CHAPTER I: TALKS OF REBELLION
A/N: Alright, here is the new and improved Whispers of Rebellion. Hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: All ideas are originally Halfbloodlycan's, I Fleur-de-lis Evans only add the details and slow or speed up time.
Also characters do not have realistic jobs for the time period, nor are weapons and dialogue time-period appropriate. It's something you'll just have to get over as you read.
S/N: All sections including Terrin and Arisa have been deleted to afford the story it's true plot line! Thanks for reading and reviewing!
Also keep in mind there was a rebellion long before this one, headed by a set of twins Bria and Nero, who died. Now on with the story!
Denya was busy working in her shop, welding together a sword for a customer. She worked tirelessly, and not only that but if her treachery, the fact that she was girl, got out she'd be hung. She was lucky that the only people who knew wouldn't say anything. She was getting good business and didn't want to face the king before she was ready. She knew she was in for a quite a few interruptions this day, since at least three or four people had come asking for swords and various other weapons. As she worked, she thought about her revenge and how she would seek it. She was so absorbed in the welding and her thoughts she didn't hear the door open or her watch dog Dezna bark.
Tobias walked in casually, trying not to be noticed. It wasn't that he didn't like this blacksmith. He thought 'he' was the best around. In fact he knew 'he' was the best around. The problem at hand was that he did like this black smith. At current times, 'his' hair was longish, long enough to be braided and it was a deep scarlet color. 'He' wore what would be considered outsider's colors. The vest was dark blue with black fastenings, the colors of the blacksmith guild. The tunic beneath the vest was deep blue. Tobias strode up to 'him' and cleared his throat. He had trouble forming sentences around this particular black smith. He knew 'his' secret. In fact it was quite hard for the prince to keep the secret. He had found out the truth when he had noticed that her build was slight and fragile. She had been feigning being a male since she was about fifteen. He had promised he wouldn't tell anyone he knew about her. He couldn't bear to watch her get hung, or for her to lose the only thing she had, her skills as a blade smith. Blade smiths were not usually women, not according to his uncle The problem was his unlce, the King, had a keen interest in the disappearance of Denya herself, and the fact that Tobias was always walking by the smithy and stopping to talk to the blacksmith was a keen interest the entire court held. Tobias knew every detail of Denya's confusing story, and preferred to keep her identity hidden for the simple fact that he was falling in love with her.
Hearing the proximity of a deep throated 'ahem,' Denya paused in her welding and looked up. She was surprised to see the prince standing there. She felt awkward when he dropped in, because she talked so casually with him. She knew if any of the palace guards, who seemed to randomly station themselves around the village, where to come in the king would hear about the blacksmith candidly calling his son by name. That was a huge no in King Ivan's kingdom. All higher class people and the royalty were to be called highness, liege, or not to be spoken to at all by lower classmen such as her. She hadn't expected Tobias to be the first one in, since he usually came last so he wouldn't draw attention to himself or to her.
She asked quite stupidly, "What do you want, Your Highness?"
She wanted to hit herself for that. What else would he come in here for? To profess his undying love for her, she seriously doubted it, but it wasn't a sin or against any of the King's laws to hope. She shook her head and quickly ran into the back room before Tobias could reply. As she carefully took down the sword and its new sheath, she thought about how much harder it would be to kill the king if she was in love with his son. She decided it would be better to steal herself from love before she got hurt or hurt someone, preferably the king. She shook herself out of her revere and swiftly walked back out to the welding room.
As Tobias waited, he thought about how beautiful his claymore would look when she brought it out. He was shocked therefore, when it was thrust into his face and a rattled looking Denya all but commanded, "You should get back to the castle before your father has a hernia or before some palace guard comes storming in here because he thinks something it going down."
Tobias nodded but didn't move. He was captivated by her deep amethyst eyes. He stared into them seeming to absorb her secrets into his own stormy green ones. He swore they were like the depths of the ocean or something. They were so beautiful. To his surprise Denya stared back at him. He couldn't help but wonder where her mother was from. He didn't dare breach that subject. He knew any mention of her previous family would only plunge her into a deeper hate for the royal family, he prayed to the gods that hate wasn't toward him. In as sudden a movement Denya looked away, but he caught the slight sadness and resolve in her eyes.
Denya wished he would stop. It as unnerving how much of her pain he seemed to absorb into his memory through his cursed, beautiful stormy green eyes. She paused for a few more seconds before picking up hammer and anvil and continuing her work. It would be better to attempt discouraging his seemingly obvious crush on her. If she was going to kill his father she could not afford to worry about him in the process.
She was purposely ignoring him, and Tobias hated that. He preferred those few moments he had when she allowed that exchange of unspoken understanding to drift between them. As much as he hated to admit it, her previous order and conclusion were right. He couldn't stay here all day. He watched her welding a long sword back together. It had cracked into two pieces. He slid his eyes down her frame noticing how she had grown another two inches or so. He was distracted with musings as he left the shop, and didn't notice as a woman made a beeline for the door. He almost ran into her but didn't hear her muttered apology as he was thinking up another lie to tell his father about why he had taken so long today.
The woman looked around as if she was making sure nobody saw her enter the smithy. It wasn't common for women to enter a smithy alone. In fact woman didn't even enter smithies with men. The woman had kept her head down, but like everyone else she knew exactly who she had bumped into. She had almost run over Tobias, prince and heir to the throne of this hell kingdom, and she hoped he didn't breathe a word of her appearance at the smithy to his father. Like Denya, this woman, whose given name was Vera didn't need the King's eye on her. Vera closed the door quickly behind her and nearly bounded to where Denya was standing. Vera was similar to Denya. Like the smithy she was living in secret and training with her long sword.
Denya, who wasn't too happy about Tobias' visit, heard Dezna bark. She looked up and smiled wryly. She had guessed that Vera would come in today. Denya knew she wasn't one to judge, but Vera was a bit peculiar. She didn't know the woman's past and she didn't particularly want to get involved in any stories. The less people she got close to the easier it would be to die and the less people would morn her loss. She noticed the look the woman was giving her. The look in her eyes was strange. The older woman whispered, "Do you have it?"
The smithy nodded. She didn't like getting into discussions with Vera, after all Denya preferred to make herself believe she didn't need friends. Looking at the older woman Denya handed the long sword she had been welding to its eager owner. Vera nodded curtly to show her thanks and briskly sheathed the blade at her hip. In a flurry of curses and barking Vera walked out of the smithy knocking into a man named Saavedro. Before he could say a word Vera muttered an apology and continued on trying to appear as casual as any other commoner.
Back in her smithy, Denya had resumed work. She counted in her head. Counting the guard from this morning who had come to collect taxes she had been interrupted three times. In all honesty she didn't mind the last two. She hated when guards came in because then she had to cover up her femininity and that was getting difficult. She had been thinking about moving shop to outside the village walls and somewhere in a hidden place. She looked up at the happy barks coming from Dezna to see Saavedro petting her watch had become a regular customer ever since his hometown was destroyed, no doubt when he was young, and no doubt by King Ivan's Black Cloaks. Saavedro's best friend had helped him out quite a lot and had taken him as his apprentice. He often stopped by on his way home to pick up polish or some other odds and ends. Sometimes, like today, he stopped by to just to see how business was. Usually, Denya looked forward to his visits, but today she knew he had come to talk about Xavix. That was another thing that Denya had stupidly gotten involved in. In truth, Xavix was the most dangerous person to Denya. The woman was talking of rebellion. It wasn't that Denya didn't think the king needed to be rid of, but she had thought, before meeting Xavix, it'd be better to assassinate the king on her own without anyone else being involved. She was busy currently checking orders she needed to complete and she was just waiting for Saavedro to start the conversation. To her relief he did, "So, how is business?"
"It's good. A few people needed repairs and someone ordered a sword that was supposed to be done today."
"I see. I saw that guard come in," he said with concern. "What did he want?"
"Taxes," she replied shortly. She didn't feel like telling him that the guard had been asking about what they usually asked about, her. She didn't need any pity. She hated pity. She waited a few moments and Saavedro got to the point of his visit.
"So. Xavix. She wants to have another meeting soon. And she wants to make sure none of us are getting out of hand. I think she's referring to Vera and Perrin."
"Yeah. So, when is Xavix going to elaborate on her great scheme?"
"You seem to think she hates you."
"That's because she knows I want revenge. It was a mistake that I got involved. I know I should have stayed in the shadows. I shouldn't have come out."
"Come on. It can't be that bad that you met all of us. I mean at least you're not alone in your hatred of the royal family. I think Xavix just wants to make sure you don't try….."
Saveedro's last comment was drowned out by a blood curdling scream and a wail of a mother losing her daughter. Denya's head snapped around and Saavedro ran out the door. As usual, he wasn't looking where he was going and he knocked straight into Xavix, herself. She started to mutter an apology but Saavedro cut her off apologizing like he usually did.
Xavix was quite eccentric. She didn't look anything like Vera or Denya. On this day she wore a short black undergarment that reached the point just above her knees beneath her long dark purple skirt that reached her ankles. A novice would take Xavix for just another townswoman. However, Saavedro knew that beneath her skirt she carried a concealed saber that hung sheathed at her hip.
Saaveedro looked behind him and noticed Denya looking out of the top floor window at the scene below. She was still wearing the deep blue tunic with the blacksmith guild's vest. She wore mesh armor beneath the tunic and instead of a skirt she wore black pants with tall black boots that reached her knees. At her waist she wore two swords of different style but at the same length they made a deathly pair to face. Like Xavix, Denya concealed her swords, and Saavedro suspected another pair of unknown weapons under the skirts she wore when she wasn't welding.
Xavix noticed where Saavedro was looking and glanced up in time to see Denya disappear from the window. Another scream pierced the air and Xavix and Saavedro turned toward the center of the square. The head general of The Black Cloaks was barking out orders. Xavix nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard a low voice behind her say, "Watch yourself, Xavix. You're a candidate for this as closely as Vera and I are. Be vigilant."
Both Xavix and Saavedro turned to find Denya standing behind them. She was no longer wearing her guild vest but a deep red jacket with cockatoo blue trim over a worn brown leather vest with black fastenings, her normal welding vest. Xavix hissed, "Are you trying to scare us."
"No," the smithy replied. "I was merely saying that it's no matter that you or I or Vera are older than the required limit. The King can get any girl he wants up there on the auction block."
"Are you saying he'd choose one of us? I don't think…"
"Keep your voice down! I can't chance being discovered."
"What are you doing outside your shop?"
"It's common for young smithy apprentices to come out with their mentors and cheer on this round up. Now shh…."
She pointed over to where the wailing mother's daughter was being taken. It was common occurrence during King Ivan's rein, to see girls form the ages of thirteen to eighteen being taken for the "auctions." Denya noted that Xavix was looking with disgust at the occurrence. Although most of them had become accustomed to it, Xavix seemed to be the only one who couldn't stand to watch it. Denya couldn't stand it either. The first auction had happened right before her father's murder and the first girl to be cut down by the general's sword had been her sister. Denya hated that man, but she couldn't murder both so she settled on the King.
Denya was brought out of her remembrance by the sharp sound of a blade tearing through flesh. She looked past Saavedro and Xavix, both of whom couldn't help but stare at the scene before them, to where the previously chained girl lay bloody and torn at her mother's feet. Denya looked away and got Xavix and Saavedro's attentions, "I'm going back into the shop now. Xavix…"
Saavedro and Xavix turned toward her to listen, "Xavix, don't let him see you walk into my shop. When you come in act like I've been in there the entire time. The soldiers usually don't keep an eye on my shop while this is going on but take the precaution anyway. And Saavedro…"
"Yes?" he asked.
"Don't give me another reason to murder that man."
With that parting statement Denya disappeared around the back of her shop. Xavix gave Saavedro a strange look. He explained as quickly as possible, before he headed off the find Perirn Al'thor, "It's her way of showing she cares without showing emotion."
Xavix nodded her understanding. The one person she knew who confused her the most was Denya. She bid farewell to Saveedro and quickly darted into the shop.
Xavix walked casually toward the old wooden counter. She noticed how Denya looked carefully at the sword before her. It seemed abused in the sense of the word. It was starting to crack and Xavix doubted whether or not any sword of Perrin Al'thor could be mended. She shook the thought from her head and asked, "Have you had much business today?"
"Yeah, actually Tobias and Vera stopped by, as well as Saavedro. He bought some polish again." She replied, lowering her voice some.
"Yeah, well I saw Saavedro, and there was another woman killed just outside."
"Really? I hate it when they do that auction round up, in front of the shop I mean, it's horrible for business."
"Yeah, anyway, I have a message," Xavix lowered her voice conspiratorially, as she handed a note over to Denya, "from Lars."
As Denya read the letter Dezna bounded around Xavix wagging her tail. Clearing her throat to get Xavix's attention she said in a resigned, tired voice, "Don't worry, I'll be there."
Xavix nodded. She couldn't read Denya sometimes. She watched as the smithy folded the letter and put it into her coat pocket. She seriously wondered about Denya's sanity sometimes. She watched interested as Denya gently rapped Perrin's sword and hung it under the counter. Xavix couldn't help but smile as she watched Denya clean up shop.
She realized what time it must be and asked hesitantly, "Is there a back way out of here?"
Denya's had snapped up. She thought about if for a minute. She didn't like telling people where her back door was, just because she didn't want the soldiers finding out where it was. She didn't need to come home to find her shop ransacked. She didn't exactly distrust Xavix, but she didn't trust her one hundred percent either.
She answered, "Yes." She pointed to the back room and finished, "The latch is right there," she pointed to the right of the hanging cloth that marked the entrance to the back room, "on the back wall of the storage room."
Xavix turned and walked quickly through the back room. She could hear Denya cleaning up bits and pieces of metal and various other scraps of salvageable materials. She walked quicker knowing that Denya would catch up with her after locking the front entrance and leaving through the side door. There seemed to be so many hidden entrances and exits to this shop.
Denya looked around to make sure everything was set and listened to make sure the latched of the back entrance caught into position. She lived above her shop, so this is where she would be returning to after the meeting. She just hoped all the soldiers were at the barracks at the castle. She donned her deep red cloak and slipped through the side door. Xavix was waiting at the mouth of the alley. Denya nodded and the pair walked in silence to Terry's tavern, the Green Haven.
Denya told Xavix she'd enter last as she had a little business to take care of. Not knowing what that meant, Xavix nodded and walked through the front entrance to the back room of the Green Haven. There were many people here tonight. Xavix nodded to everyone and sat down. Terry looked up and inquired, "Where's Denya."
"Said she'd be last to come. Had some business to take care of." Xavix answered vaguely.
As she spoke the back door opened and a cloaked figure entered slipping quietly in at the back. Terry looked skeptical. Everyone turned to see Denya lower her hood. There were many people here Denya recognized and many she only knew from business. Over in one corner sat Vera Watson, the great physician, Saavedro and Perrin Al'thor, workers under the king and highly respected by his majesty, and unfortunately Tobias, the prince. Xavix was also sitting in this corner and signaled Denya over. The only seat left was in between said prince and physician. Denya took the seat. The arguing that had been going on loudly for the past few hours subsided and Terry began the meeting.