*Limping behind schedule, but determined not to give up*
A-Z April Fantasy Flash Fiction, part 14. Character: Perandes
The Formidable Men of Canaeton saw their first mission mere days after their official date of creation. Intelligence told us of a impeding ‘Nairan raid on one of our southern harbours. This was the enemy’s usual tactic; they were trying to circumvent the front and strike at links in the supply and command chains further behind it. They were to stop the raid and protect the assets.
The skirmish that ensued was an overwhelming victory. I heard the news while eating dinner with Lord Ferreidi, Knight of the Fourth Tower, and the king. The Lord Knight spoke energetically of his beautiful foreigner wife. Although my official title was still High Ambassador, I noticed I was spending a lot of time in direct service of the king, as a sort of advisor, since the war with ‘Naira broke out. As an ambassador, I had learned a lot about our enemy during the rickety peace, and that was what made me valuable now.
A guard burst into the rose-studded, fragrant courtyard with the news of the raid. The raid had been thwarted, and the ‘Nairans had run for the hills after suffering ghastly losses. “Our forces have also caprured two prisoners,” the guard informed us, “and have taken the liberty of bringing them here. They thought His Highness, or perhaps the High Ambassador, would be interested in. Shall I send them in?”
The king was delighted at the thought, and eagerly gestured his approval. The guard disappeared out the door.
After a short wait, he returned, looking severely flustered.
“I have just received word that one of the two prisoners has escaped, right here in the castle!” He spluttered, “We are doing our utmost to find him!”
“I would still very much like to see the other one.” The king proclaimed, and so the guard hurried off, and a moment later shoved in a girl, whose hands were tied behind her back. The paleness, straight, long black hair, loose, simple clothes and bare feet identified her as ‘Nairan, and she was quite nondescript for her kind, except for the fact that she was strikingly young. In any case, we all agreed was definitely too young to have carried the spear that another guard showed us, which they claimed to have confiscated from her. I asked for her name, and when she did not answer, I tried again in her language.
“GooiKe.” She replied with a steely, defiant tone. Prisoner. No matter my kind negotiation, she would not give any other name. She did not want to be anyone else than a prisoner to us.
“How old are you?”
On the kings’s prompt, I ask: “Is that old enough for you to be fighting?”
“Everyone who is strong enough to wield a weapon is old enough. That is the law in ‘Naira.”
She was a prisoner, indeed, and always had been. A prisoner to that abhorrent land, and the abomination they called their culture.