Jakob shut the door to his bedchamber once he was inside as the lightning struck outside. He had to be quick, his father’s guards would be looking for him soon. He picked up a knapsack near to the door, and opened up his chest at the end of his bed. The door to the balcony was open, blowing cold wind at Jakob as the noises of thunder grew louder and the rain grew heavier. He took out some spare clothes, breeches and tunic, and shoved them into the bag.
Then he took out his sword Gallica, he thought, the sword of the heir of Lothor. The words his father told him began to ring around his head. “Bastard. Bastard.” He put the scabbard on around his waist, hoisted the bag around his back, and went to walk out the door. Olyvar’s waiting for me at the stables, he thought, I need to get there before I’m found.”
Two guards stood there waiting for him, the sigil of the Pascal family, A White rose with black lining on a white field, emblazoned on their shields. “Prince Jakob, His Highness requests your presence in the White Hall.”
Jakob said nothing, just gripped the handle of his sword.
The two looked at each other for a moment. “His Highness commands your presence in the White Hall.”
Run, you’ve never fought anyone with steel before. Fuck, you’re not even wearing armour. Jakob drew his sword.
“Oh fuck this, let’s just kill him now. The King won’t care!” Both guards charged, blades in hand.
One went to swing at Jakob, but he just ducked out the way, the guard’s sword getting stuck in the pillar. He swung violently as dodged, and felt blood fly on his face like water being hit by a stone. He had ducked into the other guard however, who bashed him in the stomach with the shield, throwing him to the balcony, his back slamming against the railing as he dropped his bag, the rain falling blurring his vision even more. He picked himself backed up as his enemy charged. He parried the attack, and slashed his sword across the guard’s unprotected neck before throwing him over the balcony. His back ached as he went back to find the other guard.
His sword was still stuck in the pillar but he had run off, leaving his shield behind as well as a trail of blood. Jakob picked up his knapsack and ran off, going the opposite direction of the blood trail sound of footsteps. He quick-walked down the steps, cursing the pain in his back. I should’ve just wounded him… But he wanted to kill me. Jakob was used
He hesitated when he reached Brandon’s bedchamber. Horrible thoughts flashed through his head as he went to open the door. Then he stopped. Brandon’s her son, he thought, no harm will come to him. Only to me. He walked away from the door, turning right down the steps.
When he reached the ground floor, he saw a light coming from the hallway leading the White Hall, so he turned right towards the kitchens. The smell of bread and bacon grease was still in the air as he slowly crept through, trying to find the way out. “Where are they?” There were voices coming from the hall. Father. He thought. You’ve recovered quickly…
“They’ll be here soon, your highness. Your guardsman will be no match for that bastard.” Jakob slowly forced the door outside open and peaked out. The stables were just on the other side, he saw a torch, presumably Olyvar’s. But how am I going to get there without being seen?
He heard The White Hall’s Birchwood doors being thrown open. “Your highness! He killed Drex and escaped.” Jakob froze, he should’ve killed the other guard as well.
His father was starting to shout, but he was interrupted. “Patience my sweet.” Violette.
As she spoke, her voice was like sugar and daggers. “And how do we know you didn’t let him escape?”
“What!? Queen Violette, I wo-“
“You dare conspire with this traitorous bastard!” His father had found his voice again clearly. “Take Him! Kill Him!
Jakob saw his chance. He closed the door slowly, then quickly walked to the stables. That guard did help me, he thought, though perhaps in not the way my father thinks.
“What took you so long?” Olyvar was a tall man, bald and slightly overweight, and he spoke with the gruff voice of the Rodmarkish. Leaning on one of the beams that kept the stables up cleaning his sword, he was hooded under a cloak still damp from the rain, but underneath you could still see that he was clad in the blue leather of the Vaskali, complete with the Barboso Red wine stains.
“Happy to see you’re alive too.” Jakob walked over to his horse, trying to figure out how well he could ride with his back in the state it was. There was a black hooded cloak on the saddle, which he put on
“We don’t have time for japes.” He spurred his horse forward, Jakob following behind. Olyvar turned left towards the western gate. What is he doing? That gate is shut at night. He couldn’t voice his concerns, lest he was heard, so he rode behind him silently, feeling the heavy rain pounding on his cloak. The gate was wide open when they reached it a few moments later, and the guard was leaning on the wall, sleeping. Enjoy that sleep, it’s the last one you’ll ever get. He didn’t want to imagine what Turstin would do to the poor guy…
Then the light of the torch as he passed through the gate shown on the guard’s face. There was a massive red hole where his left eye should’ve been, and blood was running down his face like crimson tears. He looked at Olyvar, who was screaming at him to follow. As he did, he looked at the Voskalo’s sword, mostly clean but still bloody at the tip. Jakob knew that his order trained their members in the ways of the blade as well as learning, but to see him actually put those skills to use was something else entirely for a man Jakob had known most of his life as the castle drunk.
