The Red Sapphire

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Chapter 20

He was getting married today so naturally he and his father had an argument. The positive side was that it wasn’t about Aliana. He had seemingly made peace with that with an abnormal alacrity. Arnay was on the move. A small armada had set sail towards the Block Isle, but they were just sitting there. His father thought that it was a distraction for a much larger assault. Milos agreed that a larger assault was coming, but that was where the similarities in their thoughts ended.

His father thought that the brunt of the attack was to come from land, but Milos still thought they were planning to attack via sea.

“They have a fleet of two hundred ships, why would they only send only ten to the Block Isle. It doesn’t make sense, they are planning to send the others somewhere else.” said Milos as he was bent over the map with his father, Darrien, Baron Kilikos and Matthias of Dunwall.

“Where?” challenged his father.

“Where we are most vulnerable by sea.” he studied the map. “Jaria and Mistwall are too far north to be bothered with so it has to be Dunwall or the dykes.” That was it. Milos felt the rightness in his bones. “If they blow out the dykes they will be flooding thousands of acres of farmland. They are trying to starve us out of this war.”

“That is probable, but unlikely.” said Baron Kilikos. “Word has reached us that soldiers in Lurion and Gohara are moving south easterly, towards Havendale. They plan to take the north and then move down.”

“That too is possible but not effective enough to damage us quickly.” Milos rebutted. “The majority of our forces are in the south. They would have to defeat Havendale, Mistwall and then cut around or through the Southern Ridge and then face us in Turion. That would be suicide.”

“Land attacks have already started. Reports of mysterious killings have been reported in Nilian. Livestock shredded apart, people being dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night. For some reason the grim are moving out of the Arborlands and into ours. A small army of them have been reportedly been seen close to the border. They are mixed in with mortal men, but they don’t attack those, only our people.” said the king as he passed his hands through his hair.

“We have men on the Block if we strike Evan that can win us more time to see what they’re doing.” said Kilikos.

“Then we would be falling right into their trap.” Milos ground out.

“It is the best course of action.” said his father siding with the baron. “We have spent years fighting with Arro-Bartholomew, we know how he thinks son.”

“But you have spent none fighting Ana-Moriah. You are underestimating her.” he said as he folded his fist around the edge of the table. “Dark magic is also at work here.”

“That maybe so Your Highness, but it would be unwise to veer from what is tested and true, in favour of the new and unexperienced.” said Baron Matthias.

Milos’ anger flared, but he stomped it down. They were waiting for him to throw a fit, a chair and a table, but he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. “Very well then.” he said adjusting his sash. “My wedding begins in a few minutes. I will not keep my bride waiting.”

“Yes that most joyous occasion in this time of bereavement.” said Kilikos.

“Prince Milos has always had the gift of showing us the brighter side of life.” laughed Matthias.

He looked over at his father, but his face was impassive. So he had no support then. “The happiest day of my life is indeed a reason for optimism.” he said joining them in their jest. The earth around them shook slightly.

“A quake,” said the king surprised. “We haven’t had one in eons.”

“A most auspicious sign that good things are yet to come.” piped up Darrien. He then escorted the prince out of the room.

“They are wrong you know.” He felt it in his bones an attack was going to come by sea. He was pissed off that no one else could see that.

“I am a scholar, not a war strategist.”

“You don’t have to be a war strategist to know that they are going to strike us where we are most vulnerable.”

“Probably we should continue this discussion later. Where suspicious eyes and ears aren’t privy to our words.” he said as few persons had been glancing at them.

“You are right, but probably not later as I have other plans for the night of my wedding.”

“Ah well yes.” grinned the old man.

“Out of the gutter Darrien. Aliana is going to let me go anywhere near her right now. If you haven’t noticed she tolerates me at best loathes me at worst.”

“Yet, you seem oddly chipper about the whole affair. Considering that she could try to kill you.” he said as he noted a mask serene contentment creep on the prince’s face. He had told Darrien what she’d said about the whisper in the dungeon. An attack could happen at any time and he warned him to vigilant.

“Minor details,” he said and then walked towards the family chapel.

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