[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Hall]
As the sun went down outside the castle walls, Rain waited in the main hall with Mina and the others. It had been some time since Sorin had left the castle to look for Eva and Rain began to wonder what sort of news she would hear next. But even as she pondered about the endless possibilities, the west doors opened. Gavin and Law looked as Sorin entered the castle with Eva next to him. Everyone rushed over to greet the two, with Mina giving Eva the warmest welcome of all as she fully embraced the swordswoman and held her head near her chest.
“I’m so glad to see you, Eva,” Mina said.
“I’m… I’m glad to see you, too, Mina,” Eva replied. “You don’t have to hug me so hard.”
“Oh, sorry about that,” Mina said as she lifted her arms off of Eva. “I guess I was getting a little too excited to see you, you know…”
“It’s fine,” Eva said. She then looked to Sorin. “Did you say anything to them about what happened?”
Sorin shook his head. “I didn’t tell them anything,” he replied. “They were just worried about you, that’s all.”
“It’s good to have you here with us,” Rain said to Eva.
“Come on, Rain, don’t you see she’s tired?” Law said. “Clearly, Eva’s been through a lot and needs time to rest up.”
“Thank you for your concern, everyone,” Eva replied. “However, I’m not that tired right now, though I could use some relaxation.”
“Of course,” Rain said. “You have everything you could need here and I’m sure that someone would be glad to help you out.”
“So what are you thinking?” Law asked. “Maybe a long bath or something in that nature?”
“Give me a break, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “You’re really going to try and make some quip like that at a time like this?”
“Sheesh, give more credit than that,” Law said. “Who doesn’t enjoy a little relaxation and the chance to wash off the day’s endeavors? Eva, please, feel free to take as long as you want up there.”
“I suppose I can do that,” Eva said.
“I can go with you,” Mina said. “You know, just in case you don’t remember where the bath is.”
“I think I’ll be fine,” Eva replied. “I go upstairs, down the hall and to the left and enter the second door. Am I correct?”
“That’s right,” Rain said. “Please don’t hesitate if something’s the matter, Eva. We’re always here for you.”
“Okay,” Eva said. “Thank you, Rain.”
Nothing more needed to be said as Eva went upstairs. Everybody chose to remain in the main hall as Rain decided on what to do now. She had spoken with Khadir a few minutes before Sorin and Eva returned, guaranteeing a meeting with the Maeitakohnian president in two days. There were still many calls that Rain knew she needed to make, but she was one step closer to her plan. The next step would be to reach out to the other leaders, Rain thought. Still, Eva remained on everyone’s minds as Gavin looked over at Rain.
“So what do you think?” Gavin asked.
“I’d say it’s up to her,” Rain answered. “No reason for any of us to pressure her into rushing forth.”
“Well, it would make sense to leave it up to Eva,” Law said, “But she’s got a lot of unfinished business.”
“As do the rest of us,” Gavin said. “If she says she’s ready, then so be it, but I can’t say for certain that it’d be a completely good thing for Eva to fight if she isn’t up to it.”
“You can’t say for certain?” Law asked. “Come on, bro, we both know that that kind of uncertainty just isn’t your style.”
“I just don’t want anything bad to happen,” Gavin replied. “We all know exactly what she was trying to do not even two hours ago, and it’s only because Sorin arrived at the right time that she didn’t go through with it.”
“Actually, that’s not exactly what happened,” Sorin said.
Mina looked at Gavin. “Why are you wondering if Eva can still hold herself up? She’s been at this longer than any of us have! If she wants to keep fighting on, then let her!”
Gavin sighed. “I guess I’m the only one in this room that thinks this, aren’t I? Well, fine then, I won’t fight it.”
“There’s nothing to fight here,” Sorin said. “We’re all looking out for each other, that’s all.”
“You’re not wrong to have some concerns,” Rain said to Gavin. “We’re all trying to move forward in the best way.”
“Thanks for that, but I think I’m going to go and see what’s happening with Henry Randolph,” Gavin said. “He says that he’s supposed to have something vital for us. Let’s go, Lawrence!”
Law shrugged as Gavin motioned to him to move along. “There’s no choice here, it seems,” he said. “Well, I guess I can leave you three to take care of Eva for the time being.”
Law ran after Gavin as Rain could only have faith in their abilities, as well as have faith in Henry’s information. The scene in the main hall was much more quiet than before, though Mina was already headed towards the stairs while Rain watched her go up.
