Part 1

Erik rode into camp with Torstein, Durlan, and his two guards behind him. He slid off his saddle and a servant took the reins and escorted his horse to the makeshift stables.

He greeted his soldiers as he walked but made his way for his tent, where Jebbin was to meet him. Whipping the flap doors open, Erik entered the dimly lit tent and set his gaze on Jebbin who sat in a chair, half asleep.

Jebbin’s head jerked up to the noise, “Your, majesty. Forgive me, I nodded off for a moment.”

“It’s quite alright Jebbin.” Erik smiled. “I’ve come with news.”

“Ah, good news I hope.” Jebbin furrowed his brow.

“Indeed it is.” Erik smiled, as Torstein entered a moment later. “I’ll fill you both in.”

Erik took his own seat next to Jebbin and poured himself a glass of mead. Taking it all down in one go, he gulped it down loudly before proceeding.

“Xerath has promised us Qutreth,” Erik said plainly.

“The entire city!” Jebbin coughed in surprise. “What of lord Kelmin? He will fight this.”

“I asked that very question. Xerath has assured me that Kelmin won’t be a problem.” Erik shrugged.

“I never would have thought.” Jebbin scoffed.

“Nor I.” Erik admitted. “Breaking camp in the morning would be ideal as the sun has nearly set. Torstein I trust you will handle everything?”

“Yes, sire.” Torstein nodded. “I’ll make preparations tonight and have everything packed in the morning.”

“Very good,” Erik said. “I won’t be going to Qutreth with you.”

Jebbin was in the middle of drinking mead when he heard Erik and spit the liquid in a spray in front of him in shock. Torstein looked concerned but waited for Erik to clarify his meaning.

“You're not what?” Jebbin coughed.

“I’m going to Riqun.” Erik stared Jebbin in the eyes.

Jebbin’s face instantly turned solemn, “Oh. I see.” he raised an eyebrow. “With whom?”

“Xerath is sending a party into Kligira and I will be accompanying them.” Erik took another sip of mead.

“Sire, I must protest. Your people need you.” Torstein objected.

“That is why I’ll be leaving you in charge.” Erik gestured to Jebbin. “You will travel to Qutreth and see that our people are safe and secure. Torstein, you will go with Jebbin and aid him.”

Torstein started to protest but Jebbin beat him to it.

“Why?” Jebbin bluntly asked. “Why would you leave in a time like this. Especially after the news of General Brynd’s army being destroyed and Tykin taking no responsibility for it. The people are afraid.”

Erik turned to Torstein, indicating he wanted privacy. He bowed and retreated from the tent without another word.

“I hope you believe me by now that I have been getting visions from the Vog, named Fel. What I have also seen is a way to awaken the Ancients. I’m still unsure how it will work but I am sure it will come to me eventually.”

“I do believe you for what it's worth, Erik.” Jebbin began. “My doubts are not with you but with the people. I fear they will… see you as unfit to rule. If I take your place, after everything, I don’t know what they will do.”

“That doesn’t matter to me anymore,” Erik said. “I don’t require their love or acceptance. All I want is to save my people and return them to their homes safely. I believe, by going to Riqun and awakening the Ancients a far more sinister plan will be revealed. Saving my people is my top priority and I give up my throne if I have to to do it.”

“You… are a good man, Erik. If it means anything to you, I am proud of you.” Jebbin said. “Very well. I trust what you will do is for Vulkira. I will do as you ask.”

“Thank you, Jebbin,” Erik smirked. “I never really liked you, you know that?”

“I hadn’t noticed,” Jebbin said sarcastically. “Though, giving me this responsibility forces me to rethink your opinion of me.”

“I know about my parents Jebbin,” Erik said out of nowhere. “My sister told me what happened.”

Jebbin’s face turned to stone. “What did she tell you?”

“She told me enough,” Erik said blankly. “I know my parents didn’t die from an illness.”

Jebbin shifted in his chair, uneasy and clearly unsettled. “How did they die?”

“You don’t need to pretend anymore. I know it was a Kligiran assassin who killed them.” Erik’s face turned sorrowful. “I know you lied to protect me. I was a child and I wouldn’t have taken it well knowing our enemies killed my parents.”

“Right. Of course.” Jebbin said, uncomfortable.

“The lengths you would go to to protect me and our kingdom, that Jebbin, is why I want you to lead our people while I’m away.” Erik smiled.

Jebbin’s hand was shaking slightly and he took another sip. “Well then. I won’t fail. I swear it.”

“Good.” Erik smiled. “Thank you, Jebbin… for everything.”

“I am here to serve, my lord.” he nodded to Erik.

“Oh, before you go. There is one more thing I’d like you to do for me.”

Part 2

After Jebbin left, Erik was left alone to his own thoughts. He nearly nodded off in exhaustion when Torstein called from behind the tent flap.

“Sire,” Torstein called. “Amira has asked to see you, lord.”

Erik sat up straight and cleared his throat. “Let her in,” he said calmly.

Amira stepped in a moment later, she was dressed in a long red dress, different from her plain medical one. Her long brown hair was curled up in a bun and her piercing orange eyes narrowed on him. Erik couldn’t guess her mod from her look, she didn’t give anything away, only standing there silently staring.

“Lord.” she curtseyed. “I’ve come to apologize to you. I thought you were crazy and I didn’t believe you. Please forgive me.”

Erik smiled at her, he enjoyed the way she dressed up for her apology and recognized her effort. It struck him, noticing how beautiful she was. Her simple blue outfit from before was simple but her jawline and button nose, on top of her features gave her a simplistic beauty Erik found hard to describe. Her gorgeous red dress now was even more astonishing to look at.

“All is forgiven.” Erik stood up, reaching out his hand for hers. “Think nothing of it. I don’t blame you in the slightest for thinking me insane.”

Amira gave him her hand and Erik gently kissed her hand. “You look stunning,” he said.

She blushed noticeably and her cheeks turned bright red. Pulling her hand away from his, she backed up a step, sheepishly.

“Have I made you uncomfortable or offended you?” Erik looked confused. “If I have, forgive me.”

“No, lord,” Amira said. “You have not offended me. I am just… unaccustomed to a man complimenting me.”

“Are men not allowed to compliment women where you're from?” he asked, still confused.

“Not that either, lord.” Amira pulled one arm behind her back and shifted. “I am a peasant woman. My father and mother are very poor and I’ve grown up around the clinic. No man has ever noticed me before.”

Erik was utterly dumbfounded. “No one?”

“After my father died, my mother and I ran the clinic. A woman, beautiful or not is unalluring when you are neck-deep in filth or blood.” Amira explained. “Though I must admit, I did get ample amounts of marriage proposals from men.” she smiled slyly.

“Please, do tell,” Erik said, curious.

“My herbs and potions often left men, or women, in a mindless stupor.” Amira elaborated. “I was often proposed to while my patients were in this state.”

“I see.” Erik frowned. “I have recognized it now. I have paid close attention to your work as of late. You have saved many lives and many more in the past that I am unaware of I’m sure.”

Amira blushed again. “Thank you, lord.”

Erik grinned at her, “Of course.”

“I must be going,” Amira said suddenly after staring into his eyes for too long.

“Wait,” Erik called to her as she turned around. “Have you eaten?”

“No, my lord,” Amira replied.

“Would you join me for dinner?” he asked. “I’d love to have your company if you’d like.”

“I would like that very much,” Amira said, grinning stupidly at him.

Part 3

Erik had stayed up late into the night enjoying Amira’s company. They had chatted for hours when she had finally excused herself from his tent. He barely slept that night, staying up thinking of her.

The moment he woke, he dressed and made his way to the medical clinic. She had told him that no one helped her set up or tear down the tents where she made her medicine. Amira had no help with her personal tent either. Erik had hoped to catch her at one of the tents and help her pack.

He rounded several tents and found her tent. She was rushing about, clearing things and trying to move a large wooden table where she held all her herbs and equipment. Four soldiers, ready to help followed Erik.

“Amira,” he shouted to her.

She was hot and sweaty even in the cool morning air. Amira wore her everyday blue dress and had her hair tied up again. Even sweaty, Erik found her overwhelmingly attractive and adorable. Her orange eyes found him and they locked onto each other. She instantly smiled but then looked embarrassed as she realized the state in which she was in.

Hot and sweat, mud on the hem of her dress, and her hands were dirty. “My lord. You’ve caught me in a bad time,” she said, looking as if she wanted to run away from him.

Erik laughed and grinned at her, he couldn’t help himself. “I’m not here to chat with you, though I would love that, I’ve come to help you pack your belongings and tear the tents down.”

“Oh.” Amira brightened and a visible relief washed over her face. “I would greatly appreciate the help.”

“Good, I brought four men with me to help too,” Erik said, nodding over his shoulder.

“Here to help ma’am.” one said to her.

“Thank you,” Amira said. “Mother, come here, quick,” she shouted to her left.

A middle-aged woman emerged from the tent and stared at Erik in shock. She started to get down on both knees when he rushed over to her.

“No need for that,” Erik said kindly, gently grabbing her arm. “You must be Irine, your daughter has spoken of you. I am thrilled to meet you.”

“Oh, dear,” Irine said, wiping sweat from her forehead.

“King Erik has brought these fine men to help us pack up,” Amira explained.

“Oh bless you, young man. Bless you.” Irine drew close, grabbing his cheeks.

Irine pulled his neck down to her level and kissed his cheeks with a smack.

“Mother!” Amira scolded. “That’s the king. You can’t just kiss him.” she sounded almost jealous, Erik noted.

“That’s quite alright.” Erik chuckled. “I’m glad to help and so are these men. Just point us in the right direction.”

Amira walked closer to him, shyly. She stretched onto her tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thank you.” Amira blushed.

Erik’s heart nearly pounded out of his chest. He turned red from embarrassment and felt an urge to kiss her back.

“Come. I need help with this.” she pointed.

“As you wish, my lady,” Erik smirked and followed after her.


About the author


Bio: Hello, all. I am a new aspiring author and I'm extremely excited to share my stories. I've always loved writing and bringing the ideas in my head to life, though it was only recently that I began to write on a more serious level. I have many many books I wish to write and I hope I can share them with you all in the future. I have a lot to learn but I hope to grow into a more experienced and learned writer.

I don't shy away from gore, which will be present in all my books to come. I hate plot armor, and I do everything I can to make things as real as possible. Real decisions, consequences, logical outcomes, and making a darn good story are my main focus.

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