War Swords

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The Mystic Hour

Jordanna the Mystic emerged from her dark green tent almost without a sound. Her long red hair was pulled back into a tightly woven braid then hung effortlessly over her right shoulder.

She observed the rest of the Mystics gathering around a fire, eating breakfast and conversing casually. She walked over to them slowly, smiling down at them.

Upon realizing her approach, each of them stood.

"My Queen," said Theos, a water Mystic with a long gray beard.

"Sh, sh, sh," Jordanna hushed, putting a slender finger to her lips. "Not around the Dominion. You already have a Queen back in Aesir."

"She is not our Queen," Theos protested, furrowing his eyebrows over crystal blue eyes.

The other Mystics nodded in agreement, Jordanna smiling at their loyalty.

Fray, an earth Mystic stepped forward. "When will we finally take back our nation? Calaria belongs to us, it is our right. We could take it by force."

"Oh, Fray," Jordanna cooed, placing a cold hand to the young Mystic's cheek. "We haven't the numbers to rule all of Calaria."

Fray looked away, the rest of the Mystics silent.

"Our time is coming," Jordanna assured them, her dark eyes steady. "Norman Ramos is dead. But Prince Carlowe will never be who his father was, he doesn't have it in him."

"What about Prince Wren? And Queen Nadine?"

The Mystic smiled, taking a seat around the fire. "Friends. I have been living in these lands for over 200 years. I have seen many battles between the Dominion and the Rebellion. I have lived to see many Kings of men. Our time is coming. It is near, I assure you."

They all nodded, looking around at one another.

"Now," she mused, lifting a small knife with the outstretching of her hand. "My plan for our rise requires a few loose ends that need tying up."

"Of course, my lady," Theos said. "How do we proceed?

She gazed at the knife floating above her hand as she began to talk. "Upon arriving in Aesir, we must show our utmost support for Prince Carlowe and his ascension to the throne."

"Right," said Fray. "With Prince Carlowe not as much of a concern--"

"I never said he was not much of a concern," Jordanna snapped, her eyes meeting Fray's "He is most certainly our largest concern."

Puzzled, Fray dropped his head. "My lady, I meant no disrespect."

Jordanna released a casual smile. "Of course not. But when it comes to the Ramos family, let me be clear that Carlowe Ramos is our largest threat."

"So, Prince Wren and Queen Nadine are not?"

"Queen Nadine will be too wrapped up in her husband's death and losing her title. With a bit of monitoring she isn't really a threat at all," Jordanna told them, turning her attention back to the knife. "Prince Wren is a different matter, though largely predictable. He is much like his father."

"Much like Norman Ramos? How then is he not a threat more than Prince Carlowe?" Fray questioned.

"Because," Jordanna sneered, sending the knife whistling through the air until it stuck perfectly in a tree behind Fray's head. "Prince Wren is exactly like his father and every other King before him. He would rule with a cruel hand and a selfish desire for power and Calaria will stay divided. That is the Ramos way."

She stood swiftly, each of the Mystics flinching as a reaction. "But Prince Carlowe is not like his father, and not like a Ramos, though he protests it still. His heart is far less dark and if he rules he will unite Calaria with peace and equality," Jordanna explained, walking silently around the campfire, her long green dress flowing lazily behind her.

The rest of the Mystics said nothing, a certain chill now about the air.

"Prince Carlowe remains the most dangerous because a Calaria divided is much easier to conquer. If he unites the Rebellion with the Dominion and frees all those enslaved, then we will have lost our chance."

"Then why don't we act now?" Theos questioned. "The Dominion's power is weak, we could--"

"As I said before, we lack the numbers. There are also a few elements of my plan that need taken care of," Jordanna interjected. "Timing is essential. We must be patient and wait until everything is aligned."

"And does that include killing Prince Carlowe?" asked Fray, looking up at Jordanna expectantly.

The Mystic smiled down at Fray admiringly. "Not necessarily. The people in the north are greedy and power hungry, not stupid. Prince Carlowe may be able to be pruned and... persuaded into the type of King that suits us."

The rest of the Mystics shifted anxiously, awaiting their leader to go on.

"But you just let me worry about that," she told them with a coy smile, removing the knife from the tree."

"What would you have us do?" Theos asked, standing to face her.

Jordanna smiled. "We will reach Aesir by dusk. As I said, upon our arrival, the Dominion is to feel nothing but support from us when it comes to Prince Carlowe ascending the throne. I don't want even a whisper of our motives reaching Dominion ears."

The rest of the Mystics stood as well, nodding and making comments of agreements.

"I have a special job for you, Meena," Jordanna stated, eyeing the young Mystic with short dark hair. "One that requires some travel."

Meena bowed slightly before the Mystic leader. "Of course, my lady."

"There may also be some benefit in a few Mystics joining ranks with the Rebellion. If they welcome us, of course," she purred, taking the knife out of the tree.

Jordanna turned back to the rest of the Mystics, her dark eyes filled with pride. "For now, we will continue to serve the Dominion in full fashion until I give the order otherwise. But take heart, my friends. Our time is coming," she said, just as a small amount of wind began to pick up.

Jordanna's eyes seemed to glow now, a wide smile spreading across her pale face. "The Mystic hour is approaching."

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