Serpent. Its waters were a dull grey but the sight of the grand city of Valor on its other end was enough to give the river a certain beauty. The road changed from dirt to brick as they began to cross the large bridge that led to Valor’s gates. As they drew nearer to the city, they noticed the guard towers. Flying brilliantly on top of the two guard houses was the sigil of House Tyber, a Merman holding his trident on a sky blue field. Below House Tyber’s sigil flew the sigil of House Galia, a Sea Serpent on a green and blue field.
As they approached the gates, a voice called to them from the arrow slits above, “Lady Tallgrow was not being expected today”.
Harren’s stomach gave a lurch. Kyran shifted in his seat as well.
“Lady Tallgrow does not have to inform you of her comings and goings ser! She is not here to visit with Lady Tyber. She is here for the market for which she heard a specific piece of jewelry is being sold. Very valuable she says,” shouted the guard outside of the carriage.
Without another word from the guard in the tower, the portcullis began to clank open.
The city was so grand that Harren half wondered why Valor wasn’t the capitol of Ethios. Its tall white washed buildings cloaked the carriage in shadow as it trudged down the brick streets.
Lord Tyber’s castle was hard to miss amongst the cities many buildings. Towering above all the rest with his banner hanging from every tower, Lord Tyber’s castle was like to make any lord green with envy.
The carriage came to a halt, and the guards opened the doors. They had parked the carriage within a small allyway between two of the large buildings. Harren and Kyran stepped from the carriage and thanked the guards in kind.
“What now,” asked Kyran inquisitively as he looked around.
“We should be safer now than we were in the Queensgrove. Hatred for the queen runs deep within the Riverlands, and their loyalty to her is only kept together to prevent war. No one would contest the Arintears without a great army and even greater cause,” said Harren quietly.
One of the guards handed Harren the reigns to his horse that they had been trailing behind the carriage.
Harren thanked him, then hoisted Kyran onto the horse’s back.
Leaving Valor was a difficult task. Harren did not know the city and it was very large. If his map could be believed, he needed to leave Valor from the north and follow the road North and West to reach Galenport.
This journey was one he was not feeling up to take. He was tired and wearisome. He had not been able to sleep for what felt like days upon days at a time.
Kyran was not fairing to badly. The boy seemed sure of his task and didn’t seem to be as worried as Harren was.
That’s his father in him, thought Harren as they wandered aimlessly about the streets.
Once they had been searching for what seemed like hours, Harren began to notice that the city guards were giving him strange looks.
Most would look at him with suspicious eyes then whisper to their comrades who then turned their gaze to him as well.
Then, it finally happened.
“Halt,” came the voice of a particularly heavy set guard when Harren and Kyran made their way through the city plaza.
Harren halted his horse and the guards rushed them.
He had no time to think as they pulled Kyran from the horse, causing him to shout in fear.
Instinctively, Harren unsheathed his nameless sword and jumped from his horse. Without thinking he drove his sword into the guard’s neck. Releasing Kyran, the guard fell to the ground, clinching his neck to keep the blood from flowing from his wound.
The man eventually died, as his hands fell to the ground and his eyes glazed over.
Panic erupted within the plaza.
The people began to scream as mothers pulled their children into their homes. The men began grabbing the goods from their market stalls in haste then retreated indoors as well.

The remaining guards pulled out their weapons quickly.
“Put down your weapon. You are under arrest for treason against the crown,” said the guard in the center as Harren moved Kyran behind his back.
There were three of them, and Harren knew he was doomed.
He slowly pulled the map from his back pocket and put it into Kyran’s hands.
“Kyran, run,” shouted Harren as he charged the guards.
Kyran threw himself upon the horse and darted away without hesitation as the guards overtook Harren.
“Stop that boy,” shouted one of guards toward his comrades.
Knocking Harren’s sword from his hands, the guards seized him and tied his hands.
“Where is the boy headed,” asked the guard as he struck Harren across the face.
His head span and blood ran down his lip where the guard’s mail glove had broke it.
“I don’t know,” said Harren as he spit blood into the guards face.
The guard struck him once more, then began dragging him towards the castle. Harren didn’t know what to expect.
Lord Tyber won’t kill me if Kyran is still gone. How could I have been so careless. Lord Tallgrow was right the queen has men everywhere.

The castle seemed even larger as they guards pulled Harren up to its gates. Once inside, he couldn’t help but marble at the high vaulted ceiling, held up by many polished cedar posts. The carpeted stairs were a deep blue and Merman of Tyber was set in the marble floor with blue tile.
The room was brightly lit with the many sconces that lined the walls. For a castle so big, its seemed rather empty.
The guards continued to drag him up many flights of stairs until finally they approached a wooden door with many iron locks. They threw Harren into the room and shut the door loudly behind him.
He heard the clanks and clacks of the iron fittings locking into place, then sat in silence as he listened to their footsteps grow quiet.
The room was brightly lit as well and didn’t look at all like a prison cell. There was a large feathered bed made to fit two people. There was a window that overlooked the river, a table for eating, a bookshelf lined with many books, even a wardrobe filled with clothing for both a man and a child.

They were expecting us. They had this room ready for our arrival and they expected Kyran to be here with me, thought Harren as worry set over him.
Had Kyran made it out of the city?
Nothing frightened him more than knowing that Kyran was alone and being pursued by guards. He was but a boy of ten, with a heavy burden upon his shoulders.
Even if Kyran escaped, and followed the map to Galenport, who is to say that Lord Galia wont hand him over to the queen.
She would take off his head and put it on the highest spike on Galverin’s castle walls.
All the while Harren would be locked away inside of a tower, unable to be there to comfort him, or tell him that everything would be ok. Kyran would be alone.
That’s when Harren let his emotions overtake him. All of his anger towards Genna and the Queen, his worry for Kyran’s safety, and even his sadness towards his sister’s death, all came bursting out of him in a fit of rage.
He threw all the books from the bookshelf and turned it over. He flipped the table, causing the candles on top of it to come crashing to the ground. He tore the curtains from the windows and threw the clothes from the dresser.
Finally he gave the loudest scream he could muster before falling to the ground in tears.
After his sobbing came to a halt, the room was silent but for his breathing. He was surprised that his commotion didn’t bring anyone to investigate.
He crawled over to the bed and got beneath the blankets, where his tears took him again. Unable to ward off sleep any longer, he finally accepted it.

The sunlight shining through the window woke him from his slumber. The mess he had made the night before had been cleaned. There were new candles upon the table, the clothes had been put back into the dresser, the bookshelf was turned right side up and the books were back in place, and new curtains hung from the window.
Suddenly, the door opened and four strong men, who appeared to be servants, brought in a giant wooden tub. Shuffling behind them were ten serving women with buckets of hot water. They poured the water into the tub, then looked took their leave, save for two of them. All of the men left as well.
Harren decided that he would bathe. He needed it after all. His hair had become dirty and his body smelled of stale sweat.
He stripped down, and covered his manhood, so as not to embarrass the serving women. As soon as he sat into the tub, every muscle in his body relaxed. The serving women took to him with scrubbing brushes and soap.
“Do you know what they are going to do with me,” asked Harren as the women scrubbed him.
He received no answer. They women did not even look him in the eyes. It was as if they never heard him speak.
“I asked a question,” he said angrily.
The women scrubbed him harder but gave no answer. Not only was he losing his patience, but their scrubbing was starting to hurt.
“ANSWER ME,” he shouted as he took the brushes from their hands and threw them across the room.
The women did not even seem to flinch. They retrieved the brushes and returned to scrubbing him, remaining silent.
Harren gave up once he realized that they would not answer him.
Is this how Lord Tyber planned on punishing him? Ordering everyone to remain silent in my presence?
In truth, Harren didn’t mind his punishment. He would much rather be cut off from human contact than be beaten or killed.
The only thing he didn’t seem to understand was why they kept him in such comfortable holdings. The room seemed nice enough to house a lord and Harren was anything but.
The fact that they imprisoned him in nice conditions also meant that they had other plans for him. They could very well turn him over to the queen, but all that requires is that he remain alive. Harren could easily be alive in the darkest cell in Valor’s dungeons yet they kept him in a nice room and treated him as a guest.

The maids finished scrubbing him, gathered his dirty clothing, then left the room without a word. He rose from the tub and moved to the wardrobe. He chose a blue tunic and sand colored trousers.

Harren moved to the window and stared out at the vast expanse of the Riverlands.
Where are you Kyran? Next time I see you, I pray you have an army at your back, thought Harren as the servants returned and silently took the tub and its water.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 12


The streets of Magnolia were littered with people. The smell of fresh flowers filled Genna’s nose as she walked with Lord Varyth shuffling at her side. She had to help him most of the way to the inn, for his back was still not yet healed enough for the pain to cease.
Magnolia was nothing if not beautiful. The white and grey bricks of the city streets gave the city a beautiful glow. The many flowers that hung from windows and sprung up from the ground added bright and vivid colors to the already shining city. The stream that gave the flowers water ran throughout the streets with small bridges to cross. The stream’s water was a crystal blue that sparkled like sapphires in the sunlight. The city radiated life and happiness and Genna felt as if she would never come to harm here.
The Wurtheni Merchants had refused to take them any further than Magnolia.
“You are bad omen. You stay in Magnolia, you are no longer welcome,” Belwart had said as their carriage left Magnolia’s gates.
Lord Varyth had been the most wroth about their sudden displeasure for he had helped Belwart with his wounds after the knights had bruised his ribs.
The inn in which they were searching for was named The Scarlet Flower. It was recommended to them by Belwart but smelled of anything but flowers. Though pretty on the outside, on the inside the inn was dark, dirty, and smelled of urine, vomit, and spoiled goats milk.
Many tables were spread about the inn with many suspicious characters drinking heavily from wooden mead tankards.
“What’ll it be,” came the voice of a particularly large woman who had squeezed herself into a cotton dress that was two sizes to small. She wore an apron covered in flour and when she waddled up to them, the smell of stale sweat joined the other smells that plagued the room.
“One room please. For as long as you will have us,” said Lord Varyth through painful breaths.
The woman gave him an inquisitive look then turned to Genna.
“We charge an extra silver for anyone who dies in our inn,” said the woman as she turned to her book of rooms.
“We understand,” said Genna as she struggled to keep Lord Varyth from collapsing.
The woman nodded and led them to their room in the upstairs portion of the inn. It took Genna several minutes to help Lord Varyth up the staircase, leaving her breathless when they reached the top. The woman shuffled them along impatiently as they neared the room at the far corner of the hall.
The room was not what one would call cozy but would have to suffice. The Scarlet Flower was the only inn in town that they could afford with the amount of money they had on their person.
Once they were alone, Genna laid Lord Varyth onto the straw mattress bed and removed the white shirt that Belwart had given him.
She retrieved a basin of hot water and a clean cloth, then proceeded to clean the blood and puss that oozed from the cracked scabs on his back.
She knew that she needed to get Lord Varyth a healer before he died. Her worry was growing stronger every day. He had seemed to be healing while on the way to Magnolia but during the confrontation with the knights, his scabs cracked when he moved to get a closer look, leaving his wounds exposed to infection.
She cleaned his wounds as best she could as he drifted to sleep, still wincing from pain.
“I will be back m’lord, I’m going to find help. Maybe there is a healer here that we can afford,” said Genna, hoping she was right.
She left the room and locked the door behind her with the key that the innkeeper left on their table.
The sun was near setting and the streets were becoming less crowded. Genna didn’t know where to begin. The city was rather large and she didn’t know much about it. After wondering around for what seemed like hours, Genna began to lose hope until she stumbled upon Magnolia’s marketplace. There were so many shops that Genna began to feel hopeful in her endeavors.
“I beg your pardon, but do you by chance know of any healers that I could see? Its of great import,” asked Genna to the nearest shop keeper she saw.
The woman gave her a smile.
“Oh dear, you will be wanting Levi. A beautiful soul that one. He uses his skills in herbs and medicines to heal our sick for no cost. The gods favor us, they do, for giving such a man to us”.
Genna felt as if it were too good to be true. She couldn’t help but be suspicious. A healer who charges nothing for his service? It seemed impossible that, when she had no coin, there was a healer who charged nothing. Maybe the gods favored her after all.

“Where may I find him maam,” asked Genna kindly.
“He’s in the Markets Plaza, just down there”.
Genna thanked her and began walking in the way she suggested.
Once arriving in the Market’s Plaza, she noticed a large fountain with a statue of Taiyana, goddess of Sun and Harvest at its center.
At the base of the fountain was a man with black hair and green eyes. He was dressed plainly in a white tunic and black trousers but was very comely. He was surrounded by children and had a small boy in his lap, wrapping his leg in a bandage.
Genna eyed him with a certain suspicion. As the boy hopped off of his lap, it was then that he noticed her staring.
Smiling brightly at her, he stood.

“Is there something I can help you with? You seem to be staring,” Levi asked as he packed his materials back into his bag.
“My lord will forgive me for staring. Its just that, I haven’t the coin for a healer and it’s a queer thing that you are here, giving free healing services,” said Genna, blushing at his smile.
“Please, call me Levi. Everyone does. I have coin enough for myself but as you say, you do not. It would be selfish of me to require coin from the poor when I have enough of my own. I merely do this because everyone deserves to be treated like they matter, no matter how much coin they have in their pockets”.
Genna was surprised to here that. There weren’t many men in Ethios who would sell their services for free and there weren’t many men that were so kind. During her time in Galverin, she had come to know many types of men. Fat, thin, short, tall, scarred skin and smooth, muscle men and scrawny, but the one thing they all shared in common was their lust for women and the need to treat them cruelly. Genna had been slapped, tossed around, and bruised during her practice, which had led her to not trust men so much as others had.
“Levi, I have a friend back at The Scarlet Flower who is very hurt. I cannot give you details but his wounds have grown infected and he has obtained the sweats and a fever. I came in search of a healer, so would you be able to help me,” asked Genna.
Levi grew serious.
“Lead the way, lets make haste”.
Genna quickly led him back to the inn and up the stairs. Lord Varyth was exactly where she had left him, still asleep. The bed was covered in sweat and his back was glazed over in a smelly puss.
Genna gagged as her stomach rolled at the smell.
“Fetch me clean water, as hot as you can stand, and a clean cloth,” said Levi as he sat on the bed and opened his bag.
Genna rushed from the room with the basin of dirty water from before her departure. She refilled the basin with clean water from well outside of the inn and had the innkeeper heat it on the fire like she had done before.
Genna retrieved a new cloth as well and used it to carry the boiling water up to the bedroom.
When she entered, Levi was crushing herbs into a thick paste with his mortar and pestle. Genna brought the bucket to him and he thanked her.
She sat and watched in silence as Levi worked. First, he peeled off the scabs, revealing the red and inflamed flesh underneath. After washing away the puss and blood from the wounds, he applied several layers of the paste to each lash.
“He was flogged,” said Levi knowingly.
The room seemed to grow even quieter as Genna began searching for words.
“Yes” was all she could manage to say.
“I’m no stranger to those. My father would flog me often as a boy. ‘It will make you stronger and you need to learn some discipline’ is what he would always say just before he fetched the rod,” said Levi sullenly.
“I’m sorry to hear that, it must have been painful,” said Genna, hugging her knees.
“It was, in more ways than one. If I learned anything from floggings, its that no one should have to suffer them. It’s a cruel thing to hurt a person who cannot fight back. There is no honor in it,” said Levi as he applied the last of the paste.
“Will he be ok,” asked Genna as she stood.
“He will be fine. Let him rest and he should be awake in the morning. Also, this inn is very dirty and he should not be kept here. I will pay for you to stay at The Gilded Rose for as long as you need. Its Magnolia’s finest inn and many rich noblemen stay there when they pass through Magnolia,” said Levi.
“Oh, please no we cannot accept such generosity. We can’t pay you back and we don’t know how long we will be in Magnolia, it could be weeks,” exclaimed Genna, feeling very overwhelmed.
“Its no trouble, really. He won’t get any better if he stays here in this rat hole. Please, allow me to help,” said Levi with his perfect smile.
Genna hesitantly consented.
“I will send a cart by in the morning with a few men to help him into the back. They will take you to The Gilded Rose and will give you the coin you need for the purchase of the room. I will be there later on in the morning to check on his progress.
She thanked him and as he was leaving, he turned to her, “I’m sorry my lady, I didn’t catch your name”.
Genna didn’t like that. He knew Lord Varyth had been flogged, and if the queen had men chasing after her, then he would know her name as well. She had to lie. Though as kind as he seemed, she had to.
“Margarie,” she said while meeting his eyes, “my name is Margarie”.
Levi smiled at her once more, “It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance Margarie”.
He left her and shut the door behind him. She locked it from the inside and finally let herself breathe.
You are so stupid Genna. Why would you bring this stranger in here! Being a rich healer, he must surely work for Lord Maverly. He surely knows who we are. He saw straight through your lie, she thought to herself as she gazed at Lord Varyth.
Genna did not know much about Lord Maverly of Magnolia. Since she had been here, none of the townsfolk had made any mention of him. Maybe he didn’t deal much with his people.
Genna found hope in that. If he didn’t care about his people, then why would he care about her?
She retrieved an extra blanket from the small closet provided in the room and spread it out on the floor. She used her arm for a pillow and laid herself down. The rats were no strangers to her. They sat underneath the bed, glaring at her with their beady eyes, just as they always had at the brothel.
She thought of Kyran then, her sweet boy. The very boy she sold for silver.
She felt tears reach her eyes. No, enough of that. You will redeem yourself. You are not who you once were. A boy needs his mother.
She wondered what her life would have been like if she had never sold Kyran. Planning it out for the first time, she decided that she would have moved back to Kent and started a farm. She would meet a nice man who loved her and they would run the farm and make a decent living. Kyran would grow to be a farmer too and would ride horses for fun across the countryside.
She smiled at the thought. Maybe one day she could have that, once all of this nonsense was over. Kyran would have his throne and she could have a farm just outside city, so she could be with him until she grew old and withered away.
Her smile faded when she realized that it would never happen. Everything inside of her made her wish that she could go back and do everything over again.
She finally drifted off to sleep, thinking about what her life could have been.
The next morning came faster than she would have liked. Lord Varyth moaned and slowly sat up in his bed.
“What’s happened? Where are we,” he asked. His voice was laced with pain and he looked dreadful.
“We are in Magnolia and are in The Scarlet Flower. I had a healer look at you. He charged nothing,” said Genna groggily.
Anger flashed across Varyth’s face.
“You what? How could you be so foolish! The queen is looking for us and you brought a healer here to look after me? You realize that healers work directly for Lords. The healer you brought here could easily have the queen’s men waiting outside of this inn even now! Stupid girl”!
“You were dying! Your wounds were infected. I had to do something! I couldn’t just let you die,” exclaimed Genna.
“For that I am grateful. However, you should have been wiser. We can’t afford to be careless”.
She explained everything that happened with Levi and Varyth listened with intent.
“I suppose I should create a name for myself then,” said Varyth seeming annoyed. “I will be Irian. That was my father’s name,” he said, feeling content.
Genna smiled to herself for Margarie had been her mother’s name. It seemed Lord Varyth loved his father just as much as she loved her mother. She was happy that at least the gods had favored her with a loving mother.
They paid the innkeeper and left the inn with as much haste as Lord Varyth could make.
“Good morning to the both of you,” came the voice of a burly man as they left the inn. Next to the man was a cart littered with cushions and pillows.
Varyth gave a snort, “Such nice arrangement for people he just met, wouldn’t you say Margarie”?
Varyth’s suspicions were her own as well. Something didn’t sit well with her when it pertained to Levi. He had to know something. Why else would he see that they were afforded new housing arrangements? Then again, if he did indeed know who they were, why hadn’t they been arrested by now? Surely he wouldn’t risk letting them remain free any longer.
The man helped Varyth into the cart and Genna climbed in behind him. Once settled the man moved to the front, pushed his weight down upon the handles, and began pulling them down the streets.
Varyth was looking around suspiciously, head buried within his cloak. Genna felt that she should be doing the same thing but for some reason, she felt safe here.
It was some time before they reached the inn. The sun was peaking above the horizon and the townsfolk were beginning to pour from their homes.
As the burly man began helping them from the cart, the door to the inn swung open, revealing Levi.
“Ah! Good morning Margarie, it is good to see you again,” said Levi with that same smile.
“Yes m’lord, a pleasure to see you again as well,” responded Genna.
“You must be Levi. I thank you for your assistance with my injuries my lord. I am Irian of Polarica, and I am in your debt,” said Varyth politely.
“Polarica? You are quite far from home Irian. What brings you so far south,” asked Levi skeptically.
“Freelance work my lord. I was taken by slavers and spent many years as a slave. I was beaten for trying to escape, but escaped none the less,” said Varyth without hesitation.
Levi smiled once more, “Well Irian, you are safe in Magnolia. Slavery has been abolished in this city, and you will come to no harm”.
There was something about Levi that Genna liked. Although, that smile was enough to melt any woman’s heart, she could not let herself be deceived. She did not know this man, and could never hope too.
“Come, your room awaits,” said Levi anxiously.
They inn was spectacular. It was clean and pristine. Fine garnished wood made up the floor and beautiful tapestries hung from the walls. Sarthian rugs littered the room and were so soft that you could get lost within them.
Many finely dressed people gave them particularly nasty glares as they stepped through the doors and Genna did not blame them.
They looked horrible. They were caked in dirt, and were rather smelly. Their clothes were torn and looked as if they had just been plucked from a lion pit.
“You will find your room up the stairs, first door on your right. The dresser has been packed with many fine clothes for the both of you. You are my guests and I will see you well kept until my patient is healed,” said Levi.
“That’s all very good my lord, buy why? You don’t know us, and it is very suspicious that you would treat strangers with such odd favor,” said Varyth skeptically.

