TCoE: Suam Novam Vitam
A Short Story
Suam Novam Vitam is Latin, and in the name of this story, it means "his new life."
The events below occur after Sotan's Fall, the tragic downfall of a kingdom in The Deity Jewels, the first book of my YA epic fantasy series. The short story you're about to read is based in the point of view of the villain from Part One: The Prophecy. His mission from that night was sinister, and as he battles his mental state, he struggles to continue to follow his orders from the cult that manipulated him by threatening him and his family.
*Play video if you'd rather listen than read, or to read along with the audio*
Bitter soot engulfed the atmosphere as ash poured from the dark sky. The night was growing old as dawn slowly crept over the treetops. Massive clouds of toxic smoke drifted skyward.
A young man about twenty-two years old panted as he struggled to stumble through the dark forest. Undergrowth violently shook around him as critters darted away from his racket. He carried a young unconscious nine-year-old girl in his arms. His cloak covered his face, only revealing his parched lips. He groaned as he approached the tall walls that surrounded Domorda and Sithmora Territory. The man frowned as he rested the girl on the ground. Her long blonde curls bounced around her pale face in the light breeze as she remained asleep.
"What am I doing?" the man thought to himself as he cringed. A woman's gasp replayed over and over again in his head as blood splattered his vision. He twisted his body as he turned from her, trying to escape the gruesome memory. "I can't escape what I've done..." his low ragged voice tumbled from his lips as he glanced at the stone towers rising high into the sky ahead. He swiftly pulled a long leather pouch from inside his cloak. As he cut holes into the ends of the sack, he attached ropes for shoulder straps.
Once he managed to pull it over her and allow her legs to dangle from the holes he created, he hoisted her over his back. He grunted as he strained his thighs, rising from the ground to continue his mission.
"I'm doing the right thing, not taking her to The Shadow King... they said Demise wishes this for her over death. Everything will go according to plan... after I leave her, I will be out, and I won't have to do this anymore... The Shadow King will just have me executed if I return to the castle. Sinro Prison is where she belongs." His thoughts rumbled through his mind as he tried to fight his escalating guilt.
A girl's scream echoed through his head and shattered his train of thought. "No!"
He sighed as he shook his head, "Shite, Trinth. You know better. Stop... you have to shut it off before it-"
The girl started to rustle. His heart raced as he quickly lifted his arm over his shoulder to touch her head. His fingertips released a strange bright light as he closed his eyes. Within seconds she started to wake and open her eyes. Blood roared in his ears as his heart ached. Abruptly as he exhaled, her eyes closed, and she passed out. His eyes opened as he lowered his arm with shame. He inhaled deeply as his stomach turned.
"I have to get there and get this over with. I can't be a part of this," Trinth thought to himself as he frowned. He sighed as he readjusted the straps over his shoulders. Once he reached the tall stone wall, he pulled down his cloak over his forearms to release his climbing gear. Sharp hooks with ragged edges appeared at the end of the barrel that rested inside of the wrist. Trinth aimed it above the top of the wall as he inhaled. With a steady exhale, he pulled the release. The end of the device glistened as the hook exploded from within the brace.
As the hook clanged into the wall, he pulled on the rope to test its hold. Without a moment to lose, he began to pull himself up. He groaned as his muscles burned. His heart pounded against his chest as his body dripped with sweat. Red and pink streaks ripped across the sky as the sun peeked over the horizon.
The second his hands gripped the wall, he heaved them up over the edge. His breaths were sharp and short as he crashed to his butt at the top of the wall. He gasped as he struggled to get the straps off. He paused for a moment to catch his breath. His mind raced as his hood fell, revealing his flustered face and messy hair.
His soft blue eyes locked on her tiny face as he prepared to take her out of the carrier. He rapidly stopped when his blood froze. "What are you doing, Trinth? This poor girl..."
He struggled to hold back tears as the memory of his sword plunging through the woman's back flashed before him. He cringed as he flinched away from the child. "I'm a monster. She saw me do it."
"Trinth?" called a woman's voice. He sprang to his feet as he spun around to see a Sithmora. Her long brown hair was weaved into multiple braids. Her black leather shimmered in the light with her sword and daggers. She frowned as she craned her neck to see the little girl behind him. "You did it," she gasped.
Trinth's heart sank as he felt a pang of guilt overcome him. "Where is your leader? Where is Pazia?"
