Aurora – Chapter 46 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Harold Mars’s Temporary Hideout, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Nano District]


Upon entering the building, Sorin and Johan were greeted with a moonlit lobby. Several boards and glass decorated the almost barren entrance as Sorin took a step forward. Harold Mars hid within the depths of the darkness alongside Korbin, both of whom had to be anticipating this pursuit. Sorin had to keep his guard up just in case one of them showed up while Johan continued to walk forth in a casual manner.

“It’s no use hiding from us, you know,” Johan called out. “You can only run so far until you’ve nowhere else to hide.”

“He’s close, isn’t he,” Sorin said.

Faint footsteps echoed about the building, hurrying as Sorin readied his hand by the handle of his sword. He had to be ready for anything. The sound of the footsteps grew louder as Johan turned towards the stairs. Sorin looked over and saw Korbin standing at the top of the stairs with his sword drawn out and ready to strike. Johan took a deep breath and sighed as Korbin walked down the stairs, each step heavier than the last.

“Get out of the way,” Johan said. “If Harold is using you to try and buy some time for himself, it’s not going to work.”

“You… You’d say that, wouldn’t you!?” Korbin asked.

“It’s pointless to fight me,” Johan replied. “I know what you’re going to do before you even do it.”

“Shut up!” Korbin exclaimed. “Just shut your fucking mouth!”

“You’re going to try and kill me, but it won’t work,” Johan said. “You think by getting rid of me, you’ll be spared. But you’re just lying to yourself.”

Korbin began to hyperventilate between each step. “Goddamn you, Johan Kuu, I’m not some shitty stooge you can break with your words,” he said. “I’m going to kill you like I did that bitch back in Ahnlikohn!”

“True, you did kill Jelka, but she left an impression on you that you can’t shake away,” Johan replied. “It’s the first time you’ve felt fear, wasn’t it? You’re afraid now that Bradley is gone, aren’t you?”

“Who the hell do you think you are to judge me!?” Korbin yelled. “I fight because it thrills me, not because I’m some weak ass pussy that can’t think for himself! Just watch me, Johan Kuu, as I run this sword through your gut!”

“Stand back, Sorin,” Johan said. “I got this.”

Before he knew it, Sorin watched as Korbin leapt off the stairs and lunged towards Johan with his sword pointed forward. Sorin was ready to fight back, but it was just like Johan said. Korbin came to a complete stop and looked at Sorin in the face.

“Impossible… How the hell did that happen!” Korbin exclaimed.

Johan had already moved ahead and seized Korbin from behind, raising both of his arms in the process. The sword pointed upwards now that Johan had Korbin secured, while Sorin just stood in amazement at how fast Johan was able to see Korbin’s attack. Though it may have been that Korbin had hesitation, the fact that Johan had the chance to disarm him proved valuable.

“You’ve already lost,” Johan said. “This entire fight was decided when you tried to attack me.”

“Do you think I’m going to lose to you?” Korbin asked. “I could just stab us both if I really wanted to!”

“Go ahead,” Johan replied. “I’m not going to fight back but I will make sure that you will never hurt me or my friends ever again, that much I can say to you, Korbin.”

“Put down your sword, Korbin,” Sorin said. “We’re here to stop Harold, not to entertain your twisted desire.”

“That’s what this fucking is, huh,” Korbin said. “This whole thing is to stop my dad, is it? Well, like hell I care! I just want to see bloodshed!”

Korbin struggled in Johan’s grasp, but could not escape. He then tried to move his sword and make good on his word to stab both himself and Johan, but that proved difficult as well. Johan remained strong in restraining Korbin while Sorin walked closer to the two of them.

“You’ll get no such thing from either of us,” Sorin said. “Stop standing in our way already.”

Korbin laughed. “That’s how it is, isn’t it? I’m just an obstacle for you, is that it?”

“Right now, you’re the only thing between us and Harold,” Sorin replied. “But if you really want to drag this out, then Johan and I won’t have any trouble dealing with you.”

“You think I just get in the way, huh?” Korbin asked. “Is that what Bradley thought of me, too?”

“He cared only about himself,” Sorin replied.

“Like hell I’m going to believe that!” Korbin exclaimed.

He erupted into a loud cackle and shook himself even further against Johan as he tried to break free. However, Johan spun himself and Korbin around and flung him over towards the stairs, causing Korbin to stumble until he fell and hit his face against the bottom step. His sword dropped and clanged against the cold hardwood floor as he tried to stand up. Korbin propped himself against the edge of the bottom step as a small amount of blood began to stream down the side of his face.

“I’d run if I were you,” Johan said. “I’d run far away as I possibly could if I were in your situation.”

Johan approached Korbin at a slow pace. It was a silent approach as the only thing that stood between both men was the fact that Johan would remain good on his word about not fighting back. Korbin looked at Johan, then to his sword which was a few feet away. Sorin kept himself ready for whatever Korbin had next. The distance shrank between Johan and Korbin now as less than a foot separated the two men with Korbin leaning against the stairs. Just then, Harold called out to Korbin.

“Just as I thought,” Harold said. “It seems as if you could only hold them up for so long until you finally broke.”

“N-No! That’s not it at all!” Korbin exclaimed as he backed his way up the stairs. “They just… Johan Kuu and Sorin Wilk are just trying to fucking cheat me, these sons of bitches!”

Sorin scanned the area, but Harold was nowhere to be found. He had to be hiding upstairs, Sorin thought.

“Keep your head up, Sorin,” Johan said. “Right now, we’re not too far away from our enemy…”

“Heh, it really does delight me,” Harold said. “I can hear your cautiousness from where I’m standing, Johan Kuu.”

“I’m only cautious because I know how far you’re willing to go in order to fulfill your awful deeds,” Johan replied.

Harold cackled. “So it would appear,” he said. “Very well, if you and Sorin wish to die by my hands so badly, then I welcome you!”

“This… This isn’t fair!” Korbin said. “I won’t be ignored! I won’t!”

Korbin sprung up to his feet and sprinted upstairs. Sorin began to move a little closer to the stairs, but stopped when Johan put out his arm.

“He wants us to get closer,” Johan said. “Harold wouldn’t say that unless he had something prepared for us.”

“How could he prepare so quickly?” Sorin asked.

“I don’t know,” Johan answered. “What I do know is that we won’t find out if we just stand here. Get what I’m saying?”

“The only way we can stop him now is if we proceed,” Sorin said. “Even if it means we’re headed straight into danger.”

“We will defeat him,” Johan said. He took a deep breath and exhaled. “We’ll defeat him because we’ve got great friends on our side, and because you’re here to help me. This is our goal, Sorin; let’s accomplish it together.”

He reached out his hand to Sorin, who in turn extended his own hand and shared a handshake with Johan. No matter what Harold was going to do, Sorin believed in himself. He believed in Johan. Sorin believed in everyone that fought alongside him all this time because he knew that they were all on the same side to defeat Foundation. Now it was their turn to defeat Harold Mars.

“Let’s go,” Sorin said.

Though he could not see much upstairs due to the lack of light, Sorin went up the stairs after Johan. The two used caution as they climbed the stairs as they made it halfway between the first and second floors. Upon the two making it up midway, Sorin looked up towards the second floor to see Korbin looking from behind the wall. As Sorin spotted him, Korbin then hid behind and moved from his spot. They were getting closer, that much Sorin was aware of. There were a few more floors to the building, which made Sorin wonder where exactly in the building Harold was hiding.

“Where we see one, the other’s not far away,” Johan said. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to me if Harold was at the top floor.”

Harold’s voice echoed out. “You’re close,” he said. “Very close.”

“He wants us to hesitate,” Johan said to Sorin.

“I can’t let him get away with what he’s done,” Sorin said. “Do you hear me, Harold?”

“I hear you both loud and clear,” Harold replied. “I even hear that idiot son of mine scurrying away from you like the frightened coward he is. This truly is the fight you want with me, isn’t it, Sorin Wilk?”

Sorin did not feel the need to respond. He was set in stopping Harold and nothing would deter him from doing so. Upon setting foot on the second floor, it was there that Sorin and Johan saw Korbin on the next floor, which had a large gap with guardrails. Even in the dark, Sorin could make out some of the wear on the railing as Korbin looked down at him and Johan.

“This is not over,” Korbin said, “This is not over! It’s not over, do you two hear me or not!?”

“You want to keep fighting?” Johan asked. “Then why are you running from us? Why do you still continue to hold a grudge against Sorin and I?”

“Because… Because all I can do is fight!” Korbin responded. “I’ll fight and fight on because I don’t want to give up to you!”

“That’s enough, Korbin,” Harold said.

Korbin looked from side to side. “What? That can’t be it!”

The impactful sound blasted throughout the open area. An explosive noise unlike anything Sorin had ever heard before rang in his ears. What followed next was a disgusting crunch and the faint sound of liquid splattering onto the floor below. Sorin looked up to a glimpse of Harold’s face right behind Korbin, who was now coughing up blood. Sorin then saw the cause of the pain as Harold had plunged his fist through Korbin’s back and exited from beneath his chest. Johan gritted his teeth in silence as Harold chuckled.

“I’ve always held your life in my hands, Korbin,” Harold said. “As easy as it was to have you at my side, you’re no longer needed in my plans.”

“I’m… not needed anymore?” Korbin asked.

“You’ve been a hindrance for quite some time now,” Harold replied. “As a matter of fact, you’ve stopped being useful long ago.”

“N-No way,” Korbin replied.

“Did you truly believe that you were nothing more than a tool to me? Even a moron like you can’t be that delusional,” Harold said. “You’re as replaceable as Isaac Kunigunde and once I’m done with you, they’re next.”

Sorin could not speak up to the unspeakable sight before him. Even Johan, who had been calm throughout, was at a loss for words. However, they were not aghast at Harold’s heinous deed but rather Korbin’s eyes. Sorin could only watch as tears began to roll down Korbin’s face. Harold withdrew his arm from Korbin’s body as he then proceeded to shove Korbin over the railing. Korbin fell down and hit the floor with a loud thud, his body landing in the pool of blood below. While Sorin could only look on at Harold in horror, Johan moved forward.

