***** this story has taken a really odd turn, I’m still not quite sure where I am going with it, but I’m still crawling through it*****
He carried Arellia, and guided a sickly Laura and Cora out of the Palace. Due to the carnage at the front no one had kept their eyes on the back. When a guard had noticed them, he was alone, Alasdair was swift as he struck him down. The guard was a young man Arellia noticed while on his shoulder. He shouldn’t have even been in the army.
“Don’t kill another one”, she scolded him. Alasdair straightened his shoulders.
“I didn’t kill him, he’s just stunned, he’ll wake up soon enough”, he spoke with a defiance she had not heard for a while.
Laura coughed and wheezed. It wasn’t until the hand that pulled away from her mouth revealed blood that Arellia realised the severity of the situation.
There was a skirmish that dragged out around the castle, all around the gardens, sweeping the four of them up. Alasdair shouted for Cora to snatch hold of his belt to keep her from getting lost. What he had not sensed was Laura surrendering her grip on the little girls hand.
The noise of battling men, cries from civilian rebels, and the roar of panic through their blood had left the three of them disorientated.
Alasdair fought his way through the bumbling crowd, out towards the back of the castle wall. There was a back gate, small and unused. Alasdair snapped the lock with his sword.
“Where is Laura?”, Arellia’s voice cracked with her panic. Cora gasped but could not answer. Arellia struggled against Alasdair’s hold. “Let me go! Laura is out there!”.
“No, I won’t risk that, let me get us somewhere safe, then I will return for Laura”, he said against her protests. She didn’t let up, even after he had got them off the castle grounds. Even after they had found one of the city eject points. Even when the shadow lurked over them like a stalker waiting to pounce. He knew. He had known when Laura first fell ill. She had made him promise to keep quiet. She had made him swear to keep Arellia safe above all others. He would have done so anyway, but it was the promises that kept him going. Kept him calm when he placed her back on her feet, from his shoulder, and her hand whipped across his face so quick.
“You betrayed everything that I picked you for, the people are going to die, you left Laura behind!”, she snapped. Cora hid behind Alasdair. If it wasn’t for the small hands gripped at the back of his pant he would have argued back. Maybe…
“I know, I’m sorry”, he wasn’t sorry for saving her. They couldn’t see the city through the thick trees, but they could hear the chaos that consumed it.
“Liar”, her voice wobbled. His heart broke for her. He couldn’t bring himself to be angry. Instead he ignored her protests again and pulled her into him. He held her tight while she sobbed heavily into his shoulder. Even Cora began to cry, and the three of them bundled up under a tree through the night.
The shadow watching over them.