Chapter Seventeen: Map That Lead You Astray
Three hours Helena been sat on a chair outside one of the makeshift operation rooms of their compound.
It was nerve-racking to say the least, she’d been the one checking up on him when she could along with a few others who she recognised but had never talked to.
“Helena Evan is ready for visitors now” one of the nurses clad in scrubs said standing outside with a clipboard in her hand.
She was quick to her feet and was already marching into the room, her eyes fell onto Evan laying still on a bed of white sheets to match the plain white walls and ceiling.
A drip line and a heart monitor was fastened to his pale body as a steady beeping rang out around the room, he looked awful, she thought, taking a seat in the chair next to the bed.
“What happened?” her brother’s voice came from behind her as a hand was placed on her shoulder.
“He got hurt in the attack on the weapons compound, a bit of shrapnel from the explosion got stuck in his side. It got infected but he told no one because his pride got in the way” she said staring at the boy. “One shard punctured his liver, they patched him up he’s on painkillers and antibiotics at the moment but they said he’ll recover”
“Well that’s good to hear” he said rubbing her shoulder comfortingly.
Looking up at him she asked, “Are you here to see him or have you got something to tell me?”
“Well I thought I’d come to check on you both but yes there is something I came to tell you”
Curiosity peaked, she didn’t waste time saying “Okay, so what is it?”
“Our scouts got to Graylow village, there’s nothing left it’s just ash.” he spoke softly
“And?” her sullen voice asked
“He’s dead, Bregan Banshaw is dead”
Helena had hoped there would be good news to give to the Graylow survivors but apparently, good luck wasn’t on their side “Are you sure?”
“We found a body with the clothes some of the villagers described as his.”
Knowing her brother and what the tones of his voice meant and where he was heading with it she simply asked the obvious “What’s the but?”
Zack sighed deeply, although not having been one of the scouts that found the body, the way they had described it to him still made his stomach twist with nausea “We couldn’t identify him in any way other than that, the body was exposed to the weather for too long” she said
“I was hoping for good news, there seems to be no good news left nowadays” she sighed.
“It’ll get better, it always does. As long as we stick with family it’ll all work out”
“I hope you’re right Zack, I really do” she mumbled leaning her head on his shoulder.
* * *
“Everette I found something” Aveline had been looking over the map for the past hour as Everette contacted her scouting team over the radios.
“What is it?” she asked, making her way over and peering down at the map.
“So half the weapons In each compound had been moved right?”
“And there has been no abnormal movement over the bridges in the other clans, so either they’re keeping them in backup locations which would explain them being in trucks and the lack of bridge use. Or they’re keeping them here” she explained pointing at the map right on Crestfold.
“Are you serious? You think the weapons are being transported to Crestfold itself but how if it’s not by trucks, it makes sense seeing as the weapons here could be transported easier under the radar since they wouldn’t have to use the bridge but the other clans would have to unless...” she said her eyes going wide with realisation.
“You understand” Aveline said
“We have to tell Zack. Now” Everette said as she made a mad dash to the recovery wing leaving Aveline to get a new map to use as a diagram for everyone’s sake of understanding.
“So the leader of Graylow is dead, the village is nothing, their people are either dead or here and this Kaydence boy who has a companion is nowhere to be found” Helena uttered in disbelief
“Yes” before he could say anything more the door burst open and the sound of two women bickering sailed through the opening.
Everette was arguing with a nurse who was trying to keep her calm and away from the room claiming two was the maximum amount of visitors for a patient at a time.
However being the sassy and fiery lady she was, Everette ignored the rules and walked in regardless resulting in the nurse waving the white flag and closing the door as she left.
“Zack we need everyone at the table now it’s urgent”
“Is everything alright?” he asked, reaching for his radio clipped to his belt.
“Unsure at the moment but it’s important” she continued not giving any information because she didn’t want to have to explain it again to everyone else.
He nodded and spoke through his radio to the others including some of the scouting group leaders in case they were needed.
“Let’s go everyone’s on their way”
It had only taken a brief amount of time for everyone necessary to be gathered around the usual wooden table, the familiar faces of the leader and his second in command along with his sister stood on edge whereas other less familiar presences sat idly in the chairs lining both sides of the table.
“Everette care to explain why we are all here?” Zack spoke up hushing the small whispers of conversation.
“Well I’ll let Aveline tell you” she winked at her brother painting a light pink across his cheeks.
He cleared his throat and looked at the map, Aveline had before her, to try and calm the blush. It wasn’t the time to be losing control of his emotions.
He looked back to Aveline giving her the go-ahead to continue to which she smiled smugly.
“So we know that trucks were preparing to move when we attacked, there has been no unusual activity on any of the bridges meaning that they are not transporting the weapons here to Lirren by truck. They either have backup armouries here or they’re storing them directly in Crestfold or somewhere near. What I’m trying to say is that weapons are being transported by boat” she concluded having pointed out circled spots on the map as she explained.
“So they weren’t using the trucks to transport them all the way, just to the harbours and the trucks we intercepted were taking them in trucks to where? The borders?” he summed up, his face was stern and emotionless.
“That would be my guess, yes, they most likely have someone from the council or even small groups of citizens in Crestfold to take them from the borders to the hidden compound”
“Is there any way to find out what ships they’re bringing them over on?” Helena spoke up
“Only if we get our allies to survey the harbours we could do the same but out numbers are low as it is with the number of surveying missions.” he said as he started pacing trying to wrap his head around it all.
“I could go, Everette, Aveline and me” Helena said standing high as if to prove her worth and ability for the task.
“No I need you three here” he continued pacing before stopping and turning to the table “Recall everyone, I want them back here before nightfall tomorrow.”
“Zack, are you kidding me? What about the other missions?” she responded dumbfounded.
“The other missions don’t matter, what matters now is that we need to find where the weapons are and the exact times and locations they’re being transported and collected.” he stated
“I will inform our Aer Clan allies of this Kaydence boy to see if they know anything” Aveline chipped in.
“Good idea, he could have a lot to do with this that we are unaware of”
In utter disbelief, Helena opened her mouth “So you listen to her but not me?” She was outraged, they were so close and yet his new girlfriend-who he’d had a crush on since they’d first met- seemed to be the pinnacle of reason. where was her brother that listened to her?
“She’s my second in command Helena” Zack replied flatly but it didn’t resolve any of the fluctuating rage inside her, she couldn’t fathom her brother’s new attitude.
Helena could feel Everett’s eyes on her but not even friendly words or gestures could settle her now, she was on the verge of blowing up and never in her life would she dream of arguing with her brother so harshly but right then he was asking for it, he wasn’t being himself and she didn’t like the new Zack.
“And I am your sister” Helena spat out with contempt.
“We agreed that here at this table we are a team and don’t bring in emotions. It clouds judgment” he spoke up
That was it she thought, he pushed it too far and for the first time in their lives she snapped back.
They always say there’s a first time for everything, “You say that emotions are clouding my judgement because I’m your sister but aren’t you the one with the clouded judgement? Brother” her tone took on an evil twist, she had the upper hand and she knew it, she held his secret in her hand and she knew if she used it against him people would rethink everything he’d previously said or agreed with.
“This is not the time or place Helena” he warned knowing full well of her intentions.
“Then tell me dear brother-” she began to only be cut off by Zack slamming his fist down onto the table and glaring at her with betrayal and hurt lodged in his irises.
“That’s enough. You are excused from the meeting” he spoke through gritted teeth.
She knew what she’d been doing or rather what she had almost done, her stomach knotted with guilt but there was still a part of her, the devil on her shoulder that told her he deserved it for sitting up on his high horse with his princess for too long and ignoring mainly her ideas.
He always said emotions cloud judgement but he was being hypocritical since he had romantic relations with Aveline who he saw as more of a second in command than he did Everette.
He needed to take a step backwards and realise what he’d left behind, he’d left her behind and yet he’d always promised he wouldn’t no matter what he’d find his way back to her.
He needed to find his way back now, she wanted her brother back, the one that would look to her for ideas or help in difficult situations, she wanted her brother that needed a little push and reassurance no and again when he’d get self-conscious about being a leader and whether their parents would be proud.
Most importantly she wanted her brother that would talk to her and listen to her the brother she could joke around with and mock knowing it annoyed him but being assured he still loved her no matter how irritated she made him.
She drifted off to Evans’ room sitting on the chair again, she didn’t even know if she was here to see him or if it was just the feeling of being close to someone but not needing to actually communicate or feel pushed to talk.
He was still asleep thankfully, small snores fell from his slightly parted dry lips, in between came hushed breaths of air, he was definitely in a deep sleep and a peaceful one at that.
She was envious of that, she hadn’t slept properly in all the twenty-one years since her parents died, different scenarios played out on the back of her closed eyelids of how they might have suffered. Each one plagued her conscious mind throughout the days, not even the daylight could kill the shadows etched into the corners of her mind.
Her fingers played with the bedsheet as her eyes fixated on the white wall.
The room might be white and pure but her haunted mind as far from both, she just wanted her family back.
She missed her parents, she didn’t want to miss her brother now as well.
She was fed up with missing people.