“In a world of savagery such as ours, people have grown to believe that everyone means them harm. I help people and show them kindness because they need it. A world ruled by fear is no world at all. My only wish is to show these people that they are safe, that they are loved, and that I won’t let fear breach these walls,” said Levi as he handed them the key to their room.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 11


It was so hot within the carriage that Wayin could hardly breathe. The Queen insisted that he share her carriage as they rode to Picket. Her offer did its job in making the other council members detest him even further then they currently had. Evalyne Arintear sat across from him, as beautiful as any woman had the rights to be. Her elegant gown of emerald satin flowed in silken ruffles at her feet and her hair was braided nicely with strands of gold, studded with emeralds. The small crown upon her head threatened to sparkle brilliantly every time a trickle of light spilled from in between the curtains.
“I appreciate you riding with me all the way to Picket my lord. My other council members have run my company to its limits and a fresh face is a nice change,” said Evalyne with a cold courtesy.
“The pleasure is all mine Your Grace. Your beauty is just the thing to brighten up this long journey,” said Wayin sweetly.
I’m getting entirely to good at this, he thought as the empty words passed through his lips.
“Your Grace, if you don’t mind my asking. Why is it that we are traveling to Picket,” asked Wayin cautiously.
“Picket, from what my informants tell me, is the place where our treacherous ‘Hero of Sorrowheart’ grew into manhood. I imagine the first place he would run is the only place he knows outside of the capitol. We are merely going to make sure Lord Tallgrow understands whom exactly it is he serves,” said the queen with ice in her voice.
“Your Grace, it is most perilous to venture outside of the castle walls. Especially now since your throne is being contested. They may have already reached Picket and rallied Lord Tallgrow to their cause. What if his armies await us at the gates”, questioned Wayin intently.
The queen laughed, “Are you trying to scare me my lord”?
If that will bring your pretty arse back the capitol and away from Harren, then yes.
“Not in the slightest, Your Grace, I only wish for your safety,” said Wayin, once again trying not to believe his perfect lie.
The queen stared at him intently, her eyes searching his face for the slightest hint of dishonesty.
“You are kind my lord. I wish I could rely on my other councilors to feel the same. I can’t help but feel like some of them secretly wish for my reign to end. With my lord father being tucked away on the highest mountain in the Crown, my brother is the only one I have to protect me but sometimes I see lust for the throne in his eyes”, said the Queen, letting her smile fade.
Wayin could see that the queen was frightened by the prospect of being surrounded by enemies. In Galverin, she had confided in him that once King Javos died, lords all over Ethios had urged the king’s brother, Ronald Arintear to take the throne for a woman was not fit to rule a kingdom. Lord Arintear intended to take the throne if it hadn’t been for a document signed by the king himself, stating that the Queen would rule until she found a new husband.
The lords of the land liked that much and more. Queen Evalyne, was the most beautiful woman in Ethios and every lord wanted to be by her side, however, no lord came to win her favor for fear of making Lord Arintear wroth.
The man who replaces House Arintear’s current seat upon the throne would not find keeping it an easy task. Lord Ronald Arintear did not intend on letting another lord take the throne in which his house currently held.
“Surely you can trust your brother, Your Grace. He has sworn an oath to keep you safe,” said Wayin, trying to reassure her.
It’s me you ought to be scared of. I’m the one you shouldn’t trust.
“My brother has always been the jealous one. He would do everything in his power to get my lady mother’s attention when I was with her. Everything I had, he had to have it and more. Though now we are in adulthood, it seems he has not changed. He wants my throne, but is trying to find a way to claim it. That’s why I urge my father to come down. I wish him here to protect me”.
“Then why not tell him so Your Grace? I’m sure he would come to your aid if you felt threatened. The only reason he denies you is because you ask him to come down for feasts”.
The queen studied him with eyes full of judgment.
“With what knowledge of my father do you presume to say that he would come to my aid? If I was in true danger, he would come, but not because I am scared of my brother. What folly”.
“I beg your forgiveness Your Grace, I spoke out of turn,” said Wayin apologetically.
“No, you made me realize that I am being childish. My brother would never harm me, greedy as he may be. You are wise Sage Wayin, I enjoy your council,” said the Queen, letting the happiness return to her face.
Wayin had become used to the queens change of mood quicker than he thought he would. The queen was kind enough when the situation called for it, but make her wroth and that’s when you regretted it.
She hanged men for less, but Wayin had once again been saved due to his deed of turning Genna over to the throne.
That one good deed can only last me so long. I need to gain the queen’s full and total trust if I am to fulfill my duties to Kyran efficiently. I musnt give her any cause to mistrust me or I could end up like Lord Varyth. I had better tread softly.
“This fear is instilled within my blood my lord. Surely you know the story of Anthony and Aren Tuhlack,” asked Evalyne.
“I believe so Your Grace. Lord Aren Tuhlack killed his own brother in order to take the high seat of Snowhaven and become its lord,” said Wayin as he tried to recall the story.
“Aren and Anthony Tuhlack. They were two of the biggest follies of our house. Do you know the words of house Tuhlack my lord”?
“Family Runs Thicker Than Blood. I know them well Your Grace”

The Queen gave a smirk, “Aren Tuhlack made our noble words into the biggest farse that Ethios had ever seen. Aren and Anthony were the first and only twins in the history of our house and the Sage in service to our house in that day was not what you would call intelligent. When it came time for the eldest twin to accept the title of Lord of Snowhaven, the old fool could not remember which of the boys had been born first. I suppose the man isn’t fully to blame, their mother should not have waited days after their births to name them, that’s where the confusion came. Moving on, their father had chosen Anthony to take his place, for Anthony was more mature in the matters of warfare and governing than Aren was. Aren much preferred to be free and to hunt and fish rather than focus on important things.
Feeling angry that their father chose Anthony to be lord, Aren opened his brother’s throat while he slept.
Cowardice really. The man knew he could not hope to best his brother in combat so he committed the vile crime of murdering his brother while he slept.
Their father was so wroth by Aren’s vicious crimes, that he had him executed for all to see. Leaving himself with no heirs, Lord Tuhlack had no choice but to get his wife with child once more. Lord Tuhlack grieved the loss of Anthony for the rest of his days, naming the boy a hero. He even went as far as to erect a statue within the square of Snowhaven. He never mentioned Aren’s name again”, explained the Queen intently.
“It is most interesting to hear of your families lineage Your Grace, but what was the purpose of the story”?
“Family Runs Thicker Than Blood. Our words were made false the day Aren killed Anthony. It shows that lust for power is in the Tuhlack blood. It shows in my brother and for that I fear my life. I don’t want to be the next Anthony Tuhlack. Though I know I should not fear my brother would commit such crimes but don’t you think Anthony thought the same? Who is to know,” said the Queen with a shrug.
“Your Grace. Anthony and Aren lived hundreds of years ago. There has not been another incident like theirs since then. The past does not control the future, and the future is what we decide it to be. The past is meant to be learned from and that is very much the case here. Your family learned from the shame that Aren brought on them and has restored the honor in the words of your house”.
The queen gave a small smile.
“We had best hope so. Or I may find a dagger in my heart before my reign is done”!
One can only hope, thought Wayin as the carriage jerked to a halt.
The queen’s smile quickly faded as irritation crossed her face.
“Gabrial what have we stopped for now,” she snapped angrily as she poked her head out of the carriage window.
Wayin had wondered that as well. Since they started their slow journey to Picket three days ago, they had stopped so often that it felt as if they hadn’t made any progress.
Most of the stops came from Lord Gelfry needing to relieve himself due to his excessive drinking from his wine skin. Other times, it was Lord Sommel, stopping to fix the position of his large chests of books that were being pulled in a cart behind his horse. Why Lord Sommel brought so many books, no one can say.
At the rate they were moving, they were like to add days to their journey. Not only that, but they had to return to Galverin to entertain a feast with Ronald Arintear and his family as well.
They had responded to the invitation well enough and was to arrive in Galverin within a fortnight. The Queen thought it best to make the journey to Picket before hand, in order to make sure that Lord Tallgrow understood that Harren and the boy were to be arrested.
“Don’t worry your pretty little head sweet sister. I am only watering the horses. They grow parched and because of that they slow down. You wouldn’t want to walk the rest of the way to Picket would you,” said Gabrial sounding amused.
“Gods save us. Hurry up if you would ser, I would like to reach Picket before I see my grave,” snapped the queen as she withdrew back within the cabin.
It was another two days before they saw the grey smoke of blacksmiths that glazed the sky above Picket. They stopped at different holdfasts to rest their heads and the stops minimized once the queen threatened to hack off Lord Gelfry’s manhood if he stopped them to relieve himself again.
The busy streets of Picket were shrouded by the large castle that loomed above them. The Anvil of Tallgrow flew above the castle brilliantly but the queen gave a disgusted grunt.
“Who takes an anvil for a sigil? Honestly, you would think the man wanted to be reminded of how low his birth really was. No matter, I do very much enjoy the company of Lady Tallgrow. Boring and ugly she may be but she doesn’t speak much. Highborn Ladies spend too much of their time gossiping about things that would make no difference to their lives. I have no patience for such things and neither does Lady Tallgrow. Her silence, is my bliss,” said the queen as she gazed from the carriage window.
The people were bustling about the streets, not even noticing they were there. That irritated the Queen as well but she wouldn’t understand. The small folk focus on their livelihood and the well being of their families. To them, the queen and her lot were all in Galverin to the south.
They were selling turnips, carrots, onions, and salted beef. Chickens were being de-feathered and beheaded in the butcher’s corner of the market. Loud shouts and cries came from all as they offered up their goods to them as they passed by. Children played noisily in the streets as well which made Wayin smile.
This is a happy place, but for how long?
After being escorted into the castle, Lord Tallgrow and his sons met them in the court room. The long table in the center of the room was being set by servants and Lord Tallgrow’s own chair was sitting at the head of the table for the Queen.

“Your Grace, it is such an honor to welcome you to my castle. This visit has been much anticipated I assure you,” said Lord Tallgrow as he kissed the queens hand. His two sons gave her the most charming smiles they could muster.
They were handsome enough for most. Their hair was black as coal and looked much like their fathers but they had eyes of green like their mother. Tristan and Kyle were their names. Tristan was well built and muscular like his father. He was famed for being the greatest swordsman in the Queensgrove. His brother Kyle was of the same build but more inclined to archery. Most would call him fair but by the ladies, he was the best archer in Ethios.
“You are most kind my lord,” said the queen politely, “but where is your lovely wife? I had hoped to enjoy Lady Tallgrow’s company this evening”.
“Ah, I apologize Your Grace, my lady wife is headed to Valor to sup with Lady Tyber. She would have stayed here if we had gotten your letter a day sooner,” said Lord Tallgrow with high courtesy.
“I see Lady Tyber is at her silly parties again. Tell me, what was it, ‘Ladies of the River’?” asked the queen.
“Riverlands, Your Grace. If it please you, the meal is ready”, said Lord Tallgrow as he gestured to the table.
“I am well impressed with your promptness my lord! Right from the door and into the feast,” said Lord Gelfry as they took their seats.
“My servants have been preparing it for days. I thought it best to get right into the meal so as to savor the delicious flavors that have been cooking so fervently,” said Lord Tallgrow, taking his seat as well.
“We plead your forgiveness for our sudden visit my lord, but it could not wait,” said Lord Sommel with a cool courtesy.
“Nothing is sudden when it comes to the Queen. My men and life are hers,” said Lord Tallgrow as a servant filled his cup.
“That is good to hear my lord. Did you receive the bird our Sage sent forth,” asked Gabrial, gesturing towards Wayin’s direction.
Lord Tallgrow eyed Wayin, and moved them back to Gabrial’s direction.
“Yes my lord, concerning Harren and the boy?”
“The very one. We know Harren was raised in your lovely city. We just wanted to deliver the importance of his arrest to you in person,” said Gabrial.
“You can rest assured, my lord, that if or when Harren returns to Picket, my guards will seize him and turn him over to the Queen’s justice. If I may ask, Your Grace, what has he done,” asked Lord Tallgrow.
The queen sipped on her wine and met Lord Tallgrow’s eyes.
“He conspires against my throne. He wishes to see me overthrown so he can place a bastard upon my seat”.
“Harren is doing this? Your Grace, are you certain? I played with Harren as a boy and have known him my whole life and he doesn’t seem to be the person to commit such blatant treason,” said Tristan Tallgrow as the servants brought in the main course.
There was buttered mushrooms and a large buttered ham. Sweet potatoes dashed with cinnamon and bread fresh from the ovens, all washed down with the sweet spiced wine of Wurth.
“You will forgive me ser but you have not known Harren in his adulthood. He is a vile man who kidnaps children and sets them about his own purpose. Ive seen it myself, the children scream as he plucks them from the streets of Sorrowheart,” said Lord Gelfry as he stuffed his face with potatoes, ham, and mushrooms all.
“What my brother says has truth Your Grace. Harren is a kind man, surely the man Lord Gelfry speaks of is another person entirely,” said Kyle Tallgrow rushing to his brothers defense.
“Do you presume to say I am a liar ser? I would not accuse an innocent man. The boy’s mother, a whore from our market, is the one who revealed his plans,” snapped the Queen angrily.
Lord Tallgrow glared angrily at his sons.
“Your Grace will forgive my sons for their lack of restraint. Their words are spoken from a child’s mind,” said Lord Tallgrow.
“I understand my lord. I know it’s a difficult thing to take in but this man must be turned over to the crown for a swift justice. I am a fair queen but when it comes to treason, I will have none of it,” said the queen.
“Your Grace, if I may, the Lords of Ethios will wonder why Harren is wanted. They will surely inquire his importance. Who is this boy that he wants to put in your place? Surely he must be of some worth,” asked Lord Tallgrow.
Wayin could see the words pierce the queens heart.
“He is my late husbands bastard. Harren claims the boy has the better claim but I have a document signed by the king himself, stating I am to rule until I marry once more,” said the Queen.
“Your Grace, you are the fairest woman in Ethios. Surely finding a husband will not be difficult for you,” said Lord Tallgrow politely.
“My lord is confused. I do not want to marry. Ronald Arintear is wroth that I will not marry one of his sons. He wants to preserve the Arintear family’s royal bloodline. If I were to marry a River Lord or a Northern Lord, I would surely have the might of Laelic at my gates before the week was out. War would be inevitable,” said the Queen.
“I agree Your Grace, but not marrying and hunting the boy will result in war as well. You have many enemies Your Grace and those enemies may very well pledge their banners to the boy,” said Lord Tallgrow.
The Queen leaned forward and smiled.
“Then we will crush them and give the singers a slaughter to sing about”.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 10


Kyran quietly stalked the halls of the castle, pretending to be a Lord. Lord Tallgrow had been very nice to them since their arrival at the castle a few days before. At first Kyran didn’t like the maids forcing him to take a bath and dressing him from head to toe in Rentosian silks of grey, white, and black, but he soon began to enjoy it.
He often wondered, while he lived in Sorrowheart, what it would be like to be a Lord. He wondered what it would be like to go not a day without food. He also wondered what it would be like to sleep in a castle that was warm. He had lived his whole life wondering about those things and now he was experiencing it for himself.
Lord Tallgrow was actually pleased to see them. Harren didn’t want Kyran in the room so Lord Tallgrow had his guards bring him to the gardens. The garden was Kyran’s favorite place in the castle! It was quiet, and there were so many bugs to chase and catch. He was busy tracking a particularly large and colorful beetle when Harren called him from the garden.
All he told Kyran was that they would be staying in Picket for a few days until the Queen came to visit the castle.
That was days ago. Lord Tallgrow was to hold a feast for the Queen and her council today and today was the day they were to take their leave for Valor.
Part of Kyran didn’t want to leave the comfort of the castle. Though it had only been a few days, he grew comfortable with this new way of living. He knew he would miss it at least a little bit.
“Kyran, there you are. The maids are looking for you. They have travel clothes for you to wear, so hurry and change,” came Harren’s voice, waking him from his daydream.
Kyran went back to his bedchamber where the maids were waiting to dress him. They held a leather tunic and breeches emblazoned with the ensignia of House Tallgrow, along with a small belt with pouches sewn in for holding belongings.

The boots were leather as well and Kyran didn’t care much for those for he much preferred to be barefoot.
Once dressed, they combed his hair and led him to the council chamber, where Harren was talking with Lord Tallgrow.
The council chamber was a magnificent domed room with a long table at its center. Long grey and black curtains lined the windows that reached up the length of the walls. In between the windows were large tapestries with the Anvil of Tallgrow sewn within. Lord Tallgrow was sitting at the head of the table with Harren at his side.
“If you ride through the night, you should make it to Valor within a day’s time. Once there you should be safe. I will assure them that you did not make it as far as Picket and that my scouts did not see you on the road. That should turn the Queen back around to Galverin,” said Lord Tallgrow.
It was then that Harren laid eyes on Kyran. His eyes grew wide and Kyran knew that something was wrong.
“Why is the Queen after us,” Kyran asked as Lord Tallgrow turned to see who spoke. He was an older man well into his fifties. His black hair had streaks of silver and his beard hung low on his chest. His muscular build was all but to be expected considering his family’s past as blacksmiths.
He wore a fine leather jerkin in the same color as Kyran’s silks and a circlet upon his head made of silver with large stones of Onyx laid within.
“You haven’t told him,” asked Lord Tallgrow in disbelief as Harren stared at Kyran with sorrow in his eyes.

“No. I know I should have but it wasn’t the time,” said Harren quietly.
“Well now it is. He needs to know Harren, that is his right,” said Lord Tallgrow, beckoning Kyran forward.
Kyran approached them as the maids left and Harren took Kyran by the shoulders.
“Im sorry for not telling you Kyran, but I lied about the reason we are going to Valor,” said Harren.
Kyran’s heart dropped to his stomach. He knew this news was not going to be good. Harren’s face was filled with dread and heartache.
“Kyran, you are not just a boy from the slums. You are Kyran Arintear, bastard of the late King Javos Arintear, and by rights, heir to the Throne of Ethios,” explained Harren quietly.
Kyran’s head began to swim as terror coursed through his body. Harren didn’t have to tell him why the Queen was after him. He knew. She wanted him dead because he was a threat to her throne. Kyran had read about similar things in books the merchants in Brokepurse would give him.
Harren then explained, from the beginning, how Kyran came into his possession. After the story, Kyran was silent. He was filled with so many emotions that he didn’t know what to do or say.
He felt anger, at Harren and his mother. Harren, for not telling him and letting him live his life in the slums and his mother, for selling him for money.
He felt sadness that his family had to be uprooted and sent to Picket because of him. He didn’t even know if they were still alive for they had not made it to the city yet. Most of all, he felt relief, that now he could finally fight for a better life and have a chance of winning.
It was at that moment that Kyran decided that he was no longer a child. He was going to be mature and do everything in his power to protect those who had gone out of their way and risked their lives to ensure he sat the throne. He would no longer spend his time chasing beetles and playing at being a lord. He was putting aside those childish things and was going to focus on how to fight with blade and bow.
“I understand why you all did what you did. I wont let any of you down. I’m not going to sit by and be a useless kid; I’m going to fight, and be the King Ethios needs,” said Kyran confidently.
Lord Tallgrow gave a hearty laugh.
“A warriors answer! He surely is his father’s son! He has his spirit,” he said as he pat Kyran on the back.
Harren smiled meekly at Kyran as he kissed his forehead.
“You are very brave to say so Kyran. I know you will be a great king but before you can rule, there will be war. We need to get you to Galenport and to do that, we must reach Valor”.
“You will need such bravery if you are to reach Valor without being found. The Queensgrove is an unfortunately open province. There are hills upon hills for miles without any place to take shelter. You will be easy to spot,” said Lord Tallgrow seriously.
“We have no other option my Lord. Valor is the holdfast that begins the Riverlands. That is Lord Galia’s territory and he is a good friend. We must reach Valor,” said Harren sounding more determined than confident.
“I am a good friend as well my boy but Lord Galia is just as safe from the Queen’s reach as I am. You forget she rules Ethios, not only the Queensgrove,” explained Lord Tallgrow.
“But Lord Galia…”
“…is a man who serves the throne faithfully,” finished Lord Tallgrow as Harren tried to speak.
“If you mean to seek shelter and council from the Sea Snake of Galenport then you are mistaken. Lord Galia is an honest and dutiful man. Why would he risk starting a war over something he has nothing to do with,” said Lord Tallgrow who seemed to be growing tired of Harren’s consistency.
“Aren’t you considered a man who ‘serves the throne faithfully’ my Lord? Lord Galia is my friend just as you are. You have chosen to help me to Valor rather than turn us over to the Queen and this has nothing to do with you just as much as it has nothing to do with him,” protested Harren.
Lord Tallgrow glared at Harren that Kyran knew was a warning.
“I have known you since you were a boy,” growled Lord Tallgrow angrily, “Elliot Galia, played with you only thrice when you were a child here in Picket and those three times were over the course of three years. Lord Galia is no longer that little boy with whom you played. Do you know of the man he grew to be”?
“I do not my Lord. I must put my faith in that little boy I once knew,” said Harren quietly.
“Then you are a fool! Do you recall ever hearing of Omerfell’s rebellion during your time in Galverin,” asked Lord Tallgrow.
“Briefly my lord but not in detail. All I know is that Lord Warly of Omerfell raised his banners against Galenport in hopes of overthrowing Lord Galia and naming himself Lord of the Riverlands,” said Harren quietly.
“That is how it started, yes. Lord Galia was outraged by the sudden betrayal and raised his banners as well. He marched into battle with his sword Venom and met Lord Warly and his men on the banks of the river ‘Thoren’s Bane’” explained Lord Tallgrow.
Kyran had heard stories of Lord Galia’s Venom. The merchants had told him that the blade was a light green color and made of the sharpest Rentosian steel. It was also said that the blade was forged with venom from the Rentosian Desert Viper. The Rentosian Desert Viper’s venom can kill a man in under a minute. Right after being bitten, the viper bite burns until the skin around it is bubbling like boiling water. It is also said that it is the most painful way for a man to die.
“Lord Galia, little to Lord Warly’s knowledge, trains his soldiers to fight when cornered in water. Needless to say it was a bloodbath. The water was red with the blood of Lord Warly’s men and Lord Galia was said to have killed 150 men with Venom. The men he cut were screaming for mercy by death and their begging was said to be heard from Galenport. That is why the battle had been named, ‘The Beggar’s War’. Lord Galia did not spare Lord Warly his life, even after he surrendered. He arrested Lord Warly and brought him back to Omerfell where he stripped the man naked and marched him into the Market Square. It was there that he had the man tied up. To make an example of him, he gave Lord Warly several small cuts with Venom. The cuts were everywhere. His arms, legs, back, head, chest, stomach, even his privates were all covered in small cuts. The wounds began to burn and bubble, sending up the most blood curdling screams from Lord Warly’s mouth that most covered their ears in dread. Lord Galia let the man suffer until he was on the brink of death, then slayed the man after making his wife and children watch the gruesome display.
His son Darion Warly knew he could not avenge his father so he swore his banners to Lord Galia.
That is the boy you once knew”.
Kyran was mortified. How could Lord Galia do such a thing? Harren had always talked about Lord Galia and how kind he was. The man sounded more a monster than kindly friend.
Harren was quiet for a moment as he considered all he had heard.
“My Lord, I will not say Lord Galia was just in what he did to Lord Warly. There were other ways to handle the treason. However, I have to try. If Lord Galia decides to hand me over to the Queen, then I will find a way to escape him,” said Harren.
“And do what boy, head north into The Crown? In case you have forgotten, the north belongs to Lord Tuhlack, the Queen’s Lord Father. You will not find solace there I assure you. There is no safety Harren,” said Lord Tallgrow impatiently.
“Then I will find a ship to take me to Rentos, Ilyrian, Sarth, Wurth, Torren, Godsland or wherever I can assure Kyran’s safety. I will not cease, my Lord, until Kyran is safe and well trained so he himself can lead his armies against the Queen”.
“What armies Harren? You speak as if making a king is as easy as picking a flower. The boy has no armies and no one even knows of his true birth. Lords are not quick to start wars over something they can’t even be sure of. You are asking them to raise their banners against Galverin for a boy of ten who, to them, may or may not be the bastard child of King Javos”.
“I will find a way my Lord. Even if I have to scour every country on the map to find an army, I will do that. I will see my boy in his rightful seat,” said Harren loudly.
Lord Tallgrow looked taken aback by Harren’s obvious commitment to Kyran.
Having kept his silence for the duration of the conversation, Kyran finally spoke.
“My Lord, I trust Harren. I’m only a boy of ten and I cannot do this on my own. It sounds to me that Lord Galia is a terrifying man, but you have said he is dutiful to the throne. If that is the case, I am the rightful heir and so he serves me”.

“You can tell him that if you wish. I know that I cannot disuade this farse of a quest so I intend to help you to Valor. I will have you ride in a carriage with a small group of knights around you. You will be dressed in the finest silks I have and the carriage will be flying my banners. The queen’s men, if they should see you, will not suspect at trickery. I shall tell them that my lady wife rides for Valor to sup with Lady Tyber for one of her many ‘Ladies of the Riverlands’ festivities,” said Lord Tallgrow rolling his eyes.
“Won’t Lady Tallgrow be here when the Queen arrives,” asked Kyran.
“Not to fear lad. My wife hates attending feasts that I host. She says I am, ‘to unkempt to be elegant’ whatever that means. So I will explain to her the situation and she will gladly stay in her chambers”.
“We thank you for you assistance my Lord. I think its time we were on our way,” said Harren beginning to stand.
“Yes, I believe so too. His Grace is fine in the silks he wears, but you must change Harren. The maids have your clothes. Change while the carriage is being prepared,” said Lord Tallgrow, waving away one of his guards to ready the carriage.
“As it please my Lord,” said Harren as he stalked from the room.
Within the hour, they were leaving the castle gates in a large grey carriage. Its driver was a man by the name of Pete whose eyebrows were so bushy you would think he had no eyes.
Within the carriage, Harren and Kyran sat comfortable on large pink cushions and were surrounded by puffy pillows. The curtains were drawn as to keep the light from shining brightly within.
The carriage, no doubt, belonged to Lady Tallgrow.
The road was smooth until they left the city then the ride became a bit rougher.
Harren had fallen asleep after a few minutes but Kyran could not bring himself to shut his eyes.
What if Elliot Galia really is the man that Lord Tallgrow said he was. What if he turned Kyran over to the Queen, or worse, cut him with Venom.
Fear began to overcome Kyran as he pictured Lord Warly, bubbling, bleeding, and swelling, in the middle of the Omerfell Market Square. The screams for mercy were so loud in his thoughts that he was like to think he actually heard them.
Kyran shook the thought from his mind.
Surely Lord Galia isn’t the kind of man to hurt children. Honest and dutiful is how Lord Tallgrow described the man and that is what he put his hope in.
“He said nothing of kindness though,” thought Kyran as he moved to get more comfortable.
In his attempt to shove away thoughts of Lord Galia and Venom, Kyran began to think about his mother Genna.
Had she really wanted him back so much that she had to give herself up to the queen? Did she love him after all?
Kyran pushed those thoughts away as well.
“If she had loved me, she would have kept me. It makes no matter anyway, she is dead”
He also thought of Varyth, the kindly Sage who gave him to Harren on the night of his fathers death.
“I only spoke to him once but I feel he loved me more than my mother ever did. I feel bad for trying to cut his purse that day.”
Kyran glanced at Harren, who was snoring quietly within his pillows. His nameless blade hung from his hip and it was there he spotted the tiny trinket of Ghami, the god of death and guidance.
The last time Kyran prayed to Ghami was at the temple in Galverin on the day the queen’s men butchered the people of Sorrowheart’s tavern. He was a child then, but now, he must pray as a man.
“Oh Ghami, god of death and guidance,” he prayed, “Guide me on the path that will lead me to make the right decisions when I need to. Ethios bleeds from misrule and I am the only one who can save it. Guide the many souls that will be lost for my cause, welcome them to your hearth with open arms, for they have died valiantly for their rightful King”.
Kyran always felt much better after praying. The gods were the only ones who could save him from harm.
No matter how hard Harren tried, he wouldn’t be able to protect Kyran from everything and Kyran knew that.
“Its up to me to protect him now. Harren, as well as the whole of Ethios,” thought Kyran.
He shut his eyes once more, this time with his head clear. It was not long before Kyran found himself deeply asleep, free from all of his worries, if even just for a little while.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 9


His back was racked with pain as the caravan wobbled down the road.
“Curse these Wurtheni merchants and their caravan,” said Varyth through his teeth as he felt blood leave his wounds and soak his bandages.
“They were kind enough to let us hide away with them until they reach Dorgarden. We should be safe there I think,” said Genna quietly.
“We aren’t safe if we are in the south, whore. We need to head out of Queensgrove and into the Riverlands. That is where we are most safe,” groaned Varyth as the pain blurred his vision.
“My name is Genna. I’m starting anew. I am no longer a whore so please do not refer to me as such,” said Genna as she lifted a cup of herbal tea to his lips. The tea was said to help with the pain, which it did for a short while. The Wurtheni were good with medicines. Varyth had often studied their works when he was in training to be a Sage.
He gave a loud laugh.
“Starting anew are you? I hardly believe that for an instant. You sold your son for a sack of silvers then let his true nature be known to the very woman who would have him killed. Forgive me if I find your new found sense of self to be fallacy.”
Genna placed the medicine on the floor of the caravan and sat on the bench opposite of Varyth.
“I suppose you have every reason to feel that way m’lord. But that day in the throne room, when Euran died for me, he told me that a boy needs his mother and to not let his sacrifice mean nothing. His words haunted me as I fled. They still do. They made me realize how horrible I was. How a young girl from Kent with the aspirations to be a farmer turned into a whore in the capitol who sells her own child for money,” said Genna quietly as tears began to fall from her eyes, “I no longer wish to be that way. I will find a way to help my son. You can fight me, call me a whore, even try to kill me for what I’ve done, but I will help my son get to that throne.”
Varyth felt sorry for her. He had wondered what exactly Euran had told her that day and now it made sense. He could feel that she was being genuine. Every muscle in his body wanted to reject her, even still, but everyone deserved a second chance. There was no harm for her to be with him now that the Queen knew.
“You say these things Genna, but are you willing to sacrifice everything for him. I was dragged into the market and beaten almost to death for trying to help him. Are you prepared for that kind of sacrifice,” asked Varyth curiously.
“I threw myself in front of the Queen seeking death. I would do it again if I had to,” said Genna assuredly.

