“Lady Vhanrhea!” A stout man in fine clothing shouted at a door “Lady Vhanrhea! I must speak with you!” He continued to bang on the door.
“Enough with the shouting, Sien. Come on in.” A soft voice said from the other side of the door.
“Lady Vhanrhea there’s a mat-“
“Cease with the formalities Sien. You have been my advisor for three decades now, so please, just call me Rhea.” The dark-skinned woman said from behind the curtain that concealed her and her bed. She picked up the mirror laying beside her and continued brushing her hair raven black hair as she had been doing before being interrupted by the man standing in her room now.
Sien sighed audibly, “Lady Vh-, lady Rhea. It has been nearly 5 years now since the death of your husband, our late king. This coupled with the death of your firstborn during birth and the mysterious disappearance of your second two years ago.” Sien paused to calculate his next words “It bodes ill for us Lady Rhea, we can’t continue to hide the prince’s disappearance, and when the populace learns that there is no heir. To put it bluntly, there will be anarchy.”
“There is still hope to find my son is there not? He may have gone but he is not dead, no, I would know it if it were. Call it a mother’s intuition.”
“Still my lady, there Is already dissent among them, we must ease them before something terrible happens.”
“Enough, Sien.” Lady Rhea said assertively, “Fetch me the Blade-lord.”
“Lord Aerik? Yes, at once your majesty.” Sien bowed before turning and leaving the room quickly. Although he would never have the courage to say this publicly but he knew of the rendezvous’ between the queen and the Bladelord and It sickened him. The thought of his majesty conjoining with a foreigner; even with skill such as his, greatest in the realm some would say. “Bastard Serafi.” Sien whispered to himself as he continued towards the exit.
Sien shook the treasonous thoughts from his head, better he just do as he’s told then suffer a traitors death for revealing it he thought as he reached the courtyard outside the main entrance of the palace. The palace was designed to be simple to navigate and to focus on efficiency traveling from point A to Point B. While this made the servants lives easier it also made it dangerous ground to do battle on, easy to be over run. Not that anyone would of course, Sien thought to himself.
Not long after Sien’s departure there was a soft knock at Rhea’s door. “It’s Aerik.” Came the voice from the other side.
Visibly excited Rhea jumped from the bed, still clad in her sleeping clothes. “Please please come in.” She said as she opened the door and let the man in.
He was a tall man, much taller than the woman in front of him, with a lean build. Aerik’s pale white skin is a stark contrast to his tan counterpart, and being a clear marker of his foreign heritage, his hair was long and tied into a pony tail that reached halfway down his back and had begun to grey with age.
Quickly Rhea embraced the man in a hug and stared deeply into his pale blue eyes. “It feels like I was waiting forever for you.” She said softly into his ear.
“Sien tells me you called for me, what do you want of me?” Aerik inquired, staring away from the woman embracing him.
“You.” She stated matter of factly, “I just want you. Fifteen cycles now you’ve served me and my dear, dear, late husband as our esteemed Bladelord. Now I want you to console me for my loss.”
Aerik attempted to object but was interrupted by Rhea pulling his head to her own and kissing him. The kiss was short lived however, for Rhea quickly pushed the man onto the bed and crawled on top of him.
“I’m starving!” Iris protested loudly as he and Mei continued walking through the scorching hot desert.
“Blame yourself for not grabbing food before leaving.” Mei scolded him, wagging her finger in front of his face all the while.
“Feed me!” Iris shouted again, pointing his finger into his mouth
“You’re a sprite, all of you are capable of magic. Do magic.”
“I am a noble fairy not your magical wonder chef!”
“You didn’t say you couldn’t.”
Mei frowned at Iris. “Listen I’m capable of small time magic, healing minor wounds, turning myself invisible and a little bit of enhancement. Conjuration is out of my league. Besides, even if I could it would taste like shit anyway.”
Iris groaned at his friend’s inability to help him, but continued marching through the desert. It was then that he noticed that the sun was almost parallel with the horizon and how truly late it had become. Thankfully, he noticed the Serafi border station not far from where he was. They were built almost like castles, with walls extending miles into the distance; fortunately those guarding them were far from dutiful enough to guard them as equals.
“Alright this will do just fine.” Iris said almost exuberantly “I’ll just sneak in from this side, grab some food and drink and be on my way.”
“So the first thing you’re going to do in their country” Mei paused before continuing her thought, “is to steal from them?”
“Yup.” He responded with the same cheerful tone.
Mei sighed, “fine, I’ll just make myself scarce and you do your thing.” She said before turning herself invisible.
Iris hurried himself to the wall as far from the watchmen at their post as he could. When he reached the wall he began running his hand along the side of it. “come on, come on.” He whispered to himself in mild frustration, “these things are usually made lazily enough that parts are jutting out more than others, perfect for handholds.” A few more moments passed before he finally found what he was looking for and began pulling himself up the wall. “Now let’s just hope my luck holds out the rest of the way.” He grunted out while climbing. These walls weren’t towering but they were at least twice his own height.
“Oh, great.” He grumbled, the wall was suddenly flat as possible and he was almost there, the top being just out of arms reach. With no other options he scrunched himself down to try and gather strength in his legs for a leap upwards, “hope this works!” He yelled as he launched himself upwards. “Shit, shit, shit, shit!” he exclaimed as he just barely got a hold of the top most section of the wall. “Oh man. . .” He breathed heavily as he caught up with his breathing “can’t believe I made that. Phew.” Sighing he looked around to see where he needed to go.
“Let’s see, these places are uniform in structure, so it should be that building over there.” He murmured as his eyes locked onto the building furthest from his current location, almost right next to the gate on the complete other side. Again he sighed, and steeled himself to run at full speed, but just as he was about to take off he was hit by a sharp pain in his stomach. “Damn, that climb must have taken a lot more out of me than I expected. Fine, I’ll do it the hard way.” He said as he jumped down from the top of the wall.
The guards were still fairly active at this time, clad in their standard armor with the helm obscuring their face as they made their appointed rounds, but thanks to Iris’ own agility he was able to stay out of sight the entire time. “Like I’d ever be caught by these lazy bums.” He whispered to himself.
He figured by now he was close enough to make it to his destination in a single sprint and so he did, and it was dark enough that no one could see him without being directly in front of him, however, he was forced to cut himself off when he was just about there as two soldiers came walking out of the building. Iris was forced to take cover and hide in the shadows of the closest building. One was clearly the commanding officer, his symbol of command; the crossed twin-winged blades of Vaileth were proudly displayed over much of his armor. Even more eye catching his wild blonde hair that seemed to spike up randomly, almost like it had a mind of its own.
“Commander Hanael, sir, if I may speak freely. . .” The soldier next to the man nervously spoke up.
“If you must.” The commander beside him responded in his booming, powerful voice.
“Forgive me sir, but Is it really so wise as to have a man such as yourself, the commander of the 2nd Empyrean so close to the border? If the spies of Vhan were to relay this information to their queen, they might see it as us amassing forces for an invasion.”
"An Empyrean? What the hell is an Empyrean commander doing all the way out here?" Iris whispered to himself. The Empyrean is a group of 7 different regiments, each led by a single commanding officer who answers only to the current Lord Vaileth. They're usually used as special operations missions or otherwise important missions. Sticking one out here at a border station in the middle of nowhere is odd, to say the least.
“Your concerns are noted.” Hanael said as he lifted his head almost as if he was sniffing the air around him. He must have caught the scent of something foul as his face contorted wildly.
“Sir?” The officer next to him asked timidly.
“Nothing. If we’re through here, return to your quarters.”
“Yes sir!” The man shouted before turning around and almost breaking out into full sprint as he went the opposite way, the direction from which Iris had just traveled himself. After giving the man enough time to be out of earshot and turned to face in the direction Iris was hiding.
Iris cursed to himself, did this man somehow smell his scent, what the hell kind of man is this, he’s more like a wild animal. Iris shook the thoughts from his head there’s no way such a thing should have been possible, even after sweating in the hot sun there’s all the other people around him and even the smell of the metal of the weapons.
Yet, he still couldn’t shake the feeling that this man was staring directly at him. Thankfully however the wild beast turned away and walked in the same direction his comrade had. Trepidation filled Iris’ mind as he silently walked towards the storehouse entrance.
He had no intention of staying long, especially not after his close encounter with the third kind. Thankfully some of the crates of food had been already been opened for record keeping so it wasn’t a hassle for him to re-open it. He hastily grabbed a few small loaves of bread and a small canteen of water. Iris wondered what would happen when the theft was discovered, likely it would be blamed on whatever poor man happened to find it.
“That poor, poor man.” Iris whispered to himself as he left the building and made for the gate not far from his current location. As he ran, carrying the food with him under his arms all the while, he wondered how he would make it over the wall like this. He didn’t like the idea, but his only hope would be to have Mei help him out. So, his mind made up he went for the wall as far as possible from the lookouts posted on the gate and called for her.
“Mei, get your lazy ass here.” Iris said as he put his shoulder to the wall.
“Such vulgarity, sometimes I wonder why I’m still with you.” Came the response from the now visible again fairy.
“Listen, I’m gonna need your help here, you said you could enhance limbs yes?” Seeing Mei nod in response Iris continued his thought, “then it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that you could say, empower my legs to give me enough strength to reach the top of the wall?”
Mei looked deep in thought as she considered the possibility. “It could be yes, however it would suffer the same issue as all magic. The fact that it leaves not only a rather fragrant smell, but it also leaves a bit of dust residue on the ground where it was cast.”
“it’s our best shot at this point, do it.”
Mei nodded and began casting her spell, chanting the words in an ancient language that Iris had no idea what it was. It wasn’t long before Mei jumped out of her trance and said “alright it’s done.”
Iris checked his legs but couldn’t feel any real change. “You sure?” He questioned the fairy.
Mei pouted in response, “I can’t believe you could ask that of me. . .” She whimpered
“Alright alright, no need to get all sad, I believe, I have no reason not to.” Iris said to his friend in an attempt to cheer her up, she may not be accomplished in the art, but she sure is prideful about what she can do.
Enough talk, Iris steeled himself for the leap he was about to make. He gathered up all the energy he could into his legs and leaped upwards, and up, and up, and up still. He shot well past his intended target of just on top of the wall and ended up going clear over it.
“Shit, shit, shit, shit!” Iris reiterated his line from earlier as he plummeted to the ground below him. As he hit the ground he rolled to help absorb the shock and to continue his moment as he ran forward. As he ran he couldn’t help but feel the pressure of someone watching him from afar, but he couldn’t turn around at this point to check and instead kept running.
“Maybe you could warn me next time you turn me into a human spring?” Iris Questioned Mei as he slowed to a stop several miles away from the place he was running from.
“How was I supposed to know? That’s the first time I ever used that spell.” She retorted
“fine fine, we can’t argue here.” Iris said taking in his surroundings, “now that we’re in Seraf territory much of the land here are plains and ill suited for hiding, we will have to find someplace more isolated in case anyone saw us.” Iris said as he began running again, noting a large hill in the distance which would be perfect for concealing himself behind.
holy crap this turned out soooooo much longer then I had intended, but there was a lot i wanted to do with this particular chapter, so my apologies lol.
any questions or comments or what have you are greatly welcomed.
she thought I was asking to spar with her and I get kicked in the neck again.