Sundown – Chapter 30 (Part 1)

[17th of September, 2740 AD; New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]

 

After a busy day in Bel Dale, Ayanna received word from Henry about the potential attack towards the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. However, there was little that she could do as General Reiss told her that the Thekohnian military had already taken care of the problem. With little else to do, Ayanna ordered her troops to pull out and head back to Rezar. Inside Ayanna’s office, she and Gale awaited for Henry to arrive.

“It’s strange, isn’t it?” Gale asked.

“What is it?” Ayanna asked.

“We got the news that the Neu Thekohnian Order was going to attack the kingdom yesterday but then heard that the Thekohnian military was already prepared,” Gale said. “This may sound paranoid, but it seems too convenient, don’t you think?”

“We’ve got no choice,” Ayanna replied. “It was a direct response from the queen, according to General Reiss.”

“I know that,” Gale replied, “But I can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s something wrong with all of this. The rescue mission went off without too much trouble, but we found out about the attack only to learn it had been taken care of. Surely there has to be an explanation.”

“Well, I’d try to ask Queen Isla, but she’s already left for her homeland,” Ayanna said. “Not a lot we can do there, I’m afraid.”

Henry opened the door and entered the office. “Hope I’m not barging on any personal conversation.”

“Oh no, no,” Ayanna said. “I assume you’ve already made the necessary moves going forward?”

“About that,” Henry said, “The Ameci military has already received word to set forth into Ahnlikohn starting next week. I do not know whether or not the Iiayikohnian forces have received a similar order, but I am informing you that I will be leaving today to help set up camp in Habicht.”

“I have not been informed on any advancement into Ahnlikohn, actually,” Ayanna replied. “That will be an interesting conversation with General Reiss, I’m sure, but thank you for letting me know what the Ameci military is going to do next.”

“We only have one option in times like these,” Henry said. “Keep moving forward, no matter the cost.”

“That is your motto, isn’t it,” Gale said.

“It is indeed,” Henry replied.

“But is it worth it if you don’t know what the goal is?” Gale asked. “Why exactly are you being placed in Ahnlikohn when we all know that the Neu Thekohnian Order has been wreaking havoc all over the region?”

Henry shook his head. “These are just the orders I’ve been given,” he said, “And while I am in good standing with my colleagues back in Ameci, I’d prefer not to rock the boat regarding the little things.”

“This hardly seems like a ‘little thing,’ though,” Gale said.

“Well, it’s not exactly something that’s within my control,” Henry replied. “Thus, I would say that to me that this is a little thing, but I suppose it’s all about the perspective.”

“Anyway, is that all you wanted to inform me about?” Ayanna asked.

“That’s about it,” Henry said. “I’m not sure if I’ll meet anyone from the Iiayi military over in Ahnlikohn, but I do hope that I’ll be able to meet with you again, Lieutenant General Ansa.”

“As do I, Junior Lieutenant Randolph,” Ayanna replied. “May we meet again.”

Henry saluted her and left the room, closing the door behind him. Ayanna set back to her documents when the phone on her desk rang. She reached for the receiver and picked up, placing to her ear.

“This is Lieutenant General Ayanna Ansa speaking,” she said. “Yes, she’s here. I’ll hand the phone over.”

Gale received the phone from Ayanna and began to speak. “Hello, who is this? Oh, Sorin! How are you?”

The door opened again and revealed General Reiss. He entered the office, leaving the door open behind him as he stood across from Ayanna.

“Ansa, I’ve come with important news,” he said. “It’s rather urgent, so I need you to come with me now.”

“Okay, I’ll wrap things up here,” Ayanna replied. “Gale, I’m afraid you’ll have to cut your call short because I’m going to lock my office.”

“Hold on,” Gale said. She listened intently to what Sorin had to say. “That can’t be possible… What should I do? … Okay, I’ll try to do that. Listen, I’ll try to call you back. Where are you? … Stay there and I will give you a call later. Tell Gavin that I’d want to speak with him, too. … I love you. Goodbye.”

She handed the phone back to Ayanna, who promptly placed it back on the hook. Ayanna stood up and moved her desk as Gale followed her.

“Gale, I have to meet with the prime minister now,” Ayanna said. “I don’t what he’s going to say but I want you to meet me back at my home. You know where to go, right?”

Gale nodded. “I do.”

“Then I will see you there, Miss Kunigunde,” Ayanna replied. “Let’s go, general.”

Ayanna left with General Reiss as Gale hurried out as well. With Ayanna locking the door to her office, Gale did not have much to do for now. She decided to leave the prime minister’s office and head outside into the city. As there was nowhere else to go to, Gale decided to head back towards Drake Rask’s house. That was then when she ended up bumping into Kirk Wilk, Lowell Page, and Tre Hendricks, who were standing outside of the cafe on the other side of the street.

“Oh, Kirk, you’re still here?” Gale asked.

“Yeah, just doing some catching up,” Kirk replied. “It’s been an interesting past few days, hasn’t it?”

“I know,” Gale said. “A lot has happened… Say, would you mind hearing me out? It’s pretty important.”

“Who are we to deny listening to a beautiful, young lady like you?” Tre asked. “We ain’t the kind the kind of guys to turn that sort of thing down, are we Lowell?”

“Sure, why not?” Lowell asked. “We’ve got some time before that Dezine fellow goes out to make his speech.”

This was the first time Gale had heard this. “There’s going to be a speech?”

“Just announced it, seems like,” Tre replied. “Something big is going to happen, I can feel it.”

Lowell scoffed. “They’re gonna say they’ll strike back,” he said, “But it’s all just a big show for Dezine’s chance to take the reigns.”

“That man has been waiting for a while to become the prime minister,” Kirk said. “Looks like he’s fully embraced his role now and he’s going to make sure that he doesn’t let go.”

“But we shouldn’t bore you with those details,” Tre said to Gale. “You’ve got other things on your mind, for sure.”

“Right, let’s go in and I’ll tell you everything,” Gale replied.

 

*****

 

Gale took her time to relay all of the information that Sorin had given her in the phone call. Kirk nodded and listened to every word with intent as Lowell and Tre also paid attention. Once Gale finished, she rested her hands on the table and awaited Kirk’s response.

“You’ve told no one else, correct?” Kirk asked.

“I was asked not to tell anyone in the Ameci or Iiayi militaries,” Gale said, “When I saw you, that’s when I decided that I should tell you guys.”

“Then you’ve made the right choice,” Kirk said. “I’d never thought I’d hear such a thing happening in the kingdom, but I don’t believe that my son would lie about this.”

“I just can’t process the fact that the queen is the mastermind behind the Neu Thekohnian Order,” Lowell said. “And the fact that she would have the gall to not only deceive the rest of us into attacking Ahnlikohn, but to have her own children killed? Goddamn psychopathic, if you ask me.”

“It’s all paranoia, I’d wager,” Tre said. “If you want to cover up your tracks, best to tie up all of the loose ends.”

“Fortunately, the hope of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn is still alive,” Kirk said, “And she’s fortunate enough to travel with my son.”

“Isn’t supposed to be the other way around?” Tre asked. “You gotta think that with all this journeying, there might be a little more going on than them being allies?”

Gale glared at Tre. “Can you please stay on topic, Mr. Hendricks?”

“Ah sorry, Gale, where are my manners?” Tre laughed and took a drink of his coffee. “Well, there must be something we can do, right?”

“What do you mean?” Lowell asked.

“We’re not gonna just sit here in the mud and let what we’ve fought for go to waste,” Tre said. “I’ll be damned if we can’t find a way to help Sorin and his pals out! How about it, you two?”

“Alan’s our brother,” Lowell replied. “I guess I can’t just let his name be forgotten, can I? I’ll do it, especially if it means I’ll get to kick some ass.”

Kirk crossed his arms. “I’ve told Eva that I wouldn’t fight,” he said, “But this is a crisis and I’m sure that she would feel the same way.”

“You really think you can still fight?” Gale asked. “Not that I’m trying to sound insensitive or anything, but…”

“Gale, it doesn’t matter how old the three of us are,” Kirk replied. “What matters is that the heart of a warrior still beats within each one of us.”

“I like that,” Tre said. “It’s like a poem or a limerick of some sort.”

“Aren’t those the same thing?” Lowell asked.

“Nah, Lowell, a poem’s got rhyme and rhythm while a limerick’s just a humorous and raunchy lyric,” Tre replied. “Although now that I think about it, perhaps maybe they are one and the same.”

“We can talk about that later,” Kirk said. “It appears like Dezine’s set to make his speech now, though.”

