Part 2: The Tides of War
It was nice out again today. I laid in the grass, with the warm sun in my face, beside that huge tree. I could hear the water from the river flowing downstream gently. I just closed my eyes, and listened to the birds around me. It was so peaceful and quiet, and I ended up just falling asleep...
“Max! Max get up!”
“Huh.....” I opened my eyes, and I saw Krista standing there, and that big bright sun behind her. “Oh, I guess I fell asleep,” I said sitting up.
“Hehehe, as if you don’t sleep enough already,” Krista said laughing as she handed mean ice cream cone.
“Haha, I thought I was supposed to buy today,” I said to her as I started eating the chocolate peanut-buttery cone of delicious in my hand. Chocolate peanut butter was my favorite ice cream, I got it every time.
“Oh, don’t worry, you did. While you were snoozing I helped myself to your wallet,” Krista said as she smiled and started on her ice cream.
“Oh, well I guess I should go ahead and give that thanks I was about to give you, to me,” I said as I moved back and leaned against the tree.
“Hey now, you should still thank me for all the work it took get your wallet, and put it back, and go get the ice creams, then carry ‘em back. All of this while you were sleeping away, dreaming about pony’s or whatever it is you think about.”
“Oh, well my bad. I didn’t realize how much effort you put into spending my money for us, thank you Krista,” I said as we both started laughing together.
Krista moved over and sat beside me leaning against the tree.
“So, you remember what else you were supposed to do today?” Krista asked.
“You wanted to hear more of my story right?”
“Yeah, so come on Maxy, lay it on me,” she said as she watched me intently, as if waiting for me to jump right back in where we left off the other night.
“Alright then,” I said as I looked up into the sky, the memories shooting back at me as if they had just happened yesterday.
“Something wrong?” Krista asked with a kinda worried look on her face.
“No, no... I was just trying to decide where I should pick up...” I said, taking the worry off of her face and putting the smile back on. “Alright, so...”
So we were official now. We all had our uniforms, black pants and military- like long sleeved shirts. The shirts had long necks that came up right beneath our jaws, they were button up, and they had a silver trim.
We also got a giant insignia to put on the front door. It was the large insignia of the royal Ryvieria family with a black lion on it, and a silver landscape in the background. This signified that the King himself notices us officially, and everyone in town could see it.
“Any mail today?” I asked Jared as he came inside guild from lunch with En and Zelfar.
“Oh, crap I forgot to check it!” He said going back towards the door.
“No its fine, I’ll get it. I needed to get some air today anyway,” I said.
“Alright, thanks man. By the way, En and Zelfar wanted me to let you know they’re out training in case you need them for something.”
“Okay, that’s fine.”
I went outside to see the sun setting, and the streets still filled with people. I walked over to our mailbox and opened it, to find a single envelope inside. It had the King’s seal.
I took the letter inside and showed it to Jared and F.K.
“Another letter from the King?” F.K. asked. “Its only been about two weeks.”
“You gonna open it?” Jared asked staring at it.
I opened it up, and I read it aloud.
“To The Decendents of Fianna,
I am pleased to send you this letter informing you of your first assignment from the castle. With your records in previous missions, I have confidence you can fulfill this one with ease, making it just one more to add to your perfect record. So, onto the details of your mission.
There have been reports of people going missing in the forest outside of town. They were last seen doing everyday things. Some of the men went out in a group hunting. The owner of the flower shop was leaving for her usual picking spot. These people all have yet to return to town. Its been a maximum of two weeks for some of these people since they’ve been heard from.
The mission I’m assigning to The Decendents of Fianna:
Go into the forest outside the north gates of town to investigate the strange disappearance of the townspeople, and if any are sighted, you are to make their safe return top priority. When the mission is complete, I want the team to come to the castle for an audience to give me a full mission report. With that said, I wish you the best.
-King Vincent III of the Ryvieria Royal Family-“
“I’d heard rumors about some people going missing lately, I never knew any of the details though...” Jared said scanning the letter a couple of times.
“So who’s going to take this?” F.K. asked.
“I’ll take it,” I answered her. “I figure of the three of us, only one of us should go. The other two should probably just stay here to keep an eye on the guild an everyone.”
F.K. looked worried and she got rather quiet. “Max...”
“I’ll be fine, trust me.”
