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 The soldier glared unwaveringly at the woman hunched on the stone floor of the old cell. He'd been put in charge of this woman, accused of witchcraft; they had found her in her home making potions.

Witchcraft? The soldier rolled his eyes. I don't believe in such things. She must have been making medicine, I mean, she did come in with a cold. 

The woman stared up at him. "S-Soldier!" Her words startled the man. He refused an answer, still staring stonily at her bound wrists. "Please, listen! Witchcraft isn't real, I was making a brew to help with my cold. You need to help me escape!" She said the last sentence in a low whisper.

The soldier, Zachary Neil, wanted to hide it, but he had a soft heart. He felt sorry for the young lady on the floor in the cell in front of him. "Soldier," she spoke softly, slight tears choking her vision. "I have three children. They were out of the house while I was being taken, and I need to get back to them. Here;" she procured a picture of her and one young girl and two boys. "On the right, that's Louis. In the middle is my beautiful little girl, Susanne. Oh, and little Zachary-"

"What?" Zach was startled at hearing his own name. "You called him Zach?"

The woman stared into his blue eyes curiously, wondering what could have sparked up his interest in the common name. "Look," she muttered, "I'm going to be burned as a witch tomorrow. My husband died five years ago, a single year after my baby Zachary was born. Louis is only twelve, not old enough to work or provide for the family. You need to help me!"

This was what finally broke down Zach's defence. His heart melted to a gooey consistency, just with those words. "Okay. Listen, woman. You have five minute intervals between each shift, each lasting three hours. If I gave you my all-access key, capable of unlocking most of the doors in the castle, you could sneak out in... three, three minutes. You would then have time to run out to the front gate between the shifts. It would then take you two minutes to arrive unnoticed at the forest entrance. I'll send a note down to your family with a hidden code, to meet you by... the giant tree with many knolls near the tree line. You understand?"

The woman looked at him with tears of joy in the corners of her eyes. "Thank you, oh thank you! I am forever in debt to you —"


She nodded, a smile stretching across her dry, thin lips. She extended her hand to shake Zach's. "Elaine." 

Zach handed her the key, as well as a dagger, through the cage bars. "Go, go now!"

With no hesitation, Elaine dashed out of the cell. Only as she vanished around a corner, did Zachary realise that he had potentially put his life on the line. It was for a good cause, though. He looked down at the cell floor, to see a piece of paper lying there — the picture of Elaine, Zachary, Susanne, and Louis.

                           •                          •                            •

"And just why did you let the witch escape, Zachary Neil?" There were loud gasps from the court as the judge introduced Zach's crime. "He WHAT?"

"What was he thinking?"

"How did it even happen?"

And of course, they can't face the fact that witches don't exist, Zach thought. But this means that Elaine must have escaped! He relayed some Latin words in his mind, trying to calm himself. It was working to some extent, until he randomly strung together some words. Then a bright idea popped into his head.

"I don't know what happened!" He cried, silencing the courtroom. "She kept on muttering the words... et faciunt sicut voluntas suggerit," he sobbed, faking the look of outright fear in his eyes. Zachary bent his head, shaking. "What does it mean?!" He exclaimed, pushing his illusion over the edge. 

"My, oh my!" The present translator gawked. "I-it means you will do as my will suggests!

Zach gasped in unison with the astounded members of the court. "Sh-she used witchcraft on me!"

The judge went pale. "Your honour!" A servant shouted. "Are you well, your honour?"

"Oh my... Zachary is not guilty! It was the witch's doing!"

Zachary hid a smile. His plan had worked perfectly, aside from the fact that now Elaine would have to try even harder to remain unseen and unnoticed. "Return to your post," the judge's voice intruded his thoughts. "There are more important matters at hand than the witch; we will wait until next Tuesday to hunt her down. Court is adjourned."

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 Hey guys!

I like this book. It was a commission (haha jk dad just bet me 50 dollars I couldn't write a book without Dragons) and it turned out well.

AND HOLY CRAP. I'm nearly at 800 reads!! Gosh donut that's a lot!

Anyway, enjoy the story. Luv u all!

Aria Sienna Xx ❤️

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Suzanne's Lantern

 The three children headed towards the tree line, all prepared to be waiting for their mother for a while, in case she didn't show up. Despite the boys being more hardened and work-worn, it was the brave Suzanne that led the siblings through the night. She held a golden, glowing lantern in front of her, casting the shadows of all three along the bushes and leaves that they had finally reached.

"Louie, I'm scared..." whimpered Zach. "It's okay," came the older sibling. "We'll probably see mummy again soon. Okay? Just keep following Suzie and we'll all be fine."

The boy's faces stared ahead, following the light of the middle child. They all had their father's looks; black hair, pale skin, stormy blue eyes. However, Suzie was the only one who had inherited her mother's personality.

If she had been like her father, they would have never followed the kind soldier's letter and gone to the tree. But Suzanne was braves and strong, more so than any man it the entire city.

This was the only thing to show that they were actually related to their mother; She, on the other hand, had orange locks, pink skin, green eyes, and a nack for doing things usually not expected by women. Like chopping wood or setting up their own stall to take care of their family.

Their father had one day been abducted. As Suzanne led her siblings through the woods, she thought of how he would have hated their retreat and how he ended up leaving them. The army had come one day, looking for new recruits, and they chose as they liked. Their father had been the first to go. Tears welled in the young girl's eyes, snapping her put of her thoughts.

As the light of Suzie's lantern shed upon the tree the note told them to go to, they froze. Standing there, hunched against the bark and gnolls was a man with a soldier's cloak on his back and a sword in his hand. Suzanne shuttered the lantern with a gasp as they all scrambled for cover behind a tree. The soldier turned around and smiled.

"Elaine... I think they're here!"

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Family reunion

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