The Sovereigncy Codices: The White Night
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A piercing, horrified scream shattered the tranquility of the calm, cool night in Prince Axel’s bedroom.

Years upon years of countless nights on the battlefield had conditioned the Prince to wake, fully alert, at a moment’s notice. He was on his feet before the blankets on the bed had completely settled from being thrown off himself. A handful of long strides and Axel was at the door to his chambers. The handle was within his grasp when his wife, still in their bed, called out his name in warning as the door was forced open from the otherside

The Prince twisted, slid his foot back and sucked in his stomach. The quick thrust from his attacker barely passed through empty air. It was a devarian easily a head taller than Axel, with arms as thick as the Prince’s head. Thankfully this was not the first one he had ever fought so he knew he had to be fast before the devarian got any momentum. Axel brought the hand closest to the massive soldier down in a chop to his wrist. His other hand came up, grabbed the hilt of the sword, ripped it out of the devarian’s hand and in one fluid motion jammed it up through the chinstrap of the soldier’s helmet and into the weakspot of the bottom of his jaw.. As the blade passed through the would be assassin’s tongue, Axel was already looking past the soon to be dead devarian.

There were four more of them out in the hall. All wearing Rawlescan Guard armour and colours, except for the helmets which were hastily painted white.

For the ease of keeping things straight in his head Axel designated them all with a number in which he saw them. Second, a nef’ilvari big and strong like the trees of his home forest, and Third, a bulky terran, were positioned directly behind the First, through the door in a line, ready to charge in and pile onto whoever the First engaged with. Fourth, a black as night nef’vidar,  and Fifth, a buff tanned pantyr, were braced on either side of the doorway, prepared to counter attack the exact situation Axel was about to engage.

A straight charge, using the First as a hybrid shield and battering ram Axel would charge out into the hallway. Once contact between First and Second was made, he would kick out his right foot to crush Fifth’s knee against the wall and propel himself further out into the hall. At the same time Axel would get a better grip on the handle of the blade lodged in First’s head and angle it so he could push the end out the top of the head and into Second’s face. Third was likely to dodge out of the way, and or fall over. Once Axel slammed the First and Second bodies against the far wall he would yank the sword out and cut off Third’s head before the soldier could recover. After that it was a toss up if Fourth would come after the Prince or go into the bedroom. That would be an on the fly decision, but he was a greater priority over the other remaining soldier. Fifth would still be registering the pain from his knee so Axel would have no problem snapping his neck and putting the final soldier out of his misery.

He had his plan, the fight was won, now it was just making it a reality. The Prince’s emerald green eyes flared with adrenaline and he surged forward. The sword pushed into the First’s brain and Axel put his plan into motion. First’s helmet popped off as Axel pushed the handle up, bending First’s head at a terrible angle so when the blade came out the top of it, it went right into Second’s. Fifth screamed in pain as his knee was crushed against the wall from Axel’s foot and Third tripped as he tried to get out of the way. The force of the three of them hitting the far wall caused Axel to bounce off and in one fluid motion he pulled the sword out of the pair of heads and flicked it down with sufficient force to cleanly cut through Third’s neck. By the grace of stupidity, Fourth decided to come after the Prince. Axel blocked the starting low aiming high swing of the soldier’s sword with his own. He kicked Fourth square between the legs and stabbed him in the throat in that moment of shock. The victorious Prince let Fourth fall with it and stepped over to Fifth, who only had the briefest moment of realization before Axel grabbed his head and with a sliver of his warrior’s strength ended him with a snap of his neck.

The blood speckled Prince looked up into his bedroom to see his always gorgeous, even if just woken, wife getting her second foot on the floor. “Not even enough to whet the appetite.” He told her.

Even despite her angelic features she gave him a thoroughly unimpressed look. “From the sounds of it, you may have your fill by the end of the night.” She told him already on the move to the nursery, her Northern Pararian accent still prevalent after all these years.

“Axel!” His brother’s voice, full of relief, grabbed his attention.

He looked down the hall to see his elder brother doing that running, limp hop towards him. Axel hesitated a moment, still unsure of what was happening within the palace, but his senses indicated Alric meant him no harm. He quickly moved to get the older Prince in a fierce hug. “You’re bleeding.” Axel told him looking down at the hastily bandaged wound, low on his brother’s thigh.

“As are you.” Alric defended.

“Not mine.” Axel informed him in a partially offended tone.

“Ah yes.” Alric looked over the dispatched soldiers. “Forgive me.”

“What is happening?” Axel asked him.

There was a far too long pause for Axel’s liking. “I only know we are all that remains of our family.” Alric solemnly told Axel. “Usurpers wearing white painted helmets appear to have caught the Royal Guard by surprise and killed most of them, then moved on to our parents, sisters, their husbands and children.” Axel snarled as his rage rose. “I know not who is behind it but I am glad to see you are still with us. Sophia and…”

“She is collecting her.” Axel anticipated the question of concern.

Alric looked up beyond the ceiling for a moment. “Thank the gods.” 

“THEY’RE HERE!” A shout came from the far end of the hall and the brother’s looked to see one of those aforementioned white helmets waving to his unseen conspirators that he had found their targets.

Axel snarled. “Stay here.” He told his injured brother.

“No.” Alric said with the most seriousness he had ever heard from him. He bent down to pick up a discarded sword and handed it to Axel. “I have just as much rage to unleash as you do, brother.”

“As you wish, my King.” Axel had already started to slip into battle mode and while he smirked at the quip, he understood the seriousness and used the Alric’s surprise to get a jump on him and take off down the hall for the traitor.