I'm currently in the middle of reworking this story so it might possibly be confusing and not make much sense but hopefully it will be sorted out soon! hope you enjoy
Soldier in Blood Splattered Uniform
After mercilessly slaughtering an entire army of Hobbes, Skye, the princess of Albion – along with her mentor, Walter, walked out of the cave into the open air, a marshy swamp under their feet. They were in Mourningwood. The pair were recruiting allies to help them lead a rebellion and throw Skye's eldest brother, Logan, off the throne. It had seemed that Logan would make an excellent ruler, he most definitely had the arrogance, as well as the brains to make decisions that would benefit Albion the most. No one had foreseen him being the cause of the country's downfall and introducing child labour to help the rise of the industrial revolution. He was a tyrant and needed to be stopped.
"I hope the people we are looking for are still alive," Walter said, a nervous tone lacing his voice.
'I bloody well hope so too' Skye thought. 'What's the point in trekking through a colossal cavern full of smelly Hobbes in order to seek out some people who aren't alive?' "Why wouldn't they be?" She asked.
"Because, come nightfall, Mourningwood is one of the most dangerous places in Albion."
Gruesome images of Hollowmen and other dangerous creatures plagued her mind. She'd grown up inside the castle, the closest she'd ever gotten to these ghastly beasts were pictures in storybooks. Well, up until now of course. Despite having just fought their way through a filthy cave of Hobbes, the thought of being in Mourningwood at nightfall absolutely terrified her. Skye tried her best to hide her troubling thoughts from Walter - she didn't want him to think she wasn't capable of carrying out this quest, or even worse, incapable of becoming queen. She was expected to do all these quests without difficulty, because of the fact she was a hero. Just like her father, who died along with her mother when Skye was fifteen.
She shook her head, trying to erase the thought of her parents. That wasn't something she wanted to think about, it was easier to supress the image before painful memories came flooding back.
The voice in her mind ceased and she was pulled back into the real world. Walter carried on talking, not having noticed Skye wasn't listening.
Emerging from a lookout point above some rickety gates, a soldier appeared, pointing his rifle at them. "Cease your movement, be you men or be you Hollowmen?" the soldier said.
"Have you gone daft boy? Open up the door," Walter demanded, playfully. One thing Skye loved about Walter was his cheery demeanor. The best kind of person is someone who can make you chuckle.
"Walter, is that you?" the soldier replied, rather timidly, embarrassed that he had mistaken then for Hollowmen.
"The very same," Walter said. "Now let us in."
"Open up these doors, and tell Major Swift that Walter is here," the soldier yelled down to the other side of the gates.
The shoddy wooden gates, quite considerable in size, groaned as they opened and the two walked inside the fort.
They were greeted by two soldiers, one with a large moustache, and the other with a hint of a smirk painted on his face.
The moustached man was the first to speak. "Walter, what in the blazes are you doing here?"
Skye had deduced that the majority, if not all, of the people here knew Walter and were obviously quite close to him at some point.
"I came here looking for you," Walter replied, his face then turning serious. "I have a proposition."
"You came all this way to proposition us? And I thought you were here to save us from the legions of the damned" The other soldier said, his smirk growing wider.
Skye looked at him, her eyes landing upon his rugged, but handsome, features. She couldn't help but admit to herself that he was very attractive.
"Ben Finn! It's good to see you," Walter said, genuine happiness displayed in his voice.
Ben Finn. Skye wouldn't forget that name in a hurry.
"I take the legends about this place are true, then?" Walter continued, turning back to Major Swift.
Swift turned and started walking away from the entrance, the rest of them following him.
"I'll say. You've never seen so many Hollowmen in one place. We've been stationed here for weeks trying to eradicate them. Mainly, it's us getting eradicated," he said, a serious tone in his voice. Despite the nature of the conversation, it was hard to take him serious, given his twirly moustache.
Major Swift stopped in front of a few graves. "We lost a few good men last night. Including Lieutenant Simmons here. And if we don't do something quickly then we'll all die." He quickly changed the subject. "Anyway, is this...?"
