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…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 37 (Part 2)

[1st of January, 2741 AD; Ahnle Mountain Base, North Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Eva made it to the base of the mountain with Mina. They had arrived late last night with plenty of time to rest and relax, though Eva felt as if she had little time to do so thanks to concern she had for Sorin and the others. Now, however, Eva and Mina knew that it was time to catch up and hurried towards the Ahnle Castle first thing after breakfast.

“I’m so full of energy,” Mina said. “Don’t you feel the same way, Eva? It’s like that breakfast we ate really made us even stronger!”

“I don’t think it’s that,” Eva replied. “No, we’re strong because you and I are determined. We’re both so determined to help the others that much that we’ll do whatever it takes to succeed.”

“Because we will,” Mina said. “We’ll reunite with everyone here and soon enough we’ll be on the next step to defeating those villains!”

“Not going to be an easy task,” Eva said, “But if there’s anything I know, it’s never easy in the first place.”

“You don’t have to worry about that,” Mina replied.

“I don’t?” Eva asked.

“Yeah, because we’re here now,” Mina said, “And because we’re here right now, we made it even though we were a little behind everybody else! That has to be pretty good, right?”

“That it is,” Eva said.

Mina smiled and looked over to the mountain. “Well, we’ve got to go up to meet with them,” she said. “I wonder how they’re doing…”

“Rain did tell us a bit about this place,” Eva said. “Fortunately for us, it’s a relatively simple path once we get moving.”

They started to walk up the path towards the castle, passing by the scenery as they found themselves within the forest. According to Rain, there were many paths branching out over the mountain, but the path to the castle stood out as the most straightforward. However, Eva and Mina’s trek into the forest stopped once they saw a couple of familiar faces running through the forest. It did not take Eva that long to recognize Gale and Dustin, the two now headed in the direction of Eva and Mina.

“What the hell?” Eva asked.

“Something must have happened,” Mina said. “Something bad, I’m almost absolutely sure of!”

Gale and Dustin arrived, with both of them stopping to catch their breaths. Off in the distance, Eva heard the sound of gunshots as well as yelling. It was then that Eva could conclude that Mina was right. It had to be the work of Foundation and Isaac Kunigunde, somehow.

“Gale, what’s going on?” Mina asked. “Is everybody else okay?”

Gale caught her breath and looked up. “Oh no, Sorin’s still out there with Jelka and Johan!”

“They’re still out there?” Eva asked, her eyebrows furrowed. “Where are they now?”

“Up at the mansion,” Gale replied. “Johan said that he was going to go after them if anything went wrong, but I haven’t seen them at all!”

“If it’s anything like what we saw at Ahnle Castle, then they’ve gotta be on the move, too,” Dustin said. “Seems like we’ve got a lot more to deal with with these Blood Ravens.”

“On top of that, Luna and Pekka are busy trying to deal with that awful Crawford Bradley,” Gale said. “I’m not sure how they’re holding up, but they do have an advantage over him… hopefully.”

“We can’t be sure of that,” Mina said. “You know that villains like him like to cheat whenever he feels like it! Who’s to say that he isn’t playing dirty right as we speak?”

“Looks like we’ve been called to task,” Eva said. “Gale, you and Dustin need to find a safe point where we can reconvene. Sooner rather than later, preferably. As for Mina and I, we’re going to go and help.”

“Got it,” Gale said.

“How about that hotel?” Dustin asked. “We’ll all meet there. Tell the others as well!”

Gale and Dustin hurried past Eva and Mina, leaving the two women to themselves once more. With the new information at hand, Eva knew what was needed and what she had to do: find a way to put a stop to the Blood Ravens’ plans and defeat them once and for all.

“Good enough,” Eva said. “Mina, you know what this means, don’t you?”

“Of course I do,” Mina replied, “It means we’re going to have to beat some villains and save the day!”

“Great,” Eva said. “I’ll go after Sorin, Johan, and Jelka while you go and help Luna and Pekka.”

“Very well,” Mina said. “I’ll see you soon, Eva!”

Mina then went off in the other direction. The urgency to find Sorin, Johan, and Jelka was high as Eva rushed up the path. She was well aware of what would be in store for her, so she kept her hand close to the handle of her blade while she ran as fast as she could.




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


The exit out of the chancellor’s mansion provided Sorin and Jelka a needed relief from Korbin’s assault. As Jelka grasped at her wound, the two made it over to the gates without trouble. However, once they were outside of the mansion, Sorin and Jelka discovered that Korbin did not come alone. Several soldiers off in the distance began advancing towards the mansion with their guns ready and their sights set on the two. Meanwhile, behind Sorin and Jelka was Korbin, who would not give up his pursuit of them.

“Shit, this is bad,” Sorin said. “Where the hell is Johan?”

“He must be on his way somehow,” Jelka replied. “With this development, however, it may be impossible…”

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked. “We just have to hide, that’s all! We’ll just go through the bushes and use that to get to Johan and the others! We can just do that.”

“Johan isn’t going to get here in time,” Jelka said. “Those soldiers came here first. I know Johan won’t take the obvious path.”

“Then we can keep going,” Sorin said. “It’s like I said: we’ll go off the path and meet with Johan that way!”

Jelka chuckled, which turned into coughing. “I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s not as if I don’t believe you, but we’re trying to run and the only thing I can think about are the bullets inside my body.”

“It can’t be that bad, can it?” Sorin asked. “You were still able to fight! We can still get out of here!”

“You know as well as I do that Korbin’s not giving up,” Jelka said. “If we run away, he’ll still be on our heels. He and his Blood Ravens will be after us if we try to keep running.”

“You can’t give up,” Sorin said.

“Who said I was giving up?” Jelka asked. “I intend to fight with my sword until the very end.”

“If that’s the case, then I’ll fight with you,” Sorin replied. “I know the odds are low, but we can do it, I’m sure!”

“You don’t get it,” Jelka said. “The only reason I’m still standing with you is because I still have the will to fight. Right now… Right now, my job is to stop the Blood Ravens and hold off Korbin!”

She took a deep breath and exhaled as she let go of Sorin’s hand. There was no way she could have Sorin fight a hopeless battle, nor could she find it within herself to look Johan in the eye in case something were to happen to Sorin. This was Jelka’s battle to fight, even as she knew she was going to have to fight it alone with a bullet somewhere close to her heart.

“Damn it, don’t do this,” Sorin said. “We’ve dealt with this mess before and we can sure as hell do it again!”

“Sorin, I can’t let you do that,” Jelka said. “If something were to happen to you, there’s no way I could even bear to tell Johan let alone look him in the eyes. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t do it!” Sorin exclaimed. “Jelka!”

It all happened too fast. Jelka took her hand and shoved Sorin backwards, which made him stumble into the bushes and into the forest. The time Jelka had diminished as she then turned to the arriving soldiers and took out her sword. It was going to take all she had to hold back long enough to ensure Johan and Sorin would be able to escape. Behind Jelka rang a distinctive cackle that belonged to only one man: Korbin Mars. Above all else, Jelka had to settle it with him and finish him off before he had the chance to leave.

“You’re too late,” Jelka said. “You only have me to deal with now…”

Korbin laughed as he twirled his sword. “I’ll just do myself a favor and have my boys do the dirty work for me,” he said. “Killing you myself would be boring, so I’m just gonna go ahead and find Sorin myself!”

“Not going to happen,” Jelka replied. “I’ll kill you before you even have the chance to move!”

Korbin smirked. The soldiers readied their guns. Jelka had to move fast as she charged at the soldiers. More gunshots rang out as the soldiers fired directly at Jelka. Some of the bullets made contact with her, plunging into her even as she rushed them. Jelka did not care at all as she had one thing on her mind. Her deft, driving swings from her sword made short work of each soldier standing before her, the blade slashing through each one. Once Jelka was done, the soldiers had all dropped to the ground, each one left with fatal wounds. Jelka looked before her as she ended up setting sights with Korbin once again.

“And now… you,” Jelka said.

“Looks like maybe I’ll have a little fun after all,” Korbin said.

There were no other distractions. Jelka had no idea where Sorin would end up, nor could she tell where Johan was at the moment. All she could hope for was their safety. But now, Jelka had one last problem to deal with. A single problem that had been going around for far too long stood before her with his sword in his hand. She remembered the pain that Korbin had caused Johan and how he was almost killed because of it. Jelka also knew that it brought her closer to Johan and made her able to trust in other people again. Now she was busy holding off a vile enemy while ensuring that her lover and her ally would both be able to escape to safety at the cost of her own life. Though she regretted not being able to see Johan one last time, Jelka felt nothing but gratitude towards him. She was glad to have met him, if only for a few months.

“I’ll be sure to make this right,” Jelka said. “For Johan…”




Sorin braced himself as he rolled down the hill. He had no control over what was going on and rolled around until his body struck a large tree. Sorin came to a complete stop as he tried to gather himself. The pain coursed through his body, but meant nothing now as all he worried about was Jelka. He wondered if she was still okay. However, his wonder did not last long as a sharp, agonizing scream rang out through the forest. Sorin no longer wondered as his fear came true, the distinct yell belonging to Jelka.

“He couldn’t have, could he?” Sorin asked. “It’s impossible… It has to be, damn it!”

Sorin keeled over and clenched his fist. He pounded his fist hard into the ground below him, all the while struggling to keep calm. A swirling combination of emotions went through Sorin’s head, his fist tightening while he bit his bottom lip. His eyes stayed wide open as he looked at the dry ground. Sorin knew that what had happened was not supposed to take place, yet Korbin had made a direct dent into their efforts. Sorin wanted to do something, but he had no idea where Korbin was right now. Korbin had to be on the move. He had to be looking for Sorin. After all, Korbin had just killed Jelka.

“He killed her,” Sorin said. “Damn it, Johan, I’m sorry!”

But as much as he admitted it, Sorin knew that he had no way of helping Jelka. She had already made up her mind and was already wounded. Sorin only denied it, not wanting to consider that Korbin would have continued with his pursuit no matter what. He would have devastated them somehow, because that was the kind of person Korbin was: a man that served his boredom with an evil intention unlike anything Sorin had encountered. It was then that Sorin realized that he had to continue onward with an inevitable truth entering his mind. A final, decisive truth that Sorin could not deny.

“I’m going to have to do that, aren’t I,” Sorin said as he stood up. “Korbin… When I see him next time, I’m going to do it. I’ll do it for both Jelka and Johan’s sake.”

“Finally found you, buddy,” Johan said. “Jelka… Where is she?”

Sorin turned around. The look in Johan’s eyes told Sorin everything. It was a terrible truth, a truth that Johan had already figured out.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 37 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Korbin growled. “Shut the fuck up!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not a chance,” Jelka said.

