Sword of Destiny: The Cost of a Kingdom
By Caroline Anthony
November 10, 2017
I fell to the ground with a thud, a sharp pain emanating from my lower back and up my spine as my sword clanked across the floor. My opponent shadowed over me and threw his sword to the side before glaring at me with pulsing eyes. He grabbed me by my collar and lifted me to shoulder level before pulling back and punching my face, the coppery taste of blood invading my mouth. It started out as faint but the more he hit me, the stronger the taste became until that was all that was on my tongue. With one final hit he dropped my powerless body to the floor, an echo bouncing off the walls.
“Get up.” he spat with venom in his words as I crawled on the floor towards my sword. I was a few paces ahead before he caught up with me and the hard tip of his shoe cracked one of my ribs, lifting me a few centimeters off the ground. I rolled over on my back as bile rose in my throat and the need to scream invaded my every thought. But what was the point? No one would hear me anyway. It was just the two of us, just like he wanted. The predator and the prey. Nothing more than a game to him.
“Such a waste…” he taunted as he placed his heavy boot on my already broken chest. I wheezed, trying to catch what little breath I could, as I tried to push his boot off me. He must have noticed me struggling because he pressed harder onto my chest. I felt another rib snap under the pressure as a broken smirk slid onto his face. He was enjoying my pain more than he should have, and it was written all over his face.
I gritted my teeth together and placed my hands under the soul of his shoe. I needed to keep fighting. I wasn’t going to die like this, like the bug he thought I was. I used whatever strength I could muster and pushed his boot off me. He stumbled back a little, confused, as I got to my feet and pushed myself to grab my sword. With one hand wrapped around my waist to support my shattered ribs, I gripped the cold metal of the blade and swung around to face my opponent. He looked at me with another smirk on his lips and narrow eyes.
“You’re a fighter I’ll give you that.” he hissed. I took shallow breaths as I came closer to the enemy and lifted my sword. I brought it down, but he moved just before it could do any damage. He grabbed my hand and held my arm in place before he swung his fist and slapped me. I felt a small cut open up on my cheek. Without warning, the man kicked me, a heavy feeling hitting my chest again as whatever breath I had managed left my lungs. The heavy metal of my sword bounced off the walls as it clattered to the hard stone beneath our feet, my body joining it.
“For an expecting ruler, you didn’t put up much of a fight.” his thickly accented voice laced my ears as I shifted my eyes to look at him. Another smirk played across his lips before he gripped the handle of his sword and lifted it above his shoulders, the light hitting off the edges and into my eyes. That was the moment the world fell still, the moment when I saw the world slow, the moment a ghost of my mother kneeled next to me, playing tricks with my eyes.
“A queen fights for her people; much like any king before her. Don’t give up Catalina. Fight.” she whispered to me as she leaned forward and caressed the side of my face. With a heavy heart, a tear slipped from my eye before I looked back at the man and quickly shifted from under him before the edge of the sword could pierce my chest. A shooting pain radiated through my chest as I rolled over to my sword, the grip of the sheath providing me an undenying comfort and power. A sword meant for me; a destiny I could not deny; a fate I could not outrun. A kingdom I was sworn to protect. No matter the cost.