“That’s good. Dying for something that is right can change the course of the future,” said Varyth, taking another sip of the tea as his back ached in pain.
“I’m not sure what you mean,” said Genna inquisitively.
Varyth shifted in his seat to make himself more comfortable, “Do you recall ever being told the story of the Alverith the Chosen”?
Genna thought for a moment in recollection, “Alverith Galverin, the man from which the capitol was named? That is all I know of him”.
“In the first era of Ethios, give or take a few decades, war raged for control of the land. There were only three major houses in Ethios where now there are six. They were the Tuhlacks of the Crown, the Galias of the Riverlands, and the Arintears of Queensgrove. After years of war, with no sign of an end, the gods chose a young priest by the name of Alverith Galverin to put an end to the war. The gods must have seen something in him that no one else did. The boy was blind by birth yet the gods chose him at the ripe age of one and twenty to accomplish a seemingly impossible task,” explained Varyth as he sipped the tea once more.
“Why did the gods choose such an incapable person to stop a war,” asked Genna as she moved to replace Varyth’s blood soaked bandages.
“No one knows the minds of the gods and it was not Alverith’s place to question them. His duty as a priest was to exact their will, nothing more. The only thing said within the history books is that the gods came to the boy in his prayers, physically manifesting themselves at their alters. It was then that they tasked him with such a heavy burden. Perhaps it was his undeniable loyalty that urged the gods to choose him. We can only speculate”.
“So what happened then,” asked Genna as she wrapped the fresh bandages around Varyth’s torso.
“The gods had given Alverith the ability of creation and destruction, giving him more than enough power needed to convince the major houses to cease their pointless war. Alverith made the long journey from the island of Godsland to Ethios, speaking first to the House Arintear in their city of Laelic. He told Lord Thoren Arintear of what the gods intended and urged him to call for peace terms. Lord Thoren scoffed at Alverith, brushing him aside. Feeling disappointed by Lord Thoren’s response, Alverith traveled north to the Riverlands and begged Lord Jonah Galia to do the same which only landed him the same result. Once again traveling north, Lord Felian Tuhlack was also having none of what Alverith had to say”.
“What happened then? Surely Alverith used his power to convince them,” said Genna, pouring Varyth another cup of the tea.
Varyth took the cup and sipped.
“That he did. Enraged by their blatant disregard of what the gods wanted, Alverith warned them that they had one week to stop the war and meet for peace or they would suffer greatly. He was blind and spent months traveling the length of Ethios alone, which proved no easy task. It was his power that saved him from the bandits and the elements, but even so, it put a heavy strain on his conscience. A week passed and the Lords would not yield. It was then that Alverith used his power of destruction to lay waste to every army’s food supply. Many died and the war halted if only for a year. Alverith, once more warned the Lords and told them once again to meet for peace. They again, did not yield. Alverith once again unleashed the power of destruction, destroying large portions of their armies with fire. The Lords grew ever more defiant, trying to display their bravery”.
“What did Alverith do then,” asked Genna curiously.
“Well, he unleashed his final plague, the plague of creation. Spending weeks perfecting the creature he called dragon, he finally released them into the world. Two males and two females, he created. They were giant lizard like beasts that flew in the skies and breathed fire from their mouths. The female dragons laid waste to the north, burning Snowhaven to the ground and giving Lord Tuhlack no choice but to call for peace. One of the male dragons did the same to Galenport, rendering Lord Galia to call for peace. The other male laid waste to Laelic, resulting in Lord Arintear to follow suit. Being under his command, Alverith ordered the dragons to flee far from Ethios when the lords finally met for peace. They decided to split Ethios into three parts. Lord Tuhlack would be King of the Crown and rule in Snowhaven, Lord Galia would be King of the Riverlands and rule in Galenport, and Lord Arintear would be King of the Queensgrove and rule in Laelic. Peace followed and Alverith finally returned home to Godsland”.
“So then there was peace,” asked Genna.
Varyth stood and reached for the tea pitcher, filling his cup once more.
“For a time. Lord Thoren Arintear established the city of Galverin in honor of Alverith, for sparing their lives when they finally called for peace. It was there he decided to rule as king, leaving his brother in charge of Laelic. A few decades passed, the Lords grew old and Alverith aged as well. The gods took Alverith’s power when the Lords made peace, saying that his deed was done and there was no longer reason for him to have it. He married, had children, and lived with them in peace. What no one knew was that when the gods took Alverith’s power, the dragons he had sent away were no longer under his control. Now free from his power, they came back to Ethios, this time with numbers, for they reproduced. Panic ensued and there was destruction like none had ever seen. Not knowing what was happening, Lord Arintear sent angry letters to Alverith, demanding to know why they were being punished once more. Alverith answered immediately, saying that he no longer controlled the dragons for the gods had taken his power. Not believing his explanation, Lord Thoren recruited the help of the other kings and sailed for the Godsland to have Alverith answer for his crime”.
“After everything, they still didn’t believe Alverith,” asked Genna angrily.
“No. When they finally reached the Godsland with their great army, the Sworn Soldiers of the Godsland could not keep them at bay for long. Alverith spent day and night praying in the temple until finally the gods answered him. They told him that the dragons could not be taken from the earth by any power they held. The dragons were created by Alverith and would end with him.
It was then that Alverith decided to sacrifice himself so that Ethios could flourish once more. Bidding his family farwell, Alverith ordered the Sworn Soldiers to let the army through. Offering himself to Thoren Arintear, he was put to death by the blade of each Lord. All three thrust their swords into his torso, killing Alverith almost instantly. By the time they returned to Ethios, the dragons were gone, the lords rebuilt, and time moved on”.
“So what was the point of this story Varyth”, asked Genna.
“The point is that by sacrificing himself for what was right, Alverith Galverin removed his creation from the world, allowing mankind to prosper once more. If he had chosen to fight back, and allow the dragons to stay, mankind could have been wiped out all together. The choices we make determine our future. Sacrificing yourself for the right thing, could mean the difference between a future filled with hope and a future without it. You must be prepared to make that very sacrifice for Kyran. We all must be prepared. For any one of us could be the next Alverith, determining the future of the realm”.
All was quiet as the caravan continued down the road.
“Why you tell girl false truths Sage”, asked an unknown voice, thick with accent, from outside the caravan.
The flaps of cloth that kept the caravan closed, opened as a Wurtheni merchant climbed through.
He was a stout man and was frightening to look upon. His thick crop of black curls fell to his shoulders and looked dull compared to his immensely dark skin. The Wurtheni people were known for their dark complexions. His many facial piercings made him look terrifying to say the least. Three studs of silver pierced either side of his nose, four studs of gold lined the bottom of his lips. A large gold piercing on each cheek contained a small gold chain that connected with the piercings on his ears. Both of which were covered in jewels and studs.
His long silk robes brilliantly displayed his wealth and the many rings upon his fingers seemed to be made of the finest metals.

“I told her no lies Belwart. That story is written in our history,” Varyth protested angrily as he struggled to make room for the Wurtheni merchant.
“That is problem with you Ethosians. You think your history is true when really is just as you say. Story,” said Belwart as he began pouring himself some tea.
Belwart was a blunt man who Varyth thought to be insolent but tolerable. When Genna had broken them out of the dungeons, it had been almost too simple to escape. Varyth had been weak and Genna struggled to walk with him. It was Belwart who found them and offered a ride out of the city. Ever since they began to travel, Belwart would enter the caravan every half hour to make sure they weren’t up to any thievery.
“You say our history is just a story. What do you say really happened,” asked Genna curiously.
“Dragon came from Wurth. This is known. Dragon come from giant volcano that is now capitol, Vas Gota”.
Genna wrinkled her forehead with confusion.
“Wurth’s capitol is a volcano? I don’t believe you,” she said defiantly.
“It is as I say! Vas Gota means Volcano City in Wurtheni. When dragon came from volcano, dragon took all of volcano’s fire in its mouth. This made volcano safe. Wurtheni people built big city on volcano. All around volcano the city sits. It seems city rises into sky like magic,” said Belwart while waving his hand at the word magic.
“You would have us believe that a dragon just allowed you to build a city on the volcano? Without trying to burn your work to the ground”, asked Varyth angrily.
“You believe what you want. I speak truth. Dragon burn city many times. Ithtok the Rider saved city. Ithtok was great warrior of Wurth. It is known that he jump from volcano onto dragon and slay him in sky,” said Belwart excitedly.
Varyth rolled his eyes, “Belwart, that story is so ridiculous that there is no cause to believe it”.
“Why do you think the dragon just came from the volcano all of a sudden? Surely your people have a reason,” asked Genna with a hint of disbelief.
“God brought dragon from volcano to show Wurtheni people his power,” said Belwart, glancing at the roof of the caravan as if looking for his false god.
“There are no god’s save for the seven gods Belwart,” said Varyth angrily.
Belwart stood to his feet, “BAH! You Ethosians think you’re right in all things! You worship false gods! Volcano god Firaloth is true god! He will show you his power too if you don’t believe”.
With that, Belwart stormed from the caravan.
“Did you really have to call his god false? Who is to say his god is not real,” said Genna whilst gazing after Belwart sadly.

“No volcano god has ever done me any favors. I have prayed to the seven gods my entire life and it was they who have answered my prayers. Not some volcano god of Wurth. You must learn to separate the truth from the false. This world we live in has many gods, but our gods are the gods of The First Lands in the East. Those were the first and only gods.

All of these false deities that the people of foreign kingdoms worship are only conjured from the minds of those who claim that the gods abandoned them. They make up false gods who they claim to be real. That is where these false religions formed. Now the world thrives in these lies,” said Varyth angrily.
Varyth did not know why Genna was defending Belwart. Could it be that she to had felt abandoned by the gods?
Varyth had never known Genna to be the religious type, but maybe he could sway her to the seven.
The caravan came to a halt with sudden force.
Varyth cursed loudly as he was jerked forward, causing the scabs on his back to crack and bleed. The sound of loud voices rang from outside.
Telling Genna to stay put, Varyth slowly moved from his seat and shuffled along the floor to the entrance of the caravan. Genna moved to help him up but he waved her off, only knowing it would cause him more pain.
Outside, the Wurtheni merchants had their hands on their daggers as Belwart was speaking to a man who seemed to be leading a small group of knights behind him. The banner they flew was one all to familiar to Varyth, the green and brown Oak Tree on a field of yellow and red check.

The sigil belonged to House Quaen of Vaeth.
Fear coursed through Varyth’s body with such speed that he almost whimpered. When Genna noticed his expression, she quietly moved to take a look herself. She didn’t seem to know who the men were which Varyth expected she wouldn’t. Whores weren’t taught the sigils of Lords. It was something taught only to highborn children for their knowledge in warfare later in life.
“Are those the Queen’s men,” asked Genna in a whisper.
“No,” answered Varyth, “but they are the next best thing. They are Lord Weston Quaen’s men. He is the Lord of Vaeth and banner man to Lord Ronald Arintear of Laelic. They could very well be acting on the Queen’s order,” Varyth responded.
He poked his head out further in order to hear them better.
“You stop our caravan for what purpose,” asked Belwart angrily.
“That is really none of your concern Wurtheni. We patrol this road to keep merchants such as your self from straying too far. You foreigners come to Ethios and travel to the large cities to sell your goods but too many of you slip away from your caravans and house yourself within the holdfasts.
It is none of our concern that you hate your country so much that you wish to live in ours. You are only another mouth to eat our food,” said the knight angrily.
“We don’t hate our country. Ethosian scum makes assumption. Let us go, we don’t want to live in your country. We wish to sell and go home to Wurth,” said Belwart trying to control his anger.
The knight spit in his face and kicked him in his belly, causing Belwart to wail and fall to the ground. The Wurtheni merchants drew their daggers but stayed in their places as Belwart raised his hand to stay their attack.
“Uthir we were ordered not to hurt the merchants. We were only to warn them. Don’t you remember what Lord Quaen did to the last knight who killed those merchants from Sarth,” asked a young knight behind the leading man who Varyth assumed to be Uthir.
The knight made a conflicted face before turning back to Belwart.
“Stay out of the holdfasts Wurtheni, or next time, I wont let you stand,” said Uthir as he led his knights further down the road.
The other merchants rushed to Belwart and led him to the caravan. He seemed to have a bruised rib.
Varyth observed him and began shouting for any medicinal herbs that the Wurtheni had.
“Belwart, you have a bruised rib. I’m going to do my best to help you with the pain,” said Varyth calmly.
Belwart looked at him with knowing eyes, “I am fine Ethosian. My god protects me from pain for his fire is in me”.
Varyth then realized that Belwart was in no pain. Could his god be real?
Varyth shook the thought from his mind and proceeded in treating the wound.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 8


Wayin sat in the Sage’s tower, tapping his foot impatiently. It had been days since they threw Genna into the dungeon and he had not been down to see her. The Queen kept eyes on him everywhere he went. He wasn’t a fool. She thought he didn’t notice how the servants watched him when he wasn’t looking, how they followed him to the market, how they rummaged through his things when he wasn’t in his quarters, but he did.
“She doesn’t trust me and she thinks me a fool,” he thought angrily, “however I suppose it would be strange if she did.”
Wayin didn’t know what to do. How was he supposed to get the Queen to trust him? How was he supposed to feed information to whomever it was that Harren was pleading to for help? He was to do all of this with the Queen watching every step and breath he took?
It was impossible but he had to try.
First thing he needed to do was find a way to help Genna and Lord Varyth out of the dungeons. He knew that she wanted to get herself out alone and take Lord Varyth with her, but he couldn’t just sit in his tower, staring at tile, while Genna tried to get out.
It had been days. What’s taking her so long? Is she still alive? What’s happening down there?
A sudden uproar outside shook him from his thoughts. He rose quickly and moved to the window to see the Royal Guard racing from the castle gates into the city. A knock came swiftly to Wayin’s door.
“Enter,” he said loudly, not knowing what to expect.
A servant girl raced in, breathing heavily.
“Something has happened M’lord! The Queen requests your attendance at an emergency Council meeting,” said the girl quickly.
Wayin’s heart sank to his stomach.
“What’s happened?” he thought as he rushed from the tower.
The winding steps of the Sage’s Tower seemed endless as his thoughts raced through his head. He burst into the courtyard and made for the Council Hall.
“My sincerest apologies for my tardiness Your Grace! I came as fast as I could,” said Wayin as he brusquely walked into the room.
They were all in attendance.
The ever handsome Gabrial Tuhlack, Captain of the Royal Guard and brother to the Queen, was sitting next to his sister. His caramel skin, brown hair and even browner eyes made him almost impossible to resist when it came to the ladies. Lord Sommel of Horn Valley sat next to Gabrial, his black hair fell in curls around his shoulders and his green eyes were bright behind his thick glasses. He was a thin man with a large nose that made him closely resemble a bird of prey.
Finally, there was the Keeper of Coffers, Lord Gelfry. The fat man sat next to Lord Sommel, breathing heavily from the strain his size set on his lungs.

Anger flared within Wayin when he laid eyes on the pompous fool. According to Genna, he was the one that betrayed Lord Varyth.
Wayin quickly pulled himself together. He couldn’t let his emotion be seen or else the Queen would suspect treason.
He took his seat on the opposite side of the table, next to the Queen, resulting in many of them to scowl at his utter disrespect. He was new to the Council, and new members always took their place as last when it came to the meetings with the Queen. Wayin refused. He would not sit next to that grotesque abomination of a human being.
The Queen paid his disrespect no mind, for it was not towards her.
“Your apology is not needed Lord Wayin, you are right on time,” said the Queen with an ever sweet smile. Her smile made you feel safe, happy, or even loved, but when the lips curl back and the fangs come out, that’s when you tasted the venom. The Queen could convince anyone to do anything she wished, just with a smile and simple threat that she always delivered on.
“Let us get down to business Your Grace,” said Gabrial Tuhlack as he set his hands on the table, “I requested the Council to be called in urgency. The traitor, Varyth Fallway and the traitorous whore, Genna Clayton, have appeared to have escaped late into the night.”
Wayin did everything in his power not to show his relief or excitement.
“Where have they gone my Lord? How did they manage to escape,” asked Wayin in the best angry voice he could muster.
“We don’t know where they are headed. It seems the whore got a hold of the guard’s keys somehow after knocking him unconscious with the waste bucket. They could not have gotten far,” said Gabrial angrily.
Lord Gelfry’s eyes shifted to Wayin and rested on his face for a moment. Surely he was looking for something in Wayin’s face that would give away his secret.
“What of the boy? Have we searched Sorrowheart,” asked the Queen with a tiny hint of fear behind her voice.
“She’s scared,” thought Wayin with a deep satisfaction, “but people do unspeakable things when they are frightened. Genna was right, there will be war soon”.

“I had the Royal Guard raid Sorrowheart. No one knows where they have gone and when we finally found their residence, it was empty. The whore must have warned them before she came before you,” said Gabrial seeming irritated that a mere group of peasants outsmarted him.
The Queen pursed her lips angrily and turned her gaze toward Lord Gelfry, “My Lord, see to it that you have your finest spies and assassins out looking for the boy and this ‘Hero of Sorrowheart’. I want them found and brought to me”.
Lord Gelfry shifted uncomfortably in his seat, causing it to groan under his weight.
“We simply do not have the coin to pay for it Your Grace. Our coffers still suffer from the last feast we threw for your banner men just a fortnight ago. Assassins and spies do not come cheap Your Grace”.
The Queen slammed her fists onto the table, causing them all to jump slightly in their seats.
“You will find a way to pay for them or I will hang you from the castle walls and find another Keeper of Coffers who will. How about we fire the imbeciles that allow themselves to be outsmarted by a whore and her waste bucket! Surely that will free up some coin,” she shouted angrily.
Lord Gelfry was shaking so hard that his multiple chins were vibrating fiercely, “Y-yes Your Grace,” he said as he bowed his head.
“My Queen, just what do you plan to do when you have the boy? Opening a boy’s throat in front of the kingdom will hardly go over well. It could even cause a rebellion in which someone would try to overthrow you. Then there are the Arintears. Bastard or no, the boy is their blood and will also not take kindly to you murdering him. Galverin can not afford to protect itself against the might of Laelic. You must think of this Your Grace,” said Lord Sommel quietly.
“And what is it you expect me to do? Welcome the boy with open arms and have him take my throne,” she snapped angrily.
Lord Sommel sat back and responded just as quietly as before, “I expect you to make a wise choice Your Grace. Perhaps you could ask for your father’s help. He would surely advise you well on the matter”.
Lord Sommel always admired Lord Tuhlack. He found the man to be of great wisdom and courage ever since Lord Tuhlack taught him how to wield a blade.
“My father has never answered a single one of my summons. Why would I seek his help when he has done nothing for me,” said the Queen with pain behind her voice.
Wayin could see that the Queen felt pained that her father never paid attention to her since she became Queen. Wayin could relate to her pain even if in a small way. He missed his parents back in his hometown of Piton to the south. He hadn’t seen them in almost a year but surely the Queen must have felt a greater pain. Snowhaven was thousands upon thousands of leagues away from Galverin and she had not seen her family in almost 15 years.
“Your Grace, surely your father will answer you at this time. This is not a request for a feast but a request for help. He did not see a feast to be good enough reason to come down from Snowhaven but surely he would come down if your throne was threatened,” said Wayin trying not to seem invisible.
He did not like giving the Queen ideas that could jeopardize Kyran’s safety but he had to win her trust.
The Queen thought on what he said for a long while and finally met his eyes, “Very well Lord Wayin, see to it that a bird is sent to my father in haste. Have him search all of his holdfasts for the boy, on my order. Do the same for the Lords of the Riverlands. I will hold a banquet for the Arintears to try and sway them to our cause. We will need Laelic’s power.
“As you will, Your Grace,” said Wayin with a polite nod. He was not so sure how Ronald Arintear was to take of his brother’s bastard. Why would Lord Sommel suggest that Lord Ronald would care? Kyran was a bastard and bastards had no place in highborn society.
“Father will wipe out any resistance in the North. There will like to be some once the word gets out. We have many banner men who itch for the throne and will leap at the chance to remove you. I’m not so sure of the Riverlands. Father would be hard pressed to push the enemy south,” expressed Gabrial.
“What enemy brother? There has been no declaration of war yet and we do not know if there is any enemy to be had. We will wait on the river Lords to respond to our notice. If they refuse to search their holdfasts, we will mark them as traitors,” said the Queen loudly.
“Your Grace don’t you think that is a bit hasty? Marking anyone as a traitor is enough insult to cause a Lord to rethink his loyalty,” said Wayin quietly.
“I agree with Lord Wayin Your Grace. There would be no greater way to start a war than to insult a Lord. Not to mention that all his banner men would follow him, along with the rest of his allies. You must proceed with great caution Your Grace. Perhaps if they refuse, inquire as to why. If they respond negatively, then it would be just to mark them for treason”, said Lord Sommel while he adjusted his glasses.

“We speak of war and traitors as if it has already happened. Your Grace, it is to soon to suggest that anyone would turn their loyalty elsewhere. I say that we wait this out and see what arises. If anyone helps the child, we will be sure to squash them before they can gather allies. If we are swift, and silent, we will win. There is no need to begin a rampage through the realm. That will only kindle the flames of war”, said Lord Gelfry in heavy breaths.
“I’ve heard enough for today. I have relayed what I want done and I expect it to be as I have commanded. Go now”, said the Queen as she rubbed her head.
Everyone gave a polite bow and left the room.
Lord Gelfry scowled angrily at Wayin as he pushed himself through the door.
“Forgive him if he doesn’t trust you. He is more focused on gathering the Queen’s favor rather than anything else. We have not yet been introduced. I am Theodore Sommel of Horn Valley,” said Lord Sommel, extending his hand.
“Wayin Holsen of Piton”, said Wayin nervously as he shook Lord Sommel’s hand. “Pardon me Lord Sommel but I must attend to the letters the Queen instructed me to write,” said Wayin quickly.
“Ah, I am headed that way myself. May I join you”?
Wayin nodded as they began making their way into the courtyard.
“The Queen isn’t normally so high strung. This whole nonsense with the boy has clouded her mind and made her desperate,” said Theodore with quietly.
“As it should. The boy is a threat to her throne,” responded Wayin.
He knew this game too well. Lord Varyth played it for years and Wayin observed its inner workings. Lord Sommel was the Queen’s life long friend. He was polite enough to make one feel comfortable to tell secrets in which he would whisper in the Queen’s ear. He also knew that Lord Sommel was the one in charge of the servants who watched him. Wayin had to tread softly.

“Evelyn was a happy child. She was beautiful, smart, and surely wanted by all of the young Lords of the Crown when she came of age. Every Lord from the Crown to the Queensland wanted Lord Tuhlack to marry her to their sons. An alliance with the mighty Snowhaven would assure safety. Lord Tuhlack gave no other Lord a look when the King expressed his wish to wed his son to Evelyn. She was the happiest girl in the world. All she had ever wanted was to live in the capitol as a Lady of high respect and to raise a family! She was to have all of this and be Queen! I remember the joy on her face as she told me the news. Of course I was saddened that my best friend would be moving so far away so she took me with her. My eldest brother is heir to Horn Valley so my father had no arguments in letting me go with her. He liked the idea of the Sommel’s having a foothold in the capitol. It was when she found out that no children could be birthed from her loins that she began to lose her happiness. I have watched that downward spiral and insure to bring her back to her former happiness and will exterminate any threats,” he explained vividly.
“What are you implying my Lord,” asked Wayin suspiciously.
Lord Sommel moved in front of Wayin, stopping in front of the Sage’s tower.
“I’m implying that I will eradicate any and all threat to Evelyn’s happiness with such force that no one will even remember such a threat existed in the first place. I’m sure you share in my views am I correct?”
Wayin knew a threat when he saw one. It was indirect, but he knew. This was a part of the game.
“Of course my Lord. Now if you will excuse me,” said Wayin as he moved around Lord Sommel and entered his tower.
As Wayin climbed the steps to his laboratory, he began to wonder where Harren and Kyran were at this very moment. Hopefully they were safe.

