Knome: The Forbidden Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 30 (v.1) - Chapter Twenty-Nine

Submitted: March 28, 2017

Reads: 121

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Submitted: March 28, 2017

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Mount Thaingor (Knome)

 

Nightfall enveloped the volcanic plains of Mount Thaingor.  Teric, Jason and Kore had made their way down the rocky foothills, escarpment and onto the volcanic plains. Shuttle crafts continued to arrive and depart at the distant base entrance.  Hidden by the darkness and the nearly two-meter-high grasslands, Teric, Jason and Kore quickly advanced toward their destination, getting their bearings and correcting their course from the ascending and descending vessels.  The going was not easy as they ran through the tree like blades of enormous grass that hindered their forward vision.  There were occasional clearings in the dense grass forest which, were even more treacherous, lava stones, ponds of water deceptively shallow, and a variety of what would have been regarded as insects that were the size of small animals.  The latter had caused Teric to draw his blaster a number of times in their defense.  Still, they pressed on across the alien terrain for several kilometers.  After some time, they came upon a clearing, a vast tract of land devoid of the grass-trees. They stopped, just at the edge of the grass forest for cover and waited. Teric took the mag viewers and focused on the man-made structure nearly a kilometer away.  As he surveyed the target he took note of areas where they could conceal themselves once they reached the structure.

The massive metallic bunker-like structure that encased the base entry gates stood several stories high.  The squared edifice resembled a pyramid with the top half removed, each of its four sides ramped down to the surface, and within the corners were ground level entry ways and from what Teric could tell there were several lookout ports above those entry ways.  Teric lowered the mag viewers.

“We’re going to need to make our approach towards the ramps and away from the corners that have lookouts,”

“How are we going to get in,” Kore asked.

“Once we find a spot where we can hide, next to the gate, we will have to wait for a ship to depart, I think our best option is to enter by way of the gate.  Once the ship leaves, we need to head up one of those ramps and lower ourselves through the gate before it closes.”

“That sounds risky,” Jason replied, “but if that is our best option.”

“We still need to get to the gate without being detected, we won’t have the grasslands to conceal us,” Kore offered.

“True, so, we will have to run for it and, I as I mentioned, we need to approach towards the ramps and out of the line of sight of those corner observation ports,” Teric answered.

“What about monitors, the ramps look like a clear blind spot, but I can’t imagine that their being unobserved,” Kore warned.

“I thought of that, but I have no way around it, look, this whole mission is risky, we have to choose the best option among several risky ones.  We have to hope that the darkness gives us cover, and if we make our move while a ship is lifting off,” Teric replied.

“What about a diversion,” Kore interrupted.

“I’m not in favor of that, if we cause some diversionary action, all were doing is alerting them, then they will flood the surface with troops or at least they will begin monitoring the area more closely,” Teric replied.  As he was speaking, a loud clank interrupted him.  The large gates were opening. 

“I think we should go for it now, Teric advised, “Once that ship clears the gate we should make our move.”

“Ok, let’s do it,” Jason agreed.

--

Anya closed the door and engaged the locking mechanism of her father’s meditation room.  She kept the lights off, using a torchlight to see, as she maneuvered her way through the room she knew so well.  She had spent countless hours as a child in her father’s company, listening to his heroic stories and tales of his own heroic adventures.  She was so proud of him.  Without him, Knome would have never obtained their independence.  She recalled his telling of how he refused to give his tribal affiliation when he joined the Knomen Liberation Front. The Front had divided its forces along tribal divisions. Yuri had believed that such divisions reduced the Fronts effectiveness and stunted its efforts.  Yuri was the first to lead a non-tribal faction of the KLA to many victories, liberating Almonte, which became Maessa, Knome’s principal city.  Yuri's efforts ended the practice, leading to a more united force.  However, after the war for Independence ended, the civil conflicts began again, along tribal lines as the KLA tried to set up a government. No one was suitable to lead the government due to the divisions and prejudices among the tribes. Then the KLA drafted her father to serve as Knome’s monarch for life, as he was the only acceptable person from all of Knome’s hodgepodge of Tribes and Clans. 

Yuri's meditation room held many of the artifacts of those stories her father had related to her. Anya remembered how he would showcase an artifact and then relate the stories behind it. As she illuminated one piece of that history, she recalled what her father told her about it.  The Sakat, was an assassins weapon for close combat.  Her father didn’t like talking about it so much, she always wondered how many people he had killed with that weapon. It was a mercy weapon, she was told.  The dagger had a hollow track in the spine, into which a potent poison, Ikonep, was poured, the hollow was then capped. Then at the tip of the dagger, the tiniest hole would release the poison when the opponent was struck, even slightly, paralyzing him, facilitating his peaceful pain free death.

Anya stared at that weapon and it’s poisoned filled container for a long time. She stood there, gripped by an overwhelming sense of sadness. Fatigue engraved itself over her face and claimed her spirit. She had cried thousands of tears over just a few days and she had no more tears to give. She felt drained of every bit of hope that used to drive her and she couldn’t even recall a time of happiness as her mind fought against those cruel memories.  Anya imagined taking the dagger, filling it with the poison, and plunging it into her chest, ending the long misery of her life. Surprisingly one tear escaped her eye, following the path made by thousands before it.

Anya took the dagger from its display case on the wall, she placed the dagger in a bag she brought to conceal it.  Then she took the small bottle of poison and placed it also in the bag. Then taking a deep breath, she turned and made her way towards the doorway.  Anya opened the door, peaked out, looking down the hall in both directions.  Then she stepped into the hall with purpose.

--

Wilhelm was abruptly shaken out of his deep and sorely needed sleep.  He awoke and for a moment he imagined that he was home waking up from a long and disturbing dream.  But it wasn’t a dream.  The cruiser operator was busy apologizing for the sudden shift off the road, he explained that he had to shift the cruiser to avoid another vehicle that had drifted into its lane.  Wilhelm sat up and looking around, he had noticed that, except for the vehicle that the cruiser had avoided, they were the only vehicle on the lonely road.  As he looked ahead he noticed a guard station some distance ahead and recognized Krestlin Palace further past the guard station.  Wilhelm was numb with excitement, he couldn’t believe he had finally reached the Palace.  He was so close to Anya that moans and sighs escaped his lips causing the driver to turn around.  The driver’s reaction reminded Wilhelm of his disguise and the need for silence.

As the cruiser reached the Guard stations, several of the guards approached and asked them to exit the vehicle.  Wilhelm and the driver acquiesced, stepped out and were directed away from the vehicle. Several other guards approached carrying some sophisticated looking equipment, which they used to scan and inspect the vehicle.  Wilhelm and the driver were both searched and scanned before they had a chance to state their purpose.

“He wanted to come to the palace," the driver explained pointing to Wilhelm, "so I brought him, my obligation is complete. May I go?”

“Yes, you may go,” the guard replied.

The driver walked up to Wilhelm and silently and expectantly stood before him.  Wilhelm performed the blessing, touching his own forehead and then touching the forehead of the driver.  Wilhelm was so euphoric that he performed the act six times which pleased the driver immensely. The driver began singing joyfully as he got back into his vehicle and drove away.

Wilhelm stood, surrounded by six guards that stood between him and Anya. He felt uneasy, but he also felt determined, he was so close to her.  He wanted to hold her, to wrap his arms around her, to feel her body next to his. He longed for her lips, he wanted to kiss her, and declare his unending love for her. He was so close to making it right, and he was determined that nothing, would get in his way.

