!BEFORE YOU READ!
A/N: This is another mini sub series that I have written from the King-Merchant story between Tezuka and Fuji. I suggest you read the other two that I have written, Everguard being the first installation and Royal Attendance being the second.
I hope you enjoy this installation as I did writing it :]
The sky was dark and many feared that it would rain that day. It had been a rough year.
After the cold season, the nobles had what they called the Peace and Reason Meeting. Every noble in Everguard would attend a meeting with the king, lest they be royal merchants or royal guards that simply watch the gates, they were to attend and discuss problems together as loyal servants to Everguard. It worked for many generations and was known to keep the peace between countries.
During the last meeting, Venshinen guards attended as well to show their roles and partnership with the Everguardians. There was no tension between the two noble classes from different countries. Instead they spoke as if longtime friends. It was a good meeting overall, all except for one thing.
"What do you mean a war?!" Tanis yelled smacking his palm onto the large table.
"The Akandeshen have sought to take over our land. My father and Venshard's king are forming forces to ready themselves before they hit Everguard. They'll have to go through the Lauten Fort before hitting Everguard. It gives us time to ready ourselves." the king said with eyes closed, furrowing his eyebrows. He was annoyed, angered. He hadn't slept in about 3 days, probably more. He wasn't sure anymore.
Tanis looked at him and the rest of the nobles with his mouth wide open in disbelief. "What the hell are you talking about? We just avoided a war with these guys now we have to avoid another?!" he yelled pointing at the Venshard nobles. They stared at him. "No offense." He said in a lighter tone raising a hand.
The Venshie's shook their heads, letting the insult pass by. He obviously angered them but they weren't ready to throw punches. The situation was already bad as it is. Besides this was a Peace and Reason Meeting, they were here to make Peace not corrupt it.
"Tanis, know your place." his father, Seric Hunter said placing a hand on his son's shoulder and sitting him back down. He played a big role in this after all. After Tanis was born he kept his role as a trader amongst Everguard and the other encampments in the south and west. He was also a formidable accountant for the King or better yet, Tezuka's father.
Tanis sat down with a frown. "Father, there must be a way to stop this. We can't fight a war for absolutely no purpose. We've done nothing; we've done nothing but keep this land in our hands."
Seric shook his head with a slight smile. "Son, you have to understand, aside from Tanhuer being the wealthiest, we are the strongest and most respected city in all of Gether. Tanhuer may be rich, but they are not strong nor do they hold power." Tanis stared at his father and shook his head.
"Then why us?"
"Maybe because we have the Healing Spring at bay." They heard someone say out loud. Everyone turned to look at Fuji. No one had taken notice at the quiet smiling merchant, who wasn't smiling anymore. Tezuka looked at Fuji and wondered at what he had said. "Sir Seric is right, we are the most powerful city in Gether but what makes us invincible is our Healing Spring. Say a war were to hit, we would never falter in battle. We have the Spring at our advantage." everyone turned to each other and nodded in agreement.
"Not only that but have you all forgotten that all the Akandeshen have ever wanted is power and control over the greatest of lands? They've taken Urceol, Genfuridal, Shohain, and now they seek to take the land of Gether." Fuji said crossing his arms across his chest and began to think. "If Everguard, Tanhuer and perhaps with the permission of the Venshard nobles," he said nodding at them "We may stand a chance against the Akandeshen." Tezuka looked at Fuji in amazement. It was the first time he had ever heard the merchant speak so nobly and brave. He was smart, far smarter than he ever deemed him to be. He would make a fine queen. He frowned at the thought. 'Queen…'
Seric smiled at his once "adoptive" son and was overcome with a sense of proudness for him. He had certainly climbed a long way from where he once stood. "Sir Fuji is right. The Akandeshen have only fought to seek power and now they want our land. I'll send a message to Fedsar. We're going to need their help." Seric said looking at the king. The king nodded.
"How will Fedsar help us?" a Venshard noble asked. He didn't believe that Fedsar would help them even if they were allied with Everguard.
Tanis shifted in his seat and looked at the other noble. "Because we have done a great deal to help them in their previous affairs between the Boshen and Tenshal Estates. Besides, you're with us now Zanki, you have nothing to fear." Zanki looked at Tanis and thought about what he had just said.
Zanki was a Venshard noble with tanned skin and green eyes. His hair was light as Fuji's and was slicked back. It was common among the Venshinen; having light eyes and tanned skin along with light hair was not a mystery. It made him look important, which he was. He led the Venshinen to victory countless of times on the battlefield.
Fedsar was off to the north of Gether. They were located in a very cold area. Their warm season consisted of a temperature no more than 50 degrees and their cold season consisted of a temperature below zero. Despite their extreme climate, people lived and sometimes even went off to live in Fedsar. They were well taught in the area of hunting in harsh weathers and well trained in hunting overall, far better than the Tanhueran.
