“Are you so weak?” The muscles in my cheek twitched.
Father took a step toward us. “Perhaps we can reach a mutual agreement.”
Someone in the cage screamed, the scream turning to ravaged sobs.
I let out a growl. “You will stop this!”
The queen turned her eagle-eyed stare to me. “I do not take orders from a mere boy.”
“Queen Nix,” my father started, “let us be reasonable.”
She took a step back and assessed him.
“The Umira have never been a harmful Family.” My father’s hands were wide at his side, his expression open. “They have always lived in peace with the Hands.”
Her eyes flared and she advanced on him. “You’ve allied yourself with them.”
Father’s eyes widened as he took a half step back.
I watched in alarm, unsure of what to do. My father was the strongest man I ever knew.
The queen grabbed his coat and pulled his face close to hers. “The Umira have always been a peaceful Family, so imagine my surprise when they assaulted us with cannons and weapons.”
“They have the right to defend themselves, Nix.”
“Not against me.” She pushed him away and turned to her gathering guard. “Take him and his heathen son. Throw them on the pyre.”
My father drew his sword and faced the guard. “Go, Synn, now!”
Our men drew their weapons and stood by his side.
“I’m not leaving you, Father.” My sword was in my hand. I was ready to die an honorable death by my father’s side.
He backhanded me and roared, “You will protect our people, Synn El’Asim.”
I was torn. I wanted so badly to fight beside him, to protect him.
But my father had given me an order. One I could not ignore.
I turned and ran.