Chapter 8 Title Image

Fear

Chapter 8:
Up Against Odds and Ebbs

By: Justin

…W…where…” mumbled a young girl’s voice as she rose up from the bed she was sleeping in, but as soon she felt the slightest pain she grimaced then laid back down. “What happened?” She thought and as soon as she thought that, memories of a black haired demon arose in her mind. “Fear…I can’t believe it…he beat me…” she slowly turned her head to the right to see the window, and was astonished to see the beauty of the trees out there. “Wow…I’ve seen trees, but...these are so beautiful…” she probably stared at the trees for about ten minutes at the mammoth and grand trees, some glowing blue, some crystallized, some glowing red, and some glowing yellow. She probably would have stared all day at the trees, except the door to her left opened up and she quickly turned her head to that direction.

“I see that you’re finally up.” said what looked to be the nurse. “You’ve healed up remarkably!”

“Um…excuse me…not to be rude…but where am I?”

“You happen to be in our sacred realm. Welcome to the Country of Kose.” The nurse bowed.

“Kose…how did I end up here?” She then gasped. “Wait, how long have I been here?”

“Considering the injuries you took, the fact that you was out for a month is remarkable enough. I can’t think of any human who could heal this fast!” the girl was stunned into utter silence. “Well anyways, you should thank our future Queen for finding you! Considering we don’t usually allow outsiders to our realm, you should thank your lucky stars for her generosity! Since you’re up, I guess I can send the messenger so she can speak to you.” while she was waiting for 30 minutes, all Tyrande could think of was how she failed her mercenaries, how she failed Fayre, and how she failed her master, Shade, back and forth, back and forth, until she felt she was being shaken and a voice yelled,

“Miss! Miss! What’s wrong? What’s wrong?!?”

“….What?” Tyrande said in an aloof and careless manner, and then when she realized that there were three terrifyingly pale nurses in the room, she immediately apologized.

“That’s all right…I know what you have been dealing with the past month,” Streaked in a purple haired lass through the door. “I’m just glad that you’re all right.”

“…My name is Tyrande. I thank you for saving me,” then she looked at the nurses, “And I thank you for nursing me back to health…I’m sorry that I’ve imposed my troubles on you all.” After the nurses thanked her for the kind gesture, the purple haired girl said,

“My name is Lute, advisor to the state of affairs of Kose. It’s nice to meet you. Nurses!” The nurses bowed at Lute, then left the room, closing the door. “So, Tyrande, how are you feeling?

“I…still feel pretty sore all over…hopefully I can get healed pretty soon.”

“Why? So you can face Fear again?”

“…How did you…” Lute walked around slowly.

“I was watching you that day when you fought against that tyrannical beast. At first you seemed to be the better fighter, but that creature totally overpowered you in the end.”

“…I think I know that….” grumbled Tyrande, “But I never even sensed you…”

“Well, as you shouldn’t. I’m thankfully glad that you didn’t sense me. That just tells me how far my spy training has come.”

Tyrande had a questionable look on her face.

“Odd…you said that you was an advisor to the state of-”

“Well, I can’t let just anyone know my true identity,” Lute said with a hint of confidence in her voice and eyes closed.

“But…the nurses referred to you as the future Queen of Kose-” Lute’s entire body turned bright red as she stammered while saying,

“W-wh-what? W-we-well…d-don’t p-pay a-any…d-darned b-nurses!!!”

“But anyways, I’m glad you were up there that day, or I probably would have died.”

“Well…actually you looked to be healing up rather, well not very subtle, but rather easily. But I’m glad I was some help! Now…I know that you need your rest, but I wanted to ask a question. No, make it two questions.”

“Well, if you have any questions, I’ll answer them as best as I can.”

“..My Queen tells me that there could only be one man who would be careless enough to send you on a mission like that. Who sent you?”

“…Strange. Why would your queen…actually considering all you’ve done for me, I think I should answer without any reservations. It’s Shade Rivenwald.”

“…I see. I actually met him once upon chance. “

“You did?”

“Yes, I went to deliver a message to him. Then he told me to check out Nagrun.”

“…I see…”

“Did Shade ever mention that he and The Queen are lovers?”

“…No way...I…never knew that…I’m too young. I don’t follow that stuff just yet.”

“…Man…you suck at lying!” Tyrande was aghast. “I mean you can’t even lie convincingly! I hope it doesn’t run in the family! Well even if you did lie with a straight face, I would have figured you out, half-demon.” Tyrande looked shocked.

“Y-you heard that too?!?”

“Yes…and I’m pretty sure if that gets out, everyone here would want your head. Do you know the circumstances of your birth?”

“I began my life as an orphan. That’s all I need to know.”

“I see. Well don’t worry about it. I believe I can trust you, Tyrande. And I also believe that you’re the only one who can defeat Fear, so I won’t jeopardize your safety. Now…I believe you should rest. If you heal up in a couple of days, I shall take you to meet the Queen. And hopefully soon, so that you won’t get trapped in here forever.”

“All right…wait, what?”

“I’ll explain once you’re rested. Don’t worry about that yet.” finished Lute as she walked out the door, leaving Tyrande with mixed emotions, and wondering what in the world she has gotten herself into.

******

It took two days before Tyrande was finally healed and she would have preferred to have left right there, but she thought it would be discourteous not to greet the Queen, especially since with Kose’s isolation, it would be silly not to. It was almost afternoon when she met up with Lute outside the hospital she was staying in and was escorted to the Cathedral of Kose, which stands out amongst the many places Kose has to offer because of its staggering beauty and wide length, as to normal eyes it feels like it could fall on top of you. Inside they went into the main cathedral room, where Tyrande was greeted by the most important person in Kose.

“Hello, young Tyrande!” greeted Queen Karratha, “Welcome to our country!” Tyrande bowed to the Queen, and also bowed to two other people as they spoke:

“Hello, my name is Alvis. I am the Prince of Kose,” said Alvis, and because of his handsome looks, Tyrande gave a slight glance to the person beside her, which was Lute, and gave a “Good job” type of look, which made Lute blush with embarrassment,

“My name is Natasha. I am the Princess of Kose. It is an honor to meet you.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you all.” said Tyrande.

“So, I see my former incompetent sent you on a rather harrowing mission?” said

Queen Karratha, obviously referring to Shade, “I mean you would think that he would have gone himself…instead of sending a beautiful woman such as you.”

“Um…Queen Karratha? I have a few questions that I would like to have answered.”

“Interesting…do you really want to know about how I met your Master?” Tyrande looked slightly surprised.

“Yes. Well, at least that’s one of the questions I have that I hope to get answered.”

“Well…if you want to know so badly…come back to me after your war is over. I expect you to survive.”

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“I simply don’t want to. Easy answer, huh?”

“….Fine…Since you won’t answer that question…can you please explain what Lute means when she says that in a couple of days I’ll be trapped here forever?’”

“Ah, that… you obviously know what that vile demon Fear is after, right?”

“…The Seven Orbs of Bethumet…Oh yes, you possess the green orb!”

“Correct. And since he also has the Red and Blue Orbs of Bethumet, he can appear at any time on our grounds. So I decided to cast a powerful spell over the past few days on Kose, permanently isolating it from the world. Even though it pained me to do it, there’s no telling what would happen if the creature had its hands on all seven. Even though it hasn’t been proven, legends say that if you get all seven, a great calamity would befall not just Kose, but Bethumet itself. So this ensures that he will never lay a hand on our orb.”

“But…”

“Ah, do not worry yourself. You won’t be able to leave until the spell is complete, but on the fourth day you can leave without any problems.”

“Yet once you’re gone, you won’t-”

“I don’t really mind. I mean…we’ve isolated ourselves from other nations already. They will be glad to see us no more.” Tyrande had a troubled look on her face.

“Is there a reason for your isolation? Not just today, but before?”

“I cannot and will not discuss the particulars with you. I have already explained my reason to all of the people who live in Kose. You will be going soon. I don’t want you taking our information and spreading it all around.

“But-”

“Anyways, you will be able to enjoy the finest that Kose has to offer, at least for a couple of days, so I implore to enjoy your stay here without much trouble. This meeting is over...”

******

It’s been a month, and despite being at the age of 49, Shade Rivenwald still can’t recall a darker time in Bethumet. The destruction of Nagrun, The Syria-Kenion War, the obliteration of Diruch by the demon Fear, and the loss of one of Syria’s finest knights, General Thomas. After that dark day, it wasn’t easy sleeping for everyone, especially Shade, who decided to leave because he wanted to follow the plan given out by Lane, instead of staying to fight. The next day wasn’t much better, as while Eisen and Rice showed up with a few units to boost their morale, they too joined the mourning list at the loss of their former comrade. And adding to his misery, his protégé, Courage, has not appeared in over a month, and while he’s sensed a trace of her, it gets seemingly faint with each passing day. It probably doesn’t help that the other four mercenaries that Tyrande commanded believe it’s his fault that Courage is probably dead, causing a broken bond between them that does not serve them well in this war.

Now if was up to Shade he’d probably be searching for Courage right now, except that the outcome of this war has now gone from expected to in the uncertain direction. Syria’s forces, while outmanned to a degree, should be far superior skill wise to Kenion’s. Yet Kenion somehow has the advantage in that category too, forcing the movement of more Syrian units, despite the fact that Fear and the forces that destroyed Nagrun could attack at any time, up to the war. Now, thanks to that, they have captured Fort Lados, then just a few days later captured Fort Soma, advancing farther into Kenion territory. But the best chance to advance farther was to capture Soadon Castle, and if they didn’t capture this large defensive ground, which holds numerous weaponry and gold, then Syria will probably have to give up, as they wouldn’t be able to keep up in a unit race, especially since they’d rather not stall this war much longer. And with Syria’s best general dead, the already low morale would probably be nonexistent if they failed.