People from Fedsar, Saran's, had held a grudge against Venshard for a war they started about 150 years ago. Each time they came across each other, which was rare, they would bare their weapons and stare at each other with utter hatred, though blood was never spilled but the tension was clear.
Tezuka thought about Seric's idea of asking for Fedsar's help and wondered of the problem between the Venshinen and the Saran's. It could be an event far greater than anyone could ever dream of. The Venshinen and the Saran's side by side for the first time in 150 years. He thought about how that would leave or alter Everguard's power and respect, and then of course the thoughts of the town folk. They would be overjoyed but scared knowing the truth of the Akandeshen's plans for them.
"They hold a handful of mages and sorcerers am I right?" Tezuka asked rubbing his temples. It was too much to absorb the amount of information floating around the meeting room.
Fuji looked around when no one answered. Had he been the only noble who ventured that far throughout Gether? He knew he was a merchant but that was no excuse. He blushed and looked down at his hands. "Yes your majesty. They have trained a great amount of sorcerers and mages since after the last season. They hold over 50 to 100 men. "Fuji's face turned a shade darker than it already was. He knew he was in a meeting room among nobles but he'd never addressed Tezuka as Majesty. It was the first time he had ever done so and it felt awkwardly embarrassing.
Tanis looked at Fuji and then at Tezuka. He felt a great surge of anger coursing through his body and yelled. "I don't care who we get or what the reason is, Everguard should not fight!" Seric tried to calm his son but Tanis shoved him off. "We have to think about the children and the people of this city. What'll happen to them if war touches this place, huh?! What'll happen to the peace your father tried so hard to keep?!" everyone looked at Tanis, astonished.
Fuji stared at Tanis, surprised that he would look down at his best friend. Tezuka stared back somewhat surprised but cleared his throat. "You should use that anger towards the Akandeshen, Tanis. There's no reasoning to be done with them. They've gone through great lengths to prove they want to overpower us." Tanis stared at the king and frowned.
"Your father would find a way." he said with disdain.
Fuji stood up. "Tanis!" He stared at him and Tanis stared back shaking his head in disappointment.
Tanis opened his mouth to say something but closed it realizing where they were. He sighed, glancing between Tezuka and Fuji, he chuckled. "Alright, looks like you won't be needing my opinion then." Tanis escorted himself out.
Fuji glanced at Tezuka and then followed the nobleman. "Tanis! Wait!" he followed him past the gates of the Manse. "Wait I said!" he yelled grabbing ahold of Tanis' wrist.
Tanis stopped abruptly and looked at Fuji in anger. Fuji shrank back in fear. He's never seen him this angry before, he's never even seen anger touch those lips, those eyes and that face. Tanis pushed them towards the courtyard and pushed Fuji up against a wall, placing his lips roughly against Fuji's. No one was around because they were attending the meeting but still…
Fuji pushed Tanis but he wouldn't budge. "Mmff.." Tanis finally let go of him and he smacked Tanis hard across the face making Tanis' face turn to the side. "Don't," he took in a deep breath. "Ever kiss me again." Tanis looked away, pained, hurt and rejected. The wound that he thought had once closed was now fully opened and Fuji had poured salt all over it. "I come here to calm you and instead you do something like that. What is wrong with you?" he said the last part softly, his eyes never straying away from the newly formed red hand print on his face.
"Your beloved king is endangering the lives of everyone. He is going to show us blood, not peace. I was taught to bring peace to Everguard not destruction, not bloodshed." Tanis replied not looking at the merchant.
"He's doing everything he can. That doesn't mean you have the right to insult him, no less in front of the nobles." Fuji said softly rubbing Tanis' clothed chest. He was trying to calm him. It used to work when he was younger and he hoped it worked now. "He needs your support more than anything. You're his best friend and the best man to lead this war for Everguard. He needs you Tanis." he said smiling up at Tanis.
Tanis shook his head and held onto Fuji's hand. "What about Everguard? What happened to the peaceful lifestyle we once were so proud of? Are you going to let him strip that away from us?" Tanis looked at him painfully.
Fuji was somewhat shocked to see how much Tanis had cared for this city. How much he had grown to love the towns' folk regardless of those who would mistreat him. He still wanted to protect them. He was upset because if they suffered, he would too.
"There's nothing we can do Tanis." it was incredibly hot. Tanis was too close to him, if anyone saw them they'd suspect something was going on between them. He gently pushed Tanis so that they were at a decent distance and smiled trying not to be rude.
Tanis looked at him and frowned. "Maybe you say that because you love him too much to argue." Fuji felt the pain dig itself into his chest. He kept his smile but he was breaking inside. How could Tanis say that?
