9 Chapter 6: A Scorpion in The Sun: Elyeria
I'm in a boat, the sun barely able to light up the brown wood of the ship, my arms were tired and my wrists were scraped raw from trying to free myself from the ropes. My feet were tied up, the ship rocked and swayed to the rhythm of the waves crashing against it. I was left with the cargo, I guess that's what I was then, something to be traded off for money, I tried to think of who they were, why they took me and only me. I thought about how they could've also taken Davin but they didn't, they would've made more money. I push this to the back of mind. Another lesson: "don't dwell on something that won't benefit you" I focus on escape I don't see any sort of it in sight, not at least until we end up where ever we're going. It was degrading being stuck here, having to be spoon fed just because I'm not trustworthy, I guess that's what happens when you kill someone. I wonder why I didn't feel guilty. Maybe it's because he tried to kill me, "in a world full of tenuous alliances and people with daggers hidden in bouquets of roses, remember to always choose you, for example someone is trying to kill you, if you have an opportunity to survive you take even if it hurts them" I knew I would never be able to follow that always, I knew that I'd give my life up for those who I deemed worthy of it. I try thinking about a way in which I'd be able to leave, they're guards at most ports so they'd have to untie me, if I can run and scream for help then maybe I could get help from a Baron family, they'd do nearly anything to gain the favour of a Marquis House.
A guard comes in, he's blonde, his hair was put in a sea wave style he had a few red spots on his forehead. I try to seduce him "if manipulation, bargaining or blackmail doesn't work the last resort is... between your legs" that came from one my friends, she left to go marry an Esiorn Baron. "just because I'm tied up doesn't mean that we can't have fun" I lean in, he does too. This was actually working, then he moves his face away quickly and starts cackling "oh my Gods!" he laugh grew in shriek and volume "what did you genuinely think that you were going to like swipe my dagger?" he kept laughing, now all of the sudden he doesn't look so attractive, he gets up "the guys are going to love this" he laughed his way up the stairs. I was attractive, there were many people who wanted me. Right? No, In any other situation, he'd be begging to be with me. No Elyeria you're gorgeous and smart, you didn't need a last resort to escape. I sit there and think. Am I going to die here? I had no idea why that was the first thing that popped into my mind. When it came to me in dangerous situations before this, I was so certain that I was going to live, I just knew that I wasn't going to die then, but why not now? I wasn't sure that this was the day, but I wasn't certain that I was going to live through this. Maybe it was because I didn't see something coming once and now my intuition is now twisted into uncertainty. I didn't give up if they wanted to kill me I was going to make them fight for it. I couldn't just let someone unworthy take my life, that's how I was going to die, somebody who was just as good at 'dancing' and 'climbing' would have a goal that would hinder me greatly and I would be the same thing to them as they were to me and then they'd get me killed. I knew that someone worthy was going to kill me whether it was Death itself that was going to take me at old age or another Dancer ready to knock me off the platform and make me fall and get impaled on the spikes below. I remember being the story of The Dance of The Marquis
"Do you know where the phrase, 'the Dance of the Marquis' comes from?" Kaalan said to me, I was under the covers, he was sitting on the edge of the bed "no" I said
"Do you want to hear the story?" he asked, Kaalan's stories were always the best, my favourite part of my childhood "Yes" I nod
"Okay, so the Gods are in their home in the sky , they grew bored of ruling this world, they wanted to explore the infinity, they were even in their infancy just as the world was, so they created a plan, they told the humans, that a few would get to rule" I loved how he spoke when telling me these stories, my mother would just grab a book and read a few pages until they made Kaalan our teacher and baby sitter "they made platforms on the other side of the world, people volunteered themselves, they were taken the platforms had different levels with crowns at the highest point. They were left at the bottom, the Gods didn't give them a signal people made alliances, people picked first targets people attempted to hide be unnoticed until it's too late. The Gods signalled them some of them ran straight for the upper levels, they were killed quickly, they were impaled at the bottom they pushed aside, some did get close. Those who made an alliance climbed up quickly, some were betrayed. Those who picked targets were so focused on killing that they didn't make it time, the bottom level fell most of the hundreds that hungered for power fell, those who killed were the ones who died. The next level fell and the next and the next until the top and the one under it were left. The man of what's now Manautius grabbed the Golden Crown and was declared ruler of them all, the Houses; Ristikos, Kasfi, Dachou, and Kyverni were the Marquises, those who were lower became The Barons,"
"What happened to those who didn't win?" I remember my young, ignorant self-asking that question "They fell" I grew up to realise that those who fell never got back up.