The time was breaching mid day as the sun rose high into the sky.
“Senzias, god of war and protection. Judge this war justly and protect the innocent. Place Kyran behind your spear and protect him from harm.
Gahmi, god of death and guidance, guide Harren in the way of safety. Guide Genna and Lord Varyth as they escape harm and capture. Finally, guide me in my efforts here in the capitol. May they be best for the safety of Kyran and his followers,” prayed Wayin softly as birds sored across the sky.
Prayer is the only thing he had now. No man could stop what was to come. Lord Gelfry wanted nothing more than the Queen’s favor, Lord Sommel wanted nothing more than her happiness, and Lord Gabrial wanted nothing more than her protection. Wayin was the only one who wanted her demise and he would remain alone. He needed the gods, and he needed help though it would never come.
With that, he sat at his desk and began writing letters in the Queen’s name.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 7


“Faster, faster, gods why won’t this horse move faster,” thought Harren frantically though trying not to show it. He was scared. He was undeniably and irrevocably terrified to his very core.
“Curse that whore,” Harren thought, “How could she do this to the son she claimed to love so much”.
“Harren, I’m scared! What’s happening,” shouted Kyran over the wind as they continued to race down the road leading from Galverin.
Harren looked back and noticed that no one was following, and that the city was a safe distance away. He decided to slow to a trot.
“I can’t tell him the truth just yet,” he thought, “He isn’t ready. How am I supposed to tell a ten year old that he is a king and the son of a whore who didn’t want him”.
Somehow he regained his composure long enough to answer calmly.
“I’m sorry for scaring you Kyran,” said Harren with a smile, “I received news that my father’s friend in Valor has my sister’s owner in chains. I wanted to take you there with me, to see how horrible slavery really is”.
Harren didn’t like lying to Kyran any more than he liked leaving the others behind. At least some of what he said had been truth. They were indeed going to Valor. Valor was a small holdfast, ruled by Lord Rorrik Tyber who was banner man to Lord Galia of Galenport. Harren did not know much about Lord Tyber but he hoped the man was as admirable as his old friend Elliot Galia who currently ruled in Galenport.
Kyran’s face twisted into one of confusion.
“Why take only me and not the others? I think they would want to see as well,” asked Kyran.
Harren lied once more, “Someone had to look after our home and keep it clean while we are gone. The others are older and know the horrors of slavery. You are young and have not quite understood what it means to be a slave.”
Kyran seemed to believe him well enough. Harren did not know what he was going to do once they arrived in Valor. There would be no friend of his father’s awaiting them with his sister’s captive in chains. As much as he would have wished it, it would not be so.
“We will cross that bridge when we approach it. For now, my lie must fend for itself”
A few hours later, the sun began to set and Galverin was a just a tiny dot on the horizon. They had made good distance and Harren calculated that Valor was only a day or two away if they woke at first light. Kyran had fallen asleep in the saddle, his head bobbing up and down as the horse moved underneath them.
He was so peaceful and had no worries. For all he knew, this was a vacation. Harren knew that when the time came, he would have to tell Kyran the truth. He did not know how the boy would react. Would he be frightened that the Queen will try to take his life? Will he resent Harren for lying to him and wish to never see him again? Would he be happy to know that he will soon be out of the slums?
There were so many possibilities and all of them gave Harren nothing but worry.
“No matter how he takes the news, he will always be my son and no throne, no Queen, no war, can ever change that.”
As soon as the light left the sky, Harren steered the horse from the road to look for a place to rest. The rolling hills of the Queensgrove didn’t offer many options. After an hour of searching, he finally came to a grove of trees that sat behind a large hill. It would offer them shelter from rain and would hide them from wandering eyes. Harren dared not risk a fire for the smoke could be easily seen among the hills. However, it was still a season of warmth for which Harren was grateful.

After dismounting the horse and roping it to a tree, he set up their sleeping mats and lifted Kyran from the saddle. He placed him gently on a mat, and he immediately turned over and sighed deeply.
Harren fed the horse then turned in as well.
Harren walked through the wilderness, dressed in a lavish silk tunic, leather hunting breeches, and boots. How he obtained this garb, he could not recall, nor could he remember how he got into the forest. He moved forward regardless. Coming across a clearing, he heard the loud sound of rushing water and the even louder sound of an angry bear.
Harren decided to investigate as he followed the noise to a river. He did not know what river but he did not care. He located the bear, struggling against a serpent of the water. Harren found the nearest tree and climbed high in the branches, in order to achieve a better view of the battle.

The serpent was none like Harren had ever seen. It was of extreme size and had the bear easily wrapped with its body. Its jaws closed tightly around the bear’s throat.
The bear thrashed around, clawing frantically at the serpent but to no avail. It was then that Harren noticed a frightened bear cub hiding behind the tail of the serpent that was quite a distance away from where the bear was trapped. Harren could not think as to why the bear cub was hiding behind the snake. Surely his mother was the bear.
Just when all seemed hopeless for the bear, multiple roars resounded loudly, and in unison, around the water. The serpent’s eyes filled with fright as hundreds of bears began to slowly emerge from the surrounding forest. The snake relinquished the bear, dove for the cub, and coiled itself around so that the cub was well protected.
The serpent began to shift its eyes in all directions, giving threatening hisses at the surrounding enemy. The bears however, did not move. They looked at their fallen companion, barely alive in the blood stained water, then back at the serpent, as if trying to decide how to act.
Just then, the branch on which Harren stood snapped, causing him to fall all the way to the forest floor.
Harren jerked awake and sat upright.
“What was that about,” thought Harren as the sun was rising over the horizon. The smell of morning dew upon the grass gave Harren a sense of peace. It was the little things that really made the difference when your world was turning to ash. At least that’s how Harren saw it. His father had always made him stop and look at the world around him when he was having a bad day.
“Stop and take a look around Harren,” his father would say, “breathe in the air that gives you life, shut your eyes and bask in the sun that gives you warmth. Be grateful for these things and imagine how much worse your day could be if you did not have them.”
Harren always thought it was stupid but now he realized how much truth it really held. Being grateful for what you DO have in difficult situations gives you new perspective.
Harren woke Kyran and together they began to pack up their belongings. After doing so they were off once more for Valor. They trotted up the road once more, inching ever closer to safety.
After an a few hours of tireless riding, something on the road caught Harren’s attention.
A group of soldiers were coming towards them on horseback, flying a banner that Harren could not see. Fear struck his core as he looked down at Kyran, who would no doubt be oblivious to the danger.
Harren hoped them to be allies yet he still was not certain. They were a ways from Galverin and they had passed a crossroads just an hour passed. He was very near his hometown of Picket.
Harren knew he should feel comfort in that but he couldn’t do it. Picket was his hometown in truth but Lord Tallgrow was still a sworn banner man to the Arintears of Laelic and to the Queen.
If it came down to fighting, he thought, I would surely stand no chance. They are trained knights who are skilled in swordplay. I lack the knowledge and discipline and would be slaughtered.
Harren knew what had to be done. If it came down to fighting, he would attack the guards in order to give Kyran a chance to escape.
I would die for him if need be. His life means so much more to the kingdom than my own.
The soldiers finally came close enough for Harren to make out the banner.

It was just as he had guessed. Picket.
The grey and black anvil of House Tallgrow was sewn upon the white flag that flapped proudly in the wind. The knights wore the very same sigil upon their grey breastplates.
“Hail friends,” shouted the knight in the front of the party as he laid eyes on them.
Harren stopped their movement as the knights approached.
“Good morning sers,” said Harren with the false courtesies that he had always been taught to give to those of higher birth.
“What brings you up this way? It’s quite dangerous to be traveling the Capitol road alone. There are many bandits that lurk about the trees”, said the knight with concern almost just as false as Harren’s previous courtesy.

“We were just on our way to Valor good sir. Me and my son are headed there to visit with a friend”, said Harren quietly.
“Where is it that you are coming from”, asked the knight to the rear.
“Galverin, ser”, Harren responded with a knot in his gut.
“Galverin? You are traveling the most dangerous road in Ethios, from Galverin all the way to Valor to only visit a friend? Are you sure you have no other business there,” asked the knight suspiciously.
Harren noticed that most of them seemed curious as to why they would risk such a journey only to visit. Harren himself began to realize how ridiculous it sounded.
“That is not our only business there ser. My father has taken gravely ill and is in the care of my friend. We only ask that you let us continue on our way so we can be sure to make it before his passing,” Harren lied to the best of his ability.
Kyran gazed up at him curiously but thankfully kept his mouth closed.
The knight studied Harren’s face for a brief moment.
“Very well. However, your father will have to wait one more day. Lord Tallgrow’s Sage has predicted that a very dangerous storm is headed this way. There are no more holdfasts close enough to Picket for you to take shelter in before the storm hits. Please, allow us to escort you to Picket where you can stay the evening,” said the knight with a smile.
That was the last thing Harren had wanted. It was only mid-day and they had much more ground to cover. There was also a possibility of a trap. The Queen’s men could be waiting in Picket for them even now. However, if he did not go, they would kill him here. Even if Kyran managed to escape, they would swiftly catch him and hand him over to the Queen. He had no choice.

“Very well ser. We thank you for your hospitality,” said Harren as he began to follow the knight up the road.
Picket was only a thirty-minute ride from where they were stopped. The large stone walls covered all but the small castle that towered over them. The grey haze over the city smelled of soot and steel. Harren had missed his home more than he thought. Ravens circled above the city, cawing loudly as they rode through the gates. The cobblestone streets were covered with people, rushing about in a giant cluster. Many hands rose above the crowd, holding various items and shouting prices.

Harren could see his old home, sitting on the little hill to the east of the market. There were new people living there now, and a new smith occupied the forge next to the home.
People made way for the party of knights as they were led to a nearby inn.
“Here you are! The Turtle Shell is the finest inn that Picket has to offer! Here is a bit of coin to keep you for the night”, said the knight, handing Harren a silver coin.
“Thank you ser. Your kindness has no measure,” replied Harren, grasping the coin to his chest.
The knight gave a nod and said, “Welcome to Picket”.
With that, he turned and led his party away from the inn.
Harren quickly escorted Kyran inside and used the coin to buy them a room.
After entering the room and locking the door, Harren sat on the bed and began to think.
“Harren, why did you lie to those men back there? Your father is not in Valor. You said your father died,” asked Kyran.
“Sometimes you have to tell lies to get you out of situations. Its wrong and you should avoid doing so, but sometimes, its necessary,” said Harren, burying his head in his hands.

“What situation were you trying to get out of,” asked Kyran once more.
Harren wondered why Kyran was always so inquisitive. It was a good thing even if it did drive Harren crazy. It showed that Kyran gave a lot of thought to the things he is told and to the things he hears. That is an excellent quality for a king to have.
“I was trying to avoid staying in Picket. We need to make it to Valor soon before my friend has the slaver executed,” said Harren quietly.
He was sick of all this lying. He hated lying to Kyran and he hated lying to those knights.
“We aren’t staying here Kyran. Sleep now, for when the moon rises, we ride for Valor,” said Harren quickly.

Their horse was still tied up outside and had plenty to eat and drink at the trough placed in front of him.
Not having to worry about the horse, Harren locked the door and turned in as well.
The hours had passed quickly as Harren opened his eyes. He quickly woke Kyran, who rubbed his eyes wearily.
“Can’t we just stay the night,” he asked groggily.
As much as Harren wished it, they could not. He picked Kyran up and made his way quietly from the inn.
Just as he neared their horse, he heard the voice he dreaded most.
“Where do you think you’re headed,” asked the knight from the road as he appeared from within the inn.
“Ser, I apologize but we must leave. My father awaits,” said Harren, trying not to let the knight see how terrified he was.
The knight gave a hardy laugh, “You can’t fool me with that lie Harren. Or should I call you ‘Hero of Sorrowheart’ instead?”
Horror filled every inch of Harren’s body.
“Lord Tallgrow saw you from his tower as we led you into the city and told us all about you. He wishes to speak to you on the morrow” said the knight.

Harren then realized, that he would not be leaving Picket anytime soon.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 6


“Don’t make my sacrifice mean nothing. A boy needs his mother”.
The words that Euran spoke to her repeated themselves over and over again in her head as she continued to run up the road leading from Galverin’s main gates. She had managed to lose Gabrial Tuhlack in the mess of people within Brokepurse but she couldn’t stop running. Tripping and falling to the ground, Genna began to cry once more. She had been crying so much lately that she thought to be out of tears.
“How did I turn out like this,” said Genna to herself as she hugged her knees. Her mother had raised her to always follow her dreams and to make the most out of her life and she did nothing but throw it all away.

Genna, when she was a girl, had always dreamed of owning her own farm. She pictured the farm she dreamed of, nestled in the small holdfast of Kent within the Riverlands.
As a girl she had lived in Kent with her mother and she had always thought Kent to be the most beautiful of the holdfasts under the rule of Lord Galia. Kent was settled on the ‘Toe of Umias’, a lake made from the ocean that looked like the giant toe of the sea god. There was no better place to own a farm. The land was ripe for planting and the meadows grew abundantly well for livestock. The Lord of Kent, Lord Tasian Loria, was a kindly old man, banner man to Lord Galia of Galenport. He always made sure his people were taken care of.
Genna smiled as she pictured herself living on her farm with Kyran, away from all the heartache and sadness that had plagued their previous lives.

They were happy.
She knew that it would never happen. Not just yet. She had to change who she was. How did a young girl, filled with aspirations of owning a farm, end up a whore in the capitol? Her smile faded as reality set back in.
As Genna thought on Euran’s words once more, she decided to take it to heart. Watching Euran die for her made her realize that someone out there did care for her and she would be sure that Kyran had his mother to do the same for him.
She knew that Harren would never allow her near her son though. Especially now, since she made such a mess of things. In trying to be with her son, she had endangered him greatly.
It was then she thought of Varyth. He knew how things would turn out if the secret was revealed. He had surely been right. She thought that somewhere within him, he wanted her to be safe as well, or maybe it was her imagination. Varyth never showed a great love for her, especially since she accepted such a small payment for her own son.
Genna groaned as she placed her head in her hands.
“How could I do such a thing”, she said to herself quietly, “How could I sell my child”.
Genna was disgusted with herself for the first time in her life. She never wanted to be this way.
She got to her feet and dusted herself off. “I have to help Varyth. He is Kyran’s best chance,” thought Genna as she glanced back at the capitol behind her. She would have to slip in through Sorrowheart’s broken walls to get back in. The guards had never been far enough into Sorrowheart to notice that the walls were crumbling. No one had ever reported it for hope that an army would break through and rescue them from the torment of the Queen.
“Genna?” came a voice from behind her.
Her heart sank to her stomach as she turned slowly.

She was relieved to see Wayin, Lord Varyth’s young apprentice, standing in front of her wearing the grey robes of a sage and a small backpack. Varyth had sent Wayin to Vaeth to learn how to treat an epidemic of some kind. It looked as if he was returning. Wayin knew Genna from the many times Lord Varyth had him turn her away. He was always kind enough but did his duty. He was a bit dirty but that did not seem to take from his looks. His blonde hair and blue eyes had always been enchanting. He was around twenty years and was well known for making many women swoon.
Genna’s eyes became wide with realization as an idea formed quickly in her head.
“Wayin, things have gone south in the capitol. We need to rescue Lord Varyth,” said Genna hastily.
Wayin eyed her inquisitively, “Why Genna? What’s happened”?
Genna explained everything, in detail, that had happened just hours before. Wayin stared at her with utter disbelief and bewilderment.

“I should have been at his side when this happened,” said Wayin sadly.
“Could be better you hadn’t,” said Genna soothingly, “you could have been arrested as well”.
“We need to break him out Wayin. I think I have a plan. A plan to both get us in the dungeons, and get you onto the Queen’s council”.
Wayin looked taken aback, “Why would I want to sit on the Queen’s council? After everything she’s done”?
Genna smiled as she began to explain, “You would want to sit on her council so that we would know her every move. If you become her Sage, she would surely have you sit on her war councils. There will no doubt be war Wayin. She will go to new hights to have my son’s head on a platter”.
“And how do you suggest we do this Genna? The Queen will have me arrested for treason just for being Lord Varyth’s apprentice”.
“I have a plan Wayin. It’s the best idea I can come up with right now. Can you trust me on this,” asked Genna.
“I guess. What are you getting at,” asked Wayin passively.
“You and I will make our way back to the city. You will tie my hands and lead me to the castle where you will gain audience with the Queen. You can tell her that I tried to sway you into helping me escape but you took me back instead. She will want to kill me. Of that I am certain. However, you must do all you can to convince her to throw me in the dungeons. I don’t know, tell her that I want to confess more but will first need my rest. That ought to do it. Once Im in the dungeons, I will find Varyth and break both of us out. The Queen will reward you with the position of Sage and a seat on her council and we will be home free,” explained Genna confidently.
Wayin scratched his head, trying to make sense of it all.

“That’s all well and good Genna but so much could go wrong. The Queen could kill you, or me, or both. The guards could kill us before we even reached the Queen. There isn’t even a guarantee that Varyth is in the dungeons or that I will even be promoted to Sage. She may even send me back home to Piton. There are just to many things that could go wrong Genna, so many things”.
“Wayin, we have to take our chances. We have no time and Varyth could be dead by morning. We must save him,” said Genna, pleadingly.
Wayin thought for what seemed like minutes.
“Fine Genna. But don’t expect any of this to be easy,” said Wayin, taking rope from his backpack and tying her hands.
“Nothing ever is,” she replied quietly.

She didn’t realize how far she had ran until they began to walk back to Galverin. It seemed like hours before they had finally reached the gates. It was then that Genna began to feel the rope rubbing her wrists raw.
“He could have tied them more comfortably, but I suppose tighter is better. If they were loose, the guards could suspect something,” thought Genna as she tried to move her wrists into a better position.
Wayin led the way in front of her, pulling her gently along with the rope he had attached to her.
Galverin loomed over them as they neared the gates. She never realized how beautiful the capitol really was from the outside, however the inside was nothing but horrible. Sure Galverin was beautiful, with its brick roads and ivory towers, but the people were terrified of the creature who sat in that castle on the hill. The Queen was the one who made living in Galverin a nightmare.

“Halt! Who are you and what is your business here? Captain Tuhlack has instructed us not to let anyone in or out of the city unless for official business,” said the guard at the gate.
“I am Sage Varyth’s apprentice, Wayin, returning from Vaeth. I understand that my master has committed a serious treason and it just so happens that I found his accomplice,” he said, holding up the rope with Genna attached.
“Wayin, you are a monster just like the Queen, how could you betray Varyth this way,” said Genna, spitting at his feet.
Wayin turned and snapped at her, “Quiet woman or I will have you crawl back to the castle”.
Genna had to act the part as did Wayin. They couldn’t let anyone believe that they were on the same side. They had to be very careful.
“How exactly did you come to learn of all this if you were in Vaeth,” asked the guard inquisitively as he gave Genna a glare.
“As a matter of fact,” said Wayin, “It was only an hour or so ago that I found out about it all. I ran into this woman on the road, she was running. When she saw me, she told me all of what happened and asked me to help her. Of course I declined. I wrestled her to the ground, tied her hands, and have brought her back for the Queen’s justice”.
The guard stared intently at them.
“Fine, I will notify the Captain at once, wait here,” said the guard as he stepped back inside and closed the gate.
“We did it, now here comes the hard part. Don’t be nervous, go over the situation and think of your story carefully. If it doesn’t match up with the Queen from when you told it here, we will be caught,” whispered Genna quickly from behind him.
“I know, I know, just be quiet,” whispered Wayin nervously.
Genna began to get nervous herself. Wayin could not mess this up. This was to important and could mean death.
“Don’t make my sacrifice mean nothing. A boy needs his mother”.
Genna thought on Euran’s words again. He had sacrificed himself for her yet here she was, marching herself right back into the city to have herself turned over to the Queen. Kyran needed her as well.
“We can’t fail. Kyran needs me and Euran’s sacrifice would have been for naught,” she thought to herself as she saw Wayin tapping his foot nervously.
All she could do was pray that he didn’t slip up.
The gate opened once more and Gabrial Tuhlack stepped out in front of them. His caramel skin and brown hair were as flawless as his sister’s and his sparkling green eyes fooled most people into thinking he was kind.

“Wayin, I must say that when my guard told me your story, I was like to think you joined with the woman! I am most certainly grateful for your continued loyalty to the crown,” said Gabrial as he pat Wayin heavily on the shoulder.
“Yes my lord, it is sad to hear of my master’s treason but I swore my fealty to the crown and it is the crown I serve above all. I pray the Queen will allow me to continue in her service,” said Wayin with a bow.
Gabrial Tuhlack gave a loud laugh, “Of that you can be sure my young friend. Come, I have sent guards to alert my sister of your arrival. She will be most pleased to speak with you”.
Genna’s heart sank to her stomach as Wayin pulled her into the gates.
The gates of Galverin opened to the district of Lordsway, where many highborn lords and ladies made their homes. The many tall mansions towered over them, causing the shadows of the buildings to swallow them whole. Many small shops lined the streets as well where the ladies could have tea and biscuits as well as other shops for lords and ladies to shop.
The end of the district opened up to Brokepurse, which had seemed unusually quiet.
It was then that Genna looked down and saw the blood at her feet. Brokepurse was covered in blood. It ran through the cracks of the ground and people were tracking it everywhere. What had happened?
They continued walking until they saw many guards, taking down a giant post that had also been doused in blood.
Wayin’s face had turned as pale as a deep winter’s snow. Genna walked closer behind him and whispered, “Look forward and make no emotion. Calm down Wayin, and breathe”.
He did as he was told and after a moment, the color was returning to his face. They exited Brokepurse and entered the castle’s gates. The courtyard was empty and quiet as they made for the throne room.
Gabrial Tuhlack pushed open the large cedar doors and led them inside. The Queen sat upon her throne, puffy eyed and barely together.
Gabrial Tuhlack left them in front of the throne and took his place beside his sister. The throne room was empty save for them and Genna had been glad for that. Fewer eyes.
“My brother’s guards tell me of your heroic deeds sweet one. It is good to see that loyalty still lives within this city! Tell me boy, how is it that you came to aquire the whore,” asked the Queen with a beautiful smile upon her face.
“Well Your Grace, I was on my way back from Vaeth, where my master Varyth sent me to learn under Sage Correll. It was upon my return that I ran into the whore Your Grace. She told me of all that had happened and tried to sway me to her cause but I just could not throw away my vows. I serve the crown and the kingdom. I have brought the whore here for justice,” said Wayin assuredly.
The Queen stared at Genna with hate flaring within her green eyes.
“Tell me sweet boy, did you know this woman before? Lord Varyth had been dealing with her for many years in secret, no doubt his apprentice would know of such things,” said the Queen.
“Your Grace, my master often told me that he was going out and I had often followed him as far as the whore house. I was curious because he went out for errands a few times a week and never came back with anything. I never went in for I know of what kind of things happen in the whorehouse. Then, my master stopped going to the whorehouse all of a sudden and had me turn away this woman many times. I figured that my master had taken her maidenhood, causing her to want for him. It was the only reason I could find that a whore would come asking for my master. I left it at that Your Grace,” said Wayin, giving Genna a disgusted glance.
“Why would your master have need of whores? He is a man well into his elder years. Don’t you think it strange,” asked the Queen, resting her fingers upon her beautiful chin.
Wayin thought a moment then answered, “Your Grace, I only assumed my master was attending his needs. Elder or no, he is still a man. My grandfather, Juhl, whored his way into his eighties so I only assumed it natural Your Grace”.
The Queen gave a hearty laugh that was strangely similar to her brothers.
“I suppose what you say is true boy. I shall see you heavily rewarded for your loyalty to me. What do you want for? Money, jewels, land, knighthood, a lordship, anything you ask just name it,” said the Queen happily.
“All I ask is to continue to serve Your Grace as her Sage and loyal servant,” said Wayin with a bow.
The Queen stood and said, “Very well. I now promote you to the title of Sage and hereby certify that you completed your apprenticeship. I, Evalyne Arintear, Queen of Ethios, hereby bestow upon you the position of Royal Sage and instate you to my council as my royal advisor, healer, and servant. Do you so swear to serve me loyally for the rest of your days”?

“I swear it by the gods Your Grace,” said Wayin happily.
“Then it is done. Gabrial, you may kill the whore now. I have been waiting long enough,” said the Queen, seating herself back down.
As Gabrial Tuhlack rose from his seat he began to move for Genna.
“Wait,” pleaded Wayin.
The Queen turned her attention towards him, “What is it my Sage”?

