A/N: Sorry for not uploading this in like...5 months...but I had real world stuff to accomplish plus the transitionary spots were kind of iffy. Hope you guys like this and report anything you find wrong.
Glice's king will be named Gyles IV. You will get to see more of him next chapter.
New character intro is in this chapter. If you got lost, there's a character profile at the end of the chapter.
The silence is deafening. The water trickles by in peace, but I feel so cold. Oh so cold.
It treads up my pale skin and cools the feverish heat that plagues my body from my increasing anger. My spine tingles as the sensation crawls up like the beetles floating on the surface of the stream. The wonderful idea of sleep invades my thoughts, and I wish I could just sink under the tides to forget the troubles of war, depression, insomnia, monarchy, and death. Just such terrible deaths. Watching day after day of old blood seeping into my skin and causing it to turn a copper-red.
The smell was the worst.
My eyes bulge open as I realize something was not right. My body was slowly descending into the water as a hidden force continued to suppress it with the weight of the world…or a spell. My magic pulls on the foreign entity of another wizard, tainted with the horrors of pain and evil. Tears prickled at the corners of my eyes as fear grips me tightly and my fingers twitched in anticipation. Something wanted me dead, but not before I had a chance to kill it first.
Swerving around, I sent a wire of my shimmering magic that flowed with the powers of my words. Crowds of mockingbirds took flight and blinded me temporarily, "Denzel! Run before it's too late!"
He did not need a second command as he stubbornly stood there before running back to camp to find another capable wizard. My attention was stolen from me as another wave of spells tried to penetrate my protection wall that I threw up. I backed out of the icy waters that promised a peaceful end to my stress. My life.
A horde of warriors and wizards jumped from the forestry and ran at me at full force. Another earth spell later and trees grew horizontally to allow the soldiers to get across the river. Roars of battle cries lasted long enough for me to run away with my clothes, except for my boots, as I attempted to slip them on. When the final garment was brought over my head a good distance away from the river, a hurling ball of fire shot across my right side and nearly blistered my skin. I cursed at the spell caster that was suddenly standing in my way as the enemy's back up unit was surrounding us both.
I let anger pour into my words as a harsher fire of bright orange set ablaze the man's clothing as his own guard of men lifted their swords in defense. My head shook at the sheer number of men coming at me on all sides. Did they really need this many soldiers just to attack one Master Wizard? How ridiculous.
My feet blazed forward in the direction of the camp that was blocked off by the enemy. I wasn't that athletic in regards to my physical body, but I did know how to throw a punch or two. I ran close to the ground as I punched the packed soil to create a thick coating over my fist. The closest warrior swung his sword for a clean sweep of my head with a fierce cry to induce fear. I ducked low and used my momentum to drive my feet against his ankles until he fell backwards.
With swift actions, I brought my coated hands to send a powerful punch to his chest right in the sternum. If luck would have it, internal bleeding or a sternal fracture would be the death of him before he became a prisoner of some sorts. I turned on the soles of my feet and blasted a whip of water with a few simple words at the men gaining on my back. Another cry of soldiers pierced my ears as the rebellion group finally came to back me up from behind.
I continued to fight along side my fellow companions as my energy was slowly waning. I could fight for days I knew, but after traveling many miles drove a person to become tired especially with nightmares plaguing their minds. I crouched low to avoid another boulder being thrown around until a looming shadow eliminated my chance to move. The heels of my foot drove backwards and hit what I would assume to be a person's knee.
I tried to slip out of my captor's grip until a spew of blood gurgled from his side as a sword pierce his abdomen. The gigantic man fell to the ground and loosened his grip on me as I was finally able to be free of his extremely sweaty arms. Aldous gave me a thumbs-up and a wink before continuing his killing onslaught.
With a simple breath and wave of my wrist, water soaked another ambusher from head to toe before I sent a chilling wind to freeze him into ice. Before he took his final breath, our eyes caught each other as he growled a sneer at me. It was nice to know his final moments would be spent in humiliation as I froze him when he shot up a certain obscene gesture. I laughed bitterly as another soldier was thrown at the frozen statue and broke it to many pieces.
I looked around me as each enemy was taken down one by one. The blood made my insides cringe, but with each defeat meant one more victory for the good side. Many say that there are never "good" or "bad" people, just people who do bad or good things. No, they are all people who have good and bad thoughts but choose to be "good" or "bad" people. The things they do represent who their character is, therefore they are good or bad people.
Denzel came running up to me and smiled when he found no serious injuries, "Well it looks like our little Master knows how to defend herself."
"Of course, how else am I supposed to live on in life if I almost get killed where ever I go?" I stuck my hands on my hips and gave the dark man a disbelieving look.
"Ah my apologies," Denzel bowed low in a respectful, yet mocking, gesture as he swept his arm in and took a step back to give me more space. A kind smile reached his eyes as his brother greeted us both.
A few words were exchanged before one of the scouts shouted, "We found a survivor!"
We three passed a few injured soldiers that were being treated and haphazard dead bodies until we made our way through a small crowd circling a laying man in the woods. We parted them away from the suffocating warrior before I knelt in front of him as the man gave me a small smile, "You battle like a graceful crane Master Wizard."
"Tell me, what is your name my soldier?" I was highly confused as to why my enemy would give me such a tender gesture all the while complimenting me. All the men around me jumped as the man lifted his hand over his heart in a tired sort of fashion.
"My name is of no consequence. If you must, it is Mihkail," he said with a sigh as I gave him a stern look, "I am simply a petty foot soldier following orders unfortunately. At least it gives me a fair amount of money to survive." The man coughed up spots of blood the color of his crimson hair. His skin was slowly becoming paler by the second as I observed that he had a gash on his right side.
"Let me take a look at that wound," Mihkail hissed as I pried his hands from his jagged side and examined the flesh wound. With a tiny bit of energy, it was a bit easier healing this man than it did with Aldous the first time I returned back to this area. "I will not heal you all the way for obvious reasons, but if you could calmly stay with us we would like to ask you some questions."
Mihkail contently breathed as the pain was only a bitter lick at his side, "It is better than returning to that decaying castle…"
I looked deeply into his muddy eyes and saw the sadness hardening around the iris before standing up. His hand shot up to my arm before I could fully stand as a great number of swords lowered to Mihkail's neck. "Take your hand off the wizard before my sword takes it off," growled a random soldier in the mist of swordsmen.
The man did not flinch in the slightest as his intense gaze tried to penetrate my soul, "I thank you for sparing my life. I am in debt to your services." His weathered hand slipped away before his eyelids closed and he fell into a deep sleep. How can a man fall asleep in enemy territory, I do not know. What I do know is that this man is an odd one, yet his loyalty falls into those who deserve it in his eyes. Such a weird one he is, and hopefully he could help us somehow in the long run.
My feet carried me away as the morning sun was slipping into the afternoon and the hours passed by without any further disturbances. I could not stop wondering about how our mysterious captive was doing. Denzel and Vincent have not left Mihkail's tent since his arrival and it irks me to not know what was going on. I walked away from the camp to exam the former battlefield that took place not too long ago. Most of the enemies were buried by now, and only a few of my comrades stuck around for the clean up.
Men were slaving around with shovels as another huge hole was made for their warriors that decided to stick with the king that neglects his people. One of the capable wizards shouted a flame spell to ignite the dead bodies before the ashes died out, and the men covered the graves one by one. Many stopped to stare at me as I stood before the first freshly sealed grave.
I sent a small pray to Glenn's god before whispering a small incantation. In my folded hands bloomed one of the simplest funeral flowers that I dearly loved to create. I laid my white calla lily on the small grave before moving onto a much bigger grave in which the men must have realized burying one soldier at a time would waste precious energy.
The workers silently watched as I continued with my procession. Some whispered about how the former Master Wizard of Viegald was well known for this difficult magic and how well I was at performing this technique. At a particularly large mound, I casted a vast combination of blue irises, white carnations, and baby's breath as I breathed a word of sorrow for the families who would not see their beloved another night. On the last grave that I could bless with my spell besides the others that were yet to be buried, I conjured two white roses. I ripped off one of the roses petals and waited as the many others watched the petals fall ceremoniously to the pile of dirt. The other was placed at the end of the grave facing west in the dying sun.
Others merely stood struck at my act of kindness even though I was not "one of them." I walked away from the demising carnage and took in the last remaining rays of sunshine. I smiled at the brief moment of peace and felt the ground through bare feet as I forgot to put my shoes back on considering putting on shoes in the middle of running away would not have worked out so well.
The earth was moist from most of the shade the forest provided, and yet some spots were dry from the constant shine of sun. Leaves cracked and sprung back to life in a wilted sort of way as I walked over them. The grass was sweet in appearance and tickled the bottom of my feet. I wondered how that man was doing with his slightly healed wounds considering he was a prisoner, and the twins must have certain interrogative techniques if Mihkail proved to be difficult.