"Pazia is preparing The Memory Scrambler, remember? We need to wipe her memory and break the connection to her blessing. She won't be able to conjure her precious genetic powers anymore. She will be just like any other kid, who we will train to become one of us. She will do well, having a clean slate." Trinth nodded to her as he turned to pick up the little girl.
A ringing roared in his ears as he carried her down the corridors of Sinro Prison. Footfalls and gasps from nearby Sithmora that witnessed the sight echoed around him. He swallowed back the lump forming in his throat as they approached a cold and quiet dungeon. He stopped dead in his tracks as he noticed two Sithmora standing guard by the cell, designated for the little girl. Inside, low growls erupted from the shadows. He frowned as he looked at the two Sithmora that waited for him to carry her closer. The one on the left was young, about eighteen years old.
Long crimson curls rolled down over her shoulders and to her hips as she locked gazes with Trinth. Her emerald gaze pierced his soul as he watched them glisten with hate but soon fade to pity for a moment when they skimmed over the little girl's limp body in his arms. "So, this is Princess Evaleana, correct?" she asked with a hand on her hip as she narrowed her eyes at him.
"It's her. Once she is with the beast, it will prove it when it penetrates her mind. Now," he grunted as he rested her inside the cell on a small cot. He turned to face the other Sithmora, an older woman with dark skin and long silver hair. She was half-elf; her pointy ears and distinct high cheekbones stood out to Trinth as his body shook with fear. Her purple irises glistened as her strange thin pupils enlarged like a cat's.
"Pazia." He grinned. "You asked me to bring her to you, now that I have," he paused as he leaned in closer. "Where is my family?" he demanded as his anxiety promptly diminished.
Her lips curled in a smirk as she slowly pressed a hand on his chest. His eyes narrowed as she abruptly shoved him backward. As he crashed to the cold, hard stone floor, she swiftly locked the cell with him inside.
Trinth quickly scrambled to his feet to throw himself into the bars towards her. His nostrils flared as his heart raced. "Where are they?" he screamed.
Pazia grinned as she shrugged. "Don't worry; you will see them again when you join Demise in the Abyss. He will honor your service, and they too will contribute to this great cause our glorious leader has ordered us to begin."
"Where are they!?" Tears started to stream down his face as he crashed to his knees, his muscles weak as his blood ran cold. He began to shake as he covered his face in his hands.
Abruptly the memory of killing the little girl's mother replayed in his mind. He screamed as he kept his eyes sealed shut, rocking back and forth as he tugged on his hair. He lunged from the ground and slammed his body against the bars again. His blue eyes flared as he glared at Pazia with a menacing fury. "You will pay for this," he growled as she started to walk away. "You hear me? She-devil!" he spat. "You'll pay for this! All of you monsters will pay for what you've done!"
"Trinth?" a girl's voice called. He jumped awake in sheer panic as he scanned his surroundings. The young girl they ordered him to kidnap, Princess Evaleana, was gone. He frowned as he turned to see the young crimson-haired Sithmora staring at him from behind bars. He groaned as he rolled over.
"What do you want?" he grumbled.
"My name is Cythia. I know you don't trust me, but if you wish to live, to escape and start over, I need you to promise me something."
Trinth froze as he felt his heart pound against his chest. For nearly a year, the Sithmora cult had kept both him and the princess locked away, half-starved and beaten. The cold of winter seeped in through the cold stone walls as he slowly lifted his head to look into her green eyes. "Promise you what exactly?" he grilled with narrowed eyes.
Cythia smiled as she anxiously readjusted her leather choker with a large emerald in the center. She sighed as she looked toward the end of the corridor. "You must swear on your life that you will help me save Evaleana."
"A chance of redemption, to help ease your soul on what they manipulated you to do to save your family... Sithmora are ruthless, and this secret cult, in particular, is all the more vicious. They will break her and turn her into one of them. She will become a servant for Demise, and he will use her to bring destruction and suffering to Trindavin. Her destiny is to become the next Enchantress and bring an end to The Dark War. The Divine have spread the word that there will be another she will work with to bring balance back to our world."
Trinth froze as he remained silent, deep in thought. Cythia smiled as she watched him rise to his feet with a determined expression. "I promise. So long as you promise not to betray me. If I help you, you help me. What is the plan? While you're at it, what's the plan for her? I can't just raise a child on the run."
Cythia grinned as she shrugged. "I'll help you. Look, we can find her a better home or figure something out. No matter what, she deserves something better than this. I promise I won't betray you."
Trinth nodded. "Let's get this over with then. You help me get out of here with her, and I'll help you get her somewhere safe."
TO BE CONTINUED...
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