The sounding thump of Stolwort’s collapsed form woke Reanna from her shock. Stolwort--the ever dower and loyal Seneschal whom whenever she was grounded for something. Stolwort would secretly treat her with hidden candies away from her parent’s ire.
Stolwort now laid dead on the floor with his head caved in.
The unreal nature of his death was still shocking to Reanna. One moment he was alive, sternly breathing, the next moment he was…
The squirts of blood when Balic removed the spike of his Warhammer out of Stolwort’s face, brought Reanna back to the moment at hand. But, the memory of Stolwort’s face getting shattered by the spike, made Reanna hurl her consumed vegetable soup onto the wooden flooring.
“I never did like that man.” Balic sneers. He took a glance at the gory spike of his Warhammer. Balic then faced the Recrest family with a smirk that was so insidious that the lady baroness instinctively took a step a back.
Reanna’s father Rembrandt was furious. So furious of his reaction palm the table with his tense hands, slamming it down with his boiling fury. He then swiped down to grab the wooden chair beneath him, ready to brawl with the armored Rhaodian.
“Darling, take the children through the servant’s scullery,” Rembrandt said, eyeing Balic’s steady walk towards him.
“Remmy--don’t be a fool. Come with us!?”
“Darling, there is no time. Just do what I say, Woman, just this once…” Rembrandt growled, stilling staring down Balic. Rembrandt had his wooden dining chair in one hand and a porcelain bowl on the other hand.
“I’m not letting go anywhere.” Balic sneered before his face was shattered by the porcelain bowl Rembrandt threw at him that moment. Rembrandt lifted one of the dining knives usually arrayed with the other silverware. His wooden chair as his shield and his silver knife as his weapon, Rembrandt mentality prepared himself for the oncoming violence.
Balic’s surprised face, morph into outraged fury. Balic cursing began to pick through the porcelain fragments that were haphazardly planted on his weathered face.
“You are definitely first to go, Miloooord.” Balic sneered again. He then smartly slide down his metal visor from his helmet to guard his face. Rembrandt staring at his odds, fighting a heavily armored man with a wooden chair stool and a silverware knife, sighed in acceptance.
Rihanna his wife, gave him nod; also accepting the outcome. Reanna Mother than held Regulus shoulder with her right hand to push him towards the servant's opened door. Reanna did not budge from her spot, the emptiness she felt for Stolwort turned into building fury towards that man who killed her Seneschal.
“Reanna.” Her mother softly called her. Reanna turns her head towards her mother’s open hand.
“Come with me, you stubborn child... Hurry.” She whispered, trying to gander any more attention from Balic. The air was stagnant with tension, her father and Balic were each staring down each other with the cruel resolve of bloody murder.
Her mother yanked her arm to move her from her dining spot. Reanna wanted to watch, and help she can. Her father could not fight Balic alone. She was trained, she trained for this her whole life. Ready to protest against her mother’s urging pulls, she turned to her. Her mother’s face was absolute, eyes brimming with tears, yet determined to get Reanna and Regulus somewhere safe.
Reanna relented to her mother’s urges, and let her yank her out into the scullery room.
Door’s closing, Reanna’s line of sight of her father were quickly diminishing. Reanna hoped that this will not be the last time she saw her father alive. The servants and kitchen staff were all waiting for them to continue onwards pass the scullery room. They were all nervously clutching their kitchen utensils like squires ready for the fight. Their chief Japar from the far east of the Archipelago, holstered up one of his traditional machete with a slight curve on the tip.
Japar and his staff were all ready to be the second line of defense for the Recrest noble family.
Reanna could feel her mother shaking underneath her grip. Her mother quickly pulled Regulus and her past Japar and his staff, into the servant corridors of the manor.
Her mother was muttering to herself. She calling their father a fool. And she was trying to find a way to escape their predicament.
“We need to find our Retainers. Maybe they can sort out this mess.” Her mother said, adamantly finding a course out of this horrifying predicament. Reanna nodded to her mother’s formulated plan. Her mother was relieved that Reanna wasn’t going to be stubborn about it. Her mother let her arm go with a nod. A smile crept into Reanna’s face at the moment. Her mother finally trusts her to not do anything stupid.
With her mother holding her younger brother close to her and Reanna following behind. They continued onwards through the servant halls. Screams and the clanging of swords clashing were heard all around them as they continued out of the servant corridors and into the main halls. Reanna’s mother held her brother tightly while they pave through the conflict, searching for a friendly face in the fray.