But while Shade has his problems, Fayre had his own. He’s experienced many problems over his young life, with his parents abandoning him and unable to make any friends in school, but this was the first time he’s experienced death. Unfortunately, this was not just any death; it was a death of someone he respected, admired, and wanted to work with for a long time. Since Thomas’s died, his mind has been racked with unenviable thoughts of him dying right in front of his face. It took some of the soldiers to wash the blood that was all over his body since he was transfixed for two whole days. It may have been more than a month since it occurred, but each time the day ended Fayre would only sit on his cot and stare lifelessly in one direction, sometimes staying up the entire night, without even thinking of anything other than Thomas dying.

Jeannine was even worse than Fayre in dealing with the loss of General Thomas. Ever since her slim body and clothes were covered in General Thomas’s blood, she’s been all but afraid of even the tiniest speck of it, even being conscious enough to look around for a tiny bit of it in the ground and grass as they marched onwards to Kenion. Considering that they’re fighting in a war, that’s a problem, and since she’s the commander of the mage knights, she’s not exactly inspiring confidence in her units. It also doesn’t help that she sometimes regularly misses meetings, and when she does show up, she’s usually late, because she’d seem disinterested or shallow. All of those times she’s been thinking about Thomas and what should have been: they should have been married; they should have had kids; they should have had a great life after the war was over. Instead, the only man she ever loved in her life was dead, and now the only thought in her head was what she was going to do without him.

It was early in the morning as Syrian units arrived at Soadon Castle. There were about 120 or so Kenion soldiers outside the castle so they seemed to expect that Syrian forces were coming eventually. Syria could not turn back because they really needed this castle in order to make progress, so a sizable portion of Syrian units stood ready to attack when called upon. This time, Eisen and Shade took charge as they were ready to capture the castle.

“All right,” yelled Eisen, “There’s a good amount of soldiers around the castle…and plenty more inside. With our numbers, we should be able to break their front lines. Just watch out for those archers. Now, MOVE OUT!!!” He thrust the end of his lance to the ground, getting the soldiers riled up as they charged at Soadon Castle.

The battle outside only lasted twenty minutes once first contact was made by a Syrian soldier. Kenion had some good soldiers, but they were crushed and routed immediately by Syria’s units, getting into the castle faster than even Syria expected. Once the Syrian forces got inside the castle, they thought it was something out of fairy tale because there was absolutely no one in the castle, leaving a ton of dumbfounded and stupefied looks on the faces of everyone.

“…What in the world is going on?” thought Eisen. “Could this be a trap?”

“Eisen.”

“Hmm? Oh, Shade.”

“This can’t be good, can it?”

“No way…I mean, where is everybody? Hey, start searching!” He screamed at the still dumbfounded soldiers.” You’ve got better things to do, now look! And be careful!”

“Hmm. I’ll look outside and see if there’s any traps there. I wish I could speak to someone in Kenion right now and wonder what the hell could they thinking? This is one of their main forts and yet there’s no one?”

“Same here. I guess I’ll take a look around as well.” The soldiers looked around the large castle for hours upon end, and found no Kenion soldier in sight, and no traps bound anywhere. After hours of searching, a horn was called by Shade, who reined everyone in, and ended the search.

“Well…I can’t say anything else really. We just hit the jackpot. Good job guys. Now…” he looked around for a while. “Hey wait…where’s Eisen?”

******

“Hah…Hah…Hah…” gasped Eisen as he searched everywhere in the castle for hours without running into one single Kenion soldier. After he finally gave up on searching for them, he drank a vial, then proceeded to head back to the entrance. He started after a minute or two to notice that it shouldn’t have taken too long to see a Syrian soldier, yet he didn’t even see one soldier, and wondered after a while how deep in the castle he was. He soon felt something strange. He felt like he was in the same room just a few minutes ago, yet he’s back in the same room again. “…Odd…” he decided to take a small knife carried in one of his bags latched on his belt, then proceeded to walk in a different direction. After five minutes of walking, the knife was where he left it, once he found himself in the same room once again. “Damn!!! What’s going on!?!?” He screamed, but seemingly to no avail. Then in about a minute, from a far away distance a large shadow reflected towards a nearby wall, prompting Eisen to hold his lance in battle position in that direction and scream, “Who’s there!?!?”

“Damon Auschey Eisen…” said an enigmatic telepathic like voice. “Second in Command of the now deceased Linequish Albert Thomas, a knight of 15 years…and also someone who used to gamble life away…” Eisen was taken aback.

“W-Who are you?!?! You cur! S-step out of those shadows!!!”

“….Whatever do you mean? I mean…I’m right up here.” Eisen looked up to see a blue faced figure with his arms crossed and maddening eyes looking right down at him as it stood standing upside down on the top wall, causing Eisen to have a panicked look on his face.

“W-what are you?!? Some sort of demon?!?!”

“Yes…and no…maybe so…you know, looking at your past is so uninteresting…How about we play a game? I have a lot of time on my hands!”

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