He pointed outside, to which the others looked to see many people heading towards Iiayine Castle’s Macro Plaza. Kirk decided to stand up and head out as Lowell and Tre did the same. Gale hurried with them, too, so they could get a good look at Dezine when he will make his speech. As they went through the crowds that were now rapidly forming, Gale was able to secure a spot where she and the other three could get a good look.

“They’ve got this whole thing set up for him and everything,” Lowell said. “Definitely going to be a big speech here.”

On stage, eveything from the banners to the podium was decorated with flashy and sparkling ornaments. Gale assumed it was for Dezine to stand out and have his own look, but she felt the whole display to be gaudy. Several guards came out of the castle and onto the stage, with Wilson Dezine finally making his appearance to the sound of applause.

“It’s the man himself,” Tre said. “How’s he gonna start this one off, I wonder?”

Dezine waved to the crowd as they cheered him on and walked over to the podium. He grasped either side of the podium as the microphone feedback lightly rang throughout the speakers. With a smile on his face, Dezine adjusted the microphone and cleared his throat.

“People of Iiayikohn, I speak to you today because you are in a crisis,” he began. “After the events that had transpired over the past week, it has come to my attention that now more than ever this country needs to reclaim its glory.”

“Reclaim our glory?” Gale asked. “What is he talking about?”

“Let’s see,” Kirk said.

Dezine slammed his fist on the podium. “I must respond to these attacks on this country with a multitude of new measures,” he said. “With all due respect to the fallen prime minister, Alan Berry, this would not be the time for hesitation. No, now is the time for action!”

People began to clap as Dezine took in the applause.

“He’s leading up to the big one first,” Tre said. “No better way to start off a speech like this than to come out swinging hard.”

“I shall send a message to the nation of Ahnlikohn that these attacks will not be tolerated and that begins with retaliation!” Dezine exclaimed. “If they believe that they can get away with this, then they are sorely mistaken when they mess with me!”

More applause followed as Kirk looked to Lowell.

“You can tell, too, can’t you?” Kirk asked.

“It certainly looks like he’s having fun with his newfound privilege,” Lowell replied.

“They’re all cheering for war,” Gale said. “Do they really want bloodshed?”

“Nah, I doubt it,” Tre said. “This is a desperate time and Dezine’s just taking advantage of them while they’re vulnerable.”

“I guess, but it is a little disheartening to hear,” Gale replied.

“I know you feel,” Tre said. “We just gotta keep hoping and keep fighting, that’s all.”

Dezine continued. “In addition, I will introduce new measures to ensure that violent acts committed against me, the prime minister, will never happen again,” he said. “One of which is the ‘Prime Minister Protection Act,’ while the other is the ‘Iiayikohnian Security Act.’ Both these laws will be brought about in order to establish a new path forward in which I will lead you to a stronger and much more secure Iiayikohn than the one you’ve been living in!”

“Only he will do that?” Tre asked. “Man, when you stand him up against Alan, it’s like night and day!”

“It’s not going to matter right away,” Lowell said. “That’s how it’ll work.”

“What do you think will happen?” Gale asked.

“Optimistically, perhaps he’ll be the stepping stone for a brighter future,” Kirk answered. “Worst case scenario? Well, I can’t even begin to imagine.”

“Come on, Kirk,” Lowell said, “You’ve heard this kind of rhetoric before. You’d be a fool to think that Dezine’s anything more than a power hungry prick determined to do what he sees fit!”

“I agree,” Tre said, “Though maybe I wouldn’t call him a prick. That’d be an insult to needles.”

“You know where I was going with that,” Lowell replied.

“It seems like we’ve learned all we need to from this speech, anyway,” Kirk said. “No use hearing the rest out.”

“Are you sure?” Gale asked.

“If there’s anything we need to know, we’ll just read it in the paper or hear it on the radio,” Kirk replied.

“Okay,” Gale said. “Would you mind going with me to Lieutenant General Ansa’s house?”

“You got something in mind?” Tre asked.

“There’s something I want to talk to her about,” she replied. “I just think that you guys might want to be there as well.”

“Sure, why not,” Kirk said. “I think you’ve got an idea of what we should do now, so why don’t you lead the way Miss Kunigunde?”

Gale agreed and led the three men out of the crowd and towards Ayanna’s house located in the Tera District. Dezine continued to get a generous applause as he concluded his speech while Gale could only think about what was happening in Oelaans with Sorin and the others.

 

To be continued…

 

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