Their horses were spurred down into the streets of Roseton, a cobblestone and dirt maze of alleyways and roads that could only come from the decades of slow expansion that the city had seen. Thanks to the rain, the dirt had become mud, and the cobblestones had become wet and slick. Olyvar took the lead, taking Jakob down past Clerville District, past Wall Damask, which gates only shut in extreme circumstances, to Maasnau District, the poorest area of the city, where the Black River passed through. The boats, Jakob thought, that’s how we’ll escape.
Though the moon was shining like a newly forged sickle through the ash coloured storm clouds, Maasnau was a district that never slept. So Olyvar led Jakob down into the back alleys of the taverns and whorehouses, as even though most of those awake were probably too drunk to recognise their own children let alone their own Prince, the risk was too great. He could hear them though, some were shouting, some were singing songs that he would hear the guards singing late at night, and others were making noises that made Jakob blush when he realised what was going on. They were outside as well, drunkenly swaying their arms back and forth in a weak attempt at fighting each other before falling face first in the mud, though Jakob only glimpsed moments of this as moved towards the river.
“Wait!” Olyvar hissed. “Look.” There were two guards on the road that they were heading down, armed with spears and shields with white rose symbols on them.
“Why? no guards have followed us, they can’t know what’s happening.”
The look that the Vaskalo gave Jakob made him feel like a 5-year-old who was just being taught their numbers. “And you think they won’t wonder why their prince is out latenight in this storm?”
Jakob didn’t quite know how to respond to that.
But Olyvar wouldn’t give him time to, pulling the reins on his horse left. Jakob followed silently, the rain battering his cloak beginning to soak through.
The thunder was becoming more frequent as they reached the river. Jakob saw that a makeshift harbour had been constructed out of driftwood and dirt, and the boats ranged from pole boats to makeshift barges. Olvyar was scanning the river, obviously trying to find one big enough. But then he ran off towards something that resembled a trap door just by the side of the walls. He lifted it up, had a quick look around, then looked up to a confused Jakob.
“Get all the bags off of the horses.”
“Where are we going?”
“The sewers. This entrance sho-
Olyvar groaned. “This entrance will lead us out of the sewers and into some caverns, which should lead us to the outside, miles away from the city. Now get the bags.”
Part of Jakob just wanted to stay here and argue some more, but he knew it would be pointless, and he didn’t like the noises of running leather boots on dirt that were coming from Wall Damask’s gates. He followed Olyvar back to the horses and threw two of the bags around his back and the other in his left hand so his sword hand was still free. The Volasko did the same, but not before hitting the larger bag slung over his horse.
The sewers were much larger than Jakob had expected, from what little he could see in the unlit darkness. Though they also stank far worse than he had thought they would, the stink of faeces, urine, and most worryingly, blood, hanging in the air. It was surprising how much effort it took to throw up his dinner. It only got worse when he jumped into the muck that flowing on the floor, squelching as he landed. Olyvar almost fell but just managed to keep himself standing, though dropping the bag that was over his shoulder. He picked it up quickly before looking both ways twice, running as fast as he could in the sludge, Jakob following behind him even though he had no idea if they were going the right way.
They trudged on in the sewers, sludging through the piss and faecal matter, Jakob constantly hoping that some kind of light would emit from somewhere, and always seemingly hoping in vein. But finally, as it began to felt like the straps on the bags were almost burning his hands, Jakob began to hear the noise of water falling into itself.
“We’re getting close.” Said Olyvar, sounding clearly as tired as Jakob was. “Not too far now.”
He was right. There was a massive crack in the sewer wall where the noise was coming from that was just low enough to climb over.
“These caverns should lead us outside.” Said Olyvar, throwing his bags over the crack after checking and seeing that the drop on the other side was safe.
“What do we do when we get out of this place?” asked Jakob, doing the same.
“Hopefully sleep.” Replied Olyvar, his loud yawn that followed echoing around the cavern’s walls.
The crack opened out to a large part of the cave, the waterfall he had been hearing just to the left of them. On their right, the cavern turned slightly to its left, and the glow the moon shining on the cave. Both the Prince and The Vaskalo walked towards the moonlight.
When they reached the cave’s exit, they found that lead out to a forest of thick jade-coloured trees, that looked like it stretched as far as the horizon even though the night darkness only allowed them to see a few hundred yards ahead.
Jakob looked around, checked to make sure that no one had found or followed them. Then collapsed onto the grassy floor and slept, using one of his bags as a pillow.