Jordanna the Mystic sat atop of her horse calmly. It was becoming increasingly chillier, something that she was extremely fond of. Up ahead she could see Prince Carlowe on his wagon, sitting beside the Shakel sister.
The Mystic smiled to herself at the sight of them. She might be able to use this situation to her advantage.
Theos was to the left of her and Fray on her right. Both were riding beside her silently. They knew better than to interrupt her thoughts.
Jordanna sighed, going through her plans apprehensively. There were many forces at work here, the situation extremely delicate. Certain circumstances had to happen for the plan to commence to her liking. However, she mused, there were always different paths that they could take if necessary. It would be considered wise to have auxiliary plans should something go awry.
The Mystic closed her eyes, tilting her head back while letting her horse travel freely. She knew Theos and Fray would watch out for her.
When they arrived back in Aesir, a meeting ought to be held with all of the Mystics of the Dominion. At the moment there were a little over a hundred all together, with twenty Mystics that traveled to battle. The rest were back in Aesir.
As the leader of the Mystics, Jordanna knew that she should proceed with caution. While the Dominion Mystics were extremely loyal, not all Mystics north of the Divide affiliated with the Dominion. There were a few scattered here and there, but none that seemed as threatening.
But if they were ever going to gain control back over Calaria, a sort of recruitment would need to happen.
Jordanna shook her head.
Before she could even entertain the thought of ruling over all of the lands, there was a more pressing matter; that of Prince Carlowe and his reign over the Dominion.
She must ensure that Prince Carlowe was inspired to continue the works of his father, and all other ancestors before him. The Dominion must defeat the Rebellion once and for all if the Mystics were ever going to rule over all of Calaria again. If her instincts were right about Prince Carlowe and the Shakel girl, then his emotions could certainly be manipulated.
"Fray," Jordanna whispered, opening her eyes slowly.
The young Mystic turned to her. "Yes, my Lady?"
"When we arrive back in Aesir, I have a job for you."
Fray nodded. "Anything, my Lady."
Jordanna raised an eyebrow, glancing in the direction of Prince Carlowe's wagon. "I want you to keep a close watch on the Shakel sister. Wherever she goes, whatever she does, I want to know about it."
"Of course, my Lady. It will be done."
The Mystic grinned at Fray, adjusting herself in her saddle. "Good. Now fall back and bring Meena to me."
Fray bowed slightly on his horse before turning around completely, trotting farther down the band of Dominion soldiers.
"Plotting?" Theos inquired, raising a grey eyebrow.
"Planning," answered Jordanna.
Without another word, she closed her eyes again.
With Fray fetching Meena, the Mystic allowed her thoughts to drift towards the next phase of her plan.
It was true that they were low in numbers, and a recruitment of more Mystics would begin as soon as they arrived back into Aersir. But still, she knew that it would not be enough. They lacked power. The others were so young, or inexperienced. No other Mystics could match Jordanna in power, this she knew.
But there were whispers; whispers of a dark Mystic with powers unimaginable. It was said that this Mystic lived in a cave, deep within the Vesirian Mountains. If Jordanna could win the favor of this Mystic, there would be none that could stand against them.
Suddenly her thoughts were broken.
Jordanna peeled her eyes open slowly, meeting Meena's gaze.
"Is this about the special job?" Meena inquired, keeping her voice low.
"Yes," Jordanna hissed. "There is a Mystic that lives in a cave beneath one of the Vesirian Mountains. I want him here. Promise him a place to rule beside me when we take back Calaria for ourselves."
Meena's eyes widened. "Yes, my Lady. Anything else?"
"Do whatever it takes, Meena. This Mystic's involvement to our cause is essential. You must not fail me." Her gaze was harsh, but Meena did not falter.
"When would you have me depart, my Lady?"
Jordanna eyed the Dominion soldiers in front of them, clearly distracted by the journey.
Meena gave a quick nod and with a small amount of movement, transformed into a falcon. Jordanna watched as Meena took flight, slowly disappearing into the sky.
Meena's horse continued to trot along undaunted before Fray rode forward and tied it to his own.
Jordanna settled back into her mind, playing through her plans. If things did not go well with Prince Carlowe, he could be taken care of. That would mean Prince Wren would ascend the throne.
Truthfully, this was more ideal. If Prince Carlowe proved to be too difficult to control, then Jordanna would have to intervene. Prince Wren was more like his father; more like a Ramos. Manipulating him would be easy, and there were so many ways to do it. The Mystic's mouth turned up into a sly smile at the thought of all of the possibilities. She had been planning for this takeover for almost a hundred years.
Jordanna's thoughts were broken by Theos's voice.
As she peeled her eyes open, she could see Graymeer moving towards them down the line. He had his black hood over his head, his expression unreadable.
The Mystic grinned at him pleasantly. "Ah, Graymeer. What brings you all the way down the line to us Mystics?"
