Betrayal – part one – a story based on #freewrite prompts!

Introduction:

Thanks to various freewrites a few months ago, I came up with a random story which I called Certain Chaos. During March I tried to turn it into a proper 50,000 word story with the freewriters at the @freewritehouse for #MarchMadness… anddddd I didn’t succeed.

I just wasn’t in to the story and every time I wrote something I was just, “What the hell is this? Why is my protagonist such a whiny man? Why didn’t I do this how I originally planned to do it? I hate it! Now I’m just as whiny as my character! Argh!”

Originally the story was going to be in my usual medieval-esque fantasy magical setting, instead I tried to do something weird and whacky with a post-apocalyptic style thing. It was fun in that I could mangle our native animals: “Koalas, once cute and fluffy things used to terrorise tourists in the form of imaginative drop-bears, had become actual drop-bears. Violent balls of fur and teeth that would fall from the trees and tear your head off.” – but overall, I couldn’t stand it.

I was reviewing my original plan and basic plot with @steemydave and he convinced me that it was a good story and to try again. So. Here I am. 🙂 Not trying to do 50,000 words in a month or anything ~ mad ~ but just writing a story with the daily freewrite prompt that may eventually one day become a real story I’d like to edit, add to, and work with.

And this introductiony thingy is too long. Babble babble. 😀

Today’s prompt is: time.
You can find the daily prompt at @mariannewest’s blog!
Today’s header image is thanks to: John Salvino on Unsplash!

 


Betrayal

Tonight Henry and Sebastian would escape Harclyffe’s vile hands —a departure that was long overdue. Provided neither Sebastian nor his contacts fucked up.

Henry clutched the balustrade and peered down into the courtyard. White candles ensconced in black lanterns threw soft light over the cobblestone path and illuminated the heads of a thousand elegant people. Mostly women, of course. Harclyffe would have it no other way.

Dressed in gleaming satin and adorned with gemstones that sparkled even from this great height, they waited patiently for the bells to toll, for the sound that would allow them entry into the grand estate… for the sound that would, little did they know, signify the beginning of their respective ends.

A small, mirthless smile touched his lips as he pulled the bell rope. Twenty silver bells tinkled against one another and rang out into the cloudless night, their delicate chime informing the finely-dressed crowd they could now proceed into the manor-house. This would be the last time he ever rang those cursed things. After tonight, he would be free… or as dead as those who had just walked through the parlour door.

He climbed down the ladder and jumped onto the marble floors, then hastily straightened his appearance as he headed for the ballroom. Though Henry had long lost his noble privilege, Harclyffe demanded all serfs retained their wellborn style and mannerisms. All servants belonged to great houses that once rivalled his own —houses that were no longer capable of opposing his— and served as a warning to others, not that many would dare confrontation with the great, despicable Lord of the east; the Eastern Lord who was rumoured to have dark spirits at his command.

The whispered tales were not far from the truth, but the reality was worse. He and Sebastian would have to work quickly after this night was over or the sweet taste of freedom would soon transform into a bitter taint that would mar more than just their throats.

A piano’s ethereal melody drifted out into the corridor, the keys caressed by inhuman fingertips, and simultaneously called for the women to dance and for the serfs to take their places. Compelled by the music to hurry, Henry tucked a rogue hair behind an ear and stepped into the ballroom. Hopefully Sebastian’s contacts were both reliable and prepared. There wouldn’t be much of an escape if Harclyffe’s spiritual webs could ensnare them at any given moment.

Dressed with dainty silver fixtures from wall to wall, the ballroom was constructed wholly of white marble and delicate crystal and twinkled as sunlit stars beneath the gleam of innumerable tapers. A mass of bodies crowded the polished floors, swaying in time with the rhythm, and they sashayed in and around quartz pillars that bordered the circular room. The columns reached ever upwards to hold up the arched ceiling near to where Harclyffe stood on a balcony and looked over his guests… looking for those suitable for ‘assisting’ him this night. Henry inwardly shuddered, unable to physically display his distaste. There had been too many deaths and too much blood, beginning with that which had belonged to his own family. It needed to end.

A hand fell upon his shoulder. Though unnerved, Harclyffe’s melody prevented him from reacting with the shock that would have otherwise assailed him and he slowly turned around with a ready smile, preparing to bow low to the noble of a yet-undispatched house who desired his attention. He paused as ice blue eyes and a lopsided smirk grinned down at him from beneath the blonde mop of a tall, svelte man.

Sebastian. And he looked remarkably… unburdened.

“Henry Wylswoode,” Sebastian winked then deposited something small, hard as stone, warm and faintly nauseating into the palm of his hand. “A gift from our new… patron.”

“Patron?”

Henry winced as the unknown entity he clutched grew impossibly warmer and stabbed deeper into his flesh before it vanished entirely, leaving only a bitter coating of nausea over his tongue. A weight lifted from his chest and, as though in response to the odd disappearing stone, the excessive candlelight briefly brightened before returning to normality.

“Yes. Patron,” Sebastian’s grin widened. “Feel better?”

The guests were unperturbed and continued to dance and swirl across the shining floors, their soft chatter as light and cheerful as ever, and Harclyffe remained on the balcony overhead, seemingly unaware that two of his assets were weaving themselves out of his decade-long web with the help of another, yet-unknown Lord.

“Who?”

Sebastian shrugged and nodded at the oblivious revellers.

“It’s not important. It’s also not time yet. Act normal and wait for the signal. You’ll know when they’re ready,” he chuckled. “Everyone will know and we’ll vanish in the chaos.”

 


 

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