Frey Bethella sat on a small stool gazing blankly into space. The letter he had just read fell slowly from his grasp. He was in shock. There had been whispers and rumours among the other guards but Frey never believed it. Benson Foghearth, Captain of the Guard, was an honourable man Frey told himself. This couldn’t be true. Surely Benson would never harm an innocent. Let alone newborn babies? He felt sick, wishing now he had returned the letter instead of letting his curiosity get the better of him.
Frey remained on the City wall of Malsor City on duty, confused and wondering. Hurt even. Ben wasn’t just his captain but a friend. The hour finally came when Frey’s watch was over. The sun had departed and the moon introduced itself. Frey’s replacement, Liam, came up beside him. Frey didn’t even notice. He was lost in his thoughts.
Liam stood there looking at Frey with a cheeky smile. Eventually he spoke.
“Frey,” he said “Your watch is over. I’ll take it from here.”
Only then did Frey notice Liam. He looked up, trying to conceal his thoughts, but he knew his eyes gave something away.
“Are you alright Frey?” said Liam “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
Frey stared at him for a moment before responding. “It’s nothing, I’m just tired.” he said silently.
“Go home to your wife and that little daughter of yours.” said Liam.
Frey hoped up off the stool and walked away frantically. Liam gave him a look of confusion.
Faster than he ever did before, Frey returned home. His home was tiny, it was only one room. It consisted of a large bed where he lay with his wife and a smaller one for his daughter. There was a small pot over a hearth where his wife cooked for her family. Lastly there was a small bath, large enough for only one adult.
Natalya, Frey’s wife, was sitting up on her bed knitting. Frey’s daughter Maria was his most prized possession. The eight year old was sleeping on her small bed, suckling her thumb as she always did with her year old puppy at her feet.
Frey did not look at Natalya as he entered. He rushed over to his sleeping daughter and kissed her on the forehead. “I love you” he whispered softly.
He turned to his wife. His face was that of a mad man. She was about to speak but Frey interrupted her.
“Liam is sick,” he said “I have to cover his watch. I just came by to check on you”
Natalya frowned. “I was looking forward to your company.” She said “Maria is a heavy sleeper; we could have had some fun.” She said smiling.
“Another time.” said Frey, fear still shrouding his face. Natalya didn’t suspect a thing.
Natalya held up some small red gloves she had been knitting. “For Maria” she said “What do you-”
Frey interrupted her. “I’m sorry Nat,” he said with despair “Not now, I have to get back.” Frey couldn’t hold a stare into his wives face. He was growing nervous.
He burst through the door of his house out onto the street. The streets were empty. Only the sound of the light breeze on young birch trees made a noise. He felt the handle of his sword and gripped it tightly. “I have to do this,” he said quietly to himself with courage in his tone.
Frey marched through the narrow streets of Malsor City as fast and as natural as he could. He stopped at a tall three story house and looked up. A window on the top floor shined with light. Frey knew that was the window of Benson’s chambers. The front door of the building was unlocked. Frey quietly rose up the stairs step by step until he came to the third floor.
Standing at the door of Benson’s chambers he stopped and gazed at the door, taking slow deep breaths. Courage finally possessed him and he knocked. Benson answered wearing nothing but a silk blue robe lined with gold. His face all of a sudden seemed smug to Frey. Benson stood a few inches taller than Frey despite Benson being barefooted and Frey wearing his heeled iron boots.
Benson gave Frey a look of exasperation. “Frey,” he said “What in the name of Aegius could you want me for at this hour?”
Frey gave him a bold stare. “I need a word captain. May I come in? Less ears the better.”
“Come on in then.” said Benson with a sigh.
Frey walked in and stood tall, taking a deep breath. When Benson closed the door and turned he was met with a bold gaze from Frey. Benson was about to say something but Frey interrupted.
“Is it true” questioned Frey.
Benson tilted his head “Is what true? Have you been drinking again?”
“You know what.” said Frey with a raised voice. He began to somewhat shake with nerves.
“I do not have time for this nonsense.” said Benson.
“The babies.” said Frey, his voice clear and bold.
Benson’s eyes widened, shocked. “Where did you hear this?” he said, his tone was now one of fear.
