The Prophesy Tower. Chapter 50. Write a Novel Challenge 2020.
Neina stood with trepidation, feeling the pull of an inexplicable future, her head pounding and her heart racing. She peered into the portal, the green pigment sickening her. The words kept repeating in her head, again and again: “We need your help. We need your help. We need your help.” With a deep breath, she took a step in. Her eyes squeezed shut, and she clenched her fists.
In seconds, she made it to the Mors world.
As she looked around, she noticed that Isla was right in front of her. “Follow me,” she muttered, not waiting for a response. Neina did so without thinking, admiring the hallway they walked through. Decorated with expensive antiques, the velvet walls displayed an array of paintings, each one hugged by a gold frame and intricately carved with details suggesting a long-forgotten history stretching back beyond the capacity of human memory. Lit torches adorned the walls, their flickering lending a hazy lustre to the shadowy gargoyles that seemed to watch them knowingly. The floor was polished to look as lustrous as a beautiful pearl. Neina found it galvanizing to be in this place.
“Where are we?” Neina asked, as they made their way through their seemingly endless journey through the great hall. “The Queen’s castle …” Isla replied, “She’s planning to kill us all. We need to find a way to stop her. I just need to find the maid that works here: Annabelle.” As her words echoed in front of her, Isla opened one of the towering mahogany doors. Shocked, appearing as if from nowhere, they immediately confronted the Queen standing in front of them, surrounded by guards.
The pair stood entirely still, like tombstones watching over graveyards. The silence in the room felt intimidating until the Queen spoke and broke the spell of implicit threat.
Neina noticed the Queen’s beauty. She was undeniably radiant. Her eyes had a certain sparkle in them that carried an ethereal, other worldly depth beyond simple biology. Her hair looked like silk. The gown she wore perfectly followed the contours of her body and entranced Neina’s senses with an exquisite shade of vermilion red. Her crown was pulchritudinous, garnished with the rarest of gems. Neina envied her.
Awestruck by the Queen, she had not noticed that Isla was in tears. Pulled out of her trance, she saw Isla drop to her knees. “Your Majesty,” she pleaded, “I have served you for years. You can’t do this to me.” The Queen simply chuckled, Isla’s request for mercy falling on deaf ears. “Oh, Isla. I can do whatever I please.” She turned to Neina, “And you, daughter of Abelina; you are the chosen one. It would be rather galling if you jeopardised my plans. So, you too, will be sent to the dungeon. Guards, take them away. We shall execute them tomorrow morning.”
Two of the guards grasped her, their grip causing friction burns on Neina’s arms. Brutally dragged from the room, Neina hurt from savage fingers piercing her skin.
The guards shoved her into the dungeon, causing her to scrape her hands on the cobblestone. She felt as if she were a rag doll, her slender frame jarring weakly against the strength and focused, uncaring brutality of the guards. Behind her, Isla was held by two other guards, her eyes glossed over and her lower lip quivering as if she had closed down and lost any remaining will to fight. She felt utterly alone as Isla seemingly gave in to the inevitability of their death and the futility of fighting back. Isla was thrown into the cell opposite her.
Neina found herself struggling to process what was happening. Rather than fear, she felt strangely emotionless, though her heart raced unhealthily rapidly.
Hours passed, though she couldn’t tell the time in any substantive way; there were no windows, and the area was darker than night. Neina sat uncomfortably in the corner of the cramped cell, resting her head on the wall. She looked at the metal bars that seemed to entomb them. As she inhaled, she took in a putrid smell, which caused her head to throb with revulsion.
She heard Isla pacing around her cell, back and forth, murmuring to herself. She could imagine her Isla harshly rubbing her temples, a tell she so often used when stressed or fearful.
Suddenly, she heard Isla fall. Isla had tripped and fallen, landing face-first on the ground with a loud thud. Neina shot up from her position, “Are you okay?” She asked, genuinely scared about the impact Isla had just taken. “I’m fine, don’t worry about me …” Isla called across to her as she brushed herself off “…but I think there might be something hidden in the floor here…”
Isla had dislodged a piece of stone from where she tripped. Underneath was a scroll of undamaged paper protected by its hiding place under the stone. It was almost as if it had been preserved. She was bewildered. What is this scroll? Why is it here? Who put it here? Carefully, she unravelled but found words that made no sense to her.
“What does it say?” asked Neina curiously.
“I can’t read it. Why don’t you give it a try?” Isla shot back.
As she did so a guard marched in front of the corridor dividing their cells and Isla immediately hid the scroll, pushing it back into its hiding place under the cleverly cut stone. She mouthed to Nena “…wait” and Neina nodded in reply, conveying that she too recognised the importance of keeping the parchment hidden.
As the echo of departing guard’s footsteps dissipated, they waited, time dragging as they ensured that they were again alone. Isla tossed the scroll into Neina’s cell, or tried to. The parchment landed right in the middle of the corridor between them. Neina at once slipped her hand through the bar, stretching out her arm to try and recover it. By barely holding it with her fingernails, she succeeded.
Neina read the scroll of paper aloud.
“The one who rules over the Mors
Is using a cruel and evil force
They have committed an unforgivable crime
And kept it a secret for a long time.
The one you know as your Queen
Is despicable, unlike what you’ve seen.
She stole the kingdom
And took away freedom.
This Queen of yours does not belong
She took the throne and sang her song
To hypnotize the world that you live in
And there are only a few people that can stop her, who must not give in.
The real Queen is someone you do not expect
The person whom you used to detest.”
Isla’s eyebrows furrowed. What could this mean? The Queen was evil, but that was obvious. “Do you understand it?” She asked.
Neina concentrated on the paper. She focused on every word until her jaw dropped, and her eyes widened.
“What? What is it?” Isla questioned.
“The Queen. She doesn’t belong on the throne. She stole it.” Neina said, in shock.
“W-Who did she steal it from?” Isla said nervously.
Neina looked down at the paper, then shot back at Isla.
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The Prophesy Tower – A Novel.
To read Chapter 1, click here.
To read Chapter 2, click here.
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To read Chapter 39, click here.
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To read Chapter 44, click here.
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To read Chapter 48, click here.
To read Chapter 49, click here.
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