Aurora – Chapter 40 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Aesker River, outside Aesker, Iiayikohn]


Rysol shook the frigid snow from off his beard. He sat up and looked to the left towards the cloudless, orange sky. The unpleasant feeling of waking up made Rysol wonder why he still walked the earth. He had failed. In an effort to keep his father at bay and prevent him from coming closer to Harold Mars, Rysol failed to do so. And after Harold revealed himself, Rysol had to fight back but failed again. As a result, Rysol lost the use of both of his arms, but the biggest loss of all was his father as he could only run away from the scene.

“I know it was your last request, father, but still,” Rysol said. “Still I should have fought on!”

It was useless to say, but Rysol could only lament. At least, that was what he thought for the past few days. He had to move forward somehow, even if he had no way of fighting. Rysol knew he had to help Johan and Jelka, but most of all he knew he had to help Sorin somehow. He had to if he wanted to see everything to its conclusion. That meant getting rid of Isaac Kunigunde, but first, Rysol had some unfinished business. He needed to settle the score with Harold Mars before he could do any more harm. Rysol had to avenge Kirk.

“That’s right,” Rysol said. “I have to do it. I have to right my wrongs! I can’t be a coward no longer!”

Rysol looked down at the broken sword by his feet. Even though it was not in good condition, Rysol kept the blade because he felt as if needed it. And now he needed it more than ever, Rysol thought.

“Harold Mars, I promise you this,” Rysol said, “I am going to kill you. I’ll kill you, even if I go down fighting along the way!”

With his best effort, Rysol got up on his feet. Then, he used his left foot to try and kick up the sword by the handle. He did so and watched as it went up in the air, twirling for a moment before he went forth and caught the handle with his teeth. There was only one place now that Rysol could go now, and he knew that he had to give Harold everything he had if he wanted to eliminate him once and for all.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]


Gavin eyed the two guards over by the door. He could not make out what they were saying, but he had a hunch that they were talking about Drake. After what had happened earlier, Gavin and the others went over to the prison as soon as the soldiers left the premises. There were only a few reasons as to why they had to arrest Drake, and Gavin felt as if he already had the answer. Right now, however, he had to wait until the questioning was over before he could speak to Drake about why he was arrested.

“Do you believe that this has to do with the prime minister?” Wilma asked. “Whatever it is, I don’t like any of this.”

“It’s odd, I’ll give it that,” Henry said. “If Dezine really wanted to, he could have just decided to send out a warning towards Rain and have us killed. That wouldn’t be a problem considering what has already happened.”

“Which is why we’re waiting here,” Law said.

“What a pain in the ass,” Gavin said. “If Dezine’s trying to scare us by doing this shit, then he’s a damn fool.”

“Sounds like he’s trying to pressure a reaction out of you,” Dia said. “We’re just sitting here trying to find out what’s going on while he already knows what the next move is going to be.”

“That may be true, but I’d like to think that we’re ready for whatever he decides to throw our way,” Henry said. “There’s no way he should be able to get away with this, not as long as he doesn’t have some sort of warrant.”

“Yeah, just because he’s the prime minister doesn’t mean he’s above the rules,” Law said. “Even he has to be held accountable, or at least, should be held accountable. That ‘Prime Minister Protection Act’ could be his ace in the hole if this goes any further.”

“He’s certainly prepared in that case,” Henry said.

“So there’s no way to challenge him directly,” Dia said.

“Not exactly,” Law said. “Get enough people to turn, then it’ll become a problem for Dezine. The question is, though, what must be done in order for that to happen.”

“Hey, what’re you talking about over there?”

Gavin turned his head over to the guards and saw that they were looking at the group. The guard that asked the question leered at Law and walked over with a rifle in his hands.

“Are you that bored that you’re going to go and eavesdrop on a personal conversation?” Law asked.

“Personal my ass,” the guard replied. “What’s this you’re saying about the prime minister? You’re not planning on some sort of uprising, are you?”

“Oh no, that’s not what I was saying at all,” Law said. “I’m only wondering about whether or not Wilson Dezine will be able to handle the adversity coming his way.”

“Don’t think we haven’t been aware of what’s going on,” the guard said. “I heard that Dezine’s already closed the borders, so even if you troublemakers try to flee, we’ll be able to catch you before you can even think about it!”

“What’s this now?” Henry asked. “You can’t be serious, can you?”

The guard scoffed. “Think I’m joking, do you? The prime minister’s only acting out of concern for the good people of Iiayikohn, so even if Thedam and her soldiers try to invade us, we’ll be ready for them.”

“That’s preposterous,” Henry replied. “Are you even aware of what you’re trying to say?”

“Say another word and I won’t hesitate to take you out,” the guard said. “You should be lucky that you’re only here for the night.”

“And what about Mr. Rask?” Gavin asked. “What the hell has he even done to warrant an arrest?”

“That’s for the prime minister to know,” the guard replied. “We’ve got our eyes on you, so don’t even think about trying something funny.”

Gavin could only watch as the guard turned around and went back to his colleague. There were several points of interest to take in after that, but Gavin’s first thought was about Iiayikohn’s border. If what the guard said was true, then that created a problem for the others.

“Looks like there isn’t much of a choice,” Dia said.

“Well, if we can’t do much right now, then at least we can get the message out to the others,” Law said. “Don’t you agree, bro?”

“That seems like the best option,” Gavin replied. “But the thing is whether or not we’ll be able to make that call.”

“It shouldn’t be a problem,” Henry said. “At the very least, you should say to those guards that you need a quick moment at the phones.”

“But they’re already watching over us,” Wilma said. “Is it going to be that easy for Gavin?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Gavin said. “I should be able to handle this, even if those pricks try to get on my bad side.”

“Sounds like they already have,” Law said.

“I know the limits,” Gavin replied. “No matter what, I’m not letting anyone stop me here.”

Gavin had only one task in mind at this point. He needed to inform Rain and the others about Dezine’s latest moves and what they needed to do about them. To say he was not worried would be a lie, but Gavin kept his head up as he approached the guards. Nothing could deter him from what he needed to do and he had only one chance to do it.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Outside the Chancellor’s Mansion – Entrance Gate, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


In the depths of the night, Johan went back to Ahnle Mountain so he could access Chancellor Harring’s mansion. There was one point of interest that Sorin brought up that Johan just could not ignore and he wanted to see for himself if he could find anything noteworthy. But that was not the only reason he headed back, Johan thought. Jelka had fallen not too far away from the mansion, a scene that proved her willingness to fight until the absolute end. And Johan knew that Jelka managed to land a blow on Korbin before he could escape, which explained the change in scenery afterwards.

Johan never got to say to Jelka himself, so he figured that he could do the best he could to honor her. His visit with the Ahnle family provided the ability and Johan felt that, despite all that had been done by Queen Amelia, he found a way to give Jelka the tribute she deserved. The Arne name had suffered a great deal of pain because of Harring, but because the truth came to light, it was by Amelia’s hand that Jelka and her family could be cleared of all charges.

That was not the only thing, however, as Johan asked a request by Amos. He asked the crown prince if there was a way to honor the Arne family, or at least if there was a way to honor Jelka. Amos gave it a brief thought and settled on an idea, which he told Johan. With that said, Johan thanked Amos for what he had done. That was about the time Amos asked Johan if he could meet with the others in the group. Only after meeting with the others back at the hotel did Johan feel as if he could trust Amos to make the right decision. As for Amelia, Johan felt that only time would tell.

Johan spent some time looking around in the mansion to see if he could find anything, but turned up next to nothing. Sorin and Jelka had already been through, and what Sorin had found had to have been the only evidence that was of note. Though he expected as much, Johan did feel a slight disappointment that there was nothing more incriminating towards Isaac Kunigunde. Johan still had hope, however, that his mission would come to succeed. After all, he had people that he could trust even if some were no longer around to hear it. That was when he found himself at the entrance gate once again. The scene reminded him of what Korbin did and how Johan could never forgive him.

“No matter where you are, I know that you’re scared,” Johan said. “You’re scared because you felt fear. Fear that you won’t be able to get away with what you’ve done.”

However, Johan continued to remain committed to his methods. He would not resort to violence, even if he had to go up against Korbin himself. Johan knew that there was a better way to take care of Korbin than falling to his level. Even if it would be painstaking, Johan could not go against his own beliefs.

Still, even though Korbin was the one responsible for Jelka’s death, it did not mean that Johan had to go out of his way to deal with him. Korbin was only a small part of the problem at hand and with Bradley no longer alive, he stood out even less in Johan’s eyes. Perhaps that was why Johan felt pity for Korbin despite all that he had done.

But there was only so much time Johan had before the morning and he did not want to spend anymore time in Ahnlikohn than what he felt was necessary. Though he had to leave Jelka behind, Johan at least was able to see to it that she received a proper burial and a tribute that would make sure that she would not be forgotten by the people of Ahnlikohn. It was that final request that Johan felt he would be able to say goodbye to her. As he closed his eyes, Johan could not help but feel a single tear roll down the side of his face. The reality had finally begun to set in: this was it and there was no going back. The only thing that Johan could do now was chuckle because he was familiar with the feeling. That pain he felt all those years ago when he lost his father was there once again, but this time the ache was more meaningful.

“Wherever you are now, Jelka, I hope that you are finally able to rest,” he said. “I’ll never forget about you as long as I live, and I hope you’ll be able to see the future I’m going to create.”


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 39 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Sparrow Hotel – Indoor Lounge, Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Escaping Ahnle Mountain was easy. Escaping the reality of what took place stood difficult, however. Sorin knew that. He could only imagine what Johan had to have been feeling while he was by himself, and if he would even come back this night. It proved to be a long day with little to show for it, but at least Sorin was able to get one thing out of it. One piece of proof that would provide a vital step forward in the fight against Foundation.

“That’s right,” Sorin said. “I almost forgot.”

“What is it?” Gale asked.

Sorin reached into his pocket and took out the two documents that he got from Harring’s study. He unfolded both and went through them one more time as he made sure to read over both papers in a thorough manner.

“You received those from the mansion, didn’t you?” Pekka asked.

“Of course,” Sorin replied. “It seems like Foundation made sure to assist the chancellor the best way that they could. That mansion was paid for by Isaac in exchange for Harring’s cooperation.”

“Yet he killed him in the end,” Luna said. “At least that’s what Bradley said to us.”

“How can you be so sure that what he said was the truth?” Eva asked. “For all we know, he lied in order to shift the blame away from him. Not that it matters any longer, but still…”

“Either way, Isaac is responsible,” Gale said. “Whether he killed Harring by his own hand or he had someone else do it, Isaac is culpable.”

“That’s completely true,” Mina said. “He’s the one who’s responsible for all that’s happened, even what happened today! All of it happened because of Isaac Kunigunde and we have to make sure he faces justice!”

“With Bradley out of the way, that may be true,” Sorin said. “However, we still have to deal with the entirety of the Ameci government against us, as well as Iiayikohn’s.”

“Yes, and the fact that Gavin, Law, and Henry are headed that way,” Eva said. “I’m not sure what they’re hoping to find, but I would hope that they keep their heads up.”

“I think Gavin would be able to keep things in check,” Sorin replied. “He’s been nothing but reliable and Law’s no slouch, either. And Henry, too, is going to be a great help.”

“I don’t doubt any of what you said,” Eva said, “But we’re getting closer. It’s only a matter of time that Isaac and Foundation will strengthen their side.”

“Well, we just gotta keep on moving ahead, right?” Dustin asked.

“That’s the only thing we can do now,” Sorin answered. “But we’re still just waiting for Johan, whenever he comes.”

“We may be waiting for a while, then,” Eva said. “He may not have shown it to us, but it’s obvious that Joahn is hurting.”

“We’ll see,” Sorin said.

But he could not deny what Eva said. It was possible that even Johan had a limit and Jelka’s death was that. Johan had to keep the bravest face of everyone in the group, but there was little that Sorin could do to say otherwise. That was until the doors to the lounge opened, which everyone turned to look and see that Amos Ahnle entered the lounge with Johan beside him.

“It looks as if what you said was correct, Mr. Kuu,” Amos said. “Thank you for your help.”

“Not a problem,” Johan replied. “Our talk proved to be very useful, and for that I should be the one to thank you, Your Highness.”

Sorin stood up. “Johan, what’s going on?”

“Just let the prince here explain everything,” Johan replied. “You’ll find him to be very helpful to our cause.”

“Today has been filled with many revelations,” Amos said. “When that man stood there and dared to threaten the royal family, it was then that I realized that there was no use holding back any longer.”

“You’ve got something that you want to say, then,” Eva said.

“Indeed, that’s why I came here,” Amos replied. “Actually, it was because of Mr. Kuu here that I made this decision. He truly has been a real help.”

“Guess I should add in a bit myself,” Johan said. “While you were busy with Bradley, I went over to the castle and met with the Ahnle family. Fortunately, they had just finished taking care of the remaining Blood Ravens.”

“Don’t doubt our royal military, not even for a second,” Amos said. “It was only due to the efforts of the soldiers that we managed to keep the damage at a minimum.”

“So the Blood Ravens must have been placed under arrest, then,” Gale said. “After what Bradley admitted regarding the chancellor, I’m certain that Queen Amelia must have been thinking it over for quite a while.”

“We were at a loss, I’ll admit,” Amos said. “I had no idea what to think, if we’re being honest. All this time I thought Sorin Wilk was the assassin, but after the incident, I can’t say that he was the one responsible any longer and neither can my mother.”

“Which is why that accusation no longer holds up,” Johan said. “Safe to say that you’re in the clear, buddy.”

“That’s pretty nice of you guys!” Dustin exclaimed. “Hell, that’s a hell of an accomplishment if I’ve ever heard one!”

