5. Swords and a rich history

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Athena woke up to a strange room and found herself in a huge bed. Puzzled, she looked around the room, positive that this wasn't how hostages are to be treated.

Why did they bring me here? What do they want with me?

She looked around the huge room, eyeing the dresser, the wardrobe, and the two enormous glass doors, one leading outside to a balcony and another that had a white mist swirling in it, which very much piqued her interest. The interior of the room had vines growing all over, giving the room a very earthy, mystical feel.

This place looks like something fit for a king!

As she slowly swung her legs off the bed, Ryder walked in, making her jump.

"Ah, you are awake, Athena." He looked different. His hair was cut and well combed, his beard taken off, and he was wearing fresh clothes. He looked like someone who would've belonged in the Royal Court.

"You ought to stop gawking at me like that, Athena. I asked The Healers to see to your wounds. There are some clothes in the wardrobe that I think will fit you for now. Freshen up and change into those immediately, I will be waiting for you outside. I have a lot to tell you, there is so much that you need to understand in very little time."

"And may I ask as to why I should listen to you? You brought me here unwillingly and now are asking me to listen to your stories of my so-called history!" she croaked.

He smiled the most heartwarming and genuine smile as he came dangerously close to her and said, "You will do what I ask as you won't last a day here if you won't listen to me and also because you can't leave here. We had to bring you here by force since you refused to come back on your own. This is your home now and we need you here now more than ever. Also, at my word, they can kill your precious family."

With that, he turned and walked out of the room. Rage and helplessness surged through her as she sat on the bed, thinking about everything she could do to get out of this situation.

I will find what he values the most and hold it against him. But for that, I need to listen to him for now.

Strengthening her resolve, she walked towards the wardrobe and rummaged through until she found an ankle length trousers and a nice loose shirt. Taking off her soiled clothes, she put on the comforting clean ones and opened the door to look for Ryder, but he was right outside, leaning on the wall, waiting for her.

"You took your time, now follow me. I have seen you to be excellent at both archery and swordplay so you are going to lose that thing you call a sword and take the one you feel fits you from our wide array of blades."

Athena huffed as Ryder walked away from her, only stopping to make sure she was following him. He was big and she was fuming that she had to put in double the efforts to keep up with him that she didn't take note of the way they went to reach the training grounds. She could hear the sounds of swords clashing against each other, the arrows hitting their targets, the grunts, the yells, echoing through the maze of tunnels from the training grounds, but she knew that that wasn't where Ryder was taking her. Very soon, they reached the end of a tunnel that opened to a room guarded by two soldiers.

"Two of our best. No weapons leave the room without their knowledge." Ryder stated while entering the room, Athena right behind him. She waited for a while as her eyes adjusted to the dim settings, her eyes seeing the ghost of the flashes of torches that lit the tunnels. Right in the center of the very large room was a table on which swords were kept. And it was a sword that was Athena's weapon of choice when it came to close range fighting. Else, she preferred a bow above all else.

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