Within fifteen minutes, he arrived at the gates. With the help of some of his guards, after dispatching Jadek’s, he pushed open the doors in a dramatic gesture. Light from the cloudy sky filled the hall. His footsteps echoed all around him.
Going in deeper, dispatching more guards, Brom entered the hall to confront Jadek. He wanted Arabella, and no one would stop him. Clenching his sword until it hurt, as well as his teeth, he scanned the dark room. At the back facing him was his nemesis.
“You have broken the treaty, Brom,” came the voice from the shadows. Brom’s vision adjusted to the darkness. Jadek looked like he wanted to jump out of his throne and strangle him. Brom almost wanted him to try.
“The treaty was meaningless once you kidnapped my wife,” Brom said with deadly calm.
Jadek looked incredulous. “That is what this is about? You pillage my city for a girl?”
“You brought this upon yourself. Now where is she? Locked away?”
“I’m right here,” Arabella said, coming out of the shadows to the right of Jadek. Lush golden hair, delicate face, cherry lips, swaying hips. Brom lost his breath. “You should have left us.”
“Let her go free!” Bloodlust threatened to take over Brom.
“I want to be with him, Prince Brom!” Arabella yelled, becoming even more beautiful. “I never wanted to be with you!”
Brom couldn’t believe what he was hearing. She was to be his wife. She couldn’t hate him. He had done so much for her. No, this was a mistake. She had been manipulated. This wasn’t her talking. He knew it. She would never say something like that in her right mind. Jadek had some leverage on her.
“What have you done to her?” Brom cried out. “Face me now!”
“You’re insane!” Jadek yelled. “Guards, stop him.”
Thus began the battle, Brom’s guards versus Jadek’s. Brom helped, giving the advantage to his side. The fight lasted several minutes, and Jadek escaped with Arabella, but Brom couldn’t get through. His own side suffered several losses before he disabled the last of them.
As soon as possible, he took off after Jadek and Arabella. He wasn’t sure where they had gone, but could guess. The castle wasn’t unfamiliar to him. Because Arabella wore heels, she slowed them down, and Brom found them trying to escape in the back entrance.
“Jadek, it’s over.”
“Why are you doing this, Prince Brom? What did I ever do to you?”
“You took my wife.”
“She’s not your wife yet, and she came to me. We love each other; she didn’t want to get married to someone she couldn’t love. Will you not allow us happiness?”
Brom sheathed his sword, breathing hard. He walked up to Jadek, each step a battle. Glancing at Arabella with regret, he held out his hand. Jadek took it, hesitantly.
Grabbing onto his hand, Brom took out his sword with the other and impaled Jadek, pulling him closer. Arabella screamed and ran to Brom, hitting him with her fists. Brom ignored her. Jadek’s eyes grew lifeless and he coughed blood.
Brom pulled out the sword and let Jadek drop to the ground. Tired of hitting him, Arabella dropped to the ground as well, putting her body over his and crying. Brom left them, sighing.
A month later, they were married. Brom was crowned prince of Thromwell as well, ruling in absence of his father. Arabella promised she would hate him forever, and did not let him in her rooms ever, not even on their wedding night. He didn’t have the will to argue.
A few days later Brom was on the throne in a pose of deep and sad contemplation. Trumpets started blaring, shaking him from his mental fantasy. The doors opened and in strode a regal figure. someone with a purpose. It reminded Brom of himself so recently, coming in on Jadek.
“Father,” he said simply.
“Brom Filmor,” his father, Reginald, said. Although he said it pleasantly enough, undercurrents of anger were manifest. “I have come for an accounting of the stewardship I left you.”
“Leave us,” Brom ordered everyone in his court.
“Let Hadrian stay,” Reginald said. “I do not wish to be completely alone with you.”
Hadrian stayed, but did not look pleased.
Brom sighed. “Hadrian, if you please.”
“Remember your promise, my prince,” Hadrian began.
“Yes, yes,” Brom said, waving his hand and turning around. He clasped his hands behind his back. “Hadrian counseled me against all of this, and I didn’t listen.”
Reginald stayed silent, but put his chin in his hand. Hadrian cleared his voice and began the report. “There was an…altercation. It ended up in a battle between Thromwell and Filmor. In the end, we lost two hundred and twenty three soldiers. Thromwell lost many more, mostly civilians of fighting age. Also, Jadek, king of Thromwell, was killed. Without heirs, and in the confusion, Brom declared himself king of Thromwell.”
“Prince,” said Reginald, signaling Hadrian to continue.
“Prince Brom took Lady Arabella Faus as wife, and they were married three days ago. I have nothing more to report.”
“Very succinct,” Reginald said. “Thank you for the report, Hadrian.”
“Thank you, majesty,” Hadrian said, bowing. “If I may be so bold, how fared the war with the Mithics?”
“Let me put it this way. After the heroics of my son, now with so few soldiers to call upon for reinforcements, you need not call me majesty much longer.”
“You lost?” Brom shouted, then remembered himself. “Father?”
“We had to resort to the defensive. The Mithics will be coming to invade soon. I had hoped to recruit from Filmor and Thromwell to put together one last defense of our kingdoms, but with the needless losses you caused, I don’t know if it will be enough. Plus, we cannot count on the morale of Thromwell’s troops, now. They might prefer Mithic rule to our own.”
“I’m sorry, father!”
Reginald took a step forward, his anger finally showing. “Is that all you can say? Sorry? You destroyed the kingdom while I was gone! All you had to do was nothing! Was that so hard?”
“I didn’t want Jadek to steal Arabella away!”
“Oh? And how did that work out? How’s the marriage?” Brom didn’t answer for a few minutes. “Hmm?”
“You obviously know, so don’t taunt me!”
They stared at each other. Reginald finally spoke up. “Hopefully the Mithics will allow our family to continue ruling under them. Even though it’s unlikely you’ll be producing heirs anytime soon. I hope you enjoyed being the hero, son. You conquered a kingdom, now we will be conquered. We need great leadership in this time of change. Which means no more heroics.”