Criterion Effect: Norok Chronicles - In Search of Titan's Wings

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Chapter 9

Sublocation – Valkyrie Castle, Valkyrie Retribution

Innerlocation – Primary War Room

Sitting at the head of a long state of the art holo-table, Chaos listened intensely to the report the hologram Governor Arjo was giving. For the most part it was exactly like he expected; the Human’s team came in, destroyed the camp, and stole the fake version of Titan’s Wings. Twenty minutes into the debriefing, the Elvenkai's report started to sound more like whining than an actual report.

The walls of the room were filled with digital screen, maps, and holo-projectors while the floor was lined with computer terminals. The table at the center of the room was long and large enough to hold twenty people. In this case though, only four people.

“Look,” Chaos said, interrupting the governor. “Despite everything you have just said, things are going according to plan. They were meant to recover the fake version of Titan’s Wings. It was a test for them. Besides, even if you had managed to keep a hold of it, it would have been little use to you.”

The Governor gave a displeasing look as the digital display in front of him turned red and started to beep. In black letters, it said “Incoming call from King Ginta of Divergence Wings”. “Something has come up Arjo. We’ll continue this later. For now, prepare for your next assignment.” Chaos closed the channel before the Elvenkai Governor could respond. Looking to the people around the table he said, “Apprentice, take your team the Ruins of Shadow Castle and wait for me there.”

“Hai Master,” the Aeronok said as he and the two female assassins got up and left the room.

With a hiss of the door closing, the Elvenkai pressed the accept button on his display and a hologram of the Elvenkai King came into existence, causing Chaos to stand and bow. “My Lord, this is an unexpected pleasure. How may I help you?”

“First things first,” Ziad answered. “What is the status on your current mission?”

Chaos sat down and replied, “The meetings with Valkyrie Retribution are actually proceeding smoother than expected. I should be able to wrap them up in the next week or so.”

“That’s good to heard,” Ziad replied, nodding. “I’m recalling you to the castle. There’s been a development in the Wings’ mission and we need you back here before we can proceed. How soon can you be back?”

Chaos sighed and shook his head. “This would be a really bad time for me to leave. If I leave now, there could be serious repercussions.”

“As much as I hate that idea, I need you here. I’ll dispatch a diplomat to take your place.” Ziad insisted.

“As you wish my Lord,” Chaos replied. “I’ll be there within the hour. I have to take care of a few things here.”

“Of course,” Ziad said with a smile as the hologram of him dissipated.

Chaos gritted his teeth in anger as he got up. Pressing a button, the door opened and two figures appeared. “A situation has arisen. You two are coming with me.”
“Yes Master. We will assemble our-”

“That won’t be necessary. I only need you two for this one,” Chaos interrupted.

“What’s the mission?”

“I’ll tell you on the way,” the Elvenkai Lord replied.

Sublocation - Baldur Castle, Divergence Wings

Innerlocation – Main Transporter Terminal

With a bright white light, Chaos materialized onto a platform. Looking down, he saw Vissler Kuna waiting for him. Noting no one else was in the room, he stepped off the platform and looked down at the Jin. “What’s going on Vissler?”

“Eagle’s little group managed to recover the version of Titan’s Wings we planned for Fallen Wings to have. He is now in possession of the wings as well as several other pieces of evidence against you.”

“Evidence?!” Chaos demanded in shock, doing his best to keep his voice down. “What evidence?”

“The evidence Eagle recovered from the Assassin’s ambush at his place and the letter you sent to Kaz after their raid on the Fallen Wings’ camp near Retribution’s boarders,’ Vissler explained. “This is a set up Master. They plan to arrest you for treason.”

“I’m getting that impression Vissler,” Chaos replied. After a moment of considering things, he continued, “Here’s what’s going to happen. I am going to meet the King and we will deal with events as they play out.”

Bowing, the Jin led the Elvenkai Lord out of the room and to where the King was waiting for them. Reaching the throne room entrance, Vissler stopped and asked, “Are you sure about this Master? There is still time to leave.”

