Authors note - This story is purely from my imagination, I do not own the rights to the characters. I am looking forward to reviews, there is more to this story already written and most of it is finished in my head but if people don't like this first taster chapter then I won't publish any more - sorry. So read and hopefully enjoy!xx
The Generals were arguing again and Valek was bored. He was attending the annual meeting between the Commander and the Generals of the 8 districts and it had been a long one. Finally, General Dinno stopped giving his report and the meeting was essentially over. The Generals started talking all at once and Valek sighed. The Commander banged his gavel loudly and silence descended.
"I have once more order of business before we adjourn for the night." The Generals looked around at each other, having no idea what the Commander could possibly want to discuss.
"I have, just this afternoon, received a letter from the King of Tertia." He paused and took in the faces around him. Valek sat up in attention. Tertia had removed itself from the conflicts between Ixia and Sitia long ago and had abstained from taking any sides. It ceased trading with both lands and neither helped nor hindered either side. As such it had been mainly ignored by all for many years. Now the conflicts had died down but Tertia still remained isolated, despite having borders with both lands.
"As we all no, many years ago we used to have a thriving trade agreement with Tertia which has stopped since the conflict." The Generals nodded in agreement. Tertia had some of the best manufacturers of satine, a rare silk-like material considered very opulent in Ixia and Sitia alike. They were also well-known for being extremely hard working and before the conflict Ixia would trade commodities not highly found in Tertia in exchange for labour. The good soil also produced high amounts of quality foods, which people of Ixia and Sitia missed since they no longer became available.
"The letter has asked for a meeting; the first of its kind since the conflicts started. It seems Tertia wishes to build bridges and open talks with us."
"Why?" Asked General Rasmussen .
"Why don't we ask the messenger?" Said the Commander with a glint in his eye. "Bring in the messenger!" He called.
The doors to the war room opened and in walked a cloaked figure, flanked on either side by two large, armed men. The figure stopped in front of the table. The Commander spoke.
"Tell the Generals, messenger, why the King wishes to send a delegation to meet with us."
The figure reached up and removed its hood. An audible intake of breath was heard from the Generals. Valek, who's interested had piqued at the mention of the King but then died down, had settled in for a long night and had barely looked at the messenger. The Generals reaction however caught his attention and he glanced towards the door. His eyes took in a floor length black cloak, and surprisingly delicate hands…His eyes shot up to the messengers face and connected with the most amazing eyes he had ever seen. The colour of golden honey, the messengers' eyes were hypnotic, like floating in a sea of amber. He tore his eyes away and took in a wave of long golden blonde framing a soft face and making her eyes stand out. The whole room seemed to stop breathing for a few seconds before the messenger spoke.
"Good evening gentlemen." Her voice was gentle and melodious. The room was transfixed. Even Valek was aware that he couldn't take his eyes off her. "My name is Aiyana. The King has sent me to you, to ask permission to send a delegation here, to open discussions regarding the joining of our two lands." When no-one responded she lowered her eyes shyly. The Commander cleared his throat, breaking the silence and snapping the Generals back into the moment. Valek swallowed for the first time in what seemed like hours and found his throat dry. He took a sip of the water in front of him and tried to concentrate.
"Who are you to speak for the King?" Asked General Hazel.
"The King is aging. The Princess is taking an ever increasing role in our lands day to day life. I am her personal handmaiden. She trusts me with the most intimate information about Tertia. I have been in her service since we were both very young. She trusts me with her life and I trust her with mine." The Generals seemed satisfied.
"Why now?" Asked General Kitvivan. "The conflict has been mostly over for a good few years."
"The King and the Princess have been monitoring events closely sir. They had to be sure that the conflicts would not rise again once we had made contact and draw us into something we didn't want to be involved in." Kitvivan nodded.
"And why us?" Said General Brazell loudly, seemingly the first to fully recover from her arrival and returning to his normal, brash self. "How do we know you are not making the same deal with Sitia to play us against each other?"
A small smile came to Aiyanas' lips. "The King, of course, does not wish any ill feelings to anyone from Sitia. But he does not necessarily agree with all they believe in. He feels that we have always been closer to Ixia, indeed Commander and he were once good friends. However, please be aware; should the Sitians offer the hand of peace to Tertia it will not be turned down."
The Commander relaxed back into his chair, looking as though he had already made up his mind about the delegation.
Aiyana continued on before Brazell could speak again. "The King recognises the relationship our lands once had and hopes that the people here will consider his offer to again be the neighbours we once were." She paused, making eye contact with each General in turn. "Of course, at present, you only have my word on the matter. The King and the Princess hope that this will be substantial enough for the delegation to be granted permission to come. All I can ask is that you trust the messenger standing before you. Although I know this will be a harder prospect for some of you than others." She added with a glint in her eye as she looked at Brazell. Valek chuckled to himself. Clearly Brazells reputation was known outside the boundaries of Ixia and Aiyana was prepared for him. The Commander also looked like he was trying not to smile. He cleared his throat as a distraction.
"And when would the delegation wish to arrive?" General Tesso had a very long way to travel back to his territory and clearly did not relish the idea of travelling the distance twice in quick succession.
"If the delegation is given clearance it will arrive in two weeks. It is a three day ride to the border, a further two days to the castle and it will take my lady a few days to prepare. My guards would leave immediately."
The Commander nodded and sat forward to end the questions. "Please excuse us briefly while we decide." She bowed her head in his direction and left the room with her guards.
After a short while of raised voices the door to the war room opened and the guard said, "You can come in now."
Aiyana re-entered the room with her guards and stood at the foot of the table.
There was a long moment of silence before the Commander spoke. Valek thought it commendable that her gaze never wavered from the Commanders face.
Finally he spoke. "Your request has been granted. Send for the delegation."