Two men garbed in shadowed night turn to their steps. Their face was gored with blood, beneath them with dismembered corpses of Manor guards.
“Over there!” One of the men called, spotting them. His accented Rhaodian voice showed his allegiance. Reanna’s mother turned them both away from the direction the two men were approaching. Escaping their line of sight, they hurriedly quicken their pace from the heavy steps behind them. The men unfazed with the gore of their brutality brushed through the body parts of their prey. They kicked limbs aside. They hurried their chase of the mother and children who were retreating from them.
Rihanna took a gambit and stowed her children and herself in one of the servant corridors throughout the hallway.
“Inside, quick!” Her mother pushed Regulus inside, before her. The small spacing of the corridor looked uncomfortable to Reanna, but they rushed in before the men who were chasing them spotted them. It was a dead end servant corridor, usually for janitorial storage. There was a mop and a bucket of hazy water at the side of the door they entered through.
Quietly closing the door before the men past by. Her mother then took a deep sigh of hesitant relief.
“Did you see where they went?” A gruff voice said the same voice who spotted them earlier.
“Bah. Check the corridors, they couldn’t have gone far.”
“The woman was dressed as a lady.”
“Aye? Let's show her a good time then…”
Reanna tightened her fist at the comment that was audible through the door. ‘I’ll show them a good time.’ She thought. She pictured herself using the mop at the side of her as a weapon and piercing it into their guts as they screamed for bloody mercy.
“Reanna…” Her mother clutched her arm. “Take Regulus. Find someone loyal to the family and get out of here.”
Not knowing why her mother would ask her this.
“Reach your eldest brother, if you can.” Her mother continued, her face was resolute and composed as it always has been before. Her mother was up to something.
Her mother, Rihanna of Regmont, took her manicured hand onto the wooden shaft of the mop stick. Now Reanna knew what her mother was doing. Her mother pushed open the door, blindly swinging.
For all the things Reanna thought of her mother, at that moment. Her mother to her was like a lioness with her mop, as she battered the dumbfounded expressions of the men before her.
Hesitantly, Reanna took a hold of her brother’s shoulder. Her brother was edging to help their mother who was currently distracting the men with her haphazard assault. Reanna would sometimes cringe when her mother struck air. But for the many misses she gave, she did land some critical blows onto the attackers before her.
“Stupid bitch.” One of the men said. He was momentarily blinded from one of her mother’s lucky swings. The swing of the mopstick was amateur at best, clearly, her mother had no training in actual combat, or cleaning at best. But at least her mother was trying. As long as the two men were distracted, Reanna needed to get her brother out of there.
Regulus was bawling into tears, as realization struck him that moment. Struggling against Reanna’s pulls, he tried calling for his mother.
“Please mother!” Regulus sputtered, tears now glimmering out. Reanna tossed and pulled her distraught brother away from their mother who was still distracting the guards. Her mother battered away the men’s parrying swords, continuing with her frenzied assault.
One of the man, taken a few too many cursed at their mother. “I didn’t want to kill you yet, but you left me no choice.” The man snarled. Her mother took a swing at him. The man ignored the blow she gave him on the shoulders. He took a step than thrust with his bastard sword--right into her mother’s abdomen region.
Reanna’s brother responded with a scream as he watched back. Turning her head to see the reason. An undescribed pain crossed through her center, at the vision of her mother collapsing into the man’s sword. Her brother was balling and frozen to his spot, as they watch their mother being impaled.
Reanna was still in shock. Her internal reaction was the same with her brother, she would have screamed and balled out her eyes, if not for the unbelievable surprised she felt. People dying was a common occurrence, but she had never thought it would affect her this much. It was her mother who was dying before her, her always stern and composed mother.
Reanna knew the moment she had witnessed this, that this vision of her mother being impaled, will haunt her for the rest of her life.
One of the men spotted them. Her brother and she were twenty paces away from the grizzly scene, nearly at the end of the sectioned hallway. A blonde figure came out behind the two men.
“Jayce!” Reanna instinctively screamed.
Jayce hurled himself behind the two men, swinging his rapier with a panicked fury. Slitting the throat of the assailants who turned to face him. After the precise slash, he turned and hop forward with flicker, thrusting the point into the man’s leather chestguard. The man with his bastard sword that was still in their Mother tried to pull it back to counter Jayce’s mechanical assault--but was too late. The man shook into his final death throes when he's got chest impaled. He then collapsed into the floor from the edge of Jayce’s point.