“It’s too late for that,” Chaos said, shaking his head. “Haven’t you noticed? We are already surrounded. No, we must continue forward,” the Elvenkai added, patting the Jin on the shoulder. “Whatever happens, give no hint that you are with me.”
“Hai,” Vissler replied, opening the massive doors.

As he entered the gigantic throne room, Chaos noted something very odd; there was almost no one around. The atmosphere in all sense of the definition was darker than usual and he was getting the sense that he wasn’t exactly welcomed. Sitting on the throne was the Elvenkai King, who was leaning forward with his chin resting on his interlaced fingers. Looking from side to side, he counted more soldiers than usual, which lined up with what Vissler had said.

“King Ginta,” the Jin started, in a loud voice. “May I present, Lord Chaos Baulder.”

“Thank you Vissler,” the King said with a nod. “Chaos my friend, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you. How have you been?”

Chaos waited until he was in front of the King before he answered. Kneeling, he answered, “I am well my Lord. It is good to see you again.” As he stood up, the Jin took his place to the left of the Elvenkai King. “What is so urgent that you recalled me from my mission?”

“All in good time my dear Chaos,” Ziad answered with a grin. “First we catch up. It has been a while since we have just chatted. I miss my right hand advisor.”

“What would you like to know?” Chaos asked, not happy that the Elvenkai was taking his time. Why is he beating around the bush?

“How are negotiations going with Queen Min’ajka? I mean besides what you have reported of course.”

“They are going well. She still maintains that they are innocent of planting an agent in our midst two years ago. That last thing we discussed was in return for all information regarding Retribution’s activities for the time in question, she wants me to be the liaison between our two great nations.”

“Well, isn’t that quite the demand,” Ziad replied, not entirely happy with the proposal. “And how do you feel about that?”

Chaos was caught off guard by the question, “What do you mean?”

“Exactly what I asked. Is that something you would be interested in?”

“With all due respect Sire, my place is next to you,” Chaos answered carefully.

“And I am glad you think that,” Ziad said with a smile. “Let me put it another way. We have been trying to get agents inside the inner circle of Retribution’s government for several years and she just handed us an opportunity on a silver platter.”

“When you put it that way, I think it’s an opportunity we should take,” Chaos answered, holding back on all out grin.

“I’m glad you agree. Now, down to the reason why I called you in,” Ziad nodded. Pressing a series of buttons on a servant entered from the east doors.

Giving a case to the Jin, the servant turned around and left. Briefly looking at the case, Vissler smiled and handed it to the King.

Opening the case, he turned it around, and gave it to the Elvenkai, “This is what Eagle’s team recovered.”

Chaos accepted the case and gave the item a once over. “Impressive. It’s a start. Does Kaz have any leads to the real thing?” he asked, handing the case back to the Jin.

Before Ziad could answer, the main door to the throne room burst open with a thunderous slam. “Lord Chaos Baulder of Divergence Wings. You are under arrest for the theft of Titan’s Wings, murder of Divergence Wings’ soldiers, attempted assassination of me and squad, and conspiracy against the nation of Divergence Wings and her allies.”

Chaos turned around to see a Human followed by a full platoon of Heavy Guard soldiers. “What is the meaning Eagle?!” he demanded, noting the extra soldiers in the room were starting to close in.

“Exactly like I said,” Eagle responded, summoning his liteBlade from his BracerTech storage jewel. “You are under arrest for traitorous acts.”

“Do you have any proof?” Chaos pressed, turning to the King.

“Do these look familiar?” Eagle asked, holding up several pieces of paper, making sure the Elvenkai could see the logo in the upper right corner of the papers.

Seeing his logo on the papers, Chaos did his best to hold back his anger. “That is circumstantial evidence at best. I use that paper and many like them for all my diplomatic work. Anyone could have gotten a hold of those papers.”

“Be that as it may my former Nitkei and comrade,” Eagle started, semi satisfied he was the one to take Chaos down and semi disappointed things had come to this. “We have several people who are willing to testify against you. I am only going to ask you this once. Do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way Chaos?”