“Let’s try not to get carried away,” Eva said. “We’ve got a ways to go before we can claim victory.”

“Then let me give you a reason to celebrate,” Amos said. “Of course, we will have to answer and atone for our compliance towards Foundation, but for now, it would be best for us to ally with Queen Thedam. Mother is speaking with her at this moment, in fact.”

“Really?” Mina asked. “That’s great!”

“You’re very willing to accept that as fact,” Eva said, turning her sights over to Amos. “But I’m just as willing to give you a chance.”

“Well, there is also another thing that Mr. Kuu asked of us,” Amos said. “But we can discuss that later.”

“It will be worth it, that much I’m sure of,” Johan said. His words began to trail off as he looked aside. “I know she would have, at least…”

“So what happens next?” Luna asked. “If we’re getting the Ahnle family on our side, that means that Foundation won’t have an advantage anymore! What’s going to be the next step?”

“We’re on to Iiayikohn, obviously,” Pekka said. “This is the break that we needed. It would be wise not to waste an opportunity like this.”

“One by one, each member of Foundation will fall,” Johan said. “Bradley’s demise means they lack an enforcer with enough notoriety. It’s a blow that none of them can afford, not even Isaac.”

“And our next move?” Pekka asked. “Korbin is still out there and is possibly even more dangerous now that he’s on his own.”

“He’ll move up the ranks,” Johan replied. “It’s not because he’ll have earned it, but because Isaac needs to have someone doing his dirty work.”

“And all this is happening while Rohan just sits by,” Gale said.

“We’ll worry about him once we get to him,” Sorin said. “What we should be doing is informing Rain, Ayanna, and Reiss about what happened.”

“You do that, then,” Johan said. “In fact, tell them that we’re moving on to Iiayikohn and to bring some help. If we’re going to take down Dezine, then we’ll need as much help as we can get.”

“Got it,” Sorin replied.

“Looks like this was a productive chat after all,” Amos said. “As for you, Mr. Kuu, I did want to tell you one more thing, but don’t you think it would be best if they heard about this as well?”

“I’ll tell them soon enough,” Johan replied.

“What do you have now?” Eva asked. “If it’s important, then there’s no reason to keep it a secret from us.”

“I’m not keeping it a secret,” Johan said. “Rather, I think it would be better if you saw it for yourself once it’s finished. Or rather, once we’re finished taking care of our mission.”

Without waiting to hear a response from Eva, Johan turned towards the door and left the lounge. Sorin felt that whatever Johan was talking about, it had to do with Jelka. At least that was what he thought when he heard Johan talking to the crown prince. But for now, Sorin had to reach out towards the Kingdom of Thekohn and let Rain know about what had taken place. He also needed to speak with both Ayanna and Reiss about moving forward onto Iiayikohn. Whatever was in store for him and the others, Sorin had to be ready.




[1st of January, 2741 AD; Drake Rask’s House, Rezar, Iiayikohn]


“Long time, no see!” Drake exclaimed.

After a few hours, Gavin made it to Rezar with Law and Henry. Their first stop brought them to Drake’s house, a familiar place where Gavin could call his home. However, with Casper Bradley on the run, Gavin could not afford to relax. He was sure that something was being planned and he wanted to make sure that there was no room for error. Still, it did not hurt to make a brief stop to see both Drake and Wilma, as well as Dia. Everyone gathered in the living room as Drake set down a tray of coffee.

“Thanks for that,” Gavin said, grabbing a cup as he poured himself some coffee. “Then again, this was kind of our home for a while, wasn’t it?”

“You know it, bro,” Law said. “Although I don’t know why you’d need to drink coffee at a time like this…”

“Is there something wrong with wanting coffee in the evening?” Gavin asked. “Well, is there?”

Law chuckled. “Of course there isn’t,” he replied. “Forget I even asked. I should’ve known how much you care about your coffee.”

“Iiayikohnian coffee isn’t something that you can get just anywhere, you know that,” Gavin said. “At least, not the kind that Drake brews.”

“The coffee really is flavorful, isn’t it?” Wilma asked. “I ask him all the time, but Drake never gives me a straight answer.”

“Perhaps he got it imported?” Henry asked. “The islands down south tend to be known for their wares.”

“It’s not an import,” Drake replied.

“Don’t bother asking,” Dia said. “Drake just brews the coffee and that’s it. If you really want an answer, you’ll have to ask the delivery person.”

“You just want to ruin the fun, don’t ya?” Drake asked. “Well, that doesn’t matter to me. How’s everyone doing? How’s Mina?”

“They’re fine,” Gavin replied. “There’s a lot more pressing matters to worry about, so we’re all working towards the same thing.”

“You just like to keep it right to the point, don’t you, Gavin,” Drake said. “I guess that’s a fine enough answer.”

“We can only stay for so long,” Gavin said. “I have to thank you once again for housing us, Drake.”

“At this point, you’re like family,” Drake replied. “No matter what, I’ve got enough room for both you and Law.”

“I always did wonder why someone like you had such a big house like this,” Henry said. “Before, it was just you and Mina, correct?”

“That it was,” Drake said. “It’s been that way ever since the day she came into my life.”

“And you’ve never even thought about kids of your own until that point?” Henry asked. “Sorry if I’m being intrusive with my questions.”

“No need to apologize, Henry,” Drake said. “It’s just something that’s never crossed my mind. I’m just a guy who likes to sit back and relax after a nice day of work, but Mina went and gave me a bit of new perspective on life.”

“She does that effect on people,” Law said. “It does make me wonder about the others, though… Do you think we’d be able to reach them right now?”

“There’s a few likely places where they’d be right now,” Gavin said. “But they know that we’ll be here, so we should expect to hear from them soon.”

“That’s a good point,” Henry said. “It is a little past sundown, so I imagine that whatever happened with them, they’ll be calling us soon.”

“Well, if you’re busy, I can take a note for you,” Drake said.

“I don’t think that we’ll need that,” Gavin replied. “If they’re on the move, then they’ll most likely stop here. It’s that easy.”

“Then why did you think they would call?” Dia asked.

“It’s either one,” Gavin said. “That’s the two outcomes in this situation, but we’ll be fine with either one.”

“If that’s the case, there is one thing I’m wondering about,” Dia said.

“And what would that be, if you mind me asking?” Law asked.

“It has to do with Johan, doesn’t it,” Henry said. “Well, I assume that he’s on his way here as well.”

A couple of loud knocks on the front door then broke the conversation. It made Gavin look over to the door as he wondered who it was that knocked. He got up from his seat and headed towards the door, though he did not expect any of the other group to arrive so soon. Gavin reached out to the doorknob, but as he did, he took a look out the window. Outside stood a group of Iiayikohnian soldiers with their weapons ready. Gavin gritted his teeth as he looked back over to the group in the living room. This had to be the work of Prime Minister Dezine and Foundation, Gavin thought.

“We have a problem,” Gavin said.

“What’s wrong?” Drake asked.

“It looks like we’ve got company,” Gavin said. “Damn it, looks like they’ve got an entire squad at our door.”

“Open this door at once,” the lead soldier said. “Drake Rask, you and your cohorts are under arrest!”

“They got something on me I don’t know about?” Drake asked. “What the hell do these people think they’re doing? Is this some sort of joke?”

Henry stood up and hurried over to the door. “I’ll see for myself,” he said, taking a look outside. “Judging by the looks of things, it’s serious.”

“Why would they come here?” Wilma asked.

“I can think of a few reasons why,” Law said. “Bro, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

“Yes, it’s all too obvious,” Gavin replied. “Shit, I guess we don’t have too much of a choice here, do we…”

Gavin braced himself. Whatever happened next, Gavin had to be on top of it before things got out of hand. That’s what he told himself, at least. He could not admit to the others that he was as worried about the outcome as they were. There was only one reason as to why the Iiayikohnian military was here, and Gavin was going to find out.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 26 (Part 2)

[25th of December, 2740 AD; Rask Locksmith, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


“Well, looks like it’s time to open up,” Drake said.

Drake arrived at his shop in the morning as he was ready for another day of business. After saying his goodbyes to Wilma, all Drake wanted to do now was get to work. He hoped for a busy day with no interruptions, but as he placed his key inside the door’s lock, Dia spoke up. That was when a chord struck as he shook his head and chuckled.

“For the love of god, please tell me that you haven’t forgotten,” she said. “You did say that you were going to help me out, correct?”

“Ah, Dia, guess I just went and forgot,” Drake replied. “To be honest, I’m surprised that you’re still here.”

“For a locksmith, you can be pretty irresponsible,” Dia said. “Perhaps you should look into hiring someone. At least find someone who can run the shop while you help me out.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m working on it,” Drake said. “Things haven’t been the same since Mina left and with all the commotion stirring about, it’s gonna be awhile ‘til I see her again, I imagine.”

He opened the door and walked in with Dia right behind him. Drake had taken Dia to visit Rieder Park during her stay, visiting the location where Voitto had proposed to her. Once a several minutes passed, Dia knew what she had to do next and turned to Drake for assistance.

“The two of us share that much,” Dia said, “And even though you and her don’t share the same bloodline, you care for her all the same.”

“That I do, ma’am,” Drake replied. “Mina’s out there paving her own path and I couldn’t be happier. No one can tell me otherwise.”

“Yes, you’re right,” Dia said. “Johan is as important to me as Mina is to you. I am happy to hear that he is alive and doing well, but even so, I remain worried about what will happen to him.”

“Eh, he can handle his own well enough,” Drake said. “Hell, I even heard he rivaled Mina one time at dinner!”

“That’s not a surprise,” Dia replied. “He was always an active boy growing up, which was why he was always so eager to eat once we got him down at the table. Of course, that was after we had to settle him down.”

Drake grinned. “That’s quite a thought.”

“You can laugh, but it wasn’t nearly as fun as it sounds,” she said. “After Voitto died, it was hard to put food on the table each night. I did my best, but my job’s pay rate was never nearly enough to cover all the expenses.”

“That does sound bad.”

“I learned the hard way how much Ameci truly cares about its people once they’re not of use,” Dia continued. “Voitto was a valuable asset to the military, but once he was killed, they paid little attention to Johan and I.”

“What a shame,” Drake said. “Not even a message?”

“Oh, we got a message,” Dia answered. “It was as impersonal and standard as it could get.”

“Sheesh, guess they weren’t too bothered to say much.”

“It’s fine now,” Dia said. “Whether my last name is Jorgenson or Kuu, I still care for Johan deeply. That’s why I want to do my own to help, no matter how insignificant it may be.”

“Well, that’s why I’m here,” Drake said. “Though I suppose I should ask why you need my help, of all people.”

“I wanted to ask Mr. Wilk, but he’s already left Rezar,” Dia said. “That’s why I had to turn to you instead.”

“Well, may as well lay it on me now,” Drake said. “Long as there aren’t any customers, I’m willing to do what I can.”




[25th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Regal Ocean Hotel at the Plaza]


Sorin and Gavin stumbled upon the hotel during their search in the plaza as they tried to find out where Henry was staying. With the Regal Ocean Hotel being known as a reputable hotel for travelers, it made sense for someone like Henry to stay there. Despite passing by quite a few times, the hotel never caught Sorin’s attention until now. He could see why it was as well known as people said, as the hotel was the tallest building in the plaza, standing out with the kingdom’s flag waving on top. Sorin wanted to take in the sight for a moment longer, though it appeared as if Gavin was already thinking ahead.

“There’s no time to gawk,” Gavin said, motioning to the front doors. “Come on and hurry up already.”

“Got it,” Sorin replied.

The two men dashed into the lobby of the elegant hotel and took in the sights standing before them. A large fountain sat in the middle of the lobby, flowing with clear water as a small statue of the first King of Thekohn decorated the top. In addition to that, the soft, gentle sound of a piano playing caught Sorin’s attention as he tried to figure out where it came from. However, he found neither a piano or a musician. But what really stood out to both Sorin and Gavin were the decorations: bouquets of Thekohnian Tulips which adorned the golden walls. They moved along until they made it to the ballroom, where the two ended up crossing paths with Tori. She was not alone, however, as both her and Henry’s sons accompanied her.

“Gavin, Sorin, I didn’t expect to see you two here,” Tori said. “This is a rather nice surprise.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but we’ve got a bit of business with Henry,” Gavin said. “Can you tell us where he is?”

“Oh, of course,” Tori replied. “He’s should be in the hotel room. We can go with you if you want.”

“Well, that would be great,” Sorin said.

“I don’t know why you wouldn’t,” Gavin said. “You’ve got the key, after all. It wouldn’t make sense for us to go without a key anyway.”

“Yes, of course,” Tori said. “I was just waiting for Henry anyway. But with you two, we should get there right about when he’s done.”

“Thank you,” Sorin replied.

“I hope you don’t mind,” Tori said. “The boys were getting restless and I didn’t want to have them running around in such a small room.”

“It’s fine,” Sorin said. “I don’t know about him, though.”

Gavin glared at Sorin. “Are you saying I have a problem with kids? Is that what you’re trying to say?”

“No… No, not at all,” Sorin said.

“Whatever,” Gavin replied. “We’re ready to go, Tori.”

With Tori’s direction, Sorin and Gavin followed her and the boys to the elevator. Once they were on board, Tori pressed the button to the top floor and watched the doors close. During the ride, Sorin noticed the look that one of the boys gave him, staring without breaking any contact.

“Brad, it isn’t polite to stare,” Tori said. “If you have a question that you want to ask Mr. Wilk, I’m sure he’d answer it.”

“Is that a real sword?” Brad asked.

“It is,” Sorin said. “But it’s very dangerous. I don’t really use it unless I need to, and those times are rare.”

Brad pointed at the elevator doors. “Can you cut through those?”

“I don’t think so,” Sorin replied.

“That’s boring,” Brad said.

Meanwhile, the othe boy, Henry Jr., cowered behind Tori as he looked at Gavin. “Does that man… Does he have a real gun on him?”

“Relax,” Gavin replied. “It’s unloaded.”

“They’re not dangerous, boys,” Tori said. “Come on, you’ve seen your father hold weapons before, haven’t you?”

“Yeah, but not this close,” Henry Jr. said.

“Give me a break, kid,” Gavin replied. “If you want, I’ll show you that I’m not lying.”

“Don’t do that,” Sorin said. He looked over to Henry Jr. “Just take Gavin’s word for it.”

Soon enough, they arrived at the top floor and stepped off. Sorin and Gavin continued to follow Tori and the boys down the hall to the hotel room. Once they made it to the door, Tori took out the key, placing her free hand on the doorknob. Before she could insert the key, however, the doorknob turned. Tori removed her hand as the door opened and out walked Henry.

“You guys are back so soon,” Henry said. “What’s going on?”

“Well, they wanted to speak with you,” Tori said as she gestured to Sorin and Gavin. “At least, that’s what I presume they’re here for.”

Henry stepped out into the hallway. “Is that so?”

“That’s exactly why we’re here,” Gavin said. “The Queen of Thekohn needs your help, which is why we’re here.”

“She needs my help?” Henry asked. “Tori, do you mind taking the boys inside with you?”

“Are you going with them?” Tori asked.

“It won’t be long, I promise,” Henry replied.

Tori nodded. “I understand,” she said. “Let’s go, you two.”

She then went inside the hotel room with the two boys as Henry closed the door behind him. Sorin then explained all that had happened over the past night as Henry listened with intent. After Sorin finished, Henry turned to Gavin.

“So you two need my help in dealing with the Ameci military?” Henry asked.

“We’re not looking to start a war of any kind,” Sorin said. “Of course, you should know just what they’re up to, thanks to Foundation.”

“And Harold called you out to Habicht,” Henry said. “No doubt he’s luring you into a trap… But I think that that’s the trap itself.”

“What do you think?” Gavin asked.

“I’m still fighting,” Henry replied. “I’ve made my promise to Kirk that I’d keep moving onward, but even so, I know that if I do, I’d be putting Tori and my sons at risk.”

“That’s understandable,” Sorin said.

“Still, we can’t really sit back,” Gavin said.

“I know that,” Henry said. “I have reasons to fight as well. If I’m to make any sort of impact in Ameci, I’ll have to fight for what I believe is right. That starts with dealing with Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation.”

“So you’ll help, then,” Gavin said.

“I’ll do my best to help,” Henry replied.

“That’s good to hear,” Sorin said.

“But first, there’s that other matter you spoke of,” Henry said. “To do that, I want to meet with the queen herself.”

“Absolutely,” Sorin said. “We can definitely arrange that meeting.”

Henry smiled. “You know, you’ve got the same look in your eye,” he said. “If he were here right now, he’d agree with me.”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked. “Are you talking about my father?”

“Now, let’s get going,” Henry said. “Gavin, I’m glad that we’re working on the same page now.”

“Feels odd saying this, but I feel the same way,” Gavin replied. “Glad to have you on our side, Henry Randolph.”

Sorin watched as Gavin walked with Henry. Overall, he was glad to have Henry on his side. Still, what Henry said made Sorin think of his father once more. Normally he would not be concerned, but this time Sorin was beginning to feel anxious about Kirk. He heard nothing so far and was not sure if Kirk would call today, either. All Sorin could do was keep moving with the plan as he joined up with Gavin and Henry at the elevator.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 11 (Part 2)

[11th of December, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]


With the first chill in Rezar came the incoming Ameci Atlas at the Ports of Iiayi. Sorin waited with Gavin until Gale got off the ship and hurried towards them, reuniting with Sorin in a warm embrace. Kirk soon followed along with Dia, who had never met Sorin or Gavin before today. After a quick conversation, the five decided to head back to Drake’s house to discuss what they needed to do next now that the summit was getting closer. Back at the house, Rain and Mina were the first to greet Sorin and the others out front.

“You made it just in time,” Rain said. “Ayanna has arrived as well as General Reiss.”

“The general’s here, too?” Sorin asked.

“He wants to discuss what happened the other night,” Rain said. “With my schedule and his clear, it’s best we talk about it now.”

“That’s interesting,” Kirk said. “You didn’t tell me about this, Sorin.”

“I wasn’t expecting the general of all people to show up here,” Sorin said, “But if we have to talk to him, then I have no problem with that.”

“Aren’t you forgetting something?” Gavin asked.

Sorin looked over to Kirk, then back to Gavin. “What did I forget?”

“You know, the lady that’s with us,” Gavin said. “Fine, I’ll do it myself. Rain, Mina, that woman over there is Dia. Dia Kuu.”

Rain spotted Dia over by the car and realized. “Oh, Dia,” she said. “So she doesn’t know, does she?”

“We haven’t told her,” Sorin replied.

“Told her about what?” Gale asked. “Kirk and I just got back too, you know.”

“You haven’t told her about Johan!” Mina exclaimed.

“Mina, for the love of god, not so loud,” Gavin said. “It’s best if we just go inside first before we start explaining everything.”

“If it’s something about Johan, then why not tell us now?” Kirk asked. “Dia deserves to know above anybody else here, so you shouldn’t be holding back.”

“If you say so,” Sorin said.

He was hesitant at first, but Sorin explained to Dia the news about Johan, which made her brighten up as she found out that he was still alive. Sorin knew it was for the best that she heard this news from him, but did not expound all of what Johan was doing. Not for now, at least.

“So he’s traveling, then?” Dia asked. “Even though I was told he died a traitor, Johan’s still alive.”

“I’m sorry no one told you,” Sorin said. “If I had the ability to, I would’ve told you as soon as I could.”

“You don’t need to apologize,” Dia said. “Just knowing that he’s okay is good enough for me. The only thing I wish is to see him again, but I’m sure you can let him know that I’ll be around here for the time being.”

“Next time he calls me, I’ll let you know,” Sorin replied.

“It’s fine,” Dia said.

Nothing else was said as Dia walked past Sorin and to the house. He felt some relief as he was able to get that out of the way, but now he had a new dilemma. He did not want to bring more people into this plan, especially not someone so close to Johan, but for now it looked as if Sorin did not need to worry about Dia. With a sigh, Sorin turned over to Gale, who handed him her bag.

“That’s not the entire story, is it?” Gale asked.

“I don’t want to have her involved,” Sorin replied. “It’s risky enough as it is and I know Johan doesn’t want to see any more people hurt.”

“She’s not a liability, Sorin,” Kirk said. “You’ll see once the summit rolls around.”

“If that’s the case, then I’m sure that she can wait,” Rain said. “Everything is already tense as it is and I don’t want to have anything else happen before or during the summit.”

“Which is why the general’s here,” Mina said. “He’s going to help us make sure we don’t have to worry about anything involving the Blood Ravens while the summit goes on!”

“Well, if that’s the case, I’d like to hear it from Roderick himself,” Kirk said. “If he’s committed to helping us, then I want to listen in, too.”

“We could really use your insight, Kirk,” Rain said. “As a member of the Swords of Eight, I just know you probably have some ideas in mind.”

“Of course,” Kirk replied. “I’m sure that he could use all the advice in the world if it meant helping you.”

“Then let’s go,” Rain said.

“I’m sure it will be easy just like that,” Mina said. “You’re a legendary hero after all, Kirk!”

Kirk smiled. “You’re too nice, Mina.”

He followed Rain and Mina into the house while Gavin went after them. Sorin turned to Gale and held out his hand. In this moment, he was ecstatic to see her again as she placed her hand into his.

“I’m so happy you’re back,” Sorin said.

“I’m happy that you’re here,” Gale replied. “I really missed you while I was in Ameci. Let’s hurry up, okay?”

“Yeah, we should do that,” he said.

Sorin and Gale then went to follow the others into the house. As for what they would talk about, Sorin had only a faint idea, but he wanted to be sure to listen in as much as he could. For now, though, he was just glad to be alongside Gale once again.




After the discussion with Rain, Kirk, and General Reiss, everyone settled down and congregated into the main living room. One person, however, had been absent as Sorin wondered if Eva was still asleep. He had told his father about Eva’s return, but Kirk remained focused on his conversation with Ayanna and Reiss while Rain sat across from Sorin and Gale.

“We shouldn’t have to worry about Korbin and his crew,” Rain said. “At least not until the summit is finished.”

“So what happened?” Gale asked.

“There will be a much more secure front at the Glora Grand Hall thanks to Iiayikohn,” Rain answered. “I’m remaining hopeful that it will curb some of the animosity in this time.”

“I guess that means you’ll get the royal military involved as well,” Sorin said.

“Only the absolute minimum,” Rain said. “It was Reiss who suggested a much larger number, but I don’t want the Royal Kingdom of Thekohn to look as if it’s overshadowing the entire summit. It’s a meeting of unity, after all.”

“Well, you were the one who brought forth the idea of a summit,” Gale replied. “If there are any detractors, then I’m sure they would say that; not that I’m one of them, of course.”

“I understand the point,” Rain said. “Admittedly, it can be rather taxing to manage this, but I believe that we’ll be able to pull through and bring about peace to the region.”

“I sure hope so,” Gale said. “Anyway, I guess since you’re done here in Rezar, you’re heading off towards the other countries, aren’t you?”

“We leave tomorrow,” Rain replied. “I’m sorry that we couldn’t spend more time together, Gale, but I promise to sort out some time once this is over. That way, you and Sorin can come to the kingdom again.”

“Thanks,” Gale said.

“Besides, we can meet a couple of days before the summit, right?” Sorin asked. “We should be able to do something in Glora before all of the important matters happen.”

Rain agreed, as did Gale. There was comfort in knowing that everything was finally set and Sorin knew that they would all be able to meet once again before the start of the summit. He just had to hope that more information would come at that time before too long and that Johan would pull through with his work. Sorin still had Rysol to worry about, as well as Jelka, but there was not much he could do about them for now. He just had to wait and hope that it would all work out.




Eva sat up in the bed she had been sleeping in for most of the day. It was only due to the voices outside of the room she was staying in that she woke up, each of which were recognizable. She could not help it because she had to find out. Eva got up out of the bed and walked over to the door. The voices rang louder now and Eva could tell that Kirk was on the other side. There was no hesitation now as Eva opened the door and stepped out into the hall and found Kirk speaking with Ayanna and Law.

“I’m glad we could have this talk, Lieutenant General Ansa,” Kirk said. “It was very insightful.”

“Oh, you’re very welcome, Kirk,” Ayanna replied.

“Seems we’ve got an eavesdropper here,” Law said. “Guess she just had to drop in on us, right, you two?”

Kirk looked back and saw Eva. “Hello… I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess,” he said. “Were you sleeping?”

“No, I was just… resting,” Eva replied. “It’s been a long morning.”

“I’ll say,” Law said. “That tousled hair really threw me off for a moment; I wasn’t even sure if it was you I was looking at until I saw the eyepatch.”

Eva flicked back her hair. “Don’t even start.”

“Well, Eva, I was just about to ask Kirk if he’d like to join Law and I for a walk,” Ayanna said. “Since you’re awake, maybe you’d like to join us?”

“I’m sorry, but I can’t,” Eva replied. “Kirk, I need to tell you something.”

“What is it?” Kirk asked.

“No, you don’t need to ask me anything,” Eva said. “Just.. don’t say anything at all! Please, I’ve missed you…”

Kirk was not able to respond as Eva dragged him into the bedroom and shut the door, locking it behind her. She could not back down now. With a quick scan around the room, Eva looked at Kirk, who appeared to understand how she felt right now.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Kirk asked.

“Of course I do,” Eva answered.

She leapt up at him and shared a moment of passion with him. Clothes dropped to the floor as Eva and Kirk dropped onto the bed, the two fixated on each other as the rush roared through. For Eva, it was a much needed relief and she could feel that Kirk felt the same way. Once the deed was all said and done, Eva laid next to Kirk as she placed her hand in his. A few minutes passed until either one of them were able to talk again.

“It really felt like a long time since the last time we were like this,” Eva said. “You were truly wonderful.”

“I should be saying that to you,” Kirk replied.

Eva sighed. “You… You know, this may sound strange, but it truly does feel like I can’t help but love and hate you at the same time.”

“You ‘love and hate’ me?” Kirk asked. “I’m afraid to even ask.”

“It’s hard to explain,” she replied as she leaned herself against him. “I’ve always admired your hopefulness most of all, but it does make me feel like I’m just a piece of trash sometimes.”

“I don’t think you’re like that at all,” Kirk said.

“Of course you’d say that,” Eva said. “I can trust you to reassure me when I can’t lift myself up, but even then I can still hear that belligerent voice repeating itself to me every night.”

“Even so, it’s just a voice,” he said. “It’s just a voice and it has no power over you.”

“I want to believe that, I do,” Eva replied, “But sometimes there are just some enemies I can’t defeat no matter how strong I get.”

Kirk closed his eyes and placed his hand on Eva’s hair. “Eva, I may not know how to deal with the pain you’re feeling right now, but I can tell you one thing: I believe in you,” he said. “If you have trouble believing in yourself, then I’ll do it for you.”

“I don’t know if I can anymore,” Eva said. “Even with you by my side, I don’t know if I can keep going. And the worst part of it is that I can’t help but feel like I’m just selfish for feeling this way.”

“You’re not selfish at all,” Kirk replied. “You care way too much about others to even be considered as such.”

“Please, stop it,” Eva said. “Just stop being so stubborn!”

“If it’s stubborn for me to be concerned about your well-being, then so be it,” Kirk said. “You are just as much a light to me as I am to you.”

Eva turned away from Kirk. “I really don’t know anymore,” she said. “It all just feels so overwhelming right now… I just want to go back to sleep.”

It was then that Eva tried to embrace the sleep that had become distant to her. No matter how much she tried, however, Eva found it impossible to reach that moment again. Too many thoughts ran through Eva’s mind while Kirk tried to comfort her, to which she welcomed. Right now, this was a moment that Eva did not want to end, but she did not admit that to Kirk. She did not want to admit anything, nor did she want to say anything to him. All that Eva wanted was for Kirk to be right there with his arms wrapped around her, even if his words felt insignificant and insufficient.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 11 (Part 1)

[6th of December, 2740 AD; Randolph Household, Admorse, Ameci – Wyse District]


It had been a quiet day in the Randolph household as Henry looked over the plentiful stacks of paper that rested atop his desk. His campaign to become the mayor of Admorse had only just begun and his confidence continued to rise higher with each passing day that he ran. The citizens of Admorse had bountiful respect for Henry and all that he had done for Ameci, yet Henry felt like he still had much to give for his homeland and his city. He continued to pace around his office and thought about what he was going to do and where he was going to go next when the doorbell rang.

“Who could that be?” Henry asked.

At the moment, Henry was by himself. Tori had taken both sons out to the city and they were not going to be back for a while. His mother went along, as well, since Henry had plenty of paperwork that he needed to file. He had no other choice but to head to the front door and see who was waiting for him on the outside. As he peered through the eyehole, he saw his friend Rohan Fercewend on the other side. There was no doubt about it now as Henry opened the door and greeted the general.

“Ah, Rohan, it’s nice to see you,” Henry said. “What brings you here?”

“Just wanted to check on my good friend,” Fercewend replied. “That and I wanted to speak to you about something.”

Henry stepped aside and presented Fercewend the hallway. “Come in, then,” he said. “No reason for us to stand out here when we can talk on the inside, isn’t that right?”

Fercewend smiled. “Thank you.”

Henry invited Fercewend inside the house and led him into his office. Fercewend took a set by the table close to the door while Henry reached for a book atop the bookshelf. As he turned to Fercewend, Henry noticed his friend check out the closed chess case that sat on top of the table.

“You still have this all these years later,” Fercewend said, picking up the case. “What a sight to see, even now… You ever fancy yourself a quick game or are you just too busy?”

“No, I just don’t have anyone who’s interested,” Henry replied.

“If I wasn’t too pressed for time, I’d settle for a quick match,” Fercewend said. “Anyway, Henry, I came by because I need to share some important news with you.”

“What is it?” Henry asked.

“You’ve been hearing about summit, I assume? Well, I’m going to be there with Bradley and he told me that I can invite someone along,” Fercewend replied. “It’s not too much of a stretch to ask you to come, is it? Of course, you can bring Tori and your boys as well; in fact, I’d allow it myself!”

“I don’t know,” Henry said. “I have the campaign and I don’t want to get sidetracked too much…”

“It will only be for a few days,” Fercewend said. “It’ll be enough time for you and the family to see the sights as well as get some valuable experience. It is quite a privilege, after all.”

“Have to say that it’s hard to turn you down after all you’ve done for me, Rohan,” Henry said. “I suppose that it wouldn’t hurt to take some time off to see you at work and visit Glora again.”

“I’m glad to hear that Henry,” Fercewend said. “We’ll be heading off next week, so I hope that you and your family are ready by then.”

“I’ll let Tori know,” Henry said. “I’m sure that we could all use a vacation right now.”

“I have to admit I do get jealous of you,” Fercewend said. “You’re moving up quickly and it seems like only a matter of time before your career really takes off.”

“Well, mayor of Admorse is just a start,” Henry replied. “That and the child on the way… Tori’s hoping for a little girl herself, and honestly, I feel the same way.”

Fercewend laughed. “Yes, these kids can be a handful,” he said. “Just the other day, my oldest, Ari, said to me that she wants to have my job someday! Can you believe it?”

“And what did you say to her?” Henry asked.

“The same thing Atlas told me when I said that I wanted to be general of the Ameci military,” Fercewend replied, “That I should work hard and remain focused on my goals. Being general is no easy task, and Ari knows that well enough thanks to her mother and I.”

“With a supportive pair of parents, I’m sure she’ll be successful,” Henry said. “Got think about the future, after all.”

“Indeed,” Fercewend said. “Anyway, I must take my leave for now, Henry. I would say that I hope you’ll be ready for the road ahead, but I know you well enough to know that I needn’t worry about that.”

“And I don’t need to worry, either,” Henry said. “We should hope that Hasker makes a speedy recovery and that we’ll be able to achieve stability in the world.”

Fercewend stood up and put the chess case back down on the table. “That we should,” he replied. “It is of vast importance that we be able to maintain order not just in our homeland, but with our allies as well.”

Henry shook Fercewend’s hand and gave him a pat on the back. “Agreed, that is very important.”

“So, I shall see you when I see you,” Fercewend said.

“And I will say the same to you, Rohan.”

“Who knows?” Fercewend asked. “Maybe we’ll finally be able to match up against each other after all these years. It’s near a week-long trip across the Amthe Ocean, so why not see if we can arrange a makeshift boxing ring in the meantime?”

“If they’ll allow it,” Henry replied.

“Don’t worry, I’ll pull a few strings if I have to,” Fercewend said. “Hah, look at me talking like as if I’ve still got what it takes!”

“I’m sure you’re still as sharp as you were when we were both just recruits,” Henry said.

“I’d like to think so, too,” Fercewend said, “Though with each new group, I can see their potential shining through.”

He laughed and shook his head as he turned towards the doorway.

“Well, I don’t want to hold you up any longer than I have to,” Fercewend continued. “I’ll leave you to your work, Henry.”

“Thank you,” Henry said.

As Fercewend left Henry’s house, Henry looked outside the window. It was a clear day outside with no clouds in sight. He hoped it would be that way once he was traveling, but for now, Henry had preparations to make and news to tell his family. Getting out of town would be a good thing for them, Henry thought as he took a seat at his desk.

“It’ll be a good experience, all right,” he said.




[6th of December, 2740 AD; interior of the Ameci Atlas – Amthe Ocean]


Down inside the Atlas, Gale rested in her room. She did not feel tired, but felt the need to lay down after what had happened prior to today. It would be a while before she arrived in Rezar and Gale did not want to spend most of her time worrying while she was on board. However, looking up at the ceiling brought very little in terms of comfort, so Gale decided to turn on her side and look out the porthole. She could see nothing but ocean outside.

“Have these beds always been this uncomfortable?” Gale asked, sitting up as she looked down at the bed she was lying on.

She wondered if Dia and Kirk were resting as well, or if they were taking their time to do something else instead. Taking the time to find out would be easy, but Gale did not want to intrude unless she had a good reason to talk to either one of them. Still, though, Gale began to feel uneasy as she lay flat on her back. It only took thirty seconds for her to get back up on her feet and get dressed as she decided to leave her room.

“Let’s see,” Gale said. “What room did Kirk say he was staying, again? It shouldn’t be too far down the hall…”

Gale walked a few steps from her room to the end of the hall and found Dia standing outside of a room. She had to have a reason for standing out there, so Gale decided to approach Dia.

“Are you okay?” Gale asked.

“Yes, I’m fine,” Dia replied. “I was just trying to see if Mr. Wilk was in his room, but it looks like the door is locked.”

“Maybe he’s out up on the deck,” Gale said.

“I thought so, too, so I looked,” Dia said. “He wasn’t up there, either, so I assume that maybe he’s just getting some sleep. That’s why I came back here to see if I could talk to him.”

“If that’s the case, maybe it’s better if we leave him alone,” Gale replied. “Why don’t we take a walk together, Dia?”

Gale attempted to go, but turned and saw Dia remaining persistent. Dia knocked at the door again, which made Gale wonder why she was still trying to see if Kirk was still inside. There was no response, even after the two women waited for over a minute.

“He’s not going to answer you, Dia,” Gale said. “Come on.”

“Wait a second,” Dia said. “He should answer eventually.”

She knocked on the door one more time. Gale had no idea how long she was going to have to wait, nor did she have any idea why Dia wanted to talk to Kirk so badly, but she waited regardless. After a few seconds, there was a response on the other side.

“Give me a moment, please,” Kirk replied.

“I told you,” Dia said to Gale.

“I guess we’ll wait a little longer, then,” Gale said. “I really don’t know why you couldn’t just wait since we’re going to be here for a few days…”

“What was that?” Dia asked.

Gale shook her head and sighed. “Nothing.”

A few more seconds passed and the door to Kirk’s room opened. He was fully dressed, though his hair remained a mess as he tried to straighten it out. Gale could see that he had some sweat running down his forehead, though she did not question it.

“You must’ve been in some deep sleep,” Dia said. “I was knocking for quite a while, you know.”

“Yes, I’m sorry about that,” Kirk said. “I was exercising, that’s all. So, what did you want?”

Gale was not sure if what Kirk said was true, but did not want to ask. “Well, it was Dia who wanted to ask you something,” she said. “We can talk about it along the way.”

Kirk nodded. “Very well.”

The three then took a walk through the halls of the ship. It was a quiet walk as no one else was around at the moment. Very few of the ship’s crew members were walking around when Gale led Kirk and Dia up the stairs towards the deck. Once they were out on top, they could see exactly how open everything was as Kirk walked over to the railings and looked out to the vast ocean.

“Well, Dia, I’m sure you’re just itching to ask me anything,” Kirk said. “Go ahead, tell me.”

“What is it that you’re really doing?” Dia asked.

“What am I doing? You’ll have to be more specific,” Kirk said. “There’s a lot that I’m doing and I can’t always remember everything at the right time.”

“Tell me what you’re going to do once you get to Iiayikohn,” Dia said. “There has to be a reason you decided to tag along with Gale here.”

“You want to know the reason?” Kirk asked.

“Yes,” Dia replied.

“There’s a woman I miss very much,” Kirk said. “She and I… well, she’s a good person, but I know that she’s in pain. So much so that she’s probably tried to push everyone away from her, I feel.”

Gale shifted her sights towards the ocean. “Eva…”

“I’ve been too neglectful of her problems,” Kirk said. “I left her to herself once before and I’ve done it again, but no more.”

“And you think you can help her?” Dia asked. “You think you have some sort of answer to whatever it is she’s dealing with?”

“I hope so,” Kirk replied. “No, scratch that… I know I do, because I know that I can do whatever I can to help her.”

“If that’s your only reason, then I wonder why you went out of your way to hide it,” Dia said. “But I guess that if you have to have a reason, then that would be an acceptable one.”

“Let me ask you, then,” Kirk said. “What do you think I should do?”

“What do I think you should do?” Dia asked.

“I know that she doesn’t like to talk about it much, but it’s very obvious to me when she’s hurting,” Kirk said. “Of course, she’s been through a lot, losing so many important people she was close to and I know that that’s why she pushed me away.”

“Well, you’ve got a good idea what to do,” Dia replied. “You’re going to be there for her because you don’t want to leave her alone.”

Gale adjusted her glasses. “Eva needs somebody,” she said. “Despite what might have happened, I can tell that she truly hates being alone.”

“I guess this is another reason why you wanted my help,” Dia said. “If that’s the case, then at least give me the chance to find my peace. Only then will I be able to help you.”

“Understood,” Kirk replied. “I don’t want to leave Eva again. Not now, not ever. Thank you, Dia.”

Dia turned away and walked towards the other side of the deck. “You’re very welcome.”

Kirk sighed as he leaned against the railing. As he did, Gale looked at him and was reminded of her own struggles. She did not want to bring it up because it was nowhere near the level of what the other two were dealing with, but Gale did miss Sorin more and more with each passing day. The fact that it would be only a few more days until she reached Rezar did little to cure that, which was why Gale had to remain preoccupied with her works. Now that there was no need to, though, she could feel that loneliness return. The same sort of feeling that Gale dealt with in her past that was hard to ignore but at least there was someone to return to now, she thought to herself.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 10 (Part 1)

[6th of December, 2740 AD; Admorse Shipyard – Boarding Area, Admorse, Ameci – Gardner District]


The clear skies and morning breeze felt welcoming to Gale, who was ready to leave for Iiayikohn after her trip back to Ameci. Though she felt disappointed that she could not find anything out about her father regarding Foundation, Gale was happy that she was able to return regardless. It made her think that one day, she and Sorin would be able to travel the world once this was all over. For now, though, Gale at least made some headway with her blueprints and perhaps had a powerful ally in Fercewend.

“It was nice coming back here again,” Gale said. “I promise that it won’t be the last time, Ameci…”

She placed the bag she held by her feet as she stopped at the dock where the Ameci Atlas rested. Named for the legendary Ameci general himself, the Ameci Atlas was a ship that Gale could admire from both up close and afar. She knew that Kirk and Dia, both of whom had decided to accompany her, had admiration for the magnificent ship as well. Lowell Page also attended, but only to see the three off before he had to return to his job.

“Well, it’s almost time,” Lowell said. “You sure you’ve got everything you need, Gale?”

“I do,” Gale answered. “Thank you so much, Lowell.”

“Not a problem,” Lowell replied. “You ever need my help, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Hell, you can drop by anytime you want!”

“Well, you’d probably want to do it during the day,” Kirk said. “It would be a little rude to call him while he’s sleeping.”

