By Ellie_Knightfall 19 Comments
Ellie Knightfall sat comfortably curled in the corner of a supple leather couch, one legging-clad leg tucked beneath her as she absentmindedly pondered what her father was saying. Standing spread-legged with his arms behind his back, Jayden Knightfall was all business as he proscribed his only daughter her mission as a General would his soldiers.
She was running mathematical equations paramount to an AI system that she was conceptualizing and was not exactly paying close attention to her father. At least not until he abruptly clapped his hands in front of him in an effort to gain her attention. Snapping out of the moment, her teal eyes narrowing as they swept up to her ornery father, Ellie shrugged.
"If you don't have the capacity to listen to your orders and carry out your mission, you have no business calling yourself a Knightfall." There was no anger in his voice, in fact there was no emotion at all. He was simply laying out the bare facts for Ellie. Legacy was everything to him, honoring legacy and building upon it. There had never been a time where the Knightfall legacy and the agenda of the Order of Sancta Camisa hadn't been the main focus to the detriment of raising his children as just that - children.
"Maybe I'm not so interested in being a Knightfall, Father." Her voice was quiet and patient as she spoke. "The only time you come see me is when you want me to do something in the name of the Knightfall Legacy. Kincaid's off doing god knows what, Quintus is off on another training exercise and hasn't contacted me in eight days and here I am, trying to establish a semblance of normalcy and all you want to do is drag me back in."
"Such disrespect, Chere. If it was not for the Knightfalls and our legacy, do you think you would have the life that you've become so accustomed to? Do you think that you'd have all the access and privilege that has been afforded to you? Did you ever think it was that mindset that afforded you less respect than your siblings? "
It was a bittersweet moment in that it was the first time he'd ever really sounded like a true father to her. "Haven't you realized yet that it was never about the material things? That I never saw myself as less just because you always did?" Unwinding her legs from beneath her, she took the dossier that had been dropped on the table and exited the room, knowing that within three hours she'd be wheels up regardless of her own personal misgivings.
Her search for Carnwennan, the dagger that had belonged to none other than King Arthur himself, had taken her to the cliffs of Scotland. One of the locations purported to be the host to Arthur's Court, the Mull of Galloway had yielded her bounty that she hadn't dreamed of. Tucked safely in a leather satchel strapped crosswise across her body, Carnwennan was now in the possession of the illustrious daughter of destruction.
Exiting the cavern that overlooked waves breaking across the cliffs and rocks, Ellie made sure to tether herself securely into the bedrock before climbing back up the cliff-side. Using toned upper body strength added by leverage from her legs, Ellie pulled herself up the cliff-side using minimal climbing gear. With a final breath of triumphant exaltation, she pulled herself up over the ledge and swung a leg onto solid ground, semi-gracefully rolling to a stop.
"Oh, sh---." It was a nearly silent exclamation as her eyes widened. Fanned out in a semi-circle and blocking all possible avenues of escape were approximately eleven well-armed men, all wearing a crest that was annoyingly familiar to her. Sliding a specifically weighted carbon fiber dagger from the sheath on her thigh, she crouched into a fighting stance, memorizing positions and estimating the weight of each and every man.
"One chance, one chance to turn around and walk away." There was no tremor to her voice, just calm and quiet reassurance.
"Silly little girl." One man moved forward, his only distinguishing features the thick French accent and the thin mustache that sat atop his upper lip. She managed to get five possibly lethal wounds in on four different mercenaries before one of them managed to swipe a chloroform-soaked rag over her mouth, resulting in her going entirely limp in his arms within a matter of mere seconds.
She awoke slowly, a stifling darkness and resounding cold surrounding her. The sense that she was in a small place was evident, but played no import to her at the moment. Without warning, a cell phone that had been placed in the narrow confines of wherever Ellie was being held prisoner went off, illuminating where exactly she was.
It was a frightening revelation. The Knightfall Heiress had been buried alive in a shoddy coffin. Immediately panic set in as her chest contracted in complete and utter fear. Kicking her legs out against the bottom, she slammed her hands against the closed lid until her palms bled. Fighting to maintain a semblance of calm and conserve limited air.
"Oh god, oh god, oh god." Her entire body shook as quiet tears streamed down the side of her face as she attempted to remain composed. Clenching her hands into fists, Ellie closed her eyes and focused her frantic psyche on one singular thing; Quintus. Since birth, the eldest two of the Knightfall brood had an unnatural psionic connection. Able to catch glimpses through the other's eyes as well as remedial communication, she was hoping that it would pay up now.