“You still want to fight me, don’t you,” Harold said. “So be it. Come up to the top floor if you really wish to die so badly.”

Harold then disappeared into the shadows above. Sorin snapped out of his daze and joined Johan, who knelt near Korbin. They both saw the devastating wound Harold left Korbin, the massive blow an unpleasant reminder to Sorin that Harold meant business. As Johan placed his fist on the ground, Korbin coughed and looked over to him.

“Johan… you two saw it, right?” Korbin asked. “My father… Harold, he… he’s stronger than both of you now…”

“He betrayed you, just like he did everyone else who worked with him,” Johan said. “Yet you fought for him anyway…”

“You don’t get it, Johan Kuu,” Korbin replied. “I didn’t have a choice… This was all I had…”

“Tell us,” Sorin said. “I can’t imagine you’ve got much time left, so just tell us about Harold. Tell us everything about that bastard so we can stop him. You can do that, can’t you?”

“Even I… can’t answer that,” Korbin said. “We only just got here… after all. This… This was all his plan…”

“His strength lies in his technology,” Johan said. “It’s how he survived and how he’ll try to take us on. His work benefits only himself.”

“He… So it’s all for him,” Korbin replied. “Rysol… Harold killed him like it was nothing… because I…”

Korbin drifted off. Sorin closed his eyes as he remembered the pain Harold caused him. The pain that had gone on for years had now struck again and Sorin had to stop it. He and Johan could not back down now.

“Harold’s responsible for so much,” Sorin said to Korbin. “You, too, are to blame for that pain and yet I can’t shake this feeling I have. The pain you had to endure for so long… even if you became numb to it, it was still going on.”

Johan checked Korbin’s body. “He’s dead,” he replied as he stood up and dusted off his pants. “It’s useless now to wonder now about what Korbin must have felt.”

“I know that,” Sorin said. “But still…”

“There is indeed a part of me that wonders about what would’ve happened had things been different,” Johan said. “Korbin might’ve had a chance if it all had gone differently. There were plenty of catalysts in his life that caused him to take the path he took, but even with that, Korbin had other paths to take.”

“That’s true,” Sorin replied. “I guess I was just trying to find a reason for all of this.”

“I understand,” Johan said.

“So we know where we got to go,” Sorin said. “Harold said it himself. Are you ready?”

“I’ve been ready for a while now,” Johan replied. “Let’s not waste any more time here, buddy.”

Sorin agreed. They had to follow after Harold. Despite the fact that Harold was capable of such a devastating move, Sorin continued on with Johan. On the top floor, they would find Harold waiting for them. Sorin could not say he was not afraid, but he had to press on and remain courageous. He had to because he was well aware that Johan felt the same way and they were walking towards a new future, but first they had to finish what had been started so long ago.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 43 (Part 1)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; outside of the New Prime Minister’s Office, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


As the night rolled in, a quiet silence surrounded the exterior of the new prime minister’s office. Not a single person could be seen or heard when Ayanna arrived with Dierk and a communicator in tow. Ayanna began to grow suspicious of what was happening, but she knew now that she and the others were closer to taking down Dezine than they ever were before. At least, that was what she had thought. With Johan’s help, Ayanna was able to organize a large group of people ready to lead the charge against the current prime minister. It astounded her how well Johan was able to get these people to protest considering the fact that he did not go with the others to Rezar. Elsewhere, Ayanna had to count on Sorin, Mina, and the others to lead their way into the building. As for her, there was something else that Ayanna had to do, but first she had to confirm something with Dierk.

“Everything went well with Reiss, I assume?” Ayanna asked.

“Affirmative,” Dierk replied. “The general seemed pretty upbeat about our chances, though we still may have to worry about what to do next after we deal with Dezine.”

“That’s something we can talk about once we’re finished,” Ayanna said. “As far as we’re concerned, our main priority remains taking on the prime minister. Never in my life did I think that I would have to utter those words, but we’ve got no choice and no way to turn back now.”

“It is tough,” Dierk said. “Even if we oust him overnight, how Dezine rose to power will remain a stain on this country’s history.”

“Not as if Iiayikohn was clean before then,” Ayanna said. “If only Alan were still around, then we wouldn’t be here right now participating in the coup.”

“He kept things in order, for sure,” Dierk replied.

“Which is why I can never forgive Dezine,” Ayanna said. “He and Isaac are the reason why Alan is no longer around. To think that a single member of the Iiayi government would willingly plot the assassination of the prime minister is beyond reprehensible.”

“Certainly, he will have to pay for what he’s done,” Dierk said.

Ayanna looked back at the building on the other side of the street and continued to wait for the next move. Soon enough, she and Dierk could hear the sounds of people chanting. As they both looked down the street, a large group of people walked down the street towards the prime minister’s office. Within that group were a couple of faces that Ayanna recognized: Law, Gavin, and Henry. At just the right time, those three had returned from Hurst in order to help lead the charge against Wilson Dezine.

“Over here!” Ayanna said as she waved over to Law.

Law hurried over while both Gavin and Henry followed.

“The people are rising up, it seems,” Law said. “I suppose I’ve to hand it to Joahn… Getting this many people organized had to be quite a task in such a short amount of time.”