"The Princess, yes, just treat her like any other pair of hands," Walter said as he turned towards her, "Skye, this is-"
"Devilishly handsome Captain Benjamin Finn." Ben said, a grin still plastered on his face. Skye extended her arm, going in for a handshake, but instead he brought it up to his lips and kissed it. That cheeky bastard! She had now come to the decision that Ben Finn was extremely arrogant, full of himself and she didn't want much to do with him. This however, didn't stop the small, flustered blush that had crept up her face and onto her cheeks.
Ben studied her. He probably shouldn't, with her being a princess and all, but when has anything like that ever stopped him. His immediate thought was that she didn't look like a princess, therefore he told himself is was okay to carry on. Her face was sharp, and would probably be more appealing if it wasn't always masked with a snarl or frown all the time. She wore a pair of female mercenary shorts and a highway woman's blouse, both of which were dyed purple. Probably more comfortable and suitable that a princess dress, Ben supposed, however she now looked more like a bandit than a member of royalty – possibly the look she was going for. Splodges of Hobbe blood decorated the fabric, which added to the authenticity of the outfit, but most likely wasn't a deliberate accessory.
"Ben, why don't you show Skye the mortar?" Walter said, his voice slicing through the tension in the air. He then turned to the princess, "You'll probably be here all night."
Skye glanced at Ben, who had already begun walking to the stairs. He signalled for her to come over to him, his signature cheeky smile growing ever so slightly.
"So princess, how are you enjoying Mourningwood so far?" Ben asked.
"It's great," she said monotonously. "Maybe you should rename it 'The Hollowman Holiday Retreat', the best luxury break for Hollowmen of all ages."
"Very funny," he said sarcastically. "You would know all about luxury, coming from that big ol' castle."
Skye began climbing the stairs, which were quite old – the years of wear and tear were certainly visible. "It wasn't all fun and games, you know." She glanced back at Ben, her eyes narrowing. "The likes of people that came in and out of the castle, you'd be surprised." Another painful memory of her parents flashed at the back of her mind again.
"Sure. Fancy parties, a hot meal every time you snapped your fingers, sounds dreadful."
"You can think what you like Mr Finn, it doesn't bother me."
"I thought you came to Mourningwood to win us over, princess." He shot her a friendly wink.
Her face softened. It probably hadn't been easier for them, even Ben Finn – who, she had come to realise, was incredibly infuriating. "My name's not princess," she said, her posture becoming less stiff and hostile. They headed over to the mortar, where a soldier wrapped in bandages was stood.
"This, is private Jammy, so called because he is the jammiest soldier in the whole of Albion," Ben said.
"724 wounds and still standing." He said proudly, saluting her.
"724, woah." Skye said in amazement, flashing an empathetic smile towards him.
"Don't worry, you'll get used to him. After a while he's hardly repulsive at all," said Ben.
It was a wonderful sight to see the men joking around with each other, trying to add light to a situation that becoming darker and darker each day. Skye then thought back to Logan, who was the reason these soldiers were in this mess. This was a prime example of why he couldn't continue on as king.
Ben snapped her out of her reverie. "Well, I assume that you have never used a mortar before but there's nothing to it. There's a slight chance of maiming, but I'm sure you'll pick it up."
Skye wouldn't ever admit it, but her heartbeat increased dramatically at the thought of using the mortar. What if she couldn't do it? Would Walter think she wasn't fit to be queen?
As if he had sensed her uncertainty, Ben placed his warm hand on Skye's shoulder. "You're going to be great."
She didn't know whether he was just talking about the mortar or her quest for queenhood in general, but her lips formed a gracious smile, and she nodded her head towards him.
Spurred on by Ben's encouragement, she fired the first one and knocked down the scarecrow in one shot. Pride shone through her face and her doubts about her abilities as a warrior dissipated into the air. She scoured out the second scarecrow and knocked it down just like the first.
"Now for the last one," she heard Ben say.
"Hang on, I don't remember setting this one up." Jammy muttered, voice etched with confusion.
A horrific shout was heard from below and the cold chill of terror swept through Mourningwood as the word 'Hollowmen' was uttered.