Weksler Kingdom, 895AD…
Dixon walked behind the men who carried his father’s body to the water. At his side, his kid sister Kerrigan. They were young and now orphaned. Their mother had fallen ill and died many years ago, and last night their father was found murdered in his bed by a rival clan. It was an act of war that thrust eighteen-year-old Dixon into the role of leadership. He was now King and the sole caretaker of his twelve-year-old sister.
Though Dixon was a man and had been considered so for many years, he was not ready to be King. Especially in wartime, but Cain, the King who had sent his assassin, had thrust Dixon into the role he did not feel ready for. What was worse was the knowledge that his father, a great man, was damned for eternity. Cain’s cowardness in killing a man in his bed disgraced his father and condemned him to eternity at Goddess of Death’s table where he would be tortured for the rest of time. This knowledge angered Dixon greatly. His father did not deserve this fate. Dixon swore he would right this wrong, and he would not rest until he took everything precious to Cain.
Dixon felt Kerrigan take his hand in hers as they watched their father’s body being placed on the funeral raft. The men pushed the raft out to sea, and his archers shot flaming arrows into the kindling lighting the raft ablaze and releasing the fallen King’s spirit. Dixon refused to cry. Men did not cry, though he felt the loss deeply.
Kerrigan looked up at Dixon, who smiled down at her trying to be supportive. “W-w-why w-w-would th-th-they do th-th-this?” Kerrigan asked him. Dixon knelt on one knee, bringing himself eye level with his small sister. Kerrigan struggled with speech all her life. Specifically, with words that had the W, T, or TH sounds.
Even though she was royalty, many of the other kids would make fun of her. People thought she was stupid because she struggled to talk, but Dixon knew that was not the case. She had no friends and now no parents. Dixon was all Kerrigan had.
Dixon lovingly brushed her blond hair out of her dark eyes. “I do not know. But I promise I will make them pay for this.”
“W-w-will th-th-they kill you t-t-too?” She asked with fear.
“I will not let them. I am too fast.” He grinned, making her do so also. “Do not fear Kerrigan; we will be just fine. I give you my word.” Dixon stood up, and they faced the water watching the raft burn and sink beneath the surf.
Dixon peeled off the bandage covering his face. Cain had attacked his village, and in an underhanded move, had sliced Dixon across the face blinding him momentarily. His men had driven the invading clan out, but Dixon was still angry and wounded. He leaned over the water barrel in his room to look at his reflection in the water’s surface. Cain’s blade had sliced across his face, leaving a long gash in his face trailing down across his left eye. By some miracle, it had not damaged his eye. He could still see out of it, but it would most certainly scar. When he found Cain, he would kill the man in the slowest, most painful way possible.
“I see you will be keeping that eye.” He heard Lotta’s voice. Lotta was an outlander who had come to him weeks ago telling him she could help him avenge his father and kill Cain. She had talked a good game at first, but lately, she had not been proving her worth. Her tone grated against his nerves.
Dixon turned and glared at the woman as she walked into his room without an invitation. She had a habit of doing so. “I am not in the mood to deal with you at the moment.”
“Licking your wounds, are we?” She mocked. She had more balls than most of his men. He could almost respect that.
Dixon’s hand reached out and closed tightly around her throat, pulling the aggravating woman close to him. “I have had about as much of your attitude as I am willing to tolerate.”
She looked him right in the eyes showing no fear. He could never tell if she was brave or crazy. “It is not my fault you failed to kill Cain.”
“I should cut that insolent tongue of yours out of your mouth.” He snarled.
“You could,” she purred seductively, “but you will not.”
“And why would that be?” He asked as she walked away from him and made herself comfortable in his bed.
“You seem stressed. You need release.” She was right; he did. He could defiantly use a good fucking, but she was out of her damn mind if she thought he would have any carnal interest in her at all. She was so old. “Let me help you.”
Dixon broke out into laughter, and her expression became annoyed and offended. “I would never bed you. Why would I fuck an old crone like you when I have a whole kingdom of young willing slave girls? You are out of your damn mind if you think I would even allow you to suck my cock.”
The look in her eyes was that of outrage as she stood up. “You arrogant bastard!” She hissed. “I made you King, you ungrateful little shit.”
Dixon cocked his head to the side, thoughtfully at her comment. “I am King because I was next in line. You had no hand in it.” Suddenly Cain’s insistence that he bore no responsibility for the death of Dixon’s father made sense. It struck him. They had been right. This bitch was manipulating him. She had murdered his father, not Cain. She had used him to start a war. She had played him for a fool, and worse, she had damned his father’s soul. “Wait, it was you.” He said, advancing on Lotta. “You murdered my father. You framed Cain. You started a war.” A few days ago, she had convinced him to send a message to Cain. She had talked him into beheading Cain’s kin, after which he had skinned the body and hung it up on display. After what Dixon had done to Cain’s kin, there was no stopping the war from escalating. “Why?”