I played with a yellow dandelion that I found earlier and walked around the bustling camp. Some waved when taking a small break from their continuous work. Young men were sharpening their blades as others were working on the final proportions of food for dinner tonight. The smell of deer meat and fragrant spices only known to Glice country filled the small area as others sniffed around in hopes that the food was done. I laughed as a particular soldier was whacked across the head for trying to sneak some stew away.
I was enjoying a small crash course on how to make a straw bracelet with one of the scarred veterans when a messenger from Denzel requested for my assistance. I said my farewell and slipped the makeshift jewelry on my dainty wrist. The single blue bead and dandelion shown faintly in the orange hue of the setting sun.
The boy lifted the tarp up for me to enter as Mihkail and the twins waited for me to take a seat. The orange glow of light cascade over me until the flap was finally closed and we were left in silence.
"How are the others doing Mel?" Vincent greeted me with a nod of his head and a warm grin.
"Everyone is just fine. Most of the other soldiers are being buried and burned. Just a few moments ago I visited them and left flowers for their graves. The remains are being treated with the most respect that you can afford."
Denzel's tense body turned to me and questioned, "Meaning?"
"Most have to be buried in the same plot of land instead of each getting a personal mound and none have any marked grave besides the customary cross."
"As long as you aren't desecrating their remains, I do not have any problem with how they are laid to rest." A kind smile lifted Mihkail's features until he winced from the wound in his side.
"And the wound? Is it proving to be too difficult to handle? No torture from these two by any chance?"
"No. The prisoner is proving to be corporative with our cause and is actually more giving than we bargained for," Vincent eyed the injured man suspiciously, "Which leads to my previous question, why is it that you have never joined us and yet are willing to betray the King?"
"Understand this. I have an older sister that I must protect and fed though we are basically poor. They only real way we can eat every night is to work for that man. Without him, she can starve and I can't let that happen after a promise I made to her former husband. I am for your cause, but my duties lie with my family first."
"And why should we trust an enemy soldier like you?" Denzel glared at him at what seemed like the umpteenth time. His arms crossed over his chest in a defensive gesture as if waiting for a harsh comeback.
"You have no need to trust me. Either you believe me or not." Mihkail had a blank stare on his chiseled face as he watched for the leader's reaction.
"Why you no good son of a-"
"Denzel," Vincent warned slightly with just a look in his eyes.
"Vincent, Denzel…may I have a word with Mihkail for a bit."
"My pleasure," Denzel swiftly took leave of the cloth tent with his patient brother following him at a much slower pace. Vincent gave a slight bow before exiting the shelter.
The silence stretched on as I took the spot where Denzel had been sitting. His brown eyes gazed at me with curiosity before they softened and addressed me politely, "You are much too kind. A nice refresher from having to talk with those two all day."
"It is nice to know that I could make you feel better considering you are staying within enemy territory…even if you are one of the attackers aiming to end my life." I gave him one of those stares I usually reserved for people like my King. Cold, but attentive and non-threatening.
"Very chilling words from such a beautiful person. Do not get me wrong, I am not interested but you cannot deny your beauty Master Wizard."
"Call me Merleawe. I truly do hate such formalities outside the court. It does not promote friendship in my experience, only distance. Why are you complimenting me as much as you are?" His words confused me, and for some reason the idea of him trying to soften me up did not sit well. Many have already tried this method on me before stabbing the metaphorical knife in my back.
"I merely state the truth. I have no real reason to appeal to your better side, but I find you more comforting to talk to. Your personality reminds me of my sister. Cold and political on the outside, but you know that there has to be something kinder in her soul with the way her eyes are always so bright and hopeful."
"If you were of my country, you would know why my eyes dream of something more than just destruction that the rest of the human population seems to reap." I kept my gaze steady with his to show no sign of weakness. If what he said about him protecting his sister earlier was true, then I was nothing like that sister of his, "I am not like you sister in the least. I do not require the aid of a sibling in order to survive, personality or not."
"Still, I cannot help but think of you as her."
I sighed as I sat there with him humming a happy tune. I wondered vaguely if he was loonier than I was. My head cocked to the side as I recognized the happy tune vibrating in his throat, "Tell me, is that the Swallow's Serenade?"
"Ah you know of this? Most of the later generations have forgotten the traditional songs in exchange for the heroes of today. Yes, the Swallow's Serenade was taught to me by my grandmother before she passed away." His eyes brightened at the memories flashing before his eyes that I could not see before they darkened for a brief moment.
"It's a beautiful song. My mother learned it as she met a traveling jester who needed some directions. In return, he taught her the song before heading off. Both my brother and I learned it from her."
"Older or younger brother?"
"See Merleawe. We are not too different in respect to our placement in our lives. Usually it's the older that takes care of the younger, except you have more responsibilities than I would ever care to take upon myself." A smirk stretched his pale lips as his eyes laughed at me.
"Then that makes me the 'bigger man' compared to you," I added a chuckle at the end for good measure. His company was not horrible to behold and it seemed we were more alike, but duty comes first. "What exactly did the twins ask of you?"
"Just the who, what and why."
"The King asked for the murder of the rebellion. He became most dire about it after some spies watching the group saw you appear. You caused quite a stir at the castle," Mihkail laughed as the image of an enraged King Gyles IV going about all flustered, "As for the why, you are the Master Wizard of Viegald. We have noticed a change in your king so it would be best if Glice were to install some degree of fear into your king, no? What better way to do so than to kill off his protection."
"I understand. I just do not know if I should trust you with this. If you speak the truth, then…" The sounds of the dinner bell rang, but I could not move from my spot. The endless possibilities rushed through my head as battle strategies played out. If his information was plausible, then we may have a chance at a surprise ambush. From the inside.
"I speak the truth. Now what is it that you are thinking Merleawe?" His eyebrows were drawn in together in curiosity. He looked innocent, but in my profession you are to never to believe in the word of an individual until it is the most crucial moment or evidence has been shown.
"That is for me to know, and you to play out. I am sorry, but I cannot risk the rebels' lives in return for telling you such delicate information. For all I know, you are a spy and have some sort of network relaying your findings to King Gyles IV."
"I guess I was a bit too hopeful. Maybe after this, we can be friends," Mihkail smiled warmly at me as a blush adorned my cheeks. The heat was infuriating as I should not show any weakness to the enemy. I was surprised this man even dared to betray his king by being friendly with our group and ratting out the man's emotions.
"Maybe someday, Mihkail. Maybe."
Merleawe : Main Character
Current Master Wizard of Viegald. Her nickname is Mel to those who know her well. Her looks resemble the last Master Wizard, Sylth, and was posing as him until his supposed death. As of late, she has been experiencing some menacing nightmares so her personality has changed just a bit. She is now currently in Glice country where civil war has broken out once again. This time, no words will be able to win the battle and calm the rebellion's anger.
Denzel: Leader of the Glice Rebellion
Him along with his twin Vincent are the two leaders of the rebellion against the Glice Kingdom. The two share a special connection with King Gyles IV that won't be revealed just yet(can you guess?). He is a massive man with dark skin, black hair and obsidian eyes. He has a hot temper that is hard to control, but is a great leader that knows how to lead his soldiers out of difficult situations. Behind his tough exterior is a warm heart that worries over everyone else's well-being. Him and Mel met when the first rebellion between him and Gyles IV earlier last year. Her kind efforts and abilities to heal forced Denzel to give the King a second chance even if him and many others voted against it at first.
Vincent: Vice Leader of the Glice Rebellion
This guy loves to talk in long paragraphs and is wise enough to ramble like an old man. His advice is helpful and he is usually the mediator in most conflicts. His leadership skills rivals his brother and they look just alike. Vincent prefers to work in the background to watch all of the action rather than take the credit for all the glory. His calm attitude allows him to evaluate the situation to figure out the best possible solution to any problem.
Aldous (pronounce Al-da-us): Second of Command under Vincent
Mel found him underneath the carnage of a battlefield the time she returned to settle the current situation. His almost death was saved from its end when Mel was able to heal him and bring him to the rebel campsite. His bright eyes hope for better days as he believes that the rebellion will bring happier days without the over-taxing of the king. He is a happy-go-lucky guy who is usually found making trouble and sneaking food. His skill with the blade can outmatch anyone at the camp besides his two leaders.
Mihkail (pronounced Me-kale): Wounded prisoner of war
New character introduced. Hair is the color of blood and dark brown eyes like mud. He has a kind soul and wishes no one pain, but chooses to serve King Gyles because any other job could not support him and his sister(not to mention the other kids he bring home from time to time). His ideals suit those of the rebellion so he will now choose to serve the rebels though his cover will be like a prisoner of war. He is a natural kiss up and wants to make anyone happy if he likes them so get used to him randomly complimenting Mel.