The Forsaken Race; Darker Times

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Chaos Rising

Submitted: May 21, 2019

Reads: 10

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Submitted: May 21, 2019

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It was still early in the morning, and the weather seemed like it could bring a modest amount of rain for later.

In a vast, open plane of grass, damaged from winter's harsh weather, there was a small camp that Aubade warriors had been inhabiting for the past few days. Right now, the camp was almost dead. A few guards stood motionless at the only entrances in their ramshackle wall of wooden spikes. Inside, there were a few large, sturdy tents secured shut, except for one with a map, weapons, and armor; a small armory.

In the partially-closed entrance of a grander tent, nearby, Corelia was looking out over the gray sky above. Despite looking royal, with her crown and violet-streaked hair, she couldn't have been more underdressed, with basic attire that would be worn under a suit of armor. That was a white shirt with black shorts.

It may rain soon, though I hope not.

When hearing another sound, her attention was drawn to the other thing that brought her amusement.

Out a ways, on a ramshackle mat of nailed-down tarps and makeshift cushion, two early-bird lieutenants, a set of brothers, were sparring with each other. Neither of them had their violet armor or any weapons, though, just basic white and gray attire and their fists.

One of these brothers was younger-looking, with wavy brown hair and green eyes. The other was older, but still barely twenty, with a lighter build and swifter movements. He had darker brown hair, but piercing blue eyes.

The younger brother stepped back, panting. "Honestly, Ryu, did you wake me up this early just to be disappointed?"

The older one, Ryu, smirked at this. "Shut it, Surei. Why don't you prove you have anywhere to talk, first?"

As Ryu rushed forward, and Surei braced to block, he ducked and rolled around him, kicking Surei down as he regained his footing. However, Surei easily recovered, and as Ryu came at him again, Surei forced him to lose his balance from a failed hit, shoved him down, then dropped down and kept him pinned there.

Surei chuckled mockingly, "Here I expect to learn a thing or two from my older brother, and yet it seems you could learn a thing from me, first."

Ryu gained a daunting look. "Learn a thing, eh?"

Suddenly, Ryu elbowed Surei in the gut; not full-force, as this was just sparing, then grabbed his wrist and threw him over and down, pinning him down.

Ryu taunted, "How's that for learning a thing, little brother?" 

Surei looked unamused, laying in defeat. "Well played."

Ryu laughed some. "You really should work on your hand-to-hand skill. You're fast and good with those revolvers; you wouldn't be a lieutenant, otherwise. But you can't expect weapons to do all the work for you." He looked uneasy. "I know I'm in no position to be critiquing you, but-"

Surei sneered, "I agree, believe it or not. You know as well as I do that our status has more to do with our surnames than actual skill."

"Most likely," Ryu agreed. He took on a valiant pose. "'The Hitai clan has been serving the royal family since the beginning, and it is our sworn duty to make sure that continues for the following eternity they rule.'"

Surei sighed, sitting up. "You sound exactly like father."

"That's what I was aiming for," Ryu insisted. "Although, it is a big honor, you know. Not many others get this privilege. There are some families banned from joining the army entirely."

"I know, I know," Surei dismissively replied. "It's not like I don't appreciate it, but if I want to be a soldier, especially the 'proud lieutenant' that others expect, I'll work for it myself. I don't know what else I could do, but I also don't appreciate having this forced on us."

Ryu nodded, looking distant. "I thought the same thing as you, a few years ago. Honestly, father slowed down with you; he handed me a sword-"

"When you were six years old, and told you to fend off a wolf," Surei suggested.

"You know, it's hard to keep track of what I've told you already," Ryu remarked. He sat next to his brother. "But yes, he did that, and told me every known story about our family's great victories in battle. The point being, I understand the mindset you have." He smirked. "And did I tell you why I stayed?"

"Because you'd be a homeless bum otherwise?" Surei suggested.

Ryu laughed, "Alright, so there's that, but..." He blinked hard. "Actually, that's pretty close to the real answer. Yeah, I tried to find some means of getting away from this lifestyle, only to realize that I didn't know what else I could do. I thought about the roles of merchants, even servants, but it all seemed pointless, and I didn't even know how I would go about it." He sighed, leaning his head on one fist. "In other words, it's like being a soldier was all I knew, so why fight it? At least this way, I know what I'm doing, and it's something productive."

"You never told me that," Surei responded. "In which case, that's even more outrageous! Ryu, they've literally bent your mind to believe that nonsense; it's manipulation! There's nothing wrong with leading a normal life that isn't on the battlefield."

"Yes, but-"

They both cringed when a stern voice interfered, "I wouldn't say 'education' is 'manipulation.'"

As they glanced over their shoulders, they found someone neither of them would ever want to see during a discussion like this, even if they somewhat appreciated him at any other given time. None other than their father, who was all too familiar to anyone else. A lieutenant with neat blond hair and blue eyes. Chiro Hitai.

Ryu stood quickly. "Apologies, father, we mean no offense."

Surei's eyes narrowed, fist clenched.

Chiro glared down at him. "Surei..."

Ryu discretely kicked him in the side, shooting him a look that clearly read 'cut it out!' Surei finally took the hint and stood, offering a hardly-audible 'sorry' as the only response.

Chiro continued to glare down at the two. "You called an honor only given by this family, by me, a form of manipulation? That is a disgrace to your heritage! To be a Hitai is similar to being an Erxina; the details of your duty are written in your blood!"

"We understand, father," Ryu insisted. "We're very sorry."