“I’m going to go check up on Eva,” Mina said. “I mean, she says she’s okay, but I wanna see how she’s doing anyway!”
“Very well,” Rain said. “Sorin, what are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “What’s your plan right now?”
“That’s something I’m still working on,” Rain answered. “I’ve already set up the necessary meeting, but I have to reach out to the other leaders. Plus, there’s the fact that we have to deal with Dezine, and I don’t know if the other leaders besides Khadir are willing to go up against him.”
“What about Kiku?” Sorin asked. “Didn’t she say she would try to convince her mother into allying with you?”
“She did mention that, but I’ve heard nothing from Yamazaki herself,” Rain said. “I am planning on reaching out to her, though Kikuisha has historically been a country that prefers to stay out of conflicts.”
“Is that so,” Sorin said.
“Regardless, there’s no reason for me not to try,” Rain said.
It was then that Rain noticed Gamal running towards her. She turned as Gamal stopped before her and bowed his head.
“Is something wrong?” Rain asked
“Excuse me, Your Majesty,” Gamal said. “It appears that we have a visitor from Ameci. A very important visitor, to be precise.”
Rain could only think of a couple of people that fit that description. No way could it have been Isaac, nor could it have been President Bradley. She could see no reason for either man to enter the kingdom, not during this time.
“You’re sure about this, Sir Gamal?” Rain asked.
“Yes, there’s no mistaking it,” Gamal replied. “General Fercewend himself is headed towards the castle as we speak.”
“Thank you,” Rain said.
“So you are comfortable with meeting him, Your Majesty?” Gamal asked.
“I was wondering if I would meet an Ameci official, which makes it all the more important that we welcome General Fercewend,” Rain replied. “If he is willing to speak with us, then I will meet with him.”
“Understood,” Gamal said. “I’ll be sure to let the guards know.”
Gamal hurried off to the front doors as Rain looked to Sorin. With a sudden turn of events, she knew that she had one chance to speak with the general. That meant Rain had to make this meeting count. If there was any chance of changing everything for the better, then Rain had to hear what General Fercewend had to say and move from there. Then again, she needed to know why the general would make this visit in the first place. Finding that out was important.
“Sorin, it may be good for you to join me here,” Rain said. “You don’t mind attending this discussion, do you?”
“Is it just the general himself that’s visiting?” Sorin asked.
“We’ll have to find out,” Rain said. “But I don’t think he’ll do anything that will cause an incident. Not as long as he’s the face of the Ameci military.”
“We should call on Henry as well,” Sorin said. “Maybe he’d want to see the general.”
“There’s no time to do that,” Rain answered. “We could ask Henry to join us if this meeting were planned in advance, but as it is, he’s busy right now.”
“Oh, right,” Sorin replied. “I guess I forgot about that.”
“I’m sure Henry would like to say a lot to the general if he were here,” Rain said. “However, there’s much I’d like to talk to him about and I don’t know how much time I’m going to get with him in order to do that.”
“Still, it’s surprising he’d make his way over here,” Sorin said. “I don’t get it at all.”
“That’s what we’re going to find out,” Rain said. “We’ll see if this is General Fercewend wanting to speak with us or if this is just another set-up by Isaac and Foundation.”
“We can never be too careful,” Sorin said.
“Indeed, we’ll have to see for ourselves,” Rain replied. “Of course, we’ll be able to see for certain once he arrives.”
After a few minutes had passed, Rain and Sorin watched the front doors open up. Gamal entered the main hall and led General Fercewend inside. The general himself was accompanied by two high-ranking Ameci soldiers as they made their way up to Rain. She reached out her hand to Fercewend, who did the same as the two shared a handshake.
“I’m glad that you’re able to meet with me after sundown,” Fercewend said. “I’ve got much to discuss with you in only a small amount of time, so I’m afraid that there’s no need for us to hold any sort of extensive meeting.”
“I understand,” Rain replied. “You’ve arrived for an important reason, so I will let you go ahead and let you speak your piece, general.”
“Well, first, I do have a question for him,” Fercewend said as he looked at Sorin. “Right now, Ahnlikohn is in quite a precarious position as we continue to speak. I would like to know for myself the answer as to why Chancellor Harring had to be killed.”
“I didn’t kill him,” Sorin replied, “And honestly, I don’t care whether or not you think I’m telling the truth.”
