Warrior’s Bride (PT 28)

Chapter Twenty Eight

Cadell gave Zandria a sombre look, the other man already looking around the area for any further traps. As Zandria gave a curt nod, a sign that there were no more, Cadell ran into the hidden passageway leading to the cave, his watchful eyes looking out for any further traps, but he sure there would be none. The rock would be too hard to plant them.
Moving into the cave that had been their home for the week, he pulled up short seeing the signs everywhere of a fight. The dishes and even the animals he had made for her were strewn everywhere, the cave upturned. His look flew to Zandria’s, he not aware of the desperation and helplessness in his own, his friend looking around keenly. Spotting something, Zandria moved to where a knife, the very tip of it covered in blood, lay, a sheet of paper under it.
Lifting the sheet, his brows furrowed as he read the words, his look rising to meet that of Cadell. “It’s my father’s handwriting.” His words were spoken slowly as Cadell turned to him, his eyes filled with horror.
“What does he say?”
Nadia sniffed softly, fear making her eyes flit between the two warriors. “W… Who is your father?”, she finally managed, Zandria’s eyes closing softly with dread as he turned to face the handmaiden.
“I would have told you Nadia, but it is not something I have ever been proud of.”
“What did Garel say?!” This time Cadell’s words were full of urgent demand as Nadia gasped.
Her hands covered her mouth in horror as she whispered, “Garel is your father?”
Zandria’s jaw tightened as he gave the smallest of nods before looking once more at the paper, his voice sombre.

To the scum sucking traitor Cadell

I hold your princess, and will keep her alive until the setting of the sun. After that I will not guarantee or even care about her safety. However, I am sure that she will provide some fun for my men during the night if you do not show up. If you do not wish this, then you will appear at the great clearing before the setting of the sun, where I will trade her life for yours.


Cadell was already heading out of the cave as Zandria grabbed him, his features beseeching. “You cannot believe him. You know that Cadell. He will do with her what he wants, and he will still kill her. You cannot walk into his trap.”
Pausing Cadell stared back at him. “Zandria, you are like a brother to me, and you are every bit as good a leader as I.” Briefly, his eyes slid to Nadia. “I need to at least try to save her. You must understand how I feel.”
Zandria’s eyes closed as he nodded, before once more gripping his arm. “But there must be another way.”
Shaking his head, Cadell gave a sad smile. “With me dead he will not kill her. With her under his control, so too is her kingdom – and Harbin’s.” Now, his hand gripped Zandria’s arm. “They will have to move her back to the city. Get our army and set a trap of your own. It is her only real chance my friend. Promise me you will do what is best for Tialla.”
Zandria nodded, he releasing his friend, Cadell moving swiftly from the cave in his quest to save Tialla.
It took him less than an hour to reach the great clearing, Cadell moving slowly around the area, carefully watching what was going on. Tialla was bound and tied to a post in the middle of the clearing, Garel’s men leering at her as she stood silently, her head raised proudly. For a second, he was reminded of doing something very similar to her on the day they first met, she as regal then as she was now.
He watched the sun, wanting to give Zandria as much time as possible to get help, he knowing that he had to wait to the last minute before showing himself. His eyes scoured the site looking for any sign of Garel, finally seeing the brutal warlord.
For a second he considered using his bow to bring down the evil man, he fighting the urge, knowing that it would only result in the quick execution of Tialla. While Garel was cruel, without mercy and a killer, he was also smart. He would have ensured that if anything happened to him, then Tialla’s would have been the next death, he also knowing that Cadell would know this. For now he just had to bide his time.
With the sun now low in the sky, Garel moved to the post holding Tialla, a short sword in his hands. Raising it, he brought it down onto the ropes securing her. Free, she instantly tried to flee, he grabbing her arm in a cruel vise grip and dragged her back, his arms pinning her small body to him as he jeered at her.
Tialla however continued to fight, though it was like watching a mouse battle with a cat, he and his men laughing at her attempts. Looking into the sky, his free hand rose, the men around him growing silent.
Now Garel’s eyes flit around the trees on the border of the clearing, his voice raised. “I know you are there. Come out Cadell. I will count to three and then I will slit her throat and let you watch her bleed out.” Again his eyes moved around, Cadel taking a deep breath. It seemed that time was up.
“One.” The booming voice of Garel filled the sky, birds taking flight at the suddenness of it.
Cadel stepped into the clearing, his hands raised, his look fixing with that of Garel.
Pushing Tialla into the arms of one of his men, he strode forward, stopping a few feet from the other warrior, his eyes flashing with a triumphant gleam. “Women always were your downfall Cadell. You think I did not see your face the day your sister killed herself?”, his features contorting with contempt. “You are weak.”

next installment {29th Nov}

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