Aurora – Chapter 42 (Part 1)

[Various dates, 2727 AD; Admorse, Ameci]


(Little Blood Raven’s Awakening)


Everything had happened so suddenly. The sudden shock in young Korbin’s eyes as he bare witness to the sight of the corpses of both his mother and his twin brother, Kormac, in the living room of his house. That day was the first time he had even seen a dead body and, unfortunately, it was the two people he was the closest with. It was all like a nightmare that seemed to have no beginning or end, with the time seemingly stopping as Korbin found it difficult to breathe. None of it even seemed real, but there they were, lying before him. His mother, lying dead on the ground void of air, while his brother was wide eyed, his neck snapped. It could not be real, Korbin denied.

“Shit, it looks like you’re already here,” Harold said. “I mean…  I’m sorry you had to see this.”

Korbin could not understand. His father looked calm as he bent down by him. His hand rested on Korbin’s shoulder as he tried not to cry. His father did not like to see him cry, which only resulted in pain and further crying. Korbin had to be strong for his father’s sake, lest he incur punishment.

“What you see here, Korbin, was an accident,” Harold said. “It was only an accident and nothing more. Do you understand?”

Korbin nodded, as it was the only response he could give. It was the only response he knew.

“I’m glad to see that you understand,” Harold replied. “I know it may look like something else, but I assure you that this was not my fault.”


“Not my fault,” Harold repeated. “You got that?”

Korbin gulped. “I… I got it…”

“Very good,” Harold said. “Now, this next part is going to be tricky, but if you do as I say, we’ll be able to forget about this. It’d be in our best interest for us to do so, so I’m going to need your help disposing of them.”

“D-Dispose?” Korbin asked.

“They’re dead now, so there’s nothing we can do,” Harold replied. “The best option is, of course, to make sure that no one can find them. We wouldn’t want anybody else to suffer the pain you’ve had to endure, now would we?”

“I guess so,” Korbin said.

“Good, good, now get up,” Harold said. “We’ll have to act fast if we don’t want to be seen by anybody else.”

Korbin did as he was told and went with his father in order to take care of the bodies. He still had trouble understanding everything, but complied because he knew he could not refuse an order from his father. It took everything Korbin had for him not to cry the entire drive to the river. Once they were there, they disposed of the bodies and left as fast as they had entered. From there, Korbin thought that the pain was finally over, but he had no idea what was in store for him in the coming days.




About a week later, Harold left Korbin with one of his trusted allies: a man by the name of Casper Bradley. It had been an experience that Korbin had not experienced before, but he felt like he had somewhere he could call home. He did want to ask his father where he was going, but Harold did not answer him. Soon enough, however, Korbin learned from Casper that his father had gone away for a few days and would be back later.

“You shouldn’t worry yourself too much, kid,” Casper said. “Your dad just needs to take care of some business with a friend of his.”

“When will he be back?” Korbin asked.

“I don’t know,” Casper replied. “All I know is that he’s with Mr. Kunigunde right now. They’re probably talking about a lot of stuff you don’t need to worry about.”

“I… Okay, I understand…”

“Now why don’t you go play with my son,” Casper said. “I’m sure you two will get along fine. Just try not to make a lot of ruckus, okay?”

Korbin nodded. He went outside and saw Crawford, who was busy looking at something by the bushes in the front yard. After Korbin asked about what he was doing, Crawford gave him a simple answer.

“I’m watching this little bird die,” Bradley said.

“Why?” Korbin asked.

“Because I want to,” Bradley replied. “Do you like it?”

Korbin hesitated to give a response. “I… I don’t know…”

“It’s just a weak little thing,” Bradley said. “Come on, maybe you should let it die. Oh, I’ve got an idea!”

He moved aside and let Korbin have a look for himself. It was exactly as Crawford described it: a small bird lying on the ground, writhing as it struggled to move its wings. A familiar liquid coated the creature as Crawford patted Korbin on the back. Something told Korbin that this was yet another situation that he had no way of stepping out of, so he began to wonder to himself. He wondered if it was all normal, that this was all a part of growing up.

“What are you waiting for, Korb?” Bradley asked. “You know what we’ve gotta do, don’t you?”

“I don’t know,” Korbin replied. “I really don’t know!”

“You’re bigger than it!” Bradley said. “Just stomp on it already! You can do this for me, can’t you?”

It was then that everything blurred. Korbin could not tell what happened next, but before he knew it, he found himself stomping his foot onto the dying bird, going over and over again as Crawford cheered him on. Korbin could not cry, his fear turning to anger and then to joy as Crawford’s repeated rallying did much to keep Korbin going. The blinding fury he exerted upon the now dead bird fueled deep feelings of excitement in Korbin.

“Do it, Korb!” Bradley exclaimed. “You’re the superior bird! Way to crush its neck!”

And before he knew it, Korbin was finished. An unrecognizable mess of feathers, blood, and dirt dropped off the bottom of his shoe as he turned back to Crawford. It was over.

“Feels good, doesn’t it?” Bradley asked.

“It… it does,” Korbin replied.

“Looks like me and you are friends now, then,” Bradley said. “As long as you follow me, then you’ll be okay. Got it?”

Those words were familiar to Korbin, but this time he did not hesitate to respond. “Got it,” he said. “I totally got it.”

Crawford cracked a smile and looked over to the house. “My father’s still working, so we can have a little more fun,” he said. “There’s a forest nearby. Let’s go, Korb.”

Korbin nodded and followed after Crawford. He felt as if he could rely on this boy to guide him ahead during a time where he rarely saw his father. Many years passed since that day, but Korbin had a feeling that he would reunite with his father soon. He never did find out what truly happened to his mother and Kormac, but as long as Korbin had Crawford, he knew that he could keep going on until he was stronger.




Nine years had passed since the last time Korbin had seen his father. That changed one day when he went overseas to a country called Iiayikohn with both Crawford and Casper. A lot had changed over the years, the most noticeable being the fact that Korbin could not help but smile from time to time. It made some of the other children stare at him, but Crawford had reassured that to the both of them, they were all just afraid.

“They only look away because they know they’re weaker than you,” he said to Korbin. “You don’t need to pay them any attention.”

One other change was the fact that Korbin had found it easier to kill. He no longer had any hesitation to hold back killing any animal that Crawford deemed to be pathetic. That extended to people as well, as only a month prior, Korbin had found himself in a scuffle with a local schoolmate. It was after school, outside of the city when he and Crawford came across the boy. Korbin could not remember the reason for the fight, but he knew it had something to do with Crawford. Most of the time, it usually did. This time, though, instead of ignoring the boy and going on, Crawford decided on something different.

“He should know who we are,” Bradley said. “Why don’t you teach him not to mess with us, Korb?”

That was all the encouragement Korbin needed to unleash himself upon the other boy. He wasted no time in tackling him to the ground and proceeded to pummel him. Korbin had gotten stronger to the point where he could just snap several branches with ease and used his strength to wail on the defenseless boy beneath him. The unstoppable barrage of fists kept coming until Crawford could see for himself and hurried over to Korbin.

“I think that’s enough,” Bradley said. “God damn, you really did a number on him, didn’t you?”

“He… can’t mess with us anymore, that’s for fucking sure,” Korbin said. “This son of a bitch… I killed him.”

Crawford patted Korbin on the back. “Good job,” he said. “But it looks like we can’t just leave him here lying all bloody and shit. Why don’t we take care of what we started, okay?”

Korbin felt it was too easy, however. He had a desire within him to fulfill and felt an ongoing anxiousness whenever he was not engaging in a fight. That he wanted to fulfill his desire only made him more bored whenever he was not fighting, and Korbin could only wonder when the next unfortunate person tried to cross paths with him and Crawford. But when he went to Hurst in Iiaykohn, Korbin reunited with the man that had left him so long ago.

“Just as I thought, you’ve survived,” Harold said.

Inside the dark lobby, Korbin could feel the chill going down his spine. It was an unfamiliar feeling to him, but Korbin remained strong. He could not let anything get to him, not even this foreign setting. Harold walked into the lobby and greeted Casper while glancing over at both Crawford and Korbin.

“I did,” Korbin said. “I wasn’t going to let some fucking piece of shit try and kill me, because I’d beat the shit out of them before they’d try!”

“It still seems like you’ve got some learning to do,” Harold said. “Though at this point, your brain looks as if it’s beyond saving…”

“So what are we here for?” Bradley asked. “This is getting into my training, I’ll have you know.”

“Calm yourself,” Casper said. “There’s a reason why we’re all here today and I’m sure Mr. Mars is going to tell us.”

“I’m only going to tell you,” Harold said. “These two children don’t have any reason to hear any of this, nor should they.”

“As I thought,” Bradley said. “You’re just going to waste my time.”

“Now, now, Crawford,” Casper replied. “This won’t take long at all. Besides, there’s plenty to do around here, isn’t there?”

Harold turned away and headed down the hall. “Come along, Casper,” he said. “Don’t worry yourself about those two, we’ve got more pressing matters to deal with right now.”

“Oh, is it about Isaac?” Casper asked.

He hurried after Harold while Crawford shook his head. Korbin wondered why they came here if Harold was not going to speak to them, but that was when he heard a loud noise. He looked over to the door nearby and went over with Crawford to find out what it was that made that noise. A roar came from behind the door as Crawford backed off. Korbin looked at him and saw a grin upon his face, so he looked at the door again.

“So that Wilk boy is behind the door, huh,” Bradley said. “Well, now I see why we’re here after all…”

This was the first that Korbin had heard of such a person. Someone was behind the door and, from the sound of it, was ready to break down that door. It only made Korbin more curious about who this “Wilk boy” was and if he would ever have to face him. Whatever the reason, Korbin knew that there was only one reason he was here: so he could become even stronger. That was why his father needed him and why Korbin was so willing to go along.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Harold Mars’s hideout, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


“You’re bluffing,” Harold said to Rysol. “You’re bluffing because you’re about to die with a gaping hole in your chest! That’s the only reason you’d say something so outlandish!”

“You think I’d come here… without a plan?” Rysol asked. “No… you’re the one without a plan, Harold. This whole place… it’s gonna come crashing down… Everything you’ve worked for is going to go… and you… are going to die along with me!”

“What the fuck?” Korbin asked. “What the fuck is he talking about?”

“Don’t listen to him, Korbin,” Harold said. “He’s desperately holding onto his life for as long as he can. He’s trying to break you!”

“There’s a couple bombs on either side of the building,” Rysol said, “It’s only a matter of time before they go off… Better start running, Harold… unless you care so much about your project that you’d rather die…”

“What about what you said earlier, asshole?” Korbin asked. “The fuck are you talking about? What do you know!?”

Rysol started to laugh. It did not last long as he soon began to cough. Then, he turned over once more and stared up at the ceiling.

“It doesn’t matter now… does it?” Rysol asked. “You’re gonna die here with me, too… Both of you are going to die…”

“He’s losing it,” Harold said. “I can’t let this project go to waste!”

He spun around and hurried down the hallway. Korbin could only watch as Rysol coughed. Korbin wanted to know what Rysol knew and went over to him and knelt next to him.

“You’re wasting… your time,” Rysol said. “I’m already dead… don’t you know?”

“Bullshit! What did you say about my mother and brother?” Korbin asked. “You’ve got to answer me right now!”

“Only you know about… how they died,” Rysol replied. “About how… that man killed them… and what he did to make sure no one would find out…”

“If that’s the case, then you shouldn’t know a damn thing,” Korbin said. “It was so long ago that I practically forgot all about having family members! It’s just me and him, damn it!”

“Harold… told me a lot more… than he thought,” Rysol said. “If only he had a clue… then he would’ve killed me sooner…”

With one final breath, Rysol closed his eyes. Korbin shook him but found it unsuccessful in waking Rysol up. Korbin balled his fist and punched the ground as he screamed. He was confused as to what happened and Rysol’s departure only served to further that confusion.

“Why, damn it!?” Korbin exclaimed. “What the fuck is going on anymore!? Why can’t I remember!?”

At that moment, a deafening rumble echoed. The explosions went off as the building started to collapse. Korbin was in further confusion as the walls around him shook while the ceiling started to crumble. Everything was crashing down as several more explosions set off, the impact destroying the entire hideout beyond recognition until there was no more. The entire building ceased to exist.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 39 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; nearby Ahnle River, outside North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


The calm, flowing river was all that spoke now. Mina looked over Bradley, who was on the ground in a heap. As she looked for a response, Mina decided on the fact that she would have to consult with Luna on how to deal with Bradley now that he was incapacitated. Now, though, Mina had to see if Pekka was doing better now that he was not under attack.

“Luna, how is he?” Mina asked.

“He’s breathing, so he’s doing well,” Luna replied. “I’ll see if I can get him to wake up…”

As Luna attempted to get Pekka to wake up, Mina had to wonder if Eva had found the others already. She had to imagine that Eva would be heading this way soon, given all of the commotion that had taken place. Defeating Bradley was one thing, but Mina could not stop there. Foundation in all of its entirety needed to be taken down if there was to be peace. 

“It looks like he’s waking up,” Luna said. “Pekka, do you hear me?”

Mina watched as Pekka opened his eyes, groaning as he placed his hand on his chest. He looked up at Mina and Luna, both relieved to see that he was well. It was all Mina needed to see that she had arrived at the right time. Pekka then sat up and pointed at Mina.

“Behind you!” Pekka said.

Mina and Luna turned to see that Bradley had gotten back up, unnoticed by anyone. He started to rush at the two, picking up the knife on the ground in the process as Mina readied herself.

“You’re a fool to think that you had it over with!” Bradley exclaimed. “Now I don’t even care what happens, so long as I kill you all!”

