Makron shot right up. His body was drenched in sweat, and yet, he felt cold. He rubbed at his arms, shivering as his teeth rattled. It took him a moment to realize something was wrong. He was in an unfamiliarly large room in an unfamiliarly large bed and he was completely naked. Kicking the gold threaded comforter off of himself, he hopped down from the high bed and onto the floor. The smooth marble nipped icily underneath his bare feet. Though the place was lit finely with a warm glow from golden crystals imbedded in key areas on the walls, the entire chamber was icy. Not a single fire burned.
Makron was confused and most of all, scared. As his fogged mind begun to clear, he was able to discern what room he was in. And how could he not? He led the queen’s servant division, though Orno had no queen in his five-year reign, but Orno’s father did, and the room was just as large and decorated as the former Queen’s bedchamber. It was at that that Makron knew he was in a suite for esteemed royal guests. I should not be here!
As Makron began to walk, a weakness took over. He grabbed the bedpost to keep himself steady. It was then that he saw the clothes at the very edge of the bed; a pair of black pants and a white silk shirt. He did not touch them. Those were clothes for nobility. How could a mere servant wear such clothes? Even if he was an Upper Functionary, he still could not wear such things. And then, he thought there must have been a mistake. Yes. That was it; a mistake. Someone brought him into the wrong room after…
Makron’s heart fluttered. Realization came crashing in. He should be dead or imprisoned. The king would have not let him go. So… Was this a joke? Makron knew the King. Worse he knew what the chancellor was like. If he was caught in here, in this room, in this bed, naked or worse, in those clothes, any credibility he had with the other bonded servants could be thrown out; deemed as someone who craved power above his station, especially considering his past. Bonded to Castle Arrodine or not, his own people would surely sever that bond. That would take care of all of the King’s problems.
Makron gritted his teeth, racking his brain. He then hurried and placed the clothes on. It was better than being caught naked. It would probably give that sadistic king some ideas. There were no boots or a jacket, but paintings were everywhere. Some had frames of gold; others of red and silver. But what attracted Makron’s eyes was a large painting in a silver frame. It was of a woman on earth of dark green. A half, black mask framed like a phoenix covered her mouth as she stood under a dawning sky. Her eyes were golden, highlighted by the silver flowing dress she wore. Makron smiled. The princess of Arrodine. That sparked an idea. It was impossible to escape from the two roomed entranced unnoticed. If this was the chancellor’s plan, guards would have been posted at the door, and Makron would be caught within moments and his life would be over. If he stayed, he would still be caught if the chancellor decided to push things along by setting up a third-party into this to catch him in the room.
Makron turned opposite of the painting, directly to the wall bare of any painting and design, and bit his bottom lip. Blood welled. He brushed it off with his thumb and smeared it on the wall.
As the time it took for an incense stick to burn, the blood finally melded into the wall and disappeared. Slower than usual, isn’t it? Makron had grown nervous when the first minute passed and nothing had happened. When it finally disappeared, he let out a breath of cool air. Without a sound, the wall seamlessly opened up from the center, like a liquid pool, to form a doorway a head taller than himself. Makron walked in.
The wall quickly formed behind him, solid and thick as the rest of the room. The hall he entered was dark, but that swiftly ended as after he took a step, a crystal torch lit. As he walked the light continued to light up in front of him, and as he past them, they turned dim and then off.
Makron’s fear grew. He was a bonded, Upper Functionary of Arrodine. One of the only seven people privy to the passageways, and that did not include the king. He had thoroughly explored most of these halls, when he could, and yet, he did not recognize the passageway he was in.
As time flew by, the crystals turned from red to green to blue as he entered new passages, turned new corridors. It was finally after a long time that he figured out where he was. He walked until he reached a dead end, and pressed hard on his lip, more blood seeping from the barely sealed wound on his lip.
Doing the same as he did before, he waited, but fortunately, this time, the wall responded much more quickly. He popped his head out from the wall, and glanced left and right, and seeing no one, walked out.
Makron was walking more fluidly now. He was a little nauseous, but his legs felt stronger as he walked down the hall. The walls were painted in red; they held the painting of past officials that roamed the halls of Arrodine. There were no paintings of servants, even the upper functionaries. Only the royal family and powerful clans and families, as well as famous officials went up.
At the end of the hall were stand tables. Makron took a right and soon he was in the servants’ quarters. Wearing what he was in the servants’ quarters was like blowing a horn during a moment of silence. Fortunately for Makron, no one was there. He did not know what time it was, but he was glad the halls were empty.