She grinned and chuckled. “Because I could.” She hissed. Dixon drew his hand back and slapped her across the face so hard she fell to the floor. He reached down and closed his hand around her throat, lifting her off the floor. He slammed her against the wall. Lotta’s fingers clawed at his hand as he choked her. She laughed, and he did not understand why. “It does not matter; there is no stopping the war now. You were a pawn in my game with Cain. You are nothing but a foolish child playing at being a man.”
Dixon threw Lotta on the nearby table and drew the dagger from his belt with a menacing smile. “You are going to pay dearly for all your lies.” He closed his hand around her throat once more and held her down on the table as he dragged the tip of the blade down her throat. “I am a child, am I? Well then… let’s play.” Unfortunately for Lotta, Dixon was apt at torture, and he was going to enjoy every single moment.
Screams echoed through the halls of the palace. Dixon walked away from where he had Lotta chained up. He picked up the closest cloth and wiped the blood from the blade. Placing the blade down, he walked over to the washing basin and washed the blood from his hands. He could hear Lotta as she struggled for breath behind him. He had taken his time with this woman. He had beat her until she was black and blue and tortured her in ways that would make a goat puke.
Clean, he turned to face her as she hung from his ceiling her arms above her head and her feet barely touching the floor. Normally Dixon did not brutalize woman, but for Lotta, he had made an exception. She looked at him through swollen eyes and smiled. A laugh rose up from deep within her. Others at this moment would beg for their lives, but this woman laughed. Dixon had met some crazy women in the past, but Lotta, she was straight-up insane.
Dixon walked over and captured her chin in his large calloused hand and forced her to look up into his eyes. “Are you enjoying our playtime?”
“Immensely.” She puckered her lips as if to kiss him, and when he pushed her away with disgust, she laughed again.
“You are unequivocally bat-shit crazy.” He said, shaking his head. He had to admit her enjoyment of this took all the fun out of torture. “I am done with you. Now I will give you to Cain. An offering to make amends for my actions. See if I cannot end this war you started before it escalates.”
“It is too late. There will be no peace. You may kill me, or Cain may kill me. It does not matter because my will is done. Your clans will exterminate each other.”
Dixon headed to the door where two of his men had been guarding and watching him punish Lotta. “Cut her down and clean her up.” He ordered. “We will take her Vremore tonight. Let Cain have his fun.”
Dixon and his men came to stand before Cain in his great hall surrounded by Cain’s clan. “You must be out of your mind to come here,” Cain growled. Dixon knew he was taking a great risk coming to Cain on his land, but he was certain Cain would forgive him when he presented the older King with the woman who had wronged them both so much. “Tell me why I should not just kill you where you stand right this very moment?”
Dixon smiled with confidence. “You will not kill me, at least not this very moment, my men and I are going to walk out of here alive and well.”
“How do you figure that?”
“I have something you want.”
“You have nothing I want.”
Dixon turned around and reached for Lotta, who was being dragged along by one of his men. Every one of Cain’s men reached for his sword and paused when Dixon dragged Lotta forward and threw her on the floor at Cain’s feet. She fell to the stone floor, her hands bound before her.
Cain rose to his feet and stepped down the rise, never taking his outraged gaze off the woman who had brought so much pain to his family. “You were right Cain, I do not say that often, but you were right. She is one manipulative bitch. She murdered my father and framed you. She started a war between us. I know the wrong she has done you. I bring her to you… a peace offering.”
Suddenly Cain’s gaze snapped up and locked with Dixon’s. “Peace? You attack and burn my home unprovoked, and you speak of peace? You decapitate and skin my kin, and you speak of peace?” Cain said, advancing until he stood toe to toe, eye to eye with young Dixon. “There will be no peace.”
Dixon smiled to stop from screaming. “Careful old man who you make an enemy of.”
“Mind who you threaten, Child, I am not old because I am foolish. However, since you were kind enough to bring Lotta to me, I shall repay the kindness by allowing you and your men to walk out of here alive.” Cain said coldly. “Make no mistake though, the next time I see you, I will kill you.”
Dixon grinned, fine if Cain wanted a war, Dixon would give him one. “If you thought this bitch was bad, you have never met the likes of me. If you insist on continuing this petty rivalry, I promise I will take everything precious to you.” He warned.
“You may leave my sight now before I reconsider letting you go.” Cain snarled.
“This is not over, Cain,” Dixon warned.
“On that, we agree.” Cain smiled. “Begone.” He arrogantly dismissed Dixon and his men. Dixon and his men turned to leave. Now was not the time to start a fight. He and his men were outnumbered. Only a fool would strike now.
As they left the village, one of his men asked. “What now?”
“Now, we go to war.”