Image Via Wikimedia Commons by Heinrich Hanson
As they entered the large village, Marcia looked at her surroundings. On the outskirts of the city, there were guards posted all along the wall…a much higher number than the guards in her own village. There were several small stone buildings which Marcia guessed were homes of the villagers. People were just starting their day and milling about their morning duties. The village appeared to be like her village in many ways except for the size. This village appeared to be at least ten times the size of Lamax.
They passed by what appeared to be a large colosseum over three stories tall. It was made of shiny white marble which gleamed in the rising sun. Large blue banners were decorated on the top with a symbol of a spiked hammer crossing over a sword. Marcia recognized this symbol, as it was a symbol of King Etan.
King Etan was known as the ruler of most areas in Zalonia. Twenty years ago, he began his conquest of the land conquering any army who opposed him. He had taken over more of Zalonia than any king before him. He was a fierce ruler who maintained his power with an iron fist and was greatly feared, especially with his loyal army of over a hundred thousand men. His army was placed all over the continent to maintain control of the various cities and villages. Lamax had escaped his power until now.
Marcia knew that she would be forced to serve the king in some way but wasn’t sure what that way would be. She thought that she would possibly become a slave to one of King Etan’s solders. There were rumors that whoever disobeyed the king and his men would be taken to the dungeons and be tormented. From what she had heard, the torment was cruel and often involved fire burning parts of the body making the sufferer scream in agony. Death would be a relief; however, the king and his men would make certain that the suffer would live and continue in service to whatever was required.
They soon came upon a castle in the center of the city. Unlike some castles in Zalonia, this one had no towers and appeared to be square. It was tall…taller than the walls of the village where Marcia lived. She guessed that the castle walls were at least 100 feet in height. Huge blue banners decorated the top of the castle. They held the same hammer/sword symbol as the colosseum. The prison wagons came to a halt, as many of the soldiers entered the castle gate.
Marcia thought back to her life before she had been taken prisoner. Going on 30, she began to wonder if she was ever going to marry. It was something that she desired, but she wanted to find a good man which seemed scarce in her village. Her village was one of the few villages left that still didn’t practice arranged marriage. Since King Etan had taken over most of the lands, having an arranged marriage was becoming customary.
The thought of being forced into marriage, now that she was captured, terrified her. She was a strong independent woman who didn’t like to be controlled. Many of the men in her own village came across as being controlling, so she avoided them.
She was trained to be a warrior in her village and quickly became one of the best. She recalled her moment of glory when she had won an annual village weapon competition the year before. All that training only to be captured, she thought to herself.
Just then, a guard opened the door to the prison wagon. He roughly grabbed her and put chains around her wrists. When no one was looking, he whispered to her, “Prepare to make your escape.”