“My Queen, wouldn’t you find it more beneficial to keep the whore within your dungeons for questioning? She would surely know where the boy is,” said Wayin.
“I sure do. You may as well kill me though, Im never going to tell the likes of you traitor,” she shouted at Wayin.
“YOU WILL NOT SPEAK TO MY SAGE THAT WAY WHORE,” shouted the Queen angrily, making Wayin’s new status known immediately.
Genna knew that they had won. She saw it in the Queen’s face. Wayin had done very well, the Queen wanted Kyran more than anything. If she thought Genna knew information, she would surely throw her to the dungeons.
“Sage Wayin speaks true sister. We could benefit well from the information stored in the whore’s brain. We can always kill her later. Besides, torture is to fun to pass up,” said Gabrial in a voice that made her skin crawl.
The Queen tapped her foot impatiently as she thought hard.
“So be it. Have her thrown into the dungeons. She will be questioned,” said the Queen dismissively, standing from her throne.
“Sage Wayin,” she said, “I believe you know where your new quarters are? Sleep well”. With that the Queen left the room.
Gabrial Tuhlack dragged Genna off to the dungeons, leaving Wayin to stare after her.
He had her by her neck as he pulled her down a cylindrical flight of stairs. The dungeons were dark save for one torch on the wall. Gabrial Tuhlack pulled open the nearest cell and tossed her in. The smell of rot, feces, and urine filled the cell as Genna’s stomach lurched. She turned her head to see her cellmate, laying face down on a small cot.
His back was heavily bandaged, and his head was turned. She moved closer. The man’s face was a familiar one. It was Lord Varyth, beaten and bloody.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 5


Varyth was seated in his place at the Royal Council’s bench to the right of the Queens throne. To the left of her throne were her bodyguards.
The Royal Council was made up of the Queen’s most trusted companions.
Varyth was one of them, as Sage he was responsible for the health of the people within the castle, as well as giving the Queen advice when she saught his council. Gabrial Tuhlack was a council member as well. He was the Queen’s brother as well as the Captain of her Royal Guard. Lord Gelfry, the Keeper of the Coffers, held his place on the council for his immaculate regulation of the capitol’s coin. Varyth did not get along well with the plump Lord Gelfry. He had been paying the man heftily over the years. He was one of the few who knew his secrets. Finally, there was the Queen’s dear friend from childhood, Lord Sommel of Horn Valley only a small distance north of Snowhaven.
The Queen’s public court was dragging by miserably. The noble families within the city were all in attendance, standing to the sides of the throne room, silently judging the peasants before them.
The throne room was without any doubt the most beautiful room in the castle. The large cedar doors stood at the south end of the room while the throne, upon its steps, stood on the north end. Tall pillars of beautiful marble lined the room on both sides, supporting the giant arches that formed the ceiling. The sun was shining brightly through the tall windows, filling the room with warmth.

The people had many serious problems and the Queen had been dismissive in her solutions for them. She did this all for show. She didn’t really care for her people. She saw them only as liabilities and enslaved most of them. She would have her brother send slavers to the holdfasts, ordering them to take children as slaves so she could sell them to the neighboring kingdoms. Sometimes, she would order her guards to pick a person from Sorrowheart at random, and have them executed so that the people would learn to fear her and would think twice about committing any treason. As evil as she was, she came off as pleasant and kind. Her mother, being a Rentosian teacher of etiquette, had taught her to always speak kindly and courteously. The Queen used her etiquette to make the people feel like they meant something to her, but in the end, they ended up in a dungeon or dead. That was the way of Queen Evalyne Arintear.

There was one more peasant left to voice their issues and Varyth had been glad for that. He was an old man and these court hearings took heavy tolls on him. The chairs that were provided were awfully uncomfortable and put strain on his back.
“Bring the last person forward. I grow tired of this,” said the Queen wearily. The doors opened and Varyth’s eyes grew wide. Genna stumbled in, with tears streaming down her face. It took everything in his power not to jump from his seat and take her from the room. What did she think she was doing? He had to stop her before she could cause any harm.

“Your Grace, obviously this woman is not in the emotional state to be here today. You should see her out,” said Varyth, standing up from the table as he spoke.
“And who are you to say what I should do Lord Varyth? I will hear the woman’s issue as I have all the others,” snapped the Queen angrily.
“As it please Your Grace,” resigned Varyth quietly.
He was doomed.

“You may speak sweet one,” said the Queen gently.
Genna fell to her knees. Varyth did not like the emptiness in her eyes. Did she plan to die here? Surely that was to happen if she revealed their secrets to the Queen. He had to warn Harren. There was no time!
“Your Grace, I have come to beg forgiveness for my actions,” said Genna feebly.
The Queen cocked her head gently to the side with confusion, “Elaborate dear”.
Genna shut her eyes and the tears came faster as the sobbing grew louder.
“Your Grace, many years ago, one of your council members paid me for my child and sent him to live with Harren of Sorrowheart”.
“Ah, I am aware of this man. He works at ‘The Black Anvil’ does he not? I believe the people mock him and refer to him as the, oh what was it? Ah, ‘Savior of the Slums’ I believe it was”.
“I believe it to be ‘The Hero of Sorrowheart’ Your Grace,” interjected Lord Gabrial Tuhlack.
The Queen waved a dismissive hand, “It makes no matter. You say that one of my loyal council members paid you for your child? That would mean you are trying to seek your vengeance by coming here, am I correct”?

“Yes, Your Grace. I know that my accusations are serious, however they ring true. It was Lord Varyth who has done this. Even though I have come to him, multiple times, in attempt to get back my son, he denies me. Harren denies me my son as well. So I have come here to die and hope to take Lord Varyth with me,” said Genna sullenly.
The crowd within the throne room began to whisper and mumble as Varyth stood quickly from his seat.
“Your Grace, this is an insult and an outrage! I have served as the Royal Sage for near twenty years. What purpose could I have for buying the child of a whore,” raged Varyth angrily.
He would have her head for this. He planned to lie his way out of this situation as best as he could. If Genna had only waited a few more days, he would have hired someone to slip his poison into her mead. “Curse that vile woman,” he thought angrily.
His luck was not with him.
“My Sage speaks truly woman. He has been a loyal servant for many years. Why should I believe you? Even if I did believe you, why would it concern me that my Sage bought your child and gave him away to the Hero of Sorrowheart,” said the Queen sternly.
“Your Grace, you should care more than anyone. My son is your late husbands bastard son, which I bore him after he laid with me. He came to the brothel, drunk, wanting a woman to warm his bed. Preferably one who could bear his child,” said Genna, finally meeting the Queen’s eyes.
This was it. The day Varyth had feared and half hoped would never come.
The Queen’s mouth dropped open in horror as the throne room erupted into loud disapproval at the blatant treason and disrespect.
They fell silent when Lord Gelfry stood from the council table.
“My Queen, I can support the woman’s accusations. Lord Varyth has been meeting with the Hero of Sorrowheart, giving money for the child. Its said that he plans on giving the throne to the boy when he comes of age.
“TRAITOR,” shouted Varyth angrily as the plump Lord Gelfry sat down once more with a smug smile on his face.
The Royal Guard seized Varyth before he could have time to move, holding him in place as the Queen stood from her throne and moved in front of him.
“Lord Varyth, it seems that you are the traitor here. You are under arrest for high treason against the crown. I should kill you right where you stand but must force myself to be patient. I want you to be alive when I drag the child before you and cut his throat myself,” said the Queen, afterwards slapping him in the face.
“Brother, kill the whore,” said the Queen, turning from Varyth and placing herself on the throne once more.
Gabrial Tuhlack stood from the council table and made his way to Genna who was staring blankly into space, even still resigned to death.
Gabrial drew his blade and raised it high over his head. Suddenly, from the crowd, came Euran the Smith with a bright sword in hand.
Came the sound of steel on steel as Euran knelt in front of Genna, keeping Gabrial’s blade from cutting off her head by holding it in place with his own. Genna reeled backwards as Euran said something that Varyth could not make out. Her eyes grew wide as she stood and began to flee.
“STOP HER,” raged the Queen as panic set over the throne room. The guards rushed after her quickly as Varyth watched Gabrial maneuver swiftly, driving his blade through the old smith’s stomach.
Euran gave a gasp of pain as he hit the floor. He coughed as blood poured from his mouth.

“Oh Gahmi, god of death and guidance, guide Euran to your hearth and reward him for his bravery in helping Harren with Kyran. He was a good man,” prayed Varyth softly as he watched the life leave from Euran’s eyes.

Blood covered the floor, filling the throne room with the thick scent of death. The people ran around in a panic, all pushing for the door. Even the small council took this opportunity to slip out and return to their quarters.
Varyth saw Genna, looking back at Euran’s dead body, as the crowd pushed past her to get out of the throne room.
“GABRIAL, GET HER,” shouted the Queen, this time stomping her foot angrily. Gabrial pulled his blade from the old smith’s body and charged for Genna.
The Queen’s rage had startled Genna from her observation of Euran’s body, causing her to turn and run.
In a moments notice the throne room was empty save for Varyth, the Queen, and the guards who held him.
The quiet was unsettling as the Queen stared blankly at the large doors in front of her. He could tell that there were tears in her eyes.
“You know Lord Varyth, I never asked for this. I never wanted to be Queen, I was happy in Snowhaven. I didn’t ask to be barren either. Yet that oaf of a king blamed me as if I had a choice in the matter. I’ve been miserable here, for so long, and I finally have my chance to rule. Then my husband had to go and plant his seed in some whore and now you plan to put the bastard boy on my throne”?
“It’s his by rights. Bastard or no, he belongs on the throne. He would be a benevolent ruler, a good man and a fair one. He would abolish the slave trading and would give the people the treatment they deserve,” said Varyth truthfully.
“Can you claim that the boy will grow up to be that way? Nothing is ever sure in this world Lord Varyth. You must rule with a strong hand or the people think you weak. Fear is better than faithfulness. Faithfulness breeds betrayal, which you have undeniably proven today. I will make an example out of you I think. A flogging in the middle of the market will due nicely, to show the people what happens to traitors”.
Varyth could hear the pain in the Queen’s voice and began to feel a small amount of pity for her. Her family ignored her in Snowhaven and her husband had done the same once he heard the news of her inability to bear him children. All she had was this throne and now it was being contested.
“Your Grace, the boy will not be eligible to take the throne until he is eighteen. He is but ten! Rule until he is ready and help him learn the ways of being a ruler,” begged Varyth.
He felt stupid for even suggesting such a thing but he had to try. He would do anything to ensure Kyran’s safety.
“Why would I give up my throne for my husbands bastard that shouldn’t even be alive to begin with? Not only that, but why rule for only eight more years when I could rule until the end of my days,” said the Queen irritably.
“You know as well as I that the boy belongs on the throne. You say you want me to watch while you cut his throat yourself but for what reason? Why should you have the boy killed if you weren’t frightened of his claim”?
The Queen looked deep into his eyes.
“It is not the boys claim I fear Lord Varyth. He’s a bastard. A bastard’s claim to the throne is no more liable than a peasant’s”.
Varyth could see the fear in her eyes.
“You can beat me until nothing remains of my skin but dust. You can cut off all of my limbs, pluck my eyes from my head, and even cut out my tongue. You can do all of these things to me but it will not change anything. That boy’s claim, is more liable than yours could ever be,” said Varyth, feeling confident for the first time in years.
“We will see about that Lord Varyth,” said the Queen while stepping away. She snapped her fingers as three of her guards left the room. Smiling, she stepped back in front of him.
“They go to set up the post my lord; the very post in which you will be tied when they flog the very skin from your backside. Learn from this Lord Varyth and think upon your sins. For you will have plenty of time to beg the god’s forgiveness as you rot in the dungeons for the rest of your days. Take him”.
The guards dragged him from the throne room as the Queen watched him go. The people within the courtyard stared with frightened eyes as the guards pulled Varyth quickly through the gates.
While descending the winding road to Brokepurse, Varyth could see the Queen’s soldiers before them. They carried a large post that had been stained red with blood. Varyth could even make out the indentions in the wood where the victims would bury their nails within, trying to cope with the pain.
His stomach lurched as he realized what was about to happen. He had watched a beating once. It had been three years since but Varyth still remembered.
A man named Utherys had stolen a single ring for his girlfriend with the intention of using it for proposal. He was to poor to afford one himself but the Queen ordered for him to be flogged all the same.
He remembered the blood splattering through the air as the whip flew back and forth from Utherys’ back. Utherys screamed for mercy and begged for the pain to stop. Strips of skin hung from his back as the blood showered his shaking legs and the ground beneath him.
His poor girlfriend was trying to run to him but the guards were holding her back.
Varyth had to leave, for it was to much to handle.
Now it was his turn to be beaten, and he hoped that someone would help him. He knew that no one would come to his aid however, just as he had decided to walk away rather than help Utherys.
They entered Brokepurse and the people had made room when they saw the post being brought forth. The guards held Varyth in place as their comrades drove the post into the ground. Varyth spotted the whip, curled up neatly on one of the guard’s waist.
His stomach lurched again.

When the pole was securely fastened. The guards ripped his robes where they covered his torso and let the pieces fall to his sides.
They dragged him to the post, fastened his hands around it with thin rope, and backed away. The guard with the whip unraveled his weapon and gave it a loud crack as he stepped behind the post to face Varyth’s backside.
“For the crime of high treason against the crown in plotting to overthrow the Queen, I hearby sentence you, Lord Varyth, to one hundred and fifty lashes and life within the dungeons,” shouted the guard loudly.
Brokepurse erupted in disbelief as the guard raised a hand for silence.
Varyth shut his eyes, waiting. Waiting for it all to be over.
The first strike came swiftly as the whip curled around his body and cut into his back, causing a shockwave of unrelentingly, agonizing pain to shoot through his body with such force that it near knocked him to his knees.
“One,” he thought to himself wearily as the warm crimson blood fell from the open wound on his back.

The second strike felt even worse than the last as Varyth let out a yelp of pain. He dug his nails into the wood of the post and gritted his teeth together. “Gods, what have I done to deserve this,” he thought angrily as tears of pain fell from his eyes.

The third strike sent his head swimming as he began to see stars. Was he really about to die from only the third strike? He felt weak when he determined it to be true. Even though his age was clearly to high to be enduring such pain, he still felt like a disappointment. He closed his eyes, resigning himself to death.
“I have lived a full life,” he thought quietly, “and I’m glad to be dying for something worth dying for”.
He didn’t even hear the fourth crack as he fell to his knees, noticing the pool of blood gathered on the ground below him. He couldn’t see straight any longer so his eyes remained closed.
His back was on fire and he began to feel the life leaving his body. He wished to die. The pain was too great and he was sure his blood loss was contributing to his weakness.
It was then that his mind was filled with the memory of those shining green eyes. Filled with happiness, hope, and content. Kyran would never have that again. His mother had ruined any chance the boy had at happiness when she threw herself before the Queen.
“No,” thought Varyth angrily, “I will not let Genna be the cause of his unhappiness”.
Varyth dug his nails into the post once more as he lifted one knee from the ground, placing his foot firmly in its place.
“I have to keep on living”.
He pushed upwards, struggling shakily to keep himself going. When he moved up far enough, he jerked his other knee upwards and placed his foot on the ground.
“I have to live if it takes all of my remaining strength”.
Varyth stood, locked his knees and rested his forehead on the post.
“I have to keep on living for Kyran. If it’s the last thing I ever do, I will see Kyran happy again”.
Varyth smiled to himself as the next CRACK of the whip struck his back.
“Five,” he said to himself, counting the lashes as he stood firmly for Kyran.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 4


Harren thrust the red-hot sword into the water trough, pulling it out and giving it a look. It was the best blade he had ever made. Euran told him that he could smith himself a blade if he found the materials himself.
Little by little Harren had gathered everything he needed for the weapon. It was made of pure Rentosian steel, given to him by his dear friend Rolyn who worked with the Rentiosian caravan in Brokepurse many years ago. Rolyn soon found himself in dire straits with his family so he left the caravan and fled back to his home in the city of Kala in Rentos.
The hilt of the blade was made of strong iron, bound in leather, that he found around the debris of Sorrowheart. Dangling from the hilt, by a strip of leather, was a small, carved figure the god of death and guidance, Gahmi.
Since their visit to the Temple, Harren had thought a lot about the gods as he had watched Kyran kneel at Gahmi’s alter. No god had been more present in his life than Gahmi. He had prayed to Gahmi when he heard of his sister’s death. He had prayed to Gahmi to guide him when he decided to leave Picket for Galverin. Gahmi was his god. He knew that now.
Looking at his finished blade in the better lighting, he smiled happily.
“A strong blade, son! Your hard work shows,” came Euran’s voice from the entrance.
Euran had been out, buying himself some Rentosian steel for some lesser lord’s blade. He placed the steel near the forge and held his hand out for Harren’s blade. “What did name it,” asked Euran as Harren handed over the shining blade.
It was mostly highborn lords who named their blades. Those who were not highborn were often seen as insulting if they named their blades. Even so, a sword was only deemed worthy of a name if the wielder enacted a great deed.
“I haven’t given it a name. I haven’t done any amazing deeds nor am I highborn. I’m a smiths son,” said Harren softly, taking the sword from Euran’s hands.
“Ya’ took in eight children who had no family’s and gave them protection. Ya’ cared for them all these years and I have never seen healthier children. That in itself is an amazing deed,” said Euran smiling.
Harren smiled at him and gave a nod. “I will think of a suiting name for this blade in time. For now, it is only just a sword”.
“A sword in which I hope ya’ never have to use. What do ya’ intend to do with it,” asked Euran who was now busy placing his new steel into the smelter.
“I don’t know. Whatever I need to do I suppose. I never had a plan for it, but it would be nice to have if something were ever to happen,” Harren said while picking up the scabbard he had bought for his blade. The sword fit perfectly within the scabbard and Harren attached it to his hip.
“Fair enough. Is it because of Genna,” asked Euran with an irritable tone.
The sound of that woman’s name made him shudder. She was making his life more and more difficult as of late. He had often seen her trying to speak with Kyran in the marketplace but had Tymen and the other older children keep him away from her. He didn’t have to tell them why. Just that she was not to speak with him.
When Euran inquired about why he was so intent in keeping her away from Kyran, all he could say was that she was trying to take him from her. The reason sated Euran’s inquiries well enough so he joined Harren in watching for her among the crowds.
Harren gave a tired sigh of irritation.
“I suppose she has a little to do with it. She seems to be trying harder than ever to take Kyran from me. With a sword at her throat, I’m sure she will be more inclined to leave him alone,” said Harren angrily.
Euran gave a snort of laughter.
“I don’t think the Royal Guard would take kindly to ya’ butchering maidens”.
“She’s no maiden,” said Harren angrily.
“Even so, she must have her reasons for wanting the boy. Ya’ never know. She could be the boy’s mother. Whores bear the bastard sons of high lords more often than not. It’s more than likely that she got pregnant and threw the poor child into the mouth of Sorrowheart and feels guilty,” said Euran, now pouring the smelted steel into the stone crevice shaped to look like a blade.
Euran didn’t know how right he was. Even so, Harren kept the truth to himself. “Could be that, but it makes no matter. If she comes for him again, it will be my sword she finds in his place,” said Harren sternly.
“Well in that case, ya’ might as well name that blade Whoresbane,” laughed Euran.
Harren couldn’t help but laugh as well. Euran had always been one to make light of serious situations. Harren supposed that was a good thing.
Suddenly the door opened softly and both Harren and Euran looked to see who had entered.
Kyran slipped in and shut the door behind him just as softly as he had opened it. “Kyran, what are you doing,” asked Harren inquisitively.
Kyran stared at him with those deep green eyes and gave him a smile.
“Euran promised to teach me how to be a smith like you”!
“Aye, that I did and I always keep my promises! Come lad,” said Euran with a smile as Kyran made his way to him.
Euran picked Kyran up easily as if he were made of feathers. He held Kyran up to the forge and let him peek into the fire, causing the flames to dance brightly in his excited eyes.
Harren smiled as he watched Euran teach Kyran about smithing. Euran was becoming like a grandfather to Kyran. He had always loved the boy ever since he first came walking into the shop, asking for a blade to use on his sisters. Euran had said he admired his determination and laughed heartily. Ever since, the two had been good friends.
“Well, Kyran make sure to be home as soon as your lesson is done. It will be dark soon and I want you back before then,” said Harren as he made his way for the door.
“I will have him off to Sorrowheart before then son. I will see him there myself when I close up,” said Euran as he struggled to keep Kyran still.
Harren thanked him and made his way outside. Brokepurse was beginning to clear out as he made his way through the people.
The gate to Sorrowheart sat open as it always had as he made his way in. Climbing up the road to his home, he noticed that none of his kids were outside. He was beginning to wonder why until he saw her.
Knocking at the door, beckoning at his children within to let her in. Genna knocked and called Tymen by name, asking sweetly for him to let her in so that she could relay Harren a message.
Harren’s rage was overflowing. He placed his hand on the hilt of his sword and made to draw it out of the scabbard.
It was then that he thought of his children inside. What would they think of him if he were to threaten Genna with his blade.
He removed his hand from the hilt and let the blade fall gently back into the scabbard.
“What do you think you’re doing,” said Harren while trying not to run his sword through the whores throat.
Genna turned around quickly and he could tell right away that she had been crying. Her eyes were puffy red and she had tear-streaked make-up on her face.
“Harren,” she said shakily as she stumbled toward him.
Harren placed his hand back onto the hilt of his sword.

“That’s far enough Genna. I will ask you one more time and no more. If you do not answer me, I will drive you from here with this blade at your throat”.
Genna’s eyes grew wide as she stopped moving toward him.
“I’ve come to let you know, that I am no longer in pursuit of Kyran,” she said with tears once again filling her eyes.
Harren kept his hand on the blade. “And why is that”?
Genna’s tears began to fall.
“I saught Varyth’s help in getting him back and he was willing to lose something he had been searching his whole life to find in order to keep me from my son”.
“You gave him up Genna,” said Harren sternly, “for a sack of silvers”.
“Do you think I don’t regret that decision with every breath I take,” asked Genna in loud disbelief as her voice cracked from the crying.
Harren did not respond, but watched her closely. She was breaking.
“I have come to warn you,” said Genna as her crying began to sound more like hysterical sobbing. Her grief was overcoming her.
“Warn me of what Genna,” asked Harren, inching the blade slightly from its scabbard.
“Leave with Kyran and do not return. I see no way to get my son back and I cannot live without him any longer. I have nothing to live for without Kyran in my arms so I will die, but I must die an honest woman”.
Harren became overwhelmed with horror.
“You must die and honest woman? What do you mean Genna? Why should I flee with Kyran? What do you intend to do”?
Genna looked up at him. “I only intend to die and to do so with a clear conscience. Run with him Harren, and be quick about it. They will be on you by the morrow”.
With that, Genna fled back to Brokepurse and panic set in over Harren.
Before he could have time to think he bolted into his home where Tymen and Hannah, his two eighteen year olds, were setting the table for their younger siblings. He quickly shuffled the two outside and told them of how Kyran came to be a part of their family. He had no choice. He had to depend of Hannah and Tymen to keep the younger ones well. They were in utter disbelief but they quickly overcame the surprise due to the dire situation at hand.
He told them that he had to flee and to tell the kids that he would not be gone long, just to still their worries.
“Harren, just how do you suggest we take care of them? We have no jobs, no money, and the Royal Guard knows we lived with Kyran. True enough, they don’t know where we reside, but we would never be able to walk the streets again. They know us Harren. They would take us in and beat us bloody until we gave him up. We are more than like to die there for he will be with you and surely you wont tell us where you are going,” said Tymen sounding scared.
“Even I don’t know where we are going, however I don’t intend on you staying here. Late into the evening, steal away to the stables outside of the city, take a few horses and flee to the holdfast called Picket. Follow the road northeast and you will arrive there within a day if you ride fast and stop for nothing but to eat. The lord there was a good friend to my father and he will surely shelter you. Of that I am certain,” explained Harren.
“That’s all well and good Harren but what of the Royal Guard. They will surely come looking for us and search all of the southern holdfasts. We would be found before we could even reach Picket,” said Hannah sounding much more frightened than Tymen had.
“The Royal Guard will not know that you have fled. They will station many of their own within Sorrowheart and Brokepurse for certain, in attempt to starve you into showing your faces. When you never come out, they will assume you dead,” said Harren reassuringly.
“What if they search homes? They will know we fled as soon as we aren’t found,” asked Tymen.
Harren closed his eyes and took a breath, “Of that I don’t know, but it’s a risk we must take. Even if they search the holdfasts, you will be safest in Picket,” said Harren.
He pulled a handful of silvers from his pocket and gave them to Tymen.
“Buy as much food as you can and flee within the hour. I will send a bird to Picket so Lord Tallgrow will be expecting your arrival. Go, now,” said Harren as Tymen and Hannah ran inside and began to gather the children. Harren ran to Sorrowheart’s broken down rookery where many pigeons sat in their own filth. He quickly pulled a piece of dirty parchment from the shelf within the rookery and dipped the provided quill into its ink.
He wrote swiftly of his intentions and begged Lord Tallgrow to watch over his children.
When the letter was finished, he quickly rolled it up and tied it to the leg of the healthiest looking pigeon out of the lot. After setting the pigeon free, he bolted for “The Black Anvil” where Kyran was learning to smith. Not knowing that his life was about to change forever.