 

Maessa (Knome)

Krestlin Palace

 

Prince Yuri’s briefing room was overflowing beyond its capacity.  Several dozen men and women were either standing or sitting around a large oval conference table with Prince Yuri sitting at its head. Yuri had met with his Ministers and his Executive counsel to review the final preparations for the arrival of the Myan delegation, which included the Emperor’s special representative and son, the Grand Duke Simon Sa’dahd.  The meeting had just concluded and as all the participants rose and prepared to make their departure, Yuri also rose to take his leave.

“Excuse me, my Lord,” came a voice among the assembled group. Nearly everyone stopped in the midst of various stages of departure.  All eyes turn toward Judas Manu, the head of Knomen Intelligence.

“Sir, I apologize, I wanted to get your attention before you left.  We have a sensitive matter that we need to bring to your attention.

“With everyone,” Yuri asked.

“No sir, just you and the prime minister,” Judas replied.

With that comment from Judas, everyone else in the briefing room resumed in the gathering of their material and began exiting the conference room.  Yuri sat back down as did his Prime Minister Omir Muli.  As the last non-invited individual left the room, the door was sealed.

Judas and his deputy Micon Myus, moved closer to occupy chairs next to Yuri and Omir. 

“Sir,” Judas began, “We are receiving disturbing reports regarding the village of Udin. We have obtained reliable information that the Myan task force that you authorized to investigate a surface incident has resulted in a massacre of Udin’s population.”

“What are you talking about,” Yuri asked suddenly sickened to his stomach.

“My lord,” Micon spoke up, “Sometime ago the Myans alerted us to a violation of our air space.”

“Yes,” Yuri replied, hanging on every word.

“We dispatched the Rangers to investigate,” Micon continued, “They did discover a ship that crashed in the Upai Dunes, but, they found no bodies.  Subsequently there were a few skirmishes with some unknowns whom, we believe, managed to escape most likely in Thaingor Forest near Udin.”

“That’s when the Myan’s offered to assist us and you authorized a Task force to locate and capture these unknowns, “Judas explained.

Yuri was well aware of the events his intelligence chief had related to him.  However, he was initially stunned at the mention of a massacre, so he feigned ignorance in order to gain time to collect his emotions.

“You said there was a Massacre,” Omir asked.

“Yes sir, our reports indicate that Udin was attacked by thousands of troops, we’ve managed to obtain some surface images,” Judas paused while he pulled out several photographs from his briefcase and placed them in front of Yuri and Omir.

Yuri was numb as the photographs were handed to him.  He was shocked as he observed the utter devastation to Thaingor Forest.

“This is all we have right now,” Judas added, “we are preparing to send a team to Udin, but, there is still a contingency of Myan forces there.”

Yuri was still speechless, he couldn’t believe the reports, he didn’t want to believe the reports.  The silence was awkward.

“I believe you should hold off on your team for now,” Omir added just to break the silence as he looked to Yuri who was still staring at the photo.

“Sir,” Omir called to get his attention.

“I did not authorize this, I need to speak with the ambassador,” Yuri finally spoke up as he rose from his seat, “arrange it, immediately.”

 

Mount Thaingor (Knome)
 
 
Under the cover of darkness, Teric, Jasen and Kore, quickly made their way across the clearing, running as fast as their sore limbs would allow.  The rough terrain made swift advancement much more difficult. The murky soil hampered their progress drawing each step into the muck, adding resistance to their effort.Additionally, beneath the soil lay a number of lava stones, boulders, natural mines ready to shatter ankles. These too compounded the forces against them, causing multiple adjustments as they ran. Kore, stumbled a number of times, losing ground behind Teric and Jasen, and, as he rose from another stumble, he was vaguely aware of a stinging in his leg. But he continued to push ahead, more worried of being spotted than discovering the reason for the stinging.
 
Teric halted and turned around, trying to keep an eye on his comrades.  He crouched down towards the ground waiting for Jason and Kore to catch up to him, while he quickly glanced back from time to time toward the gate.  Jasen had reached Teric first crouching as he did, breathing heavily.  It took little longer for Kore to reach the others, but when he did he immediately fell to the ground breathing heavily.
 
