Between the Earth and Us

BY : SweetLoot
Category: Fantasy & Science Fiction > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 5246
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblence to a real person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work.

Events in my life have led me to not write awfully much for the past year or so, but I write stuff as a sort of self-medication to deal with stress and that's where this story started. It's not beta'ed, and it's written in a program that doesn't tell me if I've spelled something wrong, but hopefully I've caught most of the typos myself.

While my other stories aren't abandoned, they are very much on hiatus right now. This is one of those stories where I might update slowly, depending on how much of other things I have going on around me. I've got some chapters saved up, but we'll see how fast updates arrive.

That being said, have a story I desperately want to see through all the way to the end :)

 

The road was bumpy and uneven, filled with holes after centuries of use and no repair, and a prison cart made for much worse accommodative travel than what Eisana was used to. Of course, he was a prisoner and these soldiers didn't seem to care about his social standing in his own kingdom, throwing him in with the commoners. Why should they care, really? Their kingdom had been in war with his own, a war which Eisana and his people had truly lost in a great way. Arrogance hadn't been the cause, like it had been the cause of the fall of the kingdoms around them, because Valion Ariath was just as strong as Yethai and just as militarily capable. But Yethai had luck on their side, perhaps even Nirën had seen them more worthy of her support, and they had crushed Valion Ariath, taking the city and forcing the royal House to flee. It had been utterly humiliating to be taken away from the stronghold in chains and thrown onto a prison cart. For the Yethai soldiers it had been a parade of triumph to be able to cart the king of Valion Ariath out of the city gates behind rusty metal bars, stripped of his armor and his bracelets. For Eisana, and for his people, it had been tragedy. While they had made broken pleas to the gods for release, he had been unable to bear his head high because of his shame. For all of the promises he had made to them, he had let them down and abandoned them. While Valion Ariath was not broken yet, its king and its city was captured, and soon the small pockets of resistance were likely to fall as well. Upon that, the kingdom of Valion Ariath would cease to exist, 2000 years of its House's rule of those lands would end and Eisana would be little more than a commoner. Worse was what fate would befall his beloved people.

Now he was far away from them, in view of the gates and walls of Yethai's city; Ser Arash, on the open space of the White Plain. Eisana had rarely ever been very far south, and definitely never in open space like this. His people were of the Southern Forest, and he himself had spent most of his life around the Shaded Lake and its settlement. This was too open, the wind was a constant howl and there was no shade from the rain or snow or any other of the elements save for what you built yourself. He had trouble understanding why anyone would want to live open to the elements like this. And then there was the smell of the sea, the ever present saltiness permeating the air and the smell of rotting seaweed. It was disgusting. Perhaps the Yethai liked to live out here because of their human origin. Eisana had trouble believing that it was their elven origin that drew them here, considering where that part of them had originally come from. It wasn't much of a secret that the elven side of House Yethai had originated in the Southern Forest and that they had the same ancestry as Valion Ariath. But that was where the similarities ended. Yethai had taken a lot of their customs from their human ancestry, and the rest they had inherited from Aranth in the West. The House had broken all ties with the Southern Forest when they separated from their origin.

That had been part of the conflict between Yethai and the Southern Forest, but now that seems to have been resolved by the defeat of the Forest's royal House. For Yethai it was solved, at least.

Eisana felt a carpet of dread settle over him as the cart rolled through the enormous gates of Ser Arash. If this was how the soldiers treated important prisoners of war, then he didn't even want to think about how he would be treated in the city. The people here were his enemies, many probably hated him for the losses they had gained in this war. Eisana had lead his army himself, and killed soldiers. There were those in this city whom had reason to want him dead. Not the least the king of Yethai. King Athran had lost a brother to Eisana during a skirmish. Being a captive here would probably lead to his death. Hopefully it would be quick.

Mercifully, the road down to the dungeons was short and not many people were there to bother the prisoners. Even though that was a mercy, the wet, damp, dark caves underneath the city that was the dungeons was less of a mercy. The soldiers gave him his own cell, at least, so he didn't have to share one of these holes with somebody else. He felt sorry for the others who did have to share the small, cramped spaces. But the dungeons were wet and moldy, and it didn't really matter if they had to share space or not. They'd all get sick regardless.

