[15th of September, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy – War Room, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
Henry arrived early into the war room carrying a few sheets of paper held to a clipboard. Rohan stood inside as he had summoned Henry to see him along with the other soldiers in his troop. Earlier in the day, Rohan had told Henry of a request concerning a potential strike in Oelaans from the Neu Thekohnian Order. Along with Henry was Aron, who had quickly risen to the top of Henry’s list.
Fercewend turned around and faced Henry. “It looks like you’ve brought the documents,” he said. “Well done.”
“You know I always do my best to fulfill your requests, Rohan,” Henry replied. “Also, I’ve brought Private Arrington along with me. He’s been quite a reliable scout these past few days.”
Aron laughed nervously. “At the risk of being threatened, no less…”
“Did you say something, private?” Fercewend asked.
“It was nothing, nothing at all, general,” Aron answered. “It looks like we’re the first ones to arrive, it seems.”
“About that,” Fercewend said, “I would like it if you two would wait here for a bit while I step out.”
“Where are you going?” Henry asked.
“I won’t be gone for too long,” Fercewend replied. “I just have to take an important call, if you will excuse me.”
Rohan stepped out of the room and left Henry and Aron to themselves.
“So, sir, what do we think about this potential strike?” Aron asked.
“Well, I hope it doesn’t happen, if that’s what you’re asking,” Henry replied. “I’m certain they’re planning their next move as we speak, so it’d be best if we acted as swiftly as possible before they do any more harm.”
“I agree with you there, sir,” Aron said. “There’s no telling what’ll happen if we continue to let the Neu Thekohnian Order run rampant across the region. Who knows if they’ll decide to take their attacks over the ocean?”
“Best not to let those thoughts cloud your mind,” Henry said. “Just move forward and work together to take this problem head on. That’s how General Fercewend and I do things around here, as do the others.”
“Right, right,” Aron replied. “Do you believe those rumors about Johan are true?”
Henry raised an eyebrow. “Why do you ask that?”
“Well, I know it was Korbin who said it, but Johan has been acting odd recently, hasn’t he?” Aron asked. “You don’t think that he’d turn his back on us, do you?”
“Arrington, I know you’re concerned, but we have to see it for ourselves instead of making rash judgements,” Henry said.
“I know that, sir,” Aron replied. “I know we don’t want to do that; after all, you were subject to such a thing yourself, weren’t you?”
“That I was.”
“Who even accused you, anyway?”
“It was a long time ago, so I don’t really remember,” Henry answered. “It’s not something I honestly wish to remember, either way.”
“I completely understand,” Aron said. “The only thing that I want to know is what Johan is up to.”
“Last I heard, he was headed towards Ahnlikohn in pursuit,” Henry said. “Considering the connection between the Ahnle family and the Neu Thekohnian Order, it would make sense for him to go that way.”
“So we’ll expect to hear back from him on that,” Aron said.
“Looks like it.”
Rohan returned with the rest of Henry’s troop, but Henry noticed that Korbin was not with them.
“You’re probably asking yourself where Private Mars is right about now,” Fercewend said. “Well, he has been transferred over to Junior Sergeant Bradley’s troop, which leads me into why I called you here.”
He went into detail about a new mission for Henry’s troop. According to Rohan, he had received an order from President Hasker to head towards Bel in Maeitakohn.
“What about Oelaans?” Henry asked.
“I’ve already sent Bradley’s troop there,” Fercewend replied. “They are making their way to Oelaans as we speak, so I would suggest you not to worry about them.”
Henry nodded. “Okay, so what are we doing down in Bel?”
“I’ve received an alarming report from the president about a missing person,” Fercewend said. “There’s not much we that know about this person, but the report details that they may have been taken hostage by the Neu Thekohnian Order.”
“Damn it, is there no end to their actions?” Aron asked. “We’re going to go after them, right?”
“Pardon me if this sounds insensitive, but why does this concern us?” Henry asked. “Is there a connection between this person and President Hasker?”
“He did not specify that to me, but I can only imagine that they are beyond important,” Fercewend answered.
“Then we must waste no time and make our way to Bel,” Henry said.
“I know you want to rescue this person, but I request that you take your time and head for the Executive Hotel,” Fercewend said. “There’s someone I need for you to meet.”
“And who might that be?” Henry asked.
“I believe you and her know each other well, Henry,” Fercewend replied. “Lieutenant General Ansa has been informed on the missing person and wants to offer the help of the Iiayikohnian army for this mission.”
Henry tilted his head. “For a rescue mission?”
“You’ll have to talk to her about that,” Fercewend said. “I trust that you will be able to handle this mission given your previous success.”
“Don’t worry about that, general,” Henry said. “If there’s one thing I know that I’m capable of, it’s leading these men to victory. Am I right?”
