[21st of December, 2740 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Indoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]
Sorin and Eva met with the others in the lounge as they tried to make sense of what had been said over the radio speakers. The Queen of Ahnlikohn named Sorin as Chancellor Harring’s assassin. How she came to her conclusion Sorin did not know, but he knew he was not responsible. He was sure Eva knew as well as Gavin and the rest of the group but even with Rain and Ayanna on his side, Sorin still had to anticipate the pressure that would soon begin to rise. Yet even with his friends, there were two that were not in the lounge: Johan and Jelka. Sorin knew that there was no way Johan would risk showing himself around Glora, but now he felt like he needed Johan’s help more than ever.
“So does anyone have any ideas?” Law asked. “It’s been kind of quiet ever since we gathered here.”
No one responded. Sorin could not blame anyone for not having the words to say. With the attacks instigated by Korbin and the Blood Ravens, little could be said about him. They all knew who he was. They knew who Isaac was, as he was the one who likely helped set up the attack. Yet even with that known, Queen Amelia did not address the Ameci or the Blood Ravens in her statement.
“How could she not tell?” Luna asked. “Her people were the ones who got hurt… Why does she not realize who was responsible?”
“If I knew why, then I would tell you,” Rain said. “I’m so deeply sorry, Luna. I didn’t expect Foundation to respond so soon. No one did.”
“You shouldn’t have to apologize, Your Majesty,” Kirk said. “You did a fine job out there today and an even better one in trying to bring everyone together to the summit.”
“I just don’t know if we’ll be able to continue,” Rain replied. “When we were all gathered together in the conference room, the only thing I could think about was all of you and your safety.”
Eva sat down next to Kirk. “Yet all the same we were concerned for you,” she said. “Isaac Kunigunde… He’d let the world burn down if it meant he’d get a little more in his pockets—no, especially because of that.”
“I know he’s on everyone’s minds right now, but what about you?” Gale asked to Sorin. “It’ll be hard to go around now that the Ahnle Royal Family thinks you killed the chancellor… I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do now.”
“You can clear his name,” Mina said to Rain. “You can, can’t you? I’m sure that Amelia will listen to you!”
“I will talk to her in the morning,” Rain said. “Actually, there is much I wish to speak about with her, so hopefully it will prove to be a good meeting.”
“Let’s hope so,” Luna said. “There’s been a lot of talk back in Helm about Queen Amelia ever since the crown prince’s crime came to light, that some people are beginning to voice their distrust with her and the Ahnlikohnian government. I just hope you’ll do well, Rain.”
“Well, I’m sure she’ll have to issue some statements soon,” Gavin said. “She would be foolish to ignore the fact that the shooting was caused by Ameci’s own military.”
“You think so, bro?” Law asked. “It wasn’t that long ago they had a similar attack in this city, so I’m not holding my breath that Queen Amelia will hold those birds responsible.”
“If she doesn’t, then I will,” Gavin replied. “I’ll make sure to hold Korbin Mars responsible, preferably with a bullet.”
“He’s troublesome, sure, but we can’t lose our cool yet,” Kirk said. “It’d only end up playing into Isaac’s hands if we react without reason.”
“What’s your big idea, then?” Gavin asked.
Kirk looked to Sorin. “As long as the queen sees you as Chancellor Harring’s killer, it would be unwise to stay in this country any longer,” he said. “There’s no telling what would happen if we were to go charging after Isaac and Foundation right away.”
Sorin could tell his father was truly worried about him. He knew that there was no way he could stay in Glora for the time being. The tension would have to subside soon, Sorin hoped as he held Gale’s hand. With Rain meeting the Queen of Ahnlikohn tomorrow, there was hope that wrongs would be righted. At least, Sorin would no longer be suspected of Harring’s assassination. Until then, though, Sorin and Gale knew that they had to leave as soon as they possibly could.
“And we’ve got old man Dezine to worry about,” Law said. “Ayanna, my love, have you heard anything from him?”
“He’s been silent, at least with General Reiss and I,” Ayanna replied. “But what I do know for certain is that he’s dangerous. Anyone who works with Isaac and Foundation we cannot take casually.”
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he had a hand in orchestrating Alan’s murder,” Eva said. “The bastard probably waited as long as he could until Isaac Kunigunde walked up to him with promises of wealth and power and offered him his help. All of it just to fulfill their own selfish needs.”
“I’ve got no idea his goal, but I will have to be on the lookout regardless,” Ayanna said. “The general’s not much a fan of him either, so I will have to see what he thinks about this.”
Law leaned back in his seat. “The more the merrier, right?”
“That would be the idea,” Ayanna replied.
