The dark night that broke the peace on Isle of Masks finally came to an end. A battle won but even the most learned ones couldn’t talk of the war that lay ahead.

“We know the enemy now. Are you suggesting we do nothing about it?” said lord Neher.

“I am not suggesting anything,” Yurnero fisted the end of his blade handle, growing increasingly tired of the exchange.

“Did you not see enough bloodshed tonight, son?” lord Neher inched towards the Juggernaut, hands clasped behind him. His motion was as swift as a seasoned fighter and his eyes were ablaze with fury.

Yurnero didn’t move.

“We are not assassins. We do not raid homes and kill innocent men in their sleep,” he said as he stepped back and sheathed his sword. “We are warriors. We fight with honor.” Yurnero left without dismissal.

“I know you’re there,” said Yurnero stopping mid-step in the corridor outside the lord’s chambers.

“I was not trying to hide,” said Anahita, the daughter of lord Neher and the future princess of Isle of Masks. She was adorned in red and gold, the proud colors of her family name. The tiny bells at the end of her flowing gown clanked behind her as she walked.

The night was almost curelly silent. As if the ringing of steel against steel could ever leave Yurnero’s ears.

“You dare defy your lords, Yurnero?” she teased.

“They’re not my lords,” Yurnero said, knowing full-well the influence the council enjoyed over the Juggernauts. ‘All to protect the homeland,’ Yurnero always consoled himself.

“We all fight for something, Yurnero. For someone,” she rested her hand inches away from his mask. All members of the Juggernaut wore a mask to hide their faces. It was a symbol of their devotion. An identity bestowed upon the worthy ones once they left everything else behind.

“Who do you fight for?” she asked.

“Princess, may I ask what you want from me?” Yurnero had a long night ahead of him, wounds to tend to, blade to sharpen, then hours of lying awake in bed.

“From you? Nothing, perhaps, Nothing of value, anyway. I’m telling you. One day, and very soon, the land you fight for will not be the same,” Anahita said as she retracted her hand. “You can’t fight an enemy you don’t know,” she said and left.

To be continued…

Stories. Sometimes of words, sometimes of people.