"As you should be," Chiro responded. He sighed, "It's not just my encouragement that brought this 'sense' of yours. As I said, this will to fight is in your blood; you were born to do it, just as those in the many generations before you two. It's..."

While he went on to rant more, Corelia just rolled her eyes, unsure of whether to be amused or annoyed. Either way, she went inside for just a moment, donning her armor, then left her tent while lacing up her gauntlets, and started to approach the troubled three.

When close enough, she spoke up, "Easy does it, Chiro."

While Chiro acted calm, Ryu and Surei had a moment of panic and bowed quickly before the queen, making Chiro facepalm.

Corelia laughed, though. "Such strict obedience is hardly necessary, you two. Please, rise."

Either of the boys stood back up, looking somewhat embarrassed.

Chiro cleared his throat. "Your majesty, may I ask what you're doing so early?"

"Ah, leaders never sleep," Corelia remarked. "That, and things seemed to be getting rather tense here."

"A common scuffle," Chiro replied. "I apologize for disturbing you."

"It's alright," said Corelia. "But I would like to discuss some current matters with you. If you would proceed to the armory, I'll be there momentarily."

Chiro gave a slight bow. "Of course. Just a moment, if you will..."

He suddenly turned back to his sons, pointing at either with an imposing demeanor.

"For the record, Surei, Ryu was right. You need to work on your hand-to-hand combat more. Ryu, you may have developed a good hand, but more weapon skill is to be desired, so instead of tackling your brother, I suggest you pick up those swords and get to work."

"Yes, father," Ryu murmured, while Surei just nodded.

While Chiro ran off toward the armory, Corelia lingered behind, looking patiently over the two brothers before her. It seemed they were avoiding any sort of eye contact or conversation.

Corelia chuckled, "Chiro can be a bit rough, can't he?"

Ryu quickly spoke, "Oh, no, he just- er..." He took a deep breath. "That was my fault."

"Our fault," Surei muttered.

They're such good brothers, Corelia thought to herself. "You know, if you can excuse my overhearing of that scuffle, both of you are right. Being a part of the Hitai family does come with its own honors and perks, just as it would with the Erxina or Akane families. But there's no shame in seeking to fulfill the charming life of an average citizen, instead. In the end, it's all up to you."

"Thank you, your majesty," Surei replied. "That's helpful advice."

Corelia nodded, then started to retreat toward the armory. Inside the open tent, Chiro was patiently waiting beside the table with the map spread out on it. Like flicking a switch, the mood became more serious and troublesome.

"What did you want to discuss, your majesty?" Chiro inquired.

"What's been happening here, first off," Corelia replied. "More mutants..."

Chiro solemnly nodded. "I'm afraid so. These ones weren't as tough, and their population seemed small. Likely a tribe that wasn't fully formed yet, but still concerning. What's happening to these people, if you can even call them that?"

"I was hoping you had found an answer," Corelia replied.

"No, I haven't," said Chiro. "We're hoping to find one, though. Atara is already out, investigating this twisted tribe's movement and strategy. Chances say that we'll get the same answer we've been getting, though."

"Have you found evidence of demonic activity?" Corelia inquired.

"Maybe, maybe not," Chiro responded. "At one of the sites where other mutants dwelled, we found black blood." His eyes narrowed. "Although, it's very strange. Only a couple of demon races have black blood, and no other genus or creature does. However, the site where we found that blood was far out of reach of any of these creatures; the other side of the Northern Territories, almost."

"With the use of portals, we can't be sure," Corelia remarked. "Just look at the Zyreans. We hear rumors and find evidence that they're in different spots of the Northern Territories every other day; every other hour, in some instances."

"Either way, you can't be wrong," Chiro insisted. "What of the trades, though?"

"What about them?" Asked Corelia.

"In these conditions, shouldn't we cut our ties to other races, instead of making more?"

"I thought the same way, at first. However, I've found that these trades are necessary. Our recent strategy, using a whole new generation of weapons and armor that revolve around magic, has proven to be too much for Sybilius to handle. We're not magical creatures, and we've purged much of those materials from our land, just as we do with the story and horrors of this warfare we face."

"I don't think I see your point, yet."

"My point is that the hardest, most straining strategy is the same one that killed the Storm Twins after these long years." She smiled, relief prominent in her expression. "After such a long time, and so much effort..." She cleared her throat. "Anyways, the evidence says that we will have a better fighting chance in these hard times if we focus on what we have been, but the only way we will be able to continue producing these powerful weapons is if we enlist help."

"Suppose so," Chiro murmured.

Becoming distant, Corelia glared down at the map. "These mutants we see, the creatures lashing out..."

Naturally, Corelia had been expecting some kind of chaos to strike, but she never would've imagined that this would be happening. Unformed people disappearing, or mutating, and creatures beginning to stir violently. 

In her head, she heard words that had been spoken over a year ago; the words that foretold exactly what they were seeing now.

"Just wait and you'll see. This game we keep playing at is about to change. I can feel it in my veins, and I know you do, too."

Her fist clenched angrily.

It always links back to those damn demons, doesn't it?

"Your majesty?"

Corelia shook her head, clearing her thoughts. "Nevermind. There are troops just north of this camp; when Atara gets back, can you tell her to move them back to the royal city?"

"Of course," Chiro responded. "What about this camp, though?"

"Leave it for now," Corelia answered. Her eyes narrowed. "Like many aspects of our current stance, we still know very little about the threat."


© Copyright 2019 Raven Akuma. All rights reserved.

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