Aurora – Chapter 14 (Part 2)

[20th of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Indoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]

 

Henry leaned back in his seat as he wondered what to do next. He waited for Tori to return from the local shop as she went with the boys to pick up some snacks. But Henry was not hungry in the slightest. After what took place earlier, Henry found it difficult to stomach the course of actions that took place during his meeting with Rohan about the comments that were made the night before. It was something he had to do, which was why Henry brought Tori and the kids along to meet Fercewend. However, the general was busy meeting with Isaac, so Henry had to deal with both of them at the same time.

“That man continues to harbor hatred towards me,” Henry said. “And to say that in front of Tori and the boys… Does Isaac Kunigunde have no decency left in him?”

One statement was all that was needed for Henry to have caution against Isaac. The words that he had said to Henry left him chilled and worried not only for himself, but for his family as well. It was the type of fear that Henry had felt many times during his days as a soldier, but instead of coming from enemy forces, it was straight from a fellow compatriot of Ameci.

 

*****

 

“At the end of the day, decisions are to be made by the president and the general,” Isaac said. “Consider yourself lucky that you get to enjoy your little free time like this, because I’m certain that it will be the last.”

“You… What is it with you and Henry?” Tori asked. “All he did was ask Rohan a single question, and you step in to shoot it down with such contempt.”

“I don’t recall anyone asking you to speak, woman,” Isaac said. “Anyway, I’m sure that you know now that you’re walking on a thin rope. It was only a few months ago that the charges of treason against you were lifted, yet all the same they can come back should any new ‘evidence’ pops up.”

“But Rohan has already said that the claims were unfounded,” Henry replied. “As far as the law is concerned, I am innocent.”

Isaac raised a finger. “Do you forget, Henry Randolph? It was our general here who decided that,” he said. “Now he is a man of high stature, but if push comes to shove… well, I’m sure your tiny brain is able to figure it out. Rohan! What are you standing there for?”

“Of course,” Fercewend said.

“Hold on a second,” Henry said. “You know damn well what happened last night, and what’s happening now, Rohan. Say something!”

“Henry, you should know that above all else, we must work together to preserve order,” Fercewend said. “We must continue to have order, otherwise, we will end up falling into disarray.”

“Come on,” Tori said. “It’s not about ‘order,’ Rohan. It’s about doing what’s right.”

“Listen here,” Isaac said to Henry and Tori. He walked up to the family as his eyebrows furrowed. “If I had it my way, I’d waste no time filling out the papers for your execution, Henry Randolph.”

He turned away from them and went back to Fercewend.

“Have a nice day,” Isaac said. “Shall we, Rohan?”

 

*****

 

Henry slammed his fist down on the table. He hated to admit it, but he was scared. Fear that everything could all come crashing down on him again. There was no doubt in Henry’s mind now: Isaac Kunigunde was a much more menacing adversary than anyone he had ever faced during the War of the Lands.

“Whatever sort of grudge he has towards me, I’ll just have to face it head on,” Henry said. “It doesn’t matter who he is; Isaac Kunigunde is still just another man and I can deal with him.”

“Are you alright?” Kirk asked.

Henry looked up from the table and found that Kirk and Eva by his table. The two were by themselves as Henry got up and greeted them. He did not expect to meet them at the hotel, of all places, though it was a pleasant surprise.

Kirk took the seat across from Henry. “I guess you had quite a morning at the Glora Grand Hall.”

“It’s not like there was any kind of scuffle or anything,” Henry replied. “But it does make the rest of this trip a little problematic for the family and I…”

“Then you just slammed the table for nothing?” Eva asked, taking a seat next to Kirk.

“I didn’t think anyone saw,” Henry said.

“Don’t worry,” Kirk said, “I’m not too fond of the guy, either. I’ve never been that fond of him, in fact.”

“You shouldn’t be surprised,” Eva said to Henry. “That man’s whole career is built on looking down on others and screwing over the unfortunate.”

Henry looked up at the ceiling. “I’m not, if I have to be honest with you,” he replied, “But I’m not worried about myself this time.”

“You’re worried about them,” Eva said.

“I can’t even begin to think what I’d do if anything were to happen to Tori or the boys,” Henry said. “That’s why I’m so tense right now.”

Eva sighed as she tilted her head down. “It’s a pain you shouldn’t have to experience,” she replied. “Pain that you don’t deserve at all.”

“Right now, I guess there’s little I can do,” Henry said, “But that encounter only furthers my resolve. There’s nothing that he can do that will stop that.”