But before Bradley could reach the three, Eva sprinted onto the scene with her sword drawn out. One quick swing of Eva’s blade stopped Bradley and made him drop the knife. Blood splattered onto the snow as Bradley found it difficult to breathe. Mina saw for herself what Eva had done to Bradley: she had just slashed his throat. He uttered not another word and dropped to the ground again.

“I haven’t forgotten,” Eva said. “Now choke within the flames.”

She cleaned her sword of blood and sheathed it. Sorin arrived and became witness to what was now Bradley’s corpse. Mina then registered what happened as she hurried towards Eva.

“Eva! Looks like you made it just in time,” Mina exclaimed. “I can’t believe how much that guy didn’t want to give up.”

“It’s not your fault,” Eva said. “Had he accepted what had happened, then maybe he would have received a little mercy.”

“I wonder about that,” Luna said. “He seemed set in his beliefs, even as it cost him his life.”

“He was dangerous, that much we know,” Sorin said. “People like him have to be dealt with one way or another.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Luna replied. “Somebody like him is a threat that we just can’t take lightly, you know?”

“He was done no matter what,” Pekka said, standing up. “Had Eva not come sooner, Mina would’ve been ready. Regardless, that’s one less piece of trash we’ll have to deal with now.”

“Speaking of which, maybe we should get moving,” Luna said. “The sight of him over there, even if he was horrible, is unsettling.”

“Of course,” Eva said. “I’m very sorry you had to see that.”

“It’s okay,” Luna said as she looked towards the forest. “Once we’re back on the path, then I think I’ll be fine.”

With Bradley taken care of, Mina went with the group on the way back to the main path. She felt that she and Eva made a great team, but now it was time for the group to get back together. One thing Mina noticed, though, was the fact that there were two unaccounted for: Johan Kuu and Jelka Arne. However, it was Luna who spoke up first.

“So, where are they?” Luna asked Sorin.

Sorin did not say.

“Johan is okay,” Eva said. “As for Jelka, it’s a different story…”

As Eva explained what happened to Jelka, everybody went silent. Neither Luna nor Pekka could respond to what they had heard. Eva’s words became the confirmation of what they were afraid of, as well as confirming Mina’s worries. Sorin continued to keep his head down while he walked. It was then that Mina realized that despite everyone’s efforts, it did little to change the reality that Jelka had died and Korbin Mars remained a threat. A few steps later, Luna proceeded to break the silence.

“If what you said is true, then Korbin should still be around,” Luna said. “He’s the one who killed her, right? Well, we should be going after him!”

“Korbin is long gone by now,” Eva said. “He knew that he would’ve stood no chance against us, which is why he took the extra measures he did.”

“He may have killed her, but she didn’t die without wounding him first,” Pekka said. “Korbin may have escaped, but Jelka dealt a serious blow to him. That is why he chose to flee.”

“At least we should find Johan,” Luna said. “He has to be taking it the worst, so we should be there to console him.”

“I think we should give him some time to himself,” Sorin said. “It wouldn’t do us any good to stay here any longer than we need to.”

“Aren’t you worried about him, though?” Luna asked. “He… He really did care a lot about Jelka, and that’s what worries me the most.”

“We don’t have to worry about him,” Eva said.

“I know that Johan doesn’t let his anger get the best of him,” Pekka said, “But all the same, maybe it would be best for us to go to him and see what we can do from there.”

“Yeah, there’s got to be something we can do,” Mina said. “Even if it means very little, I’m sure that Johan would appreciate our help!”

“It would be nice, but we all know that he wants this time alone,” Sorin said as he looked up. “The path is right over there; we’ll go and find Gale and Dustin. Besides, Johan knows where we’ll be staying, so it’s not like he’s going to be lost without us.”

“Are you sure?” Luna asked.

“Let Johan grieve by himself, Luna,” Eva replied. “After that, he’ll come and find us at the hotel.”

“If you’re okay with it then I guess I am, too,” Luna said. “Well? What are we all waiting for? Let’s go! We can’t just do nothing with this opportunity now, not when we’ve got a chance!”

Mina smiled and pumped her fist into the air. “We aren’t going to let this go to waste,” she said. “For Jelka and Kirk, as well as everybody else that’s lost their lives because of Foundation, we will put an end to these evildoers!”

Mina could see that everybody was devastated by what happened to Jelka, so she decided to remain positive. She had to if they were going to focus on the goal before them. Mina also wanted to do this because she did not want anyone to be forgotten, both living and not. It was Mina’s task to take and she did not mind at all. As long as she had some way of helping, then Mina knew that it would not be a waste of time.




[1st of January; 2741 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


It was a long and silent walk down the hallway as General Fercewend and Isaac Kunigunde entered the president’s office. With Casper nowhere to be found, Fercewend had to wonder what had happened to him. He felt uncertain as Isaac made his way over to the desk and pulled out the chair.

“To sit in this chair signifies that you’ve been bestowed a limitless amount of power,” Isaac said. “Since we’ve no idea where our friend is, perhaps you’d like to have a little taste of what’s to come in your future?”

Fercewend just shook his head. “Until we get a confirmation on President Bradley, I will have to decline,” he said. “Plus, Hasker should be here in a couple of days, so it’s his role to assume.”

“You still have faith in Casper, I see,” Isaac said. “I’d expect no less from you, Rohan.”

“I will admit that the uncertainty is making me think about it,” Fercewend said. “To serve the people of Ameci by becoming president would be the highest honor, yet still I wonder to myself would I be ready when the time comes. I know that you don’t really think about it that much, Isaac, but this is something that I’ve worked towards ever since I was a young lad.”

“I’m fully aware,” Isaac said. “You’ve been quite useful, and you ought to have hope that you will remain useful for years to come.”

“That’s what I wish for,” Fercewend said.

“Yes, you’ll be very useful indeed,” Isaac said, turning away to look out the window. “Quite useful, no matter what happens.”

“What do you mean by that?” Fercewend asked.

“Ah, what I mean is that no matter what, we’ll be victorious,” Isaac replied. “It’s always good to plan for anything, and I think you would agree.”

“Of course,” Fercewend said. “No matter what happens, we’ll be ready to face off against anything, even the unknown.”

Isaac turned back and smiled at Fercewend. “Seems to me that you’re well beyond ready to tackle the presidency, Rohan.”

“We’ll see when the time comes,” Fercewend said.

Fercewend heard the door swing open and turned around. Casper Bradley hurried into the room with his clothes covered in dirt and blood while his hair was unkempt. As Casper dropped to his knees, Fercewend went over to the man and reached out his hand.

“Thank you, general,” Casper said as he grabbed Fercewend’s hand and stood up. “My car had run out of fuel the moment I crossed the Iiayi borders. It took me a few hours, but I finally made it back just in time.”

“You’ve made it back just in time, indeed,” Isaac said. “Just in time for you to receive your retribution, in fact. General Rohan Fercewend, I want you to place this man under arrest.”

Fercewend’s eyes lit up as he looked over to Isaac. “What? What for?”

“I’m sorry for not disclosing this to you earlier, Rohan, but I’ve spoken to President Hasker this morning,” Isaac said. “After what Casper has done and has tried to do to us, it’s only fitting that he gets locked away for a long time.”

“Impossible,” Fercewend said. “What did he do?”

“He was using you, Rohan,” Isaac answered. “Casper was going to use you as a scapegoat for his illegal activities, but when I stepped in, he knew he couldn’t do that. That’s why he carried out an illegal mission on his own.”

“You must be playing a joke on me, cousin,” Fercewend replied. “Casper was going to stab us in the back?”

“It’s all bullshit!” Casper exclaimed. “Isaac is lying through his teeth!”

“How about you stay silent and let me talk, viper,” Isaac said. “Casper had a plan from the very beginning, acting on his own accord. Him becoming president in the wake of Hasker’s poisoning? It was all Casper’s plotting.”

Casper shook his fist. “Lies! You’re spouting nothing but lies!”

He charged at Isaac, but Fercewend restrained him before he could get any closer. Fercewend could not even begin to imagine what Casper had planned to do with him, but he had to guess that he was to take the fall should the news of Casper’s crime come to light.

“That’s enough, sir,” Fercewend said. “I think it would be for the best if you explained yourself, right now.”

“Well, those traitors are coming here,” Casper replied. “After I failed to stop them, I ran off. It was a cowardly move, but I had the traitors on my tail; I had no idea if they were coming after me, so I ran as fast as I could and ended up in the town of Helm.”

“A likely story,” Isaac said. “If it were the truth, that is.”

“It is the truth, Isaac,” Casper said. “Once I was there, I called my son and told him about what had happened. Crawford suggested that I lay low for a bit, which I did do, but only until I was sure I was in the clear!”

“What did happen, sir?” Fercewend asked.

“Oh, Rohan, it’s obvious that all he’s going to do is lie continuously until he thinks we’ll believe him,” Isaac said. “If you want proof, ask Piere. He’ll tell you all about it, from how Casper set up the poisoning all the way to how he would throw you underneath the wheel if he got caught.”

“You… You’re the one who suggested poisoning!” Casper replied. “It was you who told me to do it, damn it!”

“And where is your proof?” Isaac asked. “Unless you have something that’s written down in print, then it’ll be very hard to prove that I did anything.”

“I think it’s about time we take a precautionary measure,” Fercewend said, letting go of Casper. “I do not wish to believe that you would try and kill a fellow countryman, but I’m afraid until I’ve spoken to President Hasker, you will need to be placed in a holding cell.”

“This is ridiculous!” Casper exclaimed.

“Not as ridiculous as what you’ve been saying,” Isaac replied, as he then snapped his fingers. “Luckily, I’ve also been prepared for a while.”

Two guards entered the room and grabbed Casper by either arm. He tried to break free, but failed. Fercewend looked over to Isaac, and in that moment, he thought he saw Isaac crack a small grin on his face. However, Isaac had a scowl upon his face while Casper continued to struggle.

“You think you’ll get away with this?” Casper asked. “Crawford won’t let you get away with this once he hears it from me, I’ll have you know!”

“Oh, so now we’re devolving into threats,” Isaac said. “Did you think that you were invincible so long as you had Crawford?”

“What are you talking about?” Casper asked.

“President Hasker wasn’t the only person I spoke with this morning,” Isaac said. “After I finished talking to Piere, who else but Crawford would call me? Yes, your son went and told me a lot because he was quite concerned. It’s not easy to point the finger of accusation at someone you’ve known for all your life, but for Crawford, he was willing to tell me everything because he cared so much.”

“No, not Crawford,” Casper said. “There’s no way in hell that he’d turn his back on me!”

“Face it, Casper, no one is going to come and save you,” Isaac replied. “This is all the result of the truth surfacing to the top. You can kiss your wild dreams of power goodbye, my friend, because this is the end for you.”

The guards began to drag Casper out of the room, his struggling doing little to deter them. Isaac took a seat next to the desk while Fercewend sighed. There was a lot to take in, Fercewend thought. He still had trouble believing Casper was the one who attempted to kill Hasker, yet Isaac’s words made sense. Everything made sense, yet at the same time, they made no sense. Still, Casper had one last utterance while the guard escorted him out.

“Gloat while you still can, Isaac Kunigunde,” Casper said. “Because if you take me down, you’ll soon feel the same heat! Dezine knows!”

Fercewend watched as Casper left the room with the guards. The air was lighter now but the tension remained high. He had to wonder what Ameci would do now without Casper in charge and Hasker still a few days away from arriving. All Fercewend knew now was that it all stopped with him.

“Looks like it’s your turn,” Isaac said.

“My turn?” Fercewend asked.

“Don’t be nervous,” Isaac replied, as he gestured his hand over to the chair behind the desk. “This is exactly what you wanted, isn’t it? Go ahead and have a seat, Rohan; you’ve earned it.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 38 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2740 AD; Outside the Chancellor’s Mansion – Entrance Gate, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Sorin could find no words. What could he have said to Johan? He could not find it in himself to tell Johan that he was sorry. Sorin felt responsible for Jelka’s death and he believed that little could be done to change that. The silence did not waver as Sorin looked down at his shoes. He was not sure what Johan would say, but he was ready regardless of what Johan would tell him. After a brief moment, Johan spoke up and caught Sorin’s attention.

“Just wait right here, Sorin,” Johan said. “I’m going to go see if everything’s clear.”

Johan hurried up the mountain, climbing as fast as he could while Sorin did what he was told and remained where he stood. He had to imagine that Johan wanted something much more conclusive, but Sorin knew that Jelka Arne’s final breath was remarkable. There could be no mistaking that scream for anything other than the succumbing to a fatal blow. Jelka had been killed, and Korbin was her killer without a doubt. Sorin had to wonder how Johan continued to remain calm even in the wake of this tragic turn of events. As he continued to wait, Sorin saw Eva arrive with her sword at her hip. He saw in her face that she was already aware of what had happened as she avoided looking him in the eyes.

“I don’t even need to ask, do I,” Eva said.

“There was little I could do,” Sorin said, as he then explained to Eva what happened. “I was too careless.”

“You shouldn’t blame yourself,” Eva replied. “Jelka was protecting you for Johan’s sake, I’m sure.”

“I know that,” Sorin said. “I know why she did it, but I still don’t feel better about it.”

“It never feels good to lose an ally,” Eva said. “But we’re still going to fight together no matter what. Isn’t that right?”

“Yeah, it is,” Sorin replied.

“If Jelka didn’t shove you out of the way, then you wouldn’t be here,” Eva said. “If she didn’t, then everything…  would be a lot worse, that’s all I’ll say about that.”

“What about Gale?” Sorin asked. “Is she okay? What about the others?”

“Mina and I ran into her and Dustin on the way here,” Eva answered. “She is okay. As for the other two, Mina’s already helping them out.”

“Korbin didn’t come alone, that’s for sure,” Sorin said.

“The ruthlessness of these soldiers has no boundary,” Eva said. “Don’t ever forget about that.”

“I won’t,” Sorin said. “I’ve already made up my mind about what’s going to happen the next time I see Korbin.”

