Novel: Reaper’s Puppet (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1: Fourteen years later

The beautiful burnt skies drew to a  close, hiding the sun with a deeper shade. An old watchtower stood silently, guarding the market town; his posture resembled a haggard gentlemen, gazing down at his children. Below the villagers were closing up their stalls for the evening. A faint chill flew with the wind, hurrying both customers and salesmen to call it a day. The town become dormant in minutes, silent and still. A heavily armored figure walked casually into the town, touching one of the wooden stalls.

“Closed already?” the man asked, looking over is shoulder, six men dressed in a similar attire joined at his sides.

“The villagers have closed up earlier than usual. This happens every year, Sir. What is the meaning of this?” one of the guards men queried.

Commander Grey scanned the area, “Avalin Young,” he replied with a sharp tone, “I know you’re lurking somewhere around here. Quit playing games and come quietly for once!” he bellowed, his voice echoed through the streets.

In the distance a couple of wooden kegs tumbled to the stone pavement; rolling towards the guards, the fire crackers hidden inside explained as they reached their target.

“What makes you think I will ever come quietly?” a female voice called from a distance.

“Show yourself!” Grey growled, his vision clouded by the smokescreen. The feminine voice laughed, slowly through the fog with small crop scythes in each hand. Her hair was coloured white-blonde; the curls tied in a messy ponytail with a piece of cloth. Her eyes were dyed like the ocean waves, her clothes hugged her slender figure yet were tattered like rags. She was nothing more than a street rat.

“Do you know what today is?” Avalin Young asked; a smirk appearing on her lips as she held a rusted blade at the Commander’s throat.

“I believe it is December fifth,” one of the guards piped up, sheepishly.

“Why does that have any relevance!” Grey snapped glaring deep into the girls eyes.

“Today is my birthday,” she smiled, removing her weapon from his throat, “So can you not just leave me alone for one day please?”

“After the crimes you have committed, you shouldn’t even be allowed to stand on our streets,” he growled, removing a pistol from his leather holster.

Avalin snarled at the heavily armored man; backing off slowly as Commander Grey fired a bullet at a small silver bell dangling at the foot of the watchtower. The dark was ear-piercing; ringing through the dormant town, waking every man, woman and child, from their beds. Commander Grey nodded to his men, each of them pulled out their silver rapiers from the holsters.

“Get her!” he growled. His man scrambled towards the market intruder, rapiers held across their bodies. Avalin stepped back slowly waiting for the opportune moment to strike her enemies. One guard darted towards Avalin, she grabbed his tiny throat, and swung him into the other guards. She drew two rusted crop scythes from her belt, holding her guard up.

“Come at me, Grey. I dare you!” she smirked, her sapphire eyes fixed on the armored man.

“Don’t test me child. Have you forgotten your place? You are a criminal, nothing more, and don’t you forget that!”  Commander Grey shouted in reply.

The town’s people watched from their open windows, front doors slightly ajar. Some carried the smaller children in their arms. A faint cry from one baby filled the vacant atmosphere; it’s mother tried to rock him back to sleep with a soothing lullaby.

Avalin turned her head to face the mother and baby, her cold eyes leaked small crystal tears. The lullaby the young the young mother was whispering to her child touched her heart.

“She is far from the land, where her young hero sleeps. And lovers around her are sighing, but cold she turns, from their gazes and weeps. For her heart in the cold grave is lying…”

“Thinking about your poor deceased mother?” Commander Grey snorted at the girl. In the brief moment, she was distracted; her guard relaxed, he was standing behind her. His warm breathe sent chills down her spine. Avalin’s sapphire eyes widened, a sharp pain rushed through her body; her enemy struck her boney spine with an impenetrable force. Grey’s fist, heavy with iron armor, rammed into her fragile body.

Avalin’s skinny legs buckled under the weight of her heavy body, she fell turning back slowly to glare into her enemies’ soul. She lie on the dirty ground, her muscles crying with agony.

Commander Grey towered over the young girl, pointing the pistol at her still beating heart,  “I’ve waited so long for this moment. To finally catch you, Avalin Young,” he sniggered, “You know I feel sorry for your poor deceased mother.”

