[2740 AD; Rhodes Plaza in the Callitris District – Bel, Maeitakohn]
Kirk and Henry hustled up the steps of the plaza, trying not to slip on the slick surface standing before them. The rain showed no sign of stopping anytime soon, as the two men tried to find a place to hide.
“Why didn’t you do it, Henry?” Kirk asked. “You should have done it when you had the chance!”
“I’m not going to kill him just because you asked me to,” Henry replied as he spotted a nearby tunnel. “Over there!”
He led Kirk over to the tunnel below, away from their pursuers. With the rain continuing, the tunnel provided them not only a temporary hiding place but a place to dry off as well.
“This only makes things more complicated,” Kirk said. “I guess I expected too much from you.”
“Why are you apologizing?” Kirk asked. “We’re not done yet, not by any means. I still have someone I need to find.”
“It’s been many years, Kirk,” Henry said, “You think Rysol’s still alive and in this country? Even now?”
“He and Sorin are the only real family I have left,” Kirk replied. “I have to try… I have to keep moving. Wasn’t that your motto?”
“It was,” Henry replied. “If that’s the case, then I want to help you find him. It’s the least that I could do.”
“Oh, don’t give me your pity,” Kirk said. “Not from you of all people.”
“I’m not pitying you,” Henry said, “If anyone should be pitied, it’s me. I’m offering you my help.”
Kirk closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Then, he reached out a hand to Henry. “If that’s the case,” he said, “Then I suppose I can accept your help… At least until we find Rysol.”
“Thank you,” Henry said.
“This is only temporary,” Kirk said. “After we’re done here, I’m done with you.”
Henry shook Kirk’s hand. “I understand,” he said. “So what exactly makes you think that Rysol is here?”
“It’s a hunch,” Kirk answered. “That sounds preposterous, I know, but everything I’ve done up to this point in searching for him has led me here. Perhaps it’s because the gods above are telling me to come here?”
“I can’t say I know exactly what you’re feeling,” Henry said, “But I’m willing to believe you.”
“I don’t need you to believe in me,” Kirk responded. “I just need to believe that I can face Sorin again once I’ve found Rysol.”
“Well, that part I can relate,” Henry said. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to stop raining anytime soon, is it?”
“Seems like we have two options,” Kirk said, “Either wait until they find us, or we make a break for it.”
Kirk placed a hand on his chin and closed his eyes. Henry peered out of the tunnel once more, seeing a couple members of the True Thekohnians run through the plaza above. They splashed their way across the area, their footsteps emphasizing that they were getting closer. Kirk opened his eyes and let out a short sigh as he looked over to Henry.
“Looks like our choice has been made for us,” Kirk said. “We have to keep going.”
Henry looked deeper into the tunnel. It was dark and neither of them had any idea where it would lead them. Still, with enemy footsteps getting louder and splashing harder, Henry nodded to Kirk, who nodded back. They continued deeper into the narrow path, unsure of where it would lead them.
“Place your hand on the wall, Henry,” Kirk said. “You can still hear me, right?”
“Of course I can,” Henry answered.
He felt the cold surface of the wall beside him as he kept walking. Kirk was still ahead of him, or at least Henry assumed that he was still leading. As they moved forward, Henry took one more look behind him and saw a small light at the end that appeared to be getting larger.
“I think someone’s coming,” Henry said.
“That’s unfortunate,” Kirk said. “We’ve hit a dead end.”
“What do you mean?”
“Here,” Kirk said as he tapped the barrier before him. It was a solid knock that informed the both of them that they had reached the end of the line. The light at the other end was continuing to grow as the footsteps starting to get even louder.
Henry turned to Kirk. “Is there an exit?”
“What are you talking about?” Kirk asked. “Do you not feel the wall before you? We’re at a dead end here.”
“That’s bullshit,” Henry said. “I don’t believe that you’d give up like this. There has to be an exit here.”
Henry got on the floor and proceeded to feel out the wet ground, searching for any sort of cover or hatch that would lead them out of the dead end. He ran his hands all over the floor until he found a small gap in the ground, leading him to find a cover into the sewer.
“I’ve found something,” Henry said, “A manhole cover. Let’s go!”
“Certainly isn’t the best option,” Kirk said, “But I’ll take it. Open it up.”
Henry lifted off the manhole and placed it to the side. Kirk was the first to climb down, with Henry following after him. Henry then placed the lid back on and joined up with Kirk once more. They went forward into the sewer, looking for a way to find Rysol in the city.
[2740 AD; war room in the Ameci Embassy – Rezar, Iiayikohn]
Fercewend looked at the map laid out upon the table. Multiple coins were placed throughout the map, representing the military units from each country. There was an additional coin on the map as well, but this one had a red mark on it to represent the True Thekohnians. General Reiss and General Anker were also plotting on the map too, but were providing their own methods to their own respective armies via telephone. Fercewend thought to himself about what he’d do if Gavin Power did not succeed, but kept that thought away for now as he focused on the current method of attack. Looking at the phone before him, Rohan picked it up and began to dial. After one ring, the other end picked up and began to speak.
“This is Aaron Arrington,” the voice on the other end said, “The junior lieutenant of the Ameci Army and leader of troop 35. Who is this?”
“This is the general,” Fercewend replied. “What is your current position?”
“We’re located just outside of Bel,” Aron said. “It’s been raining for a while now, and it doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon.”
“Have you come in contact with Power?”
“I can’t say that we have,” Aron replied. “Are you expecting me to meet him, sir?”
“I don’t expect you to,” Fercewend said, “But if you do, then you two can work together. Just a forewarning: he is not alone.”
“Understood,” Aron said. “Is there anything else I should know or anything else that you want to know?”
“There is one thing,” Fercewend answered, “If there is no response from Power within the next two hours, then I want you and the rest of the troops to advance.”
“I will inform the others, then,” Aron said. “Sir?”
“What is it, Arrington?”
“I’m glad to serve under you, sir,” Aron replied. “It is the highest of honors for me and I’m grateful for it.”
“Your comments are appreciated, lieutenant,” Fercewend said.
“Thank you!” Aron said. “We will make sure not to let you down, sir!”
“Good to hear,” Fercewend said.
He said his goodbye to Aron and hung up the phone as Isaac walked in. Isaac appeared to be in high spirits, with a large smile on his face as he took a seat next to Rohan.
“Things are going well, aren’t they?” Isaac asked.
“They’re going as planned,” Fercewend replied. “At least for now, anyway. What are you doing here?”
“I’m just checking up on you, cousin. Is that so wrong?”
“Not at all,” Fercewend replied, “However, we are handling many lives here as I speak. Entering Bel is a tall task at this point, given the circumstances.”
“That it is,” Isaac said. “Perhaps we can do a little early celebration for all your hard work?”
Fercewend declined. “We have a job to do still,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to jeopardize this situation by prematurely celebrating before we have won.”
At that moment, Alan, Gale, and Tori walked into the room.
“Reiss, how are how are things going so far?” Alan asked.
“So far, so good,” Reiss replied.
“Good,” Alan said. “Rohan, I take it you’ve been handling things on your end as well?”
“Everything is going as we’ve planned it,” Fercewend replied.
“Excuse me, prime minister,” Isaac said, “But I was under the impression that this room was for handling this important event. Why are you bringing unrelated and unnecessary parties into this room?”
“That question could be asked of you, Mr. Kunigunde,” Alan replied.
“Should I go?” Gale asked.
“Stay,” Alan answered. “You are a related party in all of this. Would you not agree, Isaac?”
“I suppose that my say in the matter means nothing,” he replied. “If I were of a higher position, you would do well to listen to me.”
“Of course your opinion matters,” Fercewend said. “You have been an encouraging, if not helpful, voice during my stay here. The same can be said of the rest of you in this room.”
“Thank you,” Tori said.
“You are welcome, Tori,” Fercewend replied. “As for Henry, I am sure that he is okay. We will hopefully find him soon.”
“It’s good to hear you say that, Rohan,” Gale said. “Along with what you told me earlier… Thanks.”
“Should there be any other problem, Gale, then let me know,” Fercewend said. “I may not be able to answer all your questions, but do not hesitate to talk to me at any time during any of this.”
Isaac turned away, scoffing as he focused on the map. Alan took a seat next to Reiss while Gale sat down with Tori at the other end of the room. Unease still prevailed as the thought of what to do next remained in Fercewend’s mind. There was no time to make up a bad decision, because if there was a mistake, then everybody would be paying for it. Not just Rohan Fercewend.
To be continued…