“I need to rest,” Kore uttered through his exhaustion.
 
“We’re too exposed here, we need to keep moving,” Teric warned.
 
“I’m sorry, I just need a minute,” Kore pleaded.
 
Even though they had reached the halfway point to the gate, they were still within the line of sight of those lookouts.  Annoyed, Teric waited impatiently while Jasen and Kore both, breathing hard, laid out flat on the ground.
 
“Hey, we really need to move, now,” Teric stressed. 
 
“Ok, ok,” Kore acquiesced as he rose to a crouched position.
 
“Let’s go,” Teric called out as he took off running.  Kore stood to his feet and lumbered off, followed by Jasen.
 
Covering the remaining distance was much easier.  The ground felt sturdier, more level, enabling them to run harder and faster. However, the sound of large metallic gears engaging, alerted Teric that the gate’s doors were opening. He quickly turned towards the others, waving to them feverishly to hurry. Teric continued to run ahead, reaching the gate and taking cover at the base of the gate as Jasen and Kore ran hard for his position.
 
The gate was halfway open as the engines of an unseen craft could be heard, its roar expanding as it neared the gateway.  Teric stood, again waving vigorously for Kore and Jasen as if by his will he could impel them to run faster. But it didn’t work, although Kore and Jasen were giving it every effort, they weren’t fast enough.  There was a loud deafening clank as the doors locked into their open position.  The roar of the ship’s engines was now unbearably loud as its top became visible through the gateway.  Kore and Jasen had finally reached the gate diving for Teric’s location as the ship’s cockpit viewport emerged from the gate.  Rising higher and clearing the gate, the ship began to move forward and away from the gate. 
 
“We need to move, now, for the gate,” Teric said as he started to rise.
 
Jasen grabbed Teric’s arm stopping him, “Maybe we should wait for the next opening.”
 
“We don’t know when that will be, its open now, I think we should go,” Teric replied as he stood and began to climb onto the ramp ending any further deliberation on the matter.
 
“OK,” Jasen added, as he stood and reluctantly began to follow Teric.  Kore too rose and began to climb up the ramp. Another loud clank sounded this time signaling the closing of the gate.  As the ramp became steeper their advance became slower and it became necessary for them to assist each other, holding on to each other so that they did not slide down the ramp and lose progress. 
 
Nearing the top, Teric could see that the gateway consisted of two doors that would meet in the middle to close. From his advantage he could see that each large massive door consisted of thick metal slabs with an internetwork of cross beam between then.  He could see that there was enough spacing between the beams in which they could fit.  They just needed a way in.
 
“How are we going to get in,” Kore asked as he reached the top with Teric and Jasen.
 
Without responding to Kore question, they walked on to the advancing door and walked to the edge.  Looking down over the edge Teric could see a platform far below, but nothing else.  Kore felt sick after taking a glance below and he stood away from the edge.
 
“It’s going to be tricky due to the thickness of the slab,” Teric finally answered, still calculating options, “I will go first. I’ll lower myself and try to grab onto one of the beams and pull myself into the spacing. From there I will help you.”
 
Kore didn’t say anything, but he thought that what Teric was suggesting was impossible.
 
As the doors continued to advance, Teric got down on all fours, backing up, he pushed his legs over the edge of the door and then dropped his lower half over.  Jasen and Kore looked on horrified.  Then Teric lowered the rest of his body over, hanging onto the slab by his fingers.  Kore and Jasen gasped when one of Teric’s hands left the slab, with one still hanging on.  Then the other hand was gone.  Kore and Jasen ran to the edge looking over, but they didn’t see any sign of Teric.
 
“Come on, hurry,” Teric’s voice called out.
 
Jasen and Kore were relieved, even though they couldn’t see Teric, his voice indicated that he made it.
 
“You go next,” Jasen ordered Kore.
 
“Hurry,” came Teric’s voice again.
 
The gate was now dangerously near to closing.
 
