[21st of September, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]
Henry stood against the wall and watched as Rohan entered the room with President Hasker, Isaac Kunigunde, and Wilson Dezine. The four were talking about something, but whatever they were speaking about was not on Henry’s mind at the moment. Rather, it was what was reported out of the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, about how the Neu Thekohnian Order was rumored to have been spotted there just a few days ago. There was little proof of it, but Henry was concerned considering he had seen the princess traveling with Sorin just a few days ago. It was on his mind about what could have happened to them, but there was not much that he could do until the next time he could meet with them, whenever that might be.
“Are you going to stand there looking that way forever?” Fercewend asked. “There’s some important news I wish to share with you.”
“You do, do you,” Henry said. “I was getting a little restless without something to do here.”
“Always the diligent one, I see,” Hasker said. “It has been quite a while since I’ve seen that determined look in your eye.”
“Indeed, it is why he has been climbing the ranks ever since he has been reinstated,” Fercewend said. “That being said, there is something that must be discussed with our leader of troop 32 here.”
“What does it concern?” Henry asked.
“I’ve received word from Bradley and his troop about what has happened in Glora,” Fercewend replied. “Unfortunately, it seems we’ve reached the tipping point with the chancellor. There were a couple of casualties that occurred during the speech, one of which being one of own.”
“Harring has gone off the deep end, I’m afraid,” Isaac said. “Luckily, it seems the prime minister here is willing to help you all out in whatever way he can.”
“That being said, we are that much closer to a potential war,” Fercewend said. “We’re fortunate enough to have allies in this country, as well as in the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn, but I can understand why it would feel disheartening to hear this news.”
“I was afraid of that,” Henry said. “All that’s happened over the past few weeks have felt like some sort of surreal dream. There’s been good and there’s been bad, but it seems like we’re going further down the spiral.”
“Yet I know that you won’t give in to despair,” Fercewend replied. “War is something that none of us should hope ever happens, but sometimes we have no choice but to fight back.”
“Which is why I’m all the more willing to help,” Dezine said. “It was thanks to Mr. Kunigunde here that I stand here with you all in your embassy.”
“It will be nice to work alongside your military again,” Fercewend said. “Reiss is a good man and I have nothing but respect for him and the lieutenant general.”
“They should be handling things back at the office as we speak,” Dezine replied. “It does make me happy that we have such capable people running my military even when I’m not around.”
Isaac patted Dezine on the back. “I know you, though,” he said. “This is the moment where you shine the brightest, isn’t it?”
“Truly it is an enthralling experience,” Dezine said. “Come, we’ve got much to discuss, after all.”
“Indeed,” Isaac said. “By the way, Piere, how are talks coming along with President Mahrk?”
“He’s ready to go,” Hasker replied. “That’s our cue to head to the meeting room and work something out.”
“Well, Henry, it seems my job isn’t done yet,” Fercewend said. “I’ve got to go and speak with their general, too. Hopefully we’ll have some good news before the end of the day.”
“If I know you, though, Rohan, it’s that you’ll do everything in your power to make miracles possible,” Henry replied. “All right, then I trust that the president will work out a solid plan with Maeitakohn.”
Fercewend laughed. “Very well. I’ll see you later, Henry.”
He left with both Hasker and Dezine, but Isaac had decided to stay where he was and faced Henry. Whatever Isaac wanted from him, Henry was not sure how to respond. Still, he had to expect something from this man and Henry was not going to let his guard down while Isaac was around.
“Trees can last for many years, Mr. Randolph,” Isaac said. “Unfortunately, they can also be ruined by a bad root or a dying branch and unless measures are taken to ensure that the rest of the tree does not become ill, then you will have a dead tree standing in your yard.”
“Dare I ask what you’re talking about, Mr. Kunigunde?” Henry asked.
“All I’m saying is that you should watch out to see if there is a ‘root’ that must be plucked,” Isaac answered. “I’ve heard plenty of rumors during my time here and none of them good.”
“I’ll be sure to keep my eye out,” Henry said.
“That young soldier that always seems to be at your side… Arrington, was it? Well, he had come to Rohan just the other day,” Isaac said. “Well, it seems that there is the possibility of a traitor in our midst. Have you heard anything from one Johan Kuu?”
“Not recently,” Henry replied. “Then again, it’s not my job to keep track of him. Espionage is not my field.”
“I should have expected that answer, to be honest,” Isaac said. “Still, I’d advise you to keep your eyes peeled just in case he shows up around here, and perhaps even question him on his whereabouts.”
“Like I said, it’s not my job,” Henry said. “That decision is entirely up to General Fercewend on whether or not we need to worry about Kuu.”
Isaac smirked. “Then it will be my job to ask him.”
“You can go right ahead,” Henry said, “But even though you’ve got a lot of money, it’s still no substitute for rank when it comes to Rohan and President Hasker.”
“I will keep that in mind, Mr. Randolph,” Isaac replied. “Oh, and one last thing before I go. Do you have a minute?”
“A minute is more than enough.”
“You should pray that these ‘rumors’ are not true,” Isaac said. “Lest we have to worry about you again.”
“It always was a little too convenient that you were exonerated rather quickly,” Isaac said. “Should worse come to worse, I’m afraid there might be consequences for your actions taken.”
Henry tilted his head. “What do you mean?”
“Was it not you that led the charge to rescue Johan Kuu?” Isaac asked. “It was a simple mission at the time, but what if that was all just a setup?”
“Now you’re just spouting conjecture,” Henry said. “I trust in each and every soldier in this army, from the low ranks all the way up to General Fercewend. That’s something I’m willing to put my life on.”
Isaac scoffed. “I hope you’re ready to back up those words,” he said. “Because if it turns out that Johan Kuu did turn traitor, not only will I call for that son of a bitch to be executed, but you’ll be the next one in line.”
“You can’t threaten me,” Henry replied.
“Be that as it may, there will be consequences and I assure you that I will get what I want,” Isaac said. “Better start praying, because only the gods can help you now.”
Isaac turned around and left the room, laughing to himself while Henry looked out the window. He had no idea what to make of Isaac’s words, but if there was something to worry about, it was the fact that Isaac was already close to President Hasker. Regardless, Henry felt like he had no reason to worry. At least, not yet, anyway. Whatever the reason for Isaac’s remarks, Henry could only think of one thing as he thought aloud to himself.
“You really haven’t changed a bit, have you, Isaac?” Henry asked. “I can only hope that Rohan sees things the same way that I do…”
[21st of September, 2740 AD; driving on the road to Helm – Rezar/Helm Pass, Iiayikohn/Ahnlikohn Border]
An endless road was all Jelka could see as she sat passenger to Erik. They were headed towards Helm after Erik had got Jelka out of jail, though she remained on guard. She looked down at her sword and gun, both weapons being supplied to her before she left Rezar, and exasperated as she closed her eyes. Erik kept his hands gripped firmly on the steering wheel as the road ahead continued to come forth.
“I’ve got no idea what’s going on, but since I was asked by Mr. Kunigunde, I don’t exactly mind,” Erik said. “There must be something going on if he asked me to help you.”
“You are clueless for sure,” Jelka replied. “Just like an Ameci to not understand the damage that has been done.”
Erik chuckled. “That sort of tone doesn’t work on me,” he said. “It would be nice if you tried to act a little grateful about what Mr. Kunigunde has done for you. He could have just left you for dead, after all.”
“I don’t care the least about that wretched man or how powerful he claims to be,” she replied. “The only thing he has done was confirm my belief that Ameci are nothing more than mere meddlers in it for their own gain.”
“Isn’t that what you’re doing, though?” Erik asked.
“You must be incredibly simple minded to think that the goals of the Neu Thekohnian Order are similar to those of Ameci,” Jelka said. “Do not forget that this is just a mission bestowed upon you by that man with the dreadful mustache, because I certainly haven’t.”
“Guess I shouldn’t have asked, geez,” Erik replied.
He became quiet and turned his focus back to the road before him. Meanwhile, Jelka had to wonder if the task she was set out to do was really for the benefit of the Neu Thekohnian Order. Was this all truly part of Queen Isla’s vision? Would this really be the chance for revenge that Jelka would get? It would be a lie to say that there was not some doubt in her mind, but Jelka knew that she had to stay focused.
“You know, you could have killed me right here,” Erik said. “I was asked to come unarmed, for whatever reason, yet you’re the one getting all the nice little toys. I must say that you’re much more loyal than you’re letting on.”
“There’s no point to killing you,” Jelka replied.
“Is there?” Erik asked. “Have you ever killed someone before?”
“Funny that an Ameci would ask such a question,” she said. “All the atrocities that have been committed in your name cannot be counted on a single hand, you know.”
“Unfortunately, I don’t really care,” Erik replied. “People die all the time; what’s a little bloodshed here and there going to change?”
“You’ve only proven my point.”
“So what? The deck is stacked against you, you know?” Erik asked. “So why don’t you just be a good little girl and go ‘fulfill your destiny’ or whatever it is you believe in. At least then, you’ll be doing much more than rotting away in a jail cell like the rest of those no good terrorists!”
He laughed as Jelka turned away. All she had to do was ride with him to Helm; enduring his remarks was nothing to her. There was a fire that was ready to go and all Jelka had to do was light it up. That was her job at the moment, but once that was done, she had another mission in mind. Something that she had to do before leaving Helm, but she had no clue if he would even be there.
[21st of September, 2740 AD; just outside of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]
The car stopped at the pathway leading to the Lead Campground as the door to the passenger’s side opened. Johan stepped out of the car and closed it, waving goodbye to the gentleman driving as he began to speed off. With the ride settled, all Johan could do was go through the campground once more and hopefully retrieve what it was he was looking for. The chance of the letter being there was close to zero, but perhaps Ahga had left something else behind that could prove to be useful in the future.
“Should be easy now,” Johan said. “Even if someone is there, I should be able to walk about freely without too much of a hassle.”
He hurried through the path, passing through the forest until he made it to Lead Campground. No one was around, yet Johan felt like he needed to be on his guard. Daylight reigned, but Johan could never be too careful as he walked up to the familiar cabin. It was here that he had ran into Luna and learned about her goals and ambitions, as well as her quirks.
“She still has family around here, after all,” he said. “Hopefully, they won’t be caught up in all of the madness up north…”
Johan went into the cabin and looked around. The room he was looking for was just behind the door, so he opened it and entered. The desk had remained unchanged from the last time he was here, which made it all the easier for Johan to search for the letter from Amile.
“It should be here,” Johan said as he sorted all of the papers into a pile. “It doesn’t look like it, though… He must have taken it after I left.”
That was when Johan noticed something else. Based on nothing but his instincts, Johan opened the top drawer to his left and looked inside. There was an unopened envelope inside with no return address on it. Seeing as there was no one around to impede his search, Johan decided to take envelope from out of the drawer and open it. Inside was a letter to Ahga with no name given at all by the sender. As Johan began to read, the look on his face turned from a skeptical inquiry to a complete and total shock, his eyes wide as he gasped.
“Holy shit,” Johan said. “So that’s why, then…”
Johan placed the letter back into the envelope and shoved it into his pants pocket. The only thing he could do at this moment was laugh because nothing could have prepared him for what he had just learned.
“Lauren Ahga, you really are something else.”
To be continued…