“Don’t you believe that there’s much more to the chancellor’s assassination than what you may have heard?” Rain asked Fercewend. “Why do you think that Sorin here had a hand in his death? What do you think that he stands to gain out of this?”
Fercewend shook his head. “I’ve heard a lot, Your Majesty,” he answered. “I have every reason to believe that Sorin Wilk assassinated Chancellor Harring, yet all the same doubt lingers in my mind that he would carry out such an act. That is, unless, there was another connection that you yourself may be unaware of at this time. Tell me, Your Majesty, are you familiar with the Moonlit Silence and its people?”
“I’ve heard a lot about them, sure,” Rain said.
“Then you realize what they are trying to do in the Thekohnian Region,” Fercewend said. “I understand the desire to bring about peace throughout the lands, but you must also be careful as to not inspire chaos. Otherwise, we will have many more incidents like the one in Glora.”
“You’re wrong,” Sorin said. “That was due to the Ameci military that Glora suffered a devastating attack. Rain did nothing to suggest that.”
“I want you to keep in mind the position that you’re in as well, Sorin Wilk,” Fercewend said. “While it is out of my reach to do so, I am able to file the papers necessary for your arrest if I so choose. So I would request you to kindly consider the value of silence in this discussion.”
“General, what is it that you wish to speak to me about?” Rain asked. “We don’t want to waste any more time here.”
“I’ve come with a compromise,” Fercewend said. “It is a simple one, but all the same it is a compromise for you to mull over for the next few days.”
“Tell me,” Rain said.
Fercewend peered at his pocket watch. “Call off the summit entirely,” he said. “We’ve already seen what has happened during the first few days, as it has done nothing but disrupted the order that we’ve worked hard to maintain in the Thekohnian Region over the years.”
“I’m afraid that’s not an option, general,” Rain replied. “I’m not about to give up on bringing everyone together and I’m quite surprised to hear that you would rather accept doing nothing over trying to make this world better.”
“Please, Your Majesty, it would be for the best,” Fercewend said. “President Bradley has stated to me multiple times that these meetings have done little to quell the ongoing unrest and terrorism that plagues this region.”
“And I’m sure he and Dezine have better solutions?” Rain asked. “I’m sorry, but I find it difficult to believe in these circumstances that they would have some sort of solution.”
“Well, if you want their opinions, then you can ask them” Fercewend said. “Right now, it appears that Hasker is on the mend and should be well enough to travel within the next week. You can ask him, too, once this is all said and done and we don’t have to worry about summits or meetings or trying to change the order that has already been set in place for us.”
“With all due respect, General Fercewend, it seems to me that you fail to understand why these summits are necessary,” Rain replied. “I’m not going to stop in my pursuit to make this world better, nor will anybody else that is on the kingdom’s side. I’d kindly suggest that you speak to whoever it was that told you to come over and tell them that we won’t be backing down.”
Fercewend turned towards the door. “If that’s the case, then it can’t be helped,” he said. “You truly intend to drive this entire region down a path of uncertainty, aren’t you?”
“What about you?” Rain asked. “Will you answer for the crimes of your soldiers or are you going to continue to look the other way?”
“I believe we’re finished here, Your Majesty,” Fercewend said. “I wish you nothing but good luck moving forward, because you are going to need a lot of it in the coming days. Unless you’re to change your mind and compromise, you should consider this the last meeting between Ameci and the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn. Farewell.”
Rain let Fercewend walk away with his soldiers as she knew there was no changing his mind now. Not as long as Isaac continued to remain involved with the Ameci government. All Rain could do now was to continue reaching out to the other leaders and move forward without the help of Ameci’s officials. But first, Rain wanted to see if Eva was doing well and if Mina was still checking in on her. However, Sorin had one more question for Rain.
“So that’s it, then?” Sorin asked. “What was the point of Fercewend’s visit if that was all he was going to say to you?”
“He’s being put to task by Foundation,” Rain said. “As long as Isaac has his foot on the pedal, he’ll drive Ameci towards his own wicked goals.”
“I know,” Sorin said. “The fact that he just ignores the actions of Korbin and his group seriously frustrates me.”
“I know it does, but we have plenty more work to do,” Rain said. “However, there’s something I need to do right now. You don’t mind waiting for a bit longer, do you Sorin?”
“I don’t mind at all,” Sorin replied. “In fact, I really should check up and see if Johan’s still around…”
“You do that, then,” Rain said. “I will be back soon.”
To be continued…