I didn't know how long I slept for but even with the ropes I felt comfortable, someone came in, it wasn't the same person as before they looked older they had more stubble, they had brown eyes. The ropes were cut off and replaced with a strong grip "don't try any of your tricks" I guess the blonde guy did tell them, as I was leaving the port I had to endure chuckles and failed attempts at holding the laughter in, so much for my last resort. The sun blinded me after my eyes adjusted, I was greeted with brick and the smell of meat, I didn't know how to describe the smell it was just. Round? That was the only thought that pooped into my head, I smelt fish and animal hearts, I heard the sounds of horns announcing the arrival of a ship. I was freed from my bonds but still surrounded. When I was ready to run a dagger was placed against my back "move and I'll use you like you gutted Mathis" one of them threatened with my dagger
"he brought that upon himself" I retort
"he joined us so that he could pay for heal his sick mother, to feed his family, he was a good man," I think I snapped a stick.
"then he tried to kill me and now he's rotting in the snow, he made a choice it got him killed, why exactly do you think you get to be angry for somebody else's choice and them experiencing a consequence? I thought only Baron and Marquises had that state of mind" I feel confidence, certainty, that's what it was "you really wanna die don't you?" one of them threatens his voice was smoother "this is the part where you trade me off, you can't hurt me that'll take too much time, you certainly can't kill me, invading the castle in the country with the strongest military in the continent, you probably sacrificed a lot of boys, for me, so you probably stand to gain a lot so you're not gonna do anything" I smile, I guess this wasn't the day that I was destined to die.
I walked through the place it was muddy, the brick houses were place placed right next to tunnels, I think I could figure this place out, 'Climbing' wasn't the only lesson I was taught. Terragraphy, the subject of the world and its terrain. I looked at the place mining tunnels, surrounded by brick houses, which right next ports. There was mud everywhere. I looked at the horizon to see the castles and spires in the distance. The Golden City. The Mudlands, the place where the highest concentration of gold is found, for house Ristikos, people are usually sent here to work, that's what the houses were for. I was led to a carriage and then a bag was placed over my head. I try to figure out where I was going, then I remember the carriage was facing the direction of the castles. My family could have to go war with Chrysia, the house rumoured to have the largest spy network could possibly plan something like what happened. I get to the castle after the carriage rocks and jumps slightly. I arrive. I'm led into the past the marble gates and I was lead into the castle, The walls were white and yellow. I was pushed into the room. A woman with fair skin, her eyes were grey her hair was a sunset blonde, I could see two wrinkles starting to form on her forehead the bottom being the longest and most defined, her lips were dyed with a light pink, and shiner was on them, both her eyebrows were arched the one on her left more so. "you seem like a smart girl, you know why you're here right?"
"I'm a hostage, but you can't officially announce or that'll be a declaration of war, so you're going to say that bandits took me and then you rescued me?" I take the liberty of sitting down in front of her.
"I did rescue you, I have ears everywhere and I heard whispers of you being put up for auction so I placed the highest bid, I'll send you back once I feel that you're well enough to travel, I brought you here so that we could get acquainted" her smile showed no teeth and made her lips stretch "guards!" she shouted, they came in with haste "escort the Marquess to one of the best guest chambers" she smiled at me, a thin-lipped one. I smile back. I stand "this way Marquess" their facial expressions were obscured by their helmets, their armour was red and black. There were banners on the wall, holding their Sun emblem. I cling to my scorpion necklace. I remember when my five older siblings and cousins were given them, they forgot about me I think I was five at the time, I remember feeling sad, ignored, unwanted like the extra that wasn't truly necessary, then my father gave me one I never took it off, even when the man who raised me, forgot about me, my father was the one who remembered me. I walk up the stairs and then shown to the bedroom. There was a Sun painted on the ceiling, The walls were painted red. I jump onto the bed, the softness was incredible I roll around in it, like a dog but I didn't care. I didn't know for how long I was lying down in there, but it was definitely long enough for me to fall asleep.