For that split second she could see his view as he sat on the veranda of one of their many lodges, watching as the sun came up from behind majestic mountain peaks. Looking at the lid of the box, six inches above her head. Her fear was a potent emotion hanging in the very air. Through split second images of Quintus' point of view, she saw her brother sprinting for a phone before the connection blurred and dissipated.
45 Minutes Later
The air had grown stale and her skin was coated in a layer of sweat and dirt. Muscles had contracted into painful knots from nervous clenching and unclenching, hands as well as knees had grown bruised and battered from fruitless efforts to escape her hell. Despite what she'd gleaned from the twin connection, Ellie had begun to give up hope.
Her eyelids fluttered open and closed as the lethargy that was a result from the adrenaline high began to set in. Weakly pawing once again at the lid that she assumed was reinforced with some sort of metal, Ellie began to fully retreat within herself, shutting down her higher mental facilities in preparation for the impending suffocation.
Her breathing had gone ragged and her body limp as a foreign noise brought her out of the reverie. Eyes snapped open as something scratched against the lid of the coffin, something from the outside. In that one moment, all of the depleted adrenaline surged back. The first cracks of daylight breached the coffin and a grateful gasp of air left her lips as strong arms reached in and lifted her out.
The first instinct was to fight against him and fight she did, at least to the best of her capability. At the moment, that consisted of flailing wildly as this mysterious stranger hoisted them both out of the shallow grave she'd been buried in.
"Calm down, calm down. Your brother sent me." The Irish brogue in his voice was melodically soothing as she was laid down on the ground. "Me name's Brady Calhoun, I've run across your brother every now and then."
The rise and fall of her chest matched the rapid-paced beat of her heart as she calmed down, his voice lilting across her ears. The soles of her boots scraped across the dirt ground as she propped herself up on an elbow and looked over at him. He appeared to be in his early thirties, enough stubble to be attractive and ice blue eyes, added with the accent all made him quite the compelling specimen.
Not bothering to hide the appreciative gaze, Ellie clumsily stood up, legs shaking slightly as she brushed the dirt off of her. Brady stood by her elbow, hovering over her and ready to spring into action if it was called for. "Do you have a trail on them?" She had flipped some switch in her mind that shut off all the emotions that were threatening to overwhelm her.
"Dead. Managed to grab this off of 'em, though." Reaching behind him, he lifted up the edge of his leather bomber jacket and handed her the satchel containing Carrnwennan.
Narrowing her eyes somewhat suspiciously, Ellie snatched the leather satchel out of his hands and opened it. Grinning like the cat that caught the canary as she eyed the legendary dagger, all was right in the world. Said to provide a shroud of protective darkness to the bearer and be able to cut through nearly anything, whether it be man or magic-made, she gently ran a now-ragged finger over it.
"I owe you one for this." She spoke as they began walking towards the motorcycle that he had stowed at the edge of the off-the-grid cemetery.
"Nae, this was a favor among friends. Tell you're brother we're even." Handing her a helmet they both mounted the bike and quickly made their way to a private air strip. Ushered safely onto one of the Knightfall's private jets. Within a matter of hours she had safely disembarked and arrived at the doorstep of her penthouse.
In what seemed to be a full circle, Ellie again sat on the sumptuous leather couch in the living area of her penthouse. With the lauded dagger in her hand, her mind wasn't on the here and now, so it was no surprise when her father caught her unawares.
"I believe I'll be taking that now, ma petite."
Ellie looked up at him, not deigning to so much as move from her position. No respect was showed at this point. "Papa, non." The light hint of her natural French accent was slightly thicker in his presence, as always.
"You were sent on a mission to retrieve it, you have yet to fully complete that mission."
Placing the dagger on the table as Henri, her bodyguard, watched quietly from the background, Ellie came to her feet. Walking over to her father, she placed a loving kiss on his weather cheek and steered him gently in the opposite direction, taking him by the elbow. "There is no longer any mission. I was buried for hours in a coffin, left in the ground to rot for something that I wanted nothing to do with in the first place. Retaining possession of such a beautiful weapon seems proper reparation to me." Having lead him to the private elevator that was direct access. "We're done here."
A stormy expression darkened his gaze as he firmly took his daughter's upper arms in the grasp of his large palms. "You're going to make enemies where you have no need of them." A weighted warning said with love.
"I'm okay with that. You'll find other daggers." And with that she sent him on his way.