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

“You!” Korbin exclaimed as he spun around.

“Sorin, get ready!” Jelka said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How could you,” Sorin said to Korbin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Jelka, move!” Sorin exclaimed.

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

“What about Bradley?” Gale asked.

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

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

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

“Thought so,” Gale replied.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course,” Dustin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 36 (Part 2)


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


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

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

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

“Did Thedam send you?” Amelia asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Explain yourself, commander!” Amelia ordered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s a shame,” Dustin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I knew it,” Gale said.

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s awful,” Luna said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amos’s eyes widened. “Okay!”

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

“I’ll do my best,” Sorin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Here it goes…”

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 35 (Part 2)

[31st of December, 2740 AD; on the road to Glora, Ahnlikohn, passage through Thekohn]


“It’s been a while since we fought together like this, hasn’t it?” Mina asked Eva. “Really takes me back…”

“Odd for you to feel nostalgic about that,” Eva said.

There was little Eva could do to forget about the short time she had fought with Mina and the others back when they were in Bel. The memories of that fight were surrounded by the bouts of uncertainty, stress, and loss. All Eva experienced back then did not go away, but she knew that she had to press on.

They took the bus out of the kingdom towards Oelaans, which made for a relaxing trip through the countryside. It was a comforting sight to behold as the land abound caught Eva’s eye. She remembered the last time she had seen such a peaceful sight, which was back in Ameci several months back. However, it was also a time in which Eva had shut herself off from a majority of the world.

“I didn’t bring anything bad up, did I?” Mina asked.

“No, of course not,” Eva replied.

“If you say so, then I won’t ask about it,” Mina said. “I just wanted to make sure that you’d be okay doing this.”

“It’s fine, Mina,” Eva said. “This trip is actually kind of refreshing if I’m to be completely honest with you.”

“Your way of handling when things get tough is so amazing,” Mina replied. “I’m sitting here wondering about my family back in Rezar and I can’t help but be nervous about them. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate when I think about them and how they’re doing.”

“There’s reason for concern,” Eva said, “But there’s not a lot we can do right now. All we can do is move forward for the time being.”

“That’s true,” Mina said. “I mean, I don’t know for sure what’s happening in Iiayikohn right now, but I know that both my uncle and my mother are probably wondering how everything is going. Especially with that Dezine guy still around and making everything difficult for Ayanna and General Reiss!”

“Someone like Dezine who has that power will not hesitate to use it if he feels like he’s threatened,” Eva said. “That being said, it’ll be some time before we go heading back to Iiayikohn, I imagine.”

“We still have Amelia to talk to,” Mina replied. “Surely we’ll find a way to break through.”

“Johan’s got something planned,” Eva said. “The thing that I wonder about is whether or not we still have to worry about the Ameci military.”

“Do you think we’ll have to deal with them again?” Mina asked.

“I don’t know,” Eva replied. “This is one of those moments where all has gone silent, which makes it that much more difficult to figure out if the enemy’s got an attack planned.”

“I’m sure Rain realizes the possibility,” Mina said. “She and Ayanna and General Reiss have something ready just in case something happens.”

“I’m sure, too,” Eva said. “We can’t be careless, not even for a second. Even if it all seems clear, there’s still that chance and we have to be aware of Ameci’s attack when it comes.”

“Agreed!” Mina said.

Eva had to wonder, though, if Sorin and the others were ready in case that possibility arose. She had faith in them, yet all the same she had some concern in the fact that there was no way to be sure. All Eva could do was wish for the bus to arrive at the destination as soon as possible, because she knew that she and Mina could not wait to help out.




[31st of December, 2740 AD; Glora Bus Station, Glora, Ahnlikohn – Erithacus District]


“Does this bring back any memories for you guys, or is it just me?” Johan asked everybody. “Well, I guess that I shouldn’t ask that since I already know the answer to the question.”

Sorin watched as Johan looked around at the entire group. They had finally arrived in the city of Glora. What surprised Sorin the most when he arrived was the amount of attention that the group had received, or rather, the lack thereof. He anticipated an unpleasant welcome from Ahnlikohn’s very own military, but Sorin saw no such arrival waiting for him and the others.

“So I guess there’s no problem here,” Dustin said. “I would’ve thought that we’d be hustling a little more once we got here, but you look like you’re all about the good times today, Mr. Kuu.”

“As it’s been stated before, military presence from Ameci has been tapering off,” Jelka said. “In turn, that leads to Queen Ahnle and the Ahnlikohnian officials to reduce the amount of soldiers in the city.”

“Ultimately, the queen just wants everything to blow over,” Johan said. “It’s what she wants, though it’s not going to be that easy.”

“Hard for what happened here to just blow over,” Dustin said. “Although she may be the one who’s had to deal with so much in the past few months, that doesn’t mean it can all be ignored.”

“Ignoring the burning building doesn’t make that building go away,” Pekka said. “What does Queen Amelia think will happen if she continues to be stubborn like this?”

“I’m sure that that’s what Rain would like to know as well,” Sorin said. “She has to wonder, I imagine.”

“I too would like to know what Amelia hopes to gain from this,” Jelka said. “There are a lot of questions that I wish to ask her, in fact; but unfortunately, my status would make getting those answers quite problematic.”

“Right, so we gotta make due with the plans we have,” Dustin said. “Gale and Luna, I suppose you guys got a good idea of what you want to say when we reach the castle tomorrow.”

“Please don’t tell me you’ve already forgotten,” Gale said.

“Yeah, it was very important,” Luna said. “We were all going together, the three of us, and we were going to tell the queen that we needed to meet with her over the incidents that have taken place over the last few months. God, I feel so nervous I could just throw up but I can’t even do that because I don’t even feel sick or anything like that.”

“We get it, Luna,” Gale replied. “Anyway, Dustin, the two of us just need you to act as a representative of Rain’s. She obviously can’t make it here so you’ll have to do your share of talking as well.”

“Well, that I can do,” Dustin said. “I’d be happy to try and change the minds up in the castle, though I do wonder if they’ll even let us in.”

“I already said it, didn’t I?” Luna asked. “My father served as a soldier in the royal military. In fact, I’m going to call him and tell him that just in case we may need his help.”

“You sound very sure about this,” Pekka said. “I guess that means even in his retirement, Lino’s never truly finished as a soldier of the royal family.”

“It is like that, yes,” Jelka said. “I have no doubt in my mind that Luna will be able to gain access into the castle, though you will want to keep your guards up if something happens.”

“Do you think something will go wrong?” Gale asked.

Jelka looked to the side. “I’m not worried about Luna’s chances,” she said. “However, something has been eating away at me for a while.”

“This is new,” Johan said. “What’s bugging you?”

“It’s Amelia herself,” Jelka answered. “I can’t say for certain what it is, but I know for sure that even if we get what we want out of this, I still cannot trust her as a person. She was the one who appointed Harring in the first place. Is she too a member of Foundation?”

“We won’t know until we find out for ourselves,” Sorin said.

“Isaac has to be stopped,” Gale said. “This can’t go on any longer.”

“I know that we have to stop him,” Johan said, “But we can’t deviate from the plans we’ve already made. Remember that we all run together.”

Those words rang true, Sorin thought. In the end, he knew that no matter what happened, Sorin would be able to take on Isaac and Foundation as long as he and Johan worked together alongside the others. Even those who were not with the group could be relied on. But what concerned Sorin now was the fact that he and Jelka had to head to Harring’s mansion in order to find clues. He had no idea if they would be able to find anything, though Sorin had a feeling that there would be something of worth there.




[31st of December, 2740 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


At Isaac’s request, Fercewend invited him into the general’s office. There could be only one reason as to why Isaac wanted to pay him a visit, Fercewend imagined as he sat behind his desk. His concern for Casper Bradley continued to bog his mind as the conflicts piled up. That would change, however, once Isaac and Dezine walked through the door.

“Rohan, answer me this: when a man loses sight of the prize, what do you think happens to him?” Isaac asked.

“I would think he suffers a setback,” Fercewend replied. “When you forget what it is you’re fighting for, your path to victory becomes harder to realize and you’ll be forced to wander until you get back on track.”

Isaac chuckled. “An interesting response.”

“Why do you ask?” Fercewend wondered.

“It’s been some time since we’ve last heard from our dear friend Casper,” Isaac said. “He had his mind set on this very task of his and we’ve not heard at all about the results! Frankly, I’ve become a little concerned for him.”

“It’s easy to fear the worst in times of uncertainty,” Fercewend said.

“Yes, perhaps it’s unlike me to worry,” Isaac said. “I’m only asking because we know what will happen in the case that Casper is unable to perform his duties as president.”

Fercewend sighed. “I would give it some more time,” he replied. “Bradley is not one to be careless.”

“I do agree that Casper is no slouch, but still Ameci must be able to prepare for the worst case scenario,” Isaac said. “If something happens to him while we continue to await Hasker’s arrival, then it all falls onto you, Rohan.”

Fercewend’s eyes looked down at his desk. That power that the presidency possessed would be his to wield and Fercewend could not admit that the thought did not intrigue him. He had been Ameci’s general for a long time, but Fercewend knew that passing up a chance to sit as president would be foolish. Even if only for a mere moment, that power would be his. However, he had no doubt in his mind that he would be a favorite to be Ameci’s president in the future. Sighing, Fercewend looked up at Isaac and saw the small smile on his face.

“But as you’ve said, it may be wise to wait for Casper,” Isaac said. “It will be a while before Piere arrives, so we’ve got that moment of peace until then.”

“Either way, it will be fun to see,” Dezine said.

“So did you just come to tell me about this?” Fercewend asked. “There are other issues that I must tackle even as we’re awaiting the storm clouds.”

“Yes, actually, there was one thing,” Isaac said. “Well, it’s Wilson’s question more than mine, if I’m being honest.”

“That’s true,” Dezine said. “The Moonlit Silence continues to be unwavering and I am worried that it may affect morale in the Iiayikohnian military. General Reiss has been taken in by these scoundrels and I’ve only my select service to rely on at this time.”

“What do you wish to do?” Fercewend asked.

“I’m wondering if you can come rally up the troops,” Dezine said. “I know it may be a little unorthodox for the general of a country’s military to lead another country’s soldiers, but we don’t have a lot of options at this point.”

“If it’s my help you need, then I’d be glad to offer it,” Fercewend said. “But I must warn that I can only help out for a short time as I’ve got my own soldiers to worry about.”

“Speaking of which, have you heard from Crawford?” Isaac asked.

“I spoke with him yesterday,” Fercewend said. “He’s aware of the risk that his father is taking, but he remains calm along with Private Mars and the rest of his squad.”

