As soon as they came out from the hut where they had left Rogue, Eris said to Aerys.
“We can’t let her come with us, she’s injured and we can’t risk her life for this. We need her to be alive.”
“She won’t cooperate and will hate you for this. She will try to convince us, but you’re right. We have to break the news to her somehow.” Aerys said.
Eris wondered how they would tell Rogue. She would hate them for this, but it was the right thing to do. She was injured beyond repair, and it would take many days for her to get better. And moreover, they couldn’t risk anything else happening to her as she might not survive it. They had to break the news to her.
“Let’s go tell her.” Eris said sighing, as he wondered how she was going to take this news.
They walked back into the room, serious expressions on their faces and as soon as Rogue saw them, she shouted, “I’m coming no matter what. You cannot leave me here.”
“Rogue listen, think sensibly for a second. You are injured and we cannot risk you getting more hurt as it will be fatal, and it might even be life threatening. You won’t get away easy a second time. Also, the king is after you and you should stay safe here.”
“No I cannot let you two go. How do you think I’ll feel with the both of you fighting and risking your lives while I sit here doing absolutely nothing? How do you think I will feel?” Rogue said, raising her voice, agitated.
“Rogue calm down, we will come back. You have my word on that, I promise you.” Aerys said and sat down next to me. Eris took that as the cue to move out, and he soon went outside the hut, leaving it to Aerys to convince her.
Aerys placed a hand on her hand and squeezed it.
“Look Rogue, I know you’re going to object, I know how you feel, but you have to understand that you are not in the right condition to fight. You have to understand that, and we will be back by the time you are well. We will fight for you Rogue. Please, listen this once, it’s to save your lives.”
“Aerys how can I? You of all the people can’t do this to me.” Rogue protested, and Aerys could see the tears forming in Rogue’s eyes. He hated this, but it was the best thing for Rogue. There was no other option, and Aerys hoped she would understand.
“Rogue, please understand. I really thought you would. For one second, think about your health. Think about yourself. You have to once in a while. You have to remain alive, what’s the use if you’re not alive after the war?” Aerys said.
“Aerys you don’t understand. I have to do this. To repent for my sins, for my father, for every single citizen of Ashanti.” Rogue said, sobbing, emotion in her voice.
“Rogue, I understand. You have to trust us to do it for you. I promise I will not rest until the king is dead and the people of Ashanti are dead. I swear everything will be alright for me, and I promise I will survive this and get back to you as soon as I can.” Aerys said sincerely. He meant every word he uttered.
“Aerys” Rogue protested but Aerys told her to remain silent.
“Stop arguing Rogue, it’s for your own good. Now do as I say and remain here safe, out of harm’s way. It will be easier for me knowing you are in safe place. Now go to sleep, you are tired.” Aerys said to Rogue.
He watched as Rogue closed her eyes, and he gently wiped her tears and stroked her hair. After a while, making sure she was asleep, he kissed her on the forehead. “Goodbye Rogue, in case I don’t come back.” And he rose and walked out where he saw Eris waiting.
“Done.” Aerys sighed and Eris nodded as they headed out towards the another hut.
Aerys couldn’t help feel a bit sad as this might be the last time he was ever seeing Rogue. He hoped that wasn’t the case. He really did, and he would do anything to be back with her. He had to survive this war and make it back as Rogue depended on him.
Aerys lay down on the bed and thought about the next day. He wondered whether they would be able to make it to Ashanti. Aerys also hoped that the warrior had made it there. Then they could join forces and defeat the king once and for all. The mighty Ashanti army would be defeated, all would be well and Aerys would be able to see Rogue again.
Rogue, rogue, rogue. Aerys felt really bad leaving her like this in a position where she was sure to feel useless about herself, but there was no option. It was her own safety and Aerys knew that eventually Rogue would come to understand that it was necessary for Aerys to do such a thing. She would be safe here, and Aerys could fight with a stable mind knowing that Rogue was safe.
Come dawn, the toughest part of Aerys' life was about to begin, and Aerys hoped he would be able to succeed. They had Eris the angel on their side, and it was a huge advantage but Aerys hoped it would be enough.
Sleep didn't come as his mid wandered to distant places. Apprehension gnawed at his head as he waited for the next day. He wondered if the chieftain had got the other tribals ready. Aerys hoped he had. The tribals were proving to be useful in the fight for Ashanti, and Aerys would have to make sure they were well rewarded for their deeds.
Soon, sleep came and Aerys dreamed about being a free man. In his dream, he was back on the streets of Ashanti, a normal citizen who was walking alone minding his own business. He strolled through the kingdom, unharmed and unquestioned. He soon walked up to a stone structure and stepped inside. There were intricate carvings of human life inside the stone structure that looked very much like a cave. When he went deeper inside, he saw an altar. Suddenly, there was a flash and torches appeared around the altar. Aerys could hear the boom of laughter echoing around the building, and only one face appeared. The king, and soon Aerys awoke with a jolt.
"Are you alright?" Eris asked concerned, "You were screaming. What happened?"
"I think the king has penetrated even my dreams." Aerys said, the face still fresh in his mind. Was the king so powerful that he could even affect Aerys' dreams.
"What?" Eris asked, confused.
"Yes, you heard right." And Aerys recounted the entire dream to a baffled Eris.
"The king is so powerful" Eris said, a worried look on his face. " How am I ever going to combat him?"
"Eris, you are as powerful as him, and I am confident you will be able to defeat him with our help. We are united while he stands alone." Aerys said. He didn't let fear show on his face as Eris needed his support now. On the outside he portrayed a cool and composed figure, but on the inside, Aerys was unsure, confused and scared. What was going on?
"We should get going." Eris said, grabbing his swords and hanging Aerys a hammer.
Aerys and Eris walked out as they saw preparations being made for the march to begin.
"It’s about time." The chieftain said, walking up to them. "We make a move today. Let us hope we are successful or else countless lives will be lost."
"Yes, let us hope." Eris and Aerys said together. Aerys looked around him at the army ready to march. They had no armour on them, but they looked very fearsome, and ready for battle.
The women, children and the wounded had been left behind, and fortunately, Rogue was nowhere in sight. She must have been asleep.
Aerys walked on ahead, moving to the lead where various leaders and the chieftain were waiting. Eris followed him.
"We will be there in a day or so, but I suggest that once we are there, Aerys you lead as you know the warrior." The chieftain said to him. Aerys hoped the warriors were waiting for them, and they would join forces and demolish the Ashanti army once and for all.
"Let us march with courage my people." The chieftain said in another language and then translated it for the benefit of Eris and Aerys.
A huge roar went up from the army as they began marching into the forest, leaving spirals of dust behind them. Their feet moving in unison and in a disciplined manner unexpected of tribals.
"This is one fearsome army." Aerys said to Eris. "If this combined with the warrior’s army cannot defeat the king, then nothing can." Little did Aerys know that Ashanti had an impressive army of soldiers that had been trained since they were infants.
They marched through the forest nonstop, and by afternoon they were almost near the outskirts of Ashanti. The tribals were fast, and while Aerys and Eris were panting they seemed to even increase their pace in a bid to get there before nightfall.
They marched in silence, concentrating on the way ahead of them, and soon they were near the camp.
Aerys moved with Eris up front, ready to meet the warrior. This day would be remembered as the merging of the armies. He walked up to the warrior.