[21st of September, 2740 AD; outside the New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
Sorin was surprised to find himself near the prime minister’s office, but Pekka had decided that they hold their group conversation across the street. They settled for a small park that stood opposite of the entrance to the prime minister’s office. A few people were occupying the park, but there was a place for Sorin to sit with the others.
“So why did you draw us out here, anyway?” Gale asked.
“There’s a reason why I asked you all here,” Pekka said. “An old saying goes as follows: ‘too many good chefs spoil the meal.’ That’s why.”
“But wouldn’t having more chefs make the food better?” Mina asked. “I would eat something prepared by a hundred chefs if I could!”
“I don’t think that that’s meant to be taken at face value, love,” Rain said. “He’s implying that if too many people are in on something, the more likely it is to fail. At least, that was the message I took from it.”
“Almost,” Pekka replied. “I feel like our plan of action needs to be kept under the cover of darkness if we’re to succeed in ousting Isla.”
“You mean the details,” Gale said. “I see what you’re saying, Pekka.”
“So what do you suggest, then?” Sorin asked.
“The road to Oelaans, as I’m sure you already know, goes through Helm,” Pekka said. “As it currently stands, we may not be able to go through there for the time being.”
“You can’t possibly mean that there’s no way of going back there anymore,” Luna said. “What about all the people there? What of my family?”
“That’s a concern I had, too,” Pekka replied. “Your family lives just north of the town, after all.”
“No doubt that they’re aware of what’s happening,” Rain said.
“If anything, I’d like to at least talk to them,” Luna said. “I’d like to do that, if that’s possible.”
“Then it’s settled,” Rain said, “We must head back to Helm.”
Luna got up. “It’s possible, then,” she said. “Oh, there’s quite a lot I’d like to say to them before we get wrapped up in trying to stop this evil from happening, but just seeing them would be a great deal to me. Thank you, Your Highness!”
“Please, call me Rain,” she replied. “Anyway, there is concern on whether or not we would be able to go through at this point, but I’m sure that we can make something happen. After all, look at where we are right now.”
She motioned to everyone to look at the prime minister’s office. Sorin knew what Rain had meant by that and knew that they needed to meet with Ayanna again. He hoped that the lieutenant general would be available as this was their best chance of moving forward. At the end of the day, though, even he could not tell if it would happen right away.
“It doesn’t hurt to try,” Sorin said.
“If that’s the case, then I’ll just wait here,” Pekka said.
“What are you saying?” Luna asked. “Of course you’re not staying here! You’re part of the team! Comrades until we can go no longer! I don’t care what it was you used to do or didn’t do, but right now we’re in this together, Pekka! You have to realize that, because we all believe in you. Especially me!”
“She’s right,” Mina said. “We’re minutes away from busting this door wide open and you are the one to help us!”
“You were the one who wanted to suggest a plan,” Sorin said.
“That’s true,” Pekka replied. “I guess it can’t be avoided, can it? Anyway, there is one route we can take, though I guess I can just show you once we get back to Helm.”
Rain smiled. “Your help is much appreciated,” she said. “Now let’s see if we can get Ayanna’s help on this matter.”
“That was what we were doing in the first place,” Gale said. “It might be good to help her out, too.”
“You think so?” Mina asked.
“I’m not cut out for being a combatant, Mina,” Gale replied. “That said, I can’t sit back and watch. The least I could do is see if I can offer up help in the way of strategizing and tactics.”
“Then it’s time we paid her a visit!” Mina said.
The group made their way over to the prime minister’s office in hopes of finding Ayanna. The search did not take too long as Ayanna was standing outside in the first floor hallway.
Mina called out to Ayanna. “Hey, Ayanna, we’ve been looking for you all day!”
“Oh, hey, everyone,” Ayanna replied. “That reminds me, Mina, there is something I’ve been meaning to show you for a while now. I haven’t had the time to do it but now that you’re here, I think this is as good a time as any.”
“Really?” Mina asked. “What’s up?”
“Come on,” Ayanna said. “Perhaps it’s best that all of you come, too.”
“Is this important news?” Rain asked.
“You’ll see,” Ayanna replied.
“If you say so, then I believe you,” Rain said. “After all, you have been a great friend to us.”
“Indeed, Your Highness, it has been an honor to work with you,” Ayanna said. “Now let’s go.”
“Okay,” Sorin said.