The rest of the troop cheered as Fercewend laughed.
“Then my trust in you was never in doubt,” he said. “You are proving yourself well and could possibly be moving up the ranks fairly soon if you keep this up, Henry.”
Henry grinned. “I’m looking forward to it.”
“Then I expect the best,” Fercewend replied. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have another call I must attend to at once.”
Everyone said goodbye to Rohan as he left the room. With several of the soldiers celebrating and congratulating Henry, he could only chuckle.
“I haven’t been promoted yet, guys,” he said. “Let’s just calm down and head over to the hotel.”
“You really know how to handle good news, sir,” Aron said. “If it were me, I wouldn’t know whether to pump my fists in the air or start crying.”
“It comes down to an old saying,” Henry said, “Act like you’ve been there before. If good news comes your way, then accept it with humility.”
“When you say it like that, sir, it makes you sound like a wise old man,” Aron replied.
“Surely I’m not that old, am I?” Henry asked.
“Well, you are senior to the rest of us,” one soldier said.
“Guess that bodes well for my future, then,” Henry said. “Now then, let’s go. We mustn’t keep our friend waiting at the Executive Hotel.”
With that said, Henry led the others out of the war room. He had purpose for this mission, as it would be the first time he would be going back to Bel since that fated day. He could only wonder what had changed in the months since as he went with the other soldiers over to the Executive Hotel.
[15th of September, 2740 AD; Executive Hotel, Entrance Lobby – Deca District]
With the call made, Ayanna waited in the lobby with Gavin and Law. On the side, Gale and Eva began drawing up a route from Rezar to Bel, making sure to include as many details as possible about the missing person as well. Henry and his troop were set to arrive soon, but all Gavin and the others could do for now was wait and continue to plan.
“The last time you went into Bel, it was a pretty straightforward route, was it not?” Gale asked.
“I would say that it was, yes,” Eva replied. “Nothing should have changed between then and now, I think.”
Gale wrote down on the map. “Okay, so we have an entrance point.”
“I’m rather amazed that Gavin was able to come up with this idea,” Eva said. “Usually he’s not the one spouting off ideas.”
“You should thank Mina,” Gavin said. “If it weren’t for her, then there wouldn’t be any lead.”
“Wonder what this means,” Law said.
Gavin had spoken with Mina the day they had returned from Helm. She had mentioned her mother to him and wondered if there was anything that he could do to help. The day after, Gavin proceeded to do a little investigating on his own as he searched the Iiayikohnian Archives for information. Though he was not able to find any record of anyone living in Iiayikohn with the last name “Brynjarr,” Gavin was able to find old newspapers about a group of visitors from a land called Bryn.
“So how were you able to make a connection?” Ayanna asked.
“And exactly how many years ago was this?” Law asked.
“It was about eighteen years ago,” Gavin answered. “There was a meeting with this group and the Iiayikohnian prime minister at the time, Reed Baldwin. From there, the group then traveled to Maeitakohn and that’s where the document ends.”
Gavin went on to explain further about what he did from there. He made a call to the Iiayikohnian embassy in Bel, where the person there gave him information about the documents within their archives. Another call made, Gavin located records about the last known person from Bryn.
“The last known person?” Gale asked. “I have to wonder why we’ve never heard anything about this ‘Bryn’ before. What about you, Eva?”
“It’s not exactly a tale I care to bring up,” Eva said. “I was in Ameci during the time, but it was a topic discussed at the hospital I used to work at.”
“You worked at a hospital?” Law asked. “It’s a hard image to process, personally. Maybe you’d like to model a nurse’s outfit for me?”
“I think you should be quiet and let me finish,” Eva replied. “Anyway, this land, Bryn, was a once a neighbor of Ahnlikohn.”
She continued on, revealing that when Harring became their chancellor, the land of Bryn became no more and was immediately absorbed into Ahnlikohn afterwards. Many were said to have scattered throughout the region, though Eva mentioned that it would be impossible to verify their whereabouts.
“At least, until now,” Eva said.
“So I guess that brings it back to me, then,” Gavin said. “I used the name Mina had given me and asked the people at the archives in Bel.”
“And did you find Mina’s mother?” Ayanna asked.
“I did not,” Gavin answered.
Law tried not to laugh. “Well, I admire your investigative skills regardless.”
“I’m not fucking done yet,” Gavin said. “What I was able to find, though, is that there is a woman who might know about the the Brynjarr family.”
“You still haven’t figured it out yet?” Eva asked.
Gavin adjusted his sunglasses. “What are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Mina’s mother,” Eva said, “And not what she looks like, Law. I mean who she really is.”
“This question is interesting,” Law said. “Wilma Brynjarr… She wouldn’t happen to be some sort of infamous criminal, would she?”