Reanna took back her to senses, from the display of martial feats. Rushed over to her mother and Jayce. Her brother following by her. Kneeling onto the swelling puddle of blood, Regulus and Reanna helped their mother to the side, where the pain should have lessened. Her mother’s browed furrowed confused, as she stared up at Reanna and Regulus. Regulus streaming tears and constant moans clouded his incessant calling for his mother.
Their mother’s once composed expression was now of sad defeat. It crippled Reanna’s heart when looking down at her mother’s dying expression.
“Look after your brother...Reanna...my darling…”
It was one of those rare occurrences when her mother called her darling. Reanna shoulders slump even lower.
“I will…” Reanna said with a nod to her mother’s saddening expression.
“Please do not go mother.” Regulus sputtered out, from his cluttering cries.
Droplets of salty tears smack incessantly on their mother’s face from Regulus teary form.
“Oh Reggie, my darling, my love...my--”
Reanna’s mother’s eyes slowly faded out of life with unbidden words unending. Regulus balled his moans out even louder at the passing. Jayce face paled at her death, turn his head aside in shame for not coming any sooner.
A clatter of steel rang at the far end of the hallway.
“We have to get out of here, Lady Reanna,” Jayce advised, looking nervously at the section where the noise was.
“Give us a damndest moment.” Reanna sniped. She was holding her mother head onto her lap. Reanna, rubbed the tears drops that were ruining her mother’s complexion. She then softly closed her mother’s eyelids down. Her mother now, looked asleep, asleep in red surroundings, like a bed of roses beneath her.
The clattering of steel stopped. Clattered metal footsteps replaced the momentary silence. Balic barged into the hallway with two similar garb men at his back. Balic took a glance at the scene before him. He spotted Reanna, then took a broad smile.
Jayce stood in front of Regulus and Reanna to block Balic's view of Reanna. His face paling, he said.
“Take your brother and yourself, my lady, out back at the courtyard.”
“I am deeply sorry, that I did not come any sooner,” Jayce said, swallowing his regret.
“Reanna please...go.” Jayce urged.
This was the first time, he called her by her name without her prompting him to call her it. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she nodded to Jayce’s back. She took her brother who was still kneeling in their mother’s blood. Her brother Regulus was silent at defeat, so saddened of his mother's passing, he did not argue when she pulled her off his feet and away.
Jayce firmly stood in the way for them, against the oncoming form of Balic and his henchman. As tall as he could, he flicks his rapier’s guard onto his lips, then flicked it back into a guard form, as he would normally do, when starting his duels.
“I am Jayce Recraft, Household Retainer to the Noble House of Recrest. And you not past me.” Jayce declared with adamantine resolve.
Reanna swivels her head around to see Jayce’s back form, ready to receive the enemies assault. Still shocked by her mother’s death, a daunting fear began to build up into her thoughts. ‘Not Jayce too.’ The lost of her mother was unexpected, but to lose Jayce too would destroy her. Hearing the small sobs of her brother, put her fraying thoughts back to center. She needed to get her brother out of here...Now.
Sieving rage began to boil through her then, it was unexpected, but welcomed. Revenge was something attainable, even now. The idea of it gave her motivation to quicken their movements out of the hallway.
The sounds of sword-clanging last things she heard of Jayce.
Passing through another section hallway. They finally exited into their mother personal exotic garden. It was secluded at the back of the manor grounds. There was an intricate iron gate that would lead to the forest behind the Manor grounds. A path of escape she devised for her brother and herself to take.
The exotic garden, had night flowers which were purple in their seasonal bloom, they brightening the garden’s surrounding. A surreal visage that Reanna would sometimes come at night to contemplate.
There was a hooded figure at iron back gates. He was hunched over, kneeling onto the gate with not a care in the world on what was happening inside the manor. Reanna scrutinized the man, he wasn’t Rhaodian. He looked like a vagrant off from the streets. Why would a homeless vagrant be at the gardens at this time of day? She pondered.
He was suspicious nonetheless, and blocking their path to freedom.
Heavy footsteps sounded behind them. Reanna turned to look. There were two men garb similar like the assailants before approached them. The old man huddled passed her, limping towards them.
The two men suspiciously scrutinize the hooded limping form that was headed to their direction.
“Hey old man, get out of the way.” One of the men said, his Rhaodian accent destroying the Regalian language.
The hunched and cloaked figure took a stumble. He then pivoted to hurl a throwing dagger towards one of the assailants.