“Wait, what?” Avalel was shocked as the gaze of Taq reached him. Only more than a month ago Taq had almost been killed by Kavlina in their journey to Rithul, but now he was willing to nominate the son of their enemy to be the leader of their rebellion? Avalel tried to shy away, but the gaze of Taq was already fixed on him, and now, so did thousands more of those who could see. Kavlina gently patted him on the back. “Come on, the people are waiting.”
Taq motioned for Avalel to come down, and Avalel duly responded by leaving his seat and slowly descended the stairs. As he slowly walked towards the center, he found that many of the rebels were now chanting his name. Finally, when he arrived at the center, he was greeted by Taq with a brotherly embrace while Leth stood by, smiling.
“It seems that we have a new nominee,” Leth happily announced, “Does anyone want to nominate another to this position?” No answer but the consistent cheering for Avalel. “Does anyone harshly disagree with Avalel being the leader of Rithul-Efla?”
“We want Avalel!” a rebel shouted, and many soon joined in. “We want Avalel! We want Avalel!” the chants drowned out all noise and all Avalel could do was proudly smile. The rebels had accepted him. They are even regarding him as their savior, the one to revive them.
“I am pleased to announce there is a new leader of Rithul-Efla,” Leth announced, “The wielder of the Anapadeia, the savior of Rithul-Efla, Avalel!” The audience now went into an uproar as they began spontaneously cheering for Avalel. Avalel raised up the Anapadeia, and the light of the Arachma illuminated the hall, leaving no shadow covered. “For Elethien! For Rithul-Efla! For Achien!” Avalel cried. The audience chants repeated until Leth motioned for them to pause.
“I have made a promise to the previous leader of Rithul that if I were to become the new monarch of Achien, I would establish a monarchy controlled by a constitution and the law,” Avalel called,“I now ask for a Council of Twelve, eleven of which will be chosen by you and one would be me. With this council, we will draft our Core Laws. The Council will be temporary, but once we retake Achien, we will decide upon how the Council should work. There will no longer be a single person in power. There will no longer be the tyranny of past monarchs. There will only be the law, and the law only.”
“Because of the unpreparedness of this act and of our primitive lives,” Leth announced, “We will later have small pieces of paper and a writing utensil distributed to each chamber. Write on the slit of paper who you want to be as a council member, and we will count the results by the end of this month. Now please return to your rooms and wait. If you don’t have one by the end of tomorrow, please ask us.”
“Thanks, Leth,” Avalel whispered as the rebels slowly dispersed and exited the hall, “I never thought the logistics of voting eleven people would be so complex.”
“The young ones are always hot-headed,” Leth laughed, “You’re the most mature I’ve seen so far. Now go back to your room and wait for us.”
When Avalel had returned, his face showed happiness and glee, but inside he was worried as the small voice he heard still constantly warned him. They’re coming, it hissed, Leave quickly or you will endanger your companions and comrades. Slowly, Avalel could picture the Achien firebombs engulfing the settlement, the residents panicking and attempting to flee, to no avail.
I still need time.
You have no time. Do you want the Thillish to suffer the same fate as the foresters years ago? Now, the pale, lifeless face of Faresoenn came to Avalel’s mind, along with the many dead foresters piled up on the pyre, their bodies limp and unmoving.
Don’t remind me of that!
Please, son… for the sake of the others if not yourself.
No, I’m not your mother nor father. I am simply your helper and advisor. Now please leave before it’s too late!
I’ll leave, but after I meet with the Council.
Oh, how stubborn…
“Lel?” The voice of Kavlina interrupted Avalel’s thoughts, “You’re sweating, but the temperature here is far from hot. Do you have a sickness?”
“I’m fine.” Avalel was suddenly reminded of Faresoenn. Dad said this same phrase many years ago. A teardrop uncontrollably left his eye.
“Are you alright? Was the voice in your head talking again?” Kavlina asked, “It’s fine. No need to stress. Just tell me what happened and maybe I could help you.”
“I’m fine, but… the voice warned me again of the incoming Achien army,” Avalel replied, his voice shaken, “I saw things. Pictures and images of the dead staring at me, asking me why had I not left them. They lay dead before my eyes, and I cannot bear to see them when they have died because of me!”
Kavlina faced him and put her hands on his shoulders. “It hasn’t happened yet, hasn’t it?” Avalel nodded. “Then don’t worry. If we live on, then the voice must be tricking you. If we die, then know that we had sacrificed our lives for you and for our cause, our leader, and my friend.” She then gently placed her lips on Avalel’s forehead. “Better?”
Avalel was stunned and confused, the feelings inside him rushing throughout his whole body. “What… was that for?”
“Making you feel a little better about yourself,” Kavlina smiled, “I once saw a mother do that to her child, and the child calmed down. I guess it works between the same generation too.”
“Thanks,” Avalel shyly muttered, “I really appreciated that.” With that, Kavlina quickly exited his room. After Kavlina had left his room, Avalel thought he heard footsteps. Turning to the door, he found Leth holding a stack of papers, a box, and a crude writing utensil, most probably a piece of graphite.
“Write down your vote for one or more council members, fold it, and place it in this box,” Leth tiredly said, “This is making me exhausted from simply saying the same thing over and over again!”
“No problem, I’ll be quick.” With that, Avalel scribbled the names of Kavlina, Taq, and Rel on the paper, neatly folded it, and dropped it in the box.
“Thanks, Avalel,” Leth said. He then left, quietly shutting the door before he exited. Back in solitude and silence, Avalel felt the voice again, this time ever more frantic and hurried.
I see it. An army on the horizon. It’s far, far away, but it’s getting closer, the soldiers hurrying to find you.
What? Tell me more.
I see a group of heavily armed soldiers surrounding… something.
What is it?
A cannon, it seems. Very large in size, and the projectile inside… it will destroy Thille. They have drawn energy from the Elyfesta for this projectile.
Yes. As long as the plasma continues supplying the cannon, it will have infinite ammunition.
My Lifegiver, what have you done?
Please, confront them before it’s too late. Oh, no. I see a large moving fortress in the distance. The main gun is much larger, and yet simpler, it seems. I cannot see any projectile loaded, but it is a weapon of devastation. Achien has advanced far since its beginnings, but it has gone too far.
Can I wait for another week?
Three days. That will be your limit.
Three days? How can that be with the slow movement of the cannons?
They have begun their traveling non-stop almost two weeks ago. Please know that your one month of walking while being injured is much slower than the well-trained Achien army. Even with the slow cannons and forts, they can reach you much faster than you expect.
Will you help me when the time comes?