Monday, 3 June 2013

Monday, June 03, 2013 -

The Captive

by Rue Chapman
Published: May 30, 2013
Words: 56,468
Category: romance, fantasy
Orientation: M/F
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Camlin kept her eyes closed. If they didn't know she was awake she might hear something useful.

The taste of failure and betrayal was bitter. Oh yes, she'd hear something useful, and she'd miraculously escape from the shackles, make her way unscathed through the Citadel, past the guards teeming through every corridor, escape under the noses of her deadliest enemies, out into a city full of people who'd line up for the chance to kill her on sight. And then just a few hundred miles of open plain with no cover and no way to travel, up to a mountain range with rock faces so sheer and jagged that they seemed to shred the sky. And then she'd be almost safe.

No, if she managed to escape the restraints her only chance of escape was to find the nearest guard and run onto his sword.

She lay still, hating them. Hating the ones who'd betrayed her like this. Men with no honour. What could you expect from false-king Tor and his foul brother?

Arbrec, Prince of the Realm, glanced at the still figure strapped to the bench. He studied her for a moment, then turned to his brother. "She's been out for too long. They must have given her too much."

King Tor shook his head. "She's been awake for the last ten minutes."

Camlin opened her eyes to glare at her enemies. Both brothers were tall and broad, making the cell seem even smaller as they loomed over her. Thick blonde hair glittered golden in the dancing light of the torches on the walls. Armour gleamed coldly - and two pairs of dark blue eyes even colder. Her own eyes were the same deep midnight blue, glittering almost black with hatred now. "I came to you under the flag of truce. You have no honour."

"We guaranteed your safety. And you're quite safe here, nobody can get to you." Tor waved a careless hand at the cold stone of the dungeon walls. His lips curled in a smile that didn't reach his eyes.

"My people will know you've broken your word. No treaty will ever be made with you, no other ruler will ever trust you. By killing me you've destroyed this kingdom, and your dynasty."

Tor reached out touched her hair, running a long strand through his fingers. "It's like black silk, isn't it. Lovely. And, my dear little viper, we're not going to kill you."

Camlin tossed her head, trying to evade his touch. "Keeping me prisoner will amount to the same thing. I came here in good faith to negotiate - you gave me your word on the Blood. A sacred oath."

Arbrec's laugh was forced and angry. "Why would we negotiate with a rebel?"

"My troops hold the northern passes, without those trade routes overland you're totally dependent on the sea. On Kathlian ships. And Kathlia is a dangerous neighbour for a weakened country. You have to negotiate with me or there'll be a Kathlian flag flying over the Citadel before next harvest."