“Guess we’ll have to see for ourselves,” Pekka said. “I’d worry more about a man whose power can so easily be bought over the buyer himself, at least in the short term.”
“You needn’t worry,” Ayanna said, “Even with his power, there are limits to what Dezine can do so long as we’re all operating in Iiayikohn.”
“If that’s what you say,” Pekka replied.
Mina turned to Sorin. “So I guess you’ll have to leave soon,” she said. “Oh, I know! Why not head to the kingdom?”
Sorin considered the idea. He could head with Gale to the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn and stay there until Rain was able to speak with Queen Amelia and get her to rescind the charges. Until that happened, though, Sorin decided that he would consult with Gale about the idea.
“I think that’s our best option right now,” Gale said. “Besides, we can try to figure out what we can do once Rain takes care of your problem.”
“Yeah, that would be good,” Sorin said. “I guess we’ll have to get moving right away, then.”
“You can stay at the castle,” Rain told him. “I’ll call Storm and tell her that you two are coming.”
“Thank you,” Gale said. “Just keep Sorin and I updated on what happens, okay?”
Sorin nodded and got up with Gale. They said goodbye to the rest of the group and headed to their room. Time was moving fast and Sorin had to stay ahead if he and his friends wanted to challenge Foundation head on. Still, he had to wonder about Johan and Jelka and if they had already left the country. There was only one way for him to find out. As soon as Sorin got to the hotel room with Gale, he hurried over to the phone and made a call for the abandoned industrial complex just outside the city. It was a long shot, but he had to try. Five rings later, the phone picked up.
“Hello?” Johan asked.
“Johan, it’s me,” Sorin said. “Do you have a moment before you leave? It’s really important.”
[21st of December, 2740 AD; Sparkling Gold Eagle Hotel – Outside Lobby, Glora, Ahnlikohn]
Crowds surrounded the sides of the hotel entrance as Fercewend entered the hotel with a group of soldiers behind him. Ahnlikohnian guards held off the citizens as they expressed their displeasure towards the Ameci military and the Blood Ravens’ actions by the park earlier. Fercewend held his tongue as an old man rushed up and confronted him. The man’s cries about how his daughter was killed in the attack made Fercewend feel guilt, but he had a meeting to attend and could not be held up any further.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I must take my leave,” Fercewend said. “However, your loss is one I wouldn’t wish on anyone, not even my enemies.”
“Like you give a shit!”
The man attempted to grab ahold of Fercewend’s coat but was stopped by Bradley who punched the man in the face. With the towering Bradley looking down at him, the man rubbed his face and tried to stand up.
“Do not bother General Fercewend,” Bradley said. “I won’t say it again, so you better get the hell out of here before I change my mind.”
“If this is how Ameci treats its host, then all hope is lost,” the old man said. “Each and every one of you Ameci is full of shit!”
He stood up and ran away. Fercewend sighed as he greeted Bradley, who wore a cast on his left arm. A lot had happened in Glora today but Fercewend had many more meetings to attend before the trip was over.
“I’m sorry you had to deal with such an insufferable man, sir,” Bradley said. “It must’ve been a taxing day for you.”
“Please don’t worry about me,” Fercewend said. “As for you, should I take that cast as a sign that you encountered the enemy?”
“They’re a small group, but nonetheless they are deadly,” Bradley replied. “If it weren’t for my quick thinking, I would still be lying on the ground floor of the Glora Grand Hall with a broken neck.”
Fercewend shook his head. “Never would I expect that an Ameci would be the leader of a terrorist organization,” he said, “Yet here we are dealing with this Moonlit Silence. I am hoping that this is but the worst we have to deal with but I would advise you to keep your head up, commander.”
“That I will do,” Bradley said. “Luckily I escaped with a sprain; the doctor said it would take a few days of rest before it fully heals.”
“Then I would say to take all the rest you need,” Fercewend said. “Come now, let’s walk.”
They proceeded to walk down the hall together. Fercewend thought about Henry along the way, wondering if he would be able to talk to him again before he left. He did not see Henry at all during the day and wondered if he was doing alright since the last time they were together. Perhaps he would pay Henry a visit to see if he was doing well, Fercewend thought. Finally, after some walking, he made it with Bradley to the pair of closed doors.
“Is there anything you need of me, general?” Bradley asked. “I actually need to meet with someone.”
“If that’s the case, then I shall see you later,” Fercewend said. “Depending on this meeting, I may need to call on you once more.”
Bradley nodded. “Understood.”
He rushed off as Fercewend exhaled. There was little doubt in his mind that due to this incident, his stay would most likely extend. He had hoped to head back with his daughter soon, but Fercewend had considered the possibility that his work was not yet done. His family was important, after all, and he valued Ari’s safety above all else.
