Nothing but cold winds passed over the abandoned plain, stealing the remaining leaves, leaving the trees completely naked as it continued along its path of destruction. All was silent; nothing moved, except the scattered bits of garbage and debris that littered the cold, barren ground. This place had been empty for years; the house that once stood just west of the big oak was now only a pile of grey ash. Everything that had lived on or in the now not-so-rich soil was either dead or dying. This place was now a wasteland, the remnants of a war fought in cold-blood, a war no one had expected.
It had been three years since the war had ended leaving Eden split between the remaining tribes of Edenai – the Andorians and the Rivens. Three years since Aidric had last seen his people thriving, growing, and building a life and home in unity. Eden had been divided into four corners, four provinces; all united by one common desire – prosper as one. But trouble surfaced when the Delthian council sought to overtake their allies and become the sole rulers of Eden. Their greed and hatred drove them to war, when Trenton had gone to the aid of Andoria and Riven, the Delthians wiped them out. They left no trace of Trenton’s existence. But recalling the event was a chilling nightmare for Aidric. He had assumed the role of Chancellor after his father’s untimely death during the peak of the Great War. Now all of Eden looked to him to lead them on their journey towards recovery.
“Your Highness, a council meeting has been called to take place at noon. As Chancellor, your presence is required.” A familiar voice said from behind him. It was Rory, his best friend, his brother. Aidric had chosen Rory to be Vice Chancellor alongside him, the two had grown up together and if anyone knew Aidric better than he knew himself, it was Rory.
But Aidric hated being treated like royalty.
Aidric turned to face the man who stood in the doorway, a smile playing across his lips. “Rory, how many times must we go over this? Just because my name bears the title Chancellor of Eden
next to it, does not mean that I am any less of a commoner.” Walking over, he patted Rory on the shoulder, then continued. “Under what circumstances has this meeting been called?”
Rory handed Aidric the small stack of papers he’d been carrying. “More and more of our people are giving up, they’re beginning to doubt whether or not you have what it takes to bring us back into the age of prosperity. Riven’s council has proposed that your reign as Eden’s Chancellor cease immediately, their members have already elected Kaden as your replacement. This meeting will put matters to a vote, you’re needed there to state your case.”
Aidric’s eyes burned red like fire, how could his own people seek to overthrow the only person who had guided them safely through years of agony and suffering? “Well, we’ll just have to see how the council rules.”
An hour later, Aidric sat at the head of the table in the Grand Meeting Hall, Rory taking his place beside him. They listened intently as the council members spoke, each of them echoing the one before.
Lucian, one of Andoria's advisors spoke up. "How can you be so sure that Kaden has Eden's best interest in mind? Though his military ethics are admirable, he's done nothing to contribute to Eden's restoration process."
“Look, Aidric, it’s not that we don’t think you are capable of restoring Eden back to its peaceful state; we just don’t think you are ready for such a big task. Kaden has shown outstanding knowledge of the way this world is intended to operate. Having him reign as Chancellor in your stead would ensure that the people of Eden have a chance at returning to normal.” Eric, the chief of Riven’s council stated, ignoring Lucian and sitting back in his chair. He seemed unusually calm.
“What makes you think that Kaden can or will do a better job at pulling Eden out of its place of destruction than I’ve done already? I shouldn not have to defend my position as Chancellor. And I will not be made a fool of in front of my own people, this meeting is over.” Aidric stood to leave signaling Rory to follow.
“Whether you like it or not, the council has made their decision. Your unwillingness to comply has only given us further reason to believe that this is what is best for Eden.”
Aidric turned his back on the council in disbelief. Fury surging through every ounce of his body; his own people had turned on him, driven by fear. The people he’d risked his life to say on countless occasions now only saw him as a dangerous set back instead of the key to a newer, better, and safer Eden. He was suddenly filled with a burning hatred for all of the things in this world. Without turning back, he angrily barked orders at the men who still sat at the table. “Go! Get out, all of you! Leave me!” Aidric waved his hands in the direction of his guards, relieving them of their duties.
It wasn’t until he was once more in the comfort of his bedchamber with only Rory as a witness, that Aidric let the fullness of his distress be known. “The Gods have forsaken me, Rory. They have looked down on us and have seen the path my reign as Chancellor has chosen. Their smiles no longer shine down on the people of Eden. We are on our own.”
Rory stood in the corner, silent. His thoughts wandering to a distant time; a time where he knew Eden could one day be under the correct authority. And he was sure Aidric was the right man to bring all of Eden back to its former glory. He gave one more thought to his plan, then spoke. “My Lord, we both know you are in the best interest of this world, if I told you of a way that you could still fulfill your duties as Chancellor, would you accept?”
“Rory, you know I will do whatever it takes to save my people. Just tell me what I need to do, and I will do it.” The moment the last four words were out of his mouth, something within Aidric was awakened, a new strength and wisdom he didn’t know he possessed.
The sun rose high above the trees, illuminating the sky with a bright and warming light. Carrigan waited, listening to the stillness, her ears trained on the vibrations in the distance. She sat perched about six feet up in a tree, her fingers running along the tail of the arrow securely nocked in her bow. A twig snapped a few meters off; she turned in the direction of the sound and held her bow steady.
Carrigan was the picture of perfect beauty; she had long, dark brown hair that hung in simple curls around her shoulders, her eyes, a soul-shattering shade of dark violet, were fixed intently on the ground below her. She was a bit on the short side, but unlike most girls her age, what she lacked in height she made up for in flexibility and agility. She was at the top of her class, the “best archer in a school of 100…”
as her older brother Finley would point out. But Finley wasn’t just her brother; he was also her archery instructor and pushed her three times harder than the rest.
There was a loud rustling in the bushes, instinct took over and Carrigan released the arrow.
“No, don’t shoot! It’s me, Finley!” Her brother’s voice called out, and he stepped forward from the shadows of his hiding place. Now in full view, Carrigan could see the resting place of her arrow – perfectly wedged in Finley’s right shoulder, just under his collar bone. Blood quickly stained his tunic around the arrow, though he seemed to be unfazed by the wound he now displayed.
“Oh, for the love of Eden! Finley, have you completely lost all of the wisdom the Gods gave you? I could have killed you! What is so important that you just had to go and barge in on my training like a wandering little fish?” Carrigan jumped down from the branch where she sat and slung her bow over her shoulder.
Finley nodded, “Your skills have greatly improved, Little Sister. But that is a discussion for a different day; right now your presence is required elsewhere.” Finley paused, now fully aware of the arrow protruding from his body as a sharp pain shot up and down his arm. “By the Gods! Carri, your arrows are deadly.”
Carrigan rolled her eyes, “Focus, brother. Who has requested an audience with me?”
Suddenly cautious of their surroundings, Finley led her deeper into the forest. Once he was sure they were completely out of earshot, he spoke in a hushed tone. “Riven has become crazed with power, they have forced Aidric to resign as Chancellor and have elected Kaden as his replacement. Rory has recruited certain people for a special mission, and he has personally asked for your assistance. He has given you the option to accept or decline.”
Carrigan stood silently, running her brother’s words through her mind. Finally, a chance to do something with all of this training, a chance to really put my skills to use.
She thought to herself. “I accept.”
They soon found themselves in the garden with Aidric, Rory, Lucian, and two other girls. Rory stood quickly as they entered, bowing politely as Carrigan passed by and introducing them to the group. “Carrigan, Finley meet Lucian, one of our most trusted advisors. You already know Aidric, to his left is Acelynn and joining is Evera. She has kindly stepped out from under Riven’s authority to see Eden’s revival done right. Everyone, this is Finley and his sister Carrigan who has been training under his instruction.”
Finley and Carrigan nodded in acknowledgement of the others, Carrigan’s eyes meeting and holding Rory’s gaze before resting on the ground in front of her.
“Am I correct to assume that by your being here today, you have accepted my request?” Rory asked, looking in Carrigan’s direction.
She nodded, but still would not meet his gaze.
Texte: I certify that I own all of the rights to this novel.
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 08.11.2011
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For Aaron Whose belief & support helped me chase my dreams. And for Kyler Whose support & love has kept me going and helped me soar to new heights.