“He does have that group,” Henry said. “The Moonlit Silence is always working even if we’re not a witness to their methods.”

“Guess there is some merit to Johan keeping his big plans a secret,” Gavin said. “Say, Ayanna, are we about ready to lead this charge or what?”

Ayanna looked down at the communicator. “We’re waiting for the guards to show up,” she said. “Once we’ve got the attention of Dezine’s guards, I’ll go and give the word to Sorin and Mina.”

“Good,” Henry said. “I can already hear the people calling for Dezine. A lot of calls for him to surrender himself, sounds like.”

“I wonder if that’s gonna make him use his protection powers,” Law said. “This many people going up against the big man himself? Well, he’s going to have plenty to deal with, but we know that the good people of Rezar aren’t going to go down without a fight.”

The chants grew louder, with each person facing the front doors of the new prime minister’s office calling out Dezine by name. As the streetlights lit up, the doors to the office opened up as several soldiers spilled out onto the streets. The group of protestors, however, did not stop.

“That’s our cue,” Henry said.

Ayanna picked up the receiver. “I’m going to contact Sorin now,” she said. “Hopefully this is enough to help them get inside.”




On the other end of the building, Mina, Eva, Pekka, and Luna all waited outside on the opposite side of the street. Dustin looked at the communicator that was given to them by Ayanna as it chirped on and picked it up. He eyed the back doors as he placed the receiver close to his mouth.

“Dustin here,” he said. “Are we ready to storm the castle?”

“Yes, yes we are,” Ayanna said. “But I thought that Sorin would be the one to answer. Do you mind putting him on?”

“Yeah, about that,” Dustin said.

“Hold on,” Mina said, grabbing the receiver out of Dustin’s hand. “Ayanna, it’s me. We’re out here, ready to go when you are!”

“What about Sorin?” Ayanna asked.

“Oh right, I guess we should have contacted you about that,” Mina replied. “Sorin and Gale aren’t here.”

“Sorry about that!” Dustin said.

“She can’t hear you,” Eva said. “Mina, just tell her already.”

Mina nodded. “Okay, well, you know how Johan said that he wanted to do his own thing?”

“Of course I know,” Ayanna said. “Don’t tell me Sorin decided to go with him…”

“Well, not exactly,” Mina replied. “He said that he wanted to go after Isaac himself, and I guess Gale decided to go along with him.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” Ayanna said.

“You’re telling me,” Dustin said. “Guy was all about doing this together and now he’s off on the trail of the mastermind of this whole operation?”

“They were talking to themselves on the way here,” Luna said. “Sorin and Gale talking with each other, saying to us that it was nothing, yet now they’re the ones all after Isaac now. We don’t even know what to expect now!”

“It means Sorin has an idea and he doesn’t want to go and put us at risk,” Pekka said. “Though that doesn’t explain why Gale wanted to go with him. It’ll be dangerous either way and she’s not a fighter at all.”

“You should have some faith in them,” Eva said.

“Mina, where exactly are Sorin and Gale right now?” Ayanna asked.

“There’s really only one place I can think of off the top of my head,” Mina said, “And that’s the Ameci Embassy.”

“I see,” Ayanna replied. “Thank you.”

“What are you going to do now?” Mina asked.

“I’m helping lead the charge, of course,” Ayanna said. “Johan managed to help stir up a group of people just outside the door… It’s impressive.”

“I knew we could count on him,” Mina said. “I knew that Johan had a pure, heroic heart all this time!”

“So there’s a lot of commotion, then,” Pekka said. “Guess we made Dezine turn his head just enough for us to waltz in.”

“Good luck, guys,” Dustin said. “I’ll stay back here just in case… Don’t want to push things further, you know.”

“Well, if we need help, then you better be ready to come rushing in,” Eva said. “Let’s get going already, Mina.”

“Of course,” Mina replied. “We’ll see you on the inside, Ayanna!”

“We will see you in a moment,” Ayanna said.

With that, Mina shut off the communicator and handed it to Dustin. There was only one goal on Mina’s mind right now and that was to take down Wilson Dezine. Once that was taken care of, Mina was sure to hurry over to the Iiayine Prison and rescue her uncle. With the back entrance to the office unguarded, the group hurried their way inside as no one could stop them now.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Ameci Embassy, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Deca District]


Rohan Fercewend looked down the hall as people in the embassy bustled about. A lot had changed in such a short amount of time and staff members were trying their best to keep up. Even Fercewend himself felt it all come to a sudden shock once Casper Bradley confessed. All it took was hearing the news of his son’s death and Casper broke down. Still, it felt odd to Fercewend that all of this had taken place in the same amount of time that Dezine turned his back on Ameci. It was something that Fercewend wanted to know more about. What could possibly be gained from such a move? Fercewend felt as if he had only Isaac to believe in during this turbulent time and little time outside of work to actually speak to him now that Casper had been removed from his position.

“Ah, Rohan, what’s got you thinking at a time like this?” Isaac asked.

Almost like it was on cue, Fercewend turned and saw Isaac at the top of the stairs. The reassurance that everything would work out returned. Now that Isaac was here, Fercewend knew that he could focus.

“It’s nothing,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just merely thinking about all that has happened within the past couple of days.”