“Kore, you have to go now,” Jasen screamed.
 
Adopting the same position as Teric, Kore eventually lowered himself over the edged with only his hands holding on.  He then felt hands clutching onto his clothing.  Feeling secured from Teric’s grip, Kore looked downed and reached for the beam.  Teric grabbed his hands and pulled him in, falling back to the ground with Kore on top of him.
 
“Get up,” Teric demanded. But not waiting for Kore to move he lifted him pushing him to the side.  As he rose he saw Jasen’s legs dangling with the door close to pressing him.  Teric took Jasen’s legs and held on to him as Jasen slid down grasping for the beam.  Then as he did for Kore, Teric pulled him in with the same result as with Kore.  This time they just laid there exhausted.
 
“Well, we made it, Kore sighed.
 
--
 
Startled by an alert Anya quickly placed the Sakat and its bottle into her satchel and then she hid the satchel away behind a pillow on her divan. The alert sounded again.  Anya rushed to the entrance of her apartment and opened the door.  Immediately she was sorry that she had not glanced at the monitor before opening the door.  Her father, mother and sister greeted her and walked in to her reception room. Anya closed the door after they entered.
 
“You’re looking much better than our last encounter,” Yuri said truly happy to see his daughter in better spirits.
 
Anya did not reply. She stood in front of them all, her head down, her shoulders drooped as if she was being interrogated.
 
“How are you,” Mura asked as she gave her daughter and awkward hug.
 
“I’m fine, I guess,” Anya replied.  It was very painful for Anya to stand there in the presence of those who should love and care for her most and yet she felt uncared for, she felt like an unwanted burden.
 
“May we sit,” Yuri asked
 
Anya did not speak but gestured for them all to take a seat. 
 
Yuri, Mura and Korah all eyed each other as they sat down.  The silence was awkward and the atmosphere was thick with stale emotions.
 
Korah had seated herself on the divan in front of the pillow Anya had stashed her satchel.  Anya nearly tripped over herself startling everyone as she rushed to prevent Korah from sitting in that spot.  But it was too late.
 
“Anya are you alright,” Mura asked.
 
“I’m sorry, it’s nothing,” Anya replied as she backed away.
 
Korah was suspicious as she sensed that she was the target of Anya’s sudden advance.
 
“Is this Ok, or would you like me to move,” Korah asked.
 
“No, really, its Ok,” Anya replied.
 
The awkward silence again invaded the room.  Anya had seated herself so far away from the others, that they appeared to be in different rooms causing questioning glances between Yuri, Mura and Korah.
 
“Anya,” Yuri called breaking the silence, “The Myan delegation will be arriving soon.  We will be leaving for the reception banquet, is there anything that we can do to help you prepare.”
 
“No, I can manage on my own, but thanks for the offer,” Anya replied trying to sound as polite as possible.
 
“The Grand Duke will also be there and we wanted to make sure that you look your best,” Yuri said as gently as he could, “It’s very important.”
 
“Am I for sell, papa,” Anya said as one tear escaped down her cheek.
 
“Oh, Anya, don’t be so dramatic,” Korah cried out.
 
Yuri turned toward Korah giving her a look that clearly demanded her silence. He was moved by what Anya said and it pained him.
 
“My dear, if there was surely any other way, I would vigorously employ it. I would,” Yuri said pleadingly.
 
“I know you would papa. I’m so sorry. I’m not the daughter you envisioned, I know that. And I have to admit that you are right, I am Akadian. I’m sorry for that papa.  But it’s funny, they don’t even want me. I am Knomen and I am your daughter, but Korah is more of a daughter to you than I have ever been, I’m so sorry.”
 
“You are my daughter,” Mura said as she rose and approached Anya, lifting her from her seat and hugging her.
 
Yuri also rose coming and joining his wife in comforting his daughter.  Korah rose, prompted, not by any desire to comfort her sister, but simply because he parents and she slowly walked towards the group.  Seeing Korah approaching, Anya left her parents and walked over to Korah and hugged her leaving Korah unnerved.
 