Sorin had no idea what Ayanna wanted to show Mina, but he had a feeling that the lieutenant general would not show her without a good reason to do so. As everyone followed Ayanna, they went in the direction of Ayanna’s office where the door appeared to be unlocked.
“Well, what are we waiting for?” Ayanna asked. “I’m sorry it took so long, but I’m hoping you’ll have a smile on your face once you see for yourself.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ayanna,” Mina replied. “Either way, I say bring it! A real hero never backs down from a challenge, no matter if that challenge is unknown or not!”
“That’s probably not what she’s talking about,” Sorin said.
“I think Ayanna’s speaking of a person, if I had to guess,” Rain said. “I am sincerely doubting that she’s holding some sort of physical challenge beyond that door.”
“Well, whoever it is, I’m ready!” Mina exclaimed.
“Then let’s go in,” Ayanna said as she opened the door. “Lady Brynjarr, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve brought some company. Actually, I think you that you should mind.”
Wilma looked up from her chair and got up. “Oh, what is this?”
“Mina, it’s been a long time coming, but here she is,” Ayanna said.
“Are you talking about the woman over there?” Mina asked. “Because I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before in my life!”
“Mina?” Wilma wondered. “Oh gods, it really is you!”
She rushed over to Mina and wrapped her arms around Mina in an instant. Mina could only react with her eyes wide and mouth open, but eventually smiled as she was compelled to return the favor.
“I thought that I’d never see you again,” Wilma said. “You’ve really grown into such a fine young woman, haven’t you?”
“I guess you could say that,” Mina replied.
“Haven’t you connected the dots yet?” Pekka asked.
“It’s hard to say,” Mina said. “You know me well, don’t you?”
“That I do,” Wilma answered. “I guess it makes sense that you wouldn’t remember me; there was no way you could remember me when I was forced to leave you upon that man’s doorstep so many years ago.”
“Do you mean what I think you mean?” Mina asked. “Are you truly for real?”
“It took a while, but yes, Mina,” Ayanna said, “This is indeed your mother. Everyone, I would like you all to meet Wilma Brynjarr.”
“Ah, so this is your mother, then,” Rain said. “It is very nice to finally meet you. I can see that Mina takes after you well.”
Wilma let out a light laugh as she separated herself from Mina. “Oh, you flatter me,” she said. “I could tell from hugging Mina that she has become quite strong throughout her life. If anything, she takes a lot more from her father than she does from me.”
“Mina’s father?” Sorin asked. “What kind of person was he, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Unfortunately, I don’t think I’d be able to tell you all about the kind of man Osvald was,” Wilma replied. “However, just from looking at Mina and hearing about all the exploits she’s been on, it’s clear she’s just like him.”
“I’m a lot like my dad, then,” Mina said. “I don’t know what to say except that he must have been the greatest hero of them all!”
“For Bryn, he certainly was,” Wilma said. “You couldn’t go anywhere in Bryn without seeing his wonderful smile.”
“Well, it’s really nice to meet you,” Mina replied. “I… I don’t know what else to say, honestly…”
Wilma reached out her hand and rested it on Mina’s arm. “Go ahead,” she said. “You obviously came here for a reason; I don’t want to hold you back from what it is that you need to do.”
“That’s right,” Mina said as she rubbed her eye. “Ayanna, we came because we wanted to talk to you!”
“I had a feeling,” Ayanna said. “Very well, let’s discuss then.”
[21st of September, 2740 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Holding Cell]
Jelka gazed out of the bars of her cell and into the prison yard outside. It was in the early morning which she and her allies were apprehended by those two guards and promptly arrested by the Iiayikohnian military. The trip had not gone as planned, though Jelka had to wonder to herself if this was due to poor planning on Queen Isla’s part. She sighed as she went back to the cot on the side and layed down. Just then, she heard the sound of a door opening and sat up in an instant. It a surprise to Jelka as Prime Minister Wilson Dezine and another man with a mustache approached her cell.
“Rise and shine, Miss Arne,” Dezine said. “We’ve got a lot to talk about.”
“Where are my comrades?” Jelka asked. She stood up and walked towards the bars. “You had arrested them with me, did you not? Tell me!”
“It was not I who did the arresting, woman,” Dezine said. “You made a terrible misstep last night and look where it got you.”
“That was not my fault,” Jelka said. “I was only caught because that man had used a trick to escape!”
Dezine laughed. “I see where your line of thinking comes from,” he said. “You felt as if you had your enemy dead to rights, but it’s obvious that you’ve never killed a person in your life!”