“Perhaps I should see how she is doing,” he said. “She should still be up in the room…”
The door before Fercewend opened, however, as Isaac revealed himself. A large smile formed on Isaac’s face as Fercewend greeted him and followed him into the small meeting room. Casper waited inside as the three men met together to discuss the incident near the park. Fercewend took a seat at the end of the table while Isaac sat next to Casper, handing the acting president a large stack of papers. As he leafed through the sheets, Casper adjusted his glasses and began to read aloud.
“As I’m sure you’re aware, general, we have much to talk about regarding today,” Casper said. “Namely, the ones behind the attack.”
“The Moonlit Silence,” Fercewend said. “How is it that I was unable to do anything about this? If I had known sooner Johan Kuu’s intentions, I would have put a stop to this before he even had a chance to start.”
“Don’t blame yourself too much,” Casper replied. “He was always a traitor from the start. It must’ve had to do with the loss of his father, if I were to hazard a guess.”
Isaac rolled his eyes. “It is not because of the loss of his father Voitto that triggered Johan Kuu to defect,” he said. “Some men are just merely predisposed to serve only for themselves because that’s the only thing they truly care about in this world.”
“Yes, which is why Mr. Kuu wishes to throw the whole world into disarray,” Casper said. “He’s even convinced former members of the True Thekohnians and the Neu Thekohnian Order to join his cause, as well as some other Ameci who feel sympathy for his so-called cause.”
“So you would say that with the chancellor’s assassination, Sorin Wilk is also part of this organization?” Fercewend asked.
He had met with Kirk’s son only once, but remembered him well. To think that someone like him would turn against his own land was unfathomable, yet it all made sense after reading the initial reports. Fercewend had to wonder what Kirk thought about all of this, yet even then, he was but a mere acquaintance to the legendary man himself.
“It really doesn’t surprise me in the slightest,” Isaac said. “I have heard from others that he is good friends with Mr. Kuu and that the two had always kept in touch. The fact that he is the son of a former member of the notorious Swords of Eight only serves to the notion that these men are predisposed to terrorism.”
“Yes, they must be dealt with,” Casper said. “We must be swift as possible when dealing with them, for if they are allowed to operate, they will dismantle everything that we Ameci have worked hard to preserve with the Thekohnian Region.”
“I never remembered the Swords of Eight being against us,” Fercewend said. “I have known them to be some of the most honorable people I have ever met in my life. Henry Randolph can also attest to that.”
“The Swords of Eight only served for their own ends,” Isaac replied. “It is not like you to doubt Ameci, Rohan, so I would suggest that you rethink your priorities and your allegiances.”
“Anyway, we also have reason to believe that the newly coronated Queen of Thekohn is in cahoots with the Moonlit Silence,” Casper said. “I’ve received many reports that have kept track of who she has traveled with and where their origins lie. General, I think you may be surprised at who is on this list.”
He handed the paper to Isaac, who then handed it over to Fercewend. One look at the list made Fercewend’s eyes light up with displeasure. Numerous men and women he had interacted with, but none of them were more surprising to see on the list than Gale. She had grown up in Fercewend’s household when she was younger due to the fact that her father was always busy, yet she was allegedly associated with a dangerous organization.
“This… This has to be a joke, right, Isaac?” Fercewend asked. “You do not intend on pulling my leg just for a cheap laugh, do you now?”
Isaac clasped his hands together and leaned forward. “If I were joking, would I have invited you here? Would I, owner and CEO of Kunigunde Industries, lead his own flesh and blood to believe a family member was part of a terrorist organization all for the sake of a laugh? Remember that I do not take these sorts of things lightly, which is why this hurts for me as much as I’m sure it hurts for you, Rohan.”
“I see… I suppose that the truth hurts even more when it comes to family,” Fercewend said. “I am sorry.”
“Yes, well, we are hoping to find answers to this as well,” Isaac said. “We’ve never dealt with a threat quite like this and I am hoping that you won’t burden yourself with fond memories, because I won’t.”
“I hope that it doesn’t come down to the worst,” Fercewend said. “Anyway, if this list is true, what should we do about the queen?”
“Let us see how she operates during this time,” Casper said. “There may be a possibility that she knows nothing about this group and that she is merely but a pawn for Mr. Kuu. Ironic, really.”
“There’s no need to be hasty,” Isaac added. “Anyway, let us discuss what we will do going forward. Is that okay with you, Rohan?”
“I have no problem with that,” Fercewend replied. “Shall we begin?”
To be continued…