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12-23-2010   #4 (permalink)
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Default Chapter 2: Self-Loathing

Erina sat in a dark room, a small, melting candle placed in front of her while she gazed emptily into the flame. Her mind, still seemingly fixated on Heku, seemed filled to the brim of all her regrets one month ago.
One month ago, she stood alongside Heku in attempt to destroy what seemed to herald the destruction of Frostig. She fought Heku along the phalanxes of soldiers ready to kill them in hopes of fostering peace throughout the war-torn land.
Now she is only his worst enemy.
A day after Heku turned himself in to the Lumisian government after mistakenly killing their king, she vanished without a trace. Not a whisper nor a clue existed about her whereabouts. She wandered for days on end, not stopping to eat or sleep, in hopes of "running away" from her problems.
Now she is a general of an army.
Erina sat upright, surveying the dark room around her. She stared at a large, shrouded window across the room, listening to the relentless patter of rain hitting the glass. She slumped back into her chair, entranced by the dying, flickering light of the candle.
"Erina?" A voice said from across a room in a slight Russian accent.
Erina sluggishly turned around, wincing at the light from across her room. She saw a faint silhouette of a man leaning on the doorway, and then walking towards her.
"Kalech?" Erina inquired. "What are-"
"We're preparing to make a strike on Lumisade. We need you at-"
"Forget it, Kalech." She grunted, turning around.
"Why? Still concerned about Heku, are 'ya?"
"Yeah. Now just leave me alone to wallow in my own self-pity for some time."
"No way."
"Just leave me alone!"
"Fine. Just be ready before we depart, alright?"
Kalech slowly closed the door to Erina's room. She scoffed in anger, and then blew out the candle in front of her.
Meanwhile, Kalech left Erina's room, walking into a long, velvet hallway. He entered a room, filled with maps. A group seated around a rectangular table looked at Kalech while he entered the room. He nodded sternly at the individuals and then sat down on a far end of the table.
"Erina could not join us tonight, everyone. Let us begin our briefing anyway. Arkwreight, please begin." He said, folding his hands while he covered his mouth and nose in a pensive way.
"R-Right." A young man next to Kalech began, slowly standing up.
Arkwreight appeared as a young man in a slim, fiery-red military coat, having a pair of goggles on his forehead, giving the peak of his unkempt, brown hair a small lift. A lax aura surrounded him: Arkwreight's legs being bow-legged an crooked while he stood up, scratching the back of his head while he gazed around the room.
"There's a rumor floating around that Hekutaa was sentenced to exile to a remote suburb in the kingdom of Lumisade, a place called Roman, the City of Vines." Wreight continued, suddenly standing erect.
"That's where we come in. While the other Vesisian troops prepare for a frontal assault, we 'flank' Roman, get Heku out, and continue our assault." Interrupted another man in a low, German accent, placing his elbow on the brown, polished table.
The man held a gruff appearance from his clothing: A fitting, black tunic with large steel guards protecting his right arm. A bright, tan-colored fur collar seemed to move with the man with every movement the man made, yet the man seemed very distant and to an extent, indifferent with the dissention in the conference.
"Exactly, Nuage!" Kalech exclaimed. "We bust Heku out!"
"Slow down, Kal." Nuage grunted. "How do we even know if Heku wants to escape the kingdom of Lumisia?"
"Are you joking?! They sentenced him to 250 years of-"
"Wait." Weight interrupted. "Kalech, let's remember what happened a month ago: Remember that Heku willingly gave himself up to the Lumisian government!"
Kalech fell silent.
He slumped in his chair, trying to sort out all of the facts that have been laid out in front of him. Knowing Heku, a calm person unless provoked, Heku would have escaped from his imprisonment the day the Lumisians arrested him.
Nothing made sense to Kalech Stormont anymore. He thought that assisting Heku out of his punishment would be the correct thing to do, yet all of his actions seemed to hint that he wished to atone for his mistakes.
"So what do we do now?" Kalech asked, growing frustrated. "If we try to liberate Heku from his imprisonment, what if he becomes a rogue element and fight against us?"
"Then we have a problem." Nuage sighed. "You all know what happened one month ago. He's like some sort of… of…"
A description of Heku seemed to escape from Nuage's speