The next few days were nothing but a blur. Talking seemed difficult, so Min kept her answers to a minimum. She didn’t really comprehend much that happened after. She remembered sitting in front of the bonfire, watching as her mother was set ablaze and her ashes scattered to the wind. She didn’t know if tears fell from her cheeks. She didn’t feel much of anything.
Her father had tried to talk to her. At least, she recalled seeing his face and watching his lips move, but finding words were difficult. It was easier not to see that face, so she shut her eyes. Nothing seemed to matter. Nothing seemed to change what she had witnessed that night. No matter how many times she went through it, she couldn’t come up with a better answer.
“They’ll be released… it seems.”
“Is that really okay?”
Those were the first words that shattered Min’s protective coating. She lifted her head. She was being dressed by a pair of servants. Had they been dressing her the last week? Had it been a week? Min wasn’t sure. However, she had heard a name in their conversation and it had connected to those other words.
“Baron?” Min asked.
“Ah, miss!” The two girls nearly jumped, having not expected Min to suddenly turn and speak for the first time in a week. “That’s right, miss, the Baron has been released after reaffirming a vow of loyalty in front of the council.”
Min simply stared forward, no expression influencing her features. The girls began to fidget uncomfortably in front of that gaze.
The two looked at each other, and with a sigh, the girl who was speaking tried to put on a sympathetic expression as she sat next to Min, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“Elmindreda, perhaps it’d be best if you rested a little longer before-“
Min stood up, brushing the woman’s hand away. “Speak.”
“He- he is on house arrest. The council has yet to decide his fate. Likely, he will remain on house arrest for a set number of years and then claim the vacancy his father left behind-“
“Their house… survives.” Min’s eyes widened angrily.
“Of course, my lady,” the maid took a step back at her glare, “They have been with the council too long to be completely removed. The head of the house may face imprisonment, even banishment. Their house decisions would be made by a council elected earl until Dante is officially approved.”
“U-unacceptable!” Min snapped, pushing past the maid.
She quickly checked to make sure her clothing was acceptable and then pushed out the door. The maids tried to worry over her, but she brushed past them and made her way up to her father’s study. She shoved her way through the door, ignoring anyone who tried to get in her way.
Her father was standing behind a desk. He seemed to be in the middle of a conversation with two other men Min did not recognize. She ignored them and focused on her dad. He had lost a little weight this last week. He had bags under his eyes. He looked tired. However, he was still immaculate in presentation. His outfit was clean and pressed. His back was rigid and certain.
“Elmindreda?” her father’s eyes lightened in surprise as he looked up at her.
“Talk.” Min demanded.
Evan nodded to the other two men, “Gentlemen, please.”
The two men rose with a gesture. They each bowed to him and then gave Min a nod as they left the room. Once the door shut, her father took a drink and turned his back, looking out a nearby window.
“That was an important meeting, Min. If you hadn’t been silent for the last week I might have made you wait. I hope this is important.”
Min took a few steps forward towards her fathers back. “Dante, Baron… They killed…”
The words caught in her throat, and Min found herself unable to say the words that she had to say. However, she had to speak. She never would have assumed that with the pair literally standing over her mother’s body that her words would have been so important. Why had she hidden away rather than speaking the truth? Those two men were murderers, and her father had to know what really happened.
“Murdered Alliana?” Evan casually answered before she could respond. “Yes, I know.”
Min felt like she was falling for a second as the words came out. It took her three tries to get over the shock and reply back.
“Of course, I wouldn’t believe their stupid concocted story. They didn’t even have the time to fabricate it. Had I been a little later, they might have convinced enough people, spread enough doubt, but as is their guilt was clear. However, I can’t do anything about it.”
“You need to understand, Min, that men like Hector are a scourge on the Elven nations. Your mother understood this, and spent years helping me stay on top their plans. We’ve managed to keep our nation strong today as a result of our sacrifices.”
“By- by… doing…”
Evan held up his hand. “Let’s not focus on what your mother did to achieve these goals. Instead, we need to focus on what we achieved. Hector has been pushed out of power, his plans that would have seen a mass destabilization of the council’s power were stopped. His son has lost all respect. He’ll be nothing but a puppet position for the council to manipulate.”
“That son raped Mom!”
Evan threw his glass to the floor, shattering it as he turned suddenly on Min with a glare. “I know! But your mother knew the cost going in! That boy… and he is just a boy, may be the son of a monster, but we can still get some use out of him.”
“And Baron?” Min hissed.
Evan shrugged. “Baron… knows a lot of people in high places. He’s clever and conniving. His strength is something the council still depends on. It’d be a mistake to punish him too severely based on his… side jobs. Had I known things would turn out this way, I’d have paid him more.”
“You…” Min put on a sickened look, grabbing her stomach and taking a few steps back. “Mom is dead!”
“Yes, I know. And I’m mourning her every day!” Evan responded darkly. “I’ve even been force to deal with a daughter who refuses to talk and when she does, speaks like a child. You’re over 70, Min, it’s about time you started acting like it.”
Min stumbled back again, anger barely contained. “You…”
“What would you have me do?” Evan held out his hands. “We both had a part to play. Your mother fought hers, and I fought mine. It’s a war, Min, and we both understood the possibility one of us might die. Why can’t you understand that?”
“You protect her!” Min shouted. “Your fault. Your job!”
She was using her body to save them. It was his duty to protect her. He needed to be by her side. Instead, he left her all on her own. He made her fight all of her battles on her own.
“My fault?” Evan’s teeth clinched as he glared at Min. “You want to talk about fault here? Alliana wasn’t even supposed to be out there that night. Why do you think she was?”
Min flinched back, but Evan advanced on her.
“She was there looking for you. She let that stupid boy touch her because she thought you were hurt. Yes, I know what happened that night. You brought her out there that night. You sat back and watched them defile my wife. You let her get stabbed.”
“No…” Min covered her hands over her ears, taking several steps back.
“Quit acting like a stupid child. The reason you won’t talk? The reason you shut down for a week? The reason you won’t even meet me in the eyes is because of the truth we both know!” Evan shouted, his reason leaving him at that moment.
“Stop!” Min couldn’t feel the tears, she couldn’t feel anything, but it felt like something was tearing inside of her, ripping apart.
“You killed Alliana! My wife, your mother.”
“NO!” Min released a shockwave of wind magic.
It was mixed with one of Min’s special skills, and shot out like an explosion in every direction. Evan was thrown back over his desk. Papers exploded all over the room. The doors to the outside were blown off their very hinges.
Min looked on in horror at the damage she had caused. Evan peaked his head up over the desk. He had a bloody gash on his face and a surprised look in his eyes.
“Min… I…” He seemed to struggle to find the words.
Min turned to run, finding several armed guards pointing weapons at her.
“Let her go!” Her father’s voice came from behind her.
As soon as the weapons were off of her, Min exploded into a full run, racing out of the room and heading to the edge of the city. She stopped only a few feet from the border, finally collapsing to her knees, unable to stay, yet unable to run any farther away from the only home she had ever known.
“Escaped?” She heard a guard whispering to another.
“Yeah, they had him guarded at his estate with his son, but Hector managed to give them the slip. Certainly, banishment follows him.”
“Well, for now, but when Dante is grown up and becomes head of the house, how easy would it be to fix things?”
The energy collapsed out of Min again. In truth, it had all been for nothing. Min could already see it. The council would be trying to control Dante, but his father in exile still had a hold of his ear. He’d play nice for a few years, but once he regained his houses strength Hector would make his return. All of her father’s plans, her mother’s death, none of it would have done anything. Maybe it would have given them a few extra years? However, what was a decade to elves?
The pain in Min’s chest grew and grew, but she remained unmoving. The guards had checked on her at some point, but she merely told them she was grieving and that they should leave her be. Night fell, and it was at this point that Min finally worked her way back up to her feet.
If Min couldn’t undo the past, the least she could do was make it worth something. Even now, she had no clue where Hector was. She wouldn’t be able to stop him at all. However, she did know where his son was. Dante, the man who had murdered her mother. If he died, it would shut down Hector’s return. He wouldn’t have anywhere to hide anymore.
Min headed back to her home. It was abnormally quiet and empty. She was right when she assumed her father wouldn’t head back home for some time. Instead, she ducked the maids and pulled out her sword. It was something her father had given to her many years ago. She’d now use it to bring an end to her mother’s murderer.
She didn’t consider herself an assassin, but she was an elf and she knew wind magic. It was nothing to hide her scent and noise. She did so as she approached the makeshift manor that Dante’s house lived in. It might not have been considered a manor when compared to the likes of humans who settled in one place, but to Min it was pretty large and intimidating.
Twice she had to duck a guard, but she found it surprisingly easy to do. She didn’t think it would be that easy, but alas she found herself at the doorway to Dante’s room. She steeled her resolve and took a deep breath before stepping in. She listened carefully at the doorway before taking another step. Listening again, and then the next step. Ever so slowly, she worked her way through the room while her eyes bore holes on the form sleeping under the covers.
Every so carefully, she pulled the sword out. It was easy. Just one strike, and she would deal them a true blow. It was the kind of blow that even her father, and mother couldn’t perform no matter how long they tried. She sent her blade down.
It hit steel and she danced back from the reverb. As if to add insult to injury, a small fire was casted, bringing light instantly to the darkened bedroom.
“Min… I see you’ve not given up on young master’s neck?” A man said, lifting up his sword.
“Baron!” Min hissed. “Your death, too!”
Min immediately attacked relentlessly, summoning off two special skills in quick succession which increased her speed and precision. It would have been a sure-fire kill on just about any elf other than Baron. Baron still took a cut on the cheek, and was forced to retreat as Min’s blade danced a deadly swirl in front of him.
He threw something up between them, and Min jumped back just as a small explosion erupted. It didn’t serve any point except to destroy her momentum, thereby negating her special skills. She had more special skills, she was prepared to use them all to succeed tonight.
“Min… Min… Min…” Dante had gotten up from his bed, and once realizing he wasn’t in immediate danger, revealed a condescending smirk once again. “If I knew you wanted me this bad, I should have stopped by your room.”
“Only death awaits!” Min growled back, taking another swing towards Dante only to have Baron block her once again.
“Min… it’s not too late.” Baron replied. “You’re young, and hotheaded. I understand. I was that way once. However, follow with your father. This is the way of things. Daggers in the dark? That only leads to unhappiness.”
“Don’t speak like mentor!” Min screamed, throwing the sword in a killing swipe at Baron’s neck.
Baron tsk’d in annoyance, then dodged the attack. Suddenly, his movements became more refined, as if before he was merely humoring her. Now he moved for real, and that movement was outside of Min’s realm entirely.
Min screamed, trying to keep up, trying to make her sword meet his blade and surpass it. She had to surpass her limits. She had to be strong enough to protect her mom. She had to-“
The sword in her hands snapped in two. She stared opened eyed as his sword fluttered by hers, avoiding a killing blow he easily could have made. A moment later he punched her in the gut. Two more hits and she fell to the ground, her head slamming into the floor, causing dizziness to flood through her body.
She lost… even at this, she had lost. She wasn’t able to protect her mother. She wasn’t able to make her death mean something. In the end, Min had done nothing with her life. She stared vacantly up as her grip released from the sword in front of her.
“So, where were we?”
“You thought a… marriage was in order?”
“Her father would never believe it now.”
“Well, he doesn’t have to, does he? He won’t have any choice. He’s at the mercy of the council at the moment. With Alliana’s death he lost many of his allegiances.”
“Very well, then.”
Her mind was having trouble processing. She didn’t understand what was happening. Someone was on top of her. Her clothing was being removed. She was slammed back onto the ground. It was hard and cold. Her shirt was off, there were hands on her. They were pulling down her pants.
She kicked her legs, trying to stop them. She was busy. She could barely think. A slap struck her face. It was jarring and painful, but it barely fazed Min. In the meantime, her pants were pulled off. Min was completely naked now. Somehow, she couldn’t register this well.
Someone was on top of her. Hands were squeezing her breasts. There were lips on her neck sucking hard. There was something between her legs. He pulled away and finally she was able to focus on a face. It was Dante’s face. Dante’s hated face. He was touching her between the legs. She felt some strange stretching motions as he was fingering open her vagina. He had his dick in one hand.
He slid it in. Instead of going right in, it sort of just slid up, he rocked his hips a few times, and it went up and down her clit. This surprisingly felt good. What is this? What is going on? Min continued to stare down at him. He fumbled his dick again, this time he got the head in. She could feel the head, but it was soft and when he thrust forward, she felt nothing slide in.
“What’s the hold up?” Baron asked.
“Ah, what can I say… I can’t get it hard. This bitch isn’t helping either. She’s just lying there. If she struggled a little bit I might be able to get it up.”
That’s right. He raped and murdered her mother. He was raping her right now. This monster. This asshole. This soulless bastard. Min only had one choice really. She reached down to her ankle where her boot held a sheath.
“Ah, hahaha. I got it in! Congratulation’s Min, you are officially my wi-“
Min swiped, the blade in her hand cutting cleanly across his throat. Immediately, blood sprayed across her face. Min didn’t mind the blood. Min didn’t care at all. The soft dick flopped back out. There was a little blood. It wasn’t much, as he did have a small dick and it wasn’t even hard. Min’s chastity was gone. However, it wasn’t her choice. No ceremony occurred, no seed was left.
Min was impure, but she didn’t mind that either. Her mother was impure. Min shoved the gaging body aside, not even waiting to see his death. She tossed him aside like the trash he was. Her clothing was tattered in pieces all over the place. She walked over to a nearby dresser. She pulled out a boy’s clothing. There was actually a full leather armor piece in the closet. She put it on her body silently.
Baron had wide eyes as he watched this, but he made no attempt to impede her. Staring down at the young body with a wry smile, like this was a mere inconvenience to him of no particular import. Meanwhile, his former client released a death rattle and finally stopped moving.
“What are you going to do now?’ Baron asked cautiously once Min had finally clothed and cleaned herself.
“Leave.” Min responded, not even given Baron a second glance.
She couldn’t stay here. Her mother died because she grew upset. She had just murdered the son of a major house, even if that house fell tonight that could still have repercussions. In a single night, her entire home had burned to the ground. She couldn’t face her father, not after what happened. Not after what she knew and what she’d seen.
“What should I tell them?” Baron asked simply.
“Tell them, Elmindreda, dead.” It felt easier to talk like this, it took less energy, she didn’t have to emote.
“Okay…” Baron nodded.
Min didn’t lie. She had every intention of going to die. Elmindreda died today, but Min wouldn’t last much past that. She picked up Dante’s sword and sheath hanging from his bedside, belting it on her side. She took a breath, and then started to leave the mansion.
“Hey!” Baron grunted, throwing her something he pulled from his side. “Take this! It’ll get cold out there.”
Min looked at the item in her hands to see that it was a folded-up cloak. She immediately opened it and draped it over her shoulders. For a second it looked like she’d just walk out the door without another word, but then she turned just her head back.
“Be safe, stay alive.” Baron raised an eyebrow at Min’s words until she continued. “When die, my hand.”
Baron chuckled softly, not making another response as Min slipped into the night. By the time the news had reached the council, Min was nowhere to be found.