Chaos relaxed his posture, settling his hands near the storage jewels on his belt. “You’ve known me for a long time. Do you really think I would give up without a fight?” he asked, summoning a liteBlade from each one.

“You know what,” Eagle smiled. “I was hoping you would say that.”

Ziad got up and with a nod to Eagle, he and Vissler started to leave.

“I’m going to enjoy this,” Eagle said, activating his liteBlade.

“Oh not as much as I am,” Chaos countered, activating his liteBlades.

With a loud boom, a window on either of the room crashed open, followed by figures in black armor.

“Let me guess,” Eagle asked, looking from left to right. “You brought along the assassins from hell, the Kugiahma twins?”

“Let’s just say I saw you coming,” the Elvenkai Lord smirked.

In an instant, the throne room was thrown into complete chaos; the light went out followed by soldiers shouting orders at each other and the glow of liteBlades clashing against each other.

o0o

Eagle opened his eyes to a disorienting scene; the lights were flickering and people were shouting orders and demanding answers. Blinking rapidly, he senses slowly started coming back. Grabbing his liteBlade that laid on the floor to his right, he stood up and took in everything that was happening. Nearly all the windows were shattered, most of the room was trashed, and everyone in the room before the fight was on the ground, killed or seriously injured. With his disorientation gone, he made his way to the highest ranking officer; in this case a member of the Elite Order.

“What’s the situation?” Eagle asked, interrupting the Vickei.

The Genohuman Vickei turned around and was about to say something until she saw who it was. “Vickei Rei. I’m glad to see you are up.”

“Before you say anything else, I need to know the situation,” Eagle interrupted again. “Where is the King? How many are dead? And where the hell is Chaos?!” Before the Genohuman could answer, Eagle heard a familiar voice behind him.

“I am right here Eagle. There is no need to scare the young Vickei here,” Ziad answered, walking up the Human.

“Thank Titan,” Eagle replied, letting out a sigh of relief as he turned around and saw the King with Vissler next to him. “What happened here?”

“I was hoping you could tell me. I take it from the sight of things, the arrest didn’t go well.”

“I wish I could tell you but from the state of the room and the dead soldiers, I would agree with you.”

“What do you remember?” Vissler asked from behind the King. The Human shot him a look that he swore could kill him.

“Don’t press your luck,” Eagle replied. “We all know you were Chaos’ little laky while he was here. My question is, did you tip him off?”

“Excuse me?!” the Jin demanded, offended beyond words. “How could you even-”

“Save your breath. As far as I am concerned, you’re our only suspect,” Eagle countered sternly. “Putting that aside, I want a full report on everything that happened in this room. How were the lights sabotaged? How did the Kugiahma twins make it past security? And how in The Three Realms did Chaos escape?”

Several officers and the Vickei took notes and went to work.

“I’m glad you survived,” Ziad said, patting the Human on the back. “I realize you just suffered a devastating defeat from your old comrade but I need to know what happened after I left.”

“I am honestly having a hard time remembering,” Eagle replied, rubbing his head. “I remember Chaos pulling his blades, the assassin twins bursting in the room, and then sometime during our battle, everything went black. Was there an explosion or something any time after you left the room?”

“There was a minor one,” Ziad replied. “We need a plan of attack here Eagle.”

“I know Ziad. I know.”

“That reminds me,” Ziad said, motioning Eagle towards the west doors. “Just before I got here, Deideikai Pastel called me personally and has requested your presences at the Order.”

“Figures,” Eagle said, shaking his head.

“What did you expect?” Ziad asked. “As much as I want to continue this conversation, I have a meeting with my High Council.”

“Fair enough,” the Human said, extending a hand. “Good luck.”

“You too.”

Sublocation – Elite Order HQ Temple, Divergence Wings

Innerlocation – Hallway to the High Council Chamber

Eagle shook his head as he patiently waited outside the doors of the High Council Chamber. Unlike his previous visits to the High Council, the waiting room for the council chamber was empty. In all of his experience coming to this chamber, there were always people waiting outside, no matter what was going on. With a soft hiss, the chamber doors opened and the female Elvenkai sitting behind the desk to the right of the door addressed him. “The High Council will see you know Vickei Rei.”

“Thank you Archkei Hunt,” Eagle replied, taking in a breath and slowly releasing it. Shifting his tunic, he proceeded thought the doors of the council chamber. Entering the coffin shaped room, the Human looked around the chamber and saw something that didn’t happen all that often; everyone who was on the council was actually present as well as a few extra guests. To his right and his left were five chairs full of ten vickeis, all of whom he knew from his decades and decades of service to the Order. Reaching the center of the room, he stood on the Order emblem and looked up at the three Deikais who occupied the three seats in from of him. To the seat to his left was the lowest ranking Deikai, a male Genohuman by the name of Steven Winters. The seat to Eagle’s right was Fukudeikai, a male Elvenkai by the name of Rein Elvendorf. Sitting in the center seat was the Deideikai of the Order, a female Human by the name Aion Pastel.

“Welcome Vickei Rei,” Deideikai Pastel greeted. “It is good to see you again. I wish it were better circumstances.”

“Deikais. Fellow Vickeis,” Eagle replied with a bow.

“What is the situation at Baldur Castle?” Fukudeikai Elvendorf asked, getting to the point, leaning forwards, placing his head on his hands.

“As I’m sure the council is well aware, several hours ago we had planned to arrest our primary suspect regarding the theft of Titan’s Wings, Lord Chaos Baulder. I regret to inform you that the attempt has failed.”

“Failed?!” Elvendorf demanded. “What do you mean failed?”

“With the coordination of the Heavy Guards of the Divergence Military, we attempted to arrest Chaos but he managed to resist and escape with the help of two assassins; Assassins of Tatsu Freyr and Freya Kugiahma.”

“Explain to me Eagle,” Elvendorf started. “Why is it, whenever you are involved, these two assassins seem to be close behind?”

“Before we launch into that old argument,” Aion interrupted, knowing full well that the answer to that single question could take hours. “What is the King’s plan to track down the traitor?”

“King Ginta is currently in a meeting with his High Council trying to figure that out,” Eagle answered. “Once they have come to a decision, I will contact you.”

“What about the special team you put together to track down the Titan’s Wings in the first place?”

“Following the recovery of one of the display Wings, Kaz and his team received a note from Chaos and a challenge. In three months’ time, they are to participate in the Skye Tournament and proceed from there. As of right now, Kaz is taking his team to Battle Island for further training until the tournament starts,” Eagle replied.

“So let me get this straight,” Deikai Winters sighed. “While we assume King Ginta is organizing a man hunt to find Chaos, they aren’t going to do anything about searching for the Wings?”

“As of right now yes Deikai,” the Human nodded. “With Divergence’s military tied up with the search, they are left with little resources to reach for the wings. Elemental has agreed to help in the search.”

“Is there anything else you have to report?” Aion asked,

“No Deikai, just a request from King Ginta,” Eagle answered, waiting for the human female to respond. With a nod, he continued. “Ziad realized the Order is strained due to the security breaches but he is requesting a team to help with the search for both the wings and Chaos.”

“We will take it under consideration,” Aion said with a sigh. “For now, return to Baldur Castle, help with the efforts there, and wait for further instructions.”

“Hai Deideikai,” Eagle said with a bow. Turning around, he walked out. As the doors closed behind him, he pulled out a small holo-communication unit. A moment later, a mini hologram of Ziad appeared.

“I take it your meeting with the High Council is over?” Ziad asked, with a concerned expression on his face.

“You can say that,” Eagle replied. “How about yours?”

“Same. We think we have a plan. How soon can you get here?”

“Just have to contact Kaz and fill him.”

The mini hologram of the Elvenkai scratched his bread as he nodded, “Understood. See you when you get here.”

“Sounds good,” Eagle agreed. With a nod, the hologram dissipated.

o0o

“Things are getting worse and worse,” Vickei Nei’l, the tan, male Genohuman in charge of the Order’s military division stated, breaking the awkward silence of the council chamber.

“Agreed,” the Elvenkai Fukudeikai nodded. “First the event from five years ago, then the theft two years ago, the breach in our core security, the theft of Titan’s Wings, and now a confirmed traitor escaping an arrest attempt from one our own.” The Elvenkai shook his head as he leaned back into his chair. “What I would give for it to be a decade ago.”

“We all yearn for that time but we must deal with the current situations,” the female Deideikai commented. “What is the status of the investigation regarding the security breaches?”

“Inconclusive as of yet,” the female Vickei in charge of the Saige Sect answered. “The only thing we can determine for sure is that it was definitely an inside job. It has the same hallmarks as the theft from Baldur Castle. Due to the startling revelation of Chaos’ allegiance, I am having my team taking a closer look into him. My gut says he is the one responsible.”

“Whether he is responsible or not, we all know he didn’t do it himself. He’s too smart for that,” Deikai Winters stated. “He had to have had help. Someone he hired, or convinced to actually tamper with our security.”

“Vickei Junika, continue your investigation and start looking into whether or not Chaos had an accomplice,” Aion commanded.

“Hai Deideikai,” Junika answered.

“Speaking of which, did you finally manage to determine what was taken during the breach?” one of the female Vickeis asked.

“Yes and no,” Junika replied. “As I’m sure everyone here is aware, we have already concluded that the tampering of security itself was a distraction. We determined that all the files that were accessed where highly classified and as far as I know only a deikai could access. With the Deideikai’s permission, we would like to gain access to those files to determine what was copied.”

“I’ll get you the proper access as soon as possible,” Aion nodded.

“Thank you. Along with files being copied, a disturbing number of files were also erased,” Junika added. “We’ll be able to determine what files as soon as we have access.”

“Thank you Junika,” Aion replied. “Are there any more pressing issues for this meeting?”

“What are we going to do about Fallen Wings?” Nei’l asked.

“For now, nothing,” Aion answered. “I now you all have reservations about this particular subject but if we are going to maintain that we believe, support, and fight for freedom, we cannot interfere with the politics of this nation. We have a responsibility to Norok as a whole, not just one nation.”

“We will only interfere if King Ginta request our presents,” Elvendorf enforced. “Not until then.”

The Vickeis looked around at each other and nodded in unison.

“Then it is agreed,” Aion said. “If there is nothing else, this session is over for today.” As she stood up, everyone else in the room followed suit. “Vickeis carry on with your duties, Deikais, hang back.” Everyone bowed and the as she sat back down, the Vickeis exited.

Sublocation – Toroc’s NX Hotel, Diverray, Apprentice Plain

Innerlocation – Room 304

It was the dead of night when Kaz’s holo-communicator started to go off with loud beep. Groaning, Kaz rolled over and pressed the answer button. A second later, a mini hologram of Eagle materialized.

“Sorry to wake you Kaz,” Eagle apologized, bowing.

“No, no, it’s ok,” Kaz dismissed, sitting up. The cold air reminded him that he was not wearing a shirt. “I figured you’d be calling before morning. What’s the news?”

“Ziad is coordinating with the military for what has to be the largest manhunt in the Divergence Wings Military Order’s history. Due to the events taking place at the Order, they are unable to send anyone to help us out.”

“That’s unfortunate,” Kaz replied, shaking his head. “One would think that one of their own betraying them would be enough motivation.”

“They are still focusing on the security breaches and any connections Chas has to it.”

“Ah.”

“For now, proceed with your plan, while we deal with Chaos and the assassins.”

“Good luck old friend,” Kaz said with a smile.

“To you as well,” Eagle replied. “I have a feeling you are going to need it.”

“Tell me about it,” Kaz laughed.

“I’ll see you when I can,” the Human said. With a nod, the hologram dissipated and Kaz went back to sleep.


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