PART TWO: THE WEDNESDAY WAR I
The thick coat of armor that Alyan wore in preparation for battle a mere two months after he had consulted with both King Ember and the Sage of the Undine Pillars and her Protector, weighed heavily upon him and not just because the suit he was encased in was heavy in itself; it was what it represented that truly worried Alyan.
His cowardice had wrought this war on his own people. Men, women and perhaps even children would die because he had been terrified to bear responsibility for who he was. It was his fault that soldiers from both sides would be marching forward, some to their certain deaths all because he refused to be anything more than a poor farmer’s son.
Wintria’s usually scenic beautiful snow-covered natural flora, it’s exotic fauna, it’s pure wonder would be tainted red with blood- some of it would be his own people’s blood. Alyan tried not to think of the countless soldiers that would die that day but images of his own family and friends suffering or even worse, dead, had haunted him in both his dreaming and waking life. The worst thing was that they did not know exactly what they were up against and therefore, lives would be traded for this knowledge and more lives would be lost in defeating whatever that knowledge wrought.
He sighed, looking at his iron-clad boots, shutting his eyes, thinking of everyone who would die in his stead. He did not deserve the soldiers’ bravery or service neither did he deserve the impossibly brave soldier that was irrevocably chained to his side for all eternity who so kindly wrapped her arms firmly around his waist and rested her head so lightly upon his left shoulder.
“It will be alright, Alyan. War is an inevitable part of History. And none marching towards the war is unaware that they place their own lives at stake. I so gladly give my life to protect you, my prince,” Thea spoke devotedly to him.
“They’re going to die- I have- I have no right to cost them their lives. I would rather take up this burden on my own,”
“They willingly march forward; they fight not only for you but with you for the good of all magical creatures. Do not dismiss their bravery so callously. And remember that as they place their lives on the line, so do you place your own life on line, my love. You are just as brave and selfless as they are,”
Alyan sighed and shook his head. “I have always been a coward, Thea. That has not changed one bit and I fear that their sacrifices will be in vain as I fail in my simple task for this absurd war,”
“You have so little faith in yourself, my love. Why is it so? I have no doubt that you shall succeed. Why must you doubt yourself? I believe in you as do these brave warriors- and they believe because you are worthy of that belief and praise. Please, do not allow your fear to cloud your resolve. You must be strong, Alyan. You must face your cowardice and slay your dragon,” Thea spoke to him firmly.
Alyan doubted he was capable of doing anything to help their cause and yet, he found himself on a heavily fortified ship, being whisked away from Avala to Wintria through the Budding Lake, the lake that connected the two Planes of Existence. It was incredible witnessing the sheer numbers of warriors and soldiers all steering forward bravely towards his homeland; joint armies of Atlantica, Avala and Medula, so bravely steering towards certain death. Thea was on alert and on guard, constantly scanning the room they had been assigned on the ship at its heart for any signs of danger.
Time itself started to lag as they entered Wintria. The cold weather seemed to freeze everything and everyone in place and for a few moments, he was unable to hear anything but the sound of his own labored breathing and quick as lightning heartbeats. Something had definitely changed there… The air was colder than usual, the skies darker and even the quality of the air felt heavier and pungent.
Alyan felt a surge of power coursing through him like he had never sensed before. He was the Prince of Wintria; the most powerful Oracle in the Third Plane of Existence. He was connected to every single Wintrian in existence and had power unlike anyone in that Plane had ever had or experienced. What was it then, that made him feel so frightened? Why could he not feel his people who were psychically tied to him? Why could he not ‘see’?
What woke Alyan from his reverie was the sudden sound of battle cries and then the war began in earnest and he was left seated in his cabin on the ship, in complete awe. All he could see was darkness- what did it all mean? The fighting rocked the ship back and forth and he heard sounds outside of what he knew were ships being sunk on either side, ships colliding and exploding into one another; soldiers and warriors were dying and he couldn’t even do what he was born to do- to see the various outcomes of the future so he could inform the War Generals to give them an edge.
Thea was worried about him. She consulted with him constantly for any visions he might have had as she paced the room observing the war through peering through windows. Something heavy hit the side of their ship so forcefully, the ship nearly capsized but the magical protections on the ship kept it afloat and the many engineers on board got to work repairing the damage.
“Our invisibility shield is down, it appears,” Thea said so casually, it shocked Alyan enough for him to stare at her.
Something about the look in his eyes seemed to scare her.
“What is it, Alyan? Can you see something?”
Alyan shook his head. “I can’t see a thing. I- I see nothing! I’m useless, Thea! I have brought everyone here to their deaths! I- I am a worthless loser!”
“Don’t you dare give up hope now, Alyan! There is always a reason for everything! Maybe you don’t have any visions now for a reason. But that doesn’t make our work here any less important! You are the Prince of Wintria! Act like it!” Thea chastised him.
He laughed sarcastically. “I am indeed an Oracle unparalleled by any other seer in history- a blind Oracle- what a joke! Imagine the stories to be told of me, the blind fool that is only Prince by virtue of being born so… I cannot help my people at all- I cannot even help these people that die so bravely for me! What good am I, Thea? Tell me!”
“That is for you to prove, not for me to tell you! I am not going to indulge your self-pity! You have a job to do, Alyan so do it or don’t, that is your choice but do not dare forget that we all are here fighting because we believe you can do it! Whether our lives count for something is solely dependent on you,” Thea responded angrily, storming out of the room. She found people frantically running up and down the ships passageways and asked what was going on.
“They’re here! The Wintrian soldiers have boarded the ship,”
“What?” Thea asked frightenedly.
Yet sure enough, she saw the warriors of Wintria aboard the ship coming directly for her among them warriors she had trained with; warriors that had stood shoulder to shoulder with her when the need arose- soldiers that she would have died for who would have died for her too once. She would have to fight these warriors- her sister-kin, essentially to the death in defense of her charge- her charge that did not even believe in himself! Thea braced herself for what would undoubtedly be the hardest battle she would ever have to fight in her life.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Hi, Fantasystoryfairy here… Hope you enjoyed the story. Here are some other stories in the series in case you didn’t catch the last one and of course, in case you want to revisit them. Enjoy.