“It has been quite a wild turn of events,” Isaac said. “Men looking to bite the hand that feeds them just because they feel as if their bellies have yet to be full, only to get punished in the end! Truly this is an interesting time for Mr. Dezine over at the prime minister’s office.”

“What do you mean?” Fercewend asked.

“Have you been so lost in thought that you’ve lost course of the direction of the wind? Go and take a look outside,” Isaac said.

Fercewend did as Isaac suggested and went over to the nearest window. He then saw out on the street a group of people outside marching towards the new prime minister’s office, chanting for Dezine’s removal.

“They’re protestors?” Fercewend asked.

“Dezine wanted action,” Isaac said. “Well, he’s about to get what he wants, though I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it.”

“It’s… unheard of,” Fercewend said. “I know that there has been unrest in the region before, but I didn’t think that it would arrive here.”

“Come now, you said it yourself,” Isaac replied. “Dezine betrayed the order and now he’s going to pay for it dearly.”

“Then he’s already fallen?”

“God has abandoned him,” Isaac said. “That dear friend of mine… heh, I’m amazed at the things he told me.”

“I wonder what happens next,” Fercewend said.

“Someone will clean the mess Dezine created,” Isaac said. “That much I can assure you.”

“You assure me of that?” Fercewend asked.

“Believe in the process, Rohan,” Isaac said. “It’s not that we failed Dezine, but rather he failed himself. Iiayikohn’s next prime minister will not be as big a fool, you can bet on that.”

“You sound sure of it,” Fercewend said. “Then I am inclined to believe in what you say.”

“As you should,” Isaac replied. “A good president listens to his most trusted advisor, after all.”

Fercewend turned away from the window. “May I ask you something?”

“What’s on your mind now?” Isaac asked.

“When President Hasker arrives, I will resume my position as the general, correct?”

“With things as they stand, that will be the case,” Isaac replied. “Obviously, we should be grateful for his awaited return to power.”

“Of course,” Fercewend replied. “I’m just wondering if there was a way I could assist him further. I want to help Ameci in any way I can, because I know that that’s what’s expected of me.”

“Don’t worry too much about that,” Isaac said. “As of now, Piere is Ameci’s president, though he is not acting. That would be you.”

“I know.”

“But this is the important part,” Isaac continued, “Hasker’s term is set to end in a year. Given all that has happened, I’m sure that the good people of our country would want a new face at the top.”

“So that’s where I would come in,” Fercewend said.

“You’re getting it, and quite well, I may add,” Isaac said. “Yes, if all goes as planned, we’ll be able to have you run for the highest position of power in Ameci should Hasker not be up to task.”

“That sounds good.”

“You just have to believe in me and let the process sort everything out,” Isaac said. “As long as you do that, then there’s absolutely nothing that cannot be accomplished under your name, Rohan!”

Isaac’s encouragement convinced Fercewend that he too would be able to accomplish anything. With an ally like him, there was little that Fercewend could not do and a lot that he could. Even the power of president would be in his grasp as long as Isaac was there to guide him along the way. But as those thoughts went to his head, Fercewend heard the creaking of a door in the now silent embassy. He looked around and down the stairs, but no one was there.

“Wait right here,” Isaac said.

“What’s going on?” Fercewend asked.

“It’s nothing important,” Isaac replied. “Please, go on with what you were doing before, Rohan; I’ll be back in a moment.”

Fercewend could not help but watch as Isaac went down the stairs. The curiosity behind the sudden silence and immediate change caused Fercewend to follow Isaac down the steps a few feet away. As he got closer to the bottom of the stairs, however, Fercewend caught a glimpse of an unbelievable sight. At the entrance stood Korbin Mars pointing a gun at Isaac.

“What… What in the world are you doing!?” Isaac asked.

A deep laughter echoed across the hall as Harold entered the embassy. The mere sight of the man caused Fercewend to hesitate. He knew the face looked too familiar, but could not believe what he was seeing.

“The curtain’s closing, Isaac Kunigunde,” Harold said. “Your assistance is no longer needed.”

“I-Impossible!” Isaac exclaimed. “We still have plenty of time for our plan to work! You yourself told me that just yesterday, Harold!”

“How peculiar,” Harold said. “I don’t believe that I ever said something like that to you.”

“It doesn’t mean shit now,” Korbin said, his aim shaking. “Once I’m done… Once I’m done with you here, I’m gonna make sure that everything goes just like my dad planned!”

Isaac took a step back. “You wouldn’t dare!”

“God was never on your side,” Harold said. “In fact, you were just a mere tool to be used. To think that you would be so delusional to believe that you’d make it with spilling your own blood is laughable at best.”

“Give me a break,” Isaac replied. “This… This is a violation of our trust and you know it!”

“Just like with you and Casper, or with you and Dezine,” Harold said. “Or were you planning to go against god, too? I’m not afraid of the extreme, I’ll have you know.”

Harold headed for the door as Korbin kept his focus on Isaac. Fercewend wanted to jump in to save Isaac, but with Harold’s threatening presence, he did not want to jeopardize his one chance. That was, until Harold looked over to the stairs and spotted Fercewend.

“Do it,” Harold said to Korbin. “Let Mr. Kunigunde feel the despair grow as he dies knowing his own family betrayed him.”

Fercewend took that chance to move. He hurried over to Isaac’s side in order to protect him, but by then, the shot had already rang out. Everything had stopped as Fercewend watched Isaac drop to the ground. Time seemed to freeze while Fercewend could only blame himself for not acting sooner. He looked over to the entrance once again, but saw that both Harold and Korbin had made their exit. As he clenched his fist, Fercewend heard a weak cough coming from Isaac and checked in on him once more. The general tended to Isaac as he continued to bleed from out of the wound in his abdomen and onto the floor.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 42 (Part 1)

[Various dates, 2727 AD; Admorse, Ameci]


(Little Blood Raven’s Awakening)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Korbin gulped. “I… I got it…”

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

“D-Dispose?” Korbin asked.

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

“I guess so,” Korbin said.

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

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




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

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

“When will he be back?” Korbin asked.

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

“I… Okay, I understand…”

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

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

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

“Why?” Korbin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It… it does,” Korbin replied.

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 41 (Part 2)

[2nd of January, 2741 AD; Iiayine Prison, Rezar, Iiayikohn – Giga District]


After what was a restless night back at Drake’s house, Gavin hurried back over to the prison with Law and Henry. They had been given a release late last night after talking with the guards, but only because Henry had suggested that they would let Drake stay the night in a holding cell. None of them had wanted to leave Drake by himself overnight, but it was the only offer Henry received. That was why Gavin found it difficult to sleep. However, he had to remain alert now that they were returning to the hostile environment that they had been escorted to last night. Once they made it through the security, Gavin, Law, and Henry went straight to the visitor’s center to meet with Drake, who was still wearing the same clothes he went in with.

“Sorry about leaving you here,” Gavin said.

“You don’t have to apologize to me,” Drake replied. “I know you’re trying to do your best with these guys going around acting like their rear ends don’t smell funny, so I appreciate you three taking the time to see me.”

“Are you doing well, Drake?” Henry asked. “I can’t imagine what it must be like to sit in a cell for no reason…”

“They could’ve done much worse,” Drake said. “I got a thick skin, so I’ve not budged a bit the whole time!”

“Well, it has only been for a night,” Henry said. “They didn’t arrest you due to a crime; they arrested you because Dezine wanted to send a message.”

“A message only a coward like him can send,” Law said. “When you can’t hurt the other side directly, you take it out on those related any way you can. I’m sure that was what that old man was thinking when he sent his soldiers to your house.”

“It’s going to be a pain in the ass,” Gavin said. “Dezine has already acted. Now it’s our turn.”

“What do you have in mind, Gavin?” Drake asked.

“Charging after him head on isn’t a good move,” Gavin replied. “Our best bet leans on Rain and the other leaders to step in.”

“You think we’ve got the time to do that, bro?” Law asked. “No offense, but I don’t think we have the time.”

“That doesn’t mean we should sit by and do nothing,” Gavin said. “Henry, when are we going to Hurst?”

“I figure we could go soon,” Henry replied. “Our main course of action is to head to where the smoke is coming from and once we go there, we try to find the fire that’s been burning.”

“Quite a way to talk about Harold Mars, isn’t it,” Law said. “I think what we can do now, though, is see if we can get a lead.”

“Where do we even start?” Gavin asked.

“I think we’ve got a good lead here,” Law said, turning to Drake. “You’ve been to Hurst, haven’t you?”

“A few times,” Drake replied. “Not much happens there, which is nice for a quiet little town like that.”

“And perfect for someone like Harold to hide out at,” Henry said. “A perfect place to operate without much trouble.”

“So this guy’s been hiding there all this time?” Drake asked.

“As you said, it’s a quiet little town,” Henry replied. “I don’t think that he’d bring himself out into the open, not after what he’s done.”

Gavin knew the truth, as did Law. After asking Henry on the way to Rezar, he told the brothers about the crime Harold had committed. He told them all he had heard from Kirk before he died, as well as what Henry believed happened after their encounter on the Ameci Wyse. There was only one explanation that led to Harold Mars surviving his supposed death, which led Henry to believe that Isaac rescued him in some way. Still, there were many more questions that had to be asked and many more answers to those questions.

“And you reckon he’s related to all of this,” Drake said. “This Harold fellow has to have a lot of influence if you’re so set on going after him.”

“The only thing we don’t know is how deep this goes,” Gavin said. “For all we know, we’re looking at a puddle when it could be much more than that.”

“I think it’s already past that if you ask me,” Law said.

“Which is why we’ve got to find out for ourselves,” Gavin replied.

“Isaac’s the one at the center of all this, but Harold is an interesting person all on his own,” Henry said. “Granted, I only knew a little about him before Kirk told me all about his encounter, but we should be aware that this is only a scratch upon the surface of who Harold Mars is.”

“I wonder about that,” Law said. “None of us here have seen Harold for ourselves, though Sorin and Eva have. If only they were here, then maybe we would learn something.”

“They’d likely know only little more than us, I’m sure of it,” Gavin said. “We’ve only got so much of a lead from Johan, but I’m willing to place my trust in him because he’s good at gathering this kind of information.”

“He certainly was the reason why we went this far,” Law said. “It’s kinda like you said before, bro: Johan’s playing us like chess pieces.”

“It’s a good thing we’re on the same side,” Gavin replied. “At least, as much as we can possibly be.”

“I take it that you’re not too fond of him,” Henry said.

“I can tolerate him, but I’m not entirely crazy about having him lead us around,” Gavin said. “Even if he doesn’t admit it himself, we are setting off in that direction because of what he told you about Harold.”

“Something about him never seemed right to me, either,” Law said. “But I’m not going to go and concern myself about what he does.”

“Neither am I,” Gavin said. “It’s just that I don’t know what he’s going to do once this is all over. None of us do.”

“Well, it’s none of our concern,” Henry said, “At least not for the moment. For now, however, we’ve got a trip to make.”

“You’re heading off?” Drake asked.

“I promise we’ll be back as soon as possible,” Henry replied. “I don’t know how we’ll work this out, but I’m not going to give up just because I don’t have an answer yet. I’m just going to do as I always do and keep moving forward.”

“You’re a good man, Mr. Randolph,” Drake said. “I promise that I won’t let a little setback like this deter me. Hell, I even bet Mina and the others will be here soon to let me out if they’re fast enough!”

“Got a lot of hope there, looks like,” Gavin said as he stood up. “We’ll make sure that we find a way to get you out of here. Dezine may have the upper hand, but he’s pushing a line that’ll get him in trouble if he moves further.”

“That’s right,” Law said. “I bet Mina would like to charge through here by herself if she had to and I know she’d win if it meant having to save her dear uncle in the process.”

Drake laughed. “I’m looking forward to it.”

“We’ll be back, don’t worry,” Henry said. “Goodbye.”

As Henry got up and headed for the door, Gavin and Law followed him. It was now their time to move and now they had their destination close at hand as nothing stood between them and Hurst. Wherever Harold Mars was, he was sure to be hiding there. The only Gavin worried about, though, was if they would find anything new regarding the mysterious man and, if so, would they be able to do anything about him. But Gavin had to have faith like Henry and Law did, so he put his trust in them as they went to the car.




[2nd of January, 2741 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


“Get up,” Harold said to Korbin. “There’s only so much time we have until our next move.”

Korbin sat up on the frigid bed as Harold exited the room without another word. He had arrived in Iiayikohn last night after leaving Glora, still wounded from his fight with Jelka. With Harold’s help, Korbin was able to leave the city without much of a notice. Korbin could not help but feel emptiness, however, as he left without coming up victorious against Sorin Wilk, nor was he able to go up against Johan Kuu. Even as his anger began to rise, Korbin had to be reminded by Harold about what was going to happen next.

“You’d better prepare yourself,” Harold said. “This the final chance to take hold of your fate, so I’d advise you not to waste the precious opportunity that has been given to you.”

“Who cares about that?” Korbin asked. “I just want to finish what I started, damn it! Why the fuck do I have to wait!?”

“Come on,” Harold replied. “I know you lack a good brain, but I know for a fact that you’re not that you’re not this amazingly daft. Pick up your feet and go to the back room.”

Korbin did as Harold said and went on his way to the back room. He had no way to deny what his father demanded of him, nor did he want to. After all, that was how Korbin always saw everything with Harold, at least as long as he could remember things being that way. But there were moments within Korbin’s memory that he could not recall, however he did not care since it was not in his best interest to remember any missing events.

“That shit doesn’t matter to me, anyway,” Korbin said. “What the fuck do you want me to do now, anyway?”

Korbin looked around the dim room for any trace of his father, but he was nowhere to be found. It was the room that had served to reawaken Rysol, where Korbin went head-to-head against the man himself. That was the fight that made Korbin realize how much of a force Rysol could be, which only served to remind him about much more of an established fighter Harold was. With that known, there was no doubt in Korbin’s mind that he would be okay.

“Now you know why I brought you here,” Harold said through the speaker on the wall. “I want to realize how much I need you, Korbin. You’re going to serve well in making this plan of mine a reality.”

“What do you need from me?” Korbin asked.

“It is your strength I need,” Harold answered. “Rysol failed because he was too weak to cut his ties. You, however, don’t have such ties that hinder you. Not now, anyway.”

Korbin looked away. He had received the news of Bradley’s death straight from Harold as they were leaving Ahnlikohn. It was because of Sorin and his friends that Bradley had died and that Korbin knew he had to forget about it, but it was difficult to do as Bradley was the only person Korbin considered to be a friend. He knew that his father was right, though, since he would not try to lie to him, especially not when everything was on the line.

“The moment you let those ties become a hindrance, you die,” Harold said. “That was what cost Kirk Wilk his life and what would have cost his son if not for that interfering woman. But luckily you managed to deal with one of the few pains in my side and for that, I must give you the little credit that you deserve. Enjoy it while you can, Korbin.”

Harold’s gratitude was rare, which was why Korbin had no idea how to react. He did not know if he should be thankful for the credit, or if he should just keep going. What Korbin did know, however, was that he had to be stronger. He knew that he needed to, especially now that his rivals were heading for Iiayikohn at this moment. But as Korbin continued to think, a loud crash rang out through the halls of Harold’s hideout.

“What the hell was that!?” Korbin asked.

“Do not move a single inch,” Harold said. “You just wait in that room until I come back.”

But Korbin wanted to know. He had to know. Waiting in an empty room for his father to speak to him again bored him. Korbin needed to find out for himself what caused that loud noise and why Harold wanted him to wait. He knew that he had to hurry, so he rushed out of the room without so much a second thought. Korbin ran down the hallway headfirst towards the entrance. Something had happened and there was only one way to confirm it.

“I’m not going to fucking wait just because you told me to,” Korbin said. “I gotta know what the hell is going on before we do anything!”

Harold did not respond, though Korbin did not care. There was only one thing on Korbin’s mind and that was getting to the bottom of this mystery. Once he made it towards the entrance, however, Korbin saw for himself the source of that destructive noise. The one man who stood superior to Korbin was standing in front of his father, though with both of his arms missing. Harold crossed his arms as Rysol inched closer to him.

“So the insect comes back,” Harold said. “After what I did to your father, I would’ve expected you to run away with what little pride you had left, but it seems as if you’ve got a death wish to fulfill.”

Rysol did not say a word. He had his broken sword held in his mouth while Harold laughed. Korbin could see the wounds on Rysol’s body and wondered how he was still able to stand. There was no time to answer that question, though, as Rysol charged at Harold with everything he had.

“If you’re that desperate to reunite with your father, then I’ll do you your favor,” Harold replied. “I was saving this for a special occasion, but I see no need to delay it any further!”

Harold uncrossed his arms and got into a fighting stance. Rysol stopped in his tracks and stared Harold down. The abrupt pause stood only for a second as Harold led with his fist and threw a punch at Rysol. However, Rysol defended himself from the attack as he ducked underneath the punch. He moved out of the way, but was caught by Harold by his left hand.

“You’ve still got fire, I’ll give you that much,” Harold said. “But you’re just a weakling now… I’ve got no use for you anymore!”

Korbin watched as Harold lifted Rysol up by his neck. He tried to see what was going to happen next, but Harold’s body blocked him from seeing Rysol, and there was no way Korbin could move another inch.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Harold said.

“Huh?” Korbin asked.

“You think this man has something to do with you, don’t you,” Harold said. “Let me assure you, fool, that this man is nothing to the likes of me. Not when I can so easily end his life like this!”

A familiar sound boomed into Korbin’s ears. There was no mistaking what he just heard. There was, however, the sudden sound of Rysol’s groans. Korbin watched as Rysol dropped the handle of his blade out of his mouth, letting it drop onto the puddle of blood on the floor. Rysol coughed once more as Harold began to chuckle. Indeed, Korbin could not mistake what had happened.

“Did you think you even had a chance?” Harold asked Rysol. “Even in your most ridiculous of dreams, you had to realize there was no hope for you. No such hope exists for someone like you, not as long as I’m around.”

“I wasn’t… hoping,” Rysol replied. “I’m… going to kill you…”

“Save your last breaths for something more meaningful,” Harold said. “I’m not going to wait around for you to spout off these last insignificant little bits of nonsense you’ve left.”

With a quick motion, Harold pulled back his left hand. Not a second later, he let go of Rysol, dropping him to the ground. Rysol continued to bleed out as Harold turned around and faced Korbin. There was nothing that could be said, not after what had happened. The one person that Korbin feared was now dying before him, all because his father took Rysol’s life with no struggle. But before the two men could go back, Rysol started to laugh.

“Did you think… that I didn’t expect this?” Rysol asked.

Harold scowled and turned around. “You’re still alive,” he said. “Looks like I need to finish the job.”

“Go ahead… and kill me,” Rysol said. “But I’m not… going to leave you two alive…”

“Son of bitch,” Harold said. “You can’t be serious!”

“What does he mean?” Korbin asked. “What does he fucking mean?”

“I didn’t come here… thinking I was going to leave with my life,” Rysol said as he rolled over. “Before I die here… I’m going to take you down to the depths of hell, Harold Mars!”

“You would do this just to make me suffer,” Harold said. “How petty can you be to the only man who understood your pain?”

“Like you gave a shit,” Rysol said, looking over to Korbin. “Why don’t you… tell me all about what happened to your mother and brother, little Korbin? Tell me all about how this despicable waste of a man killed them… This man, Harold Mars… tell me everything.”


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 29 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Over here!” Henry said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eva could not respond.

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

“What is?” Gavin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can understand why,” Henry said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Okay,” Sorin replied.

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Understood,” Henry said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Of course, babe,” Law replied.

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

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

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

“Okay then,” Law said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You would be right,” Henry replied.

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

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


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

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

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

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

“Be quiet,” Bradley said.

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

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

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

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

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

“Our plan, right?” Korbin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

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Aurora – Chapter 28 (Part 1)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What are you talking about?” Sorin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sorin, watch out!” Eva said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Think again!” Erik exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Almost everything?” Sorin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I got it,” Sorin replied.

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

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

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

Sorin nodded. “I will!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is it!” Sorin exclaimed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What are you doing?” Sorin asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


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