“That’s a bit of a pain in the ass,” Lowell said, “But sometimes, you’ve got to answer an emergency call.”

“I guess it’s easy for you,” Dia said.

“Somebody has to do it,” Lowell replied. “I do hope you’ll find peace after this trip.”

“It was a spur of the moment idea,” Dia said. “I guess you could say that she inspired me to do it.”

“I had no idea that it was because of me,” Gale said, “But I’m glad to travel with you either way, Dia.”

“You see, you are making an impact on people’s lives,” Kirk said. “Even if it’s a few people or just one, you’ve become an inspiration.”

“Seeing you so passionate about your work, it reminded me of both Voitto and Johan,” Dia told Gale. “Both of them wanted to make a change in this world, and now it’s my turn to do the same.”

“Your turn?” Gale asked.

“Yes,” Dia replied. “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go on board the ship. I’ll see you two on the deck.”

Dia then headed off towards the Ameci Atlas, leaving Gale with Kirk and Lowell. She was surprised by Dia’s sudden change in attitude, which was not to say that it was a bad thing, but Gale had only just met her a couple of days ago. Was it all because of what had happened at Kunigunde Industries? Gale was curious, but she decided not to ask about it until later.

“I couldn’t have done it without your help, Gale,” Kirk said to her. “Everything up to this point is going along well, don’t you agree?”

“Do you think this is okay?” Gale wondered. “I have no problem taking her to where she wants to go, but is it really okay?”

“Gale, she’s been with you for quite a bit,” Kirk said. “I didn’t ask you just because I wanted you to get to know her. She needed courage and you were just the person to show that to her.”

Gale shifted her eyes to the side. “I suppose if you have no problem, then I don’t,” she said. “This is all part of your plan, isn’t it?”

“Your plan?” Lowell asked. “Seems like you’re still feeling grief after what happened all those years ago, Kirk.”

“It always was a little strange,” Kirk replied. “Eva and I are connected now, but it was only because of the tragedy that brought us together.”

Gale knew what Kirk meant. “Sorin’s mother…”

“April died protecting him, but it was Rysol who suffered the most,” Kirk said. “All these years, I looked into why I was targeted, why they killed April, and who took Rysol, yet still, I feel as if I’m nowhere near close to the truth.”

“It wasn’t Lokke?” Gale asked. “I thought he was the one who kidnapped Rysol…”

“He had a role in it, but he was merely a lackey to a much greater power,” Kirk said. “Finding that out was frustrating, to say the least.”

“Oh, I see,” Gale said.

“But since you now know who supported the Neu Thekohnian Order, we’ve got a good idea who may have been behind Rysol’s abduction,” Kirk continued. “The tricky part is getting Isaac to admit his involvement, which you realized for yourself why that’s so difficult.”

“That’s right,” Gale said.

“He would never dare implicate himself around someone he doesn’t trust,” Kirk said. “That has been and will be the barrier we face moving forward.”

“What’s your idea, then?” Lowell asked. “Guy isn’t going to run his mouth unless it’s a controlled environment, and we all know how much Isaac likes being in control.”

“There has to be a clue with those who were directly involved with the Neu Thekohnian Order itself,” Kirk said. “There was that one woman… Sadly, I can’t seem to recall her name, but she was very much a part of the NTO. At least, for a moment or so.”

“I guess so,” Gale replied.

As Gale thought about it, the blare of the ship’s horn sounded off. Several people walked by as Kirk turned his head towards the Ameci Atlas.

“We’ll have plenty of time to think about it,” Kirk said. “Plus there’s plenty of time to consider our possibilities.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Gale said. “Anyway, I’ll see you, Lowell.”

Lowell waved his hand. “Of course,” he said. “Guess I gotta say the same to you, too, Kirk.”

Kirk nodded. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’ll be back soon enough.”

“You don’t have to make promises with me,” Lowell replied. “I already know you’re as diligent as they come. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be out having some drinks or something!”

“Let’s hope so,” Kirk said.

“Alright, fine,” Lowell said. “Just go already! I gotta get back to work and make sure my guys aren’t sitting on their asses.”

With their goodbyes exchanged, Gale and Kirk headed off for the Ameci Atlas. The past week had been eventful with Gale delivering her presentation, as well as the sudden news that President Hasker had fallen ill. All Gale could do now, though, was to head back and work towards helping everyone in their quest to take down Foundation.




[6th of December, 2740 AD; Green Fir Hotel, Bel, Maeitakohn]


The lack of activity during the dead of the early morning did not stop Johan, who waited in his room for a specific phone call. He was certain that Sorin was going to call at any minute. By now, the secret had to be out. Everyone that was involved with Johan was sure to find out that he was still alive. Johan knew that he had no more reason to conceal himself, especially since Korbin knew full well the information.

However, that was all part of Johan’s plan. He knew that there was no way he would have been able to keep up his masquerade for too long, because Johan knew that everyone in Foundation would get suspicious. Isaac Kunigunde and all those that worked with him were bound to notice once Rodik Mahrk resigned from his position, depriving them of their immediate connection to Maeitakohn. Cutting off that limb would prove to be useful, but only at the expense of Johan making his presence known. Now he had made his move and the only option for Foundation was for them to react.

Johan fixated his eyes on the hotel room telephone again. He had to pass the time, somehow, before Sorin called. It had been a long time since the two had met in person, as the last time they did, Johan was still in disguise. Meeting up with Sorin would prove to be difficult as long as Korbin was still around. There had to be a way to deal with him, Johan thought. There had to be a way to take care of Korbin without the need to drop to his level. As Johan pondered this, the phone began to ring. Johan picked it up in an instant; this had to be the call from Sorin now.

“Hello,” Johan said. “Who is this?”

“Johan, it’s me,” Sorin said. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t call sooner. We… We got caught up in something earlier.”

“Tell me about it, buddy,” Johan replied.

Sorin began to explain what had transpired earlier in the night. Johan was correct as Sorin represented that confirmation of the suspicion that he had. The clock did not stop for either of them and Sorin’s account only served to make that claim stronger. For the next phase of their plan, Johan knew that he and Sorin, as well as Jelka and Rysol, needed time to set everything up.

“Listen to me, Sorin,” Johan said, “Since we both know that Korbin’s not going anywhere, staying out of sight is the best option until the summit.”

“So we’ll have to wait until that date,” Sorin replied.

“This next phase of our plan revolves on other people acting accordingly,” Johan said. “As long as the leaders are all in the same place, we already know that Isaac Kunigunde will be there. There, I will unveil my secret weapon… The secret weapon that will ultimately bring down Mr. Kunigunde.”

“You’re sure that your idea will work?” Sorin asked.

“I know it will,” Johan answered.

“They’ll be looking for you, though,” Sorin said. “There’s no way that the Ameci military won’t be looking for you. As far as their concerned, you’re just a traitor to them…”

Johan sighed. “It’s too late to be concerned,” he said. “Korbin has already killed me once. I’ve got no reason to fear him or the rest of the Ameci military, and neither should you.”

“He’s not the only one that we should be worried about,” Sorin said.

“Believe me, buddy, I’ve got plenty of reason to worry,” Johan said. “The fact that there are people like Isaac who can walk freely worries me, which is why I’m still working towards my goal. Nothing will stop me from doing that, not even death.”

“I know that,” Sorin said. “I know you well enough to know that that won’t be a problem…”

“Rain will be able to handle this summit she has planned,” Johan replied. “Despite whatever Isaac and Foundation may think, she isn’t the type to buckle underneath the pressure. You should know that, of all people.”

“I don’t doubt Rain, not for a second,” Sorin said, “But we still haven’t heard anything regarding Chancellor Harring. After what’s happened with the Ahnle family, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any moves from them.”

“It surprises me as well,” Johan said. “I think it’s because they know that everyone is expecting them to do something about it, yet they also hold the most important card in that Ahnlikohn is where the summit’s taking place.”

“So they might wait until after the summit to do something about Harring, then?” Sorin asked.

“Plus, the news will be moving quickly,” Johan said. “Having this much turnover in these countries in such a short span of time will have a certain look that I’m sure the Ahnle family will want to avoid.”

“So we can’t do anything but wait,” Sorin said.

“It’s for the better,” Johan replied. “By the way, you mentioned that something happened to Jelka, right?”

Sorin did and went into detail about how Jelka was taken in. Johan could tell that Sorin did not sound certain about Jelka’s fate, though Johan knew that there was no way that they would be able to keep her in for long.

“They’ll likely release her tomorrow,” Johan said. “If what Rain said to you is true, she’ll be able to help her leave Iiayikohn.”

“You know well enough about hiding,” Sorin replied.

“Laying low in Glora may be the best option we can take,” Johan told him. “It may be a risk, but it’s the best option compared to the alternatives.”

“You don’t think a trip to Kikuisha is in order?” Sorin asked.

“Well, it’d be an easy option,” Johan said, “But keeping an eye on Glora is more important.”

“Guess I can’t disagree with you there,” Sorin replied.

“Hold out until it’s close to the summit,” Johan told him. “Rain’s going to gather everyone involved and we’ll be able to finally make our move. Patience is what we must need now.”

“Then I suppose that this conversation is over,” Sorin said. “It seems like that’s all we can talk about.”

“Don’t worry,” Johan said. “When we meet up in Glora, we’ll be sure to spend some time before the next phase of our plan goes into action.”

“I hope you’re right,” Sorin replied. “I should get some rest… I’ll see you when we meet in Glora, then.”

“Same to you, buddy,” Johan said.

With the conversation finished, Johan rested the receiver down on the phone’s base. He knew that his trust in Sorin was unbreakable and nothing would change that, yet Johan understood his friend’s lament over the fact that their meetings boiled down to one simple thing at this point: taking down Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation. That was one of the big reasons why Johan had to make sure that he had to succeed in his plan. He had to, not just for his sake, but for Sorin’s as well.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 7 (Part 2)

[5th of December, 2740 AD; Drake Rask’s house, Rezar, Iiayikohn]


After time passed, Sorin, Gavin, and Law went to the train station with Ayanna in order to meet with Rain and Mina, as well as Rain’s advisors. Once they arrived, it was a brief but heartwarming reunion amongst the group. Sorin was the first to receive Mina’s greeting as she ran up to him and wrapped her arms around him. As he did his best to maintain his footing with her, the others did their best not to laugh as Sorin eventually fell to the ground with Mina on top of him.

“I still can’t believe how easy it is for me to bring you to the floor,” Mina said, getting up. “You should really improve on that, Sorin!”

“I think everyone’s looking at us,” Sorin replied as he sat up.

“Seems more like they’re astounded,” Mina said. “Here, I’ll help you!”

Mina lent out her hand, which Sorin reached for with his. As he got back up onto his feet, Rain walked up to him and greeted him as well.

“It’s nice to see you again, Sorin,” Rain said. “And to all of you, too, Mina and I have missed you so much.”

“And we’ve missed you,” Law replied. “Say, Rain, is it just me or is this the first time I’ve seen you wear such an extravagant dress?”

Rain looked down at her dark green dress, decorated with jewels in the shape of the kingdom’s flower. “Yes, this is a special dress that I’ve picked out for this occasion,” she said. “I expected to meet with the prime minister today, but it seems like that plan has changed.”

“I knew it,” Law said.

“I’m sorry about that,” Ayanna said.

“Don’t be sorry, lieutenant general,” Gamal replied. “We understand that the prime minister may simply be preoccupied with other matters at the moment and Her Majesty will be meeting with him tomorrow.”

“Gotta get that head start, don’t we?” Dustin asked. “Well, it’s nothing we can’t handle!”

He burst into laughter and slapped Gamal on the back while Gavin adjusted his sunglasses and turned to Rain.

“Let’s just take the time to catch up,” Gavin said. “Anything you have in mind, Rain?”

“Well, that’s entirely up to Mina,” Rain replied. “After all, she hasn’t been back here in a bit and probably wants to pick the place for us. Isn’t that right, my love?”

“I know just the place,” Mina said, “But we should go back to my uncle’s and see how he and my mother are doing!”

Rain smiled and nodded. “Of course,” she said. “I would also like to see how they’re doing as well.”

And at that, they proceeded to head back to Drake’s house. Once they were there, Mina saw Drake hanging out on the porch and rushed over to him. He noticed her in an instant and welcomed her with open arms, while Wilma walked out to see all of the commotion. Mina then saw her and then ran over, giving her mother the same embrace that she had given Drake.

“I’ve really missed you both!” Mina exclaimed.

“Yes, yes, Mina, I’ve missed you too,” Wilma replied. “You’ve really grown a lot since last I saw you, haven’t you?”

“Have I?” Mina asked.

“You’ve got this whole maturity about you,” Drake said. “Guess you’re taking a lot more after your mama than you realize, Mina!”

“Well, in some places, Mina takes even more than that,” Law said. “Rain would agree with me, right?”

Gavin stepped on Law’s foot. “Not another word.”

Law pulled back his foot in pain. “Ah come on, bro.”

“Really, Law, you’ve said enough,” Ayanna said. “I think Mina deserves a little more time with her mother and uncle.”

“Yes, I think we can spend a little more time here before we head back to the city,” Rain said. “Perhaps we can head inside and catch up for a bit?”

“I don’t see why not,” Drake replied.

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Sorin said.

“Oh, but I gotta tell you something first,” Drake said

However, Sorin was in a hurry and walked past Drake towards the front door. Everybody else followed him inside, but Sorin was concerned about something else. He headed towards the first floor bathroom and arrived at the door. Sorin placed his hand on the doorknob and turned to head inside, but as he opened the door, he discovered an unexpected sight sitting right before him: Eva Bellamy.

Eva shrieked. “What the hell are you doing!?”

Sorin shut the door in that instant and tried to forget what he saw. He hoped that Eva would forget about it, too, but with her, Sorin had no idea. It was not something that he would have wanted to talk to her about, though he knew that he would have to confront her sooner rather than later. Mina walked up to Sorin, confused at his reaction.

“Are you okay?” Mina asked. “You look really pale!”

“Do I?” Sorin wondered. “I mean… Don’t go in there!”

Mina looked at the bathroom door. “In there? Why not? Oh, don’t tell me you didn’t, Sorin!”

“It’s not that, not at all,” he replied. “No, it’s just that I didn’t expect that to happen.”

“It’s even worse?” Mina asked. “Don’t tell me that you clogged the toilet! I can’t handle that!”

“What? No, I would never do that,” Sorin said. “I haven’t even stepped into the bathroom yet! That’s impossible!”

As he tried to defend himself, the door opened from behind Sorin. He backed away from the door as Eva stepped out and confronted him. He feared the worst as Eva glared at him with ferocious intent.

“I didn’t see anything!” Sorin said.

“Sorin… I’m not mad that you saw me with my pants down,” Eva replied. “I’m mad because you didn’t even knock! Haven’t you learned anything from Kirk!?”

Sorin braced himself for what was next, but Eva turned around and headed off towards the living room.

“Oh, so you just walked in on her while she was peeing,” Mina said. “I guess it wasn’t as bad as I thought!”

“Mina, please, watch what you’re saying!” Sorin exclaimed.

“Wait, that means Eva’s here, too,” Mina replied. “Wait up, Eva! I want to talk to you!”

Mina hurried after Eva into the living room, while Sorin was too shaken up by the turn of events to do much else. He soon came to his senses, however, and went after Mina and joined her in the living room with the rest of the group. It was in the past now, Sorin thought as he took a seat next to Gavin.

“What the hell was even going on back there?” Gavin asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Sorin replied.

Law chuckled. “Well, it seems like you saw something worthwhile,” he said. “Maybe you can tell us all about it, Eva…”

“Don’t waste your time,” Eva said. “Besides, it’s my fault for not informing you guys of my return.”

“I was just about to tell them,” Drake said. “You just dropped in all of a sudden and gave me quite the surprise!”

“I’ll say,” Rain said. “Eva, if it’s not too much to ask, how are you holding up?”

“I’m fine,” Eva said. “I just wanted to have a little change of scenery, that is all.”

She explained in brief manner her trip to Kikuisha and her encounter with Kiku and Noa.

“I’m glad to see you’re okay,” Rain replied. “I won’t lie when I say that I was worried about you when you left.”

“She seems to be good now,” Gavin said. “I think it might have been just as she said.”

“Yeah, bro, sometimes you gotta jump up and take the next ship,” Law said. “Though I am curious, Eva, about what you did with Kiku. Do you care to tell us more about that?”

“It’s not that important,” Eva replied. “I just bonded with her and Ayame for a bit, that is all.”

Law raised his eyebrow. “Bonded? Oh my…”

“Yes, which is why it isn’t that important,” Eva said. “I want to know what’s going on with you, since I’ve told you everything that you wanted to know.”

“If you say so, Eva, then we’ll not ask you any further,” Rain replied. “As for us, we were about to head back to the city for some fun, but we can share some of the details along the way.”

“That sounds like a good idea to me,” Ayanna said. “We’ll have plenty of time to catch up once we’re moving. I hope you don’t mind that, Eva.”

“Of course not,” Eva said.

“It’s settled, then,” Gavin said as he stood up. “Let’s go already!”

Everyone followed Gavin’s word and left the house, save for Drake and Wilma. Mina took time to say goodbye to the two, not sure of when she would be back, and went along with the others on the way to the city. Sorin, meanwhile, wondered about Eva’s return. He knew that there was more to her arrival but he chose not to say anything about it lest he bring up that unfortunate event from earlier. There was also Korbin, as Sorin knew that he was still around in Rezar somewhere. He hoped that their paths would not cross again, at least not for the rest of the day, though Sorin remained uncertain about that happening. All he could hope for was a relaxing night uninterrupted by trouble.




[5th of December, 2740 AD; Kunigunde Industries Headquarters, Admorse, Ameci – Atlas District]


Gale walked out of Kunigunde Industries with Dia and Lowell as all three survived the meeting, much to Gale’s relief. It proved tough in the beginning for Gale to present her ideas, but as time went on, she was able to secure herself against Isaac’s remarks. To her surprise, however, Isaac had remained subdued for most of the meeting as Casper and Fercewend were the ones who showed the most interest in her project.

This could prove revolutionary,” Fercewend said. “Not only for our military, but for the world as well!

What do you think, Isaac?” Casper asked.

Isaac sighed. “It seems to be that way,” he said. “I suppose if the two of you approve…

Though it felt like a relief, there was not much for Isaac to say besides what he had said on Gale’s project. That made it difficult for her to find anything regarding Foundation, which almost made it feel like a waste for her to even consider bringing along Lowell’s recording device. She wondered if he knew about it, but there was no way for Gale to even tell.

“Don’t feel too bad about it,” Lowell said. “After all, this meeting was for your benefit.”

“I know that,” Gale replied. “I just wish I was a little more helpful to Sorin. He and the others don’t have much in the way of incriminating Isaac and I thought that this would be my chance to do something.”

“He’s aware,” Dia said. “That is a man that is much too concerned with his own image. Of course he wouldn’t say anything if he felt like his words were going to be used against him.”

“That just means we’ll need a different approach,” Gale said. “I’m supposed to head back to Iiayikohn tomorrow, but maybe you can help me with something, Lowell.”

“You got another idea?” Lowell asked.

“Well, you, Tre, and Kirk can help me out on this one,” Gale replied. “The summit’s coming soon and I know that Isaac will be there in some way.”

“So you want us to find out about his movements,” Lowell said. “Fine, I’ll get in touch with Kirk and Tre and we’ll work something out.”

“I’m happy to hear that,” Gale said. “I’m sure the others will be ecstatic when they hear this, too.”

“Yeah, tell them ‘you’re welcome’ for me,” Lowell replied.

“I’ll be sure to,” Gale said. “What about you, Dia? It seems like you were able to get what you wanted to say off your chest, so what now?”

Dia’s comments, in particular, stood out to Gale. She had never seen such a calm display of anger before her until today. The impact of Dia’s response to both General Fercewend and President Bradley was not something that Gale was soon going to forget.

You’re the mother of Johan Kuu, are you not?” Fercewend asked. “I will be the first to say that I apologize for the way things turned out.

If that was the case, you’d have prevented it a lot sooner,” Dia replied. “At the very least, you could have informed me of Johan’s actions.

I’m sorry, but we simply forgot,” Casper said.

You forgot?” Dia asked. “Like you also forgot about Voitto?

There was little that Fercewend and Bradley could say, and even less from Isaac. He had no interest whatsoever regarding that conversation and it showed as he looked off in the distance with contempt. Gale knew that he did not want to be in the meeting, but had to fulfill it for whatever reason he had today.

“Actually, there is one thing I want to do,” Dia said.

“What is it?” Gale asked.

“Voitto… well, there’s a specific place that he treasured,” Dia replied. “I was wondering if you’d take me there, Gale.”

“Of course,” Gale said. “Where is it?”

“It’s Rieder Park,” Dia answered. “It’s where we first met and I want to go there one last time.”

“I can take you there,” Gale replied. “I know where it is, so it should be easy to get there.”

“Thank you,” Dia said. “You said you were leaving tomorrow, right? Then I’ll see you over at the shipyard.”

Gale nodded. “I’ll see you in the morning, Dia.”

As Dia left, Gale was left with Lowell. She was sure that Lowell would not fail in his task, so she had to remain diligent with hers. At the minimum, Gale had accomplished what she set out to do, with the results bringing forth satisfaction as she went back to the hotel. She had a lot of fun spending time in Ameci; but soon enough, she would arrive in Rezar. Gale could not wait for the morning as she would be on her way back to the city she came to love.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 6 (Part 2)

[5th of December, 2740 AD; Cupressaceae Markets, Bel, Maeitakohn – Cupressaceae District]


The clouds in the sky gathered as Johan looked up. He had finally made it to Maeitakohn. It was only a matter of time until he made it all the way to the President’s Palace, Johan thought. For now, however, he had time to think about what he had to do once he was finished with his business. Johan looked down and to the marketplace, where various people roamed throughout. He smiled and took a large cookie out of his bag.

“These people truly have no idea,” Johan said, “But they will understand when this is all over. I know that they will.”

He was not in disguise only because Johan knew that there was little, if any, Ameci presence down in Bel. The plan to oust President Mahrk seemed to be an easy one at this point but Johan understood that there was a chance that the security would be abundant, even during a time of peace. As Johan chomped into the cookie, an idea appeared in his mind. There was one way for him to enter the President’s Palace, but it required Johan using his abilities to their maximum potential. After all, using those skills was how Johan got to where he is and it was with those skills that Johan would be able to execute his plan to oust President Mahrk without a hassle.

Taking down Rodik Mahrk would be easy but getting in was the hard part, Johan thought. However, as he watched a couple of Maeita soldiers walk by, his idea came to light. If there was a way for him to secure a soldier’s uniform, then Johan would have an easy time entering the palace. However, there was but one question he had: how would he go about obtaining a uniform? Johan did not wish to take one from the passing soldiers, but he soon thought about where else he would go to get one. Yes, that was it, he concluded to himself.

“Time to make my move,” Johan said, standing up. He scanned around the immediate area and found what he was looking for. “I see. Looks like this will be easier than I thought.”

Off in the distance, a lone bus sat idling by the curb. Johan had read up on the city’s bus system before he had arrived, but had no map of his own. If Johan’s hunch was correct, however, then the bus would take him to his destination at the military base. He rushed towards the bus and got on, with several other people occupying the bus as well. Johan could see some soldiers sitting as well, furthering his conclusion that there was a connection to the base. Once the bus began to move, Johan gazed out of the window towards the market.

“Looks like it’s all moving along well,” he said. “Jelka, I know that you’re thinking the same thing, too.”




[5th of December, 2740 AD; Kunigunde Industries Headquarters, Admorse, Ameci – Atlas District]


The cold air of the cloudy, early morning only served to make Gale’s visit to Kunigunde Industries more foreboding. She had to be here but a small part of her mind was telling her to turn back. To run away. Gale found it difficult to ignore those thoughts, but she continued to remain strong. With Dia Kuu and Lowell going along with her, Gale knew that she had to move ahead with her intentions, even if that meant facing her father.

“Feeling nervous?” Lowell asked.

“A little,” Gale replied.

“That’s understandable,” Lowell said. “I guess we should be fortunate that he wanted to meet us so soon after what happened to the president.”

Dia stared at the building before her. “It feels wrong,” she said. “I don’t know why, but something about this whole meeting puts me at unease.”

“I feel the same way, too,” Gale said, “But we’ve got no choice.”

Gale spoke with Dia at Kirk’s suggestion. To hear that Dia wanted to help her was a surprise, but Gale welcomed it all the same. If Kirk was the one to suggest Dia, then Gale felt like she could trust the other woman.

“What else are we going to do?” Lowell asked. “Besides, this is the perfect opportunity, right?”

Gale nodded. “Right.”

She looked at her bag and held it close to her. Inside were her blueprints, as well as the recorder that she had asked Lowell to get. It was switched off for now, but Gale would have it ready once the meeting started. Though the chance was slim, Gale had hope that there would be some sort of slip-up from her father and that would give her something that Sorin and the others could use in taking down Foundation. Still, anxiety was difficult to subside and Gale could feel it in the bottom of her stomach.

“Even if it’s a trap, you’ll still walk into it?” Dia asked. “I suppose that this would be the only way to find out what it is you need to find out.”

“If we go running around like our asses are on fire, then we’ll never get anything done,” Lowell said. “I already know what Isaac’s thinking: he’s thinking that he’ll be able to intimidate Gale. Intimidation is his modus operandi, which isn’t surprising at all.”

It was rare for Gale to speak with her father growing up, but when she did, it was always the same. He had always resented her. Gale had thought it was due to the fact that her mother had died when she was born, but as the years went on with no change in Isaac’s behavior, she questioned that belief she held. A mother she never knew, yet Gale felt sympathetic towards her. Isaac was always a cold, distant man, who prided himself on his legacy, Gale thought. That alone was reason enough for Gale to think the Isaac always considered her as nothing more than a mere afterthought.

“He’s obsessed with himself,” Gale said. “He doesn’t care what others think of him, which is why he thinks he can get away with his crimes.”

“Seems to be the case with most of these men,” Dia said.

“No one is invulnerable to justice,” Lowell replied. “Even those who wield power that feel like they will never falter, they will eventually lose out.”

“You seem certain that it will be the case,” Dia said.

“Believe me, when you’ve lived as long as I have, you learn plenty of things,” Lowell said, “And one of those things happens to be the fact that a man like Isaac can hold his head up high, unaware of what fate awaits him from below. It has happened before and it will happen again.”

“I guess we’ll see whether or not your assumption is right,” Dia replied.

“Anyway, we should go inside, right?” Gale asked. “We’ve been standing out in the cold for a while now…”

“You’re right,” Lowell said. “Let’s not waste any more time here.”




Inside the headquarters of Kunigunde Industries, Gale did not feel cold but the oppressive presence was still there. Knowing that Isaac was only a few rooms away from her made her tense up as she gripped the bag on her lap. She tried to figure out what she needed to say in order to move along the conversation. But Gale found it difficult to find the right words and that was what frightened her: not the fact that she had to meet Isaac, but the worry that she would not be able to even speak in his presence, which would she knew would confirm to him all that he believed. She hated that most of all.

Lowell glanced over at Gale. “Are you doing alright there?”

Gale nodded. That was all she could do at this point, because now it felt impossible to even speak.

“She’s nervous,” Dia said. “Even from here, it’s blatantly obvious that she’s feeling the pressure that’s been put upon her.”

“Look, we’re all nervous here,” Lowell said. “If she’s shaking in her boots, it’s only because of how close all of us are to the truth.”

“Did you not forget why Gale is here in the first place?” Dia asked. “I’ve talked with her beforehand and she’s made it clear to me what she wants out of this meeting.”

“I’m well aware, Mrs. Kuu,” Lowell replied. “I’m not diminishing Gale’s intentions in the slightest. There’s just a more important goal for us that we all have to accomplish, that’s all.”

Dia turned her head away from Lowell. “There was a voice in the back of my head before I got here,” she said, “Seems like it was right: coming here was an absolute mistake.”

Lowell groaned. “I’m trying my best to keep morale high here,” he replied. “What a pain in the ass… I’ll be sure to let Isaac know exactly how I feel once he shows his face.”

As if it were almost on cue, Isaac walked into the meeting room. Casper and Fercewend followed after him and both dressed well for the meeting. It was now or never, Gale thought, because otherwise she would end up second guessing herself on the way back to Rezar. It did not matter to her how daunting it was, she had to speak up. She got up to her feet, placed her bag aside, and decided to speak without hesitation.

“Hello, Isaac,” Gale said, “And to you too, Mr. President.”

Isaac raised his eyebrow as he glared at the bag on the chair. “That’s odd,” he said. “I was under the assumption that there were to be no bags of any kind at this meeting.”

“It’s an easy mistake to make,” Fercewend said.

“Yet, it stands out like moldy strawberries on a cake,” Casper said. “It’s much too much a risk to have here in this room.”

“Sorry, Gale,” Fercewend said, “But you’ll have to hand that bag over to me for the time being.”

Gale looked over at the bag. It would be difficult without the recording device, but what would make it worse is if the recording device was discovered. She felt hesitant to give it up to Rohan, but she felt like she had no choice in the matter.

“General, I believe we have more important issues at hand,” Lowell said. “It would be best if we didn’t sidetrack ourselves with trivial matters.”

“Trivial?” Isaac asked. “You know my policy, Lowell. You should consider it an honor to even be in the same room with me right now.”

“Let’s do as he says, Isaac,” Casper said. “Our friend’s got a good point, so maybe we should entertain his request for now.”

Isaac scowled, crossing his arms as he appeared to think it over. Gale, despite having confidence, worried about whether or not she would falter. She took a deep breath and eyed Lowell, who still sat in his chair.

“Very well,” Isaac said. “If you say it’s okay, Mr. President, then I’m okay with it. Let’s go.”

He turned away and headed back the way he came in. Casper left with him, while Fercewend met with Gale. She picked up the bag from the chair and held it close to her as Lowell and Dia stood up. It was official: there was no turning back from what was going to happen next.

“I guess we should go, too,” Gale said.

“It should be fine, Gale,” Fercewend said. “It’ll only be for a few minutes… I’ll make sure that Isaac understands.”

She wanted to thank him, but even if she did so, it still would not change the fact that Isaac had his sights set on her. It would be hard to convince him of her ideas, even with an open mind like Rohan in the room. Getting Isaac to slip up would be harder, but at this point, Gale had to try.

“I’ll be okay,” Gale replied. “I know I will.”

“That’s what I like to hear,” Fercewend said. “Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?”

Fercewend went on ahead, leaving Gale to think about what she would say next. Regardless, she could not stay in the same place.

“He’s right, whether we like it or not,” Lowell said. “I don’t like Isaac at all, but I’d rather not leave him alone with Casper for too long.”

“Then we should move,” Dia replied. “It’s now or never, Gale.”

“I got it,” Gale said.

The time for thinking was over, Gale thought. Now Gale had to act, and she was going to try and give her best performance in front of a tough crowd. Though she was nowhere near the level of someone like Law, Gale knew that she had to put on a brave face and face her fears. At the very least, she would not let Isaac bring her down to his level.




[5th of December, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Rysol jarred himself awake with a sudden cough. The darkness surrounded him once again and he had no way to move. His arms remained restrained as the cold chains around his body made him shiver. There was no doubt about it in his mind that Harold needed him, however, Rysol was certain that he could continue his resistance. That was when the door opened inside his cell.

“I was wondering when you would awaken,” Harold said. “It seems that your resolve is strong, after all.”

“What do you even want with me?” Rysol asked.

“That useless idiot is running around right now in Rezar,” Harold said. “I can only imagine what he’s doing right now… It is tempting to do something about his recklessness, but I must stay my hand for now lest I repeat the same mistake.”

“Answer… Answer my question!” Rysol demanded.

“Ah yes, I was commenting on your resolve,” Harold replied. “I got so wrapped up in what Korbin was doing that I almost forgot about you. A simple, yet justifiable mistake.”

Harold walked closer to Rysol, who tried to move his hands but was restrained by the cuffs.

“Struggle as you will, those cuffs will not break,” Harold said. “You could say that my resolve is much stronger than yours.”

“You… You’re a lucky man that I’m in this state,” Rysol replied. “If it were not for that, I…”

Harold interrupted. “You would what? Kill me? Please, tell me that you would kill me,” he said. “Tell me that you’d take your blade and slash me across my throat, because I would welcome the challenge!”

He took out Rysol’s sword and pointed it at the other man. Rysol growled as Harold put the sword back into the sheath.

“You wonder why I haven’t killed yet?” Harold asked. “It’s because I want to know how much you’ll take before you succumb to the hopelessness of your situation!”

“You’re mad,” Rysol said.

Harold grinned. “Perhaps I am indeed mad,” he replied. “Perhaps I’m the one that’s mad and you’re the one who’s right. Of course, we both know that isn’t the case.”

“What are you talking about?” Rysol asked.

“Don’t you remember?” Harold asked. “Who was it all those years ago that saved you? The man that had taken you in after you witnessed that grisly tragedy so many years back… You remember, don’t you Rysol?”

Rysol gritted his teeth. This man had to be lying, he thought.

“I can see it in your eyes that you don’t believe me,” Harold said. “You wish to believe in your heart the man you call your father is a noble man with noble intentions, but we both know that that’s far from the truth.”

“Shut up,” Rysol said. “Shut up!”

“There is only so much on can go through until they realize how hopeless their situation is,” Harold said, “And once you’ve learned the truth… Well, I worry that your hopes will be dashed once I’ve told you everything that you need to know. What will happen once I do that, I wonder?”

Rysol did not want to hear it. Harold had a devious smile on his face that confirmed Rysol’s suspicions, but with no way to turn back, Rysol had no choice. He had to withstand it. For the sake of Johan and Jelka, Rysol had to remain strong. For the sake of his father, Rysol had to dismiss those lies. For the sake of Sorin, he had to believe in himself. That was the only way that he could remain sane against Harold’s despair.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Sundown – Chapter 50 (BOOK TWO FINALE)

[18th of November, 2740 AD; Dia Kuu’s house, downtown Admorse, Ameci – Wyse District]


The wait at the front door made Kirk wonder if he was even in the right place. According to the map in his hand, Kirk entered the residential district and found Dia’s house in a matter of seconds. However, there was no way for him to see if Dia was home, so he decided to head for the front door and knock. A few moments passed. Kirk knocked again and waited once more, which only served to make him wonder even more if he was just wasting his time. He shrugged and turned to head back to his car, but that was when the door opened.

“What do you want?” Dia asked.

Kirk looked back. “Ah, you are here,” he said. “Sorry if I was interrupting anything important. Am I?”

“Don’t worry, you weren’t,” Dia said. “It’s just been a bit of an uneventful day here, save for that one guy that came here earlier.”

“Do you mean Henry Randolph?” Kirk asked.

“Why yes, I do,” Dia replied. “How do you know him? And how did you find me, for that matter?”

“Oh, well, he and I are friends,” Kirk said. “Actually I’m working with him on his campaign, if you can believe that.”

Dia shook her head. “You expect me to know that?”

“I wasn’t, honestly,” Kirk replied. “I know you’ve been quite busy… if what Henry said was any indication.”

“So you two are just going to do this, then?” Dia asked. “You’re just going to keep bothering me for what? What is it that’s so important about me that you just cannot stop yourself?”

“I wouldn’t come to you if I didn’t have a reason,” Kirk said. “My name is Kirk Wilk. I knew your husband for a bit, though I wouldn’t say that I knew him quite well.”

“You want to bring him up, then,” Dia said. “I think I’m going to go back inside.”

“Before you do, please hear me out,” Kirk replied. “I’ll leave here once I’ve said what I need to say.”

Dia sighed. “Fine then.”

“Thank you so much,” Kirk said. “It’s about your son, actually. He and my son knew each other quite well.”

“Yes, I think he mentioned to me quite a few times about this kid,” Dia said. “If I had to guess, he’s about the same age Johan would be.”

“Well, you’d be right,” Kirk said.

“Is that all you wanted to say to me?”

“No, not at all,” Kirk answered. “There’s something that your son wanted to do ever since he learned the news about Voitto. Something that he hoped that he would have been able to make happen. My son told me a bit about this dream before and I can’t help but find a way in which I can help.”

“It’s just like him to have had quite the ambition,” Dia said. “I guess that if you’re looking to help your son, it only makes sense to tell me about it.”

“That’s not all I’m here for,” Kirk said. “I need your help specifically. You’re the only person who can really help me with this plan.”

“What makes you think that?” Dia asked. “I’ve got no idea how I can even begin to think about helping you.”

“You can help by getting your voice out there,” Kirk replied. “Your son fought for what he believed in and I think you need to be able to fight for what you believe in as well.”

“I don’t have much to believe in,” Dia said. “I just lost my only son. How can I even do anything?”

“You can fight for others,” Kirk said. “That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what my son and his friends have been doing. Even if it scares you, you have to find a way to move forward and help create the world that Johan envisioned. That is what you can do for me.”

“And how do you suppose I go about doing that?” Dia asked. “I’m not really a fighter, nor do I wish to be one, and I don’t have the presence for a big stage like they have in politics.”

“You can help me friend, Henry,” Kirk said. “He’s looking for all the help he can get so he can help Ameci. I think having you would be a good idea.”

“I don’t suppose that he put you up to this, did he?”

“He knows not about this,” Kirk replied. “At least for now, anyway. So how about it? Will you do this for me? For Ameci? For the world?”

Dia closed her eyes and looked to be deep in thought. “There’s a lot that makes sense,” she said, opening her eyes. “I will give it some consideration. How can I reach Mr. Randolph?”

Kirk gave Dia the necessary information. “Though I will say that he’s currently out and about right now,” he said. “He and his wife are taking all the steps they need to take to get this campaign off the ground.”

“Very well,” Dia said. “I’ll hold onto this info and call him later, then.”

“Please do,” Kirk said. “He will appreciate it, that I’m sure.”

Dia chuckled. “It must be nice to have hope,” she said. “I suppose this won’t be the last time I see you, will it?”

“We’ll see,” he replied. “Until then, I’ll be keeping up with Henry. Goodbye.”

Kirk walked off the property and to his car as Dia turned back to her house. He had a good feeling that everything went well, judging from how Dia reacted. But this was not the last thing Kirk would do for Henry, because he was only getting started.




[23rd of November, 2740 AD; Port of Iiayi, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Morning Shine]


(Sorin’s Soliloquy)


The ocean was a familiar, welcoming scene, yet it was also one in which I did not want to be a part of. Due to a sudden turn of events, Gale had to head back to Ameci to meet with Lowell Page. I had hoped that he would be able to come here instead but that was not a possibility, so Gale and I spent as much time as we could before she had to leave. We valued each passing day, yet I knew it was only a matter of time until the fated day came. We headed over to the port thanks to Gavin and spent some time before the ship was ready to board. There was a bench nearby, so I decided that we should take a seat for the time being. Gale agreed and we both sat down, with her rested her head against me while the ship prepared for boarding.

“I’ll miss you,” she said.

“I will, too,” I replied. “It’s not going to be that long, is it?”

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Maybe two weeks at most? Lowell’s pretty interested in my idea, to be fair…”

“Well, let’s hope it’s two weeks, then,” I said. “Hey, maybe it will go by fast and you’ll be back in Rezar before you know it!”

“Hopefully… You know, Sorin, it’s been over half a year since we first kissed here,” Gale said. “You remember it, don’t you?”

“Yes, I remember,” I replied. “I knew how you felt about me, but I had no idea how you’d react. Everything was just kind of rushing around in my head as I tried to figure out what would happen next.”

“I was just really shy,” Gale said. “If, for that entire time, you never once reciprocated my feelings, I probably would have just gone on with my life as usual. I would have probably went back to my old job in Admorse and this would have all been just one distant memory.”

I understood, because I knew also that I probably would have done much of the same had things not gone the way they did.

“To be honest with you, I don’t put too much of my faith into a higher being or beings,” Gale said, “But maybe meeting you was part of some destiny that helped me realize my dreams. What do you think?”

There was that word again. Dream. The same word that had been said over and over again over the past few months. Perhaps Johan was rubbing off on both Gale and I. Yet, I knew that this was not about him.

“I think that it might be true, Gale,” I said. “Then again, maybe it’s just a coincidence.”

“Is it?” Gale asked. “Are you saying we’re only together because of a little coincidence? Is that what you’re trying to say?”

“No… No, of course not! I wouldn’t suggest that,” I replied. “I was just kidding with you!”

Gale smiled. “I was kidding, too,” she said. “Not everything needs to be so serious all the time, you know?”

I eased myself and began to laugh. “I know, I know.”

“If it weren’t for these ships and the people, this would be quite a romantic view,” she said. “I bet if Kiku were here right now, she wouldn’t stop talking about how romantic it would be to gaze over the ocean like this with Noa…”

“It is a bit odd, isn’t it?” I asked.

“What is?”

“How Kiku and Noa got together,” I replied. “Not that it’s a bad thing, but just the fact that she seems so enamored with him.”

“I don’t think it’s that bizarre,” Gale said. “I actually think that they’re good together, if you ask me.”

“Suppose you’re right,” I said.

We spent more time watching the ships until the horn blared. There was no way for anyone to not hear it, which meant that it was time for us to get up. Gale and I stood up and walked towards the ramp, as people were already lining up to get on. I took one look at her as she did the same. Looking in her gorgeous eyes, I could tell that she did not want to go just yet, if at all.

“Well, I guess this is where we say goodbye,” she said. “I… I don’t know what else to say…”

“I don’t think we need to say anything,” I said.

“You don’t?”

Of course not. I pulled her closer and showed her what I meant. It was like the first time that Gale and I kissed, but now I knew that this would carry much more of an impact in comparison. It was a reminder that I would not forget about her and that I would be sure to be there for her as well. Judging from the look on her face, Gale understood as she held back her tears.

“Thank you,” she said. “I… I’ll be back as soon as I can!”

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be here when you arrive.”

“I know,” she replied. “All of these people, are they staring at us? Well, I guess I don’t care if you don’t care.”

“It’s fine.”

“I suppose so,” Gale said. “I really should hurry before this line gets longer, though…”

She picked up her bag and headed for the line. I waved goodbye to her as she did the same while entering the back of the line. One by one, people climbed up the ramp of the ship as I watched Gale go along with them. I kept my eyes on her as she went up, making sure that she would get on safely until I could not see her from where I stood. I could have left, but I decided to stay until the ship left the port and sat back on the bench again. Soon enough, only a couple of people remained at the ramp’s entrance as the sailor led them on board.

“Okay, this looks to be the last of them! Gotta let the captain know that we are ready to set sail!”

And with that, the sailor hurried up the ramp as the ship’s horn blared once again. Now it was ready to set sail. I watched as it moved off, going on and on until it was completely separated from the dock. There was nothing for me to do but keep watching until the ship was but a small speck in the distance. Two weeks was not that long, but it would feel like it without Gale around. I knew that I had the others to go around with, but it was not the same.

However, there was still one more pressing matter that had to be resolved. It kept at me in an endless attempt for me to do something about it and I knew I had to play my part because of him. Because of what he said to me. Because of that word.

“Dreams… Johan, I think I’m ready now…”

Evil was not about to take a rest, which meant that I had to move. The one man behind everything was still out there and it was only a matter of time until he struck again. I had to be ready for what came next, as well as who was waiting for me: Rysol and Jelka. It seemed that finally, my brother had found his purpose and it looked like Jelka did, too. They were ready to fight in order to make Johan’s dream possible and I had the feeling that they were going to do whatever it took to create a world without wars. Most of all, I was ready because if anybody was going to make this happen, then it was us, Johan.


The End…


Previous | END

Sundown – Chapter 49 (Part 2)

[Various dates, 2728-2740 AD; downtown Admorse, Ameci – Wyse District]


(Unending Dream)


Johan Kuu was born into a decent middle-class family in Gardner’s Peak, Ameci. It was a quiet town that overlooked the beach and the Amthe Ocean and was about an hour drive from Admorse. That was where Johan’s father, Voitto, worked as a government official. He made decent money, being able to provide for both Johan and Dia, the latter of whom occupied herself with becoming a teacher.

Johan himself was an attentive student in school; he did not get the highest marks of the class, but did come close many times. However, what set Johan apart from his peers was that he was always the most outspoken and perceptive out of the entire school, even for a child of his age. Despite receiving praise for his rich intelligence, Johan grew bored of the usual routine that was his school life, until one day, he met someone who would end up creating a lasting impact on him.

“Hi, my name is Sorin… Sorin Wilk… What’s your name?”

“Johan Kuu,” he replied. “Nice meeting you, Sorin!”

He shook Sorin’s hand in the back of the classroom and from that day on, Johan had a friendship he was sure would last for many years to come. Sorin lived only a few minutes away from Johan, so the two were able to meet up after school and do whatever it is that they wanted to do, or at least what two young boys were able to do in a small ocean town.

Some things were not meant to last, however, as Sorin met up with Johan one day at Johan’s house. Right there, Sorin learned some devastating news that was sure to have an effect on him: Johan was leaving with his mother for the big city of Admorse. At the time, Sorin had no idea that Johan’s father had died, nor did he know anything else about the attack that took Voitto’s life. But still, in Johan’s young mind, he knew that this was something that neither boy wanted to hear. It had to be said, though.

“I’m sorry,” Johan said.

“No, it’s okay,” Sorin replied.

“I… I promise I’ll call you every day!” Johan exclaimed. “And if not that, I’ll write letters to you! I’m sure my mother will send them!”

And from that day, Johan and Sorin continued their talks via letter. It wasn’t always the most efficient, but the two were able to maintain their bond over a long distance. Johan enjoyed being able to read tales of Sorin’s adventure with his “uncle” Raymohnd Smith. However, as time passed, Johan was not able to write to Sorin as much.

With each passing year, Johan noticed his mother’s condition continue to decline. She was not getting sick physically, but rather, Dia began to withdraw from society. Each day that went by, Dia remained holed up in her house, unable to go outside or even communicate with other people save for her son. Johan was not sure what to do about it, which was why he began to seek out solutions to his mother’s evergrowing reclusiveness. That was when, at the age of sixteen, Johan had an idea: he was going to create a better world. A world where people did not need to fight. A world where no one had to die because of war. Johan was going to make that world happen because he did not want what happened to his mother to happen to anyone, but first, Johan had to plan. On one breezy day, Johan stood outside his house and looked up to the cloudy sky above.

“Mother, I feel your pain,” Johan said. “When I heard the news that father had died, I… I didn’t know what to say. All my life, I had grown up with this belief that you and father were invincible, like nothing could ever bring you two down. It was foolish of me to think that and for that, I’m sorry. I’m sorry… I’m sorry that I couldn’t do more. That ends now, though.”

He eyed the carrier bag by his side and held it close to him. Inside Johan’s bag were a few essential items: his identification card, some money, a small bag of cookies, a change of clothes, and the most important thing of all, a framed photograph of Johan and his father from when he was very young. Johan remembered that day well because it was when his father took him to the place where he worked. Johan did not remember the name of the place due to the fact that it had been a long time ago, but he knew now that it was of vast importance in passing Ameci laws. However, Johan’s destination was not there, but rather with the military. He approached the recruitment agency nearby stared at the glass doors.

“I don’t necessarily want to do this, but I have to if I want this dream of mine to come true,” Johan said. “The general’s name is Fercewend, right? I know that I’ve got this…”

And thus, Johan went into the Ameci military with a simple goal in mind. He had to use these means if it meant succeeding in creating his vision, but even so, Johan knew that he was not meant for such work. The thought of training for battle displeased him and he had nothing but contempt for the usage of violence to achieve one’s goals. That did not mean that Johan was willing to use means that would be considered questionable to some, and he was willing to close his eyes and fight if his life was on the ling. But what it did mean was that Johan did not want to take anyone’s life, even if they were the enemy. That was why he had opted to become a spy for Ameci instead.

“At least I won’t have to worry about fighting anybody,” he said to himself. “This seems like a good start. Don’t worry, mother…”

He had just made it into the military and was ready to go. Johan’s plan was set forth and now he just needed to take the proper steps. The problem, however, was that he was not sure where to start. There were many out there that were looking to create a world that was the antithesis to the one which Johan desired, and thus, Johan knew that they had to be eliminated. At that point, he knew that he had to lay low and out of sight until he saw the right opportunity to put his entire plan into motion.

Then, one day, it happened. After his mission to find Pekka Varjostaa in the town of Hurst, Johan knew then and there that it was the right time to move along with his plan. He had made a valuable ally at the time and was only getting started. Once that was done, Johan knew that there was a much larger enemy than the True Thekohnians. One that had aligned itself with Walton Lokke and were only getting started. To find this enemy, however, Johan knew that he had to draw them out. Fortunately, a chance meeting in Oelaans with Lauren Ahga was all that Johan needed for him to work his magic.

“Ah, do you mind watching where you’re going?” Ahga asked.

“Sorry about that,” Johan replied. “I can’t help but notice the sword at your waist. Are you, by chance, a member of the Royal Thekohnian Military?”

“Not at all,” Ahga said. “Though I wonder what caused you to come to that conclusion…”

“Just a guess,” Johan said. “But you are from the kingdom, aren’t you?”

“Let’s just say that I am,” Ahga said, “And we’ll leave it at that, okay? Now, if you’ll excuse me…”

Though it was a brief moment, Johan saw Ahga long enough to remember all of the important details about him, as well as his outfit. There was no mistake about it: Johan had the chance to make his plan happen and he was going to take that chance without hesitation.




[18th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


“You’re leaving already?” Rain asked.

“I’m afraid so,” Sorin replied. “Gale and I have to hurry back over to Rezar. Looks like it’s really important.”

Rain met with Sorin and Gale at the Rio Grove two hours after she gave her speech to the residents of the kingdom. She had expected her friends to leave, but seeing Sorin and Gale be the first to go surprised her.

“If that’s the case, then I won’t stop you,” Rain said. “Just promise me that you two will come back and visit, okay?”

“Of course we will,” Gale said. “Once I’m done with my presentation, we’ll be sure to come back and tell you the good news, hopefully.”

“I can’t wait to hear all about it,” Rain said. “I truly hope that your vision is realized.”

“Well, if what Lowell said was true, then he wants this to come true just as much as I do,” Gale replied.

“I believe he said that he wanted to show off your success and stick it to Isaac Kunigunde,” Sorin said. “I, for one, can’t wait to see that happen.”

“Yeah, I can understand why,” Rain said. “Gale, I know you’re not on the best of terms with him, but still, it must be devastating to know what your father did to influence the Neu Thekohnian Order…”

“It’s not much of a surprise to me,” Gale said. “At least I know that I have Rohan to look up to, as well as Sorin… Oh, and I can’t forget you and everybody else, can I, Rain?”

Rain smiled. “You will always be appreciated here,” she said. “I’m sure that we will find a way to bring Isaac to justice.”

“I hope that you’re right,” Gale said.

“Don’t worry about it,” Sorin said. “If the Neu Thekohnian Order can be defeated, we deal with Isaac just fine.”

“And I’m sure we can do that without much of a problem,” Rain added. “Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t hold you two up any longer, should I?”

“Thank you for everything,” Gale replied.

“Yeah, thank you, Rain,” Sorin said.

“You are very welcome,” Rain said. “Thank you, too.”

Sorin and Gale then said goodbye to Rain and left the Rio Grove, leaving the queen by herself. Rain knew she would have to say goodbye to the others as well, but at least she knew that they would always be there. Mina, especially, would be there for Rain and would drop everything if Rain called for her. Rain had so much more to do, though, and headed back to the castle to see what awaited her next. Once she made it to the castle, she went and met with everybody else and sent them on their separate ways.

Kiku, Noa, Ayame, and Igor were the first to leave. Noa was able to meet with General Khadir and found out that he did not have any issues with Noa leaving the Maeitakohnian military. Rain could see that Kiku was pleased to meet the general as well, with her saying that Khadir praised both her and Noa. With both the party and ceremony over, Kiku said that they would head right back home and relax. She and Rain promised to meet again, as well as get together with the others and catch up.

After Kiku’s group left, Rain met with Luna and Pekka. They were going to head back to Ahnlikohn and to Luna’s family, where Pekka would stay for an indefinite amount of time. He was not sure where he would go next; there was no place for him in Iiayikohn, nor was there much else for him to do. Luna said that she would try to carry on her brother’s legacy in any way that she could, but said that if she were ever in the area, she would hurry over to see Rain.

Gavin, Law, and Ayanna were next, as Rain noticed them leaving through the side entrance. According to Gavin, he did not want to cause too much of a ruckus, but Rain wondered why they had to leave so quickly. Ayanna stated that she had to head back and meet with General Reiss and the prime minister in order to discuss future options with Ahnlikohn. It seemed that any possible option for war was averted, but they still had much to discuss with the country of Ahnlikohn. Rain reminded Ayanna of the summit and said if Ayanna was able to, to meet with her to discuss further. Ayanna promised and left with Gavin and Law as Rain waved goodbye to them.

Finally, there was Mina. Mina did not go with Gavin and the others and opted to stay in the kingdom for a little longer. Even if Rain was busy, Mina wanted to be there for her. Rain was delighted and promised to Mina that she would spend as much time as possible with her. Mina smiled as she hugged Rain, who returned the favor. They were about to share a moment together, however, Eva walked in.

“I’m sorry if I’m interrupting anything,” Eva said, “But I need to tell you something, Rain.”

“What is it?” Rain asked.

“I think… I think that I need to leave,” Eva replied. “I’ve just been such a burden on you that I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be useful… I’m very sorry, but I need to go.”

Rain tried to ask Eva what was wrong, but the swordswoman walked as fast as she could out of the castle. The sudden outburst caught Rain off guard, but she had no idea what to do. It was easy to let it go and write it off as an isolated incident, but Rain knew that Eva would not just act without reason. She looked to Mina, who nodded back in agreement as the two decided to follow after Eva.


To be continued…


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