“No, that’s not it at all,” Eva replied. “I’m surprised you can’t figure it out.”
“Actually, I have figured it out,” Law said, “But can you explain it for my bro here? He’s still yet to cross the finish line like the rest of us have already done.”
“I’m going to cross that finish line, alright,” Gavin said, “And after I’m done kicking your ass, I’ll tell you what I think!”
“Without the unnecessary violence, please,” Ayanna said. “Anyway, I’m pretty sure that Mina’s mother is someone important and not just because of the family relation.”
Before Eva could respond, however, Henry and the rest of his squad had entered the hotel. He noticed Ayanna in an instant and greeted her as well as the others in waiting. Gavin stood up and greeted Henry with a handshake.
“We meet again,” Gavin said.
“It’s nice to meet you, too, Mr. Power,” Henry said. “So this is the team that is working with you, Ansa?”
“You have that man to thank,” Ayanna replied. “If it weren’t for his tip, we would have no lead on this person.”
“Well, then, I thank you for your help,” Henry said to Gavin.
“Don’t mention it,” Gavin replied.
“We’ve already set out a route towards the general area,” Gale said. “If you could look on this map here, Henry, you’ll see for yourself.”
Henry picked up the map and thoroughly scanned it. “The residential district, huh?”
“That was where this person was last seen,” Ayanna said. “I’ve already spoken with General Khadir of Maeitakohn and he says that there has been an uptick of Neu Thekohnian Order presence. He’s going to send out some troops to combat them while you’re going to help us in the search and rescue portion.”
“It’s a bit complicated, but I follow you,” Henry said, “But I want to know who it is we’re going to rescue. Not even General Fercewend told us that.”
“That is indeed important,” Ayanna replied. “I can’t give too many details out in the open, but they happen to hail from Bryn.”
Henry could only gasp. “You’re not serious, are you?”
“It’s what Gavin told me,” she answered. “You could talk to him about it if you want.”
“No, it’s fine,” Henry said. “I just have trouble believing that someone from Bryn still exists today.”
“Believe me when I say I was in disbelief, too,” Ayanna said.
“Their last name wouldn’t happen to be what I think it is, is it?” Henry asked. “Actually, no, you don’t have to answer that. I think that the answer is pretty obvious.”
“So I take it you have no more questions, then,” Ayanna replied. “Very well, let’s proceed with the next step. I take it that you and your troop are ready?”
“That we are,” Henry said.
“Good, then we’re both ready,” she said.
“Are they going to go with us?” Henry said, looking to Gavin and Law and then to Gale and Eva.
“It’s best not to concern yourself with what they’ll be doing,” Ayanna replied. “Once we’ve set out, we’ll officially be working as allies.”
“And I’m glad I get to work with you, Ansa,” Henry said. “What are we doing here, then? Let’s hit the road already!”
With the cheering from the Ameci soldiers, Henry led them outside as Ayanna watched on.
“So I guess that this is goodbye for now,” Ayanna said as she turned to Law. “As for you, all I can hope for is for you to be safe.”
“Don’t worry about me or my bro here,” Law said. “I’ve got a good idea of what we’re going to do after we find Mina’s mother.”
“You haven’t forgotten me, have you?” Eva asked. “I admit, it’s almost funny how well we work together as a trio.”
Law shook his head as he smiled. “I don’t think I would ever forget about you, especially not now,” he said. “If I were Kirk, I’d be kicking myself right now.”
“I trust that you won’t try anything funny,” Eva said. “If not, I’d be glad to show you how sharp this sword of mine is.”
“I’m a taken man, Eva,” Law said. “Besides, even I wanted to, Ayanna would kick my ass.”
“She wouldn’t be the only one,” Gale said.
“Are we quite done?” Ayanna asked.
“If this idiot isn’t, I’ll make him,” Gavin said. “It’s about time that we get off our asses and head out.”
“I don’t disagree with you there, bro,” Law said.
The two brothers headed for the exit, but not without Law saying goodbye to Ayanna by giving her a tight hug. After that, he and Gavin walked out with Eva following behind them. Now down to just her and Gale, Ayanna turned to the younger woman.
“And now it’s just us,” Gale said. “You’re heading to meet with the general, right?”
“I am,” Ayanna replied.
“You don’t mind me joining you, do you?”
“I have no problem with it,” she said.
“Thanks,” Gale said. “I just want to help in any way I can. Whatever it is, I want to be sure that my contributions will go towards helping them.”
“That’s completely understandable,” Ayanna said. “You shouldn’t have to worry, though, because your help today has been a much needed arrow in the right direction.”
“You mean that?” Gale asked.
“Of course I do,” Ayanna replied. “Now let’s go, because I don’t want to keep General Reiss waiting any longer.”
To be continued…