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   Chapter 171 No.171

The WeatherMaker Hearts Desire By Lady Lilium Characters: 5675

Updated: 2018-07-11 19:02


Ramana chuckled to herself, cheering up a little. She rose from the stump and glided over to her daughter, kneeling behind her and picking her up. She nuzzled into her neck, tickling her. Amaia squealed in happily, wriggling in her mother's arms.

'I love you so much' Ramana said to her. 'You mean everything to me. My precious treasure.'

'You mean more to me' Amaia giggled. 'I love you like a swallow loves honey.'

'What?' Ramana chuckled. 'Swallows don't eat honey.'

'How do you know?' Amaia asked her. 'Have you ever followed one around?'

'No' Ramana smiled to her daughter. 'Of course I haven't. I can't fly.'

Ramana let go of her daughter, drifting away and leaving Amaia to her games of being a beetle, her mind beginning to drift again.

'Mother?' Amaia spoke up a moment later.

Ramana turned to her daughter who lay on the ground with her head turned to the side, her ear against the earth.

'Do you hear that noise?' Amaia asked. Her voice was uncertain.

'What is it?' Ramana said.

'Rumbling.'

Ramana lifted her head, stiffening at the sound of falling hooves. The thundering of the horses steps signalled the swift arrival of many.

'Amaia' her mother hastened, 'come quickly.'

Amaia picked herself off the ground, running to her mother's side. Ramana marched quickly back down the road and towards the town, walking with her arm around her daughter's shoulders and head down. Behind them the horses approached. Ramana pulled her daughter tightly to her as the horses descended upon them, hoping that they would simply pass them by. But the great the beasts walled them in, trapping them from either side, turning around and blocking their path at the front, as more horses closed the net behind them.

Ramana stared up in alarm as she and her daughter were surrounded by rows of great black stallions, tall and mighty war horses, and the men that rode them who were dressed in richly dyed silks embroidered with intricate designs. Their armour was lined in silver, and appeared to be designed to be both showy and functional. In the centre of each of their breast plates, was a depiction of a wolf swallowing the moon. The kings crest.

These were the king's men.

Ramana had no time to wonder what they were doing here; too wracked with fear and uncertainty. She watched as one of the men, the only one wearing a helmet that covered his face, dismounted his horse.

Ramana clutched her daughter tighter to her, staring wide-eyed and unblinking as the soldier took three steps towards her. He stopped, leaving a considerable gap between them, and speaking in a hoarse voice, he made his demand.

'Give us the girl.'

Ramana's heart plummeted to the ground as she realised he meant her daughter; and she clutched the frightened Amaia even tighter, holding her protectively.

'Hand her over' the soldier spoke with calm cruelty, 'or we kill you.'

And then Ramana said something that surprised all of them.

'If you want her, come and get her.'

Ramana could not see the face of the man that stood before her, but knew by his demeanour he must have been surprised. The soldiers surrounding them all glanced to each other, a few sharking smirks.

The soldier standing before her cocked his head, regarding her serenely.

'Very well' he said.

He took a step towards her, but suddenly froze. Ramana fixed her attention on him, concentrating hard. A few of the mounted soldiers around began to fidget, waiting for him to do something. And then, the helmeted soldier fell forwards. He collapsed and hit the ground; the fallen leaves which covered the forest floor softened the thud of his helmet and armour upon the earth. But he was already stone dead.

A few of the soldiers cried out in alarm, but before any of them could act, there was a great bolt of lightning that came from the sky, sticking the ground between them. The sudden flash of light and the great crack sent the horses into a blind panic. Many screamed in terror, several of them rearing up, throwing their riders from their backs. The wall surrounding Ramana and her daughter broke, and Ramana made for the gap.

She ran.

Amaia struggled to keep up with her mother's long legs as she was pulled along by her wrist; quickly she was tiring and began to stumble.

'Hurry!' Ramana cried in panic back to her.

She heard sounds swiftly catching them up from behind; one of the soldiers had managed to get his horse under control, and was tearing after them.

'RUN AMAIA!'

Ramana released her daughter's wrist, halting on the spot and turning to face the danger, not even glancing to make sure her daughter had listened.

She watched as the mighty stallion galloped towards her, waiting for the opportune moment. Only when the black beast was nearly upon her, towering over her, did a great rift appear in the road between them. A loud crack and a sharp upwards gust of wind caused the horse to panic and rear up, though the stallion didn't run away. The soldier slid sideways off the saddle, landing hard on the ground.

He rolled swiftly and came to his knees, drawing his sword from his scabbard in one rapid movement. Before Ramana had time to think, before she had time to act and move to protect herself, he thrust the blade forwards, driving it right through her breastbone and into her heart.

She gasped in shock as the soldier rose to his feet, still holding the handle of the sword. When he was standing, he jerked the blade sharply back. Red blossomed from the wound in her chest. Ramana stumbled, and fell back, hitting the forest floor and gazing up into the sky behind the branches swaying above her.

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