“One of the counsels came by the cities front gate earlier,” began Frey “He was looking for you. He had a whole bag full of letters. This one must have fallen out. I was going to have it returned but I couldn’t help but read it. I wish I hadn’t now.”
A lone tear fell from Frey’s eyes. He continued. “How could you do such a thing. Having newborn babies taken from their mothers and put down.”
Benson spoke up. “Their lives would have been suffering. There is not enough food in all of Arathorn too feed so many babies. The homeless and lowborn breed like fucking rabbits in this city, it was becoming a problem. The king ordered-“
Frey stopped him; his voice was filled with anger. “Auroch-shit too that. Fuck the king. This is nothing but sick murder. My sister’s baby was taken from her last month and killed. I know for a horse fucking fact that my sister was well capable of raising that baby.” Frey’s heart was drowned in passion and anger.
Benson did not have a response.
Frey began the speech of arrest. “Ben Foghearth, Captain of the Guard of Malsor City. In the name of the King I am placing you under arrest for crimes against the people of Malsor.”
Frey pulled a pair of iron handcuffs from his belt and shoved Benson face first against the door. He gathered Benson’s hands and began placing the iron handcuffs around his wrists.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into Frey,” said Benson “You’re an idiot. The killings were ordered by the king. Anyone who’s important in this city knows all about it.”
Frey turned Benson around and gave him a look of fury. The door Benson had his back up against suddenly smashed open, knocking him onto the ground hard. Three armed men entered the room. They were not guards, but knights, their faces concealed behind mighty plate helms. They each wielded huge shining, double-edged swords gripped tightly in both hands.
“About bloody time,” moaned a bruised Benson. “Kill him, he knows everything. If this gets out we’ll have a bloody riot on our hands.”
Frey drew his long sword. It was dwarfed by the monsters the knights held. One of the knights stepped towards Frey and raised his sword before slamming it down. Frey stepped to a side dodging the blow. He raised his sword and struck down on the back of the knight’s neck. Blood sprayed out like a wild geyser and the knight fell flat on his face, dead.
A second knight came running at Frey, but this one was better prepared. Frey and the knight traded parry after parry. The knight’s sword was larger, lighter and unfortunately for Frey, the man using it clearly a better fighter. With a final heavy clash of steel, Frey’s sword was knocked from his hands. Now unarmed, the knight stalked Frey while the third knight watched on and Benson remained lying on the ground watching.
The knight finally raised his sword and brought it down, but Frey had stepped under it. The knight turned and growled before nodding at something over Frey’s shoulder. The third knight stuck his double-edged sword through Frey’s back. The knight twisted and shoved it further in before it burst out though his stomach. Blood filled Frey’s mouth, but he did not make a sound. The knight withdrew his sword and with that Frey fell forward on his face, dead.
“Get the bodies out of here,” howled Benson at the two remaining knights. “We’ll have to cover this up.”
The sun rose bright in the morning, not a cloud to be seen. Maria sat up in her bed sucking on her thumb. Sandor, her puppy lay asleep at her feet. She looked over at the bed where she would see her mother and father sleeping each morning. Her mother slept soundly, a pair of red gloves by her side. Her father was not there this morning.
A loud banging could be heard on the front door. Natalya sat his startled. She put on one of the robes she had knitted herself and walked over to the door. “Go back to sleep.” she told Maria.
Natalya stepped outside. Maria could hear her mother talk to a man. Through the closed door she could only make out grumbling. A few minutes passed before Natalya returned. Tears filled her eyes but she did not cry. She looked over at Maria. Natalya’s eyes told a story. She walked over to Maria and lay down on her bed which was much too small for the both of them. After embracing Maria with a long kiss on the forehead she looked into her eyes.
“Fathers dead.” said Natalya as she broke out in a gentle cry. “There was a fire during the night. Your daddy saved many people. He was brave. But the fire got him.”
They sat on the tiny bed, hugging and crying together for a sad hour. Eventually Natalya stood up and spoke. “Get dressed honey. We’ll go to the House of Aegius and say a prayer.”
Author Bio: Darrell Monks is 20 year old life-long fan of medieval fantasy. His favoured series include a Song of Ice and Fire, The Elder Scrolls and many works of Tolkien. He is a student in horticulture, passionate about nature, birds and storytelling.