“You’re at least taking some of us with you, right?” Jared asked concernedly.
“Yeah... I think I’m going to take Watchman and K.B. We’ll set out tomorrow morning. F.K., could you notify them for me? I’m going to go get myself prepared.”
“Yeah, I’ll let them know,” F.K. said as she returned to her desk.
And we left at sunrise. We each had a small bag of food to carry on our backs, and of course, we had our weapons. This was our most important mission so far, and we couldn’t afford to screw it up. Not just because we wanted to keep our perfect record, but because innocent lives were on the line, and they were depending on us.
“So... Where exactly should we look?” K.B. asked. “These woods are humongous...”
“Everywhere,” I answered. “If you see anything suspicious though, like footprints, or markings, then we will head there immediately.”
We searched around some, there really wasn’t anything odd about these woods. It had been hours, and we had traveled deep into the woods. They were never changing, trees everywhere, a river going straight down the center. Some flowers and shards in spots scattered throughout.
“Hmm...” Watchman kinda mumbled.
“What is it? Something wrong?” I asked him as I watched him put his hand on his chin, thinking intently.
“It’s just... Weren’t some of the people that went missing hunting in these woods when they disappeared?”
“Hey, yeah!” K.B. shouted as if something had just hit him. “Why would they go hunting in empty woods? I haven’t seen a single animal out here yet!”
“Wait... So then perhaps whatever is making the villagers disappear, is also affecting the animals.” I said.
And then we heard a scream. Immediately, we ran in the direction of the screaming voice. It sounded like a man, and it also sounded horrified.
When we made it to the source of the scream, we were too late.
“Oh my god...” Watchman said as he covered his mouth. K.B. did the same, and I was purely shocked.
There, a dead man’s body dangled from a tree. A sword was stabbed through his neck, into the tree, and blood was flowing out everywhere. His eyes were still open, and a look of sheer horror remained on his face. A sword laid on the ground beside the tree, probably where the man had tried to defend himself.
“So I see you’ve met my latest victim?”
We all turned around fast to see who was speaking, and there stood a tall man with shaggy silver hair and heart piercing eyes. He was lighting a cigarette, and he took a nice big puff of it before anything else was said.
“Who are you?!” I asked the man angrily, taking my gun out and pointing it at him.
“Now, now, lets not get too hasty with the pistol now. I am Lloyd Wing, second in command of the Kingdom of Aeria’s Knight squadron. I answer only to three people. His royal highness King Nessius of Aeria, Aeria’s Knight Captain Seth, and of course after them, myself...”
“So Lloyd, are you saying these disappearances in these woods have all been murders by your hand?!” I asked him.
“I tell them all... Resist, and you shall drop dead here and now!”
“This forest we stand in is the property of his highness King Nessius! I have been commanded to bring anyone that is an outsider to the Kingdom of Aeria to the King himself for punishment, and if they resist, kill them!”
“But this forest doesn’t belong to Aeria! It is a neutral line- A border between the kingdoms! Both kingdoms use it, to search for shards, to hunt for food, to use the river and the springs!”
“But that’s where you are wrong! These woods belong to the Kingdom of Aeria, and your people are coming in and taking our shards, taking our food, using up our water! It’s inexcusable, and I shall not allow it anymore!” Lloyd went on in a rage.
“Even if the forest did belong to you, you think the best way to deal with this is by taking our people prisoner or killing them?! Have you guys even tried discussing this with King Vincent to try and come to an agreement?!”
“I’m through talking with you, you’ve got my blood boiling and you’re in our woods just as that man was! Now give me your weapons nicely and I’ll take you to the King, otherwise die like the dogs you are!”
(Is this guy crazy?! Is their whole Kingdom crazy?! I mean why the hell would they have to go and kill off our people because they don’t want to share a forest?!)
“We cannot lay down our weapons!” I yelled to Lloyd. “You have murdered our Kingdom’s good people and you continue to hold some prisoner! I am going to have to take you in to King Vincent! Resist and we will fight you!”
“And you two silent ones agree with fearless leader over here?” Lloyd asked looking at both Watchman and K.B.
“One hundred percent,” Watchman answered to him. “What you’ve done is wrong, and there is no forgiving it.”
“Tch, don’t even look in my direction you piece of shit,” K.B. said to Lloyd with a disgusted face, drawing his sword.