The sun had finally set as Harren ran through the empty marketplace. He had to hurry. He only had until the morning until Genna revealed everything.
Bursting into the shop, Euran gave him a startled look as Kyran was cleaning up around him.
“Euran, I have no time to explain. Kyran and I need to go. Its Genna, she’s going to have us killed,” said Harren hastily.
In his panic, Harren had forgotten that Kyran was in the room.
“That lady is trying to kill us,” he asked, frightened.
“Take my horse out back and get out of here. The Queen will be hot on your trail,” said Euran knowingly.
Harren looked at him with disbelief. “You knew? But how”?
“I served the king from the day he took the throne till the day he died. I knew the king well and I knew his look. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” said Euran motioning towards Kyran.
Kyran paid no notice to Euran’s words as he ran for Harren.
“I will do my best to keep the guards in the city. Go,” said Euran hastily.
Harren took Kyran by the arm and quickly made his way to the horse tied behind the shop. Harren felt bad that he was taking Euran’s prized horse but he had to get out of the city.
Quick as he could he hoisted Kyran into the saddle and followed suit.
Urging the horse forward, he bounded for the cities gates.
So much was running through his mind. Did Tymen and Hannah leave the city yet? Did they have enough food? Did he have enough food? What about Varyth’s safety?
He had no time to warn the old Sage for they did not meet again for another fortnight. He quickly said a prayer to the god Senzias, asking him to protect Varyth with all his power and strength.
As they raced through Galverin’s gates, Harren wrapped an arm tightly around Kyran.
“Where are we going Harren? I’m scared,” yelled Kyran over the wind.
“Don’t worry Kyran. You’re safe. You will always be safe,” said Harren, wondering how true that really was.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 3


Varyth sat quietly in his chambers within the Sage’s Tower of Galverin’s castle. His tower was three-levels, all of which held his many herbs, tonics, and poisons.
His was the smallest of the castle’s many ivory towers. Deep green vines scaled the tower walls, dotting it with many beautiful flowers. Varyth often had his apprentice scale the wall for them, for most of them held medicinal properties. He had to scale the wall himself for the past few weeks, though. He had sent his apprentice to Vaeth, a small holdfast northeast of Galverin, to offer assistance to Sage Correll who was dealing with a great sickness that had plagued the people. Varyth thought it a good thing for the boy. He would get well trained in how to care for the sick.
Varyth continued to scribble on the peace of parchment that lay in front of him. The Queen wanted word sent to her lord father, Lord Heath Tuhlack, asking for him to make the long journey from his home in Snowhaven, to Galverin, to feast with her and the other lords she had invited to the castle as a means of strengthening alliances. Of course her father wouldn’t come. He never did. Lord Tuhlack rarely left Snowhaven. It was nestled far into the northern mountains of The Crown and it was much too troublesome to leave for such an asinine purpose.
The Queen longed for her father to visit her in the capitol but her father never came. He politely declined her letters, and continued on in Snowhaven.
Even so, the Queen still had Varyth write these ineffectual letters, and every time her father declined.
Varyth understood why. The mountainous terrain of The Crown made it near impossible to approach Snowhaven by horse but it was possible. The good thing about that was that it made Snowhaven impenetrable. No army could storm the walls for they would not be able to get through the mountains fast enough. The pathways were too small and one small misstep could have you tumbling over the side of a mountain, horse and all. Even if the army could manage to scale the mountains without falling, they would surely die from the cold. If you did not know the way or if you took your time, the cold would take your life before you could even reach the gates. Most often than not, Lord Tuhlack sent guards to the holdfast of Dol, just outside of the mountains, to wait for any guests he was expecting. He used these guards to escort his guests to Snowhaven, so as to not have them die on the way up.
When Varyth finished writing, he rolled the letter up and sealed it with the Royal Seal, the bear of House Arintear. Standing from his desk, he walked slowly to his rookery and fetched a pigeon. Tying the letter to the pigeon’s leg, he opened his window and released the bird into the air. He watched it go until he could no longer see it.
A nice breeze brushed his face as he shifted his gaze to the smoky haze of Sorrowheart beyond the market place. He often wondered how the young boy had been faring out there. Harren had told him that the boy was called Kyran and Varyth took care to remember the name. He had never seen the boy since he gave him over to Harren all those years ago. He paid Harren every week for the boy’s welfare and Harren had always come alone. He did not want to chance the boy being seen around Varyth so as not to arouse suspicion.
Varyth smiled softly as he remembered the gurgling baby in his arms and how his mother had been glad to hand him over for a small purse of silvers. How any woman could give away her child, he could not know. But whores were in the business of pleasure for money and that purse had been filled with it. She handed the child over faster than he could blink and could not have been more horrified with the woman. He was like to think that she wouldn’t part with the boy so easily but she handed him over without question and went about her way.
Varyth did not want to keep associating with that wretched woman but continued to pay her for her milk so that the child could live. When Kyran was old enough to eat crushed foods and stew, the business with the whore had stopped and Varyth was glad to be rid of her.
He shut his window and left his tower. Varyth had business in Brokepurse for he had received word that a Rentosian merchant was selling an herb he had been searching for years to find. The herb was called “Irolith”. The leaves of this herb could cure most any illness and it had more than enough leaves to cure every ailment that plagued every person in Sorrowheart. Its thorns, however, held extremely dangerous toxins that could kill a person within an hour. You only needed a small piece of one leaf or one thorn in the tonic you were making and it worked to full effect. The Irolith would last him a lifetime!
As Varyth made his way across the castle’s courtyard, the guards in front of his tower greeted him with their courtesies. He gave them slight nods of recognition as he made his way out of the gates and down the waving road to Brokepurse.
The market was booming with people as he entered. It was so loud that Varyth thought himself to be deaf at one point. Pushing through the crowd and keeping tight hold of the purse around his waste, he made his way to where the Rentosian caravans were settled.
They were beautiful tents filled with many different colors. The over abundance of weapons shimmered in the sunlight. Their gold trim shined so brightly in the sun that many Lords came over just to see what was creating such a bright glare. Varyth thought it to be a clever trick, using the sun to make your goods seem more magnificent than they were. However, such tricks were needed in a place like Brokepurse, where every kingdom was your competitor. You did what you had to do to sell your goods, even if that meant resorting to tricks.
Varyth searched for what seemed like hours. Just when he was about to give up hope, he spotted a small tent at the end of the caravan, covered in plants. This had to be it. The tent was covered in greenery rather than steel so Varyth was quite sure that he had found what he was looking for.
“Ah, how are you on this day m’lord”, said the dark skinned Rentosian woman within the tent.
Varyth thought her to look much like the Queen. She had caramel skin with beautiful brown hair, fixed into a perfect braid that was woven with strands of gold and sprayed with sweet perfumes.

The Queen’s mother, Lady Ursula Tuhlack, was once a teacher of etiquette in Rentos when Lord Tuhlack met her and took her to wife. The Lady Ursula had been brought from Rentos to teach etiquette to the daughter of Lord Elrik of Dol. He was only the lesser lord of a holdfast and banner man to House Tuhlack but was wishing for his daughter to learn her etiquette and courtesies so she was more like to be married.
When Lord Tuhlack visited Dol, for a feasting with Lord Elrik and his house, he was enchanted by the Rentosian woman and took her to wife. Lady Ursula bore him his three children Gabrial, Maverick, and Evalyne Tuhlack.
Varyth had wished that the Queen had not been barren, for if she had bore Javos Arintear any children, they too would have had the caramel skin and brown hair that made the people swoon.
“I received word from reliable sources that you have the Irolith herb among your goods,” said Varyth as he glanced around for the herb he knew to well.
“Your sources tell it true m’lord but I’m afraid someone has bought the herb you seek,” said the Rentosian in her succulent accent.
Varyth was not going to give up so easily. He would have this herb if it meant him all the gold in Galverin’s coffers.
“My sweet lady, could you do me the kindness of giving me the name of the person who bought this herb. I have been wanting for years to harness its healing capabilities and I would sooner lose both of my legs before I give up when I am this close,” said Varyth in the most charming tone that a man of two and forty could muster.
The Rentosian woman gave a hearty laugh. “Well, m’lord, we wouldn’t want you losing your limbs. However, like all things, information comes with a price”.
Varyth cursed quietly to himself as he pulled three gold pieces from his purse. The woman snatched them from his hands and pointed to Brokepurse’s tavern across the market place.
“A woman dressed in wool. Genna was her name. A sweet name for such a repugnant woman,” said the woman passively.
Varyth turned red with rage. He had instantly regretted telling Genna of his search for the Irolith herb. It had been eight years since he last requested her assistance in searching for it. She knew he would come for it when he received word. He felt so ashamed. The whore had outsmarted him. She had tried insistently, on many occasions, to contact Varyth after their dealings in secret.
Varyth had his guards turn her away with every attempt. He detested the woman.
Yet, she got him.
Fuming, Varyth reluctantly made his way to the tavern. Grumbling to himself the whole way.
Quietly entering the tavern, he spotted Genna at the far end, drinking at a small table with the tall, magnificent Irolith herb sitting next to her. No one seemed to pay the plant any attention and with that he was grateful.
“You ghastly, repulsive, vile, woman. You knew I was searching for this herb for half my lifetime,” fumed Varyth angrily as he approached Genna’s table.
“Nice to see you too m’lord,” answered Genna whilst rolling her eyes, “Sit”. Varyth sat down angrily as the tavern wench brought him a flagon of mead.
“The mead is for you, from my own purse lord Varyth. Please have a sip. It’s the finest mead that silver can buy,” said Genna cynically as she wolfed down another mouthful of mead.
“I did not come here to drink with the likes of you. I want my herb. How did you afford it? It’s the rarest herb in all of Ethios,” asked Varyth as he shoved the mead away.
Genna eyed him with discontent and leaned forward. “First of all m’lord, you had best start speaking kindly or else this plant will end up in flames,” said Genna quietly with a taste of bitterness on her lips, “and if you must know, I saved up those many payments you made to me for all those years”.
Leaning back once more, Genna took another gulp of mead. She got him. He realized that she had planned this perfectly and also realized that he would do well to tread softly.
“What do you want of me woman. Name your price and you shall have it. Is it more money you want? I have more than enough,” said Varyth softly.
Genna’s face became serious as she pulled the tankard from her lips and set it softly on the table.
“I have more than enough gold m’lord. I must name a different price. You are the only one that can help me”.
Varyth could see the hurt in her eyes. He feared what came next.
“M’lord,” she continued, “I would ask you to give me back my son. I have been plagued with a lot of guilt for selling him. Harren won’t let me see him. I’ve tried seducing him, cooking for him, and showing my intentions of being a mother. He won’t let me near the boy”.
Varyth felt pity for Genna. He could tell her guilt was genuine but he knew that nothing, not even the Irolith herb would allow him to grant her this request.
“Genna, you know that’s not possible. You know who he really is. The king’s own bastard son. One slip up from you and the boy would learn of his true blood. Being a boy, he would surely be in shock from the news and would doubtless slip up and tell someone himself. Then what? The Queen would find out and have us all killed,” explained Varyth sternly.
“I won’t slip up I swear it! I just want to be with him, to hold him and love him. He looks so much like me you know, he is bound to find out soon or late,” pleaded Genna, almost groveling.
“Genna, do you even know the boy’s name? To add, your line of work is not for the eyes of children, especially his eyes. There are too many things that could go wrong and near nothing that could go right. I’m sorry Genna, but I can’t grant your request,” said Varyth apologetically.
“My line of work is of no import! He will stay in the market most of the day like he does when Harren is workin’! It’s no different! As to his name, it’s Kyran! I made it so I would run into them last night when they were comin’ back to Sorrowheart,” said Genna angrily.
Varyth was angry once more, “You ran into them? Genna, you know you can’t be seen near the boy! Why would you do something so reckless? People knew you slept with the king. I had to go through excessive amounts of trouble to send many other men your way so that it would not look as if the king was the one who impregnated you. I went broke, paying off all of the people who knew and threatened to tell the Queen. I’m STILL paying most of them for their silence. Then you throw all of that away by letting yourself be seen speaking with the child in the middle of the marketplace”?

“He’s MY son lord Varyth and it was late into the evenin’ when I came to them. No one was awake at that hour. I’m not dumb m’lord. I know the circumstances. Let me see my son,” said Genna sternly, sending Varyth a clear warning.
“Burn the plant Genna and be on your way. I can’t let you see Kyran, Im sorry,” said Varyth quietly.
Genna’s eyes filled with tears as she stared blankly as if not knowing what to do. She shoved her tankard off the table, rose from her chair, and bolted for the door. Feeling upset that he could not grant her request, he at least found small comfort in the fact that she had left the herb.

Picking up the Irolith, he left the tavern without rousing anyone’s attention. Stepping outside, he noticed small children running amongst the crowd of people, cutting their purses faster than they could notice.
The fastest of them all, a boy with shining green eyes, caught his attention. Varyth knew him immediately to be Kyran. He was the spitting image of Genna but had the king’s deep green eyes.

He looked healthy enough and Varyth smiled to himself as the boy ran past, reaching for his purse.
Varyth grabbed his arm and whirled him around.
Kyran’s eyes grew wide with horror at the realization that he had been caught. Varyth could see the boy’s friends come to a halt and gaze at them horrified.
“You shouldn’t steal. A young boy such as yourself could have a bright future ahead of you if you don’t end up in jail first. Take the coin boy, and learn from this lesson. Away with you,” said Varyth kindly.
All the fear left those green eyes. “Thank you m’lord,” said Kyran happily as he raced back to his friends who seemed to have had enough excitement for one day.
Varyth watched them race back to Sorrowheart as he began to walk back to the castle.
He could see why Genna wanted to be in the boy’s life once more. He was everything she wasn’t. He was happy, kind, and loving to be sure. Varyth could see all of those things in his face. Genna wanted him so that he could play those parts for her. Varyth truly believed that Genna wanted to care for her son but the circumstances were too complicated. A child should be with it’s mother but if the mother was no good for the child, did that give consent for continued separation?
Varyth was sure of that. What could Kyran gain from being with Genna? Knowledge? Work? Family? No, none of that. All he would get was the love of a woman who sold him for a handful of silvers. Harren was more like to give the boy knowledge, work, family and more love than Genna could ever hope to give.

The guards at the portcullis raised the gates for Varyth to come through. Trailing back through the courtyard, he entered his tower once more.
He set the Irolith herb in a large pot and covered its roots in soil, following with water for the plant to drink.
Moving to his workstation, he quickly pulled ingredients from their places on his shelves.
“A Stem of Shroom, three drops of Viper Venom, two blades of Sleepy Willow Grass, four pieces of Blood Root, two drops of Wood Oil, and finally, a piece of thorn from the Irolith,” said Varyth as he went over all the ingredients he needed for his concoction.
He placed all the ingredients into a flask, lit a fire underneath it, and let it sit. Suddenly, a knock came to his door and he beckoned for them to enter. The Queen entered with her guards close behind her.
She was as beautiful as ever. She wore a deep blue silk dress with a white sash around her waste. Her brown hair was braided and laid over her shoulder, letting it sit on her chest. Her braid had many strands of blue and white silk woven into it and it smelled of sweet honey and lilac. Her caramel skin was without blemish as it always had been.
“Your Grace, I am surprised to see you. I apologize for not answering your summons, for I was out. I should have gone to you as soon as I returned,” said Varyth with all the courtesy he could muster.
“Come now my lord, you must not worry yourself. I did not send for you. I could have used a walk. Being Queen, you come to forget that you have legs that are just as capable as those of the ones who serve you”.
Varyth gave a small laugh. “As you say Your Grace. Is there anything I can do for you”?
The Queen walked around the room, gazing around at the mass amounts of vials around her.
“Did you send the bird to Snowhaven as I have asked, Lord Varyth,” asked the Queen sweetly.
“Yes Your Grace, I sent the bird earlier this morning. It is sure to reach Snowhaven before the week is out”.
The Queen smiled at him kindly. “Thank you my lord. You have always served me well”.
“I try my best to serve the Queen and the realm Your Grace,” said Varyth with a bow.
“Good to hear it. The letter is not my only reason for coming here today my lord. I wish to inform you that I will be holding a people’s court tomorrow. It has been quite some time since I heard the concerns of the people. Trivial as their problems seem, it will please them to know I am willing to listen,” said the Queen passively.
“I am most excited to attend, Your Grace,” Varyth responded.
The Queen thanked him for his time and left as quick as she came. “Odd that she came to my tower for only that purpose”, said Varyth aloud.
He quickly brushed the thought away and moved to take the flask off of the flame. It was ready. The most deadly poison he could concoct was ready for use. Genna had to be taken care of. She was a loose end that needed tying.

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 2


Running as fast as he could, Kyran followed Tymen through Sorrowheart. They ran faster and faster, with mud sucking at their feet. The rain had been falling for days and the usual dirt roads of Sorrowheart had turned into a muddy, slippery, trap.
Kyran could hear the guards pursuing them, slipping and cursing all the while. He followed Tymen all the way to the center of Sorrowheart and into the slum’s only tavern. The large woman serving mead to the drunkards at their tables wheeled around as they came charging in.
“In the back, quickly now,” said the woman knowingly. Everyone in Sorrowheart looked after one another. After the king had passed away ten years ago, the Queen named herself ruler of the kingdom and gave slave traders their way with the peasants. Harren had told them to be very careful of the guards when going about business in Brokepurse. They had been taking more people than usual as of late and it seemed to be getting worse. Tymen and Kyran had been stealing from the Lords in Brokepurse when the guards saw. They ran after that. They ran all the way back to Sorrowheart.
Tymen grabbed Kyran by the hand and pulled him to the back of the tavern where they hid in the broken panels of the wall. Kyran had not been scared because when he was with his brother Tymen, he always felt safe. Kyran was only ten and could not fend off guards alone so it was Tymen who helped him most. He was eighteen and strong as any guard Kyran had seen.
The doors to the tavern flew open with such haste that it slammed angrily off of the wall, bouncing back slowly. There they were, The Knights of the Royal Guard. Their armor was a deep blue with the growling bear of House Arintear emblazoned on their breastplate. Blue armor was only made for the Royal Guard, along with their long blue cloaks made of the purest silk. The knights rushed in and their leader prompted the large serving wench to tell them of their whereabouts.
“I’m afraid I don’t know of who ya’ speak of ser,” said the wench with a convincing tone, “ain’t no boys come through here”.
The knight grabbed her by the throat. “Tell me where they are, or I will continue to squeeze until the very life is gone from you, whore”.
The woman gasped and grabbed at the guard, trying to push him away from her. Suddenly, one of the drunkards that had been drinking in the tavern rose from his seat and hit the knight over the head with his tankard, causing him to release the wench. The woman kneed the knight right in the throat when he bent over in pain, holding his head.
Quicker than the eye could follow the others in the tavern rose and began to attack the knights with their tankards as well. They stood no chance once the knights drew their blades. It was a blood bath.
The knights showed no mercy as they gutted every last man and woman in the tavern. All the while hurling insults such as, trash, whore, peasant, and lowborn. Tymen grabbed Kyran’s wrist and pulled him from behind the wall.
They left from the back door of the tavern and ran all the way back to their home just on the edge of Sorrowheart.
The fear that they would be caught overcame Kyran with such force that he began to cry. Tymen grabbed him and pulled him close, reassuring him that everything would be fine.
The door burst open and they were relieved to find that it was Harren returning home from work at the Blacksmith.
“Would either of you boys like to explain to me as to why there are guards crawling all over Sorrowheart? Euran could have sworn he saw the two of you running out of Brokepurse with a trail of knights behind you,” raged Harren furiously.
“We weren’t tryin’ to hurt no one! It just happened,” said Kyran in tears. Harren looked at Tymen questioningly as he continued to hold Kyran.
“The guards followed us to the tavern. The serving wench hid us good, but the knights came in and started askin’ of us. They tried to help us but the knights killed ’em all. There was so much blood,” said Tymen, trying not to seem frightened.
Harren looked horrified. “Let us pray to the gods that they did not see you leave. If you have led them here, then you have endangered the rest of your family. I have half a mind to hand you over to them!”
Of course Harren hadn’t meant that but it frightened them all the same.
“Tymen, you are eighteen and a man grown. You need to be more responsible for your siblings. Things like this can’t happen anymore. If they find out that I’m the one having you steal, I will be put in chains along with the rest of you. The Queen is a heartless woman and we are not like to be treated well. Do you understand,” asked Harren angrily.
Tymen nodded shamefully as he trotted off to help with chores.
Kyran didn’t really understand much about the Queen. He knew she was a horrible woman who didn’t like them living in her city but they didn’t have the coin to move away.
Kyran wanted nothing more than to move away. He hated Sorrowheart. The foreigners in Brokepurse often told him stories of other lands. He often dreamed of leaving Galverin and sailing through The Outreach to visit the Whispering Cities of Torren to the south. Kyran was always enthralled by the stories he heard of Torren and how the people there were skilled in the mysterious art of magic.
There were few magicians in Ethios and even fewer in Galverin. Kyran was like to believe that the magicians that resided in Ethios were only just pretenders. Their magic seemed as if it consisted of nothing but trickery.
Kyran wished to see real magic, that when preformed, could be nothing but real.
He was told stories of the great mage Kolaryn who had built the entire capitol of Torren with nothing but a few spells. He named the city after himself and it resided as the capitol even today. He heard tales of the mage Verilya, and her valiant efforts in saving the entire holdfast of Alson from Bolgra the Giant, who was the largest of all dragons. She brought the dragon down with a single spell and used its bones to construct her very own castle. The castle still stands in the city that she had also named after herself.
The merchants in Brokepurse never ran short of stories to share with Kyran and he found delight in hearing all of them, but not today.
The horror that took place today would never be forgotten. Those people in the tavern died for his safety, for a child’s safety.
After a few hours, it seemed that the guards had given up the search and returned to the castle. Still feeling horribly sad and guilty about what had happened at the tavern, Kyran approached Harren with a request. “I know that it is dangerous, but I would like to go to the Temple. The gods are telling me that I need to pray to them, for the people at the tavern”. Harren hesitantly agreed but agreed all the same. He handed Kyran a faded cloak and donned one himself. The night was dark but the sky was lit beautifully by the stars.
“It is not your fault Kyran. Those people acted on their own accord to protect you. They saw your life to be more valuable than theirs,” said Harren quietly.
Kyran was not so sure. He sure did feel like it was his fault.
So much blood.
“Harren, do you believe the gods are real,” asked Kyran after a moment of silence.
Harren was quiet for a moment. “Aye, I do. They protect me, as they do you”.
“If they protect us, then why do allow bad things to happen to us? How is that protection,” asked Kyran defiantly.
“They allow the bad things to happen to teach us lessons I suppose. When slavers took my sister all those years ago, I blamed myself for not trying to stop them. However, I came to learn that not everything is in my control. If I had tried to stop those slavers, they would have taken me to, or killed me, or gods know what else might have happened. I would have never moved to Galverin, and would have never taken in all of my wonderful children. The gods planned my fate carefully so that you and the other children could have someone to look after you”.
“Do the gods have my fate planned? Can you tell me what it is,” asked Kyran with bright eyes.
“The gods have all of our fates planned. As for your fate, I do not know. It is your own path you must make and your own fate to find. I can tell you one thing though, the gods had the fate planned of every person in that tavern; and that fate was to protect you. They fulfilled their fate and are surly feasting with the gods for their sacrifice”.
“But why me? Why did the gods have them die for me,” asked Kyran, not understanding.
“I suppose that the gods have a fate planned for you that is bigger and more important than those in the tavern. The gods have big plans for you Kyran, I feel it in my bones”.

Kyran started to feel a little bit better as they neared the steps of the Temple. The giant oak doors were cracked open so that visitors could slip in without disturbing those praying within.
After stepping into the large hall, littered with many benches, Kyran gazed up at the seven large statues erected in the images of the seven gods.
Kekaria, goddess of marriage and family stood with her arms outstretched, gazing lovingly down at the women praying below her feet. Umias, god of the sea, stood tall with his large beard flowing to his chest and his trident shining brilliantly in his hand. Taiyana, goddess of the sun and harvest, stood with one hand extended, holding what appeared to be the sun and cradling a stalk of wheat in her opposite arm. Soria, goddess of the sky, stood with her arms extended above her, her eyes staring at her domain above. Senzias god of war and protection, stood strongly with a spear in one hand and a sword in the other. His beard fell to his chest and his armor shined brightly in the light of the candles. Kezaith, god of wealth and work, stood with his hands on his hips, his head thrown back in laughter, and two large purses hanging from his waist. Finally, Gahmi, the god of death and guidance, stood hunched over, head down, and both hands clinging to a walking stick. He wore a cloak that shrouded his face from view but he had come to be known for being faceless.
The seven gods all stood in front of Kyran brilliantly as he stared at them in amazement. He didn’t come to the Temple often and this was the first time in a long while that Harren had allowed him to come.
Kyran quickly made his way to the altar of Ghami and fell to his knees. “Oh Gahmi, god of death and guidance, please guide the spirits of the tavern people to your hearth. I ask that they be given high honor at the table of the seven as you feast them for their sacrifice. Oh Gahmi, god of death and guidance, please tell the tavern people that I thank them for what they did today. I will never forget”.
A sense of immense peace settled over Kyran and he thought for just a moment he heard the statue whisper, “They wish you well”.
When Kyran had finished praying, he and Harren began to make their way back home.
Just before reaching the gate where Brokepurse began to enter Sorrowheart, a strange woman appeared before them. She was dressed in nice wool and her hair was not so neatly piled on her head.
Kyran had often seen her around those houses where all the ladies liked to sleep in beds with men. The men would pay money to sleep next to the ladies but Kyran had no idea why they would need to pay. He slept next to his sisters Hannah, Nathalie, and Iria all the time and never had to pay a single coin.
“Well ain’t he a cute one,” said the woman cheerfully, pointing a dirty finger at Kyran. Harren pushed Kyran behind his back. “What do you want Genna”. Had Harren known this woman?