“Good to hear,” Isaac said. “Well, I’ve got an important call to make. Let’s hope that we hear from Casper soon, shall we?”

As Isaac left, Fercewend had work to do. He was placed in another role by Isaac and could not refuse it. He wondered if there was more to what Isaac had said, but decided not to pursue it further. His job had come first.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 34 (Part 2)

[31st of December, 2740 AD; Oelaans Outer City Park, Oelaans, Thekohn – Lynx District]


A recurring thought nagged at Sorin as he waited with the rest of the group for the train to arrive at the station. He began to think about Rysol, whom he had not seen for over a month. Johan and Jelka had told him about what happened, but Sorin still wondered where Rysol was hiding. He felt the need to know, which was why he turned to Johan.

“You haven’t spoken to Rysol lately, have you?” Sorin asked.

“Other than what I’ve already told you, no,” Johan replied. “He has been off the map for a while now. No doubt he’s still trying to recover from his fight with Harold, but like I said before, it would be difficult for Rysol to continue onward in this mission.”

“And I guess you’d know where he is,” Sorin said.

“When he called, I could only assume that he was still in Ahnlikohn,” Johan said. “However, there have been no witnesses to Rysol’s whereabouts among the members of the Moonlit Silence. I wish I had a better answer, but that’s all that I have at the moment regarding your brother.”

“Thanks,” Sorin replied.

“Given the current condition he is in, I don’t think Rysol is in any danger,” Johan said. “I would sooner think he’s in hiding somewhere than he would be out there roaming the lands, but that’s only because of what he’s gone through both physically and mentally.”

“All this started because of him,” Sorin said. “My journey, I mean.”

“I get how you feel, buddy, but we don’t always end up sticking to the script that we’re given,” Johan replied. “Rysol proved himself that he wanted to fight for an ideal world without wars, but that wasn’t how he started out. Jelka and Pekka are much the same as well.”

“And what about you?” Sorin asked.

“I had to do a lot of things, some good and some bad,” Johan said. “Aligning myself with the Neu Thekohnian Order appeared bad, but it was through them that I was able to get closer to my goal. That and finding Jelka.”

“You believed in her,” Sorin said. “That’s what you said.”

“I did,” Johan said. “She, like many others, was wronged by a small group of people who only serve to their interests. Even when it came to Ahga and Isla, they too were being used.”

“Do you sympathize with them?” Sorin asked.

“Not necessarily,” Johan replied. “They made their choices and ultimately lost because they only thought of themselves. However, I can understand why they ended up down that path.”

“I guess I get that,” Sorin said.

“That said, just because it’s understandable doesn’t mean that there is any justification,” Johan said. “You remember that fellow Wihll, don’t you?”

Sorin nodded. “How could I forget?”

“He carved his own selfish path into prison, yet I had believed that perhaps there was a chance that he could use his skills towards good,” Johan said. “It’s a bit absurd, but there was a small part of me that saw potential in him. Potential that was like a miniscule flicker of a dimming light bulb: a man who had been used, cut off, and ultimately left to die alone.”

“And you saw that in him?” Sorin asked.

“It’s conflicting, but I’d believed that there was a chance for him to redeem himself,” Johan said. “Even someone like him could confront the errors of his past and become stronger, I thought.”

“Yet he was killed,” Sorin said. “You were there to see it, too.”

“Indeed, it was regretful,” Johan replied. “But even though I felt regret at what happened to Victor, there was a part of me that felt no remorse when Ahga shot him.”

“He never did turn, though,” Sorin said. “To the end, Victor Wihll fought for no one but himself.”

“I wonder about that,” Johan said. “He was a Maeita, albeit one from the northern side. It’s fair to say that he did have noble goals, but lost those goals as he descended further into the depths of darkness. At least, that was what I felt when I witnessed his execution.”

“If you could have done it again, would you have stopped him?” Sorin asked. “Would you have stopped Wihll yourself?”

“I despise using violence as a means,” Johan said. “Though there are some times which that violence is the only possible answer, it was not the answer to Victor Wihll’s struggles.”

“But I’m not talking about that,” Sorin said. “I’m saying if you had a chance to do everything over, would you have stopped him from going down that path he went down? Would that have saved his life?”

“There’s no use asking that question,” Johan said. “We lack the ability to do over the events of the past. All we really can do is direct the events of the future by doing things now.”

“I know that,” Sorin said.

“I’ll tell you this, buddy,” Johan said, “We may not be able to change the past, but it does influence us towards our future. You know as well as I do what’s at stake and the people who have been taken from us.”

“Yeah, there’s no way I’d ever forget,” Sorin replied.

“Then let’s keep going,” Johan said.

Sorin smiled. “Agreed.”

It was Johan’s words to put Sorin at ease. He had no explanation as to why, but Sorin knew that Johan was good at staying calm since around the time that they were children. Seeing Johan remain calm made Sorin calm as well, the two being able to stay focused even as the pain made its presence known.

“Hey, it looks like the train is about to arrive,” Gale said.

Sorin noticed Gale walking over with Pekka, while Luna, Dustin, and Jelka were busy talking with each other. They had waited for a few minutes since they had arrived at the station, but the bell had finally rung.

“We’ve got plenty of time to talk on the train,” Johan said. “Besides, we’ll be in Ahnlikohn before you know it, Sorin.”

“I think we’re well aware of that,” Gale said.

“We’ve got a way to go,” Pekka said. “If we’re fast enough, we’ll be in Glora past nightfall.”

Gale looked over to Luna. “Wonder if she’ll be singing the whole way,” she said. “It’s not that I mind it, but she does know that we’re trying not to draw a lot of attention to ourselves, right?”

“Nothing wrong with a little song,” Johan said. “Something does tell me that she’ll probably quiet down once we’re moving.”

“Why do you say that?” Gale asked.

“It’s just a feeling,” Johan replied. “Viewing the countryside by train can be quite romantic, and I do happen to have a soft spot for that.”

“Good grief, you’re starting to sound like Law,” Gale said.

Johan chuckled. “I’m pretty sure you don’t mean that as a compliment,” he said. “Besides, if I really wanted to sound like him, I’d have been more risque with my comments.”

Gale sighed and turned around. “Sorin, it’s fine, isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.

“We’ll be okay,” Gale said. “After all, you trust Johan, so there’s no reason for us to doubt.”

“Of course,” Sorin said. “I believe in all of us, but most all, I can trust you to be there.”

Gale looked back at Sorin with a smile. “I’m glad to hear you say that,” she said. “I believe in us, too.”

It was then that the train arrived. As the doors to the train opened up, Sorin knew that he and the others could not waste any more time in the station. He had no idea about what awaited them on the path to meeting with the Ahnle family, but Sorin knew that he had to keep his guard up and prepare for anything that came up against the group. But as long as he had these friends and allies with him, he, Gale, and Johan would be able to confront anything.




[31st of December, 2740 AD; outskirts of Helm, Ahnlikohn – second floor of the abandoned Mars factory]


The pursuit continued. Gavin had to keep up the pace in order to catch up with Casper as he rushed through the winding hallway. He began to wonder how far he would have to run before he caught up with the president, as Gavin was well aware that Casper had to have another means of defending himself. Gavin’s pursuit took him to the end of the hallway as he turned to the right and hurried down the next hall. With the way the building was constructed, Gavin knew that there were not that many places Casper could hide. There were several doors on the right, each of them concealing a secret of their own. That meant that there was a chance of a surprise attack, Gavin deduced. He checked the first door and turned the doorknob and found that it was locked.

“Unlikely he’d be here,” Gavin said, his eyes peering over to his left. “I’d be wasting too much time checking each door like this. Damn it…”

He looked down at his pistol, then back up and down the hall. The lengthy corridor held little in terms of places for a person to hide, which only made Gavin more suspicious. There were not a lot of places that Casper could have run off to, Gavin thought as he raised his gun. He took two steps forward, keeping an ear out for any activity that may alert him to the whereabouts of Casper.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Gavin said. “How was he able to escape so easily?”

He arrived at the next door and looked through the small window. Nothing. Gavin took a deep breath and sighed as he turned back to the hall, only for him to hear a sudden crash coming from a considerable distance down the hall. Gavin could only imagine that Casper had something to do with it and rushed as fast as his feet could take him.

“I knew he couldn’t have gotten far,” Gavin said.

That was when he stopped in front of a door near the end of the hall. Gavin had a feeling that this door was the one where Casper was hiding. He took a look into the window but did not see any trace of Casper. However, something caught Gavin’s eye as a metal ladder led up to an open hatch.

“That has to lead up to the rooftop,” Gavin said. “It’s the only place he could have gone now. Let’s fucking go.”

Before he opened the door, though, Henry and Law caught with Gavin, both men stopping before he went inside. Gavin was glad that they arrived in time as he began to turn the doorknob.

“What took you so long?” Gavin asked.

“Ah, we were just making sure that those guards wouldn’t pursue us,” Law replied. “But it seems you found out where we gotta go next, am I right?”

“Looks like he went up,” Gavin said.

“So he’s on the roof,” Henry said.

“I don’t know what he’s got waiting for us, but we won’t know until we go and confront him,” Gavin said. “It’d be wise if you two backed me up in the case that something goes awry.”

“You’ve got a plan?” Law asked. “Now that’s a good thing to hear.”

“I’m not familiar with the layout of this factory,” Gavin said. “None of us are, actually.”

“Well, neither should Casper,” Henry said. “He’s winging it just like we are, only he has the head start this time.”

“Which is why he’s dangerous, even if he’s by himself,” Gavin replied. “I’m not going to hesitate if it gets rough.”

“There’s also one other thing,” Henry added. “You may want to consider all of the options he has at his disposal.”

“We’ll get there if it comes to that,” Gavin said.

“Yeah, let’s get moving,” Law said. “We’re already wasting time right here, so let’s go and get this bastard, bro!”

Gavin knew that Law was right and burst down the door. He went towards the ladder and climbed it. As he suspected, Gavin ended up on the rooftop where the wind started to pick up. Though it was not strong enough to be a hindrance, it did cause enough trouble for Law as his long hair swayed with some of it in front of his face until he took action and tied his hair back. Henry, however, had no such trouble as his hair was not nearly long enough.

“There he is,” Henry said.

Over on the other end of the roof stood Casper, who appeared to have been waiting for the three to confront him. Gavin kept his focus on the president as he evaluated the area around him. In terms of places to hide behind, there were few machines and fans for one to take cover. That was all, however, as Gavin wanted to stop Casper before he had the chance to do anything drastic.

“Go ahead and shoot me,” Casper said. “Are you comfortable with that? Is that what you want: to kill a leader?”

“A man like you is no leader,” Gavin replied. “You’re just Isaac Kunigunde’s useful ally and nothing more.”

“Oh, and you three aren’t acting under the orders of Rain Zano Thedam?” Casper asked. “Tell me something, Gavin Power. Tell me why you want to serve against the homeland that’s treated you so graciously.”

“Gracious?” Gavin asked. “Don’t make me laugh. Where the hell was this graciousness when Lawence and I had to stick it out for ourselves? You tell me because I sure as hell didn’t see shit like that growing up.”

“So serving in the military wasn’t enough for you, then,” Casper said. “To think that one would turn down such a privilege all just to protect a traitor like your brother.”

“You don’t know a damn thing about us,” Gavin said. “There’s no way that Lawrence would do something so reckless without a good reason!”

“He’s right,” Law said. “I didn’t leave because I felt like it. I left because it was worse than dying. If I remained with the Ameci military, I’m sure that I’d be a dead man by now.”

“And what about you, Henry?” Casper asked. “You know, it’s not too late to come to your senses.”

“Not happening,” Henry said. “If it means having to deal with the likes of Isaac and you, then I want no part of your corruption.”

Casper laughed. “Sad,” he said. “So sad.”

“More like you’re a sad, sorry ass excuse of a leader,” Gavin said. “But don’t worry because we’ll make sure that you and Foundation will feel sorry.”

“Are you sure about that?” Casper asked. “I think I said something earlier about my accomplishments… Well, I haven’t even begun to show everything that I can do! Now what are you waiting for? Come at me!”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 32 (Part 2)

[31st of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Rio Grove]


“Everyone’s here?” Johan asked, looking around. “Wait a second, it looks like we’re missing a couple of key people here…”

But as Johan made that comment, Sorin arrived in time with Gale. Along with them was the former swordsman and current businessman Sosimo Hudde, the man stood before the main group of the Moonlit Silence wearing a navy blue coat and had his hair done up and hidden underneath his hat.

“Sorry we’re late,” Sorin said. “It took some time for Mr. Hudde to arrive, so we had to wait a few more minutes.”

“It can’t be helped, I guess,” Johan said. “Everyone has a clock that operates at different times… Fortunately, I had a feeling something like this would have happened, so it’s not too much of a harm towards us.”

Sosimo laughed. “Can’t help but feel like I have to apologize, though,” he said. “See, the thing is I had Sorin’s sword all ready to go and everything, but I hit a snag coming here when I had to go through Ahnlikohn.”

“Well, that’s where we’re headed, Mr. Hudde,” Dustin said. “Thank you for letting us know that crossing the border will be a pain in the ass, though. Always good to know when our plans need some tinkering around!”

“Yes, well, they got me coming through, even though I’ve been there many times,” Sosimo said. “Got a bunch of questions and everything even though most of them know my name by now, but I guess I can’t blame the guards for their work when it’s Queen Amelia acting off of her fears.”

“Don’t blame those guys,” Dustin replied. “Blame the bastard that brought us all into this mess of a hell, Isaac Kunigunde.”

“Which is why Ahnlikohn is our destination,” Jelka said. “We’re planning a two-pronged attack in order to gain valuable intelligence; stuff that will be useful against Foundation.”

“And that’s why I’m on your side in this,” Sosimo said. “I thought nothing of Isaac before all this, but now it’s become apparent that he’s a threat. Heard a lot coming from Gale here, which is why I had to help.”

“I’d be happy to know exactly how you’d help us,” Johan said.

Sosimo tipped his hat. “Well, I’ve already given Sorin an essential tool for his trouble,” he replied. “Somebody’s gotta finish what Kirk started and it only makes sense for his son to do the honors.”

Sorin looked to see the sheathed sword in Sosimo’s hand. It was the real deal, made with Sorin in mind as Sosimo handed it off to him. Sosimo stated how much both Sorin and Rysol meant to Kirk, which was why he felt it was his job to smith the blade personally after years of retirement from the Swords of Eight. It was now Sorin’s turn as he slowly unsheathed the sword and exposed it to the rest of the group. The brilliant luster caught everybody’s attention with sunlight beaming off of the metal onto the ground below.

“That’s yours to keep, free of charge,” Sosimo said. “Of course, I wouldn’t have charged you in the first place, but I don’t want you to think I’m only in this for my own sake!”

He laughed as Sorin inspected the sword further. It bore a lot of similarities to his father’s sword, with one difference. What was engraved into the hilt of the sword was the name “Fighting Sun,” the group Kirk had fought alongside years ago. That it was easily remembered by Sosimo meant that Sorin knew he was not going to fight alone no matter what.

“That’s a little touch I put so the blade could stand out a little,” Sosimo said. “It’s not much, but I think your father would’ve wanted it.”

“I see,” Sorin said.

“You certainly put a lot of work into that sword,” Luna said. “How long did it take you to make it, anyway?”

“I can’t say I know for sure,” Sosimo replied. “I tend to lose track of time from time to time. That is to say, I can’t keep a track of time sometimes, but it usually doesn’t cost me time every time.”

“I think we get the idea,” Pekka said.

“Sosimo, if I may?” Sorin asked.

“Anything you want to say, then say it,” Sosimo replied. “Got plenty of time to talk.”

“This is a nice sword, but I think that there’s something lacking,” Sorin said. “It’s my sword, so it should reflect who I am.”

“I got it,” Sosimo said. “You want a different one?”

Sorin shook his head. “This is fine,” he said. “What I mean is that ‘Fighting Sun’ was for my father, but it means nothing to me. We’re fighting for the same goal in mind, but this is my path to take.”

“Sounds like you don’t feel like the sword truly belongs to you yet,” Johan said. “Buddy, with a problem like this, I think you’ll be fine. Then again, it is up to you how you handle this matter, though we’re already pressed for time here. I’ll leave it all up to you.”

“Like he said,” Sosimo said to Sorin. “It’s all on you now.”

“I think I’ve got an idea,” Sorin said. “Do you have something to write with, Sosimo?”

“Gotta believe I’ve got something here,” Sosimo replied as he searched his pockets. He then turned up an ink pen and handed it over to Sorin. “Looks like it’s your lucky day. There you go.”

It was all Sorin needed to do what needed to be done in order to feel like the sword belonged to him without any doubt. With some swift strokes of the ink pen, Sorin wrote down an addition next to his father’s “Fighting Sun.” One look told him that everything was done. Now Sorin could set his path forward while still remembering the man that his father was.

“You done?” Dustin asked.

“I am,” Sorin said as he tossed the pen back to Sosimo. “I’m ready to go any time you’re all ready to.”

“You shouldn’t keep us waiting,” Luna said. “What did you write? I want to know so bad!”

Sorin smiled. “Our road ahead is full of uncertainty,” he said, “But we don’t have reason to be afraid. Not as long as we’re the bright sunlight that comes with the dawn. As long as we believe in what we’re fighting for, then there’s no reason we should ever begin to doubt ourselves.”

“That’s what I like to hear,” Johan said.

“Which is why I named my sword ‘Aurora’ to signify why we continue to move forward,” Sorin said. “Gale, Johan, Luna, Pekka, Dustin, and Sosimo, along with everybody else on our side, we know what’s at stake here. Even if it scares us to fight a foe who seems invincible, there’s no other path but the path forward if we’re to achieve our goal.”

Everybody applauded as Gale approached Sorin and hugged him while Johan turned to the other direction. Sorin had felt inspired the moment he had received his sword but when he spoke, he could see in everyone’s eyes that they too felt the same way. He knew then that they could trust one another again and could not afford to fail. Now the road was set for Glora with no stop in sight as Sorin had his sights set forward.




[31st of December, 2740 AD; on the road to Iiayikohn, outside of Oelaans, Thekohn]


Gavin stared out of the window at the sight of the land passing by while he sat up front in the passenger side of the car. He had his revolver ready in the case that anything would happen along the way to Rezar. Henry, who drove the car, assured both Gavin and Law that they would be ready should any problems arise along the path to Rezar.

“I think it’s time we have a little break from this whole mission for a bit,” Law said as he leaned forward from the back seat. “Henry, even though you’re busy with your hands on the wheel, you wouldn’t mind answering something for me, would you now?”

“It’d better be a good question, Lawrence,” Gavin said. “If you’re just trying to make an obviously perverse joke, I’m going to kick your ass.”

“Relax, it’s not as if I’m interested in something like that,” Law replied. “So, Henry, do you mind?”

“Sure, I’ll answer your question,” Henry said.

Law smirked. “How’s Tori doing right now? I can imagine it must be tough for her to see you off like this,” he said. “But somebody’s gotta watch those kids, I know…”

“She’s doing well,” Henry replied. “Of course, I told her everything I knew. There’s little reason to hide that sort of stuff from her, nor would I want her to be unaware of what’s happening.”

“And what of your boys?” Gavin asked. “Do they know what you’re doing right now?”

“I imagine Tori’s only told them about the littlest of details,” Henry said. “The last thing she wants, I think, is to make them feel uneasy, especially since we’ve got another on the way.”

“Well, if that’s how you two want to handle it, then I can’t really do much about it,” Law said.

“I take it you’d handle it differently, am I correct?” Henry asked.

“Can’t say for certain since I’m not a father myself,” Law said. “All I know is that Gavin and I weren’t as lucky when it came to our parents.”

Gavin leaned his head against the window. “We had to survive no matter what, though,” he said. “Even though it was difficult, I’d say we turned out for the better.”

“Not everybody else was as fortunate, bro,” Law said.

“I know that,” Gavin replied. “It’s just that we knew what was given to us and all we could do was make do with it.”

“I can understand where you two are coming from,” Henry said. “To say that I grew up with a happy life would be a bit of a lie and it took everything for me to get where I am today. Even now, with Isaac and Foundation plotting against us, I know I’m not taking what I’ve achieved for granted.”

“Otherwise, it could be like old times again,” Law said. “Although it would be much worse now, all things considered.”

“Which is why we must not hesitate,” Henry said. “Kirk didn’t quit until the very end and neither will I, and I expect that you two are much of the same.”

“There is one big difference between me and Kirk, though,” Law said, “And I think you two can guess what that is.”

“What is it?” Henry asked.

“I don’t intend on showing any of these Foundation fools any mercy,” Law replied. “Isaac Kunigunde, Wilson Dezine… They all use their power to advance themselves and no one else. If the people knew these men for who they truly are and had a say, then there would be no need for a contest or vote of any kind.”

“They’re not fucking around, that’s for sure,” Gavin said.

“Neither are we,” Henry said. “Looks like we’re about to cross the border into Ahnlikohn. Keep your heads up.”

As Henry mentioned it, Gavin could see the road to Ahnlikohn clear up as the car approached the snow-covered lands. The roads were cleared up and the sun shone bright from above as Gavin took a look at his revolver. It was empty for the time being, but Gavin had ammunition ready in case of an ambush. For the three men, fortunately, there was not a single car on the road in front of them for the next few lengths of road. From behind, though, a single black car kept its distance as Law peered out the back window.

“Don’t want to alarm you two,” Law said, “But it looks like we got someone trailing us.”


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 32 (Part 1)

[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Upstairs Thedam Castle]


Thoughts continued to linger in Eva’s mind as she relaxed in the bathtub. She was thankful that Sorin was there for her, but even so, Eva knew that it did not completely wash away the fact that she had come close to ending it all. Still, Eva had to persist. If not for Kirk, then for what Kirk and everyone else were still fighting for as the battle against Foundation felt unending. But Eva was also sure that as long as she had reliable friends on her side, she would be able to face the fears she had tried hard to ignore for so long. Confronting those fears would not be easy, but Eva never expected it to be easy in the first place.

“Just as it is,” she said to herself.

But as she tried to lay back, Eva heard a knock at the door and sat up. She turned her line of sight towards the door as another knock followed.

“Eva, are you in there?” Mina asked. “I just wanted to see if you were okay, that’s all.”

“I’m fine,” Eva replied. “Thank you for asking.”

Eva wondered if she had spent enough time and reached out to drain the bath. Time had felt as if it had stopped, Eva thought, which was why it felt like a long time when Mina knocked on the door. There was only so much time until they had to get moving again and Eva knew that she had little time to sit back and wait for something to happen.

“Do you know how much time it’s been?” Eva asked.

“I… I don’t know,” Mina replied. “Maybe about ten, fifteen minutes. Maybe even twenty-five!”

Eva had a feeling Mina would answer something to that effect, but it was still a reminder that the urgency to take down Foundation was looming.

“Thank you again,” Eva said. “Are you by yourself?”

“Yes I am,” Mina said. “Why?”

“I’m just wondering, that’s all,” Eva replied.

Eva looked around the room for her towel and found it on the rack. She got up and did everything she could to dry off, but still had to go back to her room in order to get dressed.

“Do… Do you want me to go?” Mina asked.

“You’re fine,” Eva said. “I just have to head back to my room.”

“Oh, okay,” Mina said. “If you need any help, I’m here for you. Just letting you know!”

“Fortunately, I don’t need any help right now,” Eva said. “You can go back if you want already, Mina; I have things covered here.”

No response. Eva took it as a sign to leave and exited into the hallway with nothing but the towel draped over her shoulders. However, Mina still stood in the middle of the hallway observing a painting hanging on the wall. Once the door had closed, Mina turned and saw Eva by the door. She turned away in an instant as Eva walked towards her.

“Sorry, I didn’t think you were just going to come out like that,” Mina said. “I thought you’d be all dressed and everything!”

“I’m still a bit soaked,” Eva replied. “Do you take a change of clothes with you when you wash yourself?”

“No, but I don’t usually go out naked like you do!” Mina said.

“As far as I can recall, this is the first time this has happened,” Eva said. “Then again, I don’t usually bathe around evening time.”

“But you’re okay, aren’t you?” Mina asked.

“Yes, I’ve told you already,” Eva said. “And you don’t need to look away from me if you don’t want to. It’s fine.”

“I guess you’re right,” Mina said as she turned around and looked at Eva. “Wow, you really are wet, aren’t you! You must be really cold right now!”

“My feet are a little cold, I admit,” Eva said.

“Well, then let me go with you,” Mina said. “All this time you spent and you never once walked around like this!”

“It’s a packed castle,” Eva replied. “Besides, Mina, it’s not exactly as if you’re  looking at anything special here…”

“Guess not,” Mina said. “But I mean, I can show off my muscles, but I don’t think I’d ever be comfortable showing everything to anyone that isn’t Rain.”

“That’s your decision entirely,” Eva said. She then stopped in front of the bedroom door. “Looks like we’re here. I don’t know how many times I’ve thanked you already, but thank you once again.”

“You’re very welcome, Eva,” Mina replied. “It’s so good to know that you’re keeping up and everything!”

Eva nodded. “That’s what I’m doing now,” she said. “I’ll be back down soon, okay?”

With a swift turn of the doorknob, Eva entered the bedroom and closed it behind her. That she could be comfortable with Mina made Eva more certain of what she had to do going forward. This was not just a fight against Foundation, but a journey to create a future where no wars needed to exist. It was what Eva had fought for with the Swords of Eight alongside Kirk and the others, and she knew that everybody else in the castle was working towards that goal.

“I’m not going to give up now,” Eva said as she got dressed. “You wouldn’t have wanted me to, either… Would you?”

It was only a thought spoken out loud, but Eva had to confront the reality of Kirk’s death. The fear of losing him had come to an unfortunate truth, but as she came close to succumbing to her despair, Eva could not finish it. Sorin had come only a few moments after, but during that time between her attempt and his arrival, Eva felt a strange sense of calmness. A sort of relief that she could not figure out, yet still that relief was what she was on her mind at that time.

“Is that what it was?” Eva asked.

There was not a lot of time to figure out why she could not go through with her plans, but Eva wondered if it had to do with Kirk. Was it because of him that she stopped herself just in time?

“No, that can’t be it,” Eva said.

The burden would not go away, nor did Eva think it ever would. As long as she continued to breathe, Eva would have to carry on the memories of Kirk along with the memories of the others who were close in her mind. But she could not continue to dwell on them forever, Eva thought.

“It’s because I wanted to keep going,” she said. “Why I’m still standing here right now… That’s because I wanted to. That’s why.”

It was the conclusion that she came to. Sorin had been the one to reach out to her, but Eva knew that she did not want her life to end so soon. That was why she still drew breath. The will to finish what had been started so long ago by the Swords of Eight had now given Eva the strength she needed. She knew well that the pain in her heart was strong, but that did not mean she could not continue to fight for what she knew was right.

“I guess I should see what can be done right now,” Eva said.

With that, Eva exited her room fully dressed alongside a renewed desire to achieve peace. She wanted to fight not because it was Kirk’s goal, but because this was the path she had decided to take. That path was not an easy one, not at all in the slightest, but Eva knew that she could handle whatever obstacle was thrown in her way. And she knew that the others would be there for her as well.




[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Rooftop View]


“Glad to see you two up here,” Johan said to Sorin and Gale. “There’s a lot I want to talk to you about.”

Sorin had decided to go up to the rooftop to meet with Johan and Gale had decided to go along with him. It was at Gale’s request that she go with Sorin and he had no objection to her whatsoever. He had to figure that there was a reason as to why Gale needed to hear Johan, most likely having to do with the plans that Ayanna and Reiss were trying to draw up in regards to Iiayikohn. So it was not at all a surprise, either, when Sorin saw Jelka up on the rooftop, though he was a bit surprised at the presence of Luna and Pekka.

“We’ve put aside our issues with Johan for now,” Pekka said. “Foundation poses a far greater risk to the Thekohnian Region than any of our bickering ever will.”

“Most of all, I’m tired of seeing Ahnlikohn getting caught up in all of this mess caused by these bad guys,” Luna said.

“It’s hard to come up with solutions when one end wants nothing but to see the world plunge into pandemonium,” Johan said. “The reason as to why Isaac wants to cause another war is because it serves him. Bloodshed is beneficial to him and he will stop at nothing to create discord between us.”

“That’s why we’re all here,” Sorin said.

“Yet now, there are plenty of people in this world that are starting to look down at us,” Johan said. “Dezine controls the reigns in Iiayikohn and thus he’s the one with the power to influence the people there, with a little added help from his friend Isaac, of course.”

Sorin took a seat next to Johan. “So what’s our plan, then?”

“It’s not going to do us much good to head into Rezar, despite what I’ve just said about the prime minister,” Johan replied. “Especially you or me; the Ameci military has their sights set on us and will waste no time trying to eliminate us should we show ourselves.”

“However, we do know for a fact that the military presence in Ahnlikohn has started to taper off,” Jelka said. “As it stands now, unifying with the queen in Ahnlikohn would be beneficial to Rain here.”

“Well, she’s been talking about it,” Sorin said, “But it seems Rain’s nowhere near close to speaking to Amelia, regardless of what’s happened.”

“I see, then,” Johan said.

“But you’ve got a plan, don’t you?” Gale asked. “It always feels like you’ve got just the right idea at the right time, even if you’re not telling us directly.”

“If I were to tell you that I don’t have an actual plan right now, would you believe me?” Johan asked.

“Not to worry,” Jelka said. “If anyone has a plan surrounding Ahnlikohn, it’s me. I’m the one who has the plan this time.”

Gale turned to Jelka. “What is it?”

“Normally, there is little reason for the royal family to accept visitors,” Jelka said, “However, they are always welcoming to those who have served a role with the Ahnlikohnian military. That, or someone related to such a person.”

“That’s your plan, then,” Pekka said. He peered over to Luna. “Wonder how you feel about it…”

“So you’re suggesting I should go in by myself?” Luna asked Jelka. “I mean, my father and my brother served, but that doesn’t mean they’ll go and let me walk in just because I’m related to them! Besides, what if they find out that I’m with you guys? I don’t want any of this trouble!”

“Luna, you know that there are plenty of risks involved,” Pekka said. “Even risks that might involve having to fend for yourself should it come down to that. You can’t hesitate just because you have fear; you must confront it.”

“Besides, the rest of us have targets on our backs,” Jelka said. “You’re the only person here who is able to reach out to the Ahnle family.”

“And you’re certain this will work somehow?” Gale asked. “I understand the idea, but if the Royal Family were to find out that Luna’s involved with the Moonlit Silence, I can’t even begin to imagine what they would do.”

“I don’t think we should have to worry about that,” Johan said. “They’ve got next to nothing on Luna.”

“Just how much do these people know about you and Jelka, anyway?” Luna wondered. “I’d be more than a little concerned if they told me things that only so many people know about me, not to mention that they may be in cahoots with the Foundation people.”

“You aren’t going to have to worry about that,” Jelka said. “This isn’t a solo mission. We are all going to run together.”

Luna’s eyes lit up as she leaned in towards Jelka. “Wait, really?”

“There is one place that I wish to visit in Glora while you’re busy trying to seek an audience with the Royal Family,” Jelka said. “Chancellor Harring has got plenty of secrets he’s kept hidden, even after his death. That’s why I want to look for any clues that may lead us towards taking down Foundation, but leads aren’t the only thing that I’m after in Harring’s mansion.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Sorin said.

“If you’re trying to stop Isaac, then you should let Henry know,” Gale said. “I’m sure he’d be able to help you out.”

“Thanks, Gale, but there’s something else I’m sure Jelka wants,” Johan said. “As much as we’re all in on going after Foundation, this is one task that I think she wants to do for her own personal reasons.”

“Closure,” Jelka replied. “That’s what I’m looking for.”

“And you’ll think you’ll find it at Harring’s mansion?” Pekka asked.

“It was a long time ago,” Jelka said. “To be honest, I thought about it as I spoke about our little plan. That said, there is a chance that I could find nothing related to what Harring did to my parents. However, that doesn’t mean it is true. I have to know for myself if he kept the documents or not and if I can clear the Arne name before it is too late.”

“You want to know so you can have peace,” Johan said. “That’s what that means to you.”

“There’s also the chance we may find something related to Isaac,” Jelka said as she looked at Sorin. “I’m wondering if you’d be able to help me.”

“What do you need?” Sorin asked.

“You can still fight,” Jelka replied. “Though it is a problem that you have no sword to defend yourself with.”

“That won’t be a problem,” Gale intervened. “Sorin is already waiting for his new sword to arrive.”

“Yes, Mr. Hudde has said he’ll be here in the morning to deliver it to me,” Sorin said. “He’s aware of what’s happening and will be offering his support for us.”

“If that’s the case, buddy, we won’t have to worry too much,” Johan said. “I think I’ve figured out how we’re going to tackle these two tasks in one day. Jelka: you, Sorin, and Pekka will head to Harring’s mansion.”

Jelka nodded. “I’ve got no issue with that.”

“Good,” Johan replied. “Meanwhile, I need a good eye to help Luna out just in case something goes wrong. I suppose I’d be content with asking a fellow ally to attend with her, but I’m not sure if that will be the right solution.”

Johan stood up and looked around. His sights settled on one location, which Sorin was quick to follow. Out by the stairs stood Dustin Cage, who appeared as if he had been standing there for a while. Dustin shrugged and smiled as he walked over to the group.

“You found me,” Dustin said. “Guess it was a little too obvious, wasn’t it?”

“Seems like you’re got something to say, Sir Dustin,” Johan said. “Who am I to turn down a good word or two?”

Dustin chuckled. “I’ve got much more than two words to say, I’ll have you know,” he said. “I couldn’t help but overhear you were heading over to see our friend Queen Amelia… Her Majesty’s been trying her best to reach out to Amelia, but that lady’s been all cold like a pack of pickles.”

“Of course,” Johan said. “That’s why Luna here is going to go in Rain’s steed and find out for herself what’s going on.”

“You’ve got quite the grasp on things,” Dustin said. “The fact you’re able to sketch up these plans in your head means you’re quite an intriguing person. I’m envious about how you’re not at all afraid of getting your hands wet, if I have to be honest.”

“Despite Rain’s immense power, there are some things that she just can’t do,” Johan said. “That she can’t get out there herself makes it difficult to find the answers… Luckily, that’s where I step in.”

“Guess that answers that,” Dustin said.

“So what is it you want, Dustin?” Gale asked. “Does Rain know that you’re up here with us?”

“It’s like Mr. Kuu said,” Dustin replied. “There’s stuff that Her Majesty can’t do at the moment. Right now, she’s buzzing up the line in order to speak with Kiku Yamazaki and is already planning her next meeting.”

“Looks like it’s happening,” Sorin said.

“Indeed, there’s little to stop a meeting between the heads of the kingdom and Kikuisha from meeting,” Dustin said. “Her Majesty’s going to be busy with all the diplomats and stuff and Gamal’s got a better handle on that stuff. That leaves me with little to do around here. That is, unless, Mr. Kuu happens to see me as a useful partner.”

“Having a representative of the kingdom working with us could become… problematic,” Pekka said. “Don’t you feel that way, Johan?”

Johan dug his hands into his pockets and grinned. “Ameci’s going to be on us if this comes out? Let’s not fool ourselves, Pekka; they’ve been gunning for the kingdom for a while now,” he said. “Rain’s just their newest target in order for Isaac to justify his greed-driven desire for war.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Pekka replied.

“Does this mean you want to head off as soon as possible, Mr. Kuu?” Dustin asked. “Not that that’s an issue to me, but I do have to let Her Majesty know of my little involvement.”

“I’d rather this be kept as low key as possible,” Johan answered. “Then again, what have we really got to lose here?”

“Besides everything?” Gale asked.

“Gale, come now, you’ve got to have a little more confidence in me,” Johan said. “I don’t make claims that can’t be backed up and I’m not going to start doing that now. We will take down Foundation and we will put an end to Isaac’s plans, I assure you that much.”

“I don’t doubt you at all,” Gale said. “It’s just that this problem goes beyond Isaac and I’m afraid we might run into trouble again because of it.”

“You have every right to have concerns,” Jelka said. “For me, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to find what we’re looking for in Harring’s mansion. That is something that must be considered, yet all the same, I won’t know unless I find out for myself.”

“We’ll figure it out on the way,” Sorin replied.

“Sounds like a plan to me,” Dustin said. “I’ll happily let you guys handle all of the brain work while I help Miss Luna out.”

Johan removed his hands from his pockets. “Good with me,” he said as he shook Dustin’s hand. “Guess you won’t have to worry about going by yourself after all, Luna.”

Luna looked up and down at Dustin. “Hooray? I mean, yes, of course that’s good! I’m happy you’re going with me, sir!”

“If that’s the case, then I’m going with them,” Gale said.

“Oh, then you’ve made up your mind?” Johan asked. “Fine with me, then. Everyone, make sure that you remember that we’re meeting up tomorrow at Rio Grove before we leave. Got it?”

“You don’t like to wait, do you,” Dustin said. “Well, better than jetting off at this very moment.”

“There are some last minute preparations I’ve got to make,” Johan replied. “Besides, I don’t expect you to back out, Sir Dustin.”

“Then it’s settled,” Dustin said. “See ya.”

And just like that, Dustin left the same way he came in. Sorin wondered to himself about exactly how much freedom Dustin had in order to do this move, and thought back to Isla’s advisor, Lauren Ahga. The rules likely had not changed since Rain’s coronation, Sorin imagined. Whatever the case, Sorin had to remain ready and had only so much time before he had to leave. There were certain risks involved, but if there was some progress to be made, then Sorin knew that he could not continue to wait any longer.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 30 (Part 2)

[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Flumen Field]


Sorin could only rely on his heart in this moment. His legs carried him to where he needed to go with no time to waste. As he dashed towards the fields, the words burned into Sorin’s mind as he recalled what he read on the paper Mina had on her. The message was all but clear about Eva’s intentions and Sorin had to be quick if he had to stop her.

There’s nothing that I can do anymore,” the note said. “I can’t just go back and stop him from marching to his death. I can’t even bother to lift my sword, nor can I even think about seeing the others. Everyone is concerned, especially Rain, but I don’t want to be a burden to her or to anyone else during this time, so I’m going to make sure that everybody won’t have to worry about me any longer.”

It was a short, scrawled message, but an effective one as Sorin hurried his way up the street. The snow covered trees and cold air meant nothing to Sorin as he had only one thing on his mind. The field was getting closer, as Sorin saw off in the distance a figure near the site of the largest oak by the street. He hoped to himself that he was not too late.

“Eva, can you hear me?” Sorin asked.

No response. Sorin moved closer. As he suspected, Eva was sitting on the ground hunched over with her sword next to her on the ground. Sorin worried for a moment but was relieved upon seeing her breath rise in the cold.

“Thank goodness,” Sorin said as he knelt right next to Eva. “You’re still alive…”

“Unfortunately,” Eva replied. “There’s no reason for me to go on now, yet I can’t even kill myself. And now you’re here to bask in my utter failure…”

“I can’t just abandon you,” Sorin said. “Everyone is worried about you, Eva. I wasn’t about to let their efforts go to waste.”

“Does this make you feel better?” Eva asked. “Seeing me in such a pathetic state like this, inches away from taking my own life… Yet I just can’t do it.”

“I don’t feel better knowing that you’ve been trying to hide this from all of us,” Sorin said, “Nor do I feel better now.”

Eva sighed. “Then why are you here?”

“I told you,” Sorin replied. “I wanted to find you.”

“Well, you did,” Eva said. “So what will you do now? Are you going to try to convince me that everything will be okay? That life is worth living? That I can try and see the bright side? I can’t do that. Not after what I’ve been through.”

“I don’t know,” Sorin said. “I’ve never had to deal with this before.”

“Then what is it that you want?” Eva wondered.

“I didn’t know him for too long, but I can understand why my father meant so much to you,” Sorin said. “He’s headstrong and never gave up, even at the very end, and he was there to offer his help wherever it was needed. He was nothing short of remarkable and I only wish that I had more time to get to know him, but now that time has passed with him.”

“He was a pain in the ass and stubborn as hell,” Eva said, “But there’s no way for me to deny what you said. He was extraordinary, which is something I could never be. At best, I’m just a murderer with a fancy title.”

“Not to me,” Sorin said. “You mean a lot to the people around you than you think, Eva.”

“So what?” Eva asked. “It doesn’t change anything… Even if we defeat our enemies, that doesn’t bring back all the innocent people who’ve lost their lives to these monsters. It’s not going to bring him back, either.”

“I know,” Sorin replied. “I know that it won’t. Stopping Foundation will mean that we’ll be one step closer to a peaceful world; but unfortunately, all those good people that died, including my father, won’t be around to see it happen. It’s a bitter truth, but I have to keep on.”

“It’s easy for you to say,” Eva said.

“What do you mean?” Sorin asked.

“You still have hope for a better future,” she replied, “But I don’t have the same fortune that you do. All I have all the corpses of those I ever cared about and nothing more. If you want to tell me that that’s not the case, then fine, but it won’t mean anything to me.”

“Eva, it’s not like I don’t worry about these things at all,” Sorin said. “I’m not nearly as fearless as you are sometimes when it comes to fighting, but still, I try to hold my own out there as best I can.”

“I guess it can’t be helped,” Eva said. “Even with my training, it all falls on you to perform well. That’s something that I can’t teach you.”

“You taught me a lot in such a short time,” Sorin said as he rubbed the side of his eye. “I can only thank you for that.”

“I… You’re welcome…”

“And there’s a lot you taught me even after our training on the ship,” Sorin continued. “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have learned more about my father. I wouldn’t have learned about the rest of this world. And I certainly wouldn’t have met great friends like you.”

Eva turned and looked to Sorin. “Me?”

“I can’t say I know entirely about how you feel,” Sorin said, “But what I can say is that I’m scared, also. Even with everything at a standstill, I worry if we’re going to be able to do enough to stop Foundation. If my father couldn’t do it, then does that mean I can’t? That question is hard to avoid, but I know that I can only do what’s right.”

“I don’t know,” Eva said. “I don’t know if I’m up to the task anymore…”

“If you’re scared, too, then that’s fine,” Sorin replied. “But you are not the only one who feels that way. Far from it.”

Eva sighed. “I’m not sure if I can keep fighting on,” she said. “If I can’t even protect those close to me, then what am I good for?”

“You don’t have to protect anyone,” Sorin said. “This is the goal that we are all working towards, so we’re all fighting together.”

“The way you say it makes it sound easy,” Eva replied, “But I don’t think I’m ready to get up just yet.”

“If you’re not ready, then I’m okay with waiting,” Sorin said. “I’ll wait until whenever you’re ready to go back.”


For a moment, Sorin saw Eva rub at her left eye before she turned away. Sorin did not say anything and instead opted to sit next to Eva, using the time to come to terms with Kirk’s death. It was a difficult path, but Sorin knew that he could show to Eva that she would not have to grieve by herself. He knew that by doing this, he could tell her that she was not alone.




[30th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Rooftop View]


Johan leaned against the railing at the edge of the rooftop as he looked over the city. He had plenty to think about after what had taken place, the first being the loss of Sorin’s father. Though he only knew the man through tales, Johan did not deny the fact that Sorin had to deal with the news. It reminded Johan of what had happened to his father, Voitto, and how he was powerless to stop it. It was a pain that Johan hoped no one would have to endure that was starting to become an inevitable conclusion that no one could avoid. Despite that thought, Johan’s resolve strengthened because he knew that his dream of a world without wars had to become a reality. He needed to make it possible for the sake of the future generations that would soon come to be in the world. As he continued to ponder over his plans, Jelka made her way up to the rooftop.

“You’re doing well, I take it?” Jelka asked, walking over to Johan.

“I am,” Johan replied. “Well, as well as I can be, if I’m being honest.”

“You’re thinking about him, aren’t you,” Jelka said. “Why else would you be up here all by yourself?”

Johan grabbed the top of the railing. “No one should have to hear the news that one of their parents were killed,” he said. “Yet that’s something that Sorin and I have in common. Something the two of us will no doubt continue to think about for the rest of our lives.”

“Do you doubt his strength?” Jelka asked.

“Not at all,” Johan said. “He will see things through now, but only because he has to deal with the fact that taking out Foundation will not bring back his parents. It won’t bring back my father, either, nor will it bring back those who have died because of these men.”

“That is true,” Jelka said.

“But even so, Kirk Wilk didn’t die without putting up a fight,” Johan said. “He fought for something, as did my father. Now it’s up to Sorin and I to finish what they were striving towards… And then, once we’ve achieved our goals, it will be time to figure out what’s next.”

“You don’t need to think that way,” Jelka said. “I’m here with you as long as I can still fight.”

“Of course,” Johan replied. “Is your leg better?”

“I… I didn’t want you to worry,” she said, “But I guess you figured it out, haven’t you?”

“You were putting more weight onto your other leg that I came to that conclusion,” he said. “It doesn’t matter now.”

“It could be better,” Jelka said as she looked down at her leg. “Harold Mars is a frightening man. It’s no wonder that he commands a lot of respect from Isaac Kunigunde.”

“There’s more to him, I know,” Johan said. “He’s a secretive man, which is why it’s been hard to bring his crimes to light.”

“Yet we know of at least one crime,” Jelka replied.

“No one can get away with murder, not even him,” Johan said. “That being said, it will be tough to tackle him head on right now.”

“Foundation still has his back,” Jelka said. “The public doesn’t know too much, but we do. We just need more information.”

“We’ll need a lot if we want to take Foundation and Harold out,” Johan said. “That trust between the two is hard to break, but I know that we can expose a rift if the information comes to light.”

“That’s our next step,” Jelka said.

“I have a good idea of where we can go,” Johan said. “But I’m not sure if we can do this by ourselves…”

“You want them to help?” Jelka wondered.

“We’ve operated like this for a while, but we don’t have many options at the moment,” Johan said. “I don’t want the queen to get involved; though she is important, I don’t want to jeopardize her should something go wrong. That can extend to many of the others as well.”

“Then what do we do?” Jelka asked.

“Excuse me,” Luna said. “Johan… do you have a minute?”

Johan and Jelka turned around and saw Luna and Pekka at the stairs. The two had made it all the way up to the roof as Johan did not expect to see the two standing before him.

“I suppose I can spare a moment,” Johan said, “But I was certain that you two wanted nothing to do with me anymore.”

“I know,” Luna said. “I’m still a little mad to be honest. To think that you’d go and play us for fools, only to play the enemies for fools and expect us to be okay with that, but I don’t find that amusing at all! You really broke our trust, Johan, and I still don’t know how I should really feel about it…”

“If you want to be mad, then be mad at me,” Johan said, “But I was working with the right intentions in mind. I never strayed from my goal, no matter which side you think I may be on.”

“That’s not the point,” Luna said. “I thought we were all working as a team, like we were all going to change this world or something like that. You might have been working with these ‘right intentions’ and all that, but it’s the fact that you felt like you needed to betray us to make part of that possible. Even if it was for a good cause, we were all still left in the dark and all I wish for is that you would at least admit where you were wrong, Johan.”

“If I had done something wrong, I would admit so,” Johan said.

“That’s it?” Pekka asked. “She just told you how she felt and all you can say is that?”

“Like I said, if I had done something wrong, then I would not hesitate to tell you that I’m sorry,” Johan replied. “Luna, Pekka, if you felt betrayed by what I did back then, then it’s on me to apologize for not letting you know of that part of my plan. I only did so because I felt that it was the best step to take in that moment, though in retrospect, I should’ve come clean to you two sooner.”

“And what about her?” Luna asked, looking to Jelka.

“You’re the girl whose brother was killed by the Neu Thekohnian Order, am I correct?” Jelka asked. “I had no part in taking his life; that crime was on Lauren Ahga, and Lauren Ahga alone.”

“Even so, you still worked with him,” Pekka said. “Pawn or not, you can’t just shake that part of your past off.”

“And I suppose you would know,” Jelka said. “Fine then.”

“What are you doing?” Luna asked.

Jelka took out her sword, still sheathed, and handed it to Luna. “This is up to you,” she said. “If it will give you some closure, then you know what to do. That is your test.”

“I… I don’t want this,” Luna said as she handed the sword back to Jelka. “I didn’t come up here to kill anyone. I just wanted an apology.”

“You’ve got it,” Johan said. “So what are you still doing here?”

“I’ve come to realize I can’t just sit around,” Luna replied. “You want to bring down this Isaac guy, right? Well, Pekka and I want to help.”

“Is this true, Pekka?” Johan asked.

“There’s only so much we can do alone,” Pekka replied. “Mind you, I don’t entirely forgive you yet, but Isaac Kunigunde and Foundation are continuing to grow stronger with each passing moment. That can’t be ignored, and because of that, I’d like to join you once more.”

“It’s true,” Luna said. “He spoke to me this morning about how he misses the good times and wanted to see you again.”

“That’s not exactly what I said,” Pekka replied. “Still, I am hoping for the time to come where I can forgive you, Johan. You meant a lot to me when I was unsure of what I was doing with the True Thekohnians, and you mean just as much now.”

“If that’s the case, then we’ve got a deal,” Johan said. “This time, I promise that I will inform you two of my decisions before I make them. Is that good with you, Luna?”

“I guess I’m okay with that,” Luna replied. “I hope we’ll be able to get along, Jelka…”

“Don’t worry,” Jelka said. “So long as we set minds forward, we’ll only have to worry about taking down Foundation.”

“Then it’s okay with me!” Luna exclaimed.

Johan chuckled as he looked back over the railing. He would have to move again, this time with an expanded party. The next move would prove difficult, but Johan was certain that with their newfound trust in him, Luna and Pekka would be valuable allies and friends. That said, he had one more person to see before he left, and he hoped to see him soon before the day ended.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 29 (Part 2)

[26th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Inside Thedam Castle Queen’s Office]


Anticipation. All Rain had right now was anticipation for the safe return of Sorin and the others. She had wanted to go with them but could not do so because of her other obligations. Rain was still waiting to hear from Queen Amelia about setting up another meeting, but with each passing minute into the night, Rain had no idea if Amelia or her cabinet would call tonight.

“She would have to call soon, wouldn’t she?” Luna asked. “I don’t see why she would make you a promise and then not fulfill it.”

“I know,” Rain said. “I’m starting to worry about what’s happening with the others in Habicht, though, and if that’s affecting anything here.”

“Speaking of which, Your Majesty, when do you suppose that we will hear back from them?” Gamal asked.

“A good question,” Rain replied. “I can only hope that Sorin and the others were able to see this through safely.”

“I wish we could have went with them,” Mina said. “Just sitting here makes me so anxious because we’re just doing nothing right now!”

Rain gazed outside the window. “As it does for us all,” she said. “It will do us no good to keep worrying, however.”

“You say that, but I feel like you must be the most nervous out of all of us,” Luna said. “Do you feel nervous? I can make some tea if you want me to… Or maybe I can rub your shoulders… Or I can sing a relaxing song!”

“No, but I appreciate the thought,” Rain replied. “I say we shouldn’t keep worrying because it will only lower our morale if we continue to ponder about what has and hasn’t happened yet. Once we get word back from Sorin’s group, we will know where we stand and what actions we will need to take.”

“It’s complicated,” Pekka said. “I’m sure that Foundation is depending on us being in disarray in order for them to succeed. It’s no wonder why they were able to get the results they wanted in Maeitakohn before Johan did his job.”

“And yet again that young man is at work,” Dustin said. “Mr. Kuu isn’t too afraid of getting his hands dirty, but as for his heart, I can say it’s squeaky clean to a point!”

“You say that, but it isn’t like he’s completely pure,” Luna said. “I guess it’s a good thing he’s on our side… Well, for the most part, I guess.”

“He has similar interests as us,” Rain said. “That’s why he is so willing to lend the kingdom his hand, as well as the fact that I wish to see peace throughout the Thekohnian Region also.”

“I wonder what he’ll do when it’s all over,” Dustin said.

“Yeah, I think I’m wondering that as well,” Luna said. “He’s really left all of us in the dark. I thought I knew him, but now I’m not entirely sure what he wants to do after all this.”

“That’s something you can talk to him about,” Rain said.

“Then it’s up to him,” Luna replied.

No one else said a word as the phone soon rang. Rain looked away from the window and to the phone that now had the attention of everyone in the room. It only took two more rings until Rain picked up the receiver. The others in the room gathered around and listened in closely as Rain began to speak.

“Who, may I ask, is calling?” Rain asked.

“I think you know well who this is by now… Your Majesty,” Isaac said. “It looks as if your little plot won’t be able to go through after tonight. How sad for you that despite—or rather, because of your best efforts, you’ll go down in history as the queen that divided the Thekohnian Region!”

“You and Harold Mars are working together,” Rain said. “He told Sorin as much himself. What do you serve to gain from working with such a dangerous and evil man?”

“Harold and I share a similar drive,” Isaac replied. “I am able to help him with what he wants and he is able to help me with what I want.”

“So you say,” Rain said. “So you know what’s happening in Habicht, right down to the very last detail…”

“I know a lot,” Isaac said. “After what Harold did to Kirk, I just had to find out about what he’d do to his son. Of course, I’m still waiting for the results, but I know that Harold doesn’t leave a job unfinished.”

“What did he do to Kirk!?” Mina asked as she took the receiver out of Rain’s hand. “Tell us now or you’re going to regret it!”

“He’ll tell us, don’t worry,” Rain said, taking back the receiver. “After all, he does like to gloat when he thinks he’s won.”

“What a loathsome person,” Pekka said.

“It doesn’t matter what you think of me, Your Majesty,” Isaac replied. “I’ve indeed won already and there’s little for you or anyone else to do about it. The deed is done and Ahnlikohn will burn bright in the moonlight before the turn of the new year!”

“Just what do you have planned?” Rain asked. “Hasn’t Ahnlikohn suffered enough thanks to you?”

“That’s funny, I don’t remember saying I’d be the one to light the match,” Isaac replied. “But I suppose your hatred for me blinds you to the reality of the situation you’ll find yourself in once it’s all over.”

“There’s no way I or the other leaders in the Thekohnian Region will ever let you get away with this,” Rain said. “The crimes that you’ve partaken in with Harold Mars and the Ameci military will not go unaccounted for!”

“How many times will you say such baffling nonsense before you realize what’s done is done?” Isaac asked. “By the way, I would be much more concerned about whether or not your allies make it out of Habicht alive. I would hope that you’d agree with me on that, at least.”

“Your empty threats are just that,” Rain replied. “Unless your intention is to confess to your crimes, never contact this line again!”

She placed the receiver back on the hook and turned away from the phone. It was a night that carried much uncertainty, but Isaac’s remarks raised that level as Rain walked out of the office. The others were quick to follow her as Rain went to the main hall of Thedam Castle and looked around the interior. She had much to prove now that the stakes rose once more and only so little time until the next time. If what Isaac said was true, then Ahnlikohn was at risk for what Foundation had planned and Rain knew that the Ameci military would be the participants in the impending actions that Isaac would orchestrate. However, that did not matter as much as what Sorin, Eva, and everyone else in Habicht were going through, as even though Rain had no way of finding out until later, she knew that there was much to what Isaac said that she could not disregard.

“Sir Dustin, Sir Gamal, I have an important task for you both,” Rain said. “It will take some time, but I am hoping that you two will be able to do this not only for me, but for the Thekohnian Region as well.”

“Of course,” Dustin said.

“Just tell us what it is, Your Majesty, and we will do it,” Gamal said.

“I want you both to do some reaching out towards the other countries in the region,” Rain told them. “With Isaac’s remarks, we have gone past the point of no return when it comes to dealing with Foundation. Now is the time for us to go and organize a strategy in which we deal with them head on.”

“What about Iiayikohn?” Gamal asked. “Are they not a part of this?”

“Unfortunately, that is the case,” Rain answered. “Dezine has aligned with Foundation for the time being and because of that, he is a potential threat to the region. As for Ahnlikohn, the fact that they are once again in the crosshairs of Foundation means that we must do our part to convince Queen Amelia.”

“Hey, I’d be happy to try and convince her people,” Dustin said. “It may take a good while, but I’m sure we can work something out.”

“Just one question, Your Majesty,” Gamal said.

“Go ahead,” Rain said.

“What will you be doing in the meantime?” Gamal asked.

“There is something I must do with regards to our current situation,” Rain replied. “I will meet with Rado, as well as both Ayanna and Roderick, in order to organize a defense against the current Ameci threat.”

“Very well,” Gamal said. “Then Sir Dustin and I will start making some calls as you requested.”

“Thank you,” Rain said. “Mina, Luna, Pekka, we mustn’t waste time. Let’s go and see what’s happening.”




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


With Harold, Korbin, Bradley, and the rest of the Ameci military chasing after them, Sorin knew that he could not waste any time with the escape. Jelka and Johan led the way as Sorin kept up his pace, though he was slightly exhausted due to the fighting earlier. However, he could not worry about that as the three ended up at a fork in the path: one way went straight ahead while the other path went towards the left. It was a decision that required no hesitation at all as Johan looked to Sorin.

“Let’s keep going,” Johan said. “We’ll be stuck if we take the left path. Let’s just keep going forward, Sorin.”

“Sure,” Sorin replied.

The three continued on the trail while the wind started to pick up. The light breeze rustled the branches of the trees and caused several leaves to fly off while Sorin could only think about where his father was right now. Henry had given him some hope to hold on to, but Sorin knew it was not enough. He needed to know for himself if his father was safe, and only after exiting the campground could he do that.

“Listen, there’s something I have to say to you,” Johan said. “It may be hard to hear, especially now, but Harold Mars isn’t one to pull his punches.”

“I know,” Sorin said.

“That’s why it may be difficult,” Johan said. “This morning, before Jelka and I came to Habicht, we received a call from Rysol.”

“You did?” Sorin asked. “What did he say to you?”

“That’s what I’m getting to, buddy,” Johan replied. “He escaped from Harold but judging from his tone, it seems that Rysol went through hell. Make no mistake about it, Sorin: we cannot overlook Harold Mars.”

“Indeed, he is a great threat to our goal,” Jelka said, “Perhaps even greater than Isaac Kunigunde is. You and Eva are lucky to escape after running into him, given what he has done over the years.”

“That’s why this next part is tough for me,” Johan said. “Sorin… I’m very sorry about what I’m about to say next.”

However, as the three made it up the higher path, they ended up coming across a wooden bridge being held up by rope. Sorin took one look at the bridge and saw the drop below. While not a deep drop like in Bel Forest, it was still a considerable fall into the river below.

“We don’t need to overthink this one,” Jelka said. “Cross the bridge and cut the ropes. We’re almost out of here.”

Sorin nodded and looked to Johan. “Tell me once we cross the bridge,” he said. “Our pursuers are still after us… I don’t even know how the others are, especially Eva.”

“I understand completely,” Johan said.

After they crossed the bridge, Jelka cut the ropes with her sword and let the bridge fall to the other side. With the Ameci military’s pursuit hindered, nothing stood in the way between Sorin and escape.

“We better hope that’s enough to hold them back,” Johan said.

“What was it you were going to say?” Sorin asked.

But Sorin knew that there was little point to asking that question. The only news Johan could have at this point was bad news. News that would confirm the suspicions and fears that Sorin had regarding his father. Despite all his attempts to disbelieve the truth, there was no running away from it once Johan opened his mouth. Nothing held Johan back from speaking as the three continued to walk down the path.

“Rysol did not escape from Harold unscathed,” Johan said. “In addition to his prosthetic arm, he also lost his right arm as well. It’ll be tough for him to fight on considering it was Harold who gifted him that arm. But that isn’t all, is it? I wish Rysol was lying, but I know that there’s no reason why he’d lie to Jelka or I about Kirk Wilk.”

“Johan, please, it’s not necessary,” Sorin replied. “No one knows where he is right now, but that doesn’t mean a thing. Rysol could just be mistaken.”

“There’s a powerful current sitting at the other end of Ahnle Peak,” Jelka said. “If what Rysol said is true, well—”

“No, we don’t know for sure,” Sorin said. “We’ve only got his account, that’s all. That’s all we have so far.”

“Just listen to me,” Jelka said. “What Rysol said lines up with the geography of Ahnle Peak. If one drops into that current, there is little for them to fight back against it… To be blunt, it is impossible for someone to survive.”

“That can’t be it,” Sorin replied. “I can’t believe it.”

“No one person is invulnerable, Sorin,” Jelka said. “Even someone like your father isn’t safe from death.”

“Perhaps it’s best we continue this later,” Johan said. “Looks like we’ve reached the end of the line.”

Johan pointed ahead as Sorin and Jelka looked to what he was pointing at. At the end of the path lay a large, barren tree that was in the way between the exit and Sorin, Johan, and Jelka. The three looked to one another as Sorin knew what they had to do next.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Johan said to Sorin. “What’s the big deal, right? We just climb over this tree and we’d be home free, so to speak. So why are we still waiting, then?”

“You don’t think they’re still after us, do you?” Sorin asked.

“You tell me,” Johan replied.

Jelka looked back. “It seems like the noise has died down,” she said. “If you want my opinion, I believe that the Ameci have already called off their pursuit. It should be safe to keep moving onward.”

“That seems likely and logical,” Johan said. “They’re not going to go for the other group, either. It’s you they’re after, Sorin, so they must have retreated long after we took out that bridge.”

“You’re right,” Sorin said.

“Then let’s not waste any more time here,” Johan said. “We’ve got a group to reunite with, after all. Let’s not keep them waiting any longer.”

Johan hurried and leapt over the fallen tree, with Sorin following after. He watched Jelka go over as well, the three joining up once more as Johan proceeded to go on ahead. Meanwhile, Sorin continued after him, but stopped to see Jelka on one knee clutching her upper leg.

“Jelka, are you okay?” Sorin asked.

Jelka winced as she pulled her coat inward. “It’s nothing,” she said. “Don’t go worrying about me.”

“Really? What happened?”

“I told you it’s nothing,” Jelka replied, standing up. “Just a minor sprain, that’s all you need to know.”

“You two are coming, aren’t you?” Johan asked. “What’s going on?”

“We’ll be right there,” Jelka said. “There’s nothing to worry about. Let’s go and leave already.”

Sorin was not sure what to make of Jelka covering up an apparent injury, but he could not question it. Not at this time. He had to complete his escape and reunite with the others waiting for him outside the campground. Only after that could Sorin figure out what to do next, as well as find out what really happened to his father. However, as Sorin left the forest to find Henry waving to him, one thing has remained true: Foundation was continuing to get tougher as Harold now became yet another threat to the Thekohnian Region.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter