[11th of December, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]
With the first chill in Rezar came the incoming Ameci Atlas at the Ports of Iiayi. Sorin waited with Gavin until Gale got off the ship and hurried towards them, reuniting with Sorin in a warm embrace. Kirk soon followed along with Dia, who had never met Sorin or Gavin before today. After a quick conversation, the five decided to head back to Drake’s house to discuss what they needed to do next now that the summit was getting closer. Back at the house, Rain and Mina were the first to greet Sorin and the others out front.
“You made it just in time,” Rain said. “Ayanna has arrived as well as General Reiss.”
“The general’s here, too?” Sorin asked.
“He wants to discuss what happened the other night,” Rain said. “With my schedule and his clear, it’s best we talk about it now.”
“That’s interesting,” Kirk said. “You didn’t tell me about this, Sorin.”
“I wasn’t expecting the general of all people to show up here,” Sorin said, “But if we have to talk to him, then I have no problem with that.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Gavin asked.
Sorin looked over to Kirk, then back to Gavin. “What did I forget?”
“You know, the lady that’s with us,” Gavin said. “Fine, I’ll do it myself. Rain, Mina, that woman over there is Dia. Dia Kuu.”
Rain spotted Dia over by the car and realized. “Oh, Dia,” she said. “So she doesn’t know, does she?”
“We haven’t told her,” Sorin replied.
“Told her about what?” Gale asked. “Kirk and I just got back too, you know.”
“You haven’t told her about Johan!” Mina exclaimed.
“Mina, for the love of god, not so loud,” Gavin said. “It’s best if we just go inside first before we start explaining everything.”
“If it’s something about Johan, then why not tell us now?” Kirk asked. “Dia deserves to know above anybody else here, so you shouldn’t be holding back.”
“If you say so,” Sorin said.
He was hesitant at first, but Sorin explained to Dia the news about Johan, which made her brighten up as she found out that he was still alive. Sorin knew it was for the best that she heard this news from him, but did not expound all of what Johan was doing. Not for now, at least.
“So he’s traveling, then?” Dia asked. “Even though I was told he died a traitor, Johan’s still alive.”
“I’m sorry no one told you,” Sorin said. “If I had the ability to, I would’ve told you as soon as I could.”
“You don’t need to apologize,” Dia said. “Just knowing that he’s okay is good enough for me. The only thing I wish is to see him again, but I’m sure you can let him know that I’ll be around here for the time being.”
“Next time he calls me, I’ll let you know,” Sorin replied.
“It’s fine,” Dia said.
Nothing else was said as Dia walked past Sorin and to the house. He felt some relief as he was able to get that out of the way, but now he had a new dilemma. He did not want to bring more people into this plan, especially not someone so close to Johan, but for now it looked as if Sorin did not need to worry about Dia. With a sigh, Sorin turned over to Gale, who handed him her bag.
“That’s not the entire story, is it?” Gale asked.
“I don’t want to have her involved,” Sorin replied. “It’s risky enough as it is and I know Johan doesn’t want to see any more people hurt.”
“She’s not a liability, Sorin,” Kirk said. “You’ll see once the summit rolls around.”
“If that’s the case, then I’m sure that she can wait,” Rain said. “Everything is already tense as it is and I don’t want to have anything else happen before or during the summit.”
“Which is why the general’s here,” Mina said. “He’s going to help us make sure we don’t have to worry about anything involving the Blood Ravens while the summit goes on!”
“Well, if that’s the case, I’d like to hear it from Roderick himself,” Kirk said. “If he’s committed to helping us, then I want to listen in, too.”
“We could really use your insight, Kirk,” Rain said. “As a member of the Swords of Eight, I just know you probably have some ideas in mind.”
“Of course,” Kirk replied. “I’m sure that he could use all the advice in the world if it meant helping you.”
“Then let’s go,” Rain said.
“I’m sure it will be easy just like that,” Mina said. “You’re a legendary hero after all, Kirk!”
Kirk smiled. “You’re too nice, Mina.”
He followed Rain and Mina into the house while Gavin went after them. Sorin turned to Gale and held out his hand. In this moment, he was ecstatic to see her again as she placed her hand into his.
“I’m so happy you’re back,” Sorin said.
“I’m happy that you’re here,” Gale replied. “I really missed you while I was in Ameci. Let’s hurry up, okay?”
“Yeah, we should do that,” he said.
Sorin and Gale then went to follow the others into the house. As for what they would talk about, Sorin had only a faint idea, but he wanted to be sure to listen in as much as he could. For now, though, he was just glad to be alongside Gale once again.
After the discussion with Rain, Kirk, and General Reiss, everyone settled down and congregated into the main living room. One person, however, had been absent as Sorin wondered if Eva was still asleep. He had told his father about Eva’s return, but Kirk remained focused on his conversation with Ayanna and Reiss while Rain sat across from Sorin and Gale.
“We shouldn’t have to worry about Korbin and his crew,” Rain said. “At least not until the summit is finished.”
“So what happened?” Gale asked.
“There will be a much more secure front at the Glora Grand Hall thanks to Iiayikohn,” Rain answered. “I’m remaining hopeful that it will curb some of the animosity in this time.”
“I guess that means you’ll get the royal military involved as well,” Sorin said.
“Only the absolute minimum,” Rain said. “It was Reiss who suggested a much larger number, but I don’t want the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn to look as if it’s overshadowing the entire summit. It’s a meeting of unity, after all.”
“Well, you were the one who brought forth the idea of a summit,” Gale replied. “If there are any detractors, then I’m sure they would say that; not that I’m one of them, of course.”
“I understand the point,” Rain said. “Admittedly, it can be rather taxing to manage this, but I believe that we’ll be able to pull through and bring about peace to the region.”
“I sure hope so,” Gale said. “Anyway, I guess since you’re done here in Rezar, you’re heading off towards the other countries, aren’t you?”
“We leave tomorrow,” Rain replied. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t spend more time together, Gale, but I promise to sort out some time once this is over. That way, you and Sorin can come to the kingdom again.”
“Thanks,” Gale said.
“Besides, we can meet a couple of days before the summit, right?” Sorin asked. “We should be able to do something in Glora before all of the important matters happen.”
Rain agreed, as did Gale. There was comfort in knowing that everything was finally set and Sorin knew that they would all be able to meet once again before the start of the summit. He just had to hope that more information would come at that time before too long and that Johan would pull through with his work. Sorin still had Rysol to worry about, as well as Jelka, but there was not much he could do about them for now. He just had to wait and hope that it would all work out.
Eva sat up in the bed she had been sleeping in for most of the day. It was only due to the voices outside of the room she was staying in that she woke up, each of which were recognizable. She could not help it because she had to find out. Eva got up out of the bed and walked over to the door. The voices rang louder now and Eva could tell that Kirk was on the other side. There was no hesitation now as Eva opened the door and stepped out into the hall and found Kirk speaking with Ayanna and Law.
“I’m glad we could have this talk, Lieutenant General Ansa,” Kirk said. “It was very insightful.”
“Oh, you’re very welcome, Kirk,” Ayanna replied.
“Seems we’ve got an eavesdropper here,” Law said. “Guess she just had to drop in on us, right, you two?”
Kirk looked back and saw Eva. “Hello… I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess,” he said. “Were you sleeping?”
“No, I was just… resting,” Eva replied. “It’s been a long morning.”
“I’ll say,” Law said. “That tousled hair really threw me off for a moment; I wasn’t even sure if it was you I was looking at until I saw the eyepatch.”
Eva flicked back her hair. “Don’t even start.”
“Well, Eva, I was just about to ask Kirk if he’d like to join Law and I for a walk,” Ayanna said. “Since you’re awake, maybe you’d like to join us?”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Eva replied. “Kirk, I need to tell you something.”
“What is it?” Kirk asked.
“No, you don’t need to ask me anything,” Eva said. “Just.. don’t say anything at all! Please, I’ve missed you…”
Kirk was not able to respond as Eva dragged him into the bedroom and shut the door, locking it behind her. She could not back down now. With a quick scan around the room, Eva looked at Kirk, who appeared to understand how she felt right now.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Kirk asked.
“Of course I do,” Eva answered.
She leapt up at him and shared a moment of passion with him. Clothes dropped to the floor as Eva and Kirk dropped onto the bed, the two fixated on each other as the rush roared through. For Eva, it was a much needed relief and she could feel that Kirk felt the same way. Once the deed was all said and done, Eva laid next to Kirk as she placed her hand in his. A few minutes passed until either one of them were able to talk again.
“It really felt like a long time since the last time we were like this,” Eva said. “You were truly wonderful.”
“I should be saying that to you,” Kirk replied.
Eva sighed. “You… You know, this may sound strange, but it truly does feel like I can’t help but love and hate you at the same time.”
“You ‘love and hate’ me?” Kirk asked. “I’m afraid to even ask.”
“It’s hard to explain,” she replied as she leaned herself against him. “I’ve always admired your hopefulness most of all, but it does make me feel like I’m just a piece of trash sometimes.”
“I don’t think you’re like that at all,” Kirk said.
“Of course you’d say that,” Eva said. “I can trust you to reassure me when I can’t lift myself up, but even then I can still hear that belligerent voice repeating itself to me every night.”
“Even so, it’s just a voice,” he said. “It’s just a voice and it has no power over you.”
“I want to believe that, I do,” Eva replied, “But sometimes there are just some enemies I can’t defeat no matter how strong I get.”
Kirk closed his eyes and placed his hand on Eva’s hair. “Eva, I may not know how to deal with the pain you’re feeling right now, but I can tell you one thing: I believe in you,” he said. “If you have trouble believing in yourself, then I’ll do it for you.”
“I don’t know if I can anymore,” Eva said. “Even with you by my side, I don’t know if I can keep going. And the worst part of it is that I can’t help but feel like I’m just selfish for feeling this way.”
“You’re not selfish at all,” Kirk replied. “You care way too much about others to even be considered as such.”
“Please, stop it,” Eva said. “Just stop being so stubborn!”
“If it’s stubborn for me to be concerned about your well-being, then so be it,” Kirk said. “You are just as much a light to me as I am to you.”
Eva turned away from Kirk. “I really don’t know anymore,” she said. “It all just feels so overwhelming right now… I just want to go back to sleep.”
It was then that Eva tried to embrace the sleep that had become distant to her. No matter how much she tried, however, Eva found it impossible to reach that moment again. Too many thoughts ran through Eva’s mind while Kirk tried to comfort her, to which she welcomed. Right now, this was a moment that Eva did not want to end, but she did not admit that to Kirk. She did not want to admit anything, nor did she want to say anything to him. All that Eva wanted was for Kirk to be right there with his arms wrapped around her, even if his words felt insignificant and insufficient.
To be continued…