In what felt like the next instance, Kasmira woke up in an enclosed, wooden carriage. She tried to get up but discovered her hands and feet had been bound together. She managed to sit upright and found herself alone with a few clergymen and a couple of Blood Warriors. She frantically looked for Orlando but couldn’t see him anywhere. A familiar voice informed her, “He’s not here. His cart has already made it to the dungeons. We had to stop and arrest another, but he killed himself.” Kasmira turned himself to see the speaker, not believing that it could be true. She was shocked to see Donovan, her father, by her side! He looked as though he had aged ten years since they last saw each other. His appearance was sickly, and he was as thin as someone who suffered from malnourishment. His hair clung onto him like a scarecrow. His hollow eyes couldn’t face her. “He said he would rather die than let us do it. Personally, I think keeping yourself alive breeds some hope, which is why I never went down that path.”
Kasmira felt it to be prudent not to reveal that they knew each other, nor did she think it was wise to reveal anything he may have kept secret from the Blood Warriors. So, she asked him, “What made you choose a life devoted to the Blood Warriors?”
He replied, “They wanted to kill me, but I was the only one who knew about the…”
“I know,” Kasmira said. “Where is it?”
“Always with me.”
“Do you have any regrets?”
“I wish I was more honest with my family. Well, maybe not my wife because she had a big mouth. My daughter is so smart, and I always wished I could’ve been a better father to her. All I ever wanted was to help people. I tried to help Bernadette escape from her father, but marrying her was a mistake. She never loved me. She spent the whole time putting me down, making every mistake I made seem like a catastrophe, threatening to send me to the Spirit World…I kept my vow about protecting her. That is until she was captured. I gave her a chance at life. I always give them the opportunity to live, but she refused to do work. I tired to save her life all these years. She said she was cursed. I don’t think a curse would take over your life completely. I don’t know much about magic, but I think any obstacle can be overcome if you’re willing to work at it. Bernadette was not willing to work, but I’m hoping that if my daughter is ever captured, she won’t make the same mistake. And I hope she knows how sorry I am that I couldn’t protect her more.”
“I think she knows, and I’m sure she would be sorry for any misjudgments she had against you.”
Donovan looked like he was holding back tears. Kasmira, too, was touched about his story. She didn’t reflect too much on it though because they were getting closer to the castle. She worried about her own fate, but her concern laid more with what Orlando may have been enduring. She asked Donovan, “How well is the carriage protected?”
He answered with some trepidation, “It is locked, and, as you can see, Blood Warriors guard it. Blood Warriors are everywhere, so if a wizard or witch magicked themselves out, they wouldn’t get far.”
Concentrating hard, Kasmira willed for the ropes on her arms to come loose. Donovan noticed this and casually sat so her hands were concealed. Finally, Kasmira freed herself. Donovan looked as though she was about to create a bunch of bangs and smoke that would give her away, but Kasmira knew better. She kept her hands behind her, but she concentrated on the wheel she had been sitting over. Kasmira’s heart jumped when the moment came and the wheel broke off of the carriage, making it topple over. The force of the fall made the back door fly open. Kasmira seized the opportunity and ran out.
She ran to the castle and looked for an entrance. Donavan caught up with her. She saw that he had a gash on his forehead, but his main concern was for her. “Don’t just break into the castle without a bit of forethought! I know you want to go to the dungeons, but that is the most heavily guarded part of the castle. There is an entrance to the castle that goes into the queen’s quarters. King Davidson never puts a guard there, which he claims is only at the queen’s request but really I think he’s hoping someone will assassinate her. She is pretty weak right now, so just go to her room, go to the hallway until you see a spiral staircase heading down. That is the dungeons. I’ll do my best to distract the guards, but we won’t have much time. If you get captured, don’t say anything righteous, even if they deserve it. Just cooperate so you can stay alive. Okay?”
“Okay. Thank you, father.”
Donovan beamed at being called father. Kasmira gave him a hug, and after he pointed her in the right direction, she bravely stepped inside the castle.