“Oh Harren, don’t be so blunt. You know I’ve just been dying to have you since I first laid eyes on you. Can’t blame a girl for being swooned by a man such as yourself,” said Genna with a wink and a smile. Harren seemed disgusted as he tried to move passed. Genna stepped in his way.
“Who is this boy? A new one I’de say. Never seen this one around but he seems a bit familiar,” said Genna with a smile directed towards Kyran.
“Don’t speak of my kids as if they were valuables to be collected. I’ve had Kyran for near ten years and you should know that if you’re as attached to me as you claim to be,” said Harren angrily.
Genna gave a dismissing wave of her hand. “A girl can never bother herself with such little details. You have so many of them that I can hardly keep track”.
“Maybe you should try harder,” said Harren as he once again tried to move around the woman.
Kyran could tell that Harren didn’t like Genna but he couldn’t see why. Genna was pretty enough and Harren could use a wife! To add, Kyran would have liked a mother figure to. It would have been nice to pretend to have two parents instead of one.
Genna stepped in front of Harren once more. “Genna, I have kids to put to bed. Step aside,” said Harren in a warning tone.
“Just wanted to say that my door is always open for you sweetie. You can bring your new kid along to if you like, I cook a good stew,” said Genna sounding a bit more hospitable.
“Don’t count on it. Stay away from Kyran as well,” said Harren as he finally pushed passed Genna.
As they hurried passed her, Kyran glimpsed sadness in Genna’s eyes.
“Harren, she seems really interested in you. Why don’t you marry her? She could help out a lot with us so you wont be so tired all the time,” asked Kyran.
“She’s not the kind of woman someone marries, Kyran. I will hear no more of it,” said Harren sternly.
The look on Harren’s face was more than apparent. He loathed this woman. Why? Had Genna done something horrible to him to make Harren act this way? This was the first time Kyran had ever seen Genna but Kyran was not usually with Harren while he was roaming about Brokepurse.
When they returned home, Tymen and Nathalie had prepared a beef and onion soup that they ate more often than not. Kyran didn’t mind though. He loved the taste and it filled him well enough. Genna was a distant memory after dinner and the tavern incident even further. Tomorrow was a new day, and Kyran was determined to make it better than today had been.
He laid himself down in his bed and gazed up at the ceiling as Harren bid them all goodnight and blew out the candles.
He gazed at the ceiling until he finally fell asleep to the sound of crickets chirpin

[Story] » Birthright | Season 1 – Episode 1 – 24


Harren crouched low and covered his ears as his little sister was dragged off in chains. “HARREN! HELP! DON’T LET THEM TAKE ME,” she screamed as she struggled and thrashed against the slavers. Harren cried and cursed to himself as he watched them throw Chelsey into a large cage filled with crying women, wallowing in their own filth.
Chelsey gave him a pleading look as they locked the cage behind her.
“HARREN,” she shouted once more, pleading, as the guards urged the horses forward, trailing the cage behind them.
Harren’s father sat inside of their home, his head buried in his hands, crying hysterically to himself as they took his daughter away.
“Its all my fault,” thought Harren, “Its all my fault! It’s all my fault! ITS ALL MY FAULT!”
Harren bolted upright in his small makeshift bed of hay, drenched in sweat.
His black hair was disheveled from the restless sleep and his blue eyes were heavy with bags. “What’s all your fault Harren,” asked the young boy at his bedside.
“Nothing Tymen, all is well, try to get some sleep,” said Harren soothingly as he touched the child reassuringly on his shoulder. As the child went off to sleep, Harren buried his head into his pillow. “I have to be brave for them, I’m like their father. I couldn’t help Chelsey, but I can help them”.
Harren tossed and turned for the remainder of the night. Fearing that if he slept, he would once again relive that terrible day from his childhood.
It was a day that he would come to regret for his entire life. Harren’s sister Chelsey had been taken by the City Guard, to be sold as a slave to anyone willing to buy her. The capitol saw peasants as nothing but liabilities and did not go out of their way to make sure that they were taken care of. It was Queen Evalyne and her brother, Captain of the Guard Gabrial Tuhlack, who came up with the idea of enslaving the peasants of the holdfasts. They were monsters.
When Harren received word, many years after moving to Galverin from his home in the holdfast of Picket, that his sister had died of mistreatment and abuse, he fell into a state of utter guilt and depression. It was then that Harren decided to protect the children of Galverin. As long as he was around, they would not become slaves. As long as he was around, they would be safe.
When the sun rose, Harren dragged himself out of bed and put on the best clothes he owned. They were still rags. They were torn in places, dirty and color worn, but they were his best and would have to suffice. He was going out into Brokepurse again today, Galverin’s market place, to once again beg for a job with the Blacksmiths. He had gone every week since his arrival into the city and the constant rejection had ended him in Sorrowheart, the slums of Galverin.
Harren could hear the hustle and bustle of Brokepurse from outside of his ramshackle home, along with the hustle and bustle of the children inside, waking and beginning their morning chores. He gently smiled at the sky and repeated the same words he told himself every day, “Today is the day. I know it”.
Brokepurse was as busy as ever, foggy from the many venders cooking various foods from around the kingdoms but the fog brought a much welcome scent that made ones mouth water. Shouts rang from the Sarthian caravans, calling to the crowd, selling their mouth-watering fruits that could only be found and grown in Sarth. The Wurtheni were shouting from their caravans as well, offering many beautiful jewels, causing the highborn ladies to come charging with their husbands purses. The Torrish people roamed about the crowd, using their beautiful accents to persuade the ladies into buying their soft silk dresses and scarves. Last of all, the Rentosian caravan was showing off their magnificent swords, maces, and axes. They were all trimmed in gold and the swords were made of the sharpest Rentosian steel.
Brokepurse surely lived up to its name for most Lords and Ladies left the market broke. Most made jests about having to move to Sorrowheart for the lack of money but Harren found their humor distasteful. No one wanted a life in Sorrowheart. For that place truly was, the heart of all sorrow.
Harren moved in between the people, many of which were merchants, shoving their goods in his path.
Harren paid them no mind. He never did. He was determined to find a blacksmith that would give him work. He hated having his wards steal from the highborn Lords. He hated that more than anything else, but they had to live.
“The Black Anvil” was a dull name for a blacksmith’s shop but it was said to export the finest weapons in Galverin.
Harren stared at the sign for a while as the wind moved it back and forth. What was he doing? He knew as well as anyone else that he wouldn’t get a job here, or anywhere for that matter. He knew they mocked him when he left their shops, calling him the “Hero of Sorrowheart”. He was no hero, just a father to children who didn’t have one.

Harren had to try anyway for Tymen’s sake. As well as for Hannah, Jacob, Hyrick, Natalie, Gendrick, Iria, and Tollen. They needed him to try.
Harren took a deep breath and walked into the shop. The heat hit him full in the face but he did not flinch. He missed this smell. The smell of fire, heat, sweat, and steel. He missed the sound of hammer hitting steel as the smiths beat the weapon to shape.
Harren had been a great smith when he lived in Picket with his father and sister. After his sister was taken, he and his father worked to make the finest blades they could for Malon Tallgrow, lord of Picket. He was a kind man that always paid handsomely for the weapons. However, it was never enough to buy his sister back from the lord who bought her. After Harren’s father had died, he left Picket and traveled to the king’s home, the capitol Galverin. He had hoped to find a job as a smith for he had heard of the excellent pay they were given and with that coin, he could buy back his sister.

That was years ago. His sister had died from the abuse of her lord, and all the coin he and his father had made in Picket had been used to sustain himself in Galverin until he ultimately ended up in Sorrowheart. He felt ashamed but was determined to redeem himself.
“Go from here Hero, you know as well as I that I have no work for you here”, said a strong burly man from behind the furnace. He was covered in soot and the sweat that covered his body smeared it all over, coating him in it. His long black beard was braided as well as his hair and his strong arms were beating shape into a blade.
“Please Euran, I have come here every week for years. Mind that I have missed a few days, weeks, at the most but my persistence should urge you to give me a chance,” said Harren pleadingly.
Euran the blacksmith stopped his hammer and glared up at Harren.
“Alright Hero, answer me this. Why should I hire some lowborn blacksmith from Picket of all places? I’ve seen the forge there and it is not possible for you to have forged as fine a sword as you have claimed. I can only take you for a liar,” said Euran passively as if he had rehearsed this many times before.
“With all do respect Euran, you are just as lowborn as I am. If you were anything other than that, you wouldn’t be a blacksmith,” said Harren impatiently.
Euran stopped pounding the blade and thrust it into the water trough in front of him. “And how do you know I’m no highborn? Might be I am and just like blacksmithin’”.
Harren gave a small smile and said, “Well I know, because you speak like a commoner and no lord I see has ever fancied the blacksmiths work. Ide wager you were the first”.
Euran gave a loud laugh that made Harren jump. “Aye, you are right about that,” said Euran with trace of laughter still on his lips. Harren eyed him and there was a long silence as Euran stared at the cooled blade.
Euran gave a long sigh, “Listen here boy, I will give you hire for one day and one day only. If you prove that you are worth the extra loss of coin it would take to pay you, then I will give you work. I’m tired of seeing you grovel every time you are in here. You’re turning my business away”.
Harren was so excited that he could hardly keep from jumping out of his skin. He thanked Euran multiple times and reassured him that he would not regret the decision.
Harren raced from “The Black Anvil” all the way back to Sorrowheart without stopping to breathe. The children all stared at him in wonder as he burst through the door, breathing heavily.
When he told them of the days events, they all ran to him and gave him congratulations. For most of the night they talked about all the things they would buy with the coin he would earn and Harren could not have wanted it any other way.
The next morning started early. The loud bells of Galverin’s temple rang solemnly as silence settled across the city. The children were already out of bed, crowded around the windows of their home. Harren knew those bells. They only sounded for one reason, the king’s death.
The king had been ill for a long time, and had been unable to rule sufficiently. His wife, Queen Evalyne Arintear, who was formerly a Tuhlack of Snowhaven, had been ruling in his stead until he died or had gotten better.
The bells had just rung but the king had surely died late into the night. They never rang the bells until the next morning so as not to wake the city with grief.
Suddenly, a consistent knocking came to the door. It knocked and knocked until finally Harren was compelled to answer it. He opened the door slightly to see a bald man, dressed in grey robes, holding a small bundle of something in his arms.
“Quickly, please let me in. No one has seen me and I must be sure it stays that way. Please,” said the man at the door.

Harren opened the door at once when he saw that the bundle in the man’s arms was a baby.
“I’m sorry but I can’t take in a baby. They can’t eat solid foods that young and I don’t even have that, much less milk from a mothers breasts,” said Harren before the man could speak.
The man stared lovingly at the small baby in his arms then looked back up at Harren. “You don’t understand. I need you to take this child in. It is of most import that you raise this child as a commoner. Name him what you like, raise him how you like, and have him be just another child in the slums. I will pay you for your troubles and will supply you with as much milk as you need for his mother’s breasts are still swollen with milk,” said the man. He reached into his pocket while holding the child in his left arm, and pulled out a handful of gold coins.
Harren stared at the gold with wide eyes, doing everything in his power not to lunge at it like a starved lion that had come across a freshly killed carcass.
“Who are you, to offer me all this coin and who is this child,” asked Harren skeptically.
When the man eyed the other children, who were staring and listening intently, Harren had urged them that everything was fine and to go play outside. The children did as they were bid and forgot all about the bald man as soon as they stepped through the door.
“I am the kings sage, Varyth. This child is the king’s bastard son by a whore he impregnated after he found out that his Queen was barren. She would bare him no heirs. He did not mean to impregnate the whore, but he was in dire straits after I told him of his wife’s condition and he took to the brothels in his sadness. The Queen knows not of this child and I seek to keep it that way. I have persuaded his mother with coin to let the child come with me for it was his safety at stake. If the Queen were to find out that this child lives, she would surely have his life. She looked a little too happy when news of her husband’s death reached her ears. Why wouldn’t she be? She never loved him and now she could rule. This baby is her biggest threat. I wish the child to live as a commoner and never be told of his true blood. When the Queen returns to the gods, I will reveal the boy for who he is and seat him on the throne. This is the only way to ensure his survival. Please, I beg of you”.
Harren was in such a state of shock that he wasn’t even sure that this man was telling the truth. What was he to do? This child could endanger his life as well as the life of the other children under his care. He had just obtained work and his life was starting to look up. Now the king’s own sage appears on his doorstep with a royal bastard that needs caring for? Harren thought hard for a long time. The man offered to pay him in exchange for the child’s care and Harren, no matter how hard he tried, could turn away a child only to have him killed.
“I will take him. But I will need the milk and the coin to keep him alive,” said Harren after a while of consideration.
Relief filled Varyth’s face as the words left Harren’s lips. Varyth placed the coins in Harren’s hands and said his goodbyes to the gurgling baby in his arms.
Harren put the coins away in a drawer and took the baby from Varyth.
“I’m counting on you Harren, Hero of Sorrowheart, your reputation is well known throughout the city. You are mocked, yes. However I see you truly as a hero. I thank you for this great service and the time will come when this debt will be repaid,” said Varyth as he left the house. With a bow, Varyth quickly made his way up the road and into Brokepurse once more.
The children came inside and Harren introduced them to their new baby brother. The children looked at the baby with wonder. The girls pinched his cheeks and expressed how cute he was and the boys expressed how he was going to be a strong warrior, just like they planned to be.
Tymen, being the oldest of the children was the first to ask of what his name should be.
Without a doubt, Harren decided on a name. It was a strong name after a strong man. The very same name held by the man who raised him with a strong hand and a good home.
“His name shall be Kyran. After my father,” said Harren as the children wailed with approval.

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 23 [Finale]



Esther and Joanna hugged for a considerable long time before they disengaged.

Joanna looked over at a confused Ikenna and ran to him. She hugged him too, feeling so happy.”Thank you, Ikenna. Thank you for being her son!”

Even though he did not understand, Ikenna still smiled and hugged her back.
“I’m sorry for all the pains I caused everyone. I’m not trying to ask for forgiveness.

I’m ready to turn myself in….for the police. Get the police…I’m ready to die in jail for I have no reasonable reasons to live again.” Ijeoma cried.

Joanna turned to face her as they disengaged.”

Of course you are going to prison…you should become a prisoner for all the pains you made me go through.”
“No… Joanna. Don’t say that. Who knows maybe you would have faced a lot of troubles if I had succeeded in my plan back then.” Esther said.

“It would have been better… other than being sold out by my aunt.” Joanna said.
Ijeoma smiled with tears in her eyes, regretting everything she had done.
Friends… friends…if that single word could be removed from the surface of the Earth …..then so many people would be save.
If wishes were horses, everyone would have a ride.

If she could turn back the hands of time,she would undo whatever she had done in the past.

If she could rewrite the stars…she would become a better person. Now it was late…too late for her ……


“Hmm. Incredible. So…you went through all this alone?” Esther asked,after listening to what Joanna told her.
She could not believe… almost did not believe it that a girl of fifteen year old could be so courageous,fearless and talented….gifted!
“Yes and I thank God I did not give up when I thought everything was over. Right now…I feel fulfilled like I’ve found my real family.” Joanna said happily.

Esther breathed in and looked at Joanna. She went closer to her and hugged her to herself.
“Amarachi….do you really want your aunt to go to jail? Remember….no matter what she has done to you….she’s still your aunt…infact..your second mum.
She’s a carbon copy of your mother for they are so identical.” Esther said.
Joanna wanted to say something when the door opened and Ikenna came in with his school bag. Joanna ran to hug him.
“How was school!” She asked as they disengaged.
“Well…it was still boring without you. I really wish you back in school already.
Ikenna’s face lit up as he remembered something.

” Guess mum did not tell you what happened to madam Kofta?”
Joanna looked back at Esther, waiting for the news.

“Madam Kofta’s brothel has been closed down by the police.
She has been sent into prison with all the people working for her.
As I speak to you now…her big house is under surveillance with CCTV cameras everywhere.
The news papers are everywhere with the news just few weeks ago… even on all TV channels.
When Ikenna told me what happened to you…I felt so sad and guilty you left without anyone helping you.” Esther said.
“Aunty Justina….what happened to her?” Joanna asked.

“Justina? We I don’t really know but I remembered that all the young girls working for her were granted bail because she forced them into the business.
You have no fear any longer, Amarachi.
I will raise you up and take good care of you….. for you are the daughter I never had.Come.” Esther said as she opened her arms wide, smiling.

Joanna walked to her and they embraced.
Ikenna stood there, knowing fully well that he would never be able to take Joanna as his true sister.

It was too late…he was falling for the beautiful thing already!!
Well… Ikenna shrugged. That is a thought and a story for another day…for now…he needed to join in this wonderful warm embrace!!
Ijeoma tried to raise her hand but an overwhelming pain engulfed her.
She knew she would never be able to survive this pain…

she knew she would never be able to prove she was sorry for all she had done.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she looked at the the beautiful sun set in the sky…at the beautiful cream colored clouds.

The door opened and Joanna slowly walked in.
Ijeoma looked at Joanna as she came in and more tears rushed out.

Joanna tried to fight back her own tears as she looked away.

” I’m here to tell you that I’ve dropped all the charges against you.
I have nothing against you anymore. Just get better and prove how sorry you are for all the things you’ve done in the past.”
Joanna said and turned to leave when Ijeoma held her back.
“Joanna…now that you are here… kindly.. forgive me..(Struggling to talk) forgive me so I can have some peace.
I know I deserve no forgiveness but just find a place in your heart to forgive a devil like me.
” Ijeoma said with struggle in her voice and tears.

Joanna could not help it. Her own tears streamed down her face as she turned back abruptly and bent down, hugging Ijeoma.”
I’ve forgiven you,aunt. Just get better and come back to us.” Joanna said and Ijeoma smiled, breathing in.
Immediately she breathed in,her face changed.
Her hand slipped away from Joanna’s and her body became limp.

Joanna watched with horror as Ijeoma’s smile faded away and as her eyes gradually closed in death.
“Aunty.” Joanna called quietly as she shook her body.

She did not move,nor did her eyes open.
“Aunty Ijeoma.” Joanna called again and when she heard nothing,her eyes widened as she shook her vigorously.
“Aunty Ijeoma! Aunt!! Aunty!!” Joanna shouted.
Esther rushed in with the doctor. Esther held Joanna back while the doctor rushed to Ijeoma, checking her eyes and wrist,then shook his head, before turning to look at Esther.
“She’s gone. Cover her up.”he announced sadly before leaving the room.
“No ….no …no!!” Joanna screamed and this time,she lost control of herself. The wall clock fell and broke.
The curtains flew off and the windows shook.
“Joanna, please,get hold of your self!” Esther cried as she watched everything in the room falling.

“Tell me she’s not dead…no…!!”, Joanna cried as she watched Ijeoma’s body laying there on the bed…still and limp…never to raise again.

That day…… rain fell like never before…it rained and rained…for Joanna…the courageous… gifted girl with uncommon powers cried a river.



Joanna went back to school and finished her secondary school.

At seventeen,she learnt how to use her powers for God only and how to keep them under control.

With the help of Esther and Uzo,she was sent to England where she furthered her studies and became a lawyer while Ikenna read mass communication.

Mama died hapily after seeing her granddaughter becoming successful in life. She blessed Vera who took care of her all the while…. schooling altogether.

While in the village, Joanna saw how everyone and everything had changed.
All thanks to Amos who has transformed them with the power of God but she never saw him again.

Vera became a banker with the help of her fiance who sponsored her education.
Joanna and Vera became best of Friends.They became inseparable sisters.

Two years later after career pursuit, Ikenna proposed to Joanna and they got married.
The marriage was blessed with two boys and a girl.

They lived happily ever after in love, wealth and peace.

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 22


The bus arrived few minutes later after the emergency call,with police men.
The trailer was moved off from the wrecked bus as everyone put their hands on their head, shouting.
“Wait! Somebody is alive!” A police officer said as they heard noises inside the bus.
Unscratched and unwounded, Joanna crawled out of the car.

People could not believe…they were amazed and surprised.

There was pandemonium all over the place as they took pictures of Joanna.

Reporters gathered and before anyone could say Jack….the incident was all over the mass media.

“Please, please…save my aunt.” Joanna said repeatedly and for the very first time, she cried and no rain fell.

No rain fell!!
All thanks to Amos! She was now in control of her powers. Joanna was exited.
She was thrilled. She cried with mixture of sorrow and happiness.

Ijeoma believed what she told her!

Why then wasn’t she protected?
When everyone was finally brought out, Ijeoma was the only one still breathing. Everyone else were dead with five little children.

The accident was displayed on TV,live.
Ijeoma together with Joanna were rushed to the hospital…the best clinic nearer to the place of accident by the trailer occupants and some other good citizens.


Ijeoma was rushed to the emergency room while Joanna was asked to wait in the waiting room with some of the good people that followed them to the hospital.

Joanna knew Ijeoma had been such a bad person in the past but she cried for her.
She was badly wounded.

The reporters were shut out of the hospital for they crowded against Joanna, see her how she was the only one who escaped death and injury.

The news papers came out that sane day…with the headline;Wonder girl escapes death.
Joanna prayed Ijeoma would make it even though she looked like someone who was going to die.

“Joanna!!” A voice called from behind and Joanna turned, startled.
Who knows her here?

Joanna stood up,amazed at whom she was seeing.

Ikenna ran to her and they hugged tightly.” I saw everything on TV! I saw you! I couldn’t explain the type of feeling that engulfed me when I saw you ..alive and unscratched!” Ikenna said happily.

“How come you know here…how did you get here?” Joanna asked as they disengaged.
“This is where mom works.” Ikenna replied, smiling.

“Your mom? You never told me she works in a hospital!” Joanna exclaimed.
Ikenna smiled.”Yes. She is a nurse….a senior nurse.”

“Is…she going to make my aunt better?” Joanna asked.

“Your aunt? The lady was still breathing? Is she your aunt?” Ikenna asked.
“I don’t know yet but there has been a lot if possibilities lately.”

“So..tell me. How did you disappeared! I never saw you again!” Ikenna asked.
“I will tell you everything when this is over.
For now…there is someone I need to find desperately.

That woman must not die ….she still have a lot to explain.

Three hours later, Ijeoma responded to treatment and was wheeled to another room. Her arms and legs were covered up with bandage.

Luckily for her,her head was not affected but her right leg has been broken.
Ijeoma was in tears as she layed on her sU-Ck bed.

Finally, nemesis were catching up with her.
The door opened and a nurse came in, closing the door.

“I never thought of could see you again…not in this situation ” the nurse said and Ijeoma looked up slowly.
“You? Esther? How did you get here?” Ijeoma asked and Esther smiled, coming closer.
“No. I should be asking you that. Aren’t you ashamed?
Aren’t you supposed to be praying for death?

You kidnapped and sold your own niece!” Esther said and Ijeoma’s eyes widened.
“No…tell me that is not true! Tell me it’s not true!” Ijeoma said,tears rushing down her face.
“You Know what? When I saw you in the emergency room,I felt like killing you. When I remembered your twin,whom I delivered a baby for…I shed tears in my spirit.
That day too attacked me and collected the baby…kept on and on, replaying in my head.
I don’t want to know if something is wrong with you of whatsoever or if you had an accident….you must provide that child you took away from me fifteen years ago.
Else….you shall die in prison.”
“The child I took back then is…..” Ijeoma started to say when the door opened and Joanna came in with Ikenna.

“Thank God you are still alive. I have no time to waste here.

Make sure you get better so we can continue what we were looking for.”
Joanna said. She looked at Ijeoma for a minute and turned to go.
“Joanna… wait….” Ijeoma started to say.
Joanna turned around again,her eyes turning red.” What?”
“The woman…whom we are supposed to look for…is here.” Ijeoma dropped the bombshell and Joanna came closer, wondering what she was talking about.
“What woman is here? Who?” Joanna asked and suddenly,her eyes jammed with Esther’s.

Esther’s eyes widened as she looked at Joanna… recognising those beautiful eyes she once looked into.
“Amarachi.” Esther called,her eyes full of tears.
Joanna’s knees buckled as she recognized Esther as the unconscious woman in her vision.”Why…why did you call me Amarachi?” Joanna asked,her voice laced with emotions.

Esther smiled as she went closer to Joanna.
She turned her head to look behind her ear and nodded as the black mark became visible to her.

“It’s really you, Amarachi!” Esther cried and hugged the girl. Why didn’t she recognized her before?
Joanna was in her own tears as she hugged the woman back.

Ikenna stood,transfixed.
“What happening here? Joanna… are you my sister?”

No body answered him. The room was silent and swallowed up with unexplainable emotion.

There was a lot to cry about…a lot to be said…a lot to settle and a lot of emotions to deal with……!!

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 21


???Flash Back???

?(Before The Accident)?

Joanna closed her eyes,her breath increasing at the danger she saw ahead.
She looked over at Ijeoma who looked back curiously at her.
“Something terrible is about to happen.” Joanna announced.

