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The Seeress and the Stone 31
It was late in the evening when a servant knocked on Angelia’s door. She opened the door slowly, “Yes?”
The servant bowed. “His majesty requests your presence immediately.”
Two guards standing behind the servant stepped to Angelia’s side and escorted her down to the council room. As she entered a young man stepped up and called to the group,
Everyone in the room bowed deeply. Angelia blushed as she was escorted to the front of the room where Jarr’oshed had created a throne for himself. She scanned the room for any familiar faces. A few of the people she recognized, but most were Jarr’oshed’s soldiers.
“Ahh, M’Lady. Welcome. Your beauty and graceful presence honors us.” Jarr’oshed spoke with a slight bow and motioned for her to sit in the chair next to his.
Angelia remained standing. “Do not mock me. What do you want?”
“Come now, M’ Lady. Sit down. I hoped to speak with you.” He motioned to the two guards standing next to her. Each took an arm and guided her firmly to the chair and pushed her into it.
Angelia remained stiff and silent.
The room remained quiet until Jarr’oshed called out in a booming voice, “Let us have some entertainment.” A side door opened and several frightened people were ushered inside. Each carried various instruments, which they were then commanded to play. They looked terrified and she felt sorry for them.
Jarr’oshed watched her face for a moment and then leaned over and spoke quietly, “It seems as though you have a bit of talent in this city.” He laughed cruelly and a few of the soldiers joined him.
Angelia turned sharply toward Jarr’oshed. “What do you want from me?”
“Oh, I think you know what I want.” He stared at her until she looked away.
“I will not help you.”
“I think you will, M’Lady.”
Angelia jumped to her feet, “Stop calling me that!” The musicians stopped playing and the room went silent. “I am NOT your lady.”
“Would you prefer My Queen? I would like that much better,” he mocked.
She shuddered and stepped away.
“You can’t run from your destiny, Seeress, I told you once before, you will be my queen,” he said, reminding her of the vision she’d had so long ago. “Until then I am forced to use other methods of persuasion.”
Jarr’oshed motioned to a guard who immediately snapped his fingers. Two other guards entered with the same lady who Angelia had spoken with earlier. They pushed the woman into the room. She took a few steps and stumbled to the floor. She looked at the king and then at Angelia.
“Please, M’Lady. I didn’t do anything. Don’t let them hurt me,” the woman begged.
“Silence!” The guard shouted. He flicked a thin black whip across her shoulders. The woman cried out in pain as her dress tore and a red welt appeared.
“No! Stop it! Don’t hurt her.” Angelia shouted. She ran to the woman’s side and placed her arm protectively around the lady’s shoulders. The woman was sobbing and her face was filled with fear.
“I am not the one hurting these people,” Jarr’oshed called out.
Angelia looked up. “What do you mean?”
Jarr’oshed watched her for a few minutes and then asked, “Do you know this woman?”
Angelia did not answer.
“There are actually quite a few prisoners. I am sure you know some of them, a friend, perhaps, or even a family member.” He spoke those last words slowly.
Angelia looked at his face. She was torn inside.
Jarr’oshed motioned to the guards. The two men wrenched the woman from Angelia’s side and dragged her through the door. The people in the room stared in horror as the woman’s cries faded. Angelia remained on the floor in silence.
Jarr’oshed stood and walked toward Angelia.
“I will not be the one hurting this people.” He walked around her like a taunting bully. “You have until morning to decide whether or not you are going to help me, but if not someone here will pay the consequences. After all I am a man of my word.”
He strode toward the door and bowed deeply. “Good night, M’Lady.”
Tears coursed down Angelia’s cheeks. The two guards pulled her roughly to her feet and escorted her back to the tower room.
* * * *