The Aftermath Chapter 2
The First Signs of Betrayal
Jowys eyes slowly, and reluctantly pulled themselves open upon hearing the loud rapping on his door. He brought himself into a sitting position, his hands rubbing the sleep from his eyes. In order not to awaken his sleeping wife, he avoided the concept of yelling to the one who had chosen to knock upon his bedroom door at all hours in the morning. He planted his feet firmly onto the red carpeted floor, and brought himself to a stand. While grumbling curses to himself, he carried himself to the door of his room. His fingers laced around the golden door handle, and his wrist gave it a quick flick in order to open it. He opened the door just wide enough so he would be able to slip out of his chambers.
My lord, I apologize for the intrusion at such an early hour but The speaker was interrupted by Jowys angry tone.
Youd best be. Now what is going on that is so important that cannot be told to me at a later hour?
A letter from Lord Ethan of the Valiant Nation and Lord Shu. The messenger said that it was urgent and should be brought to your attention immediately. The messenger spoke quickly, while bowing and offering Jowy the folded script of paper.
Jowys anger was forgotten as he swiped the paper from the boy. You may leave now. With a wave of his hand, the messenger was sent off, and Jowys attention was averted to the paper. He eagerly unfolded it and allowed his eyes to peruse the words upon it.
Jowy, what is it ? Jillias voice echoed from within their bedroom.
As Jowy returned to his chambers, he saw that his wife was all ready up and about, fixing her strands of raven black hair with a soft-bristled brush. A letter from Ethan.
What was it about? Are they asking us to visit? Id really like to go back down there. Its so nice down south around this time of year.
I wish that it was only that. He allowed a brief bit of silence to fall over himself and his wife. He held his pause until Jillia peered over her shoulder, and one of her brown eyes stared at him, inquiring the true contents of the letter. There have been a number of attacks made on the citizens of Rockaxe. Ethan claims that one of his spies came back with information about a rebellion.
Should we send our own spies to check out the area? Perhaps to see if they will attack us? Or perhaps send help for them? Jillia requested, but Jowy quickly rejected both of them.
No Ethan just wishes to know if any of our people have been attacked Have we had any recent reports of attacks in any certain areas?
The question was spoken more to himself and once his wife responded, he found his heart racing in some surprise. Not that have been reported and Im sure that they would tell you of such things if they were occurring.
I certainly hope so. Jowy grumbled while he carried himself into his closet.
I believe that we should visit Lord Ethan. Maybe we could do something to help him, and we have not seen them in such a long while.
I suppose it would be a good idea to see him and see if he needs help from us. Ill have a messenger send a letter to tell them well be arriving within a few days.
Oh, I hope everything is all right until we get there. I would hate for something to happen to Ethan just before we arrive
Lord Jowy and Lady Jillia are leaving Highland? Within the darkness of a basement, two men met. Their voices were down to a whisper, as if they were worried that someone would hear them.
Yes, yes, they are. A perfect opportunity to take a vulnerable country.
Fool! Lord Jowy is not an idiot! He would not leave his country unguarded! The information that you have is quite good and it may be a good opportunity but I will not take the country yet. I will take the country of Highland when Lord Jowy and Lady Jillia are both there. Jowy Blights people can see their lord hang.
Therefore you must weaken the country?
That is my intention Tell your people to search the palace for important information. Have them gather it and then be sure they deliver it to me. I hope that you can at least complete this task without arising any suspicions! You all ready have some soldiers within Jowys palace suspicious of your activities! I suggest that you keep your activities secret from now on, or at least try to be a bit more careful.
Sir Trust me I will. The mans voice shrunk back until he held a more timid tone. He was more than frightened by the one who was apparently running the rebellion against the Valiance and Highland.
What goes on within the Valiance? Any news from your people?
Yes A few days back, they sent their sharp shooter out here to spy on us. Apparently, they know that these rebellions arent being started just because some simple farmers arent happy. Clive over heard two men talking about some of the plans. Whether Lord Ethan sends men up to Rockaxe or not, people will be harmed.
The man seemed to smirk beneath his darkened cloak, while the words continued to slide smoothly from between his lips. They have simply scratched the surface. They cannot even begin to wonder what is truly going on. They will soon see but by then, it will be too late for them to stop it. Not unless you begin to start acting more intellegent and leave less clues for people to find!
If you find the sharp shooter, be sure to have him pay a visit to me. Im sure I would enjoy his company for a few days. We dont need him sneaking about here any more than what he all ready has been. I do not like spies, you know. And Clive is certainly the Valiances best. If he simply vanishes, then Lord Ethan will be at a loss for good spies. Those he sends afterwards will be easy to capture
I will be sure to tell this to our people. They will be searching for the man by sun up.
Be sure that they are. This is one man that I do not want to slip through my fingers. There are a number of these in this war. They are the ones that make Ethans country powerful and if they are dead or captured, the Valiance will greatly weaken. Ethan will see many of his closest friends fall and that will certainly weaken his heart and his soul. He will pay for what he did to Highlands soldiers, Luca Blight, Seed, and Culgan. He should have been one to die with the rest of the Unicorn Regiment He and Jowy. If both of them had died then this would have ended years ago.
Yes, sir, I know. I was a soldier under Luca Blight as well and I would not be helping you if I didnt agree with you were doing.