“Good for you, Henry,” Kirk said. “Well, I guess it would be fair to tell you what we know about Isaac, since it may prove relevant for you.”

Henry raised an eyebrow. “What do you know?”

“I never told you about it back at the kingdom, but the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order wasn’t Isla,” Eva said. “Well, she was, technically, but there was another who was pulling the strings from afar.”

After a lengthy explanation about all that had happened within Thedam Castle, which Henry listened to with high intent, many things were beginning to make sense for him. Still, he had many questions as well, which only served to confuse him as he was not sure that Kirk or Eva would be able to answer any of the questions that he had. What was obvious was that Isaac Kunigunde crossed a line. It was a line that if someone like Henry had crossed, there would be no time wasted in processing his arrest.

“To think that he would be this duplicitous… I knew that there was more beneath his facade, but to think he’s playing the Ameci government while he’s rubbing their shoulders at the same time?” Henry asked. He clenched his fist as it began to shake. “He’s secretly influenced that dangerous group for his own gain… All of this tragedy and bloodshed just because he’s not satisfied with how much money he already has?”

“I was worried about whether or not to tell you back then,” Eva said. “But I should know that you’ve been a good ally to Kirk and I…”

“It’s okay,” Henry said. “Now that I know exactly what that man’s capable of, I will do my best to keep on moving forward and fight.”

“What will you do now?” Kirk asked.

“Well, we were going to enjoy our vacation a little more,” Henry replied, “But since it seems like there’s plenty to deal with, I’m not sure what Tori and I can do to help.”

“You should stay with them for the time being,” Kirk said. “Your family is important, after all.”

“There’s not much we can do right now, anyway,” Eva said.

“It sure seems like that’s the case,” Henry said. “Say, where’s Sorin, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Kirk shrugged. “I don’t really know myself,” he replied. “Of course, I’m sure he’s doing something out there.”

 

*****

 

[20th of December, 2740 AD; The Robin’s Nest, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]

 

Sorin looked at the clock on the wall. It was now an hour from noon and the summit had already begun, according the what Rain had told him. Due to the high amount of traffic surrounding the Glora Grand Hall, Sorin and the others were not able to attend up close. Instead, he and Gale decided to meet them at the closest lounge they could find. There, they went with Gavin and Law as well as Luna and Pekka. Much to their surprise, or rather their lack thereof, the group found Kiku and her guards there, as well as Noa.

“Wow, Wilkie, it’s really nice to see you!” Kiku exclaimed.

She embraced Sorin as he could only muster a small laugh, but he was glad to see her regardless. Kiku then backed off and shook hands with everyone. Sorin sat down as the radio on the speaker continued to play out the speeches at the summit, with a quiet speech from Elemci’s president first.

“You’re not over there?” Gale asked. “I thought you’d be over there talking with everybody.”

“Oh no, not me,” Kiku replied. “I know Ray and Minnie are there, but I can’t stand the tension! Not while I’m still so full of energy and excitement!”

“Besides, I’m not sure where I would fit in,” Noa said. “I’m not really an official or a part of the military… and I know Kiku doesn’t really want me to go wandering around by myself too much.”

“Please, Nona, when have I ever said that?” Kiku asked. “I was just worried about you getting lonely because you won’t have me to talk to, silly.”

“Really?” Law asked. “Because I’d like to think he’d be going around the town, searching for some fine ladies to talk to…”

“Calm down, Lawrence,” Gavin said.

“How… How dare you say that!” Noa said to Law.

Kiku giggled as she held Noa’s hand. “Though Nona isn’t really the type of guy who can just strike up conversations with women, I still love him,” she said. “Besides, if I wanted to, I’d be happy to talk to any woman for him!”

“Isn’t that a little too much?” Luna asked.

“I’d never play with his heart like that, Gab,” Kiku replied. “Nona and I are inseparable! I’d give my heart to him and I know he’d do the same.”

“It’s… true,” Noa said.

“So is that that ‘death to us part’ thing I’ve heard about?” Igor asked. “Or is that something else I mixed up?”

“I guess it could be like that,” Kiku said.

“Well, I’m not looking to die any time soon,” Noa said. “Not now, not later, not ever, hopefully!”

“That’d be pretty impossible,” Law said. “We all have to go eventually. All that really matters is what you do before then. I plan on gracing this world with my presence, which is why I’m working as an actor!”

“How is that going along?” Luna asked. “I ask because I’ve heard so much about acting and singing and I think it was Kiku there who told me I had a good singing voice. I was nervous about it, but the other day, I sang in front of Pekka and he said it was really good, though I feel like I could have done a lot better all things considered. I mean… How do you like being an actor?”

Law clasped his hands together and grinned. “I’m the star of the show,” he replied. “They love me on the stage and I even have the attention of a beautiful young stagehand named Em.”

“He has a supporting role,” Gavin said.

“Oh, that must be quite nice,” Kiku said. “Those bright lights must put a lot of pressure on you, Lala, but I’m not surprised that you have a natural talent for the stage.”

“Thank you,” Law replied. “You know, there is one scene in this play that I do need a bit of practice on… Maybe you could help me out, Luna.”

Luna’s eyes lit up. “Who? Me?”

“Well, who else could I be talking to?” Law asked. “There’s only one person here that I can think of that would be perfect for practicing with.”

“You better tell us where this is going,” Gavin said.

“In time, bro,” Law said. “Tell me, Luna: have you ever kissed anyone before?”

Luna turned her head aside and covered her mouth. “What… What kind of question is that!?”

“Well, if we’re going to practice this scene, I need to know how experienced my co-star is,” Law answered.

“I guess it was time,” Gale said.

Gavin placed his hand on his forehead and over his sunglasses. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“Aren’t you already with that lieutenant general lady?” Noa asked. “Won’t she be upset?”

“He’s not going to do anything stupid like that,” Gale said. “All he cares about is getting a reaction out of Luna over there.”

“Hehe, it’s the perfect reaction for her, though,” Kiku said. “I’ve never seen quite a shade of red like that, so that’s a plus for you, Gab!”

“I think it’d be best you two leave the poor girl alone,” Ayame said. “Clearly, she is nervous being asked about such personal matters.”

“Oh, okay,” Kiku replied.

“I suppose that’s a no, then,” Law said. “Well, if that’s the word, then I’m not going to pursue it any further.”

Law stood up and started to head for the front of the room. Sorin, though, continued to keep an eye out for anything suspicious. There was no chance he was going to overlook Korbin and his Blood Ravens, nor was he going to sit back if they acted first. Still, when he glanced out to the street, Sorin could not find any of the Ameci soldiers strolling about.

“Not a trace, it seems,” Sorin said.

“What are you talking about, Wilkie?” Kiku asked.

Sorin shook his head. “I… I thought it was going to snow today,” he said. “Guess I was wrong.”

“We don’t get that much snow back home,” Kiku replied. “That said, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with winter. I like being able to cuddle when it gets too cold, but I don’t like having to wear such a thick coat! I wish it was warmer, you know?”

“Truly, it would be nicer if it were warmer,” Law said. “There’s something spectacular about the summer, if you catch my drift.”

“Oh, and what would that be?” Pekka asked.

At that moment, before Law could answer, there was a break in the radio broadcast. The static caused everyone to take notice, which was then followed by some piercing feedback that made everyone cover their ears. The noise quieted down, however, as the silence soon followed. Sorin knew now that it was time for the next phase.

“Sorry about that little noise,” the muffled voice said. “This kind of thing isn’t exactly my forte…”

Sorin was sure that the other patrons at the lounge, as well as some of his friends, were confused at what they were hearing. However, Sorin was happy to hear that Johan had finally established a signal for everyone in Glora to hear. He had to wonder how Johan pulled it off, but that would have to be a question for much later. Now it was time for Johan to reveal the truth.

“You may be asking yourself: who is this and why are they interrupting the summit? Well, that is simple,” Johan said, “I am the leader of the Moonlit Silence, the group that reaches into the depths of the dark and brings to light the truths that Foundation does not want you to see!”

“So this is his plan,” Pekka said.

“Huh? What plan?” Kiku asked. “That voice sounds familiar… Could it be who I think it is, Aya?”

“Let’s listen to what he has to say first,” Ayame replied.

“Before I reveal anything, I must tell you in advance that I have operated within the Neu Thekohnian Order for the purpose of obtaining these hidden documents,” Johan said. “The letters I am about to read to you detail important conversations between the leader of the Neu Thekohnian Order and their benefactor, Isaac Kunigunde.”

There was some chatter amongst the other patrons as Sorin continued to listen with intent. Naming Isaac made Johan a target, for sure, but Sorin knew he did not care about that.

“What I’m going to read to you today will not only unveil the crimes of Isaac Kunigunde, but those of Casper Bradley and Wilson Dezine as well,” Johan said. “Let this be known, Isaac: the moment I am done speaking, you will not be able to escape from your fate.”

 

To be continued…

 

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