|Imprisoned by Destiny
Author: Grey Falcon PM
Traveling across a desert to find his lost love, Alex found more than what he bargained for. NOTE: This is what happened before Alex met Andraea in 'Andraea's Journal'.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 3 - Words: 8,574 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 06-06-04 - Published: 11-11-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1444403
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 3: IMPRISONED BY DESTINY
Alex woke up to the smell of dried hay. There was still a slight pain on is head from the knock on his head before, and he rubbed his head as he scanned his surroundings. He realized that he was no longer bound, although the marks on his wrists were proof that the ropes were released recently. His left arm felt a little numb and he remembered the injury inflicted to him, but when he inspected it, he saw that it had been properly bandaged. There was a faint smell of medication seeping from it.
The first thing that he noticed was that he was inside a metal cage matted with hay. The cage was huge enough for him to move around, and was probably used to house animals larger than he was. The cage was inside a small room – probably a basement – and there were no windows. Alex remembered what the man said: he was to be sold at the slave market by the morrow, and since he was still caged, he knew that it was still dark outside. The only source light inside the small room was from the lantern on top of a table located not far from the cage. Peering through the darkness he saw a faint outline of the door at one corner of the room.
Alex looked around, and saw his katana lying at the table where the lantern was. Probably the thief who took it before this was assigned to keep watch over them, and he forgot to take it along with him when he went out somewhere. All the better, Alex thought, and tried to reach for it. His effort proved futile because the table was out of his reach. After trying several times, Alex gave up and studied the lock of the cage. He snickered; the thieves thought he wasn't as skillful as they were, for the lock was too simple to pick. He was about to take out a lockpick hidden inside the soles of his boots when he heard a small sob from a corner the cage hidden under the shadows.
The sad sob broke the silence of the empty room. Alex's stared at the shadows and realized that Trissa was inside the cage as him. She crouched under the shadows as if wanting to hide from everything, and if not for her sobs, Alex would definitely miss her. She didn't seem to notice Alex, and her eyes were swollen with tears.
For the first time since he left the village five years ago, he was able to see her again. Trissa was unlike what he remembered – cheerful, clean and beautiful – but she looked miserable. Her once shiny hair was now messy and dull, and with the rest of her, it was dirty. There was no smile on her swollen lips; only dried blood from the slapping she had received earlier, and probably from other things they did to her while he was unconscious, as well. Her once shining eyes had lost its glory. Her jewelries that emphasized her beauty were gone. But nothing could banish the beauty radiating from her. Alex hesitated to go near her to calm her down, but he braved himself and went to her. Seeing that she didn't flinch from his touch, he lightly held her shoulders while one of his hands slowly soothed her hair.
"There, there…don't cry anymore," he soothed. When he saw that Trissa seemed not to notice his presence, Alex proceeded to lightly hug her. That brought her to attention and she forcefully pushed him away. Alex could see fear written in her eyes, so he backed a few steps. He stood still as she eyed her suspiciously. She had stopped sobbing now and studied him. Their eyes met, and although her first instinct was to look away, she struggled not to do so. She seemed to look for recognition in Alex; she studied his eyes, then his nose, his lips, down to his attire, and took a while to study his bandaged hand. When she caught a glimpse of the golden-shaped falcon pendant that had fallen out from its hiding underneath Alex's clothes, she burst into tears. Alex wanted to calm her down again, but feared that she would only push him away again. So he stood still, unsure of what to do.
"No…not like this…" was all that she could manage under her tears.
"Alex, you…you're still alive…I always knew you are," she said. Although there was a small tone of happiness in her voice, it dripped with despair. "Mother…mother wanted to marry me with someone else. I ran away…I ran because I know you're still alive…"
"Calm down, Trissa. Calm down," Alex said as he sat beside Trissa and proceeded to hug her tightly. As he did so, he noticed that Trissa was thinner than he remembered. It made him wonder of the suffering she had endured all these times. "I'm here with you now."
"But…but…not like this…" she whimpered.
"It doesn't matter, Trissa. As long as we are together, everything will be all right," Alex whispered. For some time Alex held her, slowly cradling her as he soothed her to calm her down. As he wiped her tears wit his fingers, he looked deep inside her eyes. He had hoped to find the burning passion reflected within her eyes, but instead, he saw only fear and sadness.
"No, it does matter," she said, still sobbing. "I always dreamed that someday we'll meet again on a green field filled with flowers, not…not in a cage trapped like animals!" she screamed, and cried again.
Her words crushed Alex's heart. Although he told her that it didn't matter as long as they were together, he regretted that they weren't in the village, at their secret place where he could confess his love after separated for several years. Like Trissa, he didn't expect to see her like this. Damn you all, Alex thought. You will all pay for what you have done to her!
Trissa calmed down some time later. Alex let her cry out all the pain she had endured all these times, because he would make sure that she would never shed any tears again. He patiently waited until her sobs eventually died out.
"Alex?" she began after a long silence.
"Why didn't you return as promised?"
Alex didn't answer the question. Instead, he asked, "Why did you come to this place?"
Trissa hesitated, but she told him. "I…I was ambushed. They attacked me one night a week after I ran away from home. I was heading to the city where I knew that I would find you. They captured me and…and…made me a slave to…to please them." Trissa shivered when she spoke those words. If Alex wasn't there with her, she would have burst into tears.
"Calm now…I'm here with you, so be strong."
"Alex, I'm…I'm no longer worthy of you. I'm too dirty…"
"No," Alex objected. "You're always worthy of my love, no matter what happened." He proceeded with a kiss on Trissa's forehead, and continued, "Now, please continue."
"In return for my…service," she then continued, "they trained me, thought me their skills. I lost hope of you when I realized that I could never escape this place. But I was a bad slave since I can't cope up with all the trainings, and it's just right that a bad slave is to be punished."
"Stop the slave act," Alex snapped. The tone of his voice made Trissa shrank away from him, but he calmed her down and kissed her in the lips. Trissa hesitated at first, but feeling that it was a sincere kiss, she accepted the warmth of his lips. When they broke their kiss Alex asked, "Why didn't you run away when they were gone?"
"I tried once, but everyone in the city knows him. They caught me, and when my master returned, they told him that I tried to escape. I succeeded in escaping once, but I fell unconscious at the desert. A person who found me brought me back to the city. My master threatened to kill me for what I had done, and after that, he punished me. Once, he almost broke my arm for my mistake," Trissa gasped at the memory. "People knew him as One-eyed Raith. I lost all hope of escaping then, but now…" she sobbed again, and this time Alex let her cry out.
"Raith…" the name tasted foul on Alex's lips. "I don't mind if you had killed me then, but you had made her suffer! You'll pay all this with your life!"
Letting go of Trissa, Alex took out his lockpick and started to pick the lock. After he succeeded he gestured for Trissa to wait inside, while he went out and picked up his katana. Just as he did so, he heard the door being clicked open. Hearing that, he quickly hid under the darkness. A thief walked in, cursing about being tricked to guard duty. There was a strong smell of alcohol emanating from him, and he swayed a little as he headed towards the table. He was however sober enough to notice the katana missing from the table and the opened door of the cage. The thief quickly ran towards the door to raise the alarm, but Alex had drawn his throwing dagger in the darkness and as the thief reached for the door Alex quickly grabbed him and slit his throat. The thief fell limply to the ground, dead. Alex went back to the cage and holding Trissa's hand, he mentioned her to follow him. There was fear in her eyes when she saw what he did, but calmed down when he whispered something to her.
"Don't worry, Trissa. I will give you your freedom. I'll bring you out from this hell."
With Trissa's guidance, they made their way out. Several thieves saw them, but Alex disposed of them quietly before they could raise an alarm. Slowly, but surely, they made their way to the exit.
The final door that would lead them to freedom was on sight when they noticed that One-eyed Raith was waiting for them. He had heard about their escape, and he knew Trissa would lead Alex to the main door since she knew no other way out. Thus, he waited there to stop them. Already he had his scimitar drawn, and as Alex and Trissa walked into the lounge, he cast a sharp glance to them. As soon as they saw Raith they stopped, and Trissa cowered behind Alex. Alex, on the other hand, stood still, and readied for a fight. Glancing to his sides Alex saw there were others beside Raith, hiding behind the shadows. He gestured to Trissa to find a safe cover. The air was tense, and the silence only added the chill to the situation.
"So," Raith began, "I see that wench managed to convince you to escape with her, eh? You're wasting your time, kid; she's mine. But if you believe in whatever story she told you, then you have to get through me first – and I'll make sure that you won't," Raith said. He then turned to Trissa, and she cowered at his sight. "After him, you're next, slave."
Rage boiled in Alex's blood. As he charged towards Raith, he screamed, "Die, Raith! You shall pay for our suffering!"
Raith apparently was the more experienced fighter between the two. He parried the first blow, and quickly followed by a slash towards Alex's midsection. Alex avoided the attack, but his tunic was torn from the slash. The duel lasted for several minutes, and Raith only took advantage of Alex's harshness. Raith only parried his blows and sometimes dodged it at first, but after a while, he began attacking, pressing Alex hard.
"You don't even improve a bit since I last saw you, kid," he said as he delivered another slash to Alex, which he hastily parried. Alex left an opening however, and Raith took that to throw a punch to Alex's chin. Alex stumbled backwards to the wall, and as he did so, he knocked over a small table. A large vase standing on top of the table fell and rolled in front of him. Alex looked up, and saw Raith walking towards him, scimitar in hand, with a gleam of triumph in his eyes. He positioned the tip of his scimitar at Alex's chest.
"I'm getting tired of this little game," he said. "Now…I'll end this!"
As Raith brought his scimitar high, Trissa cast her view at one side and closed her eyes tight. She expected to hear Alex scream, but was surprised when what she heard was a loud crash. She opened her eyes, slowly at first, but then opened wide when she saw that the situation had turned. Alex was standing up and his katana was on Raith's chest, and Raith was sitting at the floor, holding his wounded arm. His scimitar lay several feet from him, and there was a sense of defeat surrounding him. Apparently Alex used the vase to deflect Raith's blows, and then hit him directly at his bandaged arm, throwing him to the floor and reopening the wound.
"No…I'll end this," Alex said. His hand held the hilt of the katana tight, and he glared at Raith.
"I lost. Kill me then," Raith slowly said. "You have won yours and that slave's freedom."
"Oh I will kill you all right," Alex replied, "the bounty for your head is more than enough for us to start a new life. I don't really care when you robbed me that night because I could always find more. But you have made her life as hell…you ruined her, when she was supposed to be living happily. I'll never forgive you on that."
Raith's eyes suddenly widened. "You know her?"
"Of course I know her, damn it!" Alex screamed. "She's my fiancée! Because you robbed me that night, I had to work for another year to gain what I have lost when we were supposed to be married then! But what do I get? Nothing. Nothing! Except to find her under your total submission!" Then his face changed – from anger, there was a twisted smile on Alex's bloody lips. "See you in hell," he said, and raised his katana before he proceeded to drove it towards Raith.
The few moments after that happened like a dream. Only a streak of white was seen in front of them as Alex's katana went down towards Raith, and a small gasp sounded when the blade caught flesh. Alex was shocked by what had happened that he released his grasp on the katana, and it slid down with the body that it had passed into.
Trissa had taken the punishment for Raith. When she saw that Alex wanted to kill him, she ran towards them to protect him. Now she lay at their feet, and blood gushing from her fatal wound made a small puddle on the smooth marble floor. Alex fell to his knees, and he held Trissa as he remorsefully drew the katana out from her. She only gave him a weak smile as he did so, and as soon as the katana was free from her body Alex threw it away from her. He held her tight as one of his hands tried in vain to stop the bleeding.
"Why? Trissa…why?" Alex whispered as he began sobbing. Raith stood beside him, and he spoke no words as he watched them.
"I'm sorry, Alex…"
"Why? Why did you save him when he had made your life…made us like this?"
"He's muh-my master, Alex. When I los-lost all hope of you…he's the one – the only one to turn to. He gave me shelter…food…and he…he protects me…from-cough-from harm. There's so little-cough-so little that I could give him…in return…"
"But why…?" His tears fell freely now, and it mingled with Trissa's blood on the floor.
"Because…because I love him, Alex. I love him…as much…as much as I love you. You told me…told me to find another…to find anoth-cough-another when you didn't….didn't come back. I had found-rasp-the man you…asked." Trissa ran her bloodied hand to Alex's hair and slowly smiled. "Will you…will you bless us?"
There was only silence as Alex's mind raced back to what he had said five years back; the night before he went to the city. "Trissa, if I didn't return in three years, accept the fact that I'm dead. Find another man to replace me. And if I came back after that, I will bless you, even if the pain in my heart will never heal."
It was hard for Alex to say the simple word of 'yes', so instead he hugged her close. Blood continuously flowed from Trissa's wound, and he felt Trissa's breath gradually slowed as with her heartbeat.
There was a healer standing at their side. She quickly arrived when she heard the urgency in Raith's voice, but she saw there was nothing she could do. Alex didn't notice her yet, and Trissa signaled to the healer to leave. The healer glanced to Raith and he slowly nodded. She let out a small sigh and left.
"Yes," Alex whispered to her ears, almost choking on the words.
Hearing that, Trissa smiled again in a weak smile. Her gaze turned to Raith, and tears formed at her eyes as she spoke, "He-he blessed us, master. Isn't that wonderful?"
Raith only gave her a faint smile. He was still holding his wound, but he knew that what he felt was small compared to what Trissa was feeling. Raith felt guilt; something that he had never felt since he became involved in crimes. Taking lives of the innocent was natural to him, and he had used many women in his life. But seeing Trissa and Alex now invoked a strange feeling inside him. For once, he felt that he had wronged them. He should have never stopped them when they wanted to escape.
Ignoring her pain, Trissa lifted her right arm weakly and held it up to Raith. "Hold my hand," she rasped, "and kiss…kiss me."
Alex glared angrily at Raith when she said that and held her possessively close. Raith hesitated, but a soft tug at Alex's tunic made him turned his gaze to Trissa. Seeing her pleading eyes, he relented and slowly placed her on the floor. Raith slowly stepped forward and took Trissa's hand, and after kissing it lightly, he proceeded with a kiss at her forehead. Then he let her hand go and stood a few steps away from her.
"Now…" she said, "Alex, you too."
Holding her hand tight and hugging her close, he gave her a kiss on her bloodied lips. The bottled up passion that he had kept all this time was released on that single kiss, for he knew that it would be their last. He wanted it to last for an eternity, but nothing lasted forever. There were tears flowing from Trissa's now closed eyes, but Alex never realized it for he too closed his.
Finally they broke their kiss, and Alex could see a smile on her lips and the warmth in her eyes. Their eyes met, and finally Alex saw the Trissa he had lost and the Trissa he had always loved. In the last moment of her life, she had returned to him. Her hand weakly caressed Alex's cheek, and Alex placed his hand over hers. But it was only for a moment; her eyes finally closed, and her lifeless hand slowly fell to the floor.
Her body would no longer feel any pain, any suffering. Her eyes shall no longer shed any tears, as she would no longer need to. She left the world with a smile; content that Alex kept his word and returned to her, and content of his blessings. What Alex promised her when they escaped wasn't a lie.
She had obtained her freedom.