Gavin, you would be dead if you did not join my side. I would have personally seen to your execution upon discovering about what I was up to.
I know thats true. Gavin briefly paused, allowing a silence to overcome the two men. Niam, Id best get to the work that you have assigned to me and you are a busy man so I would hate to keep you any longer.
Good luck, my friend. Dont fail. Even if you are foolish, I would hate to have to murder you for failure. It is something that I cannot tolerate. The grin on Niams face only grew, while he focused his eye upon the candle that burned in the middle of the table. The candles light reflected off the jewel that rested in his left eye socket. The emerald stone threw a green light across the room.
There has been something that I have been curious about for some time Would you mind if I ask you?
What is it? Make it quick.
What happened to your left eye?
It was jousted out years ago, in battle. Instead of wearing a patch, I insisted that they put the emerald in. Ive always admired the gem. Its solid green color showing power and strength. Too bad Lord Luca was never able to see my face afterwards Im sure he would have liked it.
Now, do you have any other questions to ask me? Or are you finally ready to continue the work that I have assigned you to? Niams tone fell into a grave, threatening one. The tone made Gavin shudder and he quickly stood from his seat.
Yes, sir. I will return in a few days or whenever I finish what you told me to do. Whichever comes first. Gavin bowed deeply to the shadowed man, while backing up towards the latter which led up to Gavins room in the Rockaxe inne. Within moments, the man disappeared up the stairwell, the secret latch being shut and hidden beneath a rug.
Days had passed since Ethan received Jowys message, announcing his visit to the Valiance. With each day that passed by, Ethan only grew more worried for he knew that the trip was not a long one.
Early in the morning, Camus found him pacing the main hallway. Camus and his two fellows knights had been given strict instruction by Shu and Ethan that they should not leave for the Highway Village until they found out more information about the attacks and heard more news from Clive.
Ethans brown hair was sprawled all about his face for he had not slept for a few days, nor had he bothered to brush his uncontrollable hair. Lord Ethan Why not rest for a little? Im sure Lord Jowy and Lady Jillia will arrive here without having any harm come to them. Just rest and eat something You must calm down. Your friend is very capable of taking care of himself. Im sure he will not like if he finds out how much you have been worrying about him.
Yes, Camus, I am worried about my friend and his wife, but it is not only him. We have not heard from Clive in days He certainly should have returned by now, or we should have heard from him if he was planning on staying up in Rockaxe for a few more days.
Dont worry, mlord. If you remember, we sent a messenger to Greenhill yesterday to search for Clive. Im sure that he is in good health and will return to us shortly. He is probably just simply held up in his job.
Yes Yes I know but I cannot help but worry.
Go sleep. I will have Hai Yo prepare something for you to eat when you awaken. Please, mlord. Lord Jowy would hate to see you in such ways. Rest, bathe, eat, and then I am sure no one will mind if you worry.
I suppose you are right, Camus. Ethan released a light sigh before turning upon a booted heel. Good health to you, Camus. Watch for Jowy and Jilla, will you? But before Camus could give his response, Ethan disappeared from the hall wandering off to his sleeping quarters.
Of course I will He mumbled to himself while walking slowly towards a window. The sun was barely peeking above the horizon. The suns bright colors illuminated the sky, and cast away the navy darkness. Shades of yellow, pink, and orange slowly began to flood across the sky as the sun rose higher. A lovely morning The knight continued to whisper to himself while he shifted his gaze to the dirt path that led to the front of the castle. The sun had yet to touch the front of the castle, leaving it still in darkness.
Simply divine, isnt it, sir? Camus quickly turned to see a guard standing within the doorway that led out of the main hall. Lord Ethan told me to come up and keep you company, if you do not mind that is.
Of course not, Xavier. Come in, come in. He gestured the soldier farther into the room and he continued the gesture until the guard was standing behind him at the window. How was your evening?
Rather tiring I have not been able to sleep much Lord Ethan has me working very hard. Xaviers fingers slid behind his back. They worked at sliding a knife from its sheath, and once he completed that, he fingered the blade nervously.
That is a good thing, however you will get used to it in time. I know that you are new to it.
I hope that I will get used to it I enjoy serving my country, but I would hate to do so while half asleep at a post or on a battle field. That would certainly disappoint the Lord.
I must agree with you. Camuss attention returned to the dirt road, while he spoke to the young soldier. Ethan does not like lazy men. Nor does Viktor.
But Viktor also works men too hard. Xavier grinned to himself, his dark eyes staring at the back side of Camus. Thoughts flooded into his mind as he slowly pulled the knife from behind his back. The rising sun struck the glistening blade while he held it at his eye level.
Camus, oblivious as to what was going on behind him, chuckled at the soldiers comment. Once again, I agree with yo- Camuss words were stopped once he felt a strong, sharp pain run up his back. Reaching his hand behind him, he felt a warm, heavy liquid fall onto his fingers. Xavier What did you He managed to gasp out those words and he turned his head far enough around to see the soldier staring at the knight, the blood-covered blade gripped tightly in his hand. Pure horror was expressed on his face. He was hestitant when he swept the blade across Camuss left cheek, sending him flying to the stone floor. Xavier! You you traitor! But Xavier had not heard his shouts. The soldier had all ready disappeared from the hall, only leaving behind the blooded blade and a trail of red droplets.