I stared out the window overlooking the valley below where I watched the peasants milling around, shuffling inside and outside of tents; the farmers in the fields working. It was a regular sight each day for myself and my older sister Thalia as we listened -Or rather she listened, and I ignored- our father lecturing us on battle skills, and techniques. I thought back to yesterday, remembering the interaction Turner and I had with the group of rebels, and the girl who I swore had golden eyes. Those shining, bright golden eyes that where soon after replaced with a light hazel color. I chalked the strange illusion up to the sun getting in my eyes, and misconception taking over. But I still couldn't shake off the weird vibe I got from her; she was so defiant when I first spoke to her, those strange eyes sparking with overwhelming anger and stubbornness, and then almost instantly her personality changed to a giddy, air headed girl; Blair was it? I sighed turning towards my father abruptly.
"Father, I have a question." Thalia trained a confused look on me, her brows knitting together. I never asked questions, let alone payed attention to the lectures and classes, but this time it was important; I needed to know. My dad's deep blue eyes landed on me, as he leaned up against his desk crossing his muscular arms over his chest. He lightly scratched at his scruffy brown beard, nodding his head. his face was completely emotionless, as usually.
"Go on." He granted me permission to speak, I hated having to ask permission to speak. My life was so controlled, so was Thalia's but it was of course inevitable. I huffed, leaning back in my chair so it was balancing on only two legs.
"Scavengers-" I started, a look of confusion flashed across my fathers features, but only for a split moment as the cold stone emotionless facade regained his visage. "They all have gold eyes, at least the full blood Scavengers do correct?" I asked, making sure I was thinking straight. My father nodded his head in agreement, but said nothing as if urging me to continue. Thalia was turned around in her chair now, bringing her soft brown hair over her shoulder as she intently listened to me. "C-can they change their eye color?" I pondered lightly, looking into my fathers eyes. He stood up straight, clearing his throat.
"Only the stronger ones are able to create illusions, and with one of these illusions I suppose it's a possibility that they could hide their eye color." He nodded his head, as if confirming his theory. "Why do you ask, Bryce? Scavengers are a thing of the past." I sighed shaking my head as my ash blonde hair fell over my eyes. "I was just wondering.." I mumbled, turning back to the window. Thalia held her burning gaze on me for a few moments, but turned back around to our father and listened intently to what he had to say, I was once again tuning him out.
No matter how hard I tried, I was unable to rid of the strange feeling I got from that girl. She seemed so normal, but there was something unsettling in her eyes, terrifying. Not that she was terrified, more that she herself was terrifying to others. I was honestly anticipating her striking me, and that mutt of a dog that stood beside her obviously had his mind on digging those teeth somewhere none too pleasant.
"Bryce!" I heard my father snap angrily, my attention was brought back around as my arm slipped on the desk, my head falling from the position it held settling on my palm
"Uh hu, yea I'm listening." I instantly replied, apparently that's not what the answer was supposed to be as his mouth was set into a thin line, his jaw clenched.
"Did you hear what I said?" He ground out, narrowing his eyes in my direction. I heard Thalia snicker in amusement, covering her mouth with her hand to suppress her giggles. I glared daggers at her, shaking my head at my fathers question.
"I'm sorry father, I missed it." I said gruffly "What was it you said?" I asked, expecting him to below something about respect for your father, yet much to my surprise he didn't. Instead he let out an impatient sigh, repeating what he had just said moments before when I hadn't been paying attention.
"Tomorrow is the annual Imperials Parade." He started, I refrained from rolling my eyes as I merely settled for nodding my head in understanding. The Imperials parade was held every July 10th as a reminder to the New World that we had won the war against the Scavengers and their allies, that we are the ones in charge and always will be.
So pretty much it's a way for the Imperials to dress up all fancy like, show themselves off to the peasants, then eat a full feast whilst partying like animals and getting plastered. It wasn't something I really fancied, but as the King Imperials children Thalia, Turner and I where expected to be there. "I want you two to be ready by noon, and also have Turner ready to go. Dismissed." He finished, waving a large hand dismissively. Thalia stood up, collecting her books in her arms and brushing past me as she left the room without so much as a good bye.
I was about to leave myself, go wallow in my misery somewhere in the house like I usually did around this time of day; but I was caught by the shoulder. Looking behind me I caught eye contact with my father, furrowing my brow in confusion I turned my body so I was fully facing him. "Yes father?" I queried skeptically. Was I about to be lectured for asking about Scavengers now, perhaps for not listening and then being caught drifting off?
My frantic worries where dismissed though as he passed me a large book from his desk, slapping it down in my hands. It weighed me down, but I made sure not to show any sign of weakness in front of this man. It was an old book, leather and bound by a strap. It seemed to be covered in dust as if it hadn't been read in ages.
On the front in large bold letters was the title.
"I was a bit taken aback by your interest in the scum my boy-" My father started before he laid a large hand on my shoulder, squeezing it reassuringly. "But all you need to know is in this book, go and read now." He ordered, clearing his throat a bit awkwardly. I nodded my head, my mouth slightly hanging in surprise as I left the lecture room.
I walked down the large corridor, running the scene through my head over and over again; but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make sense of what had just happened. Had my father, the ruthless king with seemingly no emotions tried to connect with me? His eldest son? He's never tried doing so before, so now that I'm suddenly interested in things he is he wants to connect with me?
And there was the fault I was looking for, a scowl appeared on my face as I dropped the large book on my bed, not wanting to open it and read. The village girl was merely a bit spirited than most, the sun had blocked my full vision giving me the illusion her eyes where gold. She was only frightened by the scene with the rebels; Scavengers where dead. That was my final conclusion, there where none left plain and simple.
And tomorrow, the Imperials parade would prove this once more. I sighed, expecting to have a few hours of rest before dinner time. But before I could plop onto my comfortable bed Turner burst through the door, his eyes wide with joy and excitement, his hair a complete mess. My eyes mimicked his crazed look, as I stared on in shock.
"You okay, Turner?" I asked, anticipating the moment he would jump at me with a crazy scream, because he sure did look crazy.
"Bernie found a Cavern!" He squealed, jumping up and down around my room. I walked forward, kneeling down in front of my little brother. Was he being serious, or just fooling me like he sometimes did?
"Are you serious Turner?" I asked, searching his face for any sign that he was just joking with me. Still his expression remained the same as he nodded his tiny head vigorously.
"Father wants you to join him, Bernie, and Carlos to go and clear it out." He squealed, I stood up ruffling my blond hair slightly as I ushered Turner out of my room following behind him. I closed my door, as I started down the hallway.
A Cavern was found, which meant tonight was the night we'd bring in rebels, thieves and assassins. We would burn the Cavern, but keep a few of the rebels alive until their prosecution tomorrow where they would be hung in front of the whole village. It was ironic, that there would be a hanging tomorrow of all days -The Imperial Parade- I felt a sick sort of churning in my stomach, as I thought the situation over in my head.
Had my father... planned this?