"I'm thinking about this country too Tanis. I want peace more than anything but it can't always be like this." Fuji whispered looking down.
Tanis shook his head and scoffed. "You're just like them. Fine, I'll go talk to his father. He'll disapprove of his son's actions. I'm not going to let him ruin everything his father worked for." Tanis turned around.
"He already approved."
Tanis froze and looked up at Tezuka. "I rule this city, this land, this country. I know what is right for us and what's wrong. I was taught by the same person you look up to and now you're looking down on him. My father has done everything I wish I could do to know before we were informed of the war. He did everything and ended up with nothing. I believe he and I have thought this over and over without ever stopping to think of the town folk." Fuji and Tanis stared at the king as he raised his voice. They'd never seen him so furious, yet they both knew that he was restraining himself. "This is the only choice. I do not wish this upon this city, upon us or myself. But if there is no other way, I say we try to fight without giving in. A warrior doesn't reason with enemies. The only reasoning there is, is between our swords and our blood." Tezuka finished. He sighed and placed a hand on Tanis' shoulder, looking into those light green eyes of his. "Fight with me Tanis. I need you. Everguard needs you."
Tanis looked down and then looked at Fuji who nodded at him. He faced Tezuka again and smiled for the first time this dark, cloudy noon. "Alright brother. I'll fight with you." Tezuka smiled and shook his hand.
"I'm glad to hear that." Fuji said smiling at them.
Tanis turned to face Fuji and looked down ashamed. Tezuka hadn't noticed. A noble came up to them overjoyed to notice that Tanis and Tezuka were on good terms once more.
Many knew of their friendship and many approved of it. They would say that as long as Tezuka had a fine nobleman at his side that the land of Gether and all its problems were no longer a real threat. After all, a king couldn't lead or rule land all by himself without a right hand man. Seric would smile at their friendship. There was no friendship more pure and important than what they had. Just like Kuniharu had said. He would make a fine asset to Everguard and he was proud of it.
Tezuka excused himself from Tanis and Fuji, leaving them in an awkward silence.
Fuji had slapped the nobleman.
Tanis had kissed the royal merchant knowing the story between him and the king.
He felt like an ass now. He couldn't control himself. He touched his face.
But Fuji shouldn't have been that harsh either. He thought about the words he spat out with such anger.
'Don't ever kiss me again.'
It tore right through him.
"I don't like this." he heard Fuji say breaking the tension between them. He followed Fuji's gaze which was glued to Tezuka's figure. He looked back at Fuji in question. "If there really is a war to come," Fuji placed a hand over his mouth and his eyes began to tear. He knew that this was a horrible manly trait, not knowing what to do when someone cries in front of you was probably the worst feeling every man shared. It was a man's worst weakness. He didn't know what to do so he just stared at Fuji. "If," Fuji sniffed and took a deep breath trying to relax himself. "If there is a war to come... He will have to fight." Fuji turned his gaze away from the king, pained and scared.
He hadn't thought of that. He knew that they would fight but if the king fought, what would happen? Anything could happen. They would stand vulnerable. It was best that he stood protected in the Manse but he knew Tezuka well, he would not back down. Then he was struck with an idea.
"I know a way we could avoid a fallen king."
Since that meeting, Fuji had gotten ten times more the service than he had ever gotten in all his years as a merchant. He had to ask for Yuuta's help and his little brother came to his aid.
Once the news spread through the noble quarters of the oncoming attack with the Akandeshen, people he had never even seen before came to buy weapons of all sorts. It was tiring.
The shop was somewhat empty. "Fuji!" he heard his little brother yell as he stepped into the back room. "Sir Seric is here to see you." Fuji smiled and turned to run into his "fathers" arms. Seric hugged him and rubbed his back lightly as if he was five years old.
"Father." He said happily. Seric chuckled and released the merchant.
"You've grown quite tall since the last I saw you." Seric turned to face Yuuta. "As have you son." he said smiling.
Yuuta extended his hand towards Seric and Seric took it. Yuuta shook his hand like an accountant would to an important client and smirked. "What brings you here?"
Seric frowned. "Am I not allowed to see how successful my sons have become?"
Fuji smiled. "Of course not. I'm glad you came." his smile not faltering at all.
"I'm no noble." Yuuta said. Seric and Fuji just shook their head at the comment. They knew that Yuuta just didn't accept it yet. He didn't know how they were given nobility without doing anything. Somehow Fuji felt guilty, if not, wrong. He never wanted to take advantage of the king's power; he never even thought that the king would grant him this life.
Before the last time they saw each other and shared the same bed, he had thought that Tezuka was only using him.
Seric looked around and looked at Fuji. His smile gone and his face determined. Tanis had most definitely gotten a perfect mixture of both his parents' features. Tanis had sleek and smooth like skin compared to his father who had tough skin. He had got his father's eyes, and his father's mischief look. Most of Tanis' behavior came from Sir Seric and even his voice was somewhat close to his fathers. The only problem with Tanis' voice was that his father's was more demanding unlike Tanis. But the rest was his mother's.
Fuji looked at Seric, waiting, knowing he would say something about the war. "Tanis has come up with a good plan for when the Akandeshen arrive at Lauten Fort."
Fuji felt his stomach do a backflip. The Akandeshen were 5 days away. He was scared for everyone he had tried to protect; everyone who was protected by the king would suffer. Just thinking about it he grew angry. It made him hate the Akandeshen more.
"He has spoken to Brant," Seric looked at him and waited for it sink. Fuji nodded remembering the Tanhueran assassin. It almost made him laugh but he bit his bottom lip to stop it from escaping. "Brant has decided to round up the assassins from Tanhuer and parts of Kalken. He plans on splitting them into groups. A group for Everguard, Lauten Fort and Venshard." Seric ran his hand through his hair and continued. "Since Tanhuer is past Everguard, they don't need a group but.." Seric trailed off looking around nervously.
"Brant doesn't know how many he can rile up." Yuuta finished for him.
Fuji looked at both of them, piecing everything together. "Why not? They're fighting to keep Gether safe."
Yuuta shook his head. "Assassins aren't made that way." Yuuta paced up and down the small area of the counter. "They could care less for Gether, all they want is to add a tomb to their collection. They want gold for killing. Whoever pays the most the more they are willing to fight." Yuuta explained.
Assassins were greedy, cocky and very Independent. They always took up jobs that paid the most. Very few of them actually declined jobs based on who they were from. He knew Brant Vasston was an assassin who thought more strategically than most assassins. He was one who thought of the consequences of a kill and how it would affect his business with people or affect the people around the deader.
"But if Brant is going to talk to them, wouldn't that mean that they'd follow his word? He's an assassin after all." Fuji didn't know much of assassins. He only knew they killed without a trace and were paid for it by their clients.
Seric shook his head. "It's really hard to answer that knowing that all assassins fight to be the best, they try to become legends. The more they're known for their work, the more gold lands on their table along with jobs." Seric scratched the back of his head. "I doubt the king will say no to the idea but I doubt he'll pay them in return." Fuji pondered at the thought.
If it was for Everguard then he may be willing to pay.
"Tanis said it was a good idea. He spoke to me of what this war might do to corrupt our own king. He wishes to not see the king fight. Now I understand why he didn't want Everguard to fight, to stand up and reason some sort of peace." Seric sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. "If this war begins, the king's life will without a doubt be endangered." Yuuta's eyes widened at Seric's words and Fuji looked away. He knew it would. "So when Tanis mentioned to have Brant guard the King during the war inside the Manse, I figured it was a good idea. Not just our king but Venshard's king, and our former king who resides in Lauten Fort." Fuji smiled.
Tanis' idea was this. Have the assassin's fight for us; have his mentor guard the king. The only problem was if the assassin's would accept and the king would agree, then Tezuka would stay inside the Manse while his people fought for Everguard. His heart was pounding. He didn't want to lose Tezuka. He was not only the kindest King to replace his father but he was kind to him as well. He truly believed that despite their time separated from each other, they were capable of loving one another. He wanted to truly believe it.
"Yuuta, come with me to the training grounds." Fuji suddenly said startling both of them.
Yuuta smiled and formed a fist at his side. "Alright! I know that look." Yuuta's smile extended from ear to ear. Yuuta hurried to the backroom and took his sword. Fuji followed.
Seric looked at them confused. Was there something he had just missed? "What are you guys doing?"
Fuji returned from the backroom as well with his Longbow and daggers at his side. "We're fighting a war right? Then we shall polish our skills and prepare ourselves for it." Seric smiled at their bravery and nodded.
He looked at Yuuta and paused. "Wait," Fuji said. "Switch to a different sword. You may be strong but you aren't capable of wielding a Broadsword." Yuuta protested but complied.
If every noble was ready to fight with all they got, then so was he. He had to try even if he knew the risks were high, he would try to protect Everguard, the people that nestled here, and he would try to protect the king. He wasn't prepared to lose Tezuka. He gripped his Longbow and took in a deep breath trying to hide his nervous state. "Let's go."
"Can you just listen to me before you walk away?" Tanis tried not to yell as he followed Tezuka down the hallway of the Manse.
Tezuka turned around abruptly making him come to a halt. "I will not sit here and watch my people die. Everguard needs a leader, I shall be their leader. I shall fight alongside them. My training would have no use if I do not fight for Everguard. What king cowers and hides as their men fight?" Tezuka said sharply. Tanis could see the anger in his eyes and he knew the pain of not fighting for his country but they needed a king, not a dead one.
