Loud footsteps resonated through the assembly room. The voices overlapping one another, soon quieted down. The people settled down as the last person they had been waiting upon finally entered the room. The man who’d silenced the room with his mere presence―one had once been a great general well known throughout the realms―took his place at the head of the table. Brows narrowing, his eyes roamed warily as said individual propped up on an elbow and rested his chin on the palm of his hand in blatant disinterest.
“Well then, would anyone care to explain why I was dragged out of the institution in the middle of night? What was so urgent that you all couldn’t wait until tomorrow?” He rasped, the deep timbre of his unused voice, dripping in contempt as it resonated against the walls.
“To the point then,” one man snapped back, hesitating for a moment before allowing himself to continue any further, “Elivar, forgive me for speaking so bluntly but please rest assured that the matter we wish to discuss is of considerable importance. To enlighten you, the subject of our concern is regarding the Death Market. So would it be too much to ask of you to refrain from taking the seriousness of this matter so lightly?”
The general in question, snorted at the man’s priggish countenance and proceeded to drawl with heavily laced sarcasm in his voice, “Yes, because we all know all matters our dear Oarlo ever brings up are always of severe life or death matter.”
“Things are getting out of hand,” Another male quipped without missing a beat, “and so far none of the precautions we have taken have detained the ringleaders of the Death Market from their advances. They have even begun to stir... commotion in the third plane. The people of that realm are not imbeciles and they must not be treated as such. Therefore we must take action.”
“What the hell is your point Lianth?” Elivar narrowed his eyebrows in response, having sensed that sniveling aueb was holding back something that he’d clearly find unpleasant. A part of him couldn’t help but scoff at how loosely his fellow councilman utilized the term ’we,’ when more than half of the individuals present were well aware of the fact that when it came down to it, Lianth Iaiyulst was the type to talk big only to cower behind others when the going got tough. His thought process was interrupted when the slightly older female seated to the left of the general was the one to respond to his question―albeit with slight reticence.
“Elivar, Kailohk is not what it used to be. We must face the fact that majiq is dying out, and because of that we are becoming more vulnerable each passing day. Those of the strongest bloodlines have completely disappeared, most likely even died out ever since the very few that remained were forced into hiding long ago. We have absolutely no way of... restoring it to what it once used to be. We can thank the Naryejt markets for that seeing as how they’ve spared no efforts in taking out the few who have managed to survive for some time and there has been word that they have been expanding their... ‘growing industry’ into the lower planes. As of lately focusing on the middle realm, though we are unsure of what their recent onslaught of activities within the third plane consist of.
They have been careless and if we are not careful, the treaty will be compromised. Furthermore, there has also been talk that they have had a few of their men set up residence deep within the city of Mareha. We have already sent some of our officials to investigate and validate this. In truth, they have managed to confirm our suspicions. What we are asking of you is of great importance. Should we successfully manage to infiltrate them, we will be able to make our way up. It is a start...a step nonetheless.”
“And what exactly is it that you are asking of me? You know how much it irritates when you speak so vaguely. Do state you motives clearly for once Davra.” He scowled impatiently at his elder sibling, now completely convinced that the purpose of this ‘meeting,’ was to get something out of him―something he probably wouldn’t normally agree to nor like for that matter.
”Raïelk... we understand what we are about to ask of you is something of extreme severity, but we would not ask it from you if this were not of extreme importance. Our numbers are becoming smaller, Elivar. Where we once had tens of millions, we now have tens of thousands. They are also not as equipped nor are they available due to the fact that they are needed at the front lines to do this job. What we need is not officials but soldiers... the best of which the lands of kailohk can provide. We are all well aware of the accomplishments of your regiments, and although we understand that they are still technically students, we thought-”
“Have all of you lost your minds?” Elivar sighed as he realized the implications behind their words. “These are my students that you are contemplating sending off to do your bidding for civil matters.” He pointed out, not bother to withhold his displeasure from those around him. He had no doubt that the mastermind behind this scheme was none other than Lianth. The conniving bastard would do anything just to piss him off and the little shit was more than well aware that Elivar always drew the line when it came to his students.
“Elivar, the moment they chose to enter the institute, they chose to serve as representatives of kailohk, and it just so happens that we have been forced to call upon all resources across the four lands. Therefore, we have been left with no choice but to use them. Thirteen out of the seventeen kingdoms that exist on kailohk have come to an agreement. This is not including the republics of Aoseij and Lhact that have agreed to spare some of their forces for our cause. It would not only be your institution but several military academies of significance from various nations. You must think of the safety of not only our people, but the beings of all five planes. The majority of your regiments are already more than equipped to take on a clan of Naryejt market ringleaders. After all they’ve been trained to take on much worse.” Lianth tried rationalizing with the infuriated male who seemed just moments away from going off on everyone within a five foot radius.
“Resources?” Elivar raised an eyebrow, “So from what I understand you have already managed to degrade my students from sentient beings to expendable resources in a matter of seconds. Tell me, is this where desperation has driven you? Perhaps they might be equipped to take on such a task, but who are you to deem them expendable? Being physically stronger and faster than your average civil official, does not mean I’m going to allow you to treat them as such so that you can call upon them whenever you need to clean things up. And yes, they might have chosen to serve the four lands but they are much more valuable than those official hounds of yours that’ll leap at your beck and call. My students relentlessly spend every second of every day training and immersing themselves in their education. All of that hard work so that they can amount to something that is worthy of recognition and you would dare belittle them to such an extent? Lianth will come to find that it is quite hard to endure such blatant humiliation without losing a shred of your dignity.”
“I understand your concerns Elivar,” Lianth tried to reason with him with growing frustration, “but unfortunately we have been left with no other choice.You know very well that we cannot use actual soldiers for civil matters seeing as how this would be breaking who knows how many laws across the four continents but your students have not graduated as of yet therefore they do not technically count as intercontinental kailohkian soldiers. If you will not cooperate then we will be forced to take matters into our own hands.
“Elivar, we merely asked for your permission out of courtesy and respect, due to the fact that you have the most power among us and the institute does belong to you after all, but you forget that if enough of us agree upon this decision we can still move forth with this plan. So far the majority agree, and although the process will be much longer we will still be able to accomplish it. Whether you do or do not agree, our plan will still be set into motion. Tis’ best you cooperate with us, after all both options will eventually lead to the same outcome,” he expressed with insistence.
“Davra, even you would come against me in this? You would actually dare to force my hand?” Elivar, questioned his sister bitterly, unwilling to relent.
“Forgive me brother, but we must take matters into perspective from now on. We must learn to put our personal feelings aside if we are to think of the best interests for the four lands. Otherwise we truly are destined to failure. It is for the best brother and I truly hope that someday you will be able to understand me.” She answered him softly, unable to look at her elder sibling in the eyes.
Davra didn’t have the heart to tell her brother that she thought he was being beyond childish and overdramatic in front of the other council members. She even had the nagging suspicion that it was because of his coddling that many of the graduate soldiers of the institute were all so prideful.
“Elivar, it is imperative for you to place your stance on this. Will you or will you not concede?” Lianth questioned him one last time. The room became silent once more.
Elivar was stoic, his face failed to betray his thoughts. Moments passed by and he still remained silent. After what seemed to be an eternity he turned around and headed towards the doors from which he had entered. Before he opened them he stopped without looking back.
“Frankly I do not care if you think me a fool, but what you are asking me to partake in is as unacceptable as it is insulting. I stand by my words. I do not agree with this plan of yours, therefore my answer is no,” he stated one last time before stepping out of the assembly room, leaving both Lianth and Davra at a loss with his parting words.
“Well, the general’s decision may have been final but it is a decision that will also set us back. It would have been much easier had he been a willing participant,” Lianth huffed in exasperation.
“Tis’ of no matter, we will do our best to pull through. Although I fear that my brother has made a grave mistake. Even so I wish to at least try to respect his wishes, we must send whatever men we can spare along to ensure nothing goes wrong,” Davra proposed after a moment’s silence. Davra knew just how deep her brother’s stubbornness ran and she had a feeling that his limitless pride would someday have dire consequences. She just hoped that they would be able to prevent whatever repercussions may result from his inflexible nature, in time.