“Well then... You can die together!” Lloyd screamed as he almost seemed to vanish, running in a quick transparent zig-zag around us until his hand was placed on the handle of the sword stabbed through the man’s neck. Lloyd smiled as he ripped that sword out and the man’s bloody body fell to the ground.
I shot at Lloyd, and he seemed to be expecting it. I continued firing at him, Watchman shooting with both of his silver pistols now, but Lloyd was moving too fast in too many different directions to get an accurate shot. He was moving closer to me as he dodged each shot swiftly, when out of nowhere K.B. jumped overtop of Lloyd, and swung his sword down towards Lloyd’s head. Lloyd didn’t dodge this one, but he instead blocked it, and they began clashing swords with each other.
“Watchman stop,” I said as I ceased fire.
“Yeah I know...”
We couldn’t risk shooting at the moment, because K.B. and Lloyd were both moving at intense speeds, always close to each other, a different one in our line of vision each second.
“Heh-heh, are you done playing around yet?” Lloyd asked K.B.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” K.B. answered as they both jumped back, then quickly launched forward off of the ground towards each other. K.B. held his sword in a way I hadn’t seen him do before, and when their swords clashed, they both broke.
“What the hell-“ Lloyd said with a confused look on his face.
“No weapon now Lloyd. The only flaw in that technique is the destruction of the users own weapon,” K.B. said as he raised his fists to fight Lloyd hand to hand.
“Hahaha, I see another flaw,” Lloyd said raising his hands like tiger claws.
“And what is-“
“K.B.!!!!!!!!!!” Watchman shouted as he watched Lloyd strike K.B. in the stomach, sending K.B. flying backwards and hitting his head off of a tree. Blood dripped from his mouth as his unconscious body lay silent.
“The other flaw is the lack of knowledge you have in hand to hand combat. Learn to fight naked before you must depend on a blade,” Lloyd said smiling.
“NO!” Watchman screamed charging at Lloyd, guns blazing like crazy. Lloyd did his usual dodges, but Watchman actually got two shots in on Lloyd’s left arm before he ran out of ammo. He started to reload, but Lloyd kicked his guns out of his hands really quick and rushed in throwing quick punches at Watchman with his right arm and more kicks with both legs.
“I’m not going to give you the chance to reload you know!” Lloyd screamed throwing a barrage of random strikes at Watchman. The Watchman did his best to evade and block, but he was having no luck getting any strikes in.
I began running towards both of them, I didn’t want to give this Lloyd guy the chance to pick each of us off one-by-one. I got up to them, and I tried to shoot Lloyd in an up-close position so I wouldn’t hit Watchman, but Lloyd grabbed my arm and twisted it forcing me to drop the gun. While he had a hold of my arm, Watchman came up from behind him and tried to choke him out. Lloyd let go of me, then grabbed both of Watchman’s arms and flipped him over his shoulder. After that he kicked my gun up from the ground and into his hands, and then he pointed it at Watchman’s head.
“Heheheheheh... HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! You fools actually thought you stood a chance!” Lloyd said laughing like a madman. “Well, you guys actually hit me a couple times, so the battle wasn’t a total loss. Its been a long time since I had the pleasure of fighting somebody with a bit of skill. But none of you would ever compare to Lady Seth,” he went on and on, and he started stomping on The Watchman’s gut, and kicking him across the face. There was nothing I could do, he was pointing my gun right at The Watchman’s head. All I could do was stand there and listen to his screams as Lloyd just whaled on him.
“Ugh, blacked out... Well you’re no fun,” Lloyd said as he kept the gun pointed at Watchman’s head. “Fearless leader! Get your ass over here!”
I walked over to him, my guard down in fear he would kill Watchman. He punched me across the face, nearly knocking me down.
“Ha! You like that huh? Answer me!” He screamed as he shot me in the leg and kicked me right across the face, throwing me to my side. He started doing the same thing he did to Watchman. Kicking me, stomping on me. He had steel- toed boots, and they felt just like someone was beating me with a hammer. He kept that gun focused directly on Watchman though. “Any last words before I kill your ass?”
I could hardly breath, much less tell this bastard what I thought of him. Then, I saw this big flash of light, and heard a thump next to my head.
When the flashing light was gone, I saw my gun laying next to my head. I looked up at Lloyd, and he was holding his head with both hands, screaming and drooling, totally flipping out. Behind him I saw the figure of a boy with golden hair and a long, red coat. He held a staff in each hand, and each one looked different.
“Well mister, you like my little spell? It’s a rather hard one to hit a target with unless they are being almost completely still. Thanks for staying in that one spot,” The golden haired boy said with a slight smirk.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?” Lloyd screamed at the boy as he fell to his knees and continued the screaming.
“I didn’t do anything. My spell plays a trick on your mind, and it makes you think someone is actually tearing through your skin and digging through your organs, starting from the groin up. All of this while feeling like someone is slowly hitting a nail into your head with a hammer. In your case, you didn’t seem to believe someone was actually doing this to you, but you still felt it... I suppose I should study further into that and see what went wrong with the illusionary part of it...”
“GRAH! I WILL GET YOU!” Lloyd screamed as he got up, forcing his way through the pain and trying to make his way over to the boy.
“Aero,” the boy said, blowing Lloyd back over to me.
“UGH! HAAAGHH!!! RALLPPA!” Lloyd was just making noises now as he grabbed me by the chest, and just threw me through the air. I could hardly do anything to stop him, I was too beat up. I landed on the body of the man he had murdered just before we met him. Lloyd started running at me fast as the boy began to cast a new spell.
“Fira!” The boy screamed, catching Lloyd’s body on fire. This didn’t slow him down any though as he got closer to me, inch by inch. I was about ready to give in. I could hardly think about what was about to happen, I could barely contemplate what had already happened. All I knew was my body hurt and I wanted to close my eyes.
“Beside you!” I heard the boy yell, as I saw him now trying to tail down Lloyd.
I looked beside me. It was that sword. The sword of the man that was murdered. Lloyd was only feet away now. I grabbed that sword as fast as I could and threw my arms forward- then I felt a sudden shove. I stared Lloyd in the face as I looked at the sword handle, right against his chest. The blade disappeared into his flesh, and blood oozed out, running down the front of his body and squirting in my face. The fire on Lloyd stopped. He quit screaming. His pupils grew larger, and I let go of the blade. I watched as his body fell over on the ground, and saw how the blade pierced perfectly through his heart.
“How badly are you hurt?! The boy asked me quickly as he began checking my body for major wounds.
“Don’t worry about me, please take care of Watchman and K.B....” I answered him softly as he laid me down on my back.
“Okay, I’ll be back over after I check on them, you hang in their!” He said as he began towards Watchman.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“LightKey. And your name?”
“Well Max, I’m going to try to help you guys out, so I’m going to need you to hang tight for a second while I go make sure these guys are okay!”
I rested my head back on the ground. For the first time in my life, I was seconds away from death. But all I was focusing on were the twilight clouds in the sky before I closed my eyes...
Lloyd Wing: Second in command of The Kingdom of Aeria's Knight Squadron. The only one in the Aeria Knights stronger than him is Seth. He is extremely fast, and he always has a happy attitude during battle no matter what the odds.
King Nessius: King of Aeria, he believes the forest belongs to his Kingdom, and his people shouldn't be inconvenienced by the neighboring kingdoms use of it. Not much more is known about what kind of person he is yet.
Lady Seth- Silent Avera: Captain of the Kingdom of Aeria's Knight Squadron, she is unmatched in battle skill, and she wields a mighty scythe. She has a strange loving for whipped cream, and the reasoning for this is unknown by all. Though bitter to most everyone most of the time, she has a soft side every once in a while, but only towards other women. Silent Avera has been a longtime friend of Max's on KHI, and they first met discussing if Will Ferrel should play Sora in the kh movie.
LightKey- kingdomkeylight: A very social and talented young mage at only 18, he loves to flirt and is very carefree. He wields a Cherry Staff and a Sleet Staff, and he is one of Ryvieria's best in magic. He is the tenth member of the guild The White Sword Alliance, and he works in Mistril's item shop as an item merchant where he deals in shards, herbs, and other items of the sort. kingdomkeylight remembers the old days of khi's rpg very well. He followed Ving, the WSA leader, and helped out all the time while working in Mistril's item shop. After the WSA disbanded, he remained at Mistril's until the shop's closing. He remembers very well the event that brought many together on the rpg to fight the mighty Omega...