"I understand that, I do." Tezuka began walking down the hall, his cape following him. He tilted his head. He wondered what happened to the one he brought a year ago at Fuji's shop. Tanis followed Tezuka again. "I understand you want to fight but what good would Everguard be without a king? If you die in battle, we would be left with nothing but this land for the Akandeshen to take over. We would be overtaken by them." They entered a room he recognized as the Chamber's office. "Do you want that Tezuka? Do you want Everguard to be another forgotten town and become part of the Akandeshen's plan of ruling over Gether? What would happen to your people, to me, to my father, to your father, to the Venshinen who trusted us and allied with us, to your mother, and what would happen to Fuji?" Tanis said the last part coming out softer.
He knew that if the Akandeshen were to take over, they would violate the women, they would kill the children, they would make the Everguardian's work for them. Fuji was known to be very feminine and every man that walked through his shop did not shame himself from looking at him with lust filled eyes. He could only imagine what the Akandeshen would do to him. "We need you as a king and a leader but we do not need a dead king. We need a strong king who puts his people first."
Tezuka looked down. His hand was balled up into a fist. "I need to fight with my people."
"I'm sorry your majesty but I agree with my apprentice." Tezuka heard from behind him. He turned around and nearly fell back as the assassin had now dropped from the ceiling and landed in front of him without a sound, still kneeling and placing a hand over his chest. It was rare to see a Tanhueran assassin give the king respect but Brant knew the king well, especially his father, he liked the way they worked to keep a small town free from harm, nonetheless a country. It was no easy task. Brant only wished that he could be of some service to his own king if he wasn't a fat, lazy snob who preferred eating on all the gold the people gave him.
"Your majesty," Brant started still staying in his kneeling position the way the Everguardian's did. He always wondered how the royal guards could always do the same action over and over but as he did it now, it felt odd. He felt like he was giving this person more power than he had. He was Brant Vasston, the top assassin of Tanhuer and here he was kneeling before, not the Tanhuer king, but the king of Everguard. He was giving him power by showing him respect. He was not used to it. "Young Tanis is right. You are in no position to fight a war which jeopardizes your throne and your country." He glanced up and saw the king begin to protest but cut him off. "I have convinced seven assassins from Tanhuer and Kalken to watch over your father in Lauten Fort, the king of our former ally in Venshard and you as well your majesty." Brant finished.
Tanis stared at his mentor in awe. He was definitely the best of the best. No one could simply convince assassin's to fight a war in which did not concern them. "I have also taken my time and have scouted Fedsar your majesty," Brant took out a piece of parchment and handed it to the king. "This is their reply."
Tezuka took the parchment. He was in between anger and shocked at the assassin's brave actions, truly. But Brant had gone too far to notify the Saran's without his approval. He wasn't sure yet if he should ask Fedsar for help against the Akandeshen. He still had to consider the tension between them and the Venshinen. He opened the piece of parchment and on it were words.
'Son of Kuniharu,
The Akandeshen have proven to be Gether's worst enemy since the war between my people and the Vensinen. I have no doubt that the Akandeshen will soon take over our land along with its people. For the sake of your father's wishes to have a peaceful and calm land between towns and estates and for the sake of my people, we the Saran's have decided to fight alongside with the Venshinen and with the Everguardian's. Gether is our land and I will not stand to watch as the Akandenshen destroy it as it destroyed our sister country, Genfuridal. We shall arrive within three days and two nights. Let us bring an end to the Akandeshen once and for all.
Fedsar Ministry of Gether,
Tezuka stared at the piece of parchment. Fedsar would help. They approved to help Everguard, no, Gether. There was such joy that filled him as he looked over it once more. The people of Gether would not stand down. If they lost, they would go down trying. He looked down at Brant and smiled. A new perspective rising as he now looked at the assassin from the wealthy town of Tanhuer. "Brant Vasston, how many shall assist Lauten Fort and Venshard?" he asked trying not to give way too many emotions.
Brant stood up and Tezuka quickly took a step back. Brant Vasston, the greatest assassin of this day was taller than him, probably three or four inches taller than he was. How was that possible? This man had taught Tanis Hunter the best techniques and fighting skills of all of Gether?
He was quite handsome. Tezuka assumed a ladies man as well. He had slightly tanned skin with bright green eyes. They would have contained more life if he hadn't seen much death within his time living but he could tell that his father had done right to keep this assassin in their hands. What better way to keep an assassin mentor with one of the many wealthiest noblemen in all of Everguard, the Hunter's.
Tezuka could tell Brant was pretty taut and lean just as Tanis was underneath his tunic. He carried a Shortbow instead of a Longbow and a sword instead of daggers. Was he really Tanis' mentor?
Brant looked at Tezuka. "I have assigned two of them to guard Lauten Fort, two to guard Venshard and three to guard Everguard. I will personally keep you protected, your majesty" Brant explained, slightly bowing at the last part. Tezuka looked away in thought.
Would the town folk claim him a coward if he stood in the Manse? What would they say after they find out that Venshard, Tanhuer, Fedsar and the Assassins have agreed to protect them? Would they be upset and doubt his power? There was only one way to find out.
"People of Everguard!" Fuji heard in the distance. He stood up tall and turned around, totally unguarded. Yuuta came out of the bushes and yelled, obviously giving away his position and charged toward his brother. Without looking Fuji ducked as the sword swung above his head and swiped his foot against Yuuta's. Yuuta fell to ground hard again and groaned.
Fuji shook his head with a smile. "Come on, the king has an announcement." Fuji said and quickly headed to the main square. Yuuta soon followed him, slightly limping.
Fuji reached the main square and looked up at Tezuka as he stood on the wooden pallets his father had once stood on a year ago.
"I have an announcement to make." Tezuka looked at all the people that gathered around him, their faces joyful, happy and waiting for his announcement. He would be the cause of their despair today. He would have to notify them of the coming war. "I believe I have terrible news." he paused and looked at the faces that still did not falter their smiles. "My father has tried to avoid a war to ever strike Everguard since his reign. I have tried to void it as well but it seems that as of now it's inevitable." some of the people placed a hand over their mouths to stop the gasp that escaped their lips. "My father has sent word to me that the Akandeshen have declared war on Everguard." There were gasps and some cries were heard as well.
Tanis looked around at the frantic people from the side lines. "I have received word from Fedsar, Venshard and Tanhuer… They are to help us fight for the land of Gether. I have also received word that a few assassins have agreed to keep us safe. We are brethren to this land and despite our distance, we all represent Gether." Some of the town folk eased down. A few men closed their eyes and moved their lips. They were praying. A few teens smiled and cracked their knuckles, wanting to prove to the king and to Everguard just how well they could protect their country. "I believe that you, the people of this fine town should know of what is to come. I have decided that we fight and if we lose, we'll die trying. Any who believe they have the strength to fight alongside the royal guards are more than welcome to serve me and our country." Tezuka paused and looked at Tanis. Tanis could tell the king was nervous. It was his first audience since he took over a year ago.
"I'm sorry," everyone gasped as Tezuka kneeled down to them all. Tanis ran up the "stage" and Tezuka glared at him. Tanis stopped and stood there just as astonished as the town folk. "I have let all of you down. I have agreed to a war that can cost all of us our lives, our children, their parents and our loved ones." Fuji stared at Tezuka where he was. A king was never to bow down to his people, never to show vulnerability and always stand tall but here was Tezuka bowing down to the people he believed let down.
"We'll show those Akandeshen to not mess with our families or kids!" Someone in the crowd yelled.
It was silent and then there was more yelling. "For Gether!" "For Everguard!" "For the king!" they all now yelled in unison.
"For the king! For the king! For the king!" Tezuka slowly stood up in shock. They really believed in him. It didn't matter whether he cowered down or let them down. People of Everguard, and did he see people from Venshard cheering too? They were all encouraging his actions, they were encouraging him to fight a war that could cost everyone's lives yet they would try anything to keep their home. Everything to keep their families.
Tanis smiled at Tezuka and patted him on the back. "For the king." He said gently and handed him the Ravenspeak sword.
Tezuka took his favorite sword and raised it up in the air. "For Gether!" He roared out and everyone in the audience cheered on jumping up and down in the crowd.
Fuji smiled. "For Gether." He whispered. He looked over his shoulder and saw his brother signaling him to towards the shop. He nodded and disappeared amongst the crowd.
"Your majesty, the Saran's have arrived." Brant said kneeling down. He was feeling more and more like a servant but he was glad to serve the young king. He knew where everything should stay and where it all belonged. Urceol, Genfuridal and Shohain shouldn't have met the fate that the Akandeshen had brought upon them. They were peaceful countries with great men. It was rare to find an Urceolian or a Genfuri or even a Shohain. They were now bred among the Akandeshen men who had raped the women and slaughtered the children. His best friends and his family were stuck in the massacre of his town of Urceol.
That's right, he was a true Urceolian. He had taken the assassin life because his mentor found him outside of Tanhuer's wide and open sea not a mile away from the walls of the wealthy city. He was washed up on the shore holding nothing but a small kitchen knife with some blood residue. He was only 9 when he had taken his responsibilities as assassin. He wanted to avenge his family, his friends and everyone he used to know. His mentor had beaten over and over in his head that revenge was an assassin's worst weakness. It brought great destruction upon one's self and the people around him. As he was told this for the past 17 years of his life with his mentor, his revenge grew less and less great. He had no desire to avenge his family until now. The king had given him a chance to fight against the Akandeshen. He only hoped the blind rage didn't do a number on him.
Brant clearly remembered that night when the Akandeshen struck.
"Brant, take your sister and get out of Urceol." His father said pushing his sister onto him. She was only a year younger than him but yet shorter. His father pulled her in for one last hug. "I love you Jenine." His father smiled as tears stung his eyes. The fire in their house grew angry and a piece of wood fell behind them. The kids yelped in fear.
His father took him into his arms, a tight and warm hug. It felt so reassuring. "Brant my son," his father pulled away to look into his small green eyes. Despite the fire that grew fiercer, his father was smiling. "You've made me proud. Protect your sister. I love you son. I'll always be with you. We'll always be together." His father gave him one last hug and he began crying in his father's embrace. His father pushed him away and Brant looked at him in shock, his breath hitching. "Go!" His father stood up and grabbed the sword that lay a few paces away from him.
"Let's go Jenine." Brant said dragging his sister with him. She yelled out to her father but it was too late, the Akandeshen had found him.
"Kill them all. You, go after those runts. Keep the girl alive!" He heard one of them yell orders to another, their voices loud and demanding.
Brant began running faster and held a death grip onto his sister's hand. She was crying as she fought to keep up with her brother. A soldier stopped in front of them and Brant came to a halt and ran for the other exit only to be stopped again. They were trapped in their kitchen. The fire had not spread this far into the house. "You little brat." The soldier spat out as he stared at young Brant.
Brant held onto Jenine. 'I will protect her.' The two soldiers began closing in on them and he saw the knives on the counter. If he could get it on time. . .
One soldier grabbed Jenine and she yelled. He hurried for the knife before the other decided to grab him. "Let her go!" He yelled waving the pitiful kitchen knife around.
One of the soldiers started cackling. "Or what?" he snickered looking at Brant. The soldier began running his hands all over her. Jenine yelled and struggled. "You gonna prick me boy?"
"Brant! Help! Help!" She yelled and fussed around the hands that bound her. Brant grew angry. 'I will protect you, Jenine.'
Before he could react, he saw blood running down her long white sleeping tunic. The soldier laughed and dug the dagger further into the little girl's stomach and let her drop to the floor like a rag. Brant rushed over to her and held her hand. He was crying. "Jenine. Jenine." He placed his small hands on her cheeks that suddenly grew pale. "Wake up." She looked at him, her eyes slowly losing life. He laughed nervously. "I thought you wanted to see the ocean." He sniffed. A lazy cold hand was placed on his cheek. "I'll take you Jenine, I promise." He whispered against it. It was too late. "I'll protect you forever. I promise." He began crying fiercely not caring for the soldiers that only watched and laughed at the "pathetic scene".
Jenine used all the strength she could and smiled. "I know." Her hand fell from his cheek and he cried more. He sat there over her lifeless body and silently begged for death to take him too. To be reunited with his father, his mother, his friends, his precious sister.
The soldier stopped his laughing and wiped his tears from the joy. "Come on brat, the king might have some use of you."
Brant stood planted where he was and gripped the kitchen knife. "I. Will. Never. Serve The Akandeshen." He said coldly. Before the soldier could question him, Brant turned around and slit the soldier's heel. The other soldier stared at him shocked and rushed to his comrade.
"You little bastard!" Brant was angry. The soldier tried to hit him with the sword but the use of being short compared to tall was proven to be a far greater advantage. Brant slipped in between the soldier's legs and dug the knife into the soldier's side. He heard him scream. He smiled and grabbed the big sword with his tiny hands and used all his might to pierce it into the soldier's stomach.
The one that had killed his sister stared at him with fear. Brant took the kitchen knife out of his comrade and walked over to the scooting soldier. "You killed my sister!" He finally yelled and drove the knife into the guy's neck.
He ran for his life that night, avoiding the other soldiers and running in the shadows trying to avoid anyone. He heard the pleas, the cries and the screaming of his people as the fire grew and the killing continued. He threw himself off the cliff and blacked out once he hit the water.
He thought he had died.
After that, he met his mentor. He had given him a life and a home. He was his new father. Despite the sarcastic remarks, the beatings for getting things wrong and the angry glares from asking too many questions, he was kind to him regardless. When he had passed, it was the first time in 17 years that he had cried again.
"Brant," Tezuka started. "Do you believe a king should stray from battle or fight in battle?" Tezuka asked as he looked out the balcony as usual.
Brant stood up and looked at the kings back. "I believe if a threat poses to be far greater than its opponent than it is never wrong to flee. But your majesty, you do not flee. You are giving Everguard and the people of Gether a reason to fight for. Without a king, Everguard shall not have the courage to fight. They shall cower down and escape or worse surrender." Brant didn't look away from the king. "You witnessed the way everyone at the main square had cheered for you and decided to fight." Tezuka nodded and Brant smiled. He ran his long fingers through his short dark hair. He only hoped the king wouldn't regret. A king with regret was a failure to serve his city.
Tezuka turned with a smile to face Brant Vasston, the greatest assassin who had helped him without his word, had granted him the help of both the assassins from Tanhuer and Kalken. He had helped get word from the Fedsar ministry of their need. "Brant, there is no need to be so formal." Tezuka said still smiling. Brant looked at him. "I may be king but you are far wiser than me for you are older than I am." Tezuka said softly. Brant smiled and nodded.
"I always tell him that not everyone is supposed to be treated formally but he won't listen." Tezuka looked over at his door where Tanis stood. Brant gave him a glare and Tanis' smile dropped. He knew that Brant was strict with Tanis and to Brant; Tanis was in his rebel stage despite his age. "I'm sorry master." Tanis said bowing down respectfully for humiliating him in front of the king.
"Tanis, what is it?" Tezuka said clearing his throat to prevent laughter from escaping from his lips.
Tanis bowed down to the king, "Yinef Darshal would like to have a word with you." Tanis said formally. Tezuka didn't know he had the capability or even knew what formal was, so it was a shock to see a strange tone and pose from his best friend.
Tezuka thanked him and told Tanis and his mentor to give them a minute. Soon a man about his height came in with a large robe. The man had his hood up but he didn't question it or other people's way of dressing and speaking no matter where they were from. "Son of Kuniharu?" The man's voice was thick yet soft and had an accent, Saran accent.
"Tezuka Kunimitsu." He replied correcting the robed man. The hands on either side reached up to remove the hood and Tezuka quirked his eyebrow. If he was correct, Saran's had to hide themselves from outsiders. He remembered one of his royal guards was making fun of them because he happened to stumble upon a "Showdown" between a Saran and a Venshi. He remembered the royal guard saying, "If their hoods are up how do they see? Do they just tumble everywhere they go?" His father soon punished the guard for mocking an ally.
But he was not to mock one's culture or beliefs. He himself had a secret that only Tanis knew and he planned on keeping it that way.
Once the hood came down he looked at the man before him. He was very, handsome. Despite his pale skin, gold colored eyes that pierced right through him, dark long hair coming to the middle of his back, his bangs or what would have been bangs were braided at the sides and tied into a ponytail so that the hair didn't fall to his face. He had strange marks, they looked like tribal markings as if native, coming up his neck past his jawline to one side of his face. They were dark red. He figured it was the tattoos that represented what rank they were amongst the ministry of Fedsar. "I am Yinef Darshal. I've come to great lengths to see the son of Kuniharu take lead in this war. You have my word and I shall stand by your side." Yinef said with a small smile forming on his lips, his accent somewhat thick but manageable. His golden eyes were so entrancing.
Tezuka smiled. "We need all the help we can get if we want to fall the Akandeshen." Yinef now showed his perfect white teeth that contrasted his dark skin with a perfect smile.
"Have you heard of movement by Launten Fort?" Yinef asked politely, smile gone and seriousness seeping through his voice.
Tezuka looked down. He couldn't believe war was less than three days. "Not yet. We'll get the word once the assassin's report back." A day before, he had ordered an assassin to keep eyes towards the route that linked the pathway between Gether's borders and Akandeshen. They were split by a large river, Furan River. It gave them time to past the message and deliver to their allies to ready themselves for battle.
"Assassin's?" questioned Yinef. Tezuka nodded and smiled. Yinef's eyes smiled. "How ever did you come by to convince assassins?" his voice now eager for truth and explanation.
He found himself feeling proud and almighty. "My father's intentions were of good purpose. One of Everguard's wealthy noblemen's hired an assassin from Tanhuer to mentor their son. He heard of the oncoming war through his apprentice and thus convinced Tanhuer assassins and assassins from Kalken." He heard Yinef let out a soft chuckle.
"Must be some assassin." The sorcerer said looking out the balcony with Tezuka..
Tezuka smiled. "The best. Brant Vasston from Tanhuer."
Thank you for reading! This was seriously a big debate for me, whether to update a long, long story or put it in parts. I really didn't want to have so many chapters for this installation but we'll see how far my imagination goes.
If you enjoyed my story, leave a comment, review, message whichever you'd like to call it.
I will try my hardest to update more often.
As always I love you guys :]!