The Tale of Edgar and Essa Part Two
“Stop feeling sorry for yourself.”
Ruby blinks at Essa. “I’m sorry?”
“You need to get up and do something.” Essa looks around the room. “See, tough love is hard when you can’t even be bothered to get a desk that I can plant my hands on aggressively.” She waves her hands in the air. “Anyway, get up.”
“I’m recuperating. Fifer said that I should wait until I’m ready.”
“All due respect to this Fifa person, but I suspect that she’s a lunatic. You’re never going to be ready if you don’t at least pretend.”
“That’s not how this works.”
“Well, it should be.” Essa nods decisively to the wrong side of the bed. “Get. The. ****. Up.”
“I was tortured, Essa. That’s not something that I can just get over.”
“Pretend it is.”
“That’s not how this works,” Ruby snaps.
Essa doesn’t push it. “You know, you and I have more in common than you think.”
“Do we? I don’t suppose you’ve ever been held prisoner and tortured by Rhian and his ****** henchman?”
Essa rolls her eyes. “We’re both determined. We’re both gorgeous redheads.” She flips her head like someone in a shampoo advert, and Ruby can’t help laughing. “We’ve got people in common.”
“What do you mean?”
Her eyes shutter, and her head drops. “Don’t talk about him.” But Essa is relentless in her quest to get her out of the bed.
“There are other people, too. You weren’t the only one in those dungeons.”
“Sure. What should I do, start a support group. ‘Hey, have you been tortured by anyone lately? Then this is the place for you!’”
“There have been worse ideas.”
“There have been better ones.”
With the absence of a desk to plant her hands on, she puts them on the end of the bed. “You know your problem?”
“You think you’re the only one who’s felt pain. I have a human being growing inside me. I need the toilet permanently. I have backache all the time. So don’t pretend like you’re the only one who’s hurting.”
“Oh? You have backache? I can’t sleep. I miss going unconscious because at least then I could have some rest. I can barely see and half of what I can see I don’t want to. I can’t look at fire and that means that unless there’s a magical person here I’m left sitting in the dark. I did enough of that when I was a prisoner.”
“You don’t like being in the dark?” Essa walks around so that she’s on the side of the bed. “Then get up.”
Rhian Pendragon-Gremlaine, you’re under arrest for murder, attempted murder, accessory to murder, and loads of other things that I can’t be bothered to name right now. You have the right to literally nothing.
Those are the words still playing in Rhian’s head two weeks after the takeover.
The end justifies the means.
That’s what Edgar taught him. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you win in the end. Tedros is a weak king anyway. Don’t you want to improve Camelot?
He hadn’t understood that Camelot was the wrong motivation. Rhian had grown up in Foxwood. He didn’t care about a place out of fairy tales.
Don’t you want to avenge Aric?
How much do you hate the people that killed him?
Too much to say.
How much do you want them to pay?
Too much to say.
How much are you going to punish them?
Too much to say.
It had been that Dean’s fault, not Tedros’. Not Arthur’s. Not his mother’s. The throne was just another means to an end. A necessary evil.
But the evil he had done to get to that throne – and more than that, what he had done to keep it – haunted him still.
Rehashing everything that he had done, everything that had happened, everything that was said. Even before he had known them.
Ten years old. Looking for his sister everywhere before realising that she had left for good.
Thirteen years old. Reaching for his brother as someone he didn’t know dragged Rhian into a school that he didn’t know existed.
Fifteen years old. Opening a letter addressed to Dean Brunhilde, although he already knew what it said. “Aric has been killed in battle.”
All the terrible things that he had done were to avenge his sister and his friend.
”You killed my mother! I didn’t tell you to do that!”
“Rhian, sweetie, I have to go for a while. I’ll leave you with your uncle.”
“He was killed by Dean Dovey of the School for Good and Evil.”
All the terrible things that had been done to him by the people he called friends.
But it’s what he’s done that haunts him the most.
Bright red blood dripping onto the floor of a dungeon.
Heads rolling, severed by Edgar’s axe.
Begging. So much begging.
It’s his fault. Every bad thing that’s been done to him, that’s been said to him, since he had first told Edgar to attack a kingdom.
”I didn’t think you had a heart.”
“Liars burn in ****.”
“You’re a monster.”
Well I went a little overboard on the italics there but hey…
Lyn, this little Rhian backstory was for you. (I’m allowed to call you that right?)
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