“That’s not true!” Jelka exclaimed.
“Perhaps you’re right,” Dezine said. “There’s something I learned about you that I found very interesting and I have Isaac Kunigunde here to thank for telling me all about your parents.”
“My parents?” Jelka asked. “What… What do you mean?”
Isaac grinned as he tilted his head upward. “It had been bugging Dezine and I that your name sounded familiar,” he replied. “That’s when I did a little digging and found out that your parents used to be very prestigious politicians in Ahnlikohn.”
Jelka clenched her fist. “How did you find that out?”
“That really doesn’t matter, does it,” Isaac replied.
“Truly, what does matter is what you will do for us,” Dezine said. “A lot is riding on us waging war with Ahnlikohn and the royal family. We can’t have one of the pieces of the puzzle go missing, now can we?”
“You… what are you saying?” Jelka asked.
“It’s a mutual benefit,” Isaac said. “Wilson will get what he wants and I will get what I want.”
“That is correct,” Dezine said.
Jelka grabbed the bars. “I’m just your ‘piece of the puzzle,’ is it? What if I refuse?”
“It appears as if you fail to grasp the situation that you find yourself in,” Isaac replied. “Men like Dezine and I cannot afford to get our hands dirty, solely for the fact that it would hurt our images greatly. That’s where someone like you comes in: a worthless little peon that exists only to be used.”
“How else will you get that ‘revolution’ you so seek for yourself?” Dezine asked. “You hate Harring for what he’s done to you. I would think it would be child’s play for someone as vengeance obsessed as you are to go in and dispatch the chancellor.”
Jelka had no response and instead merely turned away.
“Just as I thought,” Dezine said.
“Let this be a lesson to you, woman,” Isaac said, “There’s two types of people in the world: us who command massive influence and the rest who have no choice but to grovel. It does you well to know your place.”
“You say that,” Jelka replied. “I suppose that I’ve no choice but to accept, do I? What do you even want?”
“It seems like we’re on the same page,” Isaac said. “I knew I would be able to stoke that flame of yours once you realized what was at stake. Very well, there’s something you can do for us: head immediately to Helm.”
“What for?” Jelka asked.
“Guess it would make sense to ask,” Dezine said. “Earlier today, an incident happened in Glora. A fire is currently burning, yet it is only a smoldering ember. Your job is to be a spark, to set forth the blaze that will consume Ahnlikohn and turn things over to a new regime!”
“I see,” Jelka said.
“Do not worry about your weapons,” Isaac said. “I will supply you with the tools necessary to perform as well as grunts that you can boss around just so you can feel important.”
“I’m sure your leader will be happy to hear the news,” Dezine said. “After all, you’ll be getting another chance all thanks to me. You should be thankful that you haven’t been hung, because I would have ordered the execution if not for your pathetic life.”
“Is that so?” Jelka asked.
“You’ll only have to wait for just a little while longer,” Dezine replied. “It would raise suspicion if they saw us walking out with you a free woman. No, you’ll have a better way of getting out.”
“He’s on the way as we speak,” Isaac said. “Be sure to tell Mr. Ellis that I said hi.”
Without another word, both Isaac and Dezine left. Jelka turned away and looked back out the window again as she thought to herself. It was not that long ago that Jelka had been living on the streets after what had happened to her parents. Her mother and father were well regarded in Ahnlikohn before Harring had become chancellor. Once that happened, however, everything changed as Jelka’s parents were arrested and stripped of their positions. Disgraced, Jelka moved with her parents near the southbound town of Helm and lived a quiet life until she was twelve years old. It had been impossible at the time, but now Jelka was foolish for ever thinking that she could have trusted the family that had provided boarding for her family. The father of the household had called the Ahnlikohnian special forces and revealed the location of Jelka’s parents, which had turned everything upside down once more.
“Those people… even they betrayed for money,” Jelka said. “There’s no one I can trust except myself.”
Afterward, Jelka lived on the streets and was left to fend for herself until six years ago when Lauren Ahga happened to pass through Habicht one day. He noticed Jelka steal from a shop and was able to stop her, but decided not to report her to the authorities. He claimed that he was able to help Jelka out and seek revenge on the one responsible for the arrest of her parents. Obviously, Jelka could not trust the man, but if there was any possible way of bringing revenge on Chancellor Harring, then she had to take it.
“It has to happen,” she said. “I will never forgive that man for what he’s done. He… He is the one responsible for all of this pain, so it only makes sense to return the favor!”
To be continued…