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Run From the King

Chapter 7

When Tess cries out, Eliza drops the hammer immediately and cries out with her.

"No! No!"

"It's...fine. Keep going."

Tears stream down Tess' face as she bites her lip ready for the next blow.

"I can't. I can't do this."

Eliza stands and walks away from Tess and the hammer. She walks to the corner of the cell and looks at Tess from a distance. Tess was a source of incredible guilt felt on Eliza's part. The closer she was to what was left of Tess, the worse she felt. All the scars.. cuts..burn marks..

"...Don't give him what he wants Eliza."

Eliza wipes a tear from her eyes. She sat holding her knees to her chest.

"W-what?"

"He wants you to cry. He wants you to see me like this. Everything you're feeling is exactly what he wants."

Tess coughs but her throat is dry. She struggles to swallow before continuing.

"But you're hurt Tessie.."

"Because of him, not you. He did this."

"Because of ME!"

"No, Eliza. The beast inside him is not your making."

Eliza shakes her head, she felt guilty making Tess even argue with her. She was so tired, so weak.

"I love you Tessie. I'm so sorry he did this to you. But I can't hurt you. I just can't."

"Then we'll both die here."

Tess looks down at her hands now. She weakly lifts them up a couple inches from the ground before dropping them. A small chalky thud, crumbling against the gravels of broken clay.

She grunts as she tries to lift it again.

"He did that to you hands so you couldn't escape."

Tess turns to Eliza.

He did this to my hands so I wouldn't heal.

She corrects her.

"He wanted me to try and escape. I did try a few times...but that only excited him."

Eliza's face twists into horror.

"Why did you leave Eliza?"

Eliza shakes her head and puts her knees down, sitting indian style now. She rests her elbows on her knees as she leans over and holds her head up with her hands, covering her eyes. She sighs, and suddenly chuckles to herself.

Tess sits quietly watching her for a moment.

"Eliza?..."

"Haha...it's just..haha..it's so funny..I gave up everything to protect all of you.

Eliza continues shaking her head before looking up at Tess.

"Tess..the night before the wedding.. Klaus and I.."

"Klaus and you..?"

"We were playing a game."

"What kind of game?"

Eliza leans back and looks up at the damp stone wall over Tess' shoulder. Her long brown locks were a tangled mess.

"We just had a couple drinks..wanted to get away from the crowd."

"What game Eliza?"

"Hide and seek."

Eliza squints at Eliza, confused.

"Everyone was in the ballroom celebrating. Well..I thought everyone was in there.

I was hiding from Klaus.. I was in the library..behind the far end of the shelves.."

Eliza smiles half-heartedly as her eyes began to tear up.

"I hoped he'd find me there. I was so excited to jump out at him..haha..and spend the rest of the night playing hookie and finally being alone like we had wanted from the start."

Tess watches Eliza closely.. Wondering in anticipation what left up to her having to leave so suddenly.

"Then she came in.."

"Who is she?"

Eliza shakes her head.

"I can't say.."

"Go on then.."

"When I knew it wasn't Klaus I got scared. I didn't know what was going on.. I heard loads of footsteps. So many of them followed in after her. Sometimes in groups, sometimes only one or two but the only thing she asked every person who stepped in was;

'Will you die for your King?'

They'd reply:

'Yes, your majesty.'

As though they were taking a pledge."

Tess' eyes widen.

"Your majesty?! What does that mean exactly? Die for your King?"

Eliza covered her face in her hands. Becoming overwhelmed, having to relive this memory.

"Eliza.."

"When they all pledged their allegiance to the 'King,' the room dwindled down to a few people. Queen Marta, myself and some advisor I couldn't recognize the voice of.

"What did you hear?"

"I stayed quiet and tried to keep count of all the people the Queen questioned. I lost count after 68. I wasn't sure why, but it just felt off..and I was right."

...

"When she was alone with the advisor. I finally understood...they formed a coup. To wait for us to make our vows, sign the treaty and rule together. The guardsman would murder everyone of us. My father, mother, Adrian, you, our council, our staff. Everyone."

"I don't believe it. Why?"

"Power. Their family wanted to kill ours all along. Klaus was nothing but a weapon in war. They used him to get to me. To my family."

"I don't see it. The way Klaus looks at you Eliza..I mean, what he's done just to find you.."

"I'm his ticket to the throne. That's all it is."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I believed his mother loved me. She made me feel as though I was already her own.

But she could so easily plan to have my head cut off? I don't trust her, I don't trust her family."

"What about the ring? I charmed it solely because he wanted to make sure he always made you happy."

"He wanted to make sure I wan't faking being happy and run away again. He doesn't care about my happiness. Look at us!"

"The curse. If he wanted you dead he could've pulled it off by now."

"It's all about timing. All this is.."

She raises her hand up, showing the gray steel ring around her finger.

"-is Plan B, in case I run."

"Why didn't you tell anyone?"

"Who would I tell? Klaus? The man who was probably conspiring with his mother to kill me and take sole control of all the kingdoms? Or my mother and father who were already convinced I would cry cold feet any moment. Or what about you? So you could investigate and find out what was going on in less than 24 hours? It was so much Tess. So much riding on one day. The only way I could think to stop what would happen was to leave."

Tess was in shock. She leaned back and tried to dissect everything Eliza told her.

"Why didn't you just stay? We could've figured something out."

"If I had stayed. And I called off the wedding, what do you think would've happened? It would be treasonous then too. My marriage to Klaus was never about love it was never about good faith with one another it was simply a treaty. To take that away or pull from that agreement. How do you think that would've transpired?"

"War."

Eliza nods.

"War.

Besides, imagine marrying your best friend who I was madly in love with. Hours away from our vows, celebrating all night with drink and dance and then hear what I heard.

I wanted to die. I almost considered staying. Letting them kill me."

"Eliza.."

"I wanted to see him do it. I wanted to look him in the eyes when he killed me. I wanted to see the monster he truly was. The one he'd been hiding.

"No, you don't."

"Will you tell me what he did to you?"

"Never."

Eliza nods and crawls over to Tess. She slowly and carefully wraps her arm around her shoulders giving her a small hug.

"I miss you, Tess."

Tess winces before leaning her head against Eliza.

"I miss you too, Eliza."

They stay quiet for awhile before Tess raises herself and looks at Eliza.

"We need a plan."

Eliza nods.

"First step, getting out of this cell."

She drags her hands in the clay boulder over to Eliza. Motioning for her to break it.

"If my hands are free, I can heal whatever you break. Ok?"

"That sounds awful."

Tess shrugs.

"Just do it."