Lorelei wished she could have been surprised. She really did. There would have been less blood spread across the earth if that were the case. If those soldiers had done the smart thing and stayed away.
She alone had sensed them, long before the small party of six darkened her Father’s gate; souls bright with magic and self-righteousness. Decked in armor not quite clean of her elder brother’s blood. A brother lying limp and defenseless, burning with fever brought on by both strain and infection. Kayden would survive, Lorelei knew, albeit with a few more scars, but he would be fine. So long as he was left to rest and heal.
But that was the problem, wasn’t it? While she sat in a chair next to Kayden’s bed, watching the rise and fall of his chest, watching for any hint that he needed another round of magical healing — she sensed them. The soldiers who had hurt her family, who had nearly stolen the life of her brother. Who dared to set foot on her family’s land, when all of them, save Lorelei, were resting, recovering from injuries and magical exhaustion. How dare they. How dare they show their faces after hurting her brother so? After terrifying them all with the possible loss of one of their own? How dare they strike down her eldest brother?
They would not be leaving alive. Lorelei knew this before she even left Kayden’s room. Between one blink and the next, she found herself marching down the path to stand before the open gate. She stared down the soldiers, her blood running hot as they dared to ask her to move. To go somewhere safer, as if she were the one about to walk unwelcomed into someone’s home.
“Leave.” Lorelei told them, eyes narrowed and aglow with the rusted-fire hue of her magic. “You are not welcome here.” She growled, a part of her hoping they took her advice. That they would leave and she could return to her brother’s side. So she could go back to watching him breathe.
But Lorelei also knew that outcome was unlikely. Instead, she stood her ground, watching with unwavering eyes as the assembled group grew amused and concerned. They all thought her non-threatening, all except for the powerful mage standing at the back. Lorelei met the young man’s eyes, and smiled as his eyes narrowed, widened, and finally, grew dark with understanding.
She didn’t believe for a second that he really knew what he and his companions were up against, but the fact that he was afraid when she hadn’t even done anything yet? Perhaps he was smarter than he looked. Not that he would live long enough for her to find out how smart. Her King — her Father’s rule, rang loud as a church bell in her ears; no one who finds their home, unless welcomed, known to be an ally or stood as an innocent, was to leave alive.
Now, Lorelei had never killed without the cushion of self-defense, but she didn’t need to kill the men and woman before her. Her other brother’s and Father deserved their pound of flesh for the harm brought upon Kayden. But, Lorelei thought with a smile, she didn’t need to kill them, to tear them down.
Raising her hands, Lorelei called upon her magic, eyes flashing as several spears of magic jerked from the earth below the party’s feet. Pinning two, while the remaining four leapt away. Frowning, Lorelei jerked one hand in quicks signs, entangling three in enchanted ropes stringer than any chains that burned hot as irons.
The last, the Mage, stared at Lorelei, shield raised, waiting for her next move. Sigils whirled around the young mans hands, sparking with power. Lorelei tilted her head to the side, and smirked. She twisted her fingers, and the magic entrapping his companions shifted, slithering to form strings that stretched unseen into the sky. The Mage turned just as his former friends fell upon him, trembling, mouths shut tight, puppeteered by Lorelei’s hands.
She watched, swaying as she made her new puppets dance, stabbing and slashing at the Mage. Whom in turn, shot his magic and muttered spells with a speed that spoke of many years of study and training. It all meant nothing in the face of Lorelei. For Lorelei, despite her few years, had been gifted with an unending well of powerful magic within herself, and a strange ability to steal and manipulate all other magic she came into contact with.
Combined with her Father’s and Uncles “forbidden” lessons, she made for quite the opponent. Something the Mage learned very quickly as Lorelei’s magic overwhelmed his, and soon, all six members stood before her, completely at her mercy. Twisting her fingers, Lorelei’s magic wound tight around their bodies, bringing the intruders to their knees. Screams of agony were muffled, caught in throats that would not open unless Lorelei willed them to. She dug she magic tighter, envisioning Kayden’s broken and bloody body. How he gasped through the fever, pained even when asleep. She felt skin bruise and bone creak in her grasp. She wanted them to hurt. They had to pay —
“That’s enough.” Her Father whispered against her ear, cutting through the haze of red. Cool hands settled atop Lorelei’s wrists, effectively cutting off any new commands. Not that it mattered, no one before her could move, could breathe without her say so. Lorelei longed for blood, for retribution, but she was a mere adopted princess, and her family deserved their pound of flesh.
“…Did I wake you?” Lorelei muttered back, still holding the intruders in place. Did I wake the others? She left unspoken. Her Father shook his head, cool shadows slipping up from his coat to curl around her. Lorelei leant back against her Father, looking up just enough to catch his shinning blue eye.
She let go. The intruders fell, gasping and moaning, but all they got was one brief second to breathe before her Father’s dark magic sprung up and dragged them, screaming and thrashing, into the shadows. Lorelei spared a thought for any family or loved ones that might miss the men and women that had been dragged into the King’s claws. Her Father was a vengeful one, all the adventurers had accomplished was save the King the effort of hunting them down. Such was the fate of any who crossed her family.
“You should go back to Kayden.” Her Father said. “He’ll need someone by his side.” Lorelei nodded, pressing further into her Father. He chuckled, they fell through the shadows, and reappeared in Kayden’s room. Father pressed a kiss to her scalp, then stepped back, disappearing again. Likely to the dungeons.
Lorelei smirked at the thought. She crossed the room and settled back in her chair. She stared at Kayden, smiling softly at his peaceful expression. She reached out, grasping her brother’s hand.
No one will bother you, she swore to herself. Not while I am here. Not without consequence.