Gil followed her love through field and forest, over river and mountain. She was her loyal companion, her obedient shadow. Every step she took was guided by the flowing golden hair, shining in the sunlight ahead of her. They were as one, inseparable after a lifetime of never having known each other. It was like floating on a sea of pure bliss.
She was so caught up in thoughts and feelings sweet enough that they stuck to her tongue like honey, that she did not see the danger until it was too late.
A ring of shields, a net of crossed spears and a fence of sharpened iron descended around them. She saw warriors, proud and tall with the royal colours of the Wizard King emblazoned on the surcoats over thick armour plate.
A man stepped out from between the ranks of soldiers and into the clearing. He regarded Gil with mournful, piercing grey eyes. Inside those pale orbs, power and sadness were intertwined.
“Who are you?” The Wizard King asked.
“My name is Gil, I was a turnkey at the Tower. Will you kill us?”
His brows lifted when she spoke the last word and his steely eyes scanned the clearing. One long, wizened finger lifted and hooked through the end of his flowing silver beard.
“Would you point out your companion to me?” He asked.
Gil raised her hand to indicate where her love stood, and just as she did so, the shadow flitted out of sight. As the flash of golden light disappeared, darkness seemed to descend around her.
“I’m very sorry.” The Wizard King said.
As he spoke, he pulled his finger free from the tangled grey hairs and directed it at Gil. She turned to look behind her and saw only the pointed spears and sharp swords of his men. Then Gil looked down and saw the dark swathes of blood staining her front.
“This isn’t mine.” She whispered. “I didn’t do this.”
“I’m very sorry.” He said again. “She is inside you and likely has been for a long time now. That is how these things survive. I am sorry. Will you forgive us?”
Gil nodded dumbly, barely able to comprehend what was being said.
She heard the crossbows clanking and the steel-tipped bolts whirring through the air, as though it were all happening many leagues away from where she stood. Gil felt the needle-sharp points piercing her flesh and saw them punch through her love’s chest. Bright golden hair hung limp, marred by freshly spilled blood.
A sensation began to lift Gil up, a feeling of warmth spreading through her body. She was falling and knew she was dying. But there, wrapped around her and sharing every corner of her being, was her love. They fell together.
Did you miss the first Turnkey story? Find Beneath the Tower here.
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