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THE DARKEST ROSE BY : JOSEPH CORTEZ A novel from : the circle of seven Prologue King Aaron fell to his knees, begging for mercy, but the last thing he saw was the glint of steal and violet eyes before all was black. ………………………………… Chapter 1 The sun was shining on Christopher as he lay on his back on the vast lily fields. He stood up and shook off the grass on his favorite forest green tunic. He looked up at the rising sun with his deep, ambitious brown eyes, as he shook off his wavy dirty blonde hair from his face. He smiled with his wide grin at his small cabin in the forest that he built for him and by him. The cabin was constructed mostly of oak with a special sap he found and cured himself to protect the oak from rotting. With a first glance you wouldn’t notice it but if you looked a little harder you would see its rectangular frame in the deep forest. The cabin consisted of one window that he looked through as he woke up. He walked to the crest of the hill, idly fingering his knife, which his father had given him as a present for his fifth birthday. His father had died in a battle in the Great War of the Plains fighting at the front. His mother eventually passed away from heartbreak two years later. The knives handle was made of bone rapped in leather that consisted of an oval shaped jewel that changed colors in the sunlight, which he polished everyday. The amazingly sharp blade was made of dragon scales, which was a type of steel that could never dull and was strong enough to destroy any metal. He practiced with his knife for many hours a day. He had just reached his twenty-first year a week before. The winter air still lingered even at the near approaching spring. As he got to the top of the hill he saw a strange black cloud arising from the near by village. He stopped in horror as he saw the mass black, cloaked figures burning the village. He could hear the screams and cries of the village people that he had lived with all his life and grown to love. With anger arising in him he ran down the hill to see what and who had caused the destruction. The scene sent fear and shock all through his body. He couldn’t believe his eyes, tall creatures, even to him because he was now around six feet, were dressed in raggedy black, worn hooded cloaks. Brandishing old rusted iron swords screaming and hollering with glee they watched the village burn in the crackling flames. Some of the creatures carried huge burning torches. Some carried flags with a shield and a single jet-black raven carrying a blood red skull in its razor sharp talons. As he inched closer through the bushes he could see a sight that made his stomach churn at all the screams of tortured women and children for all the men lay on the ground caked with blood and gore. * * * * * * * Queen Beatrice smiled as she cleaned her knife off on her handkerchief and laughed to herself as she looked at the kings’ body surrounded by spilt blood. As a child, Beatrice had always been loyal to her father but jealous of all the attention her brothers and sisters seemed to get and she didn’t. Through out the years her anger rose toward her father as all her siblings got what they wanted and she was forced to take care of her ageing parent. The night before she had come up with a plan to murder father which would leave her with the throne and its vast land. The plan was that during the kings feeding hour she would take his food to him and use her knife to stab him and end his ruling. As her personal servant walked in she bent over and picked up the corpse and took it from the room never to be seen. She pushed away her prideful thoughts and started thinking how she was going to explain the kings’ death. She wrote a proclamation of the kings’ death and smiled. She wrote that the king had gone on an expedition to the other side of Lake Crosse Wood but had a heart attack and fell in to the extreme deep dark waters. There, you would never find a body even if she were telling the truth because of the yultrils, dark brown, man-eating fish the size of a small fishing boat. They live in deep water and are very lazy. They use there amazing senses to hunt weak or dead pray. They would have finished the job had she been telling the truth. “Bring in the witnesses”, she said in her sweet, happy voice, which usually meant trouble, or in this case, death. “My lady.” Said the first servant to walk in. “actually, your new and beloved queen!” Said Beatrice with a cheery singsong voice. “Ah, yes, of course, my queen.” Said the servant cautiously. The future queen smiled devilishly. “But, of course, you will have to miss my reception on account that you were on fathers ship when this tragedy happened.” “Of course your majesty. You will never see us again. We’ll leave and pa-” But Beatrice cut him off. “ Oh, don’t worry. I WONT see YOU again.” Said the new queen with an evil smile. Just then two huge guards stepped out of the shadows. “ Kill them.” Said the queen simply as she turned around and left the gruesome task to the guards.