Everyone in the bus looked at her and laughed at the small girl.
“What are you talking about? Something terrible as in what?” A lady, carrying a little baby asked.

Joanna kept mute, looking at them.

Everyone in the bus were more than forty five.
God.. isn’t there a way to stop this?, Joanna asked in her heart.

There is and that is to believe what you are telling them…and to stick to you.
A voice replied.

They were getting closer to the place she saw in her vision.

“Aunty Ijeoma. Hold me…if you wish to survive.” Joanna said to Ijeoma who did not even hesitate.

She would never doubt the girl…not after everything she had seen.

The passangers a d the driver with the conductor looked at Joanna as she said this and laughed.

“Na Wettin this girl dey talk self!” They asked, hissing and rejecting anything terrible she claimed was about to happen.
Joanna sat still and closer her eyes as they drew nearer to the place where the accident was going to take place…

It was noon time.

The driver was growing impatient with the car in front of him. It was so slow he started getting annoyed.

Without looking into his rear view mirror,he swayed to the other side of the road not nothing what was coming behind.

An over speeding trailer crushed the car, climbing it entirely.

Everyone in the car were crushed yo death..their blood flowing like water except……

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 20


“I will! Just …help me save my daughter. I will tell you everything I know, please!” Ijeoma cried, pleadingly.
“Please… Joanna. Whatever it is..try to control your feelings.
Remember..this girl is dying and this might be the only time we have to prove that there is a greater power.” Amos admonished.
Without any other word, Joanna held Amos hand and he began to pray..while Joanna gathered her powers.

Just then the king and his cabinets arrived, confused at the scene they met.

As soon as the spirit was connected to hers, Joanna went straight to Vera and latest her hand on her head.

Almost immediately,Vera fell down and the screaming stopped.

The villagers we’re shocked.
You could imagine the greater shock on Uganga’s face as he stared at Vera.
Just then,a black demon which Joanna and Uganga could see alone jumped out of Vera and ran into Uganga who shouted,his eyes growing wide.

“What’s happening! Hey!!”.
“What’s happening to our chief priest!!”
The whole place was in chaos.
Vera opened her eyes, looking around as she sat up.

Ijeoma ran to her, shouting for joy.
The people could not believe it…that there was a greater power than that of Uganga’s.
“This is just little thing compared to what God can do. Give him a chance and your life will be better.” Amos said.

The villagers were speechless as they watched their chief priest screaming like a mad man.

“Go back to your burnt shrine and remain there till you die with your miserable gods for today…a new king and the only true God has come!”

Joanna commanded, turning to face Uganga who laughed madly again and scurried off, doing as commanded.

The villagers bowed,fear gripping everyone of them.

“Please,! Forgive us! We have done great evil against you and the only true God! Please.. tell him to forgive us!”

One of the villagers said and Amos smiled.
“You shall do that by yourself for God forgives all sinners and draw them closer to his side.”

“If you want forgiveness…all of you should knee down. Bowing to your fellow human being is wrong.
You must bow to the only true God. Go down in your knees let’s pray.”
Joanna said and the villagers all went down in their knees but the king remained standing.
Joanna looked at him.” And you too.”
“What? Me!!” The king asked.
“Yes and remove your caps. Everyone.” Joanna said, turning to the elders.
They removed their caps as Amos and Joanna knelt down to and they began to pray.

“Why?”Joanna asked, trying to fight back the tears that threatened to come out.” Why did you kidnapped me and sold me to destruction? Why?”
Joanna asked yet again, controlling every of herself… trying all her possible best not to scream no cry.

They were in Mama’s house. Ijeoma was kneeling down while her daughter sat with Mama on the chair.
Amos was beside Joanna, comforting her.
“It was the devil…I was influenced….I was…..” Ijeoma started to say.
“You don’t!” Joanna shouted and the zinc outside squeaked.”

Have any justification to justify your crimes.”
Joanna added and looked at Ijeoma as she knelt on the floor.
” I’m not sure what I’m seeing now. I’m really not sure of it…but one thing is clear to me.

In my vision…I saw your twin sister as a anger…pain and agony trying to take me back but she could not. Does that mean I’m her child?”
“I can’t believe this.” Mama said, sitting up.

Her wrinkled face was full of tears. “Aahh! Ijeoma…you have done your worst!
If this is true…that means you sold your own sister’s baby out to prostitution?” Mama asked and Ijeoma shook her head.
“No can’t be possible..I…I… couldn’t have sold Ifeoma’s baby. She died with the pregnancy!”Ijeoma said, looking at everyone desperately.
Yes..that was the truth…she was sure it was the truth.
“Tommorow…we shall go back to the city…to find the woman who you kidnapped from. You said you Kno her.”
Joanna said gently.
“Yes! I Know her very well. She’s going to recognize me…if she sees me.”
Ijeoma said. She broke down into tears again. She was surely going to prison.
Joanna looked at Amos.” Can .. you come with me, please?” Joanna asked and Amos smiled.
“No…. Joanna. You know very well that I have to stay here in this teach them so many things.

I’m sorry… Joanna…I can’t follow you but you will still come back. Right?” Amos asked.
Joanna smiled and hugged him.” Yes of course. Thanks to you….I know so much already.” Joanna said, resting her head on his shoulder.

Amos smiled again.”And thanks to you…you’ve been a great help to me.”
Ijeoma sat on the floor, regretting everything she had done in the past…which also made her husband leave her.
“Mum…you are wicked. I wish I never had a mother…not like you!” Vera said suddenly and mama held her hand from saying more.
Ijeoma cried more. Amos left layer on while Joanna sat still outside,
waiting for tommorow to meet the woman…the woman who seemed to try all her possible best to protect her.

Very early in the morning Joanna and Ijeoma left for the city while Vera decided to stay with Mama.

She was scared if living with her mother again.
At about noon….they were almost arriving the city streets when it happened.

A ghastly motor accident.

The bus which Joanna and Ijeoma entered collided with an over speeding trailer…which gave everyone a dashed hope that someone might survive it.

Blood flowed from the bus… which was now wrecked….still under the trailer.
The blood flowed all over the road. People were screaming, crying as the bus remained still….. another bus was called immediately,so they could check for survivals…..but certainly they knew..that everyone was in pieces and dead…….

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 19


“Somebody please,help me! What’s wrong with my daughter? Help me!!” Ijeoma was crying as she watched her daughter,rolling on the floor and screaming like a lunatic, endlessly.

The entire villagers had gathered, watching watching what was happening.

No body even went Closer to both mother and daughter.

They gave them a good distance.
Uganga laughed, rounding Vera who was going crazy.

“I said it! I said it!, That this people preaching false god are going to bring disaster to this kingdom!
If you ever doubt…I mean if anyone of you ever doubt our Okaka Ani..this is what is going to happen to such person!”

“Tufiakwa!!” The villagers said in unison, snapping their fingers to the ground.
Just then, Joanna arrived with Amos.
The villagers looked disdainfully at them.
There was uproar among the villagers as they pointed accusing fingers on Joanna and Amos who looked amazed, wondering what the evil priest told them.

“If you know that your God…that that your God is truly alive up in the sky like you claimed,prove it now! Prove it now and cast this demon out of this girl!” Uganga said confidently, believing it was him and him alone that would be capable of doing such thing.

“YES!! YES!! PROVE IT!!”The villagers chanted.
Joanna and Amos looked at each other and looked at Vera who was almost naked.

“Don’t be afraid… Joanna. We can do this. Just… bring down the glory of God and together…we are going to win the villagers to Christ.”

Amos said and took Joanna’s hand. Together,they looked up to heaven.
Her blue eyes penetrated through the sky as tears welled up in her eyes.
The clouds began to roam… changing colours till everywhere became dark.

As soon as Amos began to speak in tongue….thunder began to sound…sound do loudly all over the sky………

But the more Joanna tried to close her eyes to bring down the glory of God…the more she saw this same woman… snatching her away and taking her away to a different world entirely.

“No! No!!” Joanna shouted, forcing her eyes open. She looked straight at Ijeoma who hide her face away,so scared of the blue light that burnt in Joanna’s eyes.
“Before I do this… before I do must tell me why you kidnapped me… fifteen years ago…you must tell me who you are and why your twin….stood as a ghost trying to take me back. Who was your twin….was she my mother???………..

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 18


” I dare you! To come close.” Joanna threatened, oblivious of the shoocked expression on Ijeoma’s face.
Uganga burst out laughing.”Look at this one o.
Look at this little imp! Little baby! Trying to fight the gods of our land! The powerful one and only okaka Ani!!

Get off from there right now or I will be forced to strangle you with my bare hands!” Uganga shouted and Joanna smiled.
“Really? Little imp? Little baby? Little baby who’s able to come back to life after being buried alive?

Villagers! My people! Doesn’t this tell you something?

Isn’t this a greater power that you’ve ever witnessed!” Joanna asked her voice very loud and courageous.

The people began to nod, asking their selves a lot of questions.

They began to murmur and Uganga was getting angrier.

“Okay! Since you have refused to cut your coat according to your little size…I will deal with you!

I will show you that my powers are greater!”Uganga roared and pinned his stick full of cowries in the ground.

He began chanting some inaudible words running around.

Joanna only stared at him, laughing in her mind.

She looked over at Amos who grabbed his Bible, speaking in tongues.

Uganga stopped abruptly and blew a white substance across to Joanna who Immediately dodged it.

She bounced back on her feet, closing her eyes and gathering her own powers.
Her eyes opened and blue light sparked out .
The villagers screamed and scattered.
This time, Joanna was able to control the blue light from bursting into flames. Uganga felt Sparks of light as Joanna’s eyes jammed with his.

He roared staggering around. He dipped his hand into his animal skin bag and brought out a black bottle.

He smashed it in the ground and everywhere began to vibrate and shake.
Even the king and his cabinet ran back into the palace.

Joanna and Amos stood firmly on the ground.
Ijeoma was rolling on the dusty floor, screaming. The ground continued to shake.
“I will deal with you today! You must fall!” Uganga roared.

Joanna laughed out loud and went down in her knees, touching the ground softly.
Immediately,the ground became still. Uganga was shoocked. He expected them to fall.
He expected them to surrender.
He brought out another bottle and smashed it on the ground but nothing happened.
He was perplexed.

“What! How dare you!, How dare you stop my powers from working?!” Uganga roared and Amos moved forward smiling.
He lifted up his Bible, showing it to him.
“Do you believe in this? It’s greater than the greatest more than your useless powers!” Amos boasted and Uganga felt like going crazy.

“Wait for me!, Wait for me,I’m coming!, I’m coming with more finish you!!” Uganga said and took off, running straight to the shrine.
“When he comes back…we are going to cast him to death this time around and bind all his powers.”

Amos said as Joanna nodded, feeling like an hero. She just saved a life!
“Excuse…me…who are you?”
Joanna looked back at the sudden voice.
Immediately Joanna set eyes on Ijeoma,the unseen wave came again.
This time,more harder.
“Aaah!” Joanna sighed almost falling as she held her head with one hand.
She swayed against Amos who quickly caught her against him.

“What’s it! What happened?” Amos queried.

Joanna looked at Ijeoma, confused and trying to remember where she had seen her before.
“Have….we met before?” Joanna asked.
Ijeoma was so scared she could not move nor take her eyes off Joanna.
How can this be possible?
If she was truly the child she sold off to madam Kofta…..then how could she have recognized her.

Ijeoma was shivering. She could not say anything…not after seeing the powers the little girl just displayed.
“Do you know her somewhere?”Amos asked.

Joanna was still staring at Ijeoma. She looked straight into her eyes and saw the vision again…of a woman,
carrying a little baby away while a ghost watched.

The confusing thing was that,this same woman here was carrying the same face with the ghost.

What was happening?
“Are… you….wait…you were going to be buried alive because you have a twin?’ Joanna asked and Ijeoma slowly nodded.
Slowly,the started to understand why she had the same face with the ghost but then,that also means that her twin was dead.
And why was she carrying the baby away while the ghost tried to take back what was hers which was the baby?
And who was the unconscious woman on the floor whom the baby was taken from?
So much mystery.

“You Know me, don’t you? Tell me!” Joanna said, going forward, towards Ijeoma who felt tears springing from her eyes.
“I…I….I… honestly…I… don’t.. know….” Ijeoma began to stammer but Joanna caught her short by raising a hand up.

“I’m sure she knows me. I saw her in my vision!” Joanna said, turning to look at a confused Amos.

“Joanna…you can’t be sure you know this woman. Let’s just go.
We need to show the villagers what the power of God can do.”
Amos said but Joanna still stared at Ijeoma who hide her face away.
Amos was dragging Joanna away, heading for the village square when a woman ran madly across then and rushed towards Ijeoma who was still sitting on the floor.
“Ijeoma,you are still here! Your daughter! Your daughter Vera has been possessed by a strange spirit who has made her almost naked at the village square. Infact,
as I speak to you now,your daughter is still rolling all over the dusty ground, screaming out her lungs!”

The woman shouted and Ijeoma jumped up with a loud scream.

Together with the woman,she ran as fast as her legs could carry her.

Amos looked at Joanna.” This is the chief priest’s doing.

And this is a good time to destroy all his powers and heal that girl.

This is the time for the villagers to see that the most high God lives up there in heaven!”Amos said as Joanna looked at him.
“We are going to do all what you said but we aren’t going to heal her daughter until she promises to tell me all what she knows about me.”
“But how sure are you that she knows you?” Amos asked.
“You are sounding as if you’ve forgotten what I’m capable of seeing.” Joanna said.
Amos shrugged as they walked away… going straight to the shrine.

Just as they suspected,the chief priest wasn’t in the shrine.

He had also gone to the village square to show off his false god by healing the possessed girl.

They got there and burnt down the shrine and everything on it.

They brought down the whole roof and the images, everything catching up in flames and burning to ashes.

As soon as everything got burnt…they took off.. running straight to the village square.

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 17


Loud and deafening thunder roared about the sky.
Lighting struck about, creating fear for the villagers.

A bright lighting bounced down, and strick the heap of sand covering Joanna’s body.
The ground was uprooted and Joanna was lifted out from the hole,and placed on the ground.

Joanna’s eyes opened, flashing with blue light. Her hair,body and clothes were full of sand.

In one swift movement she sat up, looking around.

It was dark, totally dark as lighting continued to spark all about the dark sky.

When she stood up, powers locking back into her body..she became as scared as ever.
She had just been brought back to life.

Dusting herself,she walked away quickly, looking right and left.

“This way!” A sharp voice said in her head, indicating the left side of the road to her.
Joanna gasped as she closed her eyes, seeing the leading arrow as they led her through a narrow road.

Feeling brave and courageous,she followed.
The arrow stopped and turned the right side of the road.

Joanna looked around the dark place and followed again.

She got in front of a bungalow building and stopped.

Just then,the man she had earlier saved, came out from the door, beckoning to her to come.

Joanna walked to him, confused. What contact does she have with this man?
“Welcome. I thank God for directing you here. Come in, please.” The .an said and without any questions,she followed him inside.

She had no where else to go anyways. Why should she be scared.
“My name is Amos. A pastor sent to this village to stop the sacrilege and great sins they are committing against God the Almighty.
I came here alone but God told me I wasn’t going to accomplish this alone.

He told me I’m not alone in this battle that
he is going to send me an helper which is you because you came exactly the time God said you were going to come.”

Amos said and Joanna looked at him, wondering what God would want her to do with her powers.
“I… don’t really get you. What powers.. how can I be of help?” Joanna asked.
Amos laughed.

“You are so ignorant of the type of power you possess.

You are doubting the things… mighty things your powers can do.

I’ve seen them all and know you even before I saw you for God showed you to me.” Amos said.
“What exactly is going on in this village?” Joanna asked, realisation gradually dawning on her.
“You were buried alive,right? But you used your powers from God’s thunder to come out.

Do you think it was an easy thing?
It was a miracle and by the time the villagers still see you tomorrow,they will run away.. thinking you are a ghost.

They bury people alive,both young and old for every little crime and they also kill twins too.
Any twins who is born into this land or any twins who steps his or her feet to this land is either buried or thrown into the evil forest to die.”

Amos said and Joanna stared at him amazed.
“We have to stop it!” Joanna said,her voice laced with rage.
“Yes and we are starting right away. And more thing for you…use your powers for good things not the other way round. Don’t use it negatively.”

Amos said and Joanna slowly nodded.
She was full of could they! Killing innocent human beings all because that are twins!

What type of a rule is that? Joanna could barely wait for tomorrow….she could barely wait to deal with them!

Mama layed on the bed, barely are to move as someone cane in, bringing her a cup of water.
“Ijeoma…I told you not to worry about the water. I’m ok.” Mama said, coughing.
Ijeoma dropped the water on the chair beside Mama’s bed, smiling.
“But mama…you were even coughed now so you need water.” Ijeoma said, pulling Mana to sit up while she gave her the water.

Mana layed down back.

“Mama, don’t worry. Vera is bringing you your medicine very soon. I wonder where this girl went to buy this thing self.” Ijeoma complained and just then,the door opened as a girl comes in, looking annoyed.
“What’s your problem? Where did you go to since!,

Don’t you know mama is sick and needs it urgently?’ Ijeoma asked furiously as Vera turned to look at her, frowning deeply.
“Do you think I care,mom? Look…I’m just tired of village life. Let’s go back to the city where we had it all Rosy. What do you even see here!”

“It seems you don’t understand the situation at hand.

You father has abandoned us after he heard about all I’ve done! We have nothing and we can’t go anywhere for mama is sick!
Did I not tell you she’s also your grandmother?

She’s the mother inlaw to my twin sister. Why can’t you understand!’” Ijeoma shouted at her daughter.

“Well…I’m tired of understanding! I just wanted to to get out of here!” Vera said and stormed out.

Ijeoma burst into tears as mama tried to console her.”Oh God! What have I done to myself?” Ijeoma cried.

“It’s okay,my daughter. She will understand better soon enough. She’s still a child.”

Mama said and Ijeoma nodded, wishing it was going to be true.

Just then,a loud knock sounded at the door and Ijeoma cleaned her tears going out of the room.

Immediately she opened the door,fear gripped her.

Before her were three guards from the palace. Serious fear gripped her. Have they come for her?

“Wwhat do you want?” Ijeoma stammered.
“We have been ordered to bring you to the palace right away.”

One of the guards said and Ijeoma exclaimed silently. Finally, they’ve found out her true identity. She was a twin.
*Please…I’m begging you in the name of God, don’t take me away! Mama needs me here!”

Ijeoma pleaded but instead,they dragged get out of the house, straight to the palace.

“You dare hide in our village! A twin? Did you not know it was a crime in this land?
I was surprised when they said Ifeoma was back from the grave.

I knew it was impossible and now the difference is clear.

You are her twin sister!” Uganga said and the people chorused yes!

The king rose up from his thrown, ready to give out his judgement.

“Fir this great sacrilege that you’ve committed….you are hereby, going to be buried…and buried alive!”
The villagers shouted, causing pandemonium.
Ijeoma was shocked. Buried alive? She?
God,was this the payment for her sins? For all the bad thing she had done?
Closing her eyes,a flood of tears circled her face.

She wished she could have a little chance to see Vera her daughter and advise her to live a good life free of evil.
But it was too late…too late for her.
Just as the guards grabbed Ijeoma, Joanna and Amos arrived.

The villagers screamed on seeing Joanna and took to their heels.

Even Uganga, he could bit believe his eyes. The guards all moved back. They thought her ghost had come back to kill them.

When they saw Amos,place his hand on her shoulder,they knew she wasn’t dead but how! They were sure she was covered up with sand.
“Don’t be afraid,all of you here and I won’t blame you for anything happening in this kingdom
because all you follow the tradition of your ancestors because there is no true God in this village!”
Joanna said and the villagers began to murmur.
“Keep quiet,before I strick your mouth with leprosy!” Uganga roared.” Guards! Take this woman to her burial sight!”
As soon as the guards moved, Joanna walked and stood in front of Ijeoma.
“Dare it…try it and see what happens to you.” Joanna said, her hands knotting into a tight fists.

Ijeoma looked up at Joanna’s back, wondering where the brave little girl came from.

What an helper..what a savior..what an Angel!
Ijeoma thought happily then her eyes dropped on something behind her ear.

A black mark.. thick black mark.
Ijeoma gasped,her teary eyes growing wide at what she was seeing.

The black mark…. fifteen years ago…no…no…it can’t be her…it can’t be possible!!
But then…it wasn’t possible too that someone could have that same mark…the exact place…the exact size and length!
No….it can’t be her…it can’t………

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 16


Without wasting a minute,two guards carried Joanna and off they left for the bush in the company of the native doctor.
The villagers followed them too, wondering where the foreign girl came off.
“Who’s she? And why is she trying to save a traitor preaching a false God?
“Is she not too young to be buried alive?”.
“I pity her. May her soul rest in peace.’
The villagers continued talking till they got inside the bush.

Joanna could not believe that this was actually happening to her…that she was going to die like this.
When the guards grabbed her and threw her into the large hole,which had already been digged out…very deep…she gave up on herself… losing her courage…

She tried bringing out cause rain but she couldn’t.

The first sand hit her in the face and she closed her eyes.
Was this how she was going to die?
But what was really her offence? How could a kingdom with so much wickedness exist?
Joanna could not even scream….she couldn’t do anything….she only have up the ghost even before her death could come.
She succumbed to death and closed her eyes more tightly as they started pouring sand on her………her face..her legs….her whole body…the villagers watched.. watched and watched…. Joanna being covered up with sand……….

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 15


Uganda!! What’s happening! It seems the shrine is in trouble!!” A gruffed voice said,grom the middle of people wearing white and red.

Men and women.

Uganda the chief priest ran around the people, chanting his incantations.

He struck his stick full of cowries in the bushy ground and looked angrily at the dark sky.

‘That man!! That man in the hole who has come to preach false God to our people is up to something!

We must go back to the palace before this sacrifice. Now!!” Uganda said as they all lined up marching away, straight to the shrine.

The fire was coming closer and closer as Joanna stared in horror.

No! She would not stand and watch this fire roasted and kill her here!

Wait….her tears….only if she could cry…her tears would send down rain and quench the fire.

Closing her eyes, Joanna allowed emotions take over her body.

Her eyes filled with tears, heavy tears as she blinked.

Uncontrollable tears ran down her cheeks and a heavy rain poured down right inside the shrine.

Immediately,the fire began quenching off.

Even though she was in tears, Joanna was smiling… smiling happily as the fire died down.
“Help me…help me!!” Joanna could hear the voice again and she ran around, trying to locate the direction of the voice but no!

It seemed to be coming from every direction.
Joanna stood at a soot, afraid to use her powers. Would she be able to control it this time?

Breathing in,she closed her eyes gathering her powers again.

She traced her step to the direction of the voice and opened her eyes.

She found it.

She forced her eyes open and fought greatly against the blue light and this time,she won.
Quickly,she ran through a dark corner and lifted up a plank then look in.
She gasped.

Even though it was dark,she could see the owner of the voice was a man.
His hands and legs were tied.

“I’m sure you were the one God told me is coming to save me! Hurry up and do something! They are coming!”

The man said from the hole and quickly, Joanna grabbed the ladder beside the hole and put it inside.

There was no time to get confused of ask questions.

She entered into the hole and yank off the rope from the man’s hand and feet and they both came out together.
“I know the way out! Follow me!” The man shouted.

“Hurry up!” Joanna said and they raced out of the dark corner.

They froze as they came out, standing face to face with Uganga and the people with him.
Uganda looked dangerous and murderous as he looked at them.

“You! Who are you and what are you doing in my shrine!

You foreign traitor..wbo has sent you here! How dare you try to rescue a traitor!”
Uganga roared and Joanna held tightly to the man’s hand.

“ shall face judgement!! Obudu!! Seize her!!”!! Joanna shouted in her head but she saw herself doing nothing to stop them but instead she was surrendering them..

The next morning, Joanna could see clearly where she was.

A village.

She was taken out from where she was being kept last night and taken to the king’s palace with the offence of trying to rescue a traitor.

The king declared that Joanna should be buried alive.

That was the punishment in the kingdom to thieves and traitors.

Without wasting a minute,two guards carried Joanna and off they left

[Story] » Tears Apart | Season 1 – Episode 14


Joanna could feel her herself running through a dark and endless tunnel.
A bottomless pit.

Then she felt herself being lifted up and thrown on the ground,with a gentle thud.
She opened her eyes and gasped.

Even in the darkness,she knew where she was.

Inside a shrine.

Joanna tried to stand up but her legs were in pains and she couldn’t do so.
She looked around and saw the alter with different idles.

A basin of blood layed beside the alter.
Joanna searched frantically about for a way out but found none.

If there was a way out of the shrine, Joanna was yet to see it.

Forcing herself to her feet,she looked about yet again.

She would never give up. She had always been courageous.
“No. I have to do something.” Joanna said and closed her eyes, gathering her powers.
Immediately,the shrine started to shake but Joanna didn’t bulge.

She closed her eyes tightly, gathering her powers then suddenly…a voice.
“Help…help me!!” The voice cried and Joanna forced her eyes open, burning fiercely with blue light.

Joanna was trying hard, trying so hard to control the blue fire.

She was losing it…she was losing the battle. Then she glanced at the alter and…

Boom! The shrine caught fire,over taking the voice calling out to her for help.