Dark Stag Ch. 12

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RICHARD:

These guards stood before me, seriousness written across their face. I was so shocked with the news they just told me. The rage and hatred I had for Sir Socoshian subsided as I tried to make sense of this craziness.

“You’re,” I gulped, “Lutna Clan?”

“I am…” He said back, “We’re your Guard now. You’re all that is left! Sir Socoshian will not hesitate to exploit that… We’re not going to leave your side, my King…”

“KING?” I asked, staggered as the man bowed.

“I’m sir, Ruben. You can appoint me as your left hand, your commander, anything. You can ask me anything…” He said, slowly rising.

“Is,” I began, “Is my mother really dead?”

Ruben sighed, his mustache furling as he went deep into thought.

“She’s gone, my king. She did everything she could, but she’s gone.” Ruben said back.

“As king of this Ziggurat,” I continued, “Do I just step up? All responsibilities go to me?”

“In theory, yes. In actuality, it’d be difficult with how deep Sir Socoshian’s influences run. It’d be best if you leave for now…” Ruben suggested.

“And hope for the best while nothing is done? I can’t give this place up…” I said. Ruben seemed to get frustrated but hid it well. His frustration seemed to be in not being able to tell me something rather than my defiance.

“Look, if anything happens, before I let anything happen, I will take you from these lands myself. You have to understand that you must live to fight another day!” Ruben said, his accent slipping in with the passion and devotion on his tongue.

“What will happen to these lands if I go? I should fight it now!” I argued.

“These lands will still be here. What I think you fail to see my young King as that there’s nothing you can do to undo what has been done right now. If you leave and return, things won’t be worse. They’ll be more or less the same. Sir Socoshian has always been in control… That’s something you don’t see just yet.” Ruben clarified.

“What are my options if I leave?” I asked.

“You’ll learn them as soon as we get you to safety.” Ruben said.

“No, I need to know them NOW or I’m not leaving!” I said back.

“You have to trust us. Your mother did…” Ruben persisted.

“And where is she now? In the GRAVE!” I retorted.

“We’re acting out HER orders, my King.” Ruben responded.

“I’m sorry but I don’t know who to trust anymore…” I sighed, taking a seat.

“We have a cover to maintain. This cover will be blown when Sir Socoshian orders you to be killed. You don’t understand how important it is for me to stay close to the source. If you leave now, I assure you, you’ll get your kingdom back. But if you stay, not only will your life be in jeopardy, but everyone else in this room. We can’t fight off an entire Kingdom. You’re thinking with your emotions in the midst. I’m laying the truth out for you plainly, my king. The supporters you have can be counted on your hand! The people against you outnumber us in totality… Pick your battle wisely or I’ll pick it for you.” Ruben threatened.

“Just tell me what’s going on. If you were really on my side like you claimed… You’d tell me!” I said, growing frustrated. Ruben just stared at me, backing away towards the door. He sighed, leaving.

“Keep your gun close… It’s a gift from your mother…” Ruben said. It seemed as though everything he said was trying to get a reaction out of me. Sure he was a part of my mother’s clan but with so much up in the air, it was hard to truly trust him.

I had to go figure this out on my own. With all this being said, I still didn’t know if Sir Socoshian was still as evil as those around me had told me he was. He hasn’t truly shown a deceptive trait to me. This could totally be his end game. Maybe he needed me for something. It was difficult to be sure.

The entire night was me sitting at the table, thinking this through. Surely there was something I could do. The only idea I could come up with was to play to Sir Socoshians strengths and watch what happens. I showered, freshening up and getting dressed in an outfit that would impress. I wore a blue blouse with a chain that had the golden crest of the Bourgion house seal on it. Thin, leg hugging khaki slacks and brown leather boots from the skin of a lamb added dimension to the outfit. Lastly, I wore a black hooded peacoat to bring the outfit together.

A bit of hair gel tamed the curly mess of hair sitting on top of my head. It was time for a trim but with Roi gone, it made the shared bathroom quite an empty place. I missed my brother and it was hard being here without him. He deserved an apology for all that I had done to him. But for now, it was time to go and see what I could learn.

I left my room, shocked to see king’s guards posted outside my door. They were Lutna men… I made my way down stairs, two of the guards following. Immediately, things were being changed.

“Sir SOCOSHIAN!” I shouted. Everyone stopped, looking at me. casino şirketleri People began to part as he made his way towards me, holding his trusted clipboard.

“Yes?” He asked.

“Why are you doing things without my input?” I asked, “Everything you’re doing needs to go through me…”

“I am acting as the King’s hand. Everything here is his wishing…” Sir Socoshian responded.

“I’m the King now. Everything you do has to go through me…” I said firmly. Sir Socoshian looked at me penetratingly as he dropped his clipboard to his side.

The subjects of the palace looked weary of what was about to unfold.

“Then what do you want?” Sir Socoshian responded.

“To work with you.” I shrugged. It made Sir Socoshian confused.

“Okay…” He said.

“Where’s my father?” I asked.

“He’s been moved to a mortuary. We’ve found a different company to do the resuming.” He said.

“Without my permission? What’s wrong with the old company?” I asked.

“Their practices were a little sketchy.” Sir Socoshian smiled.

“Have you put out word that my father has died yet?” I continued.

“I was working on that now…” Sir Socoshian said, pulling up his clipboard.

“Now, what?” I taunted. He looked at me confused.

“Now what?” He responded.

“Your Liege.” I said. It seemed to make Sir Socoshian’s stomach tie into knots.

“My Liege…” He nodded.

“Don’t put word out that my father has been killed yet. That would be, not good for the Kingdom…” I responded.

“Killed? Why would it be bad for the Kingdom?” Sir Socoshian asked, unsure what I was doing.

“Because of possible mutiny! Who’d want an eighteen year old running a country? Who’d think,” I said, pacing through the room, “That I’d be able to keep things running the way things are? Who’d have faith in me?” I sat down in father’s throne overlooking the lounge, smiling.

“My liege, there is a lot to learn. Eighteen years old is indeed too young to run a country. Your father didn’t run this Ziggurat until he was nearly thirty. You don’t have the experience! This is why the King’s hand is trusted with the throne until the heir of the throne is of age…” Sir Socoshian said.

“You were my father’s left hand. But not mine…” I smiled, “Sir Ruben… Step forth please…”

He did so, looking at me in utter shock.

“You are hereby relieving Sir Socoshian of his duties as the King’s hand and will resume his duties.” Sir Ruben slowly turned to Sir Socoshian, shocked by this.

“With all due respect, your Grace… why?” Sir Socoshian asked.

“He was my mother’s advisor and my mother was a wonderful, wonderful diplomat, the reason this Ziggurat has great relationships with foreign nations! I’d like to follow in her footsteps! As for how things are run within the Ziggurat… Sir Socoshian, I don’t want to challenge your ability. What you do is incredible which is why I’ll appoint you as my second general.”

Worry was written across Sir Ruben’s face.

“With that change in position, what will that change with what I’m doing for your Kingdom, my Liege?” Sir Socoshian asked.

“What will change? You’re no longer handling foreign affairs. That shall be between Sir Ruben, an elected board and I. Everything domestic, shall run through you but not be run by you. You executively superhead the industries we as a sovereign nation specialize in.” I smiled.

“You realize that part of the industries I superhead revolves importing foreign items right?” Sir Socoshian asked, obviously frustrated.

“I kind of don’t like that. I want import tariffs for anything foreign grown that is anything besides a necessity to these people.” I continued. It shocked Sir Socoshian.

“Very well…” He responded, writing it down.

“And having the King’s Guard and the Official Guard be run under the same house is… fallacious. They’re going to be similar, but independent of each other.” I said. This seemed to make Sir Socoshian even more upset!

“With all due respect, my Liege, separating the police force will be an ungodly expense…” I responded.

“Then, we’ll look at our costs, rearrange them and appoint a new Ministry of Defense…” I shrugged, “I want Sir Leerwood to be in charge of the interview process for that. By the end of the week, I want portfolios on my lap to review. Sir Leerwood looked at Sir Socoshian with the same fearful expression Sir Ruben had.

“Yes, your Grace!” Sir Leerwood bowed.

“King’s Gaurd…” I said, as they followed.

Upon leaving the room, my heart stuttered with relief.

“Are you an idiot?” Sir Ruben asked me, very upset.

“No, but I’m trying to buy us all time. Everyone knows what’s going on here except me. Trust me, I’ll leave if I need too but I need more people on my side first. I’m going to need more help driving a wrench into Socoshian’s plans. I saw how everyone in the lounge grew uneasy as the confrontation between Sir Socoshian casino firmaları and I unraveled.” I said.

“That is a crazy plan!” Another guard said. He was young, my age with a huge amount of passion, “That I’m completely here for! Anything for you, your Grace…” I looked at him, the boy having long wavy hair draping down to his shoulders.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“I’m Knight Dior.” He said with an eyebrow furl. He was cocky, for sure.

“He’s a trained combatant, one that has trained in my styles of combat since his youth.” Sir Ruben added, “I don’t like your plan. But your plan is better than just leaving without a trace. It’s better to slow Sir Socoshian down before we leave.”

“Why can’t we fight him?” Dior asked.

“Because we’re completely outclassed and outmatched. Sir Socoshians veins run deep into this city. If he wants something to happen, he can make it. We won’t be able to fight until we sever some of those veins, young one!” Sir Ruben clarified.

“So what now?” I asked myself, “I think we need to spruce up the King’s Guard somehow, and I think I know precisely how.”

“We can bring in more assassins, your Grace…” Sir Ruben suggested.

“That would take weeks, even months. We don’t have that type of time. Right now, we have to wait on a silver raptor to return…” I said back, “All of what I’m doing now, is because of this… I need to hear back from some people before I can plan the next step.” Sir Ruben looked at me intently.

“You definitely have the blood of the assassin within you. You’re not soft… I see that now. In this time of war beneath the surface, you are bringing the fight back…” Sir Ruben nodded.

“Thank you. Just go surprivise things, make sure you’re wedged into everything Sir Socoshian might do. I mean, you pre calculate his next counter! I need to know… I’m not going to be able to leave my room until that raptor returns…” I said.

“Your Grace, what’s going on?” Sir Ruben asked.

“Just like you have secrets,” I smiled, “So do I!”

I made my way to my room, sitting on the balcony waiting for either Bazahra or Silver to return. As they did, I penned a letter one for Kijus and the other for my Gou and my siblings.

‘Dear Kijus,

Things are steadily getting worse here. Barely even a week after mother died, father is gone too! I can’t leave the palace yet. Everyone within the inner ring works for Sir Socoshian except a handful that were loyal to my mother. There are things going on that I don’t understand, but I must let you know that my days may be numbered! There’s a chance that I could be taken out but I’m trying to do everything in my power to make it. I’m not a fighter like you, but I am trying to be brave just as brave you! I love, you… I miss you and I hope that after all of this, we can be together.

As for now, I’m trying to find ways to slow Sir Socoshian down. Everything he wants is happening however, I’m the last wrench in his gears. So, what I plan on doing is getting a number of King’s Gaurds somehow to state their loyalty to me… I don’t know how I’m going to do it, if I’ll have to use tactics of fear, of intimidation or what… but it’s not to stay here! I’m leaving, heading south to the canyons where my brother and sister are. I hope that everything continues to go well for you where you are. My heart longs for you Kijus, you being the driving force I’m using to get through this horrible, horrible time! For you, I fight!

Your love,

Richard Bourgion.

Someone came into my room. It was Sir Ruben. He looked bot alarmed and confused.

“I just heard news that someone took out a twelfth of the Official Gaurd last night. No one saw who did it or how. Two of the people detained for interrogation are missing as well!” Sir Ruben explained.

“Wow…” I smiled, knowing precisely only that one person could do such a thing.

“What’s going on?” Sir Ruben asked.

“Something that I wasn’t expecting to play into our favor but it may…” I said, continuing to write. Sir Ruben walked over to me.

“You seem to not trust me. I’m fighting for you…” Sir Ruben said to me, looking at the letter.

“And I’m fighting for you… I trust you, just like you trust me! However, what you’re not doing is being all the way honest with me! As a result, I won’t be one hundred percent forward with you! You’ll see as well as be informed about my plans as they unravel…” I said, not looking up from him as I continued to write.

“If you have allies close by, this is something I need to know about! That in particular would be information I wouldn’t advise withholding. I could use this…”He said back.

“First, I’ll have to see what I can do. I don’t want to promise anything…” I responded.

“You sound unsure, your Grace. If things get worse, I will take you to safety! Your mother’s last words to me was to make sure you survive!” Sir Ruben said.

