Here is part 2 of the fan fiction pieces, a short story submitted by Rachael Steele that speculates what might have happened the night Leith helped kill Renna and Brandi’s parents.
Rachael Steele – backstory short story
Rennelda awoke to an uneasy feeling, as if someone was watching her. She sat up and pulled her blanket up to her chin. The feeling made her want to hide in her covers and block everything out.
Her door opened and she clasped a hand over her mouth. Brandi crept over to her bed and sighed.
“Renna, I’m scared. It feels like something is wrong, like something is going to happen.” She whispered. Renna wrapped her arms around her sister and took a deep breath.
“I feel like that too,” she said, “I think we need to just try to sleep well.”
“Or…we could go take a look around?” Brandi suggested. “Come on Renna, please?” Renna glanced at her sister and sighed again.
“Ok, come on.” She said, standing up and walking over to her closet. Removing a cloak, she draped it over her shoulders. “Did you come already dressed?” she asked. Brandi grinned.
“Are you kidding me?” she asked. “I was going with or without you.” She threw her sister a wink and ran out of the room, Renna following slowly.
Leith Torren glanced at First Blade Harrison Vane and took a deep breath. If he failed this mission, he would receive his first mark of failure. He rubbed his left shoulder and ran his other hand over his knife.
“Hess, Torren,” Vane said, “let me run over it to make sure we don’t mess this up. Torren, you make sure the guards can’t interfere, Hess, you kill the Lord Faythe and I’ll take care of the Lady Faythe. Don’t fail me!” he warned. Leith coughed, drawing the attention of Vane. “Yes?” he growled.
“Um, don’t you mean don’t fail the King?” he asked. Vane removed one of his knives and glared at the younger boy.
“When I am in charge and you fail, you fail me.” He snapped. Leith locked eyes with him and held his gaze.
“I do not serve you, I serve King Respen.” He answered. Vane pressed his knife to Leith’s neck.
“If you are not loyal to your First Blade, you could turn on the King as well.” he said. Leith restrained himself from shaking and dropped his gaze.
“Vane, we need to finish this.” Hess said. Vane returned his knife and lowered himself into a crouch.
“Come on.” He said. “Let’s complete this.”
Renna crept towards the courtyard and glanced behind her, jumping back. Where was Brandi? If something was wrong, she had to keep an eye on her sister and make sure she was ok.
“Brandi!” she hissed, looking around. No, no, no, please she prayed.
“I’m right here!” Brandi sighed. “Quit being loud!” Renna breathed out a sigh of relief and pressed a hand over her rapidly beating heart. Thank you Lord, thank you so much.
“Don’t do that!” she told her. Brandi snorted.
“I didn’t do anything!” Brandi insisted. Renna sighed. Why didn’t her sister understand?
“Renna, I think I see something over there! I think I see…someone!” Brandi pointed at the wall.
“What?” Renna asked, turning around. She squinted, trying to see who it was, and then hit the ground as something smacked painfully into the back of her head. Darkness enveloped her sight and she slipped into unconsciousness.
Leith watched as both girls fell to the ground and he turned away. Now to do his real job: find the guards and make sure that they were immobilized. It wasn’t that hard, at least he didn’t have to kill one of the Faythes.
He saw the guards and crept up behind them. Hooking his foot around one’s leg, he jerked it back, shoved the man into his fellow guards, ducking a fist. What poorly trained guards, he expected more from such high people.
One guard drew his sword, but before he could direct a swing at Leith, the Third Blade pulled one of his knives out and brought it across the guard’s throat. The man dropped to his knees, then to the ground. His part of the mission was a success, and he had full faith in Vane and Hess to complete theirs. They had trained for and completed mission far more dangerous than this.
Renna saw…black. She groaned and tried to sit up, but her head pounded. The last thing she remembered was something hitting her head.
“Brandi.” She croaked. Her vision remained damaged, but she made out her sister’s body lying a few feet away. Dragging herself closer, she reached out to touch her sister’s hand.
A scream ripped through the night. Renna stiffened and her head jerked around to find the source. Two figures came into view and she squinted, trying to make them out. It looked like a…a Blade and her mother. Renna stumbled to her feet.
The Blade jerked his hand back and her mother fell to the ground with a gasp. Renna stopped, staring at her mother. What had just happened? Had the Blade really just killed her…
“Mother!” she screamed. The Blade jerked around and, catching sighed of Renna, smiled. His smile held no joy or happiness, only cruel delight.
Renna ran to her mother’s fallen body and fell to her knees, bursting into tears.
“Mother!” she screamed at her, shaking her arm. “Mother! Don’t leave me!” She shook her mother again. “Please, don’t leave me!”
Leith watched the girl cry and plead with her mother’s body. He swallowed, but his throat tightened. This was not a mission he was proud of. Out of all of the missions he had completed, even murdering a fellow trainee and a boy his own age, this was the worst.
“Torren.” Hess said. “Come on.” Leith glanced back and hesitated. “You’re a Blade, this is your life.” Hess reminded. “We have to report back to King Respen in a timely manner.
Leith took a deep breath and tapped into the ice that waited inside of him, ready to surround his heart. This mission was accomplished.