Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 2)

[26th of December, 2740 AD; Temporary Base of Operations, Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Gavin said. “How the hell did that happen, damn it?”

“Bro, let’s just think for a second,” Law said. “As long as we know that Sorin and Eva are okay, then we’ll be fine.”

Gavin stared into the communicator’s receiver as Ayanna and Reiss were on the other end of the line. They had just received word about what happened at the campground and Gavin was waiting for what to do next. He was in disbelief, yet still Gavin continued to remain on the line for more details. Henry was also there as he stood with Gavin and Law in anticipation on what to do next. There was little that Gavin could say, but he was interrupted when Henry grabbed the receiver out of his hand.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” Gavin asked.

“Hold on one second,” Henry said. “Ayanna, can you tell us what’s going on now? What’s the update?”

“I’m still waiting,” Ayanna replied. After a few moments, she spoke again. “We’ve suffered a few losses, unfortunately. From what I’ve heard, nearly half the squad has been killed.”

“And what of Sorin and Eva?” Henry asked. “Do you have any info on their whereabouts?”

Ayanna paused for a couple of moments before speaking. “The last thing I heard was that Sorin had directed the group to fall back,” she replied. “I have no idea if he’s okay, but I am hoping that he and Eva will escape unscathed.”

“I should’ve went with them,” Gavin said. “We all should’ve went together, then we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

“Don’t beat yourself up over it, Gavin,” Ayanna said. “Besides, you three are supposed to meet with the Maeitakohnian forces, aren’t you?”

“That’s the thing,” Gavin said, “We still haven’t seen them yet.”

“Give them a few more minutes,” Ayanna replied. “President Khadir said that they’d arrive soon and I don’t think he’s one to be lax on his time.”

“Understood,” Henry said.

“What are you going to do now?” Law asked Ayanna. “It seems as if we’ve gone and suffered a loss here… Any ideas?”

“We’ll have to regroup first,” she said. “Once everyone’s together, then we’ll be able to plot out what we should do next.”

“Then it’s Dezine we’ll be going after,” Henry said.

“Yep,” Law said. “That old man’s a Kunigunde loyalist through and through. Ayanna wants him out more than any of us do, however.”

“Let’s just focus on Sorin and Eva’s safety, first,” Ayanna said, “Then we can talk about we’ll do with Dezine.”

“Of course, babe,” Law replied.

“I don’t have to remind you that we’re on a mission, do I,” Ayanna said. “As for you, Henry, let Reiss and I know when you see them.”

“I’ll call back once they get here,” Henry said.

“Very well,” she replied. “Then I’ll speak with you three once everyone’s safe and sound.”

“Okay then,” Law said.

After that, the communications closed off as Henry set down the receiver. Gavin looked out the window to find some bright lights shining outside as several people began approaching the base of operations. Upon closer look, Gavin saw that they were wearing the uniforms of the Maeitakohnian military.

“Looks like they’ve arrived,” Henry said. “Come on, you two, let’s go and meet with them.”

Gavin went with Henry and Law outside to meet the Maeita forces, but he could not shake the anxious feeling in his mind. Sorin and Eva were not far away from Gavin’s location, yet he felt miles apart from them both. He wanted to rush over and help but knew that he could not do that. All Gavin could do was believe in Sorin and Eva to escape, at least until he could get moving again.

“Guess we’re a little late, aren’t we?” Johan asked.

The sudden voice from back in the group of Maeitakohnian soldiers caught Gavin, Law, and Henry by surprise. It was obvious to Gavin that Johan was here, but no one knew the reason except for Johan himself. With one group of soldiers parting to the left and the other to the right, Johan walked through the opened path as Gavin rushed up to him.

“You have a hell of a way of making an entrance,” Gavin said. “What are you doing here?”

“Now, Gavin, I think you know the answer by now,” Johan replied. “Oh, by the way, I should tell you that these guys here aren’t the entire group that Khadir promised you.”

“You’re kidding, right?” Henry asked. “From my count, I see thirty soldiers. You mean to tell me this is all we’ve got?”

Johan chuckled as a grin popped up upon his face. “Hey, I didn’t say that he was only sending along this group,” he said, “Just that this is one group you guys see before you.”

“Okay, then where are the other soldiers?” Law asked. “And what about that lady that’s always by your side? Lover’s quarrel, perhaps?”

“I’m glad to see I’m being treated to such a warm welcome here,” Johan said. “Well, let’s just say I had a feeling about how this night would go, so Jelka and I decided to split this group up.”

“I guess I don’t need to ask why you’d know so much,” Gavin said. “To ask would be pointless.”

“No, but we ought to hurry up,” Johan said. “I would imagine with the way you three barged out of that building that something’s gone down, am I correct to assume?”

“You would be right,” Henry replied.

Johan turned towards the direction of Lead Campground. “So then we have no time to waste,” he said. “We’ll have to hurry!”

