Sorry for the late post this Friday. The week has had me messed up and I thought that it was Thursday this morning. Oh well, haha, now on to part two for the Runaway King.
Byron leapt over to his cabinet and grabbed a set of servants clothes. He kept a pair in his closet so he could sneak around the kingdom without being noticed. He picked up his dagger from the bed and started cutting off lengths of grey hair. Byron frowned as the grey hairs fell to the floor. He remembered whenever color had touched those locks and the girls would swoon over a chance to meet him. Now all that is left is the remnants of a color pattern on his hair. The girls had disappeared long ago. Remnants, that is all Byron had to show for his life.
Finishing up his hair, Byron moved the dagger over the haggard skin of his face. He was careful when moving the blade over the wrinkles that had formed from years of worry about his reputation. Each stroke was calculated to not cut his face. He hadn’t shaved himself in so long, he was glad that he even could.
Byron looked in the mirror at the shell of his former self. The kingdom had been torture on him. Every decision being so paramount in sustaining the life of his kingdom. The stress and worry lines had appeared for the whole world to see. His eyes looked tired and worn. The man in the mirror seemed a much different person then the one he had dreamed about as a younger man.
Byron had always dreamed about running off and seeing the realm. He wanted to seek out every adventure and live the carefree life. All that was taken away with the death of his older brother. Byron’s carefree lifestyle got put in a quick second to the belief’s and ideals of the kingdom. He had sacrificed half his life to try and help others, and no one cared. All he had gotten was a life of second guesses and snide comments on his ability to rule, his ability to keep everyone alive. Byron saw his way out, and he was going to take it. His kingdom would fall tonight, but he wouldn’t be around to watch it happen.
The sound of the first siege engines firing on the castle shook the walls. Byron, dressed in his servants clothing, watched as nobles were running around trying to rally the untrained masses. The courtyard was a mass of confusion as everyone tried to save themselves. Byron watched as a group of men trampled a family down in their own fear. No one stopped to check on the family.
Byron stepped away from his window and cracked open his door to see if anyone was in the hallways. After waiting a few seconds for the coast to clear, he stepped into the hallway. Quickly moving down the hallway Byron fell into his role of a servant.
Halfway down the first staircase, Byron saw a group of people huddled together, afraid to move, but also afraid to be left behind for the invading force. No one knew what was going to happen whenever the siege engines busted through the gates and the initial armies entered the courtyard. The fear in the castle was so thick in the air, it made it hard to breath. Another shot rang out against the walls. Byron picked up his pace.
Turning a corner, Byron ran into a handmaiden carrying water to the infirmary. Byron held his breath, scared that the handmaiden would recognize him in the servant’s uniform. She reached down for her water pail and looked directly at him. Mumbling she turned and continued on her path. If she recognized the king, she didn’t show it as she went about her duty. Figures, Byron thought to himself, I wouldn’t even be recognized in my own kingdom.
Running down the stairs, forgetting all about the handmaiden, King Byron made quick time to the catacombs. The gate entrance normally had a lock, but Byron could see that it had been torn open. Even though the open gate was out of place to Byron, he ran past it, not thinking of anything but getting out of the castle and starting his new life in another settlement.
The catacombs had an overwhelming smell of death and decay. Everything in the area was covered by cobwebs, or remnants of cobwebs. The layers of dust were falling as the continued barrage from the siege engines pounded into the city. Byron lit a torch upon entering and scanned the area for any intruders. Upon seeing none, he started his journey to his secret tunnel. He started as a rat ran out from behind one of the tombs and crossed his path. Byron threw the torch, but missed the rat by the length of a sword. Shaking his head in shame for jumping at such a small animal, Byron picked up his torch and headed deeper into the catacombs.
The torch picked up a reflection from something on the floor. Catching Byron’s attention, he stepped beside the tomb when he heard a voice coming from behind him. Ducking down behind the tomb, Byron caught sight of two younger boys headed down the catacombs in the direction of the secret tunnel.
“Do you think we’ll get there in time?” one of the boys asked.
“We have to!” the other boy said as they walked past Byron.
If you missed Part #1, click on the linky.