Chapter Seven  -|| The Bounty Hunter's Kingdom
                      Silent Infinity

A city like no other, Zendel had been made up of all those who studied the arts of magick. It had started out as a clan of mages that had wanted a place of solitude to study their crafts. Slowly others who wished to study joined them. Wizards, warlocks, mages, sorcerers and an assortment of many profession aligned with the powers that very few understood completely soon comprised a city that was based on the common goal of understanding and bettering the arts of magick.

It had been established out in the planes of the Western Kingdom, and had quickly grown to hold the title of capitol city. The city had been built in a small area where the plane seemed to have had a hole cut in it. Cliffs surrounded it on every side and rose highest on the west. Down in this gully, buildings of dark stone were erected, the streets were laid with gray stones and the city was watched over by a monstrous castle that had been built into the west cliff.

Desdemona Castle had been built so it looked in the direction of the east, over the planes and into the horizon. Any threat that came would undoubtedly come from there, for the Western Kingdom was still uncharted land and there were very few cities that had been erected. Zendel was the largest of it's kind in the kingdom.

Marcus Desdmona had been the leader of the group of mages that had originally settled in the region, and the future generation of the family held a noble, if not royal, status within the kingdom.

Desdemona Castle had been built many years after Marcus' death, and had stood watching over the city for one hundred years. It had watched the city grow and expand. It had watched the city prosper and erect new structures. It had watched as families grew and people from foreign lands brought there own brands of magick to the civilization. It watched as the city put out the most powerful magick folk in the land, and changed the course of the history of magick.

And it watched as in one dark night, the citizens of Zendel were slaughtered, the buildings torn down, and the bright future of the city crushed into nothing..

"Mistress! You not go alone!" Tran protested loudly as Rein sorted through vials that lined the shelves of her potions room.

"Tran, Sharikyn will undoubtedly toss you aside with one hand." She sighed, trying to explain to the young Zhara once more why he could not accompany her on this trip. "You are not strong enough to deal with the likes of him as of yet."

The large room in which the two stood was small compared to the library. It had a long table in the center that was made of a very dark, rich colored wood. Across it were scattered all sorts of papers, mixing bowls, ingredients and a number of other things used in preparing the potions. Off to the left side was a large hearth, inside of which hung a large cast iron pot. The walls were lined with bookcases that had been modified to hold hundreds of vials of different liquids. Tran stood at Rein's side, looking at her helplessly as she tried to ignore him and work on sorting things.

"You not strong enough either!" He continued to protest in his broken English, bent on not letting her go anywhere by her self. "You need help!"

"That maybe so, but you would only hinder me. I can't look out for both your hide and mine at the same time." Rein replied picking up a vile of dark green liquid and examining it in the light that streamed through an open window before putting it in the pocket of her crimson colored cape.

She knew the only reason that he wished to go was because he thought he could protect her. She also knew that he wouldn't stand a chance against her newest target if he was indeed as powerful as the rumors that had been circulating made him out to be. Rein doubted that she, herself, could even stand against him. She might very well be signing her own death wish in setting out after this bounty. But, her life seemed less and less important as the days passed. There were much more important things in the world that needed to be addressed, and this was one more step in the preparation.

"But Mistre-"

"For the last time, no Tran!" Rein raised her voice turning to him with a look of annoyance. He wasn't helping her thoughts any with his constant whining. "You are to stay here and look after the castle and the slaves in the cells. That is your job until I return."

Tran took a step back as he was yelled at and his gaze turned downward. "Yes Mistress.." His voice was softer now, and more submissive. He had meant well, but realized that he must except what she told him.

Rein felt a slight pang of guilt in her stomach. She hadn't meant to yell at him, but he didn't seem to want to listen. "Go and get me some gold from the back passages." She muttered lightly as she came up with a reason for him to leave the room.

Tran nodded lightly but never looked up. "Yes Mistress.." He said softly and quickly turned and disappeared through the open doorway.

Sighing deeply, Rein stopped sorting through vials and turned away from the shelves. Leaning back against the table she closed her eyes for a moment before taking a piece of paper from her pocket. It was the same letter that had been delivered to her a little less than a week ago. She had received another since then that had offered a bounty of one thousand teres on his head. The nobles of the Northern Kingdom didn't like him apparently, and wanted him dead. They only wanted one of his daggers as proof that he was killed.

Supposedly, he was supposed to kill at his leisure, just picking people at random and slaughtering them. This seemed to be the case for a lot of people who had bounties on their heads lately. She believed rumors to a certain extent, but didn't treat them as complete fact.