I was in a jail the door closed on me, I scream into the dark I look around panicked. I'm tied up and on my knees in front of a crowd, I look and see someone in a golden mask, they pour a liquid on me, it burns, I scream, I feel the liquid pour down my throat, I feel it choke me, I try to cough it up but it hardens in my throat. Someone kicks me, I fall the wind pushing on me, then I feel the spikes puncture me. I was able to open my eyes, I feel the gold get pushed in between my eye lids, I hundreds of bodies surrounding I see some of them twitch, I see scorpions crawl over some, I see some with thorns wrapped around their throats and puncturing their eye, some were covered blood and had their throats sliced open, some were covered in frost and others impaled by their throats their bodies floated upwards as if they had wings, some of them had pieces of the being whisked away by the wind becoming grey and faceless as of what made them human was gone and others had their gold poured into their skin burning them. These were people that failed the Dance, I was one of them, I fell.
I wake up, gasping for breath like there really was gold stuck in my throat suffocating me this entire time. This was another weird dream to add my collection, this felt more real, I felt the gold being poured on me, I felt the wind pushing against me, I felt myself being impaled on the spikes below. I was pulled out of my thought when someone opened the door, I pulled my eyes away from the indigo sunset. I look towards the door to see a girl with long hair and face stained with soot, "you've been invited to a banquet" she announces. Lesson 4: Never let an opportunity go to waste. Begrudgingly I push myself out of bed. "I don't have anything to wear," I said "The Marquess Mother left stuff in your closet"
"Okay, thanks," I said, after she lit the torches, I give her a look that makes her leave, I open the closet. I pull out a black dress, with no sleeves.
I'm led to the Great Hall, the place, was slightly crowded. I look around not knowing what to do. I walk over the table where the drinks were served, I felt like I was going to need a lot of these, "what would you like milady" the server smiled with yellow teeth "whatever you think tastes the best" I said, "one strawberry mango wine, coming right up"
"be careful those are known to make a person of the highest stature do something that'll make them all lose all the respect they had" I turned around to the boy that warned me, he had grey eyes and blonde hair, that was sea waved, "what? Did you do something that made you shamed throughout the land" I say playfully trying to make conversation "no, not that I know of at least" he chuckles
"what is your name?" I asked
"figure it out, I get the feeling that you're a girl that likes a good mystery" he gives a smirk, I smile back at him "you don't know who you're playing with I'm very good at these games" I smile back, this whole making friends is a lot easier than I made it out to be in my head, "let me guess, you're the Meldavorni Marquess Elyeria Kasfi" he smirked turned into a grin, he knew he was right "well you may be a more formidable opponent than originally thought"
"did you guess who I am yet?"
"no, but trust that one thing that I'm not known for is losing" he had grey eyes, fair skin and blonde hair, granted it was lighter than his mother's "You're the Chrysian Marquis, Vios?"
"And the scorpion guesses right" the music changes, he takes a light and soft grasp on my hand, he placed a kiss on the back of it, "would you like a dance?"
"I'd be honoured" we walk onto the dance floor and we move quickly, luckily one of my lessons was dance, we touched lightly on the dances of other cultures, I stumbled, we both laughed it off, he leads the dance though, so I was fine, mostly. It ended with me being held, as I was held just slightly above the floor, I saw his pupils expand slightly, my heart felt weird, why is that happening? I remember Sheera talking about that happening to her when she met 'Greatsword'. I look at him looking at me looking at him. The dance is complete, he and I talk until we get separated when the food arrives. I go to my chambers realising that I have an opportunity.