Eisana tried to get comfortable on the low wooden bench provided in the cell, but sleeping or sitting directly on wood was not something he was used to at all, not even on campaigns. It felt like he had been thrown from paradise into the Halls of Lan. Dying in battle would have been more honourable than this.

He didn't know how long he had been in there. The sounds of the guards had disappeared, but the sounds of the other prisoners hadn't. Regardless of all that, Eisana had managed to fall asleep for a while. What woke him up was the jingling of keys and the door to his cell opening up. He was on his feet immediately, ready to fight or shout at whoever it was coming into his involuntary new home. What he was faced with wasn't a guard or a soldier, but the king of Yethai himself. He was tall, for a half-elf, but aside from his slightly pointed ears, he looked more like a human. Perhaps a bit slighter, but his face was less refined than an elf's would be. Still, he was a good looking man. Just like the royalty of the Southern Forest, the Yethai king wore no crown but his dark hair was elaborately put up with silver chains and hair sticks. One small thing the two royal Houses had in common. He was definitely much better dressed than his counterpart right now, though.

"My Lord," Athran said, surprising Eisana by using a title rather than just his name. "I apologize for the treatment my soldiers have given you. Truly, had I known they would treat you like this, I would have come and collected you myself. They seem to have forgotten you are also a king. I can assure you it will not go unnoticed."

"I...Why would you?" It seemed a really stupid thing to ask, but Eisana's tongue was tied for other words right now. He'd get around to them eventually.

"Do you take me for a barbarian? Don't answer. I know you do. 'The unrefinement of the half elf house is truly astonishing', wasn't it?"

"That was my father. I never said that. Don't...just..." Except he had been thinking similar thoughts sometimes.

"Let us not discuss the sentiments between our people right now, hm? I suppose you would like to get out of here. This isn't a becoming place for a king. For the foreseeable future, you will be a guest in my home. You will not be free to go wherever you please, and you will be guarded, of course. But I believe it is a better deal than remaining here."

"Yes." Eisana paused for a bit. "Excuse my manners, I am a bit shaken. I gratefully accept, and thank you for your offer."

"Understandable. I don't expect great levels of proper conduct in this situation. You are my prisoner, after all." Athran smiled, and Eisana was struck by how beautiful that smile was. "Let us go, yes?" Athran pointed a hand toward the door, stepping aside to let Eisana walk first. He didn't have to be asked twice.

There were guards right outside the cell, and he expected to be given chains again. That didn't happen, although the guards placed themselves between himself and Athran while they walked up a long, winding hallway partially built into the rock. It emerged into a great, bright hall, bathed in sunlight and draped in tapestries. The contrast between the dark, damp space beneath and this was enormous, even for the short time that Eisana had spent down in the dungeons. His eyes stung with the sudden daylight, but thankfully adjusted quickly. They didn't stop long enough for Eisana to really get a good look at the tapestries, but they were probably depicting battles or the gods. Athran ushered them all toward the end of the hall and in a door, where he quickly dismissed the guards, much to their dismay. One of them mumbled something about whether it was a good idea to leave Eisana unguarded here, but the king quickly stopped any form of protest with a sharp word.

"They are on edge," he explained, although he didn't really owe any explanation. "None of my soldiers believe it is a good idea to bring you up here. But it is my duty to treat you in a good way, and I believe they don't quite understand that."

"Do they have to?"

"Of course not. Through here." Athran pointed to a door, half hidden behind tapestries. Eisana guessed the room they had first entered was part of the king's private quarters. It was certainly private quarters. The door they entered now led to a smaller side room, rarely used by the looks of it. It was a nice room, with tapestries on the wall, a large bed, and space for sitting in the corner, filled with pillows and furs. "This is where you will stay."

Eisana noticed that Athran said nothing about the duration of that stay. "Thank you."

"There is a small bath through the door on the left. It has all you need. I will provide clothes for you, and a servant will arrive with food shortly. You may not leave these rooms without guards, but if you need to leave ring the bell and one will come. Feel free to read whatever books you want."

"Thank you, again."

"Rest. I want to talk to you, but not until my own duties are over."

Eisana nodded, and watched Athran withdraw, closing the door behind him. The elven king wasn't sure whether he should feel relieved or disconcerted by the sound of that heavy door closing. On the one hand he had been given reprieve from the darkness of the dungeons, but on the other he was still a prisoner and couldn't go anywhere on his own. Eventually, his mind settled on feeling both. It was an odd place to be in.



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story