They had reached the outer defenses of Edheliond. Unlike what she had expected (which would have been something similar to Helm’s Deep), the walls were not high. She knew that the city would be taken easily. She wondered if the people inside knew of their coming. Scouts were sent on ahead to make the dealings. The city was too far away to be seen clearly by Elenya. She stood upon the hilltop a good distance away. The Prince wanted to make sure she was adequately safe. The scouts did not return until nightfall. Elenya had been sleeping beside her horse during their time away. She stood up as she saw them approach the Prince. An arrogant smile was fixed upon his face. She approached him from behind. He turned and took her by the arm.
“We attack tonight.”
“What do you mean? What has happened?”
“We gave them three chances to surrender, the fools. Now they will be destroyed.”
“What of the women and children? Surely they have some within the city.”
“They will have them hidden by this time.”
“What will you do?”
“We shall make our attack tonight. You shall stay here with Dario. I shall return in two days at dawn.”
“I want to come.”
“Never! I will not risk the safety of you.”
“I have already seen plenty of war. I am well skilled with a weapon.”
“I have spoken my word. You are not to come.”
“NO!” he fired at her.
She felt defeated but not quite.
“What good does yelling at me do? Fists are better when it comes to me.”
He raised her chin to his face.
“Someday you shall understand. I care about you too much to let anything happen to you.”
He brushed his lips against hers and walked away. She clenched her fists angrily.
“You have no idea who I am,” she said when his back was turned.
He uttered the last words, “I know more than you think.”
That night, she had troubling dreams. She walked in the middle of the city at night. The people were all asleep in a peaceful slumber. Suddenly, she heard a horn, and they came. They came quicker than lightning. They were like lightning. She watched the houses around her burning to the ground. People ran from the houses in a state of fright. But they were all slain. Every single one even the women and the children. She screamed and woke into a cold sweat. Dario remained awake guarding her to make sure she would not escape. The city still lay a safe distance away. But she could tell what was happening. She saw the smoke rising. She instantly drove herself into a state of anger. Many of the soldiers had remained behind. He had taken only five thousand with him to storm the city. She looked toward the city. She could see only a couple hundred or so left outside. They had broken through. But why couldn’t she hear any screams or sounds of battle? What was happening? She knew if she didn’t find out, it would drive her mad. Was he burning it down? Why else would smoke be there? She stood up and went to her horse’s side and took the reins. Dario stayed her hand.
“Where do you think you are going?”
“I’m going into the city.”
“No, the Prince will not allow it.”
“The Prince is not here. And I cannot just sit here and wait. I keep having dreams. If I sit here, I will kill myself with all this waiting. I am not patient, and I am a stubborn girl. Why is there smoke?”
“That is not your business. No. I will not allow it.”
“To h*** with it Dario!” she cursed. “You will not be blamed. Simply give me a sword. I witnessed four battles in my lifetime. This shall be no different. I am well skilled. I can take care of myself. I shall tell the Prince it was not your fault, but mine. It is my decision. Please Dario, let me go.”
He admired her courage. She was certainly strong for she had managed to break his kneecap. He handed her a sword.
“If you get hurt, he shall have my head.”
“I will not get hurt.”
She mounted Lossielen and took off at full speed. The soldiers seemed surprised to see the Easterling Princess charging into the midst of battle. There was a small entrance to the city nearly like Helm’s Deep but much smaller and less higher. She rode Lossielen into it, the soldiers parting way for the Easterling Princess. The gates had been broken through. The soldiers were not moving. All was still. She slowed her horse and entered the gates of the city. When she saw the first body, she screamed. Many lay simply in the streets. All the men dead! Some of the women and children as well. The ones that were not dead were weeping over the fallen ones. The city lay burning, but most of the flames had abated. She felt sick. Elenya’s stomach contracted and churned within her. Then she saw the Prince. He rode his horse away from the main Citadel of the city carrying a blood stained sword in his hand. He was furious at seeing her. He rode his horse to her, her eyes empty as two shells filled with sorrow.
“Elenya?” he asked at seeing her.
She hyperventilated. “I cant breathe! I cant breathe!”
She climbed off the horse and went to a nearby bush. When she was done, the Prince took her shoulders in his grip. She struck him throwing a fist to his jaw.
“How could you!? Look at them! They are women children! You killed all the men and even some of the women and children! WHY?!!! WHY!!!” she screamed.
She was silent when she suddenly heard a sound. It was crying. It sounded like a child. She looked toward the houses and began walking. She could smell the smoke from the abated fire as the sound of crying drew nearer. Then she saw it; a small hole in the corner of one side of the house. There lay a little girl of no more than six with shiny blonde hair. She approached the girl and knelt down. The girl moved back frightened. Elenya reached out.
“I’m not going to hurt you. Please. I am sorry. I am so sorry. Come here. I wont hurt you. I promise.”
The child nodded toward the house. Elenya went through the door. She saw a man, the child’s father, holding a blood-stained sword. Beside him was his wife. A tear rolled down her cheek for the little girl. She walked out of the house and back to the spot where the child was. The girl threw her arms around Elenya’s neck. She lifted the frail child’s body up into her arms. She looked at the Prince her eyes angry and sorrowful. He turned away, but she went to his side.
“Why did you do this?”
“You would not understand.”
“I understand that you are a butcher.”
The child clung to Elenya tighter. She was in a state of shock. Elenya went back to her horse and set the child upon it. But as she was about to mount, a reflex came upon her. She turned and saw him. The injured aroused archer fired the arrow. It reached its target deeply embedded in her side. She staggered against her horse. The Prince fired a hail of arrows into the man ending his life. He went to Elenya’s side and held her up.
“No! Why did you come? This is why I did not want you to. I will kill Dario for this.”
“No…it was my fault. I wanted to come. I will be fine. Go away. I do not want your help.”
“I will get you to the healer immediately.”
He set her upon his horse forcefully and climbed up behind her. He looked at the child, which sat upon Lossielen. The girl was in shock and still frightened. He took the reins as she began to cry. He did not stop until he had reached the campsite. He brought Elenya into his tent. She hugged her bleeding side with the arrow still within it.
“I am going to go deal with Dario.”
“It was my choice. My fault.”
“He had his orders, which he broke.”
“Don’t be too hard on him. I wanted to come, and I needed to come. I disobeyed you. So if you’re going to punish me do it.”
“I think you have been punished enough with that arrow.”
The healer entered the room, and the Prince left. He checked the wound for infections and set a piece of cloth to stop the bleeding.
“Take it out,” she ordered.
“I have never seen a woman with such courage. Are you sure?”
“I have already had five pulled out of me. Take it out.”
She placed the piece of leather he gave her inside her mouth. He took the arrow in his hands, and with one thrust broke it from her side. She bit down tighter on the leather in pain. She lay against the bed in relief as he wrapped a cloth around it.
“It will take some days to heal. But you shall live.”
“I always do.”
The Prince entered the tent once again the little girl following a safe distance behind. When she saw Elenya, she ran to her side thinking of her as a second mother. Elenya stroked the girl’s hair. The Prince inspected her side.
“I would have brought a fist to any other girl.”
“But you knew I would have swung back,” she fired. “Why did you do it? Why did you kill them?”
“I had to kill those who opposed me.”
“But the women! You killed some women and some children! Were they a threat?”
“Yes,” he said firmly.
She looked down at the child in her arms.
“Why? Is a little girl a threat?”
“I always do what is necessary no matter how difficult it is, Elenya. That is something you will learn.”
She hoped not.