“I’m tired of being this cowardly, being this güvenilir casino sheltered, too afraid of the unknown, uneducated, locked in the Royal Court spoiled little brat! Everything I once knew was gone! So, I’m going to fight the best way I know how… with pen and paper!” I disputed.

“Then let me help you…” Sir Ruben persisted.

“I gave you a job to do. Do you not trust me?” I asked, flipping his initial concerns back towards me.

“Not with that uncertainty in your tone.” Sir Ruben said firmly.

“I’m going to need you to do as I say. Just be involved with everything relating to this palace!” I said.

“Very well…” He said, leaving.

I began writing Gou and my siblings:

‘Dear all,

It is now that I realize that I should have left when I had the chance! Things here have gotten worse. Father is now dead and Sir Socoshian has voiced his motives to take over since then! However, I have temporarily prohibited him from moving forth! At the same time, something happened at the Law Official headquarters with a large fraction of the Official Guard ending up dead. To me, this sounds like the work of a free agent and I can’t help but wonder if Gou had anything to do with it.

Since I can’t leave, I’m asking for help. Gou I want to leave, and I need to leave bad! I understand you specialize in undercover inside operations. Do you think you can send me undercover King’s Guards within the next forty eight hours? This is a must because, as of now, I’m heavily out numbered. If Sir Socoshian wanted to, he could have been me killed! With that being said, my days may permanently be numbered if I can’t leave! My goal is to look strong to all those on Sir Socoshians side so I can make my escape before anyone notices. I do have allies on the inside, though there are things I’m not certain about.

I was told that mother’s body wasn’t in the casket at her funeral. The casket was excavated late one night and there was a replica of her body there. This is all the more reason for me to believe that my mother is somehow alive. Afterall, mother was a trained assassin, one not only versed in combat, but espionage and hiding who she was. We can not count her out. Father though, I believe he is dead. I’m trying to stay strong, but it’s hard. I miss you all and I’m trying to keep everything we once had, together.

With that being said, DON’T come back! I believe I can manage on my own for the time being. If you come back, I believe you’ll be a target just like me! Trust and believe that I will get to the bottom of this situation!

Yours,

Richard Bourgion’

I sealed the letters, waiting for either Bazahra or Silver to come. It was a long wait, the sun nearly setting before a raptor showed up on my stoop. It was so relieving to see. The bird that had come was Silver. Nonetheless, I checked for any new letters. There was none. I loaded up both letters into the bird’s pouch then gave him bechums of lamb jerky. He was off.

The wait returned as I sat, praying the bird would return before the sun completely went down. He did, with a letter.

‘This is Gou. I can have free agents undercover as your guard within eighteen hours. Don’t feel outmatched by Sir Socoshian and his forces. I can assure you that you have far more allies than you might imagine. Your plan is one that works well. Stay low… tomorrow at noon, rendezvous in the catacombs to meet with the agents. It will be our goal to bring you out of the city and to a safer place. The free agents of the United Cybernetic Military can liberate your city. This what we are trained for…

Gou’

It was relieving to see this message. However, I wasn’t sure if this was what I wanted. Considering he worked for the United Cybernetic Military, that meant he could possibly get them too involved with the politics of the region. He was a good friend of mine, however this process was too delicate to let him turn it into a full blown military operation. Maybe I didn’t understand him fully on this.

I opened my room door where two King’s Guards were on post. I summoned one in, having no idea it was Dior.

“Yes, my Liege…” He said, taking off his helm.

“Fetch me Sir Ruben.” I said. He looked at me with a longing for more. It was beginning to bother me! He left, Sir Ruben coming minutes later.

“Yes?” Sir Ruben asked, seeing the giant raptor on the balcony, “Isn’t that your brother’s?”

“Yes… And tomorrow, I have Free Agents coming through the catacombs who will be undercover as King’s Guards. I’ll need you to accompany me to get them.” I said.

“You are a resourceful something, I see…” Sir Ruben chuckled, “You have more aces up your sleeve than I gave you credit for! Your mother would be proud. You might be glad to know that I’ve been driving home all of which you stated. It is definitely slowing Sir Socoshian down.”

“For him to have so much accomplished, he surely is one passive aggressive little something.” I responded.

“It’s because he’s walking on a thin line. If he manages to keep everything public and working the way he does, he can get what he want. However, with so many things going wrong, he’s probably reevaluating his strategy.” Sir Ruben said.

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