“I wish I had been a better sister to you, I’m sorry for that Korah,” Anya said, hugging her bewildered sister. 
Korah was speechless and didn’t know how long she could endure the strange affection coming from her sister.
 
“Anya,” Yuri called, unknowingly rescuing Korah, “You’ll always be my daughter, I am proud of what you have become.”
 
Those words were nice to hear, but they lacked the weight that Anya so needed to hear. She was well aware how her father really felt about her and Anya had come to terms with those feelings and she had mourned over those feelings.  But she stood there, looking over her family, realizing that she really didn’t know them anymore.  She had truly become an Akadian, she fell in love with a people and a culture that in the end did not want anything to do with her.  They hated her, she was nothing more than a maggot to them.
 
But what was she to Wilhelm, did he really care for her. It seemed like he loved her, it felt like love. 
 
“It really felt like love,” she barely uttered.
 
She saw the love in his eyes and they burned into her. Pulling her emotion to the surface making her yearn for his arms around her, his hands caressing her face, his mouth covering hers. It felt like lover. Or, was she just his secret, guilty pleasure.  The thought of being used in that way pained her to her core, and she bent over slightly, covering her face as her tears poured out.  Yuri went to her thinking that his words must have affected her deeply.  He held her as she cried over the last barrier to her despair.
 
“I’m so sorry,” Anya said trying to compose herself, “If you wouldn’t mind I need to be alone right now.”
 
Mura studied her daughter and felt disturbed.  She didn’t want to leave her alone.
 
“I want to stay with you,” Mura asked.
 
“I’m OK, really, please. I really need some time to myself,” Anya begged.
 
“Sure,” Mura replied still watching Anya who would not meet Mura’s eyes.  “Let’s leave her,” she directed to Yuri, pulling him away from Anya. “If you need anything, please let me know.”
 
“We will wait for you at the shuttle, ok,” Yuri asked as Mura pulled him out the door.
 
Anya immediately shut the door and engaged the lock.  She went to the divan and pulled out the satchel.  Reaching in the bag she pulled out the Sakat. She studied it for a long time.  “Oh Wilhelm!”
 
--
 
I NEED TO SEE THE LADY ANYA YEMEN
 
Wilhelm watched nervously as the guards huddled away from him considering the words he had wrote on the pad.  While they continued to deliberate, Wilhelm began to observe the Palace.  He began to wonder which room Anya occupied, if she could view him out of the window.  What was she doing now?  He wanted the guards to hurry and make a decision.  He lifted his pad and tapped on it with the chalk causing the guards to turn towards him.  The guards watched as Wilhelm erased his previous message and wrote a new one.  Then he held up the pad.  Several of the guards walked over to read the new message.
 
THE LADY ANYA WANTS TO SEE ME
 
One of the guards called over their remaining ones to read the new message.  After doing so, they again walked away from Wilhelm to consider the message.  Wilhelm slowly moved closer to them, straining to hear their conversation.  From what he could make out, two of the guards, the most senior of the six on hand were not in favor of allowing the him to enter.  It seemed that the others were believers and were pleading with their seniors to not hinder the priest in his calling.  That gave Wilhelm and idea.  He again tapped on his pad drawing the attention of the guards.  He again erased the message and began to write another.
 
BLESSING OR CURSE
 
One of the guards walked over and after reading the messaged he excitedly waved the others over.  As they read, Wilhelm could read the horror on the faces of several of the guards, which made him feel bad, but only for a moment.  He had to see Anya, and he was going to do whatever it took to get in that Palace.  As the guards slowly moved away from Wilhelm, he noticed that the men kept looking back at him some still with that look of horror.  Wilhelm then raised his hands high above his head to stretch which startled the men who jumped back, one of the men even drawing his weapon.  Wilhelm stunned, slowly lowered his hands and the men also began to relax.  Several of the guards broke off from the group and went back to the gatehouse.  Two of the guards approached Wilhelm.
 