“He’s thinking the same thing, too,” Eva said. “Whatever you have planned, be prepared to fight as if you’ve got no other choice but to kill.”

Sorin knew it was something he did not want to admit, but what Eva said to him was true. Korbin was beyond all reason at this point. Having him surrender would be impossible as Korbin possessed a headstrong mentality that ensured he would never give up. Even so, Sorin had never killed anyone before. Even when he fought Korbin in the past, Sorin hesitated to use lethal methods. Now, though, Sorin felt that this was the only choice.

“Anyway, you two weren’t the only ones here,” Eva said. “I’m sure that that fiend is still roaming about the area. Johan’s here too, isn’t he?”

“He went to see for himself,” Sorin replied.

“He’s unarmed,” Eva said. “Is he that foolish?”

“You’re going after him?” Sorin asked.

“Of course,” Eva replied.

Just as Eva said that, the rustle of bushes caught the attention of both her and Sorin. Sorin saw Johan return with his head down, quite a different air from when he had left earlier. Despite peering at Johan’s face, however, Sorin did not see any tears. Johan sighed as he lifted his head up and looked over at Sorin and Eva as she looked at him as well.

“I’m sorry,” Sorin said.

“Buddy, you don’t need to apologize to me,” Johan replied. “The pain within your heart should not be stronger than the pain in mine.”

“It’s not easy,” Eva said. “That pain… neither you nor her deserve any of it, I truly mean that.”

“Jelka fought to the very end,” Johan said. “I knew she wouldn’t die without causing some damage against her enemies first… Those Blood Ravens never even stood a chance against her, and Korbin didn’t escape unscathed, either.”

He pulled an Ameci badge from out his pocket and showed it to Sorin and Eva. Small spots of blood decorated the badge, and a torn piece of cloth looked to have been taken from off of Korbin’s uniform.

“There was a lot of blood, but one thing I know is that Korbin attempted to erase his presence,” Johan said. “Most of the snow at the entrance gate had been removed by the time I arrived, which is impressive all on its own.”

“That’s quite unlike him,” Sorin said.

“I’ll tell you what I think,” Johan said. “I think he’s afraid. He wouldn’t care about removing his presence in a battle. Why would he?”

“Because he doesn’t want to be followed?” Sorin asked.

“It’s because I think he realizes that there’s nothing for him,” Johan replied. “Korbin fights only because it thrills him, yet slowly but surely he’s finding out he can’t even win all his fights. He can’t beat you by himself, nor is he able to kill me. Even against Jelka, she left her mark on him. That’s something he can’t just get rid of no matter how much he wants to try and hide it.”

“You’re saying that he’s a sore loser, then,” Eva said. “That seems too simple to be the reason why he wants to hide that fact, even for him.”

“I’m still trying to figure it out myself as well,” Johan said. “Despite how he often acts, Korbin’s a lot more complicated than I gave him credit for.”

“It’s got to be Harold,” Sorin said.

“I think so, too,” Johan said.

“As do I,” Eva said. “Regardless, we can’t let Korbin get away with any of his crimes. He has to be dealt with.”

“You mean to say that he needs to be killed,” Johan replied.

“That’s the only answer,” Sorin said. “Korbin can’t be reasoned with, nor would he be willing to reason with us. It’s beyond impossible at this point for us to attempt that.”

“Let me ask you a question, then,” Johan said, “Who is it that you should be angry at right now? Because Korbin’s not the one you should be directing that fire at, not in the slightest.”

“Korbin is a criminal,” Eva said. “Of course Sorin and I should be angry at him. He can’t be allowed to go on much longer.”

“I agree he should be dealt with, but you can’t forget the ones behind all of this,” Johan replied. “Sorin, if anyone’s going to have to deal with Korbin, it has to be me. He’s the one who has repeatedly impeded my mission, as well as the fact that he has hurt me the most.”

“Let me help, then,” Sorin said.

“I appreciate it,” Johan said. “However, I mean it when I say I’ll deal with him myself. You’ve got another person to direct your anger towards, and that is not Korbin. He’ll have to answer to me and me alone.”

“Just what do you have planned?” Sorin asked.

“I’ve got my ways,” Johan replied. “I’ll make sure that Korbin sees justice, just watch.”

Eva sighed. “I sincerely hope that you consider what is at stake, as well as what he did to both you and Jelka,” she said. “If you still think that you can solve all of this without any bloodshed, then you’re mistaken.”

“I don’t plan to stop you or Sorin,” Johan said. “What you do next is entirely up to you. I prefer to use my methods, even if you don’t happen to see eye-to-eye with me.”

“If you believe that, then I won’t stop you,” Eva replied.

“Very well,” Johan said. “It may be tough, but we have to keep going. Jelka gave Sorin this chance to fight on and we should use it.”

“Then let’s go,” Eva said. “Sorin, we’re going to go and find Mina, got it?”

“Understood,” Sorin said.

Sorin followed after Eva, but stopped as he noticed that Johan continued to remain where he stood. He turned around and waved over to Johan, catching his attention in the process.

“Aren’t you coming?” Sorin asked.

“Go on ahead,” Johan said. “I just want to have some time by myself, if you please.”

“Okay,” Sorin said.

He did not need to say anymore. Sorin understood what Johan wanted and respected that. Even as he was not showing it, Sorin could tell that Johan was in pain and nothing could alleviate it, at least not now. An immense amount of pain had been inflicted upon everyone now all thanks to Korbin, Harold, and Isaac. It was unforgivable, Sorin thought. He was determined more than ever to go forth and help Johan accomplish his goal.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; nearby Ahnle River, outside North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Mina glared at Bradley. It took everything she had in order to keep herself from flying at him, given who he is and what he had done. There was nothing Mina wanted more than to drub Bradley, to show him the pain that he had caused for others. The thought was tempting, Mina had to admit to herself, but she knew that Bradley could not wait. Whatever he had ready, Mina had to watch out for because he had already demonstrated his worst on Luna and Pekka.

“Let’s not fool ourselves here,” Bradley said. “I can already tell you exactly what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it.”

“You wish, villain,” Mina said. “I’ve already seen what you’ve done! You’re nothing but a coward who can’t win without the help of Isaac Kunigunde! He’s the only reason you’ve been able to get away with this for so long!”

“Watch your words,” Bradley replied. “Don’t think even for a second that I care for anyone by myself and my family line!”

“He really means that,” Luna said. “He means what he says, Mina! All this monster cares about is himself and nothing more!”

“Everything that has happened has only happened because I strived for my fill,” Bradley said. “Using people like Korbin and Erik helped me get closer to that goal, which I’m sure you wouldn’t understand.”

“Of course I wouldn’t understand,” Mina replied. “How could anyone begin to comprehend that unless they were evil like you?”

“Do you think everything is so black and white?” Bradley asked. “I’m not the only one who uses people for their own gain, you know; I just happen to be very good at it.”

“I don’t care what you think!” Mina exclaimed. “All I care about is making sure that I stop you!”

“You can try, but I will come back,” Bradley said. “Even if I lose, I’ve already ensured my victory. Even my father can’t stop what I’ve got planned for him. The fool won’t even see it coming!”

“You’d even use your own father for your own gain?” Luna asked.

“I’ve already told you,” Bradley said, “People exist solely to be used by me and that man is no exception.”

“Even someone like him is just a pawn to you, huh,” Mina said. “To think I would find some pity for a villain like him, all because an even worse villain was using him for his own greed!”

“I’m not the only one,” Bradley said. “I’m sure he was thinking about how he was going to throw me on the sword… Even your precious Queen Thedam uses people too, you know?”

“You don’t know a thing about her!” Mina replied.

“Why else would you be here?” Bradley asked. “You’re only here because of what she told you, am I wrong? You’re nothing but a tool to her, and she’d gladly throw you away if she had the chance.”

“Not another word,” Mina said. “That’s it!”

She wanted nothing more to do with Bradley. The time for talk was over as Mina clenched her fists. Bradley appeared to realize it, too, as he got into a stance and prepared himself. Mina was not going to waste any time fighting Bradley; she knew that there was no going back.

“No matter,” Bradley said. “I’m going to beat you like I did those two, and we’ll see who truly is right here!”

Mina did not need to hear any more from him. She sprang forth and ran at Bradley, who decided to do the same. He threw the first punch at Mina, who took the chance and responded with a punch of her own. The two were close now with next to no room for either one to dodge. Mina watched as Bradley’s fist flew past her. Bradley, however, had no way to say the same as Mina’s fist made a direct hit with his face. He recoiled and stepped back while Mina turned and looked at him. She had him now.

“We’re far from finished!” Mina exclaimed.

“You… You think you’ve already won, haven’t you?” Bradley asked. “Well, I can still fight!”

Bradley leapt forward at Mina. She prepared herself for whatever Bradley had next. He led forth with a roundhouse kick, something Mina was ready for as she crouched down. As his kick missed, Bradley began to lose balance. Mina then jumped up and took out her sword. She thrust the handle of her blade up into Bradley’s jaw, making him reel once more. With Bradley losing his stance, Mina now had her chance to end the fight. As she stepped forth, though, Bradley began to laugh.

“I’m not going to give up,” Bradley said. “I’m not going to lose to you! I’m sure as hell not going to lose to you!”

“Forget it,” Mina replied.

“I won’t go down without taking you out first!” Bradley exclaimed.

But as Bradley tried to maintain his composure, he stopped. The wound in his shoulder had registered, causing him to react as he reached over for his stab wound. Mina could see that Bradley had trouble moving his right arm.

“It’s just a little pain,” Bradley said. “I can still fight! I can do it!”

“You really think so?” Mina asked. “Because it looks to me as if you can’t even move your arm.”

Bradley looked at the wound once again, then back to Mina. “Then it really is over, isn’t it? I clearly can’t fight, can I? Then maybe show me some mercy or something!”

“No way,” Mina replied. “After all you’ve done, now you want us to show you mercy?”

“Yeah, you can’t just get away with everything!” Luna said.

“Aren’t you all about justice and heroics and all that crap?” Bradley asked. “Then why would you beat on someone who’s clearly hurt!?”

“Because the pain you feel is nothing compared to the pain and suffering you’ve caused others,” Mina said as she sheathed her sword. “Luna, take this! I’m going to finish it!”

“Okay,” Luna replied.

Mina tossed over her sword to Luna, who caught it with her free hand. All that remained now was for Mina to take down Bradley. He had no way to stop her now as she rushed at him.

“No, please, don’t!” Bradley pleaded.

Mina ignored his weak attempt and shoved Bradley into the tree nearby. It took little time for Mina to thrash Bradley as she thrust her fist into his stomach. The impact took Bradley out as he had no shot at defending himself against Mina and her attacks. Mina kept up the pressure with an elbow to Bradley’s face. With that decisive blow, Mina knocked Bradley out cold as his body collapsed onto the ground. With the fight concluded, Mina breathed a victorious sigh of relief.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 38 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; nearby Ahnle River, outside North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


With Bradley after them, Luna and Pekka hurried through the forest. It had taken them several meters away from the castle, but Luna trusted Pekka’s instinct as they arrived at the sight of a river flowing in front of them. Though it looked to be crossable, Luna watched as Pekka stopped and turned around. She was left to do the same as she wondered what he had planned now.

“You want to stop here?” Luna asked.

“We’ve gone far enough,” Pekka said. “Any moment now, our pursuer will arrive and we’ll have to take him on. Prepare yourself to face the worst that this guy has to offer, Luna.”

Luna nodded. “I’m ready,” she said, taking out her knife. “I’m not scared to attack, nor should I be.”

“Our advantage remains the same,” Pekka said. “That coward’s coming at us right now, so let’s get ready.”

Luna saw Bradley running straight at them, even as he was still a distance away. She had to counter him with everything she had at her disposal, which also included Pekka’s help. But as they readied themselves upon Bradley’s entrance, he stopped a few feet before them and grinned.

“I see what you’re doing,” Bradley said. “You think I’m some sort of fool or something?”

“You’re outright dangerous,” Pekka replied. “That’s why we’re going to put a stop to you and your little friends.”

“Oh, don’t go on about that again,” Bradley said. “I couldn’t care less about what happens to that freak.”

“We already know how awful you are,” Luna said. “You’re no better than Korbin, you know that?”

“You only wish I was,” Bradley replied. “The fact is that he’s the way he is because of his father. Harold’s a smart man, but you wouldn’t want to get on his bad side, I’ll tell you that much.”

“I don’t give a damn about what you say,” Pekka said. “Right now, all I care about is dealing with you, which is why she and I picked out quite a good place to take you on.”

“Seems like you get it,” Bradley said. “We don’t need to talk about Korbin or Harold… You just want a chance to beat me, don’t you?”

“We’ve already done it before,” Luna said, “And we can definitely kick your butt again! I will make sure of it!”

“That confidence is amusing,” Bradley replied. “I’ll warn you firsthand that I didn’t forget about what you two did to me the last time. Yes, I think that bump on my head you gave me told me that I needed to get stronger.”

“Stronger or not, we’re ready for you,” Pekka said. “If you want to come at us, then I implore you to bring it! Just don’t be surprised when I hit back twice as hard.”

Bradley chuckled. “You ought to be careful about what you wish for,” he said. “Like I said, I’m not the same man you’ve fought before.”

He took a step forward and stretched out his arms. Luna looked over to Pekka, who looked back at her. The time for talk was over and they had to act now before Bradley could get himself ready.

“You know what’s next, don’t you?” Pekka whispered to her.

“I’ve got it,” Luna replied.

“Then let’s hurry,” Pekka said.

With that, Pekka launched himself at Bradley. There was no doubt that he was going to try and knock Bradley out before he got a hit in. Luna followed in after him, taking up the back as she watched Pekka charge Bradley. With his fist raised, Pekka threw a punch towards Bradley’s head. However, Bradley blocked the strike with his hand, catching Pekka off guard.

“Unbelievable,” Pekka said.

“You’re going to have to do better than that,” Bradley said. “If you believe even for a second that I’m about to let you hit me with that tired move, then you are absolutely foolish.”

Pekka withdrew his fist and back off. This time, he opted for a high kick at Bradley, who bent backwards so he could dodge. With his foot hanging in the air, Pekka brought his leg down as he moved forward. Bradley moved to the left and missed the connection, and took his time to strike back at Pekka. Pekka dodged the punch thrown at him as Bradley followed up with another one.

“Any time now,” Pekka said to Luna.

“Of… Of course,” Luna said, which snapped her out of her daze. “I’m going to help you right now!”

Luna joined in the attack as she tried to hit Bradley while avoiding Pekka at the same time. This fight proved different from the last time she had to face off against Bradley, as there was no high or low ground to utilize. She just had to rely on her skills as well as Pekka. She swung her knife and swiped at Bradley, making contact with his arm and cutting into his uniform. Her strike proved successful as Bradley viewed the cut that had formed on his arm.

“So you’re not all talk,” Bradley said. “You’ve got plenty of fight in you, you know that?”

“Why don’t you keep your compliments to yourself,” Pekka said.

“Yeah, I sure as heck don’t need your approval,” Luna said. “All I want to do is to see you suffer!”

“Fine then,” Bradley said. “It’s not like it’s a fatal wound, anyway. Besides, I already know what you’re going to throw at me…”

Pekka took the chance. He threw a punch at Bradley as he spoke. He broke through and made contact with Bradley’s face, which sent him reeling. Pekka did it again as his fist flew through the air, hoping to knock Bradley onto the ground. However, Bradley acted fast and kicked up some snow in Pekka’s direction. Pekka could not avoid the snow and put up his arms in defense. Bradley charged at him and attacked, but Pekka remained on the defense as he dodged each of Bradley’s punches. Luna hurried in and swung her knife at Bradley once more, cutting his shoulder in the process. Bradley tried to fend off Luna’s attack, leaving Pekka to lunge forth and grab the collar of his uniform.

“It’s as I said,” Pekka told Bradley, “You can’t beat us. You’ll never be able to beat us and you won’t be going anywhere once I’m finished with you.”

“You’re going to kill me?” Bradley asked. “I’d like to see you try!”

Bradley attempted to escape Pekka’s grasp, but found that Luna plunged her knife deep into the top of his right shoulder. Upon his realization, Bradley let out a terrifying scream.

“Impossible! When did you find the time to stab me?” Bradley asked. “How the hell did you do it?”

“Funny thing about that,” Pekka said, “You were so focused on me that you forgot about Luna’s ability to decide this battle.”

“I didn’t think that she would do it,” Bradley said. “Motherfucker!”

“Oh, and I’m not afraid to get a little blood on my hands if it means that we never have to deal with you again,” Pekka added. “Luna just made it all the more possible for me to finish you off, that’s all.”

“I still can’t believe it, either,” Luna said. “I’ve… I’ve never gone this far in my life before, but I knew he had to be stopped. He’s too much of a threat to leave alive, Pekka, so do what you have to and make it quick!”

But before Pekka could do anything, a loud, excruciating scream echoed. It was obvious who that scream belonged to as Luna looked around. Pekka paused as he wondered, too, what had happened.

“That’s got to be Jelka,” Luna said as she looked around. “There’s absolutely no way that that isn’t her, I can just tell by hearing it!”

“Idiots!” Bradley exclaimed.

It took no time for Bradley to wriggle his way out of Pekka’s grasp. He then shoved Pekka towards a nearby tree, pinning him against the trunk as Luna then turned back to see the scene. Unarmed, Luna chose to rush Bradley, who kicked her back while he remained trained on Pekka.

“That bitch stabbed me, you know,” Bradley said, “But even though it hurts beyond all hell, I still got a lot of strength in me to turn the tables around on you! Why don’t you try this, you piece of shit?”

Bradley then proceeded to punch Pekka in his chest several times, each one stronger than the last. Pekka tried to defend himself, but as he did, Bradley chose to headbutt him. The impact shocked Pekka as the onslaught continued, Bradley unrelenting as Luna got back up on her feet. Pekka found himself unable to keep his defenses up and dropped to the ground.

“Don’t think I’m done with you yet!” Bradley exclaimed.

Luna mustered everything she could and rushed at Bradley again. It was all she had against him as he turned and threw a punch at her. Luna moved out of the way, stumbling forth as she came close to bringing down Bradley. However, Bradley stopped her before she could do anything. It was clear to Luna that the advantage that she and Pekka had was no longer there.

“It’s a waste,” Bradley said. “The fact that you hesitated means I’m left with just killing you along with this weakling.”

“You’re just rotten,” Luna replied. “No amount of victory will ever change that fact.”

“Don’t make me laugh,” Bradley said. “I knew I was going to win because I know I’m much stronger.”

“It won’t last for long,” Luna said. “You know that the others are coming for you, right? Even if you kill Pekka… Even if you kill me… no matter what, it’s the beginning of the end for you! You and Foundation are going to lose!”

“That’s enough from you,” Bradley replied. “I’ve still got a worthless piece of scum to kill before you!”

Bradley used his free hand and punched Luna in the face, dropping her to the ground and focused his sights on Pekka once again. Luna was left to tend to her face as Bradley looked at her once again before setting his eyes on the knife sticking out of his shoulder.

“By the way, I really should return this to you!” Bradley told Luna.

He reached for the handle and pulled out the knife, wincing as he took hold of Luna’s knife. Bradley then threw the knife at Luna, just missing her as it settled in the snow next to her. Though she could still stand to fight, it was obvious that Bradley was much more trained in his skills. With Pekka out, Luna felt that the only option she had left was to run away. She could not do that, though, because she would never abandon Pekka.

“It won’t take long for me to finish you,” Bradley said to Pekka, kicking him in the chest. “I’ll do it nice and slow so you can feel all of your hope abandon you before you die!”

As Bradley kicked Peka over and over, Luna had no idea what to do. It was then that Luna heard a yell off in the distance once more. This one did not belong to Jelka, though, but rather to Mina. Her yell grew louder as Luna turned around and saw Mina rushing onto the scene.

“I’ve finally found you!” Mina exclaimed. “Stop right there!”

Bradley stopped his assault and looked over to Mina. Luna could see that Mina did not have her usual energetic smile, but rather the furious scowl that no one wanted to see. Luna stood up and picked up her knife as Mina came over to greet her.

“It looks like I came here just in time,” Mina said.

“How did you find us?” Luna asked.

“Oh, that was easy,” Mina replied. “I heard everything from where I was and started to run to where you were!”

“Thank you, Mina!” Luna said.

“It’s nothing,” Mina said. “This is just what I have to do, that’s all! I’m going to make sure that this villain won’t get away with what he’s done!”

“Is that so?” Bradley asked. “That’s some big talk coming from you. I’m not going to go easy on you, you know that?”

“Villains like you never fight fair,” Mina replied. “Kicking Pekka while he’s down is just what I expect someone like you to do! That’s why I’m here to put a stop to you!”

“Watch out, Mina,” Luna said.

“Don’t worry,” Mina said, “I’ll make sure he’ll get what he deserves!”

“Of… Of course,” Luna replied.

“Even if you did beat the other Blood Ravens, I’m still the one standing,” Bradley said. “I’ve heard a little about you from Korbin; someone like him could never beat you, while I’ll just win in seconds flat!”

“Luna, you should check in on Pekka,” Mina said. “Let me handle this guy one-on-one!”

“You’re really going through with it, aren’t you,” Bradley said. “Fine then, I won’t even bother with our friend here. Besides, it looks like he’s hurt enough by my attacks already.”

Bradley stepped away from Pekka and moved towards Mina’s direction. It took Luna no time to hurry over to check in on Pekka and see if he was okay. She checked for his pulse first and found that he was still alive. Luna was fortunate that Pekka held on, but he remained unconscious for injuries that Luna had no idea how to discern. For now, though, Luna had to believe in Mina. She had to believe that Mina would do as she said and defeat Bradley. Only then could they make their escape from Ahnle Mountain.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 37 (Part 1)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Inside the Chancellor’s Mansion – First Floor Study, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Sorin clenched his fist. He had nowhere to run to now that Korbin had his gun trained on him. Had Korbin figured out that he would be here? No, Sorin had a feeling that this was not Korbin’s idea. Isaac had to be involved focused on the Moonlit Silence. Sorin could not count out Harold, either, given that he also had a hand in helping out Chancellor Harring. Above all else, though, Sorin had to get out and find Jelka. But first, he had to deal with Korbin, who was standing right in front of him. There was only one way Sorin could with his adversary now, so he took a deep breath and exhaled.

“You already know I’m not going to lose to you,” Sorin said. “Just move out of the way, because I won’t give up.”

Korbin kept his gun raised, his hand shaking. “I’m not about to let you run off,” he said through parted breaths. “This is it… This is the final time between us, Sorin… And once I’m done with you, I’m going to kill Johan Kuu as well!”

“You didn’t come alone, did you?” Sorin asked.

“I’m not telling you a damn thing,” Korbin said. “All I know is that I’ve got a lot to prove now, and I can start by taking you out and doing everyone a real big favor! Don’t even think about running, because I’ve got my eye on you!”

“Then that means you’re alone,” Sorin replied. “Bradley’s not here with you, is he?”

Korbin growled. “Shut the fuck up!”

“So I’m right after all,” Sorin said. “I didn’t see any Ameci soldiers on the way here, so that means you’re all by yourself right now.”

“Say another word and I’ll shoot you right in the head!” Korbin exclaimed. “I’m not going to waste another second trying to kill you!”

“Go ahead,” Sorin replied. “But I know for a fact that no matter how hard you try, you’ll miss. You’ll miss me because all you know how to do is fail.”

Korbin grumbled. “You truly are a pain in the ass,” he said. “That’s what you think of me? I’m a failure to you?”

He proceeded to laugh. Korbin’s cackling unsettled Sorin for a moment, but he managed to remain focused on what was at hand. He knew that this would not last for long, but Sorin needed a way out sooner rather than later. Once Korbin finished laughing, though, he retrained his aim on Sorin and screamed as loud as he could.

“I’ve had enough of you,” Korbin said, “Now fucking die already!”

“Not a chance,” Jelka said.

Sorin looked behind Korbin and saw Jelka run towards him with her sword drawn. He knew that by having Korbin losing his nerve and yelling, it would help catch Jelka’s attention. Sorin just sped up the process, which turned out to be in his favor.

“You!” Korbin exclaimed as he spun around.

“Sorin, get ready!” Jelka said.

Sorin nodded and drew his sword. “Now it’s over, Korbin!”

He charged forward while Jelka did the same from her end. With both his front and back under attack, Korbin could not defend himself in time. That was what Sorin thought, anyway. With the next strike being important, Sorin swung his sword in a vertical motion. However, Korbin grinned.

“Did you think I wouldn’t have noticed?” Korbin asked.

With his left hand, Korbin pulled out his sword. He raised right behind the back of his neck and defended himself from Sorin’s attack. Meanwhile, he held his right arm up and defended Jelka’s strike. The encounter held still as no one moved an inch.

“I knew you didn’t come alone, Sorin,” Korbin said. “Did you really think I was that stupid?”

“You don’t give up, that’s for sure,” Jelka said. “But we are done playing around, which is why we’ll defeat you!”

“I said I had a lot to prove, Sorin Wilk,” Korbin said. “I didn’t come here to fight; I came to kill!”

Sorin had no idea what Korbin would do next, but he braced himself all the same. Korbin maneuvered himself and ducked down as both Sorin’s and Jelka’s blades connected with each other. They soon separated and turned to face up against Korbin once more. Korbin, though, had already moved and fired off his shot. Sorin could not even react in time, nor could Jelka. Sorin looked down at himself and found no wound, but when he turned to Jelka, all he could do was stare as time seemed to stop.

“I told you,” Korbin said, “I told you that I was going to prove myself… and now I just did.”

Jelka looked down and saw the bloodstain on her chest. She could not utter a word, although she managed to keep standing even as the pain began to arrive for her. Another shot rang out with the bullet hitting Jelka in her stomach, but still she remained standing on her feet. Sorin looked over to Korbin, who held his gun up once more.

“How could you,” Sorin said to Korbin.

He repeated himself again, but this time with an intense rage behind his words. Just as he was about to attack Korbin in retaliation, however, Jelka chose to move forth. She screamed as best she could with her sword raised high and rushed Korbin with all the strength that she had. Korbin fired another shot and got Jelka in her shoulder, but she continued to charge at him.

“You’re still fighting!?” Korbin asked.

“As long as I beat you, then it’s worth it!” Jelka exclaimed.

Sorin had never seen Korbin caught off guard before. The wounds did not appear to phase Jelka, who attacked Korbin head on. Korbin defended himself by raising his blade in time, but Jelka’s tenacity had already shifted the favor away from the leader of the Blood Ravens.

“What are you doing, Sorin?” Jelka asked. “Get out of here, now!”

“I won’t do that,” Sorin said, “Not while I can still help you!”

With his added strength, Sorin helped contribute to the momentum Jelka had over Korbin and knocked him down onto the floor. Korbin lifted up his arm and fired his gun twice more, but this time both of his shots missed Sorin and Jelka. For the first time, Sorin could tell Korbin was at a loss.

“You’re fucking kidding me,” Korbin said. “I was gonna prove myself! I was going to get my fill!”

“For you, it’s over,” Jelka replied as she brandished her sword. “You’ve got no way of getting out of this…”

She took a single step forward towards Korbin, but stopped as she began to cough up blood. Jelka could not move, and Sorin felt as if he could not either. He knew that he had to evacuate the mansion with Jelka and ensure that they both survive, but Korbin was ready to strike.

“I’m not taking any more god damn chances,” Korbin said, getting on one knee and lifting his arm. “You talk all you want about beating me, but I’ve already made my mark! Now die!”

Sorin had to think fast. Jelka was in a lot of pain and in critical condition. He not only had to get her out of the way, but escape as well. Above all else, that was Sorin’s goal. There was no time to consider the options, Sorin just had to take a chance and go with it before Korbin acted.

“Jelka, move!” Sorin exclaimed.

Without a second thought, Sorin hurried towards Jelka. Korbin had his gun ready and trained as he fired the last bullet. Everything felt like a flash of light as Sorin ran and took Jelka by her wrist, rushing with her while she still dealt with the pain Korbin had caused her.

“This… this is it for me,” Jelka said. “You… should’ve just ran for it…”

“If I did that, how could I face Johan?” Sorin asked. “I’m not about to leave you here to die… not while we still have a chance.”

He could not even think about what was happening now. Sorin had gotten what he needed from Harring’s possession and now had Jelka to save. He knew that Jelka’s inflictions were bad to the point of being fatal, but as long as they both continued to hold out long enough, Sorin could go and get Jelka taken care of as soon as possible. However, he had no idea what awaited them outside on the forest’s path.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; West Ahnle Pass, outside North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Outside the castle gates, Pekka led the others through the chaos. The battle between the royal guards and the Blood Ravens happened as the group moved out of the way of the action. The skirmish continued with the roaring of gunfire and clashing of swords, the combatants oblivious of Pekka’s sneaking. Gale kept herself close behind Pekka and Luna, while Dustin brought up the back.

“You guys haven’t noticed it, have you?” Pekka asked.

“It’s hard to notice anything while we’re running,” Gale said.

“We’re a considerable distance away from the action, so we should be safe for now,” Pekka said. “These men, these Blood Ravens, they’re a much different group of people compared to the Ameci military.”

“You mean they aren’t from Ameci?” Luna asked.

“I think it’s safe to say that these men may have been hired to serve only the Blood Ravens,” Pekka replied. “It’s unlikely that General Fercewend would ever carry out an order such as this, nor would he be so blissfully unaware of such activities carried out like this.”

“What about Bradley?” Gale asked.

“Based on what Johan told me, the commander has his own agenda,” Pekka said. “Bradley acts on a different order from the general’s, which makes a lot of sense considering his father.”

“That’s true,” Gale said. “So Rohan absolutely has no idea this is happening, does he?”

“I know what you’re thinking,” Pekka said. “You shouldn’t hold your breath about this one: the general has a lot of oversight, so he would be complicit in all of this regardless.”

“Thought so,” Gale replied.

“We don’t have a lot of time to think about it,” Dustin said. “That Bradley guy’s still after our asses, isn’t he?”

“Right, we’ll have to talk about it later,” Pekka said.

He looked down the path and saw soldiers heading in the direction of the mansion. Johan was nowhere to be seen, either. Pekka began to worry about his safety as well as Sorin and Jelka’s, but he had faith that they would escape. He had to focus on the current group’s safety and nothing more.

“Did you think you could outrun me?” Bradley asked.

Everyone turned around as Bradley had just arrived. Though he was all by himself, Bradley remained a difficult foe. Pekka had to guess that for his pursuit, Bradley possessed an abundance of tricks in his repertoire. Unless they wanted to keep running away, Pekka knew that he and the others would have to take down this man first.

“Actually, this was just what I wanted,” Pekka replied. “I wanted to draw you out so you’d be all alone.”

Bradley snickered. “Is that so? Well, I guess I can’t blame you for being so cocky,” he said. “If it’s a fight you want, then it’s a fight you’ll get!”

“But first, I’ve got to ensure something,” Pekka said. “Gale, Dustin, you’ve got to run now. Luna, you ought to go with them as well. Let me handle what has to be taken care of.”

“No, I’m not letting you fight him,” Luna replied. “I’m going to go and fight alongside you. This creep is sneaky and he won’t hesitate fighting dirty, I can already tell by looking at him!”

Pekka tried to think of a way to convince her otherwise, but could not. He could trust her, but he had no idea what would happen against Bradley, either. It was a decision he had to make, but if Luna was ready to go, then Pekka had no real choice but to accept.

“Fine, I trust your judgement,” Pekka said. “He’s going to fight dirty? Well, he should remember the last time he went up against us.”

“Gale, we’ll be back before you know it,” Luna said. “Dustin, make sure that Johan and Jelka and Sorin are alright, too!”

“Of course,” Dustin said.

“Please don’t get reckless, guys,” Gale said. “If it starts looking bad, just go ahead and run away.”

Luna smiled. “He’ll never have the chance to try,” she said. “Isn’t that right, Pekka? We’re going to beat the crap out of this guy!”

With that said, Dustin and Gale ran off down the mountain’s path. Pekka was sure they’d make it back safe, but had his own problem to worry about now. He glared over at Bradley, who was busy stretching his neck.

“You got the message, didn’t you?” Pekka asked. “Two on one here means that you’re at a disadvantage, even if you try to call your men.”

“I don’t think I’m gonna need that, my friend,” Bradley replied. “You want to fight me so bad? Well, you got it!”

Pekka leaned close to Luna. “We’re going to draw him away from here,” he whispered. “On the count of three, run.”

“What are you two doing?” Bradley asked. “Stalling for time or something? Are you already trying to chicken out of our fight, you two?”

“We’re only going to try and make it fair,” Pekka replied. “Something that’ll make it easier for us to defeat you… Three! Let’s run, Luna!”

At that moment, Pekka ran with Luna off the path and through the bushes. Pekka had to draw Bradley further away from the path and from his Blood Raven squad. By having him on their heels, Pekka could work with Luna to corner their opponent. Bradley’s men would also be further away and less likely to hear the fight, which was another reason why Pekka thought of his plan. All Pekka and Luna had to do now was defeat Bradley before he could try to escape.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 36 (Part 2)


[1st of January, 2740 AD; Royal Ahnle Castle – Queen’s Quarters, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


The cool air and lit room did nothing to deter the unsettling feeling Gale had. Every time she peered over to Queen Amelia, Gale could feel the queen stare with what felt like contempt for her. Gale had to wonder how much the queen of Ahnlikohn truly knew, or if this was just how Amelia reacted towards visitors in general. Still, Gale was sure that most of this was in part due to Isaac’s plentiful involvement with the Ameci government. As she, Luna, and Dustin stood before the queen, Amelia turned away from them. With the silence hanging in the air, Amos stepped forth and cleared his throat.

“Well, mother, we are all waiting,” Amos said. “I am sure that you’d like to get this meeting over with, so I will step back and leave it all to you.”

He walked over to Amelia and handed her a folded up sheet of paper. Gale was sure that there was something happening, but she could not tell exactly what it was that was bothering her.

“Did Thedam send you?” Amelia asked.

“No, not at all,” Luna said. “This was all my idea!”

“I’m not an idiot,” Amelia said. “I can see that man standing by you. I’d like to think that you’d give a royal like me much more credit than that. I know well enough to know that whatever Queen Thedam has planned, it will end up being a complete disaster.”

“Come on now,” Dustin said, “We came all this way just to talk to you, you know. You think we’re doing this on Her Majesty’s behalf?”

“Dustin, what are you doing?” Gale asked.

“I want to ask you something, Your Majesty,” Dustin said. “Why have you been hiding from your people? Don’t the good people of this country deserve to know why you’ve remained distant towards them?”

“It’s none of your business,” Amelia replied. “However, I do recall that you are one of Queen Thedam’s advisors. Perhaps you can relay this message to her so she gets it: I want no part of this madness.”

“Excuse me, but you are very much my business,” Luna said. “I didn’t come here to be ignored and we won’t be leaving until you give us a good answer as to what you’re doing.”

“What a bother,” Amelia said. “Amos, is everything complete?”

“They are,” Amos replied. “It seems as if that tip proved to be quite useful for us.”

“Very well,” Amelia said. “Then I’ve no need to be here any longer.”

“Unfortunately for you, you don’t get to leave as you wish.”

Amelia stopped and looked around. From the back end of the room entered Crawford Bradley and several Blood Ravens. Gale, Dustin, and Luna were caught off guard by the sudden turn of events, though Gale could see that both Amos and Amelia were not surprised. What did surprise Gale, though, was the scowl upon Amelia’s face as she set her sights on Bradley.

“Explain yourself, commander!” Amelia ordered.

Bradley chuckled. “May as well,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to leave a mark anyway…”

“What are you doing here, you cackling freak?” Luna asked.

“That’s pretty simple, actually,” Bradley said. “I had a small hunch about our queen here and headed to the castle a day prior. Turns out it was pretty easy to secure my men here while I waited for the rats to show up. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, my hunch turned out to be true!”

“What were you hoping to gain from the queen?” Gale asked.

“You should know how influential Isaac can be,” Bradley replied. “It took a few hours, but we got all the cooperation we needed.”

“That didn’t answer my question,” Gale said. “You clearly came here for a reason and you won’t let Queen Amelia go because of it. What’s your endgame in doing this?”

“Control,” Bradley said. “Complete control of this region.”

“You deceived us!” Amos exclaimed. “How dare you!”

“Are you trying to make me laugh?” Bradley asked. “Because that was the funniest thing I’ve heard yet.”

Amos said not another word, instead opting to go straight for Bradley and strike him down. However, Bradley saw his punch coming and moved to the side. He then subdued Amos and dropped him to the floor.

Amelia gasped. “Amos! Soldiers, ready your guns!”

“I wouldn’t count on shooting me,” Bradley said, pressing his foot right on Amos’s chest. “Besides, ‘Your Majesty,’ do you want to put even more bloodshed to your name?”

“What… What are you talking about?” Amelia asked.

“Don’t you dare give me that bullshit ignorance,” Bradley replied. “You and I both know what atrocities Gerhardt Harring pulled on the people of this land. Do you really want to claim ignorance to that?”

“You’re no better at all,” Luna said. “How many people have you and your soldiers killed?”

“Everyone dies,” Bradley said. “The only thing that differs between us is the winner and the loser. That’s all that matters here!”

Dustin turned to Gale and whispered to her. “We have to leave.”

“I know that,” Gale said, “But it’s not like we can go unnoticed.”

“You there,” Bradley said to Dustin. “Don’t think I’m not paying attention to you two! Me and my men aren’t going to let you out of our sights!”

“So you finally noticed?” Dustin asked. “Hey, Your Majesty, are you going to let this guy and the rest of the Ameci military just boss you around like this?”

“You’re asking a stupid question,” Bradley said. “Amelia trusts us not to tell everyone Ahnlikohn’s darkest secrets! And that means that we can practically do what we want!”

“I’m willing to bet that there was a lot going on between Harring and Isaac behind the scenes,” Dustin said. “The way you talk to Her Majesty here, you let on more than you realize, bucko. Like maybe she knows some of the trade secrets and could be willing to help us out here…”

“Think Amelia’s going to speak out?” Bradley asked. “There’s way too much on the fucking line for her legacy to even consider telling everyone what she knows about them!”

“That’s a shame,” Dustin said.

“You know what happened, don’t you?” Gale asked Bradley. “You know all about who killed Harring and what they did to ensure they wouldn’t get caught. I can see it on your face.”

“What isn’t there to know,” Bradley said. “You’re Sorin’s little mistress, you should have heard it from the man himself! He shot the chancellor straight in the heart!”

Amelia glared at Bradley. “How do you know about this?”

Bradley grinned. “You told me, didn’t you?”

“I said nothing about how Chancellor Harring was killed,” Amelia replied. “I’ve not once disclosed that he died of a gunshot wound.”

“You… You’re the assassin, aren’t you?” Amos asked, grabbing at Bradley’s leg. “That’s why you said it so proudly! You did it!”

“Wait, did he really just blurt it out and not expect the queen to catch on?” Luna asked. “Is he that careless?”

“Turns out he’s as reckless as his friend Korbin,” Gale said.

Bradley cackled, then stopped. “Okay, let me get a few things straight here for you all,” he said. “Since it doesn’t matter anyway, Isaac was the one who shot and killed Harring.”

“I knew it,” Gale said.

“Second of all, and this is very important, do you really think I care about what happens to that shit-for-brains psycho?” Bradley asked. “Did you honestly believe that Korbin Mars and I are friends? The thought of having to deal with him on a day-to-day basis makes me want to laugh my ass off!”

“You’re just using him, then,” Gale replied.

“All he is is a useful tool,” Bradley said. “That’s what most people are, as a matter of fact. The only thing I do differently from the others is that I make that lowly cretin feel like he has someone to rely on in this world.”

“What an upstanding person you are,” Dustin said. “I’m sure that Korbin would love to hear that.”

“It’s not as if anyone likes him,” Bradley said. “Shit, if it weren’t for me, he’d be lying dead in the dirt somewhere.”

“That’s awful,” Luna said.

“What’s truly awful is the stuff that happened between him and his father,” Bradley replied. “I don’t know the entire story, but let’s just say that there’s a good reason why Harold’s known as ‘The Ruthless’ and keep it at that.”

He looked down at Amos and shook his leg out of the prince’s grasp. With a single turn, Bradley looked to Amelia and pulled out a gun.

“I think it’s about time I get to the point,” Bradley said. “The Blood Ravens have no intention of keeping anyone here alive, least of all you, ‘Your Majesty.’ It’s about time we burned this place down, am I right boys?”

The Blood Ravens took out their guns and cocked them, but at that moment the window facing the east gate broke open. Glass shattered and fell inwards onto the floor as Pekka leapt into the room.

“Pekka, what are you doing here?” Luna asked.

“I had a bad feeling about this,” Pekka said. “Looks like I was right. Let’s get out of here!”

Bradley scoffed. “You want to crash in on my fun? Well, fuck you! Ready and fire, boys!”

“I don’t think you understand, soldier,” Amelia said. “You’re the one who’s out of luck here. Now that I know what you’re after, you don’t get a chance to get out of this one!”

The royal guards raised their guns and pointed them at the Blood Ravens. As this happened, Pekka turned to the group.

“Our priority is to get out of here,” Pekka said.

“Agreed,” Gale said. “We’ll have to run fast.”

“But what about the queen and her son?” Luna asked. “We can’t leave them behind, can we?”

“You shouldn’t worry,” Amelia said. “These ruffians chose the worst time to mess with us. The time has come to shed light on everything!”

Amos stood up and looked at Amelia. “Mother, you don’t mean what I think you mean, do you?”

“If I get out of this alive, I will tell everything,” Amelia said. “Now go, Amos! You’re the last hope of Ahnlikohn!”

Amos’s eyes widened. “Okay!”

“What are we waiting for?” Dustin asked. “Let’s get going!”

“Oh no, I’m not staying here if you leave,” Bradley said. “I’ll fight every son of a bitch here as long as I get to bring you assholes down!”

The guards surrounded Amelia and aimed their guns. Not another second was wasted as Gale hurried with the others out of the queen’s quarters. However, even as the imminent gunfire faded in the background, Gale knew that Bradley would try to make good on his word. She would have to worry about that soon, as she was sure the others felt the same way.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Inside the Chancellor’s Mansion – First Floor Study, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Sorin was not sure what he expected when he arrived at the mansion with Jelka, but he was ready to find out the truth. Whatever remained of Harring and his legacy was bound to be lying somewhere in his home. Evidence that would prove that there was a deal between the late chancellor and Isaac Kunigunde had to exist, but Sorin was not sure where he should start.

“It’s best if we split up,” Jelka said. “I will take the second floor.”

“Then I’ll look around here,” Sorin replied. “Let’s hope that we’re able to find what you’re looking for, Jelka.”

“Hope is nice,” she said, “But actual proof means much more. If we want to bring down Isaac Kunigunde, then we’ll need something that he can’t deny.”

“I’ll do my best,” Sorin said.

He looked through the halls of the mansion and opened each door he came across. Sorin could not find anything that he felt stood out to him, as he passed on through each room decorated with antique furniture. Given that he had little to no knowledge of the late chancellor’s personal life, Sorin wondered to himself the reason why Harring had such a large home in the first place. The one explanation would be Isaac, who would have had enough money to ensure Harring’s complete cooperation up until his death.

“Jelka never mentioned the chancellor having any family,” Sorin said. “I’m beginning to think this was just an ego boost for him…”

Sorin opened the next door at the corner of the hall. What he saw beyond the door was a medium-sized study filled out with shelf after shelf packed up to the top with books. Right next to the window was a large map of Ahnlikohn with various locations marked down and circled out. Upon this discovery, Sorin had a feeling that he would be able to find something of note. Something that would be a helpful addition to the cause. Something that would, beyond any doubts, prove that Isaac had Harring under his control.

“Well, let’s get started,” Sorin said.

It did not take long to begin looking for information. Sorin imagined that if Johan were here right now, he would have already found the vital evidence and would have gone off with it the moment he saw it. He had to think the exact same way Johan did when it came to acquiring information and evidence. Shaking his head, Sorin decided to take a look through the nearest bookshelf.

“Damn, there’s a lot more than I thought,” he said. “And Johan can get this stuff in less than a day, too!”

Sighing, Sorin skimmed through the shelf. There was no telling what would happen if he found what he was looking for, or if he did not find anything. All he could do was keep looking.

“This is going to take too long,” Sorin said. “None of these books have much to do with what I’m here for.”

Judging from the spine of each book, they were about Ahnlikohn’s history, but Sorin did not need that. He looked down to the next shelf and found the same sorts of books. But as he turned to look away for one second, Sorin caught a look at the table in the center of the study. On top was a large box that appeared to be closed shut and untampered with, which piqued Sorin’s curiosity. He went over to the table and inspected the box and found no lock on it.

“Could he have left something in here?” Sorin asked.

The fact that this box existed made Sorin wonder why it would be left out in the open like this. Even if Harring was all by himself, Sorin had the feeling that someone would have found the box. Someone would have had to have found it after Harring had been killed, Sorin thought. But he had the box before him now and he knew that he owed it to himself at the very least to look inside.

“Here it goes…”

Sorin opened the box and placed the lid aside. Inside were two brief but vital documents, as well as a sealed envelope. The envelope was addressed to the chancellor and sent from the Ameci embassy, though Sorin guessed that was just a guise for Isaac to have Harring do his bidding. As for the documents, one of the papers covered Harring while the other had information about the Ahnle royal family. Both sheets were signed at the bottom by Isaac Kunigunde and Harold Mars, which made Sorin all the more interested in looking through the letter in his hand.

“Just what’s in this letter, anyway?” Sorin asked.

But just as he was about to open the envelope, the door slammed open and hit the wall beside it. Sorin turned towards the door and saw Korbin standing in the door frame with the light shining behind him. Looking around, Sorin saw that he had been cornered.

“It’s about time you showed up, Sorin Wilk!” Korbin exclaimed. “Now just stay there… I’m going to fucking kill you!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 29 (Part 1)

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


Jelka arrived with the Maeitakohnian forces by her side, much to Sorin’s relief. An overwhelming amount of soldiers crowded the forest’s exist as Jelka drew her sword. The light shining behind her from the portable spotlights did well to gain the attention of the Ameci forces, who turned their sights on the Maeitakohnian soldiers. The two soldiers who had Sorin pinned down got up, to which he responded by sitting up. He noticed Eva by the side and hurried over to here while everyone else was too busy with Jelka and the Maeitakohnian military to even notice him moving in the first place.

“Eva, can you hear me?” Sorin said as he tried to sit her up. “I have no time to explain, but we have to get out of here now!”

She did not reply. The only thing she did was continue to hold a blank stare while the standoff between Ameci and Maeita forces took place.

“Eva, please, we have to go,” Sorin said. “I’ll help get your sword, but we’ve got to leave while we still have the chance!”

“Why… Why should I even bother?” Eva asked. “It doesn’t matter anymore. None of this does…”

“Eva, come on, there’s no time,” Sorin replied. “We’ll have the time to think once we’re back in the kingdom.”

“How intriguing,” Harold said. “So the Maeitakohnians decide to crash this little party after all.”

Harold flexed his right hand as he began walking towards Jelka. She stood in place with her sword ready, while the soldiers behind her readied their guns at Harold. Sorin was not about to stay for the action, but he knew Jelka had a plan ready. That, and the fact that Johan had to be close as well.

“You’re nothing more than a soulless murderer,” Jelka said. “I would have reservations about killing someone, but for you, I won’t hold anything back.”

“I see,” Harold replied. “Jelka Arne, is it? Well, I suppose you know a few things about Foundation given that they were happy to provide you with help. Not that it matters to me, anyway.”

“The past is just that,” Jelka said. “I’ve made mistakes in the past, sure, but I won’t be making any mistakes once I’m finished dealing with you.”

“If it’s me you’re after, then perhaps I should even the score a bit,” Harold said. “After all, it is you who’s making the declaration that you will kill me, so there should be no need for any supporting players in our bout.”

Harold took off his coat and tossed it aside. With his upper body exposed, Jelka saw the true secret that Harold kept with him. She continued to have her sword out and her stance ready to fight, but even so, Harold continued to move towards her.

“If you want to die, then I’d be happy to oblige,” Jelka said. “I’ll end you regardless of whether you’re flesh or metal!”

She charged at Harold and swung, but he deflected her strike with his hand as he pushed her off to the side. Jelka regained her composure as she hurried and tried to attack him again. Meanwhile, Sorin continued to convince Eva to escape with him, but was interrupted when Bradley kicked him to the ground.

“Pathetic, that’s what you are,” Bradley said as he pinned Sorin down. “Hey, Korb, perhaps you should take that sword and finish what I started. Nothing like a little aftercare, wouldn’t you say?”

Sorin watched as Korbin looked to Eva and then to her sword. “No way you wouldn’t dare,” Sorin said. “You can’t!”

“Fuck, what’s the goddamn point of it?” Korbin asked. “There’s no fun to be had in killing this woman when she doesn’t want to live herself! Why don’t you fucking do it, Bradley?”

Bradley got up off of Sorin and stood up. “Are you disobeying my order? I am the one in charge here, you know.”

“So what? That doesn’t mean I want to do it,” Korbin replied. “If I wanted to kill that bitch, I would’ve done so already. Doing it now takes the fun out of it all. At least with Sorin Wilk, he still wants to fight on!”

“I gave you an order,” Bradley said, “And now you want to disobey me? Are you out of your fucking mind right now!?”

While the two fought, Sorin’s chance at escape with Eva had revealed itself as he crawled over to her and picked up the broken handle of Kirk’s sword. With the Ameci and Maeita militaries facing off against each other, there was no one to spot them. There was only one choice Sorin had as Eva could not find it in herself to get up, so he decided to get her sword with his right hand while using his left to grab her hand and leave the forest. Korbin and Bradley continued to bicker as the sound of Harold’s oncoming onslaught against the Maeita soldiers began. As the painful screams from the soldiers filled the air, Sorin tried to block them out while he hurried with Eva to the main area of the campground.

“It’s going to be okay,” Sorin said to Eva. “Jelka and the Maeitakohnian troops will hold off Harold while we get out of here.”

As he continued to walk, Sorin could notice Eva’s grip on his hand loosen. He looked to her as she stopped in her tracks and looked down at the ground by her feet.

“Eva, we can’t stop here,” Sorin said. “Not when Harold and Korbin are not far off from us.”

“There’s no point,” she said. “It’s meaningless. This fight will never end and we’ll never see him again…”

“It’s not meaningless,” Sorin replied. “We’re almost near the entrance. We’ll be okay, I promise.”

“Just leave me behind,” Eva said. “Everyone that cares for me dies… I can’t let you suffer the same fate.”

“I can’t do that to you,” Sorin said. “Even if my father is gone, I won’t betray him or what he’s fighting for. Let’s just keep going for now.”

He reached for Eva and grabbed her hand as he continued on with leaving the campground. However, Sorin and Eva were in for a surprise as they spotted the Ahnlikohnian military standing off in the distance towards the campground entrance.

“Damn it, were they called here too?” Sorin asked.

“Over here!” Henry said.

With a quick look around the area, Sorin spotted Henry, Gavin, and Law by the main building. The three were accompanied by more Maeitakohnian soldiers, as well as Johan, much to the surprise of Sorin. As he had little other choice, Sorin hurried over them with Eva straggling behind him. Once he met with the group, Sorin heard the loud screams coming several meters away from where he was standing and looked back. The forest he had once been in was now ablaze as fire began to burn the trees down.

“I don’t care where any of you insects run,” Harold exclaimed, “Because I’ll go and burn this entire place down as long as it means killing you!”

Sorin worried about Jelka and the other soldiers still within the forest, but Johan stepped in before anyone could do anything to help.

“You shouldn’t worry too much,” Johan said to Sorin. “Go and take a look over there.”

As Johan directed, Sorin took a look at the trail leading towards the forest. Indeed, Sorin saw Jelka hurrying down the path with a few other soldiers behind her. The numbers of the Maeitakohnian forces had depleted but remained large in number as the two groups of soldiers reunited.

“We’ve bought enough time to escape from here,” Jelka said as she caught her breath. “It won’t be too long before Harold and the Ameci military realize where we are, but we’ve still got the numbers to match them if need be.”

“That shouldn’t be our concern,” Sorin said. “We need to leave right now! We can’t waste any time.”

“Well, I can gather as much just by looking at the two of you,” Henry said. “Eva, I take it that they were much more overwhelming than we previously had thought?”

Eva could not respond.

“I don’t think she wants to talk right now,” Sorin said. “It’s… It’s much more than either of us thought.”

“What is?” Gavin asked.

Sorin sighed. He had no other choice but to tell them what Harold told him. Though he was still trying to process it, Sorin knew that he had to tell the others about what Harold told him. He kept it brief but informative as he took out the handle of Kirk’s sword. Everyone listened to Sorin’s words while Henry hung his head down.

“I can’t believe it,” Henry said. “Are you sure about what you heard?”

“I don’t want to believe it myself, but it’s not good,” Sorin replied as he eyed the handle in his hand. “It’s hard to mistake this handle for any other.”

Henry grabbed the handle out of Sorin’s hand and analyzed it. “Even so… it doesn’t mean what you think it means,” he said. “There’s a possibility that Kirk is still alive, but hurt. That has to be the explanation.”

“What are you suggesting?” Law asked. “Think we can organize a search team? Where would we even start?”

Henry took one more look at the handle. “I have one idea,” he said. “I guess I should apologize, first, though.”

“There’s no time for anything,” Jelka said. “Why must we talk when the enemy is breathing down our necks? We have to go!”

Sorin saw what Jelka was talking about and looked to see that the Ameci military was headed their way. With the main entrance blocked off, however, Sorin had to wonder what the others had planned for an escape.

“Of course,” Henry replied. “Sorin, we’ll talk about this once we head back to the kingdom. Just leave the handle with me, okay?”

“I got it,” Sorin said. “But where can we go? Our best bet is blocked off by the Ahnlikohnian army!”

“It does look pretty bad, doesn’t it,” Henry said, “But I did some mapping out of this place and there is one exit that we can take.”

“It’s not going to do us good if we’re all together,” Johan said. “Trust me, the large crowd just makes us stand out that much more.”

“You’re right,” Henry said. “I did think that one over as well, which is why I have another route planned just in case we had to deal with any obstacles. Is that good enough for you, Mr. Kuu?”

Johan shrugged. “I suppose I shouldn’t doubt you,” he replied. “Jelka, could you go with Sorin?”

“I’ll do that,” Jelka said. “What about Eva? As I see her, she seems to be in no condition to fight.”

“I can understand why,” Henry said.

“Let me handle it,” Gavin said, walking up to Eva. “It will be okay, trust me on this one.”

Eva only sighed as Gavin took her hand. After a few steps, however, Gavin soon decided to carry her upon his back as he and Law joined with Henry.

“Even if what Harold said was a lie, it’s still despicable,” Law said. “I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised.”

Sorin saw the groups beginning to form as he and Jelka were to one side and Gavin, Law, and Henry were to the other with Eva in tow. Then there was just Johan, who looked at the Maeitakohnian soldiers circling two of the paths to the main building.

“So it is true, isn’t it?” Johan asked. “All of you are willing to go this far for the queen, aren’t you?”

“That is correct, Mr. Kuu,” the backmost soldier, a scrawny man, said. “We were given the order to protect the people closest to Queen Thedam by President Khadir himself. Even if that costs us our lives, I am willing to die in order to serve the best interests of Maeitakohn!”

“I suppose I can see where you’re coming from,” Johan said. “But it wasn’t as if I had any interest in changing your mind, so I guess I was just wondering if this was the path you’d take. Thank you.”

Johan turned around and looked at Sorin. Neither man spoke a word but they both knew they had a long road ahead of them. Wherever their route took them, Sorin knew that he could trust Johan.

“We’ll see you once we’re out of the campground,” Henry said. “Let’s not forget what we wanted to talk about later, okay?”

“Okay,” Sorin replied.

With that said, the two groups split up and left the Maeitakohnian soldiers to hold the line. Sorin rushed with Johan and Jelka to the left path while Henry and the others took the right. However, as they continued to rush, the growing fire continued to burn many meters behind them with no signs of slowing down. Their escape had to be quick, Sorin thought to himself as he continued to run with Johan and Jelka by his side.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

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…

Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 1)

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


Korbin chuckled as he paced back and forth. “This is a tough situation, isn’t it? It kinda looks like we’ve been had, haven’t we, Bradley?”

Sorin and Eva continued to keep their swords drawn as the ex-Iiayi soldiers stepped forward with their guns out and pointed at Korbin, Bradley, and Erik. It was obvious the advantage was in Sorin’s favor, but Korbin’s cockiness had made it difficult to assure that advantage. Sorin had to wonder if there was something that Korbin or Bradley had planned, though if he had to guess, it was Bradley’s idea and Korbin went along with it. Regardless, Sorin had to remain one more step ahead in case Korbin had any ideas.

“This was a rigged game from the start,” Bradley said. “They weren’t going to play fair with us at all; not as long as that nasty Queen Thedam has anything to say about it.”

“Fuck, don’t bring her up now,” Korbin replied. “I want to deal with Sorin now! I need my fucking fill!”

“Relax, Korb, we got this,” Bradley said. “Sorin, did you really think that we wouldn’t have prepared for this?”

“Whatever you have ready, we’ll be sure to stop it,” Sorin replied. “I don’t plan on losing tonight.”

“If anyone’s rigging anything, it’s them,” Eva said. “They’ve already caused too much trouble for so many people already. Let’s put an end to them right here, right now, Sorin!”

“Not so fast,” Bradley said. “Have you two already forgotten about who you’re dealing with over here?”

Another rustle of the trees showed several Ameci soldiers standing off in the distance, ready for their next command. Bradley crossed his arms as Sorin kept his composure. He was not going to be intimidated by Bradley’s threats. Not as long as Sorin was not alone.

“I know exactly what you’re thinking, Sorin,” Bradley said. “You’re thinking that as long as you’ve got that little band of soldiers with you, you can’t lose. Am I correct? Of course I am.”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked.

Bradley scoffed. “It must be nice to be so foolish,” he replied. “Korb, I think it’s about time you showed Sorin how serious you really are. Let them get a small sample of the little show you’re about to put on!”

Korbin flexed his right arm and lowered his blade. “There’s no escape for you, Sorin Wilk,” he said. “I’m going to show you how much I’ve grown over time and once you see that, you’ll realize you have no way of winning!”

Korbin proceeded to take a few steps forward, brandishing his blade with the ex-Iiayi soldiers pointing their guns at him. Sorin was tempted to run in and stop Korbin, but he had a suspicion that Korbin was ready to use one of his tricks against him. Eva remained in her stance as she kept close watch on both Bradley and Erik. There was no doubt that Sorin, Eva, and their crew were surrounded now that Korbin and his Blood Ravens entered the picture.

“I gave you and your friends a little taste of this back in Rezar, but it wasn’t finished yet,” Korbin said. “You see, that shock wasn’t nearly enough to be lethal, but now with everything set up as it is, I’ve got just what I need to unleash upon you and Johan Kuu!”

With that, Sorin watched as Korbin guffawed. Korbin’s awful laughter was jarring, but not enough to completely unsettle Sorin as he was used to these sorts of antics by now. However, with Korbin’s laughter came an invigorated surge of power unlike anything Sorin had seen up to this point. The power that Korbin seemed to possess flashed bright from his right arm, which caused Sorin to cover his eyes. Sorin could tell that Eva did the same, as well as the soldiers that stood behind them.

“These improvements… my dad gave them to me,” Korbin said. “He’s the so-called genius, after all. Why don’t I go ahead and show you a little bit of my strength before we fight!?”

“Sorin, watch out!” Eva said.

Almost on instinct, Sorin dropped to the ground. Eva soon followed as they tried to take cover. They had no idea what Korbin was going to do, but all Sorin could do was hope that the soldiers behind him and Eva would be able to stop any oncoming attack.

“Everything’s lining up perfectly for us,” Bradley said. “Now, Korb, go and give those pathetic soldiers hell!”

“Fuck yeah!” Korbin exclaimed. “This is the true power of the Blood Ravens that I’m about to show you! Watch me, Sorin!”

Korbin roared, with Sorin watching him run forward. Sorin knew that he had to do something, but Korbin looked to move quickly through the crowd of ex-Iiayikohnian soldiers before him. Though the soldiers appeared ready to fire, Korbin’s swift movements made him a difficult target to focus on. His nigh erratic speed caught everyone off guard, which caused the soldiers to scatter across the area. Korbin began to swing his sword and landed a quick strike on one of the unsuspecting soldiers, dropping him to the ground.

“Damn it, they’re looking nervous,” Eva said. “We can’t watch this, Sorin; we need to help out!”

Sorin nodded. “There’s no other choice.”

“Think again!” Erik exclaimed.

“Don’t think we forgot about you,” Bradley said. “Of course, Korbin still wants his revenge, but who am I to turn down a fight with you two? At least I’ll get to have some fun.”

Bradley chuckled as he donned his special gloves. He then handed off a sword to Erik, who twirled it around for a moment before getting into a stance. Neither Sorin nor Eva could not afford to be distracted, but with their enemies standing in the way, Sorin could tell that there was no way he could avoid either of Korbin’s lackeys.

“Korb’s got the skills, but I’ll put up enough of a fight while he has his fun,” Bradley said. “I already know I stand no match to either of you, especially not her… Eva Bellamy, is it? Well, this whole thing is about to get real interesting, wouldn’t you say?”

“Don’t waste your breath,” Eva said. “It doesn’t matter who you are. All that matters is that you’re complicit in Foundation’s crimes.”

“So?” Bradley asked. “My father’s a powerful man now thanks to Isaac Kunigunde. Think I care if a nobody like you believes that I’m a criminal? Not a chance in hell!”

“You tell them, Bradley,” Erik said. “This is all because Mr. Kunigunde was so happy to help us!”

“Besides, it’s not like you have anything worth fighting for, do you,” Bradley said to Eva while he cracked his knuckles. “Yes, it looks like everything’s lining up perfectly for us… Even you, Erik, can taste the victory that will come soon the moment we win.”

Erik cackled. “Do you remember what you said to me, Sorin? Everything I said about Harold was true… Well, almost everything.”

“Almost everything?” Sorin asked.

“Maybe you should ask your father,” Bradley said. “Of course, that may prove to be difficult now…”

Sorin turned to Bradley. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Bradley replied. “Though perhaps you shouldn’t be too worried. After all, there’s a good chance that you might see him again soon. Soon enough, even.”

“Don’t you dare bring Kirk into this,” Eva said.

“It’s too late now,” Bradley said. “You’re still in the dark, aren’t you? Well, figuratively speaking, of course…”

Eva looked down at the ground as she tightened the grip on the handle of her sword. “Sorin… We have to win against them,” she said. “I don’t care what’s going through your mind right now… Until we see Kirk again, we have to stop them. You understand… don’t you?”

However, all Sorin could focus on right now was what was happening in the corner of his eye as Korbin kept fighting with the soldiers. One by one, each soldier fell to Korbin’s blade as none of them were able to get off a shot before he ran his sword through each soldier. What once looked to be a strong and trusted group of men and women now stood no match for Korbin Mars, who proved to be frightening all on his own.

“Sorin!” Eva called out. “Are you listening to me?”

Sorin snapped back over to her. “I’m listening!”

“We can’t let them get to us,” she replied. “Whatever doubts you may have, just put them in the back of your head for now.”

“I got it,” Sorin replied.

“You may want to go and get angry, but you have to remain strong,” Eva said. “It’s the only thing we’ve got and we won’t let any of our doubts get in the way. They have to be stopped.”

Sorin looked over to Korbin again. He had to stop him no matter what. He weighed his options and made a decision, but Eva had already made hers as she lunged at both Bradley and Erik.

“I’ll handle these two!” Eva exclaimed. “Go take care of Korbin!”

Sorin nodded. “I will!”

He did not need to worry about Eva fighting both Bradley and Erik at once, as Sorin knew all too well what Eva was capable of doing in a situation like this. What Sorin had to worry about was stopping Korbin before he could wreak even more havoc on the ex-Iiayi soldiers still standing. With everything he had, Sorin rushed over to Korbin and challenged him.

“Stand back!” Sorin yelled over to the soldiers. “I want you to stand back and deal with the Ameci hiding in the forest right now!”

“Oh no, I’m not gonna let you stop me, shithead!” Korbin exclaimed. “I’m going to get my fill before I take you on, just watch me!”

Sorin did his best to keep up with Korbin, who continued to move about. It proved tough to keep up the pace as Korbin used his right arm and sent a surge of electricity towards the remaining soldiers. The bolt struck true as the soldiers were caught up in the shock and found themselves unable to move. Korbin was ready to strike, but Sorin jumped in to stop his attack with the most unlikely of defenses: his scarf. Sorin tied his scarf into a loop and used it to subdue Korbin’s arm before he could swing his sword. Though Korbin struggled, Sorin made sure not to loosen his grip.

“I won’t say this again,” Sorin said to the soldiers, “But please go. Eva and I will handle these three. Just take care of the Ameci soldiers around here.”

The soldiers did so and got up, scattering as they proceeded to search for the hiding Ameci assailants. Now Sorin was able to face Korbin head on with no distractions. Just then, Korbin laughed.

“Not a bad strategy, Sorin Wilk,” Korbin said. “Guess I’m going to get a good fight out of you now after all!”

“I’ll just make it quick,” Sorin said. “Where’s Harold?”

“Shit, are you really asking me such a stupid fucking question?” Korbin asked. “I’ve no idea where the fuck he is right now, but it’s not like it’s going to matter once this fight’s over!”

Sorin heard a brief click as his scarf began to come loose. He soon realized what happened as Korbin’s metallic arm came off of his body. Electricity surged once more as Sorin backed away just at the right moment.

Korbin grinned as he picked his arm off the ground. “You still use those tricks of yours, don’t you?”

“Was what you did not a trick?” Sorin asked.

“Don’t try to fuck with me,” Korbin replied. “I still haven’t had my revenge yet and I’m still full of energy! Let’s fucking go, Sorin!”

Sorin took a moment to see Eva handling her fight with Bradley and Erik. The two put up a fight, but it was clear to Sorin that Eva had the upper hand as she disarmed Erik before he could even land a hit on her. Bradley, meanwhile, continued to defend himself, but Eva was ready to break through. Sorin had only one thing on his mind the whole time: Korbin. No way was Sorin about to let him gloat and win.

“Then let’s fight, Korbin,” Sorin said. “I’ll give you exactly the fight you’re asking for, so don’t you even dare think about blinking until after I swing my sword.”

“Oh! If it’s like that, then, then I’m going to give you everything I’ve got as well,” Korbin replied. “It only makes sense that I get to kill you here once and for all, Sorin Wilk!”

Sorin thought only one thing: whoever landed the next blow would be the winner of this fight. He could not let the fight with Korbin drag out any longer. It was now or never that Sorin had to give it his all against Korbin, otherwise, there was little chance that he would make it out with his and Eva’s lives. With nothing else to think in this moment, Sorin rushed towards Korbin and swung his sword at him.

“This is it!” Sorin exclaimed.

Korbin raised his sword in defense. “Son of a bitch!”

The two swords clashed against each other, with Sorin providing the power needed to break through. However, Korbin continued to hold his sword up as he could only use his blade to stop Sorin’s attack. Both men used all of their strength in order to win, but Sorin knew that he had the slight advantage.

“Back down,” Sorin said. “If you don’t want to get hurt, Korbin, then back down right now!”

“S-Screw you!” Korbin screamed. “I’ll fucking break you before you even try, Sorin!”

The standoff kept going as both Sorin and Korbin were at their limits. It was then that Sorin noticed a break between the two swords. Soon enough, it got Korbin’s attention too as both blades broke upon the pressure, the severed metal somehow flying past both men without delivering so much as a scratch to either one. At that moment, Sorin realized what would happen next, as he was sure that Korbin did as well. With both men unarmed, Sorin just had to land a final punch and Korbin would be finished. However, before either Sorin or Korbin could do anything, a familiar, hostile voice echoed.

“You’re as disappointing an idiot as ever, Korbin…”

It did not take long for Harold Mars to make his entrance, which stopped everyone in their tracks. Eva had finished taking down Erik, but when Harold had entered, she was distracted enough for Bradley to find an opening as he reached for her neck and lifted her off the ground.

“Don’t even think about using that sword against me,” Bradley said, blood running down the left side of his face. “See, I’ve got the advantage now… You go and stab me, I’ll crush your fucking throat!”

Eva kept her composure, though she wanted to eviscerate Bradley. Sorin’s safety remained her priority as she turned her focus to Harold. As he walked to Korbin, Harold took a look at Erik lying on the ground.

“Pathetic,” Harold said. “I guess if I need someone killed, I’ll just have to do it myself.”

He brought Erik up to his feet. Erik dazed out as Harold delivered a stern slap to his face. The impact brought Erik out of his daze as his eyes began to fill with fear.

“M-Mr. Mars! I… I got in like you told me,” Erik said. “But… But I didn’t gain any new information. But! But I did help bring these two here after all, didn’t I?”

“You’ve performed as well you could,” Harold replied. “That, however, is the extent of your usefulness. Your parents will have Isaac Kunigunde’s regards, Erik Ellis.”

In less than a blink of the eye, Sorin could only see the aftermath as Erik fell backwards to the ground. Blood spurted from his neck as Harold held a long knife covered in red in his right hand. Korbin, though, clenched his fist as he ran up to his father. Sorin could only watch as he wondered what would happen, though he had very little time to react as two Ameci soldiers tackled him to the ground and placed his hands behind his back.

“What are you doing?” Sorin asked.

The burly soldier pressed his knee into Sorin’s back. “We have you now!”

“It’s been a while, but it looks like we’ve got our guy,” a soldier holding handcuffs said. “We’ll be sure to get a generous reward for sure!”

“Why the fuck did you kill Erik!?” Korbin asked. “He didn’t tell them shit, so there’s no reason to drop him like that!”

“Silence, fool,” Harold replied. “You still have a job to do, don’t you?”

Korbin snarled. “I wasn’t finished with Sorin Wilk yet! I had him right in my sights and you had to ruin it!”

Harold gritted his teeth as he showed the blood covered knife to Korbin. “Don’t test me,” he said. “Unless you want to die like Kormac did, then you’ll do your best and listen to me!”

Korbin’s fist kept shaking at his side, until he could do so no longer. “Fine, I’ll go along with you,” he replied. “Maybe at least give me a chance with Sorin before he rots in prison!”

“I’ll be sure to tell Bradley,” Harold said. “Speaking of which… Crawford! Are you going to kill that woman or not?”

“It would be tempting,” Bradley said. “Though do you think that it would be better if we killed Sorin here first before I do her in?”

Eva could not move as she held onto her sword. “Bastards…”

Harold chuckled. “Ah, it seems you’re taking a cue from me,” he said. “They don’t know, do they?”

“Well, I was going to tell them before you showed up,” Bradley replied. “But Korbin was so eager to fight, I forgot about it.”

“Guess there’s no choice, then,” Harold said. “Then again, I love to watch as the looks of pain and despair shape upon their faces. It brings me the satisfaction that nothing else does. It makes me feel powerful.”

“Then I’ll let you go ahead and tell them,” Bradley said. “They’ll be meeting him soon enough, anyway.”

Sorin could only watch from his viewpoint as Harold’s smile grew larger. There was little that either Sorin or Eva could do now, and what had become a terrible situation soon turned for the worst as Harold delivered his revelation with a devious tone in his voice.

“I am the one who killed Kirk Wilk,” Harold said. “I would suggest that you do your best to fear me from now on.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 27 (Part 2)

[25th of December, 2740 AD; Copper Hotel, Oelaans, Thekohn – Felis District]


Johan entered the hotel room with Jelka after they took the ride to Oelaans. He knew that they could rest now that the next part of the plan was in effect with the Maeita army ready to assist. It appeared as if Khadir turned out to be a man that Johan could count on as he sat on the bed. Jelka, meanwhile, stood in front of Johan with a rare, anxious expression upon her face.

“Are you okay?” Johan asked. “You’re free to sit next to me anytime. There’s no reason to hold back with me.”

“I’m sorry,” Jelka said. “It’s just that in this context, I’m thinking about all of the things that we could do in this room together. I’m sure you understand.”

Johan tilted his head to the side as he looked up at Jelka. “Is that why you’re so nervous right now?”

“I’ve never had this sort of connection before,” Jelka replied. “I enjoy being here with you, but I’m still hesitant about what happens next.”

“What happens next?” Johan wondered. “Pardon me if this is too personal, but you’ve never been intimate before, have you?”

“I’ve never thought about it before I confessed to you,” she said. “I’d be so focused that nothing else mattered when I went to sleep each night. There was no way I could even think about intimacy during that time.”

“That makes sense,” Johan said. “If it were me, there’s no doubt that I’d be thinking the same. Your anxiousness is perfectly understandable, and to be clear and honest with you, quite endearing.”

“You really mean that?” Jelka asked as she looked away.

“I do,” he replied. “It may come off as a surprise to you, Jelka, but I’m pretty new at this as well. This is the closest I’ve been so far in my life, so you shouldn’t be anxious. At least, not as anxious as I am right now.”

“I see no reason why you would lie,” Jelka said, placing her fingers around the top button of her jacket. “Okay… I suppose I have no reason to hold back any longer. As long as it’s you, then it shouldn’t hurt to show you…”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Johan said.

“I’ve made up my mind,” Jelka replied as she began unbuttoning her jacket. “I want you to see me in my entirety, as I wish to see you as well.”

“Then I guess that there’s no stopping you,” Johan said. “Not that I’d want you to, anyway.”

With that said, Johan and Jelka stripped down to just their undergarments. He took at her almost bare body as she took a look at his. The lighting highlighted Jelka’s toned arms and legs while she covered her chest with her arm. Johan noticed Jelka staring at his still prevalent wounds on him as she began to lean in toward him.

“Seeing your body like this only reminds me how close we were to failure,” she said. “How close I was to losing you… Johan, I will do my best to protect you from now until my last breath.”

“I appreciate that,” Johan said. “But we don’t have to worry about that right now, you know. This night belongs to us and us alone.”

Jelka gave Johan a brief kiss. “I know that.”

There was no more need to talk as Johan reached over to the bed lamp and turned it off. Everything that he and Jelka were working for sat in the back of his mind as he drew even closer to her. The night was a welcome time as the two had a moment to spend alone with one another before the sun rose again.




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


Sorin exhaled, the sight of his breath reminding him of the cold air that surrounded him and Eva. Though he had been requested to come alone, Sorin knew that Harold had to have a trap or two set for him. That was why he went to Eva and asked her to come along with him. Sorin had also asked Gavin to come with him, but Gavin elected to stay back with Law and Henry in Habicht just in case something happened. Instead, Sorin was able to bring along a select group of ex-Iiayikohnian soldiers to the meeting place. Of course, Sorin made sure that they brought along Erik. There was no telling what Harold had planned, but Sorin was sure that he and his allies had the upper hand.

“This is it,” Sorin said. “I don’t know why, but I feel like everything rides on this moment.”

Eva covered her mouth with her hands and breathed so she could keep her face warm. “He said he knew where Kirk and Rysol were,” she said. “He has to be bluffing, Sorin.”

“Even if he is, we have to move forward,” Sorin replied.

He could still remember the casual, yet hostile, tone Harold carried in his voice three nights ago. Unsettling as it was, however, Sorin knew he could not let it get to him. There was no way he could let either Harold or Korbin throw him off guard, because that would mean defeat. Sorin was not going to let that happen as long as he wielded his sword and had Eva tagging along with him.

“Still, it’s not unreasonable to doubt,” Eva said. “We still haven’t heard back from Kirk at all… I know I shouldn’t be worried, but I can’t help but feel slightly concerned about him.”

“We’ll have to worry about it once we’re done here,” Sorin said. “Whatever Harold has up his sleeve, we’ll be able to counter it with these guys here. Isn’t that right?”

He looked over to the soldiers, all of whom agreed with Sorin. Meanwhile, Erik, who was cuffed and watched under two soldiers, did nothing to resist once they made it to the front gate. Snow covered the ground as well as the branches of the tree, with Sorin looking on towards the inside of the campground. There was one main building that stood straight ahead in Sorin’s field of vision, which made him wonder if that building was to be the meeting place.

“If you’re wondering about that building, it’s closed,” Eva said. “It has been for a while now.”

“You’ve been here before?” Sorin asked.

“No,” she replied. “It’s just that there was somewhat of a big deal when this place closed down. I suppose that makes it a good place for Harold to meet with you… Just keep an eye out, that’s all I’ll say.”

“I will,” Sorin said.

“I mean that,” Eva said.

“Got it,” he replied.

“Good,” Eva said. “I can see that you’ve grown from the time I trained you to now… I guess what I’m trying to say is that if Kirk were here, he’d be as proud of you as I am.”

“Thank you,” Sorin said.

Eva managed a small smile. “I thank you, too,” she said. “Let’s go. We can’t keep this man waiting for much longer.”

They continued on into the campground, making it past the main building as they saw a small light off towards the left near the forest. Sorin had to wonder if that was the meeting place and looked over to Eva. She nodded as the two kept moving, with the soldiers behind them ready to cover for any sneak attacks. Erik, on the other hand, stayed silent until the group got closer to the light source. The faint sound of laughter could be heard as Sorin drew his sword, with Eva doing the same. Soon, they came across the lone campfire as the laughter continued to grow louder. Sorin could not mistake that laugh: it belonged to Korbin, who had to be close enough to strike.

“We aren’t alone,” Sorin said.

“Of course we’re not,” Eva replied. “Keep your guard up. One misstep and it will prove to be costly for us.”

The laughter stopped as the leaves began to rustle. Sorin looked to his right as he saw Korbin appear from out of the shadows. Korbin had his sword drawn and resting upon his right shoulder while Bradley entered at Korbin’s left.

“I should’ve known you’d be too wise not to go alone,” Korbin said. “Do you think you’ve got a plan or something, Sorin Wilk?”

“What are you doing here?” Sorin asked.

“Oh, nothing,” Korbin said. “I was so fucking bored and wanted to see what my dad has planned for you. You know how much I hate being fucking bored, don’t you?”

“I think you’ve caused enough trouble,” Sorin said.

“Funny, it wasn’t like that when I went through that village earlier,” Korbin replied. “Bradley and I had a hell of ripping through as many townspeople as we could!”

“And of course, we did well enough to pass it off as self-defense,” Bradley replied. “Though I’m not sure how Queen Amelia’s going to feel about it, but that’s something she’ll have to take up with my old man later.”

“You assholes don’t care that you’re killing innocent people,” Eva said to Korbin. “Do you even realize how many people you’ve hurt?”

Korbin scratched his goatee. “Fuck if I know,” he answered. “That’s like if I asked Sorin what he had for breakfast three days ago. You think he’d remember off the spot? Fuck no!”

“That’s not the same!” Sorin exclaimed. “People’s lives are not something you can just disregard.”

“Spare me the bullshit,” Korbin said. “I’m not here to talk with you about stupid fucking shit. No, I’m here because I want revenge for the humiliation you and your pals have caused us!”

“I’ll just beat you again,” Sorin replied. “I know your tricks by now, Korbin, and I’m not going to lose to you!”

Korbin erupted into another round of laughter. Sorin continued to remain on guard as Bradley could not help but laugh as well. Soon, Korbin stopped and gained his composure in an instant.

“You really have no clue, do you?” Korbin asked. “All those times before, you only had the upper hand because I was ‘incomplete.’ I hadn’t even begun to mature! But now… But now, I’ve grown so much in so little time! Your friend… Gavin Power, was it? I coulda wasted him and his pathetic brother back over in Oelaans, but he’s nothing to me. No, killing him would’ve been boring.”

Sorin could see the lights flashing on Korbin’s prosthetic arm. The surging electricity coated the metallic limb as it started to travel through the steel of Korbin’s blade.

“There’s only two people in this world that I care about destroying,” Korbin said. “Johan Kuu is one of them… The other is you.”

“Like I said, I won’t lose to you,” Sorin said.

“Shut the fuck up!” Korbin yelled. “I didn’t even finish and you keep trying to fucking interrupt me!”

“Show him, Korb,” Bradley said.

“Oh no, not yet,” Korbin said. “There’s just the whole thing about my friend there… Erik!”

Sorin and Eva looked as one of the soldiers escorted Erik to the front. He was still handcuffed as he stepped forward. There was no telling what Korbin had planned right now, but Sorin knew he had to be ready for anything. Just then, Sorin saw Korbin crack a smile.

“Erik, you son of a bitch,” Korbin said. “You really went and got captured like that!?”

“It wasn’t my intention,” Erik replied. “I just found a passage somehow and ended up in the castle!”

“You don’t know where this passage is, do you?” Bradley asked.

“Sorin, this isn’t good,” Eva said.

“I know,” Sorin said. He turned his sights to Korbin. “It’s not important right now! You’ve got Erik back!”

“You think I care about this passage?” Korbin asked. “Sneaking around is a coward’s trick. I’d rather beat you head on with everything I got!”

“And where is Harold?” Sorin asked.

“Even if I knew, I wouldn’t tell you,” Korbin said. “Come on, now, Sorin… I’m going to make your life miserable! Yes, I’m gonna plant that seed of doubt inside you while you’re on your knees begging for mercy!”

Korbin grinned, licking his lips as he used his free hand to grab his crotch. Sorin was not sure what to make of Korbin’s gesture, but felt like he had to give it his all against his enemy now. With Korbin, there was no room for error and no room for turning back. Sorin had to win.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter