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 40 (Part 2)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sounds like they already have,” Law said.

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

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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 24 (Part 1)

[24th of December, 2740 AD; Ahnle Peak path, outside of Glora, Ahnlikohn]


There was no mistaking the pain that Kirk felt. Two separate stab wounds that went through his back and out just beneath his rib cage. Harold stabbed him. He stabbed him, using both the darkness and Rysol’s fears to attack him. Kirk had no idea what the weapons looked like, but he knew that they were sharp and long enough to go completely through his body. Right now, all Kirk could think about was what Harold had planned next.

“You’ve really done it this time, haven’t you,” Harold said. “Your life is now in my grasp and I don’t intend on letting you go; in fact, I’ll kill you right here and now, Kirk Wilk!”

Just then, Rysol stood up and pointed his sword at Kirk and Harold. Kirk wondered to himself what Rysol was going to do, but he knew that there was no chance that he would run away now.

“I’ve run for far too long,” Rysol said. “My weakness led you to this, father, and for that… I apologize.”

Kirk tried to talk, but found it difficult to breathe as he coughed up more blood. Nothing could stop him, however, as he looked at Rysol. He had to tell him somehow that he was supposed to run away, but knew no way to do so as the pain continued to surge throughout his body. Harold was about to kill him, but Kirk knew that this would not be the end for the madman. If anything, he was going to try to take out Harold before he could do the same to him, but first he had to direct Rysol out of harm’s way.

“If I had been stronger all those years ago… then perhaps… then perhaps mother would still be alive,” Rysol said. “But it’s too late to keep dwelling on what I couldn’t do back then. Now is the time that I have the opportunity to finally make everything right for you, father.”

“What stupidity,” Harold scoffed. “Do you really believe that you can save him? I’ve already pierced his lungs and have him at my mercy! You’re a goddamn fool if you think you can change what’s already been decided!”

Rysol stepped forward. “Don’t worry,” he said. “Once I save my father, I’ll make sure your death is a painful one.”

Harold laughed. “I’ll kill you before you even come near me.”

“We’ll see about that one, you piece of shit,” Rysol replied. “Harold Mars… prepare to die!”

At that moment, Rysol came charging at Harold. Kirk could feel both blades exit out of his back, which made him collapse to the ground. His vision began to blur, but he could see Rysol’s sword clash with Harold’s daggers. It was then that Kirk realized how Harold was able to survive after his encounter: arms made out of steel connected to his body, which connected to a steel band across his chest. Kirk had to assume that Harold’s missing leg was replaced as well, but could not tell at all looking at Harold’s outfit.

“Looks like I’m going to get a real treat,” Harold said. “Now I can see why that idiot wanted to fight you so badly. He’s just like a dumb animal, that one, but his bloodlust remains the same.”

Rysol gritted his teeth. His sword locked in between the blades of Harold’s daggers as he tried to push further. On the side, Kirk sat up and tried to tend to his wounds. They were deep, but there was still a chance he could come out of this with a chance of surviving. He just had to have faith in Rysol that their exit would come soon.

“You’re strong, I’ll give you that,” Harold said to Rysol.

Harold then backed off, which led Rysol to see a chance to strike. However, he hesitated with his attack as Harold grinned. Kirk could tell something was up, but in his current state, he was not able to discern what it was that bothered him. Rysol raised his sword once more while Harold did the same with his knives, the two ready for one more clash.

“I’m going to end this fight right here,” Rysol said. “Before you can even strike me, I’ll have my blade slash your throat.”

“I welcome it,” Harold replied. “Go ahead, Rysol… Go ahead and make your dear father proud.”

Rysol growled. “No more hesitation.”

He charged at Harold once more as the older man readied himself. Kirk could only watch as he still struggled to speak. The sound of the blades clashing rang through Kirk’s ears as he saw the sight before him unfold. He could not believe what had unfolded before him: Rysol sent reeling backward as his metal arm shattered into pieces while Harold twirled around the knife in his right hand. Rysol’s sword had also been broken, as half of the blade was sent flying past Kirk while the rest of the sword fell to the ground. The sheer impact made Rysol hit a nearby tree in a violent fashion, which was almost enough to render him unconscious. As Kirk lay on the ground, he saw Harold approach Rysol and grab his collar.

“If you thought you could deceive me, Rysol, then you’re as big a fool as that man you call your father,” Harold said, lifting Rysol up. “Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to kill you too. I’ll even do you a favor and make you suffer before I take your insignificant life!”

Only so much time existed before Harold could make due on his promise to Rysol. Kirk had to fight back, even as he bled and faced death. He had to fight or else everything he was working for would all be for naught. With his will to live strong, Kirk stood up and gripped the handle of his sword. He took one look at Harold, who was throttling Rysol by the tree, and slowly lifted his blade. Kirk’s chance stood before him.

“I’ll make you regret even thinking about betraying me!” Harold exclaimed as he threw a punch to Rysol’s face. “You’re going to die here as the weak willed insect that you are!”

Kirk took a step forward. Breathing became difficult as he coughed and fell to the ground, dropping his sword in the process. It was enough to draw Harold’s attention, however, as he let go of Rysol and walked over to Kirk.

“You don’t know when to die, do you?” Harold asked, placing his foot on Kirk’s back. “Your lungs have been punctured; your life should already be over by now, but I’d be glad to help you out!”

Everything began to grow dark as Kirk could not move due to the pressure placed on top of him. He had Harold pin him down and nowhere to go, as well as his sword being just out of reach. There was no way he would admit it, but Kirk had no way to fight back in his current state. All he had to hope for was some sort of chance, but even that did not come for him or Rysol. Kirk had no idea where Rysol was, but worrying about him was irrelevant now.

“I’m not done with you yet!” Rysol screamed.

As darkness enveloped Kirk’s sight, he could still hear Rysol fighting for his life. His fight with Harold continued as Kirk listened to the two fight. Their fight did not last long, though, as Rysol let out a remarkable, excruciating wail that no one could mistake.

“My arm… You bastard!” Rysol replied.

Harold laughed an unsettling laugh that shook Kirk. “I don’t know how, but you’ve managed to wound me,” he said. “Though it’s just a scratch, you’ve ruined one of my favorite suit pants. A truly terrible crime that I’ll make sure you’ll pay with your life!”

But before Harold made a move on Rysol, Kirk got up to his feet. He was in shock at how he was able to stand, given his condition, but it didn’t matter now. At the other end stood Rysol, who looked into Kirk’s eyes and understood in that instant what he was going to do next. As long as he took down Harold, it did not matter to Kirk if he lived or not. He had to protect Rysol and he did not need to breathe in order to do that. With his arm outstretched, Kirk searched all over the ground for his sword and found it close next to him. All he needed was one final opportunity to buy some time in order for Rysol to escape, and Kirk knew he had to make that happen.

“I see,” Harold said.

Kirk listened to Harold’s voice and figured out where he stood. Not too far away, Kirk thought. With everything riding on this final attack, Kirk trusted the sounds to guide him. Harold had already wounded him, so there was nothing to lose. Nothing could stop him anymore. At least, Kirk believed that he could not be stopped.

Harold grumbled. “What a shame,” he said. “Oh well, I’ll find him later. Right now, I’ve got to deal with you.”

Kirk rushed Harold with his sword held high. This would be the finishing blow that would kill Harold Mars once and for all. However, Harold began to laugh again as Kirk came to a halt.

“Do you not realize where you are?” Harold asked.  “I’ll be glad to send you falling to your doom off of Ahnle Peak!”

Thunder boomed into Kirk’s eardrums. The ensuing impact struck Kirk in the stomach as his feet lifted off the ground. He soon realized what had happened as he went flying into the air: Harold had landed the final blow. There was little that Kirk could do now that he was descending at a rapid pace.

“You’ll go crashing to your death,” Harold said to him. “Your efforts meant nothing to me, Kirk!”

Kirk continued to hold onto his life in vain. Nothing could make him admit defeat, not even his imminent death. All he could think about at a time like this was the people closest to him. He had to wonder if Rysol had escaped or not, but Kirk knew that he had been wounded. Harold made sure of that. Knowing Rysol, however, Kirk surmised that Rysol did indeed escape. Above all else, someone had to look out for Sorin now.

Which brought him to Sorin. Kirk regretted not telling Sorin about Rysol sooner, but also knew that he did not want to put his youngest son in danger. Yet he was in danger now, but Kirk could not do anything about his son’s dilemma. He had faith that Sorin would be able to right the wrongs against him and clear his name, but with Harold’s son around, that task would be difficult to achieve. Most of all, Kirk wished he had been able to see Sorin one last time, but that wish would go unfulfilled now that he was dying.

Kirk could not forget about Eva, too. Though their relationship was filled with its share of highs and lows, the time he spent with her was the happiest he had been in years. He wanted to see Eva smile one last time, but that was not going to happen. Kirk would never see her face again and he could never tell her that she was not at fault for his death. But he knew that she was strong, stronger than he was, though she did not want to say it. She meant a lot to Sorin as well, which was why Kirk felt even more regret.

Kirk’s one final regret, however, was that he was not able to avenge April and let her rest in peace. Harold orchestrated her killing and he had bested Kirk. Only darkness awaited Kirk now as his body landed into the rapids below. With all that had been done, Kirk had no idea how he was going to face April in the afterlife. All he could do now was let the darkness take him as he could not fight back against his fate any longer. The freezing water only served to speed up the process as Kirk could no longer hold onto life.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 23 (Part 2)

[24th of December, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Thedam Castle Rooftop]


A calm, clear sky decorated by the fading light of descending sun served as a reminder to Sorin. It reminded him about the oncoming attack in Oelaans and the defense set up to stop it. He wondered if Korbin and his Blood Ravens would be there, but Sorin remembered that there was no chance that Korbin would miss out on the opportunity to cause some wanton destruction. Sorin had to believe that despite Korbin’s efforts, Thekohn would be able to hold its own against the inevitable onslaught brought on by the Ameci military. It was a strange feeling to consider the people of his homeland enemies, but Sorin had to believe that everything would work out. He had to keep believing that his name would be cleared and that Isaac and Foundation would be brought down. It was the only way to make everything right.

Sorin took a look at the buildings all over the kingdom. Many of them had already turned their lights on to compliment the illuminated lamp posts by the street. If there was one thing Sorin was happy about, it was that the calmness of the kingdom helped to serve as a contrast to the chaotic landscape that plagued the rest of the Thekohnian Region. Even with a mixed reaction to his presence whenever he walked through the city, there was no sense of hostility coming from the citizens. Some had come up to Sorin and asked if he really did kill the chancellor, while others were quick to assume that Sorin had no involvement whatsoever. Even though it meant little, Sorin was happy to be in a place where the animosity was little at best.

“You’re up here?” Eva asked.

Sorin turned around. At the top of the stairs stood Eva, who wore a thick coat as she walked over to Sorin. He watched as she decided to share the view of the city with him while she placed her hands into the pockets of her coat. The cold air was more apparent than before as Sorin reached for his scarf.

“You know, I bumped into Luna earlier,” Sorin said. “She asked about you, and I wasn’t sure how I could respond.”

“What did she ask you?”

“She just wanted to know how you’re doing,” Sorin replied.

“You couldn’t respond to that?” Eva asked.

“Well, it’s not like I didn’t say anything,” Sorin said. “All I said was that you were okay, that’s it.”

“If that’s all that you said, then I have no problem,” Eva said.

“If you say so,” Sorin said. “Although it seems Luna’s got a grasp of things even if she doesn’t know the full story.”

“Don’t tell me that you’re still worried about me,” Eva said. “I’ve told you not to feel that way. I’ll be okay.”

“I know, I know that,” Sorin said. “I’m not saying that I’m worried, though. I’m saying that Luna may be worried and if so, she’s only worried because she cares about you.”

“She barely knows me at all,” Eva replied. “Why would she even care about my well-being?”

“Because… Because whether you want to admit it or not, people do care about you,” Sorin said. “Everyone here cares because you are a good friend and an ally that we can depend on. You’ve trained me and even have an admirer in Mina.”

“Mina’s like that with almost everyone she meets,” Eva said. “I’m not that special or interesting.”

“Even if you don’t think that, Mina certainly does,” Sorin said. “And Gavin and Law consider you their friend, too.”

“They do, I guess…”

“Nobody here thinks less of you,” Sorin told her. “I know I don’t and I know that the others don’t, either.”

Eva sighed and pulled up the collar to her coat. “It really is quite cold,” she said. “Are you sure that you want to stay up here?”

“You came up here, too,” Sorin said. “Everybody else is sitting in the war room right now, so I just decided to get some air.”

“That makes two of us, then,” Eva said. “Sorin?”

“What is it?” Sorin asked.

“You’re not afraid, are you?” Eva asked.

“I mean, I am worried about what these people will do if we don’t try to stop them,” Sorin said.

“No, not that,” she said. “Are you afraid of dying?”

“Of course,” Sorin replied. “I think most people would say they’re afraid of dying. Um, may I ask you why you asked that?”

“I don’t know why I asked you that,” Eva replied. “It was a stupid question, just forget about it.”

“At this point, I don’t know if I should,” Sorin said.

“Forget it,” Eva said. “I’m going downstairs.”

Perplexed at Eva’s sudden decision to head back downstairs, Sorin decided that it was best to go down as well. They had to be prepared for anything, even if the chances of attack were low. Sorin, however, could not shake from his mind the ever increasing struggle that Eva seemed to be going through. Despite her best efforts, Eva had made it clear to Sorin that there was more to what she was saying. He wanted to know more, but with the situation as it was, Sorin could only wait until later to find out.




[24th of December, 2740 AD; base of Ahnle Peak, outside of Glora, Ahnlikohn]


Before he went into the forest, Kirk lit the lantern he purchased from a city merchant. The quiet rustle of leaves only made Kirk focus more on what he set out to do at Ahnle Peak, the tallest mountain in Ahnlikohn. He wondered if Rysol even climbed the mountain, but continued on regardless. If Kirk was able to save Rysol, then it would help turn things in his and Sorin’s favor. Without the use of a hostage, that would weaken Harold and help in the fight against Foundation. All Kirk had to do was find his son.

Kirk thought back to the time when Rysol was born. He could never forget the joyful look in his smile when April first held him in her arms as Kirk cracked a smile. There was a certain peace that Rysol had brought and Kirk hoped that he and April would be able to share that peace for many years to come, those years including Sorin as well. The painful remembrance only served to motivate Kirk further as walked deeper into the forest. As the light at his side helped illuminate the path forward, Kirk found a familiar figure not far off in the distance. Kirk continued to walk forward as the other man turned to face him.

“Rysol, is that you?” Kirk asked.

There was no response. Kirk moved ahead, only to stop as he heard a man’s voice come from further away. The deep, hostile voice boomed between the trees as Kirk stopped.

“So you’ve taken the bait,” Harold said. “It’s been quite a while, Kirk Wilk, but now the time has come.”

Kirk wasted no time in setting down his lantern and drew his sword. It was as he feared: Harold was alive and well. Somewhere around in the forest, Harold was waiting to strike. However, Rysol came closer and brandished his sword as Kirk set his sights forward.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Harold asked. “Now you will meet your end as the son you hold dearly will be the one to kill you.”

“Rysol, don’t listen to him,” Kirk said. “He’s using you!”

“It’s no use trying to reason with him now,” Harold replied. “Rysol isn’t the type that will listen to such weak willed words, especially not from you.”

“You lie,” Kirk said. “You’re lying, damn it!”

“I’ll be sure to finish things here,” Rysol said. “Don’t worry about me.”

“You can’t,” Kirk replied. “Listen to me, Rysol!”

Rysol pointed his blade at Kirk and took one step forward as Kirk lifted up his sword. Kirk refused to entertain the notion of fighting by Harold’s rules, yet still, he knew that he had to prepare for the worst. Knowing Harold, there was only the fear that his influence got to Rysol. Now Kirk had to convince Rysol himself, no matter what had happened. He was going to save him. Kirk had to save him. He was determined to make it right and put an end to Harold’s plans right here and now.

“You think he’ll listen to you?” Harold asked. “After so many long years of hardship and abandonment, you think he’d even want to come back to you? Don’t make me laugh, Kirk!”

“Show yourself,” Kirk said. “If you don’t, I’ll find you myself!”

“Perhaps you should learn to be careful with what wish for,” Harold said. “Now, Rysol! Kill him! Make him pay for what he’s done! Spill his blood!”

Kirk set his feet as he watched Rysol move like a swift wind. Rysol swung his sword down at Kirk, who defended himself and turned away Rysol without any hesitation. Something in Rysol’s attack signaled to Kirk that there was more to this fight. There was more to Rysol than he let on, and Kirk could tell that all from one attack.

“You really don’t want to fight me, do you?” Kirk asked.

“I can’t back down,” Rysol said. “I won’t do that!”

Rysol attacked once more with a horizontal swing, but Kirk moved away before the blade could hit him. Hesitation. There was hesitation in Rysol’s form. Kirk had hope that he would be able to get through to Rysol now that he knew that his son was fighting with uncertainty.

“I can see it in how you swing your sword,” Kirk said. “You’re holding back because you don’t want to kill me… I knew that you wouldn’t fall so easily for his tricks.”

“Damn it, I can’t afford to fail, I just can’t,” Rysol said. “Why the hell did you even come here!?”

Again, Rysol darted at Kirk and swung at him without regard. Rysol’s out of control movements were easy to predict for Kirk, who could see each swing come down at him. Kirk continued to dodge each attack until he found an opening. As Rysol left himself open, Kirk breathed in. Now he had his chance to put the final end to Harold’s attempts at madness and trickery.

“Rysol, there’s no need to fear Harold anymore,” Kirk said, “I will take care of him myself.”

With his free hand, Kirk reached out and seized Rysol’s dominant arm by his wrist. The two swords were close to one another, suspended as Kirk looked in Rysol’s eyes. A warrior with fear in his heart, Rysol had been taken by surprise at Kirk’s calm motion and dropped his sword to the ground.

“I won’t allow you to come under any more harm,” Kirk told Rysol. “I hope you can hear me, Harold, because now I’m going to find you and deal with you myself.”

There was no response from Harold. Rysol continued to look Kirk in the eyes until he could no longer do so, turning away as he attempted to pull himself free from Kirk’s grasp.

“Let me go,” Rysol said. “Let me go!”

“Of course,” Kirk replied, releasing Rysol from his grip.

Rysol hurried as he picked his sword up from the ground and looked at Kirk again. Kirk continued to remain calm as he knew that Rysol would not attack him. There was no chance now that he knew what Rysol would bring. Kirk kept his sword out, but lowered it as he looked at Rysol and formed a small smile on his face. He had this confrontation under control and now he was headed for Harold once Rysol gave himself up.

“Harold has caused you a lot of pain and deception,” Kirk said. “It’s easy to see why you may have been influenced by him, but I won’t allow that to happen as long as I can still fight. Just sheath your sword, Rysol. That’s all you need to do now that I’m here.”

“You don’t… You don’t understand, father,” Rysol replied. “I’m not fighting because I want to kill you… I don’t want to kill you.”

“I know that you don’t,” Kirk said.

“Harold… he’s evil,” Rysol said. “I can’t… I can’t do this!”

Rysol then turned away from Kirk in the opposite direction and proceeded to head deeper into the forest. Kirk uttered a quiet growl as he knew Harold was still trying to control Rysol with fear. There was no other choice now for Kirk; he had to follow after Rysol if he wanted to save him. A deep laughter filled Kirk’s ears as he sprinted after his son.

“Look what you’ve done,” Harold said. “You’ve gone and ruined my plans again, Kirk.”

“I’ll never allow your plans to succeed,” Kirk said. “I know you’re around here somewhere, which I will put a stop to you before you can cause any more trouble!”

Harold laughed again. “I’m afraid it’s already too late,” he said. “Rysol isn’t far away from me now… You’re a fool to believe that you can kill me, Kirk!”

Kirk ignored Harold and continued onward. There was no telling if what Harold said was true, but Kirk chose not to focus on what was said but rather what Rysol was doing. He could not have gone far, Kirk thought. The pursuit soon turned into a climb, however, as Kirk found himself ascend up the mountain on the way to Ahnle Peak. With each step, Kirk began to feel the toll the steep path brought him. However, he found another spaced area surrounded by trees as he placed the lantern down once more and saw Rysol standing in the middle trying to catch his breath. Kirk withdrew his sword as he made his way to Rysol and spread out his arms.

“I won’t attack you,” Kirk said. “You have my word, Rysol.”

“Why… did you follow me?” Rysol asked.

“Because I care about you,” Kirk replied. “I care about you enough to chase after you and sacrifice myself should the need arise.”

“You truly are stupid,” Harold said. “But that is the will of you Wilks. The will of a man that’s already resigned to his fate!”

Kirk got into a defensive stance. He looked around as the darkness of the forest only served to benefit Harold. Even with the lantern as his side, Kirk had no response for the endless amount of shadow that Harold chose to hide under. It was a cowardly method, one that fit Harold well, but helped him all the same. That Harold could use a spineless trick to use against Rysol made Kirk fear for what would happen next. He looked to Rysol once more and saw him hunched over catching his breath. Harold had to be close now, judging from the moving shadows near Rysol’s side. With his sword out, Kirk charged in Rysol’s direction without a second thought.

“Rysol!” Kirk exclaimed. “Run!”

Rysol turned and saw Kirk head toward him. But before he could move, the leaves on the trees rustled. It happened all too fast. Kirk stopped short of two feet away from Rysol, the tip of his blade mere inches from his face. Kirk stopped in place as he soon registered what had taken place. Two sharp pains entered in his back and out of his chest, which soon became unbearable as Kirk began to cough up a copious amount of blood. He could not even breathe as he looked down and saw more red. The laugh echoed louder than ever before as Kirk wanted to look behind, but he already knew who it was that had stabbed him.


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 18 (Part 2)

[22nd of December, 2740 AD; on the road to Thekohn, outside Glora, Ahnlikohn]


It was a miracle that Sorin was able to board the bus with Gale unnoticed by anyone, let alone the driver. He did not want to risk staying in the city for any longer in case the royal military decided to come looking for him. It was that and the fact he did not want to put any of his friends in danger, yet Gale requested to come along with him. It made the bus trip to Thekohn less lonely, but even so, Sorin knew that isolation was beginning to close in on him.

“We’ll be fine, I think,” Gale said. “As long as Rain is on our side, then we’ll be fine. That’s something I know for a fact Isaac can’t take away from us.”

“I’m not just worried about him,” Sorin said. “It’s Rysol I’m worried about as well. He’s still being held captive somewhere and none of us are any closer to saving him. It’s made me worried that whatever pain Rysol’s in, there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“But you know where he is, don’t you?” Gale asked. “He isn’t gone forever. We… I know you will find him again.”

“And I never want you to get hurt, either,” Sorin continued. “If they come after me, then they’ll certainly come after you, too.”

“It’s a risk that we’ll have to take,” she replied. “I’m not going to abandon you, Sorin, nor would I ever allow Isaac or his friends to bring harm to you. And I know you’d do the same for me.”

“Thanks, but does that mean you’ve got an idea?” Sorin asked.

“I’ve got a plan, but it’ll require everyone to be in the kingdom,” Gale said. “I’m going to let Rain know as soon as we arrive that the others need to come to Thedam Castle so we can discuss what we need to do in full detail.”

“I wonder if everyone is willing to do that,” Sorin said.

He remembered what both Luna and Pekka said to him and wondered if it was possible they would cooperate. They did manage to help yesterday, but even so, Sorin was not sure if they were fully ready to meet with him eye-to-eye yet. It would most likely take some time, he thought.

“We have to,” Gale replied. “I know Isaac. He’ll try his best to capitalize on any weakness we might have. Unless we’re unified, it will be tougher for us to do what’s needed in order to take down Foundation.”

“He was never really fond of us in the first place, was he?” Sorin asked. “I remember the first time I saw him.”

It had been a while, but Sorin recollected that first encounter with Isaac Kunigunde in his mind. The mere presence of Isaac suggested an aloof, arrogant man who seemed to want nothing to do with anyone he felt was beneath him. Sorin, however, did not think that that meant Isaac was evil; rather, it was that instance that suggested that Isaac was nothing more than a simple agitator who strived only to upset people. It was only a few months ago when Rain’s mother revealed the true mastermind behind the Neu Thekohnian Order that showed off what a terrible man Isaac Kunigunde was and that he had to be stopped before he could do it again.

“Isaac made all his money on other people’s suffering,” Gale said. “It only makes sense that it was done by dealing weapons. That’s why it’s important that we stop him before he can start another incident, or even worse…”

“I know,” Sorin said.

“Sometimes, I just wonder what would have happened if my mother were still alive,” Gale said. “Would anything have gone differently? Would Isaac still be the same man he is now? I really don’t know…”

“I wish I could answer that one for you,” Sorin said. “But seeing as I barely got to know either of my parents until recently, I feel pretty much the same way that you do.”

Gale rested her head on Sorin’s shoulder. “I probably shouldn’t ask those questions,” she said. “Even if I knew the answers, it wouldn’t change anything. It all happened and I can’t change that fact no matter what.”

Sorin looked at Gale. She looked beautiful resting against him. He wanted to show he much he appreciated her, even during a troubling time like this, but knew that it would be better if he saved it for later.

“Say, Sorin, when this is all over, is there anywhere you want to go?” Gale asked. “I’ve read that there are some islands to the south that are nice around this time. Perhaps we can go to the isles and see for ourselves.”

“That would be a great idea,” he replied.

“You think so?”

“Of course I do,” he said. “As you said, we’ll be able to get through this soon enough. There’s nothing more I’d like than to spend more time with you.”

“I’m so happy to hear that,” Gale said.

And Sorin knew that it was true. He had to remain hopeful even when the odds looked like they were against him for Gale’s sake. It was then that Sorin had an idea, but he had to meet with everyone first beforehand. He did not want to make the same mistake and leave the others out of what he had planned, and he knew that they may have had some grievances towards him because of it. Now more than ever, Sorin needed their help and he would make sure that they knew how important they were to him.




[22nd of December, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


Korbin could hear some gruff laughter from the other side of the door. He could tell that it was his father, Harold, as Bradley went ahead and knocked on the front door. The door soon opened after a few seconds as Korbin headed inside with Erik and Bradley behind him. It was time for them to meet with Harold, who looked to be delighted as he had a triumphant grin on his face.

“You came just in time, Korbin,” Harold said. “I suppose that even an idiot like you can do something right the first time… I would be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised, but let’s not waste any time. Come.”

Down the dim hallway, Korbin looked around. There was a lot inside his father’s residence that had changed over the years, but the cold air continued to remain the same. Even during the warmer months, Korbin had always found the place to be quite cold compared to where he usually stayed. Korbin spent most of his time sharing a room with Bradley, who he had always counted on as a friend, but sometimes he found himself here with his father. Now again was the time that Korbin had to come back, given the setback he suffered from Sorin, but first he had to know what exactly Harold was talking about when he asked him to come here last night.

“I can see that you went and got my gift broken,” Harold said. “As expected of a brainless maggot, you went ahead and got too full of yourself.”

“It wasn’t my fault!” Korbin exclaimed.

“Be quiet! I’m not done talking yet,” Harold said. “After all, you ought to be thanking me for what I’m going to give you. It’s a more advanced version of the arm I made, because I knew somehow you would mess up.”

“Well, we could use it,” Erik said. “Korbin’s been real agitated that he’s got nothing to do right now.”

“Have I given you permission to speak?” Harold asked. “No, I have not, so learn your goddamn place, Ellis!”

“I’m… I’m very sorry,” Erik replied.

Harold sighed. “Now, where were we? Oh yes, yes, the reason I demanded you to come,” he said. “Crawford, I assume that you spoke with your father about the next course of action, did you not?”

“I told him,” Bradley said.

“And you made sure that he received my message?” Harold asked. “Let it be known that if you are lying to me, I will find out. You really do not want to know what would happen if I found out you were lying to me, Crawford.”

Bradley nodded. “Trust me, Mr. Mars,” he said. “I don’t intend on deceiving you, nor would my pops.”

“If I wanted to hear what Casper had to say, I’d ask him,” Harold said. “But that’s not important. What’s really important is that you see this.”

They reached the end of the cold, dark hallways and ended up at the lone steel door. Behind that was whatever Harold had planned, Korbin believed. That was it. He had to wonder for himself what could possibly be behind the door, but it was then that Korbin realized that perhaps his father was successful with his methods. That his father could use whatever tactic he had in order to win, that was what caused the sudden turn in the man that they kept hostage.

“I want you to stand back,” Harold said. “There may be a chance that he could come at you.”

“You don’t mean what I think you mean, do you?” Erik asked.

“Erik, shut the fuck up,” Korbin said.

“So it’s finally time, eh?” Bradley asked. “I guess those methods really do work, but I guess when it comes to you, sir, I shouldn’t be surprised.”

“It was easier than I thought,” Harold said. “Even for a genius like myself, I knew it would take some work. There was always a chance that he’d continue to resist me, but even so, I had his life in my hands and he knew that I could end it at any time. Of course, that’s true about anyone who crosses paths with me.”

“I can’t say you’re wrong,” Korbin said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that any man would desire for the ability I have,” Harold said. “In this pathetic excuse that we call this world, I am sure that people would step over each other in order to attain this power were it to become available to them. Selfishness is the ultimate driving force behind most of what is done in the world, which is why we as people are still fighting to this day.”

“Well, are we going to see him or not?” Erik asked. “I’m starting to get kind of bored waiting here…”

Harold glared at Erik and delivered a punch straight to his abdomen. The sheer power behind the punch, which Korbin heard boom just like a cannon, sent Erik reeling as he tried not to fall to the floor but failed as he collapsed onto his knees. Harold looked over to Korbin as he placed a hand on the doorknob and began to turn it.

“He should be fortunate,” Harold said. “If I were to be less considerate of your feelings, Korbin, then I would have killed Mr. Ellis instead. Let that be yet another lesson to you.”

“Yeah, shut your fucking face already, Erik,” Korbin said. “You gotta let my dad take care of this one.”

“That goes for you as well,” Harold said to Korbin. “My patience with you has already been tested; don’t try and push me any further.”

With a final turn, Harold opened the door. Rysol stood in the middle of the room with a sword in his hand, slashing into the air before him. The increasingly steady swift slices struck nothing, but it was the speed that impressed Korbin the most. Rysol’s impressive speed made everyone look twice as the long-haired man moved from one side of the room to the other.

“It’s now our time to move,” Harold said. “The worthless insects that keep about as if they stand a chance against us will be in for a surprise once they see what they’re in for with the reawakened Rysol Wilk. Behold, the efforts of my hard work stand right before your eyes!”

“You don’t need to say another word,” Korbin said, stepping forward as he drew his sword. “I may be down an arm, but I can take you all the same! Come at me, Rysol Wilk!”

“Korb, no,” Bradley said. “Damn it, you’re too headstrong sometimes.”

“Let him see for himself,” Harold said. “Maybe then this idiot will finally understand how important it is to follow my orders.”

Korbin positioned his blade horizontally in his left hand. He looked over at Rysol, who turned to him in response. Their eyes set as they could not look away from one another, with Korbin moving closer. In less than a second, Rysol rushed at Korbin with his sword raised high with no time for him to move out of the way. The two blades clashed against one another as Korbin did his best to hold off the incoming Rysol, as the sheer amount of pressure being placed upon him made him hesitate to move.

“Damn, he’s as good as ever,” Korbin said. “The son of bitch better watch it, because here I come!”

He rolled out to Rysol’s left away from his blade and swung towards him in a vertical motion. Rysol, though, had caught Korbin’s strike by defending with his sword. Once more Korbin chose to move out of the way and attack again, but no matter how hard he tried to get Rysol, Rysol seemed to possess a near inhuman ability to predict and counter anything thrown his way.

“Don’t you think we ought to stop the fight?” Bradley asked Harold. “I know how important it is to see how strong Rysol is, but it would be bad if Korbin got hurt any further.”

Harold turned to Bradley. “What do you think? If something happens, it’s because of Korbin’s recklessness,” he replied. “All I want to know is how strong these results are. These results that my hard work created, that is the reason why I will not stop this little battle. No matter what becomes of this battle, the fact remains that one of them will have resigned to his fate.”

“That’s not what this is, though,” Bradley said. “We’re only measuring this man’s strength! What’s happening here is just reckless!”

“Quite a few men and women were victims of the attack that took place in Glora yesterday,” Harold said. “They probably didn’t expect to become victims but that was their fate and only by running away from my son and his cronies did they end up resigning to the notion as they stood no chance. Korbin may be an idiot, but he is a capable soldier. A useful idiot, in short.”

“Damn you, I’m going in,” Bradley said.

Harold put out his arm before Bradley and glanced at him. “So you wish to resign to your fate,” he said. “I’d be willing to help you, but doing so would put a damper on my relationship with Casper. Such foolishness, yet he still needs me as I him. Stay.”

Even Bradley felt frozen by Harold’s demeanor. “I… I understand, sir,” he replied. “Then I’ll stay right here.”

Korbin still fought with Rysol in the training room. He could not admit it, but Rysol had proven to match him for every blow. It was then that Rysol went and delivered a strong strike with his blade to Korbin’s sword, knocking it out of his hands. Korbin landed on his backside as Rysol stared him down with his blade pointed at his face. There was no fear in Korbin’s mind as he gritted his teeth and looked for his sword. However, Rysol decided to withdraw and turn away from Korbin right as he found his sword.

“Alright, Rysol Wilk, it’s time for me to go and push your shit in!” Korbin exclaimed. “Hey, come back here, you asshole! I’m not done fucking around with you yet!”

“Stay your blade, idiot,” Harold said. “I’ve seen enough, and it appears that Rysol sees the same as well.”

Korbin growled as he sheathed his sword. “Fucking fine, then,” he said. “I can’t fucking fight without my arm, anyway.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Harold said as he walked over to Rysol. “Now it’s finally time for my plan to go in action. You remember your mission, don’t you, Rysol? About the man who betrayed you? The man who abandoned you? Tell me, Rysol, you really wish to kill your father, don’t you?”

Rysol looked at Harold. “Yes,” he said. “I will kill my father.”

“Very good,” Harold said. “It appears that my hard work has paid off. Now, Rysol, it’s time to begin the next part of your training.”


To be continued…


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Aurora – Chapter 7 (Part 1)

[Various dates, 2722 AD; Admorse, Ameci]


(Rysol of the Total Eclipse)


“Poor little Rysol…”

After what felt like many hours of uncontrollable weeping, Rysol stopped and lifted his head. He was greeted by a man decked out in a black suit, who had decided to bring him into his vehicle. Rysol began to wonder where this man was taking him. Who was he? Was this the man that had saved him from that massacre back at home?

“Poor little Rysol,” Harold said again. “Hah, it looks like Lokke was correct about our friend, though…”

“Who… are you?” Rysol asked as he wiped his eyes. “Where is my father?”

“Have you finished with your blubbering? I guess that’s what it looks like from here,” Harold said. “As for who I am… I am what you would consider a benefactor.”

“A benefactor?”

“Of course, I should have expected that you would be too weak-minded to understand such a word,” the man replied. “I am here to help you by any means necessary, Rysol.”

“How do you know who I am?”

“I know everything,” Harold replied. “When you’re as wealthy as I am, you gain knowledge… Knowledge that becomes very useful.”

“What… What do you mean, mister?”

Harold chuckled. “You’ll see.”

“What about my father?” Rysol asked. “Where is he? Is he okay? Is he okay!?”

“Stupid child!” Harold exclaimed. “That is all in the past now, so quit your goddamn nonsense and move on!”

But it proved difficult for Rysol to do that. He had to know. This strange man had taken him and now he was on his way to a place unfamiliar. It only made sense to ask about his father. That was when Rysol received a response in the form of a punch to the face. As he covered his bloody nose, Harold gripped the steering wheel once more.

“I’ve already told you to quit your nonsense,” Harold replied. “You will cooperate with me, one way or another, so there’s no use in trying to ask questions about the past!”

No matter how hard Harold tried to convince him, Rysol could not accept it. He did not want to accept it. He knew this bad man was wrong, but lacked the reasoning to stand up to him. There was no way he could do anything except try and endure the situation that he was in.

“Poor little Rysol… How pathetic!”




[dates unknown, 2728 AD; Bel Dale, Maeitakohn]


Rysol looked up towards the valley before him. It had been six years since that unfortunate day when he was “rescued” by Harold Mars. The hostile yet generous man had provided him shelter in secrecy for five years since running away from home. It was only a year ago, however, that that plan had changed. During one late night, Harold barged into Rysol’s room and told him that he was going overseas with him and out of Ameci. The sudden urgency in the man’s voice made Rysol aware that there was a good reason for Harold’s actions, but ultimately, Rysol did not care. Instead, it only served to fuel Rysol’s own rage at those who he felt abandoned him.

Five years passed, yet for the young Rysol, they felt like an eternity bound in hatred. He had wondered why it was that it took so long for his father to return and that wonder was soon molded into resentment thanks to Harold’s influence. Then that resentment became revulsion, which culminated into an almost feral, unbound malignance.

“That man… Kirk Wilk… He has abandoned you, has he not?” Harold asked. “A man like that does not care whether you live or die… How, may I ask, does that make you feel, Rysol?”

The rage festered within Rysol, a towering blaze that made every limb, every joint shake until he could not hold back anymore. With scream, he took the knife in his hands and threw it at Harold, only for it to miss his head by a few meters and strike the wooden board behind him.

“You’ve grown so much,” Harold said. “Truly, you understand that no one cares about you. This whole world is selfish, so you’d be better off getting your revenge!”

Revenge. It was that word that Harold drilled into Rysol’s head. Revenge that he sought was against his father, the man he had believed abandoned him. It was all he could think about as he gripped the handle of his sword. The clear, cloudless day was an advantage as he awaited the incoming truck. Harold informed him that Kirk would be on that vehicle, which meant that Rysol would be able to exact his revenge. He would finally do it.

“He will be there, that I’m sure of,” Harold told him earlier. “You will finally be able to rid yourself of that source of rage and thus, you will no longer be indebted to me!”

Rysol had no idea what he meant by that last statement, but he did not care one bit. All that mattered was that he would get his chance. Everything would be done, right there in Bel Dale. Nothing else in the world mattered at that moment, but as the sun beat down on his face, Rysol could hear a voice coming from behind him.

“What are you doing here, young man?”

Rysol turned around and readied his sword. It was finally time for revenge, or so he had thought. There was no certainty that the man that stood before Rysol was his father because it had been years since he saw his father last. The man that stood before him wore a smile on his face and had his brown hair tied up into a small ponytail.

“Are you lost?”

Rysol gripped his sword and growled. Whoever this man was, Rysol felt that he was not his father. All the man could do, however, was laugh.

“You poor soul,” he said. “I can tell that life’s been tough on you. Here, why don’t you take this?”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small cookie. Rysol watched as the man presented it in his palm and looked at him in bewilderment.

“Oh my, have you never seen a cookie before?”

Rysol could only muster a meek word. “No…”

“I knew that there were so many children out there without homes, but I’ve never seen one quite like you,” the man replied. “Ah, perhaps I should introduce myself first? That’ll put us on some more friendly terms!”

He withdrew the cookie and stuck out his hand. Rysol felt compelled to do the same, so he sheathed his blade and reached out his hand.

“Name’s Voitto,” he said. “Voitto Kuu. You can consider me to be a friendly neighbor in this region.”

He shook Rysol’s hand. All of the rage that Rysol felt had subsided, at least in this moment, as Voitto took a look at Rysol’s sword.

“You know, I’ve never seen a sword like that before,” Voitto said. “It’s the real deal, isn’t it?”

Rysol nodded repeatedly.

Voitto laughed. “Well, well, well! Seems like you were quite lucky in one regard,” he replied. “Though I must wonder why you have such a weapon to begin with. Was it, perhaps, your father’s?”

Almost as if it were on command, Rysol scowled and drew his sword once more. Voitto responded by pretending to act shocked and raised his hands to his face.

“Oh no!” Voitto said. “It seems as if I’ve touched on something sensitive, haven’t I? If that’s the case, then I won’t mention to you that person again.”

Rysol remained at the ready with his blade raised high.

“You have no reason to fear me,” Voitto replied. “In fact, I’m here to help kids like you. You see that truck over there?”

He pointed over to the truck off in the distance. Rysol watched as it came closer to them. This was the chance. It seemed that this man really did help him after all, Rysol thought.

“I’ve got some buddies over there that can help you out,” Voitto explained. “Trusted members of the Ameci military. Come now, let’s walk.”

Voitto led Rysol along in the direction of the truck. As they got closer, the truck stopped and from out of the back, two men hopped out and ran over to Voitto. Rysol looked at the two, one man of average height, Henry Randolph, and the other taller and more muscular, Rohan Fercewend. He was not sure either were his father, but just in case, Rysol hovered his hand near his sword. Or, at least, he had thought he had his sword. He felt panic as he wondered where it was, and that was when Rysol noticed the sheathed sword in Voitto’s hands. The man must have lifted it off of him on the way, somehow.

“Did you see anything up ahead?” Henry asked.

“I can’t lie to you, Henry,” Voitto said. “I saw nothing, save for this young man here.”

Fercewend looked at Rysol, his glare piercing the child’s defense, if slightly. “A child? How did he get out here?”

“I’ve no clue,” Voitto replied. “He seems to be homeless, that much I can gather… Poor child even seems to be abandoned, too…”

Henry clenched his fist. “Damn it.”

“Right in the middle of the war, too,” Fercewend said. “These Thekohnian forces will stop at nothing, it seems.”

“It is heartbreaking,” Voitto said. “Left and right I look and see too many of these children without shelter… This war must be put to an end sooner rather than later for their sake!”

“A statement we can all agree on, I’m sure,” Henry said. “Even you would agree, wouldn’t you?”

Rysol was not able to respond. The hostility in his heart was nowhere to be found, though he had a feeling that perhaps his father was in the truck. He wanted to see for himself, but even if he did find his father, Rysol would not be able to do much. There was no telling what these men had in store for him, but at the moment, none of the three appeared to be malicious.

“He’s probably a little shy due to what happened to him,” Voitto said. “Best not to pressure him, I think.”

“I understand,” Henry replied.

“Well, perhaps he just needs a little reassurance,” Fercewend said. “Nothing like a little Rohan Fercewend pep talk, wouldn’t you agree?”

“That may be a good idea,” Voitto said, “But please don’t bring up anything to do with his F-A-T-H-E-R. It seems to be quite a sensitive subject with him…”

“Very well,” Fercewend said.

“If that’s the case, then I’ll hand this to you,” Voitto replied, lending Rysol’s sword over to Fercewend. “I don’t know where it came from, but he was wielding it when I found him.”

“A damn shame,” Fercewend said. “I will do my best, then.”

“I’m glad to hear it, Rohan,” Voitto said. “Henry, watch over him, too. I have to get something from the truck.”

“Got it,” Henry said.

Henry took Rysol’s sword from Fercewend as Voitto ran over to the truck. Rysol could see it now, but taking back his blade would be tough as long as that man had a hold of it. He did not appear to be as strong as the other man, but still looked capable nonetheless. There had to be a way for him to get it back, Rysol thought. That was when it happened.

“Found you, you filthy Ameci!”

At that moment, a fiery explosion engulfed the truck in the distance. Henry and Fercewend turned their heads in that direction, aghast at the sudden attack. Several Thekohnian soldiers surrounded the blazing mess as Rysol looked around and saw his opening. With Henry too surprised to do anything at the moment, Rysol snatched his sword from the older man and made a break for it. There was no telling if his father was in that truck, but now he had to move. He had to, or so he thought. With the two Ameci soldiers surrounded, Rysol looked back and then down to his sword.

“Damn it, it’s an ambush!” Fercewend exclaimed.

“We have to run, now!” Henry said.

But as they looked from side to side, Thekohnian soldiers began to close in on them. Rysol’s hands shook as he grabbed the handle of his sword and drew it with the intention of protecting Henry and Fercewend. Was he doing it because he felt like he owed them? Rysol had no clue, but at that moment, his rage was turned not towards his father, but rather the Thekohnian soldiers that were looking to attack.

“Shit, is there nowhere we can run to?” Henry asked. “Stay close to me, Rohan! You too… huh?”

Just as Henry and Fercewend feared the worst, that was when the eclipse happened. Through the smoke and the fire, Rysol made his move. Because of how obscured everybody was in the smoke, it made it easier for Rysol to hide. Inside the clouds of smoke Rysol lurked, taking out each Thekohnian soldier one by one as Henry and Fercewend remained confused at what was happening. Soon after, Rysol cut down the last Thekohnian soldier as the smoke started to clear.

“There!” Henry exclaimed, pointing over to a fallen tree.

The two men rushed over and waited for the smoke to clear out. Rysol felt like they were waiting for someone else to pop up, but he was certain that he got all of the soldiers that had attacked. At the very least, he could believe that most of them ran away, but there was no time to think. Rysol knew what had been done and now he had to move along. There was no telling what those men would do if they saw him standing with his sword drawn out, so Rysol decided to run away. He decided to run, because that was all he could do at the moment. That man who had been so nice to him was gone now, as well as any others that were on that truck. Rysol had no clue what to do next, but the thought remained in his head that perhaps his father was not on that truck after all.




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


Rysol remembered. It was because of that man, Voitto, that he was slowly able to come to his senses. Though it was only for a moment, that single act was enough for him to subside the malevolence against his father and turn it against those who sought to wreak havoc: the True Thekohnians. It led him down a road that cost him the use of his left arm, until he met a familiar man once again. This time, it was because of Harold’s own selfishness that he was able to supply Rysol with what he needed.

“I’ve spent my time sitting on the sidelines, Rysol,” Harold said. “So far, everything has gone exactly as I’ve expected it to go.”

“You expected this to happen?” Rysol asked. “It’s only a matter of time, you know… Once I escape, you and your crimes will soon be unearthed!”

Harold cackled. “Rysol, Rysol, Rysol… Pathetic, idiotic child… Because of my status, I cannot be tried for anything that Ameci wishes to accuse me of,” he replied. “There are only two things that drive me in this world: preservation and desire, neither of which you would ever begin to understand.”

“Why would I ever want to understand you?”

“I’ve already told you, idiot!” Harold yelled as he struck Rysol in the face. “You have been wronged before by the man who brought you into this world! Kirk Wilk is no different from I, which is all the more reason that you should kill him, Rysol!”

“I’ll… I’ll never listen to you,” Rysol replied.

“Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you will,” Harold said. “If I can convince my shithead son of his truth, then I can convince you of yours!”

Harold laughed as he then left the room, leaving Rysol to recover. He could only wonder what Harold had in store for him now, because almost all of those memories with Harold were nothing more than dark clouds trapped within his mind. Rysol had to remain strong against his opponent, no matter how much of a disadvantage he was in.


To be continued…


Previous | Next Part

Aurora – Chapter 6 (Part 2)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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


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

“Feeling nervous?” Lowell asked.

“A little,” Gale replied.

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

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

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

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

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

Gale nodded. “Right.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I got it,” Gale said.

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




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


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

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

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

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

“Answer… Answer my question!” Rysol demanded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re mad,” Rysol said.

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

“What are you talking about?” Rysol asked.

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

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

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

“Shut up,” Rysol said. “Shut up!”

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

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


To be continued…


Previous | Next Chapter

Aurora – Chapter 1 (Part 1)

[2nd of December, 2740 AD; outside of Hurst, Iiayikohn]


The rustle of the trees alerted Rysol Wilk. He gritted his teeth and let out a quiet growl as he began to look around. Someone was following him and Rysol had no idea who it was, but regardless, he was ready for them.

He was on his way to meet with Jelka in the middle of the night to discuss their plans moving forward, but the sudden intrusion of the way to the meeting place stopped him in his tracks. Jelka would have to wait, Rysol thought, as he drew his sword and turned around. The wind blew again, rustling the trees once more, and with that came a figure obscured by shadows.

“Who dares follow me?” Rysol asked.

The figure stepped forward and revealed themselves. Rysol could not make out the person due to the fact that they were shrouded in a long, black cape while wearing a mask on their face, but Rysol knew that he could trust this person and withdrew his sword.

“So you’re the one Jelka told me about,” Rysol said. “I see… Very well, then we’ll go on and meet her.”

Earlier in the morning, Rysol stayed in a local hotel in disguise as he had spent the time speaking to Jelka over the phone. She had told him that he would meet with an ally to their cause, but Rysol did not expect this. The person in the cape and mask walked alongside Rysol as the two hurried down the pathway. The wind was beginning to pick up as the masked traveler tried their best to hold down their cape while Rysol did his best to make sure his hair was not getting in the way and let it flow behind him.

“You’re not letting that cape go… are you?” Rysol asked.

The masked traveler did not reply. Of course, Rysol knew that they were not going to speak at all, since Jelka had also told him that they preferred not to speak and instead let their hand-to-hand combat skills do the talking. As the de facto leader of Johan Kuu’s Moonlit Silence, Jelka was someone that Rysol held in high regard. He trusted her to lead in this moment as they sought out a lead into stopping Foundation.

“You must know Jelka well enough for her to trust you like this,” he said. “I won’t question your motives; as long as you hold that desire to defeat Foundation, then I, too, will trust you.”

They made it to the end of the forest path and came upon a campground. Rysol scanned from left to right and spotted a lit campfire with Jelka standing near it. He and the masked traveler rushed over to her and greeted her as she did the same.

“Glad to see that you made it in one piece, Rysol,” Jelka said, “And I see that you’ve met our ally over there.”

“Yes, it came as quite a surprise when you called me,” Rysol replied. “They seem very cooperative.”

Jelka walked past him and over the masked traveler. “That is good,” she said, placing her hand on the person’s shoulder. “You must’ve had quite a fight earlier, didn’t you?”

“You are certain of this person’s skill, Jelka?” Rysol asked.

“You’ll see,” Jelka said. “I’m surprised that you haven’t figured it out yet, to be honest.”

Rysol stepped forward. “Figured out what?”

Jelka looked past the masked traveler and towards the forest. The wind began to blow again as the flame from the campfire danced about.

“Were you followed?” Jelka asked.

“Followed? No, I don’t think so,” Rysol asked. “Why do you ask?”

Jelka stared at the forest again. “Step back!”

She and Rysol hurried back, as did the masked traveler, as a small object came hurtling their way. Rysol looked as the object landed on the ground and recognized the grenade in an instant.

“Son of a… we have to get further back!” Rysol exclaimed.

But as he said that, the masked traveler rushed forward and picked up the grenade. They threw it back in the direction that it came from and turned back as both Rysol and Jelka covered their ears. The ensuing explosion rang out as a few Ameci soldiers hurried out of the forest and towards the campground.

“Ameci soldiers?” Rysol asked. “How did they even find me here?”

A baritone voice echoed. “You were a fool for coming here, Rysol Wilk… A goddamn fool.”

“Show yourself!” Jelka demanded.

“No, Jelka, I want you and our ally to stay back,” Rysol said. “Take them far away from here… I… I will handle this.”

“You can’t be serious,” Jelka said. “We’re already outnumbered as it is!”

Rysol growled. “Please, go now,” he replied. “This man… this man is very dangerous… I don’t want our ally to get hurt.”

Jelka looked away. “But…”

The masked traveler place their hand on Jelka’s shoulder, as if to say that they should listen to Rysol. Jelka looked back at them and nodded.

“If that’s the case, then I leave it to you,” Jelka said to Rysol. “Promise me that you’ll return safely!”

“I will try,” Rysol said.

Jelka then turned to the masked traveler and hurried off with them. The Ameci soldiers aimed their guns as Rysol drew his sword in turn.

The baritone voice returned. “Lower your weapons… They aren’t that important…”

The Ameci soldiers did as they were told and lowered their guns. Rysol kept his sword out as the keeper of that baritone voice stepped forward. Upon seeing him, Rysol reacted as his eyes widened and gasped.

“So it is true, after all,” Rysol said. “You do live here… Harold Mars…”

“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Harold asked. “By the way, it was very noble of you to protect those two… Quite unlike how you usually are, I must say.”

“Shove it,” Rysol replied. “What do you want me for?”

Harold scoffed. “Really? Are you too stupid to realize why I’m here? Who was it that gave you that replacement arm?”

Rysol did not answer.

“You talk big, and sometimes you even fight big, but right now, you’re nothing to me,” Harold said. “How disappointing.”

Harold proceeded as he came closer to Rysol. The wind picked up once more as the nearby campfire went out, leaving the two men in the darkness while the Ameci soldiers stood and watched.

“You see, there’s quite a bit of tension going on between these neighboring lands,” Harold continued. “The flames keep getting hotter, which only serves to make the water boil fervently. The new Queen of Thekohn wants to put a lid on that, but she has no idea what she’ll be in for once the water reaches its boiling point. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“What is the meaning of this?” Rysol asked.

“What, you ask, is the meaning behind what I’m saying?” Harold replied. “I only serve as a messenger for those who are passionate about their goals. Those who strive for glory and will look to win by any means necessary… those are the people I work for.”

“And what about you?” Rysol wondered. “What is in it… for you?”

Harold laughed. “I’m just an observer who only wishes to live without worry,” he answered. “To be honest, I had no intention of showing my face, but once I heard that you were here, I had to see for myself.”

Rysol tightened the grip on the handle of his sword. “Who… Who informed you? Who was it, damn it?”

“That’s irrelevant,” Harold said. “You’d do well to listen to me. My idiot son claims that you sliced off his arm… Normally, I would write off what he says, but I find it highly plausible.”

“What are you getting at?”

“Think about it,” Harold replied. “What is it that you’re doing here? Do you honestly believe that you’ll be able to create this ‘world without wars’ that you’ve been hearing so much about?”

Rysol clenched his fist.

“There are eyes all over the Thekohnian Region,” Harold said. “Once I’ve heard what I’ve needed to hear, I do my best to cover my tracks. Yet, people still give me the time of day when I request it. Do you wonder why?”


“Truly you have more to say, don’t you?” Harold asked. “Then again, what can you say? Loyalty only goes so far, because we as a species are a selfish bunch and only care about ourselves. Those soldiers behind me? They are the ones who associate themselves with my son and Bradley, because they only desire to kill for the sake of killing. There’s no nobility in that, but then again, can you really blame them for going off the deep end?”

“Maybe in the past, I would have understood,” Rysol replied. “I swung my sword around and killed without much of a purpose… In that way, perhaps I am like that man…”

“Oh, then you do comprehend,” Harold said. “You truly do understand how altruism is nothing but a false ideal.”

Rysol sighed and pointed his blade at Harold. “But that is not who I am now,” he said. “I fight because I envision a better world! One where there is no need for wars! If… If you’re opposed to that, then you are my enemy… and if you’re my enemy, I must defeat you!”

A loud roar carried throughout the forest as Rysol thrust his blade into Harold’s abdomen. The Ameci soldiers reacted with audible gasps as they raised their guns and pointed them at Rysol. However, before they could do anything, laughter filled the air as Harold looked up at Rysol.

“Is this… how you treat the man that helped you?” Harold asked. “This is the thanks that I get? Then again, you’ve only proved me right… Rysol… you are nothing but an ignorant fool!”

Rysol looked at Harold, who blindsided him with a punch to the stomach. This sent Rysol to his knees as he let loose the grip on his sword, which was still stuck in Harold’s body. Harold kicked Rysol in the head, knocking him to the ground and placed his foot on the man’s head.

“To think that you would leave yourself so open… you truly have gotten weak,” Harold said. “I heard it was the same with your mother, actually. April never expected to be greeted with such a malevolent display, but that only goes to show you how weak she was.”

“Fuck… Fuck you,” Rysol snarled.

Harold pressed his foot into Rysol’s head. “Don’t talk back to me! Now, where was I? Oh, yes, what to do with you… I could just kill you right now, but that would leave evidence that something transpired here. Even if it’s unlikely, I can’t afford to be careless.”

Rysol had no way of getting back up to his feet. No way to get his sword back and finish off this heinous man. All he could hope for was that Jelka made it out of Hurst safe and sound with the masked traveler.

“I’ve just come up with an idea,” Harold said. “Looks like that idiot will be useful after all…”


To be continued…


Aurora | Next Part

Sundown – Chapter 48 (Part 2)

[17th of November, 2740 AD; The Royal Kingdom of Thekohn – Outside Thedam Castle]


Rain’s birthday party went on into the night as the festivities carried on inside the castle. For Sorin, however, he wanted to spend some time by himself outside. It was not because he did not want to be there, but rather because he was waiting for someone to show up. He had spoken with this person in the morning before the party even started and told them to meet him outside the castle. Sorin waited by the gates as he wondered where they could be, but he had the feeling that there was but a slim chance that they would meet him. But Sorin continued to wait until he saw a familiar face dressed in a green cloak.

Sorin approached the man. “Rysol?”

“Hello… Is everything going well?” Rysol asked as he flipped back his hood. “I’m actually not supposed to be here… There’s still the chance that someone may be watching…”

Sorin looked around. Despite the brightness of the street lights, darkness draped over the kingdom with plenty of spaces for someone to hide. He began to wonder if there was anywhere the two of them could have their conversation without anyone eavesdropping on them.

“Still… I figured that it was important to see you,” Rysol said. “There’s a lot that we’ve learned over the past month… It truly isn’t over.”

“I see,” Sorin replied. “Listen, maybe there is a place we can talk without anyone overhearing us.”

“Very well,” Rysol said.

Sorin and Rysol then went from the castle gates over to the garden. It was dim, but it appeared that no one else was around, nor were there any places for someone to hide. Sorin scanned the garden, just to make sure, and led his brother inside. Rysol undid his cloak and dropped to the ground as he took out a folded sheet of paper and handed it to Sorin.

“We’ve been doing our best to make sure that Johan’s dream comes true,” Rysol said, “But as long as Foundation exists, we face adversity at every turn. It may be quiet now… but Jelka and I know that they’re not going to stop. As long as Isaac Kunigunde desires money, we will not see an end to the fighting and wars… That is, unless we do something about it…”

“What are you planning to do?” Sorin asked. “I know that we know he’s the one that was behind a lot of what the Neu Thekohnian Order did, but is there any way that we can prove it?”

“Luckily, Jelka did some digging at the Lead Campground,” Rysol replied. “We’ve obtained a few letters between Lauren Ahga and Foundation… Though I can’t exactly say how useful those letters will be…”

“How many letters are there, exactly?”

“Enough to cause an uproar should they be made public,” Rysol said. “I know that Johan had told me that there was some merit in holding onto these letters…”

“We should show them now,” Sorin said.

“I was thinking the same thing, but no,” Rysol said. “Johan… If there is a way we can topple Foundation, we have to take all of them down.”

“All of them?” Sorin asked. “Is Isaac Kunigunde not the only one we have to worry about?”

Rysol shifted his eyes over to the garden entrance. “That man is much too cautious,” he said. “We have a mastermind lurking about that’s smart enough not to get himself involved if it doesn’t benefit him… Besides, there are others that we need to worry about before we can even think of taking on Kunigunde.”

“You know them?”

“Even now, they’re running around like they know they can get away with it,” Rysol said. “They’re the leaders of countries… of many people… yet, they only care about personal gain.”

Sorin could not come up with a response. What else was there to say, he thought. He wondered about Rain and if she would even be able to make some sort of breakthrough if the other players were only looking out for themselves. The thought of such people made Sorin clench his fist.

“I used to have a lot of anger, too,” Rysol said. “It’s something to this day that I still feel… but once Johan spoke to me, I understood. I understood that we have to play this game out of sight and out of mind, because those who fight with public ideals face hardships no matter how strong they are.”

“Are you saying there’s no way we can expose these people?” Sorin asked. “What Isaac has done–no, what Foundation has done is unforgivable. They all wanted bloodshed in Thekohn and yet they get to walk away without a single repercussion?”

“Don’t you remember?” Rysol asked. “This fight has only just begun. They will lay low for now because acting right after Isla’s ousting would prove to be a bad idea. We must lay low, too, to prepare for what comes next.”

“So we need to get stronger,” Sorin said.

“Stronger and smarter,” Rysol replied. “I have no doubt in my mind about it… They will want to act fast once they’re ready.”

Sorin knew that Rysol was right. Whatever Foundation had planned, it was sure to be devastating unless Sorin and the others acted. But with the rest of the group unknown, Sorin was not sure how Foundation could be tackled.

“Do you happen to know anyone else?” Sorin asked. “If we’re to take on Foundation and win, we have to know who it is we’re going up against. You know, besides Isaac Kunigunde.”

“That… I don’t know,” Rysol replied. “I’m sorry, brother, but I have to go. It was already a risk being here… I don’t want anyone to notice me here, so I have to make haste.”

Before Sorin could respond, Rysol picked up his cloak and swirled it in the air and put it on. Rysol then dashed out of the garden until Sorin could not see him anymore.

“Damn it, there’s no choice, is there?” Sorin asked. “Johan… I know how difficult this was, but what can we do now?”

The truth was that Sorin knew what he had to do. He could not forget what was said that day, nor could he forget about Johan and his dream. Sorin would have to keep fighting if he wanted to defeat Foundation. Yet, there remained doubt about how he was going to help take them down. For one, Sorin had no idea who else was involved, but if what Rysol said was true, they wielded a lot of power. It would be no easy task to take down such people, but if Isla and Rhodes could be ousted, then there Sorin knew that the Foundation members could be taken down as well.




[18th of November, 2740 AD; location unknown, Hurst, Iiayikohn]


With each passing day, Korbin trained with his newfound right arm in the underground facility inside his father’s company. It was made with a steel similar to that of Rysol Wilk’s left arm, though it possessed a tougher design and could wield weapons. However, one late night, Korbin tired of the training and kicked the practice dummy to the ground.

“This fucking sucks!” Korbin exclaimed. “When the fuck am I going to get my goddamn revenge!?”

Harold walked into the training room. “Do you wish to lose your life like you almost did? Well, do you? I swear to god, if it were not for your skills on the battlefield, you would be nothing more than worm food, you dumb, idiotic shithead!”

“Sorry, I’m just so worked up,” Korbin said. “Thanks for the arm, by the way! It really feels like an actual one!”

Harold grumbled. “You’ve still got to get used to it,” he said. “Making that arm cost a lot of money, so I expect that you use it well. That means you shouldn’t go around fucking up the rest of your body.”

Korbin grinned. “That won’t happen again, I promise you,” he replied. “Just let me loose and the Blood Ravens will fly again! Me and Bradley will be sure to tear through whatever stands in our way!”

“Listen to me, moron,” Harold said, “Casper is going through a lot as we speak. You are not to do anything that will jeopardize his chances, you got it? Because if you don’t…”

“Sheesh, I understand,” Korbin said. “I know how important it is, but still I can’t rest until I know that Rysol Wilk is dead! Nobody attacks me and fucking gets away with it!”

“Exercise your patience,” Harold replied. “In due time, you’ll be able to take care of all those who resist us.”

Korbin laughed aloud. “Then there’s still so much to do,” he said. “So much more… Ahahaha! What an amazing day! What an amazing day!”


To be continued…


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