“We need to search you, is that ok,” the senior guard asked, demonstrating what he wanted to do.
 
Wilhelm immediately raised his hands.  The other guard performed the search and gave the all clear signal to his senior.
 
“We have decided to escort you to the Palace, where two Palace guards will escort you to the Lady Anya.  Now I must caution you, Palace guards are well trained, they will kill you, if they suspect any deception.  Do you still wish to see the Lady?
 
Wilhelm took his pad, erased it and then wrote: YES.
 
“Very well, please follow me,” the senior guard replied.
 
As Wilhelm followed he fought hard to contain his joy.  The gate began to open as he, flanked by two guards began to walk through the gate.  There was still quite some distance between the gatehouse and the palace, but Wilhelm was overwhelmed with happiness, he was so close to holding Anya, kissing her, loving her.
 
The grounds of the Palace were beautiful and manicured to perfection, the lawns were deeply green and trimmed.  Wilhelm looked up briefly into the blinding artificial light source high above embedded into the cavern’s ceiling, illuminating the cavern as brightly as the prime star on the planet’s surface.  Looking ahead, Wilhelm noticed that they halved the distance to the Palace and he could clearly see the beautiful exterior work on the Palace which was very ornate in its architecture. The Palace was erected on an elevated platform, with gardens extending beyond the grounds. It was beautiful.  Wilhelm was so close now, he could even see the windows and the curtains inside those windows, curtains that could be blocking his view to Anya.  He imagined Anya in one of the rooms of the palace and begged that she would come to the window and look out, so that he could see her.  He watched various workers on the grounds knowing none of them would turn out to be Anya, but he couldn’t help fantasizing about it.  As they came closer two palace guards heavily armed walked up to meet Wilhelm’s gatehouse guards.  After the exchange of a few words, Wilhelm’s escorts paused as the two palace guards took their place.  Wilhelm observed the palace guards and the various weapons they carried. As they strode toward the Palace Wilhelm tried hard to keep pace with the guards to avoid any confrontation with them.  He tried to focus on Anya, he was so close now.  As they reached the Palace’s minor entrance, the guards stopped.
 
“We need to search you,” one of the guards demanded.
 
Wilhelm stretched out his arms again as a guard exited from inside the Palace, came over to Wilhelm and began a thorough search of his person.  Wilhelm was very embarrassed by the invasive search, but it was nothing compared to what he had gone through just to be at the doorway of Anya’s residence.  The guard began to search Wilhelm's arms and hands and then he paused when he felt through the robe, a ring on Wilhelm’s finger.  The guard snapped his finger and the two guards who escorted him to the palace drew their weapons and pointed them at Wilhelm. 
 
The guard who searched him held out his hand.  “The ring please,” he demanded.
 
Wilhelm quickly took off his official royal ring and placed it into the hands of the guard.  The guard examined it and passed it to the other guards who examined it.
 
Wilhelm tapped on his pad and slowing took his chalk and wrote:  THIS IS A GIFT FOR THE LADY ANYA
 
The guards read the note, discussing the situation among themselves.  The ring was given back to the guard who searched Wilhelm, then he gestured for Wilhelm to follow him into the Palace.  Wilhelm could not believe it, he was actually in the Palace, he was under the same roof as Anya.
 
The entry way led into a grand two-story room.  It had a walkway on the second story that was lined with pillars and arches, the imposing magnificence of the room rivaled what he had lived among at his family’s palace in Tannis.  He watched as various individuals walked through the hallways, hoping to see Anya.  The guard called for him to follow and they ascended a staircase to the second floor.  As he reached the second floor, Wilhelm and the guard were stopped by a person whose face Wilhelm recognized.
 
“Where are you going with this person,” Yutiro asked.
 


© Copyright 2019 James Washington. All rights reserved.

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