Fade to White
Chapter Twenty Two
The time had come. Nosaj commented casually on the fact over breakfast, then extended an invitation to Ramo to come along, although he knew that Ramo would decline. It had been two days from the time that Jerek had left the castle and Ramo’s report that Jerek had fallen for a girl. There was an electricity in the air, more acute than the normal buzz before a raid, and it excited Nosaj to a level that he hadn’t felt in a long time. He almost wanted to describe the feeling as magical and nostalgic.
In celebration of the event, Nosaj had dressed himself up more than usual. He was wearing his long black cape with white fur on the collar, over his baggy white shirt tucked into his slim fitting black pants. Around his neck he wore numerous gold chains, some of which hung all the way down to his stomach, and large rings on his fingers with brightly colored stones that caught and reflected the sunlight. He felt like a King, and he was sure that he gave the formidable appearance of one.
Mounting his white stallion, Nosaj looked down at the men on foot with satisfaction. There were five of his most loyal soldiers, enough to show his strength and dominion without overdoing it. “Men,” he began, “this is a great day. This will be the day we teach a lesson to our beloved Jerek, and from this day on he will no longer try to fight against us. After this day, he will become as you are, faithful and loyal to your Commander and King. Move out!”
It was Nosaj’s first time going to the cottage, despite the fact that he had known about it for so long, and it surprised him that the cottage was closer to the castle than any of his villages. Reaching the clearing and looking down at the building, Nosaj nodded to his men who silently stalked around the land and up to the door.
Jerek sprang up from his chair as the door was bashed open and he quickly grabbed the large wooden spoon from the pot sitting on the middle of the table, turning to face the soldiers that came in. Tryne didn’t react quickly enough to stand, but as the first soldier reached over to grab her, Jerek intercepted and brought the spoon down on the man’s arm.
But there was another man right behind him, and as the first soldier drew back in pain, he took his place. Tryne swung at and scratched this new soldier with her hand, but he kept a steady tight grip on her as he pulled her away from Jerek, while the first soldier blocked Jerek’s spoon.
There wasn’t even a snap when the spoon broke. Jerek brought his arm up, noticing the difference in weight and realizing that half of it was missing, then his arm moved back down on its own, striking the narrow stick of wood on the soldier and causing it to break again, this time hurting Jerek’s hand.
Tryne screamed, and Jerek whipped around just in time to see as she was dragged outside into the sunlight. He hesitated, the urge to rush after her rising up inside him. It was in that moment that both of the remaining soldiers grabbed hold of Jerek, overpowering him and forcing him through the door as well. Blinking at the bright outside, Jerek’s eyes found Nosaj sitting on his horse and he rushed forward to get at him. Nosaj’s grip tightened around his reigns, then relaxed as Jerek was tackled to the ground and held pinned down.
Dismounting, Nosaj walked to Jerek and stood silently staring down at him for a moment, before turning to Tryne who was breathing heavily with her arms twisted back by the man who held her captive. “She is pretty,” Nosaj murmured, touching the side of Tryne’s face. Glaring, Tryne spat at Nosaj, hitting his arm as he stepped back. Pulling back his upper lip, Nosaj wiped the spit off on one of his soldiers, then slapped Tryne across the face.
“Don’t touch her!” Jerek yelled, heaving against the men who held him down.
Stepping over to Jerek, Nosaj put his foot in between Jerek’s shoulder blades and pushed him into the grass, moving all of his weight onto that foot. “You have turned against me, Jerek.”
“I follow myself now. Let me up and fight me like a man!”
“Oh, of course not.” Nosaj grinned. “But do let him sit up or something, I want him to be able to see.”
“You bastard! What are you doing?” Jerek strained to break away.
“Just watch,” Nosaj answered, and with a big smirk took Tryne’s chin in his hand, digging his fingernails into her skin. Pulling her head closer to him, Nosaj put out his tongue and touched her cheek with it, drawing a wet path up along the side of her face. Jerek made another strong pull toward Nosaj, but he was yanked back and held in place, while Tryne tried to move away, kicking out her legs and landing a blow on Nosaj’s shin. Cussing, Nosaj changed his grip to around Tryne’s neck, slapping her face then grabbing a fistful of her hair, he yanked her head back. “Stupid girl. Don’t you realize that I’ve come to kill you?” Tightening his grip around her neck, Nosaj shook her, jarring her head and causing her eyes to lose focus as she choked.
Screaming, Jerek thrust himself forward, managing to free himself and take a couple steps before he was dragged back.
“Hold him down,” Nosaj said, letting go of Tryne who sagged and almost slipped down to her knees. “You’re lucky that I’m not going to kill you, Jerek.”
“Why won’t you?” Jerek asked bitterly, his eyes flashing red as he looked up at Nosaj.
“Because I’ve invested too much into you. I had to burn your house just to get my hands on you, then there was all the time I had to spend building up the story that it was the terrorists who killed your parents. Spending twenty years raising you to be my heir was no easy task, and I won’t let this whore prevent you from filling your single purpose for existence. You will rule after me when I’m gone.”
“I’ll kill you!” Jerek growled.
“Good luck with that. By the time I get through with you, you won’t be able to stand for weeks.”
“Jerek!” Tryne shrieked, suddenly jerking free of the guard that held her and she flung herself at Nosaj, managing to scratch him across the face before she was thrown down. Leering, Nosaj touched the red marks on his cheek, then kicked Tryne in the side.
“Damn girl,” he spat, kicking her again.
“Stop it!” Jerek yelled.
Stooping down, Nosaj grabbed Tryne around the neck again, and forced her head at an angle so she could see over to where Jerek was held down. “I want you to look at him,” Nosaj whispered, his hot breath tickling her ear. “I want you to make eye contact when you die.” Then he squeezed his hand tightly, causing Tryne to choke and gurgle as her air supply was cut off. She brought her hands up and tried to pry Nosaj’s hand open, but soon they fell limply to the ground as her eyes slowly drooped shut. Letting go, Nosaj let Tryne’s body fall to the ground and looked coldly over at Jerek who had grown still. Tears squeezed their way out of Jerek’s tightly closed eyes, his teeth clenched together, and his hands balled into fists.
The sound started as soft sobbing, but it grew louder and more furious with each second that passed. When Jerek opened his eyes, they had turned completely red, glowing with an intense hatred and he pulled so fiercely against the men who held him back that their feet slid a couple inches with every lunge he made. Calmly, Nosaj pulled out his sword and pointed it at Jerek.
“You will come back to the castle now.”
“I would rather die!”
“Then so be it.” Taking his sword, Nosaj knocked Jerek in the head with the hilt so hard that blood ran down his forehead. Jerek fell down as blackness took over the edges of his vision. As his eyes slowly closed, he saw Nosaj pick up Tryne’s body and mount the white stallion with it, then the darkness completely took over.