CHAPTER III — The War Is Imminent
The sun rose up quite hurriedly from its horizon, informing the inhabitants of Fiergard a new day was imminent. A new day it was, A sad day it was going to become. The night earlier had gave birth to a sour day, a day of consequential beckoning for King Dollie and his people. They had heard of the turbulent tragedy that occurred at the outskirts of Ascarvath. A tragedy that brought complete dismay into the very interstice of Fiergard. King Dollie, the brobdingnagian king became weary for the first time. Albeit — who wouldn't be? His Midnight barricade were massacred like animals in a slaughter house. They were his finest, yet they were no more all of a sudden. A deluded mind perhaps may think an Angel of death had made Ascarvath its hermitage. As the sun now predominant at its peak, glittered the once inconspicuous lands of Fiergard, King Dollie called for an immediate meeting amongst his cabinet members. A meeting where a substantial decision was inevitable. As accustomed, leaders of the five great houses were required of their presence. In what seems an act of Déjà vu
, King Dollie walk into the great hall with his helmet clinging to the side his body and supported by his left arm. He had a strenuous look on his face as he sat unhesitatingly upon his bronze chair. If he had being mute, one would probably think the King was going inane. Commencing the meeting, King Dollie rested his elbows on the table, whilst intertwining his hands and then broke his silence—
"You all know of something disturbing that happened yesterday"
—he said in a rather mild voice which was quite unorthodox even for him.
As if his tongue was bewitched by Pothineus (The god of speech)
, King Dollie shuddered intermittently, before he continued with his eyes now fixated on the equidistant of the great hall—"My finest of men were butchered mercilessly by something we still don't understand and their heads were placed on stick to rob us of our dignity. I won't just let this pass."
The decibels of King voice at that point had been augmented as a result of being galled. Yet he himself was befuddled, bewildered and most of all perturbed. What was he up against he wondered? What's more redundant stories had been whisking through the cold air of Fiergard, mentioning of something evil emerging from the heart of Ascarvath. An evil that came out of the ashes, which was greater than any other.
Hitherto King Dollie and members of his cabinet whose bodies were almost inert could only guess what it was and what it wanted. They knew this wasn't just an insidious problem that needed solving, an action needed to taken place as well if any decisions were to be met. On top of everything, they weren't even certain if they'll ever reach a decision considering the nature of the meeting. "Why am I being stared at? Can't any of you say something!"
—King Dollie said vigorously who by now was losing all his patience after seeing the members of his cabinet were as clueless as he was, including the likes of James Alderson. Surely there was at least a single member who wasn't lacking perception on this matter? Of course King Dollie prompted not to utter a single word during the entire time of introspection. John Lionel who was sitting at the right-side of King Dollie could however tell what he insinuated. Nevertheless who wouldn't though? There was no ignoring the King perturbed-like semblance materializing along the bony features of his craggy face, even if the members obviously tried to. In their defense, they could had probably argued they were clueless with reason they themselves were still left in the dark.
As the silence continued, tension began to inevitably engulf the air of the rectangular hall, coherent creaking sounds were often heard emanating from the chairs abruptly, likewise the sound of dragging feet from some of the members. Indeed, someone needed to break this silence at some point. Eventually after the time had gave away a few of her seconds, the King's main guard, a man named Vincent Vince
abruptly walked into the great hall whilst inadvertently creating a bit of commotion with his sudden appearance. He ventures directly towards King Dollie without saying a word, lower down his head and discreetly whisper unto the King's ear. Surely it was some sort of news considering King Dollie facial appearance had notably changed drastically. The brobdingnagian king without hesitating, got up from his bronze chair and left the hall leaving his cabinet members in a state of befuddlement, a frequent act King Dollie was particularly fond of doing.
"What's going on"
— asked the curious William Ferral from the house of Ferral. This man was completely bald, with no visible hairs on any areas of his body. He's physique was no bigger than that of an average human, yet he's stomach had an unusual curve-shaped size. Most of the members on the King's cabinet had earlier jokingly mentioned about using his stomach as the royal drum for the Kingdom's yearly festival. William Ferrel had came from a wealthy house acknowledged for producing the finest of wines on all the realms of the southern hemisphere, which were very much appetizing yet irresistible. It was said William's frequent gobbled of these impeccable wines had resulted to his stomach getting swollen to what we see today.
"It would seem the King must have received a paramount news"
— John Lionel later replied and then desperately led out a profound air from his loosen nostrils, showing his relief on the matter. "Anyone notice the King sudden facial appearance? It surely got me weary for second there"
—muttered Glenn Portifier. A man of great integrity and known for his utmost ethics. He was amongst the very first set of members on the cabinet chosen by King Dollie, yet he was the youngest of them all. No sooner than later, Witmer Stark another member from the House of the Starks, the people known as the Fidel of the North, responded to Glenn's claim in a mild tone saying—"I think all of us did. Moreover I don't think I have ever seen the King this galled before"
Witmer Stark was a tall man, with a lean built body structure. He's hair was pitch black, yet curly and foiling. He was mostly seen wearing a raiment consisting of a woolen jacket, with leather chest pads and linen undergarments. Correspondingly, Witmer Stark also had a calm attitude which was very much distinctive from the other members of the cabinet. Not only that, he also had a good sense of judgment and arbitration towards certain unpleasant matters.
Meanwhile, King Dollie had already gotten to his destination shortly after receiving the information from his guard. It was a Royal Inn located outside the east-wing of the castle. The Inn was surrounded with majestic oak trees, all standing in linear alignment, against the eastern horizon. As King Dollie arrived towards the door of the Inn, he gaze upon this exquisite scene and was enraptured by its trees surrounding the Inn, which he appreciated so gracefully before lowering his head and entering the inn. He came here because of the news he had received earlier from his guard, which explicates of a Knight amongst the Midnights who had somehow survived the barbaric massacre. Luckily he was able to ride a horse all the way from the outskirts of Ascarvath to Fiergard. "How is he?"
—questioned King Dollie to the caretaker of the inn whose eyes by now were induced with optimism. "For now he's doing very well"
—replied the caretaker who was standing a few inches away from the King. "I see, can he speak?"
—The King asked again almost correspondingly, but this time with a curious approach. The caretaker could see this in the eyes of the King and knew he needed to be direct in his answers —"I'm not sure, it seems the killings had traumatized him. So I can't really tell if he's ready to—"My King!"
A faint voice suddenly appeared even before the caretaker could finish his response. It was clear, yet spasmodic which caught not only attention of King Dollie, but everyone who were present in the Inn. King Dollie subsequently walked towards the point from once it came. It was the voice of the only survivor, who had woken up and called upon the King the moment he saw him standing with the caretaker. "What's your name Knight?"
—The King asked as he knelt beside the bed of the incapacitated Knight. "Am.. Am Christopher Butler my King"
—sputtered the Knight with his voice breaking intermittently. King Dollie smiled gracefully and held Christopher's hand with a careful touch. He did this in an attempt to make him feel at ease with his company, even if Christopher seemed somewhat in awe of their surroundings.
"So Christopher can you tell me what happened?"
The King questioned with his tone now querulous and his lip drawn up, giving him joyful-like expression.
"Yes I can, isn't it the reason I kept myself alive at all cost?"
—Christopher replied rhetorically. His tone had completely undergo a metamorphosis similar to a butterfly. But unlike the slow nature of a butterfly metamorphosis, it underwent metamorphosis expeditiously. The King was particularly bewildered because of this. His flaccid foreskin above his eyes had widen, as well as the skin on his temple which contracted, giving him different expression in its entirety. However, King Dollie decided not to respond, feeling there was no need. Albeit Christopher never really expected a response as he immediately continued in the latter seconds—
"We had gotten to outskirts Ascarvath, but decided to make it our hermitage for the night, in an attempt to escape the darkness that came with it. We raised up a camp, build up a fire and fed the horses with apples and thickets. Little did we know, we weren't alone in darkness of Ascarvath. A few minutes had just passed midnight, perhaps the darkness most favorite period of the day and suddenly we were attacked, not just by anything abnormal or indifferent, but by Knights!"
—echoed the King—
"Can you remember their raiment or their insignia?"
If the King facial expression wasn't any more different before he asked this question, it was surely more different now.
"Indeed I certainly can! The Knights wore a cape, bearing the insignia of a dragon. This I wouldn't forget, not even in a million years"
The King's lenient eyebrows rose up above its axis, which resulted to a bewildered expression on his face. This response had seemingly caught him off guard, a rare occurrence for that matter. Not knowing what to do or say, instinct took over King Dollie which prompted him to shout vigorously—
"Those Dradox scums."
—questioned the puzzled Christopher who placed both his hands on thr bed and sat up.
"Yes, there is no mistaken it! There isn't any Kingdom in all the realms of Nerum who bears the insignia of a Dragon, except the Kingdom of Dradox."
If he wasn't galled before as he responded, the King was now completely furious. Alas now, while both his chains were springing in and out of his metallic raiment, he stood up galled with an obnoxious expression. As it were, the Kingdom of Dradox had always been somewhat of a scorn on his side that wouldn't go way. Nevertheless not ever did he think they would go as far as murdering his Knights in cold blood. As enraged as he was, King Dollie felt helpless as he glance at Christopher expectantly. He didn't often feel this helpless, at least not as much as this. He concluded he needed to do something, something more coarse than what they did.
"If it's war those scoundrels want, they would get the fiercest war this realm as ever witness."
In the intervening time, somewhere in the ensuring darkness of Ascarvath, it would seem King Dollie was been watched, but by who?
"Yes ... yes, thanks to Noatak false story, my plan should be fulfilled in no time."
Back around a thousands miles away from Nerum, Ivan was still stuck on his bed, seemingly caught profoundly within his cognizance of what had occurred on the cave earlier. For some reason his cognizance was plague with contemplation and doubt on what had happened during those subtle times inside the cave which he considered the beginning of something inexplicable. If anything he needed answers as soon as possible. Suddenly Ivan began to hear multiple turbulent sounds appearing outside the Inn which prompted him to pricked his ear hoping it was nothing but his self-induced hearing deceiving him as usual. Just then however, Ivan felt a loud barge on his door which shocked him to the point he literally jumped out of his bed. Approaching the door, Ivan was suddenly in the presence of a huge man who he hadn't seen before. The most noticeable traits about this particular man was his barbaric appearance. He was completely unclad, except a tiny raiment barely covering his genitals. His hair was pitched black and braided with his skin completely saturated. He had an oddly looking axe on his right-hand, perhaps made primitively. The man stared up at Ivan's face, but he ignored him blatantly and instead began to gaze through the room almost as if he was searching for something—
In the spur of his search, Ivan's sister Ara walked into the Inn.
"Ara get out of here!"
It was too late, the man vehemently took hold of Ara who screamed loudly, lugged her on his rigid shoulder and walked out of the Inn unhesitatingly. Ivan immediately followed suit, not wanting to lose her. As he came out of the Inn, it was at this moment Ivan realized the scale of destruction the barbarians had caused. There were at least more than 20 of them all with wild horses. They didn't just attacked this village randomly, they came for a purpose, a purpose that was almost accomplished. Ivan gashed his teeth and swallowed his spittle which had coalesced around his pharynx as he stood against the door of the inn. The barbarians destroyed everything in their path, houses were set ablaze, young girls who still hadn't given away their innocence were taken from their homes and men were beaten with wooden clubs. At first he's instinct prompted him to aid the villagers affected by this cruelty. This he ignored dexterously but instead pursued the barbarian who took his beloved sister. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him, ignoring anything in his path whether it be detrimental. Then in the heat of the chase, a horse suddenly bunch over him, knocking Ivan down with its hoof. Ivan fell completely flat on his face unto the muddy ground. He raise his head up feeling pathetically pitiful with himself and watched in terror as the man became more and more inconspicuous in the wake of a stampede made by the Barbarian horses. The thought of losing her was something he couldn't bare, as though he had lost her once in his previous time.
He shouted desperately!
Just then Ivan began to feel something brewing inside of him. It was a distinctive feeling that became dormant as a result of his heightened emotions. Lifting himself up, Ivan raised both his hands and felt an intense wind picking up almost as if he was manipulating them.
Then suddenly in the mist of chaos and a new found ability, a voice liberated out of the shadows..
"Your power has awaken!"