Layla woke just before morning to a loud clatter coming from outside one of the windows. She slumped out of bed and dragged her feet to the window, but all the grogginess left her when she saw a man crawling out one of the windows below her.
Her room was situated only two stories from the ground and the shadowy figure had knocked over a barrel and a shovel in the process of shimmying out of the palace. Before long another figure emerged from the same whole as the first man. The two men began to approach the woods just as a woman in white came running from the trees. She joined the two men in the shadows and the three conversed quietly. There was a rustling in the woods and they all froze. The three stepped cautiously into the moonlight. One of the men was clearly a D'haran soldier, who had just gotten off guard duty. The other was dressed in rags and bruises, and looked vaguely familiar. It wasn't until he turned to look back at the castle that she recognized him as Prince Fyren, the man whose future Rahl had forced her to predict.
Layla smiled as Fyren hugged the D'haran soldier who had helped him to escape. Little did he know he wasn't just escaping Rahl, but he was escaping death. Layla looked once again at the woman in white, wondering if she was one of those confessors she had heard so much about. Her blonde hair shone along with her dress as she stepped from the shadows. She said a few words to the soldier before grabbing Fyren's hand and pulling him into the woods.
The soldier was dressed head to toe in D'haran issue armor, but it wasn't until he removed his helmet that Layla recognized him as her dear friend Clem. She gasped, wondering what he was doing jeopardizing their chances at escape by helping smuggle the highest profile prisoner out of the palace. Ultimately, she was happy Fyren got away. If her predictions were accurate then soon enough he would be plotting an assassination attempt on Rahl, and she and Clem could get out of that cursed castle a little sooner.
She turned quickly from the window, grabbed a piece of parchment and crumpled it around a clump of cold remains from her fireplace. She returned to the window and crumpled the paper around the charcoal before throwing it at his head.
Clem winced as a small object hit him in the back of the head. He turned to see a bunch of closed windows peering at him. He looked at the grass around him and saw a crumpled piece of parchment lying on the ground. He picked it up and hurried back into the palace. He stood under a torch light and opened the crinkly note which read:
Clem folded the note and tucked it into his armor. He walked back to the barracks, took off his armor, and climbed into bed. He smiled as he saw small rays of sunlight starting to creep through the windows.
Rahl had always gotten what he wanted, but not from being spoiled as much as his fierce determination and power. He paced just inside the glass doors that led to the massive balcony from which he addressed his people. He longed to see the legs of that putrid prince kicking as he hung from the noose. He grinned just thinking about the look he'd soon see on Fyren's face as his guards walked him to the gallows. This kind of vindictive rage always brought a smile to Rahl's face. But as swept up in passionate anger as Rahl normally was, he still went to bed at night with an emptiness inside.
Rahl peered through the window at the crowd awaiting his execution speech and wondered what his country would have been like if he hadn't killed his father all that time ago. He brushed off the thought as Egremont entered with a series of guards.
"Ah," Rahl's amused voice bellowed throughout the hall, "Egremont. Is everything in order? I'm ready to see that damned prince's neck snap."
"My Lord," it was one of the guards who spoke, "There seems to have been a mix up at the watch…" the guard trailed off, ringing his hands as Rahl's smile faded into a grimace.
"Spit it out!" Rahl's muscles began to clench as he lost his calm and content demeanor.
"Fyren is gone. We don't know how, but he's escaped." The guard spoke quickly nearly tripping over his own words.
Rahl let out a loud scream and slammed his fists onto the wooden table. Hot wax spilled onto the wood as the candles shook from the force of the impact. Rahl's breath was ragged and harsh. He stood and walked slowly over to the guard who gave him the news. Locking eyes with Egremont, Rahl thrust his sword into the nameless soldier whose body slumped to the floor.
"Get me my journey book." Rahl demanded.
Egremont bowed before retrieving the leather clad pieces of parchment.
Rahl let out another yell, more pained than the first, contracting his middle as he did so. His clenched fists over his eyes. When he finally stood, he had regained his composure and began to wonder why he had let some slimy pig like Fyren bother him so much. He looked at his bloodied hands and realized it wasn't Fyren at all, but that stupid girl. The second he saw Fyren lunge at her he had wanted to ring that bastard's neck. Rahl's eyes lost focus and he heard his knife clatter to the floor. He realized now how ridiculous he had been. How could I have let myself get this carried away by some girl? These were feelings Rahl knew needed to be eradicated. She was just another tool, not a distraction to keep him from extinguishing the Seeker.
Rahl knew what he needed to do. Get the Seeker into the People's Palace, so he could have Layla read him and then be rid of her. If Rahl knew the Seeker's future, then he would have his ultimate enemy's future and always be one step ahead. Then he could get rid of that girlish distraction and move on with his plan for D'Hara.
A/N: Hey guys! Sorry, it has been so long since I last posted. I got stuck on this last chapter and wrote it about 50 different ways before I decided to put it down for a while. But I finally just sat down, and knocked it out.