Rein had faced very few people she couldn't hold her own against, and had usually escaped the battles that she had lost with minimal damage. Though, she had never developed an ego about things. She knew when to talk and when to shut up. She won very few fights on skill alone, it was often times her quick analysis of situations that got her the upper hand.

Placing the paper back into her pocket, she pushed herself off the table and headed toward the door, leaving her cape laying on the table in the room.

"Tran!" Her voice echoed down the long, stone corridor. Her guilt was eating at her and she wished to apologize to him. He had, after all, really done nothing wrong. "Come here!"

She began to walk down the hall but was suddenly stopped by a violent lurch in her stomach. A blinding pain shot up through her and she fell to her knees, her arms wrapped around her stomach. She tried to call for Tran again but couldn't manage to open her mouth.

"Coming Mistress!" Tran called as he quickly jogged up the stone stairs leading to the upstairs corridors. He held in his hand the bag of coins that Rein had asked for, having just completed the task as she called for him.

Upon reaching the top of the stairs, his violet eyes widened in horror. The sound of coins rolling across the floor was heard as he dropped the bag and rushed to her side. "Mistress!"

Rein lifted her head, but her vision was blurred. She could feel the taste of blood in her mouth. "On the.. table.." She forced out, as Tran approached, and the young Zhara hastily rushed into the potions room.

Grabbing her cape, Tran rummaged through several pockets before he found what he was looking for. He clutched the vile in his hand as he hurried back to her side. Uncorking it he held it up to her lips, a light blue, almost white liquid flowed out of it. Rein managed to swallow about half the amount before breaking into a fit of coughing. A thin line of blood ran down her chin and dripped onto the floor as she coughed. Though, the potion began to work quickly, and the pain subsided a little. She took the vile from Tran and drank the rest once her coughing fit had subsided.

"I.. I'm alright now.. I think.." She spoke, breathing heavily as she straitened herself up a little, testing to see if the pain was truly all gone.

"Sure Mistress?" Tran asked, looking shaken and his pink skin looking slightly paler then normal. He had a hand on her back, rubbing it gently as she breathed.

"Yes, I am.." She swallowed hard, the taste of blood still thick in her mouth. Taking her hand she wiped off her chin and looked down at the small puddle of blood on the stone floor. "It looks like I'm going to need to begin working on a stronger potion when I return."

"You no go! You not condition go!" Tran's limited English skills deteriorated further at the thought of her traveling by herself with the possibility of what had just occurred happening again.

"Calm down, Tran." She spoke softly, still feeling out of breath, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I shall be fine. I will take a few extra vials of this with me."

Her gaze fell to the now empty vile in her hand. Normally, she would drink one vile a day and it would keep her stomach from reacting so. But, it seemed it's effectiveness was wearing off.

Tran wanted to protest again, but he knew it would be futile. Though, his eyes betrayed his worry and he had to hold back tears. He still had the mentality of a child in some ways, and since Rein was the closest thing to family he had, he was more then scared by the idea of loosing her.

"Hey, it's ok Tran." Rein tried to smile a little as noticed the Zhara's watering eyes. "I'm ok, you see? I will just take two potions a day instead of one and that will balance it out.. alright?"

Tran simply nodded, and stood up walking back over to where he had dropped the coins. He kept his worry to himself this time, he was definitely didn't want to get yelled at again today.

Rein once again felt terrible. She didn't mean to do this to him, but what else could she do? She couldn't just pass up the opportunity to go after Sharikyn, and she couldn't take Tran along with her. It seemed he was going to be unhappy no matter what.

Climbing to her feet, Rein leaned against the wall for a few minutes. Feeling light headed and rather ill. "I am going to lay down Tran. See that my things are in order for the journey in the morning." She spoke to him before turning and heading the opposite way down the hall.

"Yes, Mistress." He replied, wishing he could help her back to her room, but knowing she wouldn't let him. After gathering the coins he picked up her cape, and took both downstairs where he proceeded to do as she had asked him.

Rein stopped at a window in the library on her way to her room. The sun shone through onto her as she stood there, gazing out over the ruins of the once beautiful city of Zendel. Memories flooded back to her and then disappeared again as her mind recreated the buildings briefly. Her home, the castle, was the only building left intact. Why she still lived there seemed a mystery to almost all who knew her, but she had her reasons. Her stomach growled sickeningly and the memory of a healing spell gone horribly wrong ran through her mind.

Shaking her head of these thoughts, she turned from the window and headed to her room. Hopefully some sleep would make things look better then they really were. Who knew? Maybe she'd even wake up in a different world. She walked the stairs to her room in silence, and let her mind go blank as she laid down on her bed.

Leave a ...