With the cheers of the soldiers, Johan hurried ahead with the group. Gavin hated to admit it, but Johan was correct. He had been correct the entire time and now there was so little time to move that Gavin just sprinted off without a second thought. He had no time to affirm to either Law or Henry about following Johan that they just decided to follow him as well. As Lead Campground stood close by, there was no need to take a vehicle. That, however, was not what Gavin was concerned about as he knew that he had to catch up to Sorin and Eva before it was too late.

*****

[26th of December, 2740 AD; Lead Campground Inner Forest, north of Habicht, Ahnlikohn]

Underneath the weight of the soldier on top of him, Sorin could only watch as Harold walked over to Eva. Bradley continued lift Eva up with his hands on her neck, but still she had her sword in her hand. What became the main concern in Sorin’s mind, however, was what Harold had just said. It was unbelievable to think that Harold would reveal that he killed Kirk as casually as possible that all Sorin wanted to do was deny it. Harold had to be bluffing. He had to be wrong. There was no way that it was possible, Sorin thought. His father could not have lost a fight, nor could Kirk have found himself in a situation he could not have won. Sorin leaned into his belief as Harold turned his head towards Sorin and smiled a wide, wicked grin.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said. “You’re thinking that I’m just a simple man whose only purpose is to serve Isaac Kunigunde. You don’t need to answer me, because I know that’s what you think of me.”

“There’s… There’s no way you could’ve done it,” Eva said. “I don’t believe you…”

“Be quiet,” Bradley said.

“It’s a dilemma, isn’t it?” Harold asked. “Of course, this is only the lead of a much bigger declaration. Killing Kirk Wilk was just a simple task that I so easily pulled off at any time; even that good-for-nothing Rysol went running instead of choosing to protect his father!”

“You’re lying,” Sorin said. “You’re just trying to deceive us, that’s all. That’s all you’re doing!”

“Give it up,” Harold said. “I could keep playing games with you here, but I have much bigger things to pursue than deal with you.”

Harold reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what appeared to be the handle of a sword. Sorin recognized the hilt once Harold took the handle out and dropped it on the ground near him. Sorin could not have mistaken the symbol of the Sword of Eight anywhere as denial turned into disbelief. The handle belonged to Kirk’s sword, though the blade was nowhere to be found.

“He put up a fight, that much is for certain,” Harold said. “I really ought to be thanking him, however; were it not for him, I wouldn’t have succeeded in my plans.”

“Our plan, right?” Korbin asked.

Harold looked down at Sorin. “It’s no use fighting now,” he said. “This fight is one you’ve already lost the moment you stepped foot in my domain.”

“It’s not over yet,” Sorin said. “I’m not going to let you get away with this, not a chance!”

“Please, save the empty words when you stand trial,” Harold said. “Or is it that you wish to forgo the trial and meet an early demise? It’s not like you have a chance of being found innocent either way.”

“It’s an open and shut case!” Bradley said as he looked at Eva. “So should I just kill her already? Seems like she’s not trying to fight back.”

Sorin directed his attention over to Eva, who continued to remain still in Bradley’s grasp. She was still breathing, though her sword lowered towards the ground. However, it was only when her sword dropped out of her hand did Sorin see the lack of expression upon Eva’s face. A blank gaze with no emotion. There was no fury or sorrow in her eye, only a listless feel that all hope had been lost with no point of return.

“Eva, please, please don’t give up,” Sorin said.

“It’s no use… Sorin, it’s impossible,” she replied. “I can’t… Kirk… He’s really gone now…”

“No, you can’t let him get to you!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Quit being a nuisance!” Harold said. “You have no clue when to give up, do you, you son of a bitch!?”

He knelt down next to Sorin and grabbed his hair. Harold pulled Sorin’s head up by hair and slammed him face down into the ground. Sorin could do nothing to resist as Harold pressed down on the back of his head.

“Perhaps I should be the one to kill Eva,” Harold said to Sorin. “Once I’m finished with her, then you’ll realize the true state that you’re in!”

“Ah, finally, some progress!” Bradley said as he dropped Eva to the ground. “I’ll let you take care of business, sir!”

Harold laughed. “Watch me, Sorin,” he said. “I’ll plummet you towards the depths of despair with one fell swoop!”

He got up and took out his knife once again with the intent to kill. Eva lay on the cold ground still with the dull expression on her face. Nothing stood in Harold’s way now, though that would soon prove to be wrong as the sound of footsteps echoed. The sound kept echoing louder, each successive footstep more resonant than the last. Sorin had one last bit of hope as Harold turned to the direction of the footsteps. Then, a light flashed upon Harold, leading him, Korbin, and Bradley to cover their eyes. The Ameci soldiers followed suit as Sorin knew that the best was saved for last.

“So you’ve finally shown yourself to the world,” Jelka said. “Harold Mars, you’ve just made a grave mistake!”

To be continued…

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