The royal advisor removed his hood, his sleek black hair beginning to catch flecks of white snow. "I just thought that I would check on you, Lady Jordanna. Are you enjoying the journey?"
"Yes," Jordanna replied as she continued to smile. "I always enjoy the cold of the North."
Graymeer nodded. "Yes. But is there anything I could do for you? I'm sure Prince Carlowe would want me to ensure that your needs are met."
Jordanna's eyes perked up. "Actually, yes. A few of my comrades desired to depart with our party just after we come out of Snow Pass. It's to visit family, you see."
The advisor lifted an eyebrow at her request, but Jordanna put on a convincing front.
"I will ask Prince Carlowe about this at once," he replied, lifting his hood back onto his head.
"We do so appreciate it, Grayneer," Jordanna cooed, pulling her braid over one of her shoulders.
After Graymeer trotted away, the Mystic turned her attention to Theos. "Bring Jacko and Daria to me."
Theos left at once, and Jordanna pleasantly continued to ride her horse. Down south and below the divide, all of the Mystics were gone. They had either moved north or were captured and taken north. A large advantage that the Dominion had over the Rebellion was their use of Mystics.
Fray was uneasy in his saddle, Jordanna could sense it. "Fray. What is on your mind?"
He shook his head, casting his eyes downward. "It is nothing, my Lady."
The Mystic reached over and ran a finger down his cheek. "Come, now. What is it?"
"How will we ensure that the Rebellion is to be defeated once and for all? We have been fighting them for hundreds of years. How will it be different now?"
Jordanna smiled at the young Mystic admiringly. "Because soon we will have a great power, one that we have never had before. And soon we will convince the Rebellion that there are some Mystics that happen to be on their side."
Fray furrowed his eyebrows, a look of perplexity on his face. "There are?"
Jordanna sat up, grinning from ear to ear. "They'll think that there are."
Fray smiled back at her, recognizing her masterful intentions.
Suddenly up ahead there was a great commotion and the whole band pulled to a stop. Jordanna peered forward to see what was going on just as Theos returned with Jack and Daria. All of their attention was turned to the front of the band of soldiers.
"What..." Jordanna began, just as a Snow Cat leapt into view up ahead. The Mystic cackled, throwing her head back in pleasure. She bit her front teeth over her bottom lip and look at Theos with a menacing grin. "I want you three to travel down south and join the Rebellion."
Theos retracted backwards in surprise. "My Lady? Are you--"
"I want the Rebellion to believe that you are dissatisfied with the Dominion and that you wish to join their ranks."
Jacko and Daria smiled at one another, while Theos nodded slowly, a look of uncertainty about him. "If that is what you wish, my Lady."
Jordanna raised her chin triumphantly. "It is. Now go. I will send word eventually."
The three Mystics took off behind them, disappearing down the snow covered path.
Eventually, and much to her disappointment, Prince Carlowe disposed of the Snow Cats. Their stop was short, and Jordanna waited around impatiently.
Just as the band of Dominion soldiers began to pull away again, the Mystic decided to ride forward. She passed several soldiers and the slave Dwarves that they had brought along. Jordanna grimaced at the sight of the Dwarves, so dirty and rancid.
Just as they came out of Snow Pass, the dark shape of the Kingdom in the distance, Jordanna made it up front beside Graymeer and Prince Carlowe.
She eyed the Shakel girl carefully, flashing a large smile that was not returned.
"Ah, were you hurt in the attack?"
The Rebel pursed her lips in response and turned away, focusing her eyes on the road. Prince Carlowe focused his eyes elsewhere as well. He too had ignored her question.
"That's a shame," she cooed. "Pity you got hurt."
"Oh, I'm sure," the Shakel sister snapped at her.
Jordanna watched as Prince Carlowe smirked to himself.
"Ah, yes. I'm sorry I wasn't up front to be of more help."
"We managed just fine, actually," Prince Carlowe mused.
The Mystic smiled to herself. "Well. I just thought I'd thank you for allowing some of my people to disband from the regiment early."
The Prince snapped his head in her direction. "You did what?"
Jordanna reveled in the anger dripping from his voice. But she played it coy, feigning her surprise. "I just assumed from Graymeer's words that it was fine."
Prince Carlowe continued to glare at her, waiting her her to finish.
"I truly apologize. It must have been a miscommunication."
The Prince straightened himself, taking in a deep breath and breathing out of his nose slowly. "A miscommunication, indeed."
"Well," Jordanna started, her tone pleasant. "It is good to be back up north. The festivities and events to come have you extremely excited, I'm sure."
She watched as Prince Carlowe nodded, his expression unreadable. "Yes," he answered quietly.
They continued down the path towards Aesir, a snow flurry starting to pick up. Jordan closed her eyes and inhaled the cold air through her nostrils.
"I'll see you on the other side," she told them, her dark eyes grazing over their faces.
Everything was working out just the way she wanted.