Very quickly he found the linen room, and took out a faded blue cloak. He threw it on and brought the hood up. There were no other types of clothing in the linen room, but Makron thought the cloak was better than nothing.
Gingerly, he crept from the room, but as he did, he stopped.
Blurred like a fantasy, curly locks shifting with every step, Koyu came from around a corridor. She was a sight just as beautiful as the nights at Curey lake, north of Aros; a sight comparable to the princess of Arrodine. Though, only Makron thought that.
“Koyu…” Makron whispered. He hadn’t meant to call out to her, but the name just slipped out. Koyu glanced Makron’s way. As her eyes landed on him, the woman froze in place, her brow furrowed. Koyu was a fourth level servant. Outside of the Upper Functionaries, there were the lower functionaries. Those were servants under the seven top servants. The lower functionaries were divided into four levels where the fourth level were made up of servants with the most responsibility and status amongst the other lower functionaries.
Makron cursed at his foolish self. He didn’t want to draw any attention to himself and have the chancellor or the king able to track his movements. If Koyu thought him suspicious, she would call the guards. Then, the chancellor and the king would no he was no longer in that room. So Makron was just about to turn around when he noticed a slight shift in her gait. She’s about to do something. Immediately, Makron removed the hood from his cloak. “Koyu, it’s me. It’s just me.”
He looked at the woman, his throat tight. The woman seemed shorter somehow, but she was still as beautiful as the last time he saw her, two years ago. After she had spurned his attempt at courtship, he did his best to never bump into her; and with his position, scheduling it that way was simple. But even with their shaky past, he hoped that she would understand and keep quiet on seeing him.
Koyu’s face paled. She looked down, saying nothing. Holding tighter to the linen in her arms, she walked past Makron. Makron was relieved slightly. It must be worse than I thought. Koyu valued her position well, and if she did not even give him up, then what the thing planned for him must be so horrible that even she placed pity on him.
Makron put back the cloak over his head and walked out of the servant quarters. He was thankful that he did not run into anymore servants, they would have easily picked him out as out of place.
All the entrances and exits of Arrodine were watched by high level warriors. Some of the common folk may not see them, but they were always there. When Makron’s father, a former upper level servant, was around, he had managed security and had often spoken of how things worked when Makron was but a child. The various sectors of Castle Arrodine’s servants never spoke about their functions to each other, so when he became a servant himself, he was not informed on the castle’s current security as he had joined the queen’s division and not the security one. But regardless of how things might have changed, the fact remained that, for Makron, walking out the front door, would be the easiest and safest option.
Makron quickly followed the hallways until he reached the main entrance. He found it odd that he had not bumped into any servants or any of the noble inhabitants. There were castle guards though. Birthed of metal and sorcery. They stood in their positions against the walls, unmoving, their spiritual glowing red eyes tracking him without moving. He had passed them, head bowed, trying to seem as if he was going on some errand. But regardless of the case, he was bonded to Arrodine, and if he did not belong or had been invited in the first place, the castle would have alerted them.
In the middle of the second, green marbled floor, lay a circular stone platform nearly four meters wide. The platform was rimmed with gold, and had smaller gold imbedded circles until it reached a pure gold dot in the center.
Makron hopped to the center of the platform. “Down.” He said, and the platform shifted. It was silent as only the middle part, enough for a person of his size, lowered itself down at an even pace. When the platform lowered, it opened up to the first floor atrium. The atrium was large, at least twenty meters tall with black marbled floors and white crystal lights hanging from ceiling, and white marbled columns in between.
As the platform gravitated down, past the crystals, he saw four large bronze doors at each wall. They were marked in silver runes; curves and symbols that hummed with power.
But Makron did not pay much attention to that. He had seen the scene countless times over the few years when he became head of the queen’s division. Of course taking the center platform and not the staircase leading down a side door would be noticeable, but only upper class or high level servants could use it. Thus, he would less likely be bothered by any passerby or guard, should he try to leave through the front.
But what he did not expect was that the atrium was filled. As soon as the ground opened up, his ears reverberated with the talk from nobles and guests and high-class citizenry down below; silent low-class servants catered among them.
The last thing Makron wanted was to be noticed. He figured he could leave this way since the atrium was only used for grand balls and parties and thus could leave as noiselessly as possible. But now? As the platform descended the laughter and chatter, bustle and rancor came to a dull. It was when the platform silently stopped at the ground floor amongst the crowd, that everything became completely silent, and everyone was staring at him!