Avalin glared at him with the little energy she had, her sapphire eyes like daggers in his. She slowly pulled her body from the dusty ground, like a puppet on a string.

“She must have gone through hell giving birth to a demon like you,” he remarked. Avalin’s perfect proportion face screwed up in anger, gripping her rusty scythes tight.

“You have no right to speak my mother,” she spat, her blood beginning to boil.

“That’s rich coming from her killer,” Commander Grey smirked, “Don’t make me laugh, outlaw.”

Avalin scowled, her grip tightened on the rusty scythes. Suddenly she ran at her enemy, striking hard against his shiny armor. Grey seized his opportunity to strike the young girl hard in her pale face. She was sent flying backwards; tumbling into a wooden market stall, crashing into a pile of empty barrels. Crimson tears dripped from her peach lips, streaking down her chin.

His grin grew wide like a cheshire cat, “All you have to do is come with me.” Avalin Young slowly pushed her tired body from the rumble; wiping the crimson stains on her suede gloves, she staggered towards her enemy. She held up her guard, both hands still gripping tightly on the rusty crop scythes.

“Just give up already kid. It’s useless trying to fight me,” Grey grinned.

Avalin continued to stand her ground, her guard firmly up, “I will never stop fighting!”  The Commander saw red, his blood boiling under his olive skin with anger.

He glared at the young girl, his emeralds burning, “I admire your resistance to the law; yet it has been fourteen years since the murder of Melissa Rose. You shall pay for the life you stole from her!” He grabbed Avalin’s curls with armored fists, iron plates grazing her scalp, forcing the girl to her knees. Avalin looked at him with watery sapphires, her body too fragile to escape his grip. Grey held the girl at an arms length. The swarm of villagers stared horrified at the bloodied girl. A crowd of whispers echoed through the silent air. The young blonde met their stares with a pair of demonic sapphires.

“Get your filthy hands off me,” Avalin growled under her breath, her head centimetres from the dirty ground.

Commander Grey bent down beside her, “What did you say to me, murderer?” he pronounced each syllable of the final word, slowly, allowing them to sink in.

“And what makes you think I would kill my own flesh and blood. You really are a jackass!” she exclaimed with a deathly tone. Avalin grabbed onto Grey’s arm gauntlet tight, kicking his legs off-balance. The Commander fell, his face caked in dirt. Avalin slowly got back to her feet, pinning the man to the ground.

The townspeople became outraged, throwing anything they could find at the young girl. Pieces of broken wood lying near their doorways, small rocks uncovered from the dirt. Some even picked up heavier objects, each taking a turn to beat her. Avalin endured the pain, striking Grey hard in the face, knocking him temporarily unconscious. She stood up, blocking several attacks from the villagers. Her white-blonde curls fell back into place, she reached for the scythes, her gloves gripping tight to the handles.

“So who wants to take me on?” she queried, a dark smile taking over her face from anger, she movements became more sinister than before. The market town fell silent, all the hand-made weapons were dropped from their master’s hands.

“You deserve to live with a guilty consequence for killing your own mother. If I killed you, it would only end your suffering,” Commander Grey choked.

Avalin Young threw her head down to glare at the man with burnt sapphires, her blood boiling, “I dare you to say that to my face, jackass!” she scowled.

Grey laughed, “It would be my pleasure,” in a blink of an eye he launched himself at the young girl, striking her hard. She collapsed like a sack of potatoes. Her body fell hard to the dirty ground. Avalin felt completely lifeless, like she was watching everyone around her, from outside her own body, blending in like another face in the crowd.

The townspeople watched in horror, as the young girl was placed under arrest for the murder of Melissa Rose. Her hands and feet were bound with thick rope, her pockets were emptied of their belongings. A variety of coloured stones, a small hand-drawn map on cloth and two rusted crop scythes. The young girl was then blindfolded with a black cloth sack, and thrown into a horse drawn cage.

Commander Grey addressed the crowd, “The fugitive, no, the murderer Avalin Young has finally been captured. She will remain locked up and left to rot for eternity after taking the life of Melissa Rose.” The crowd rejoiced as Commander Grey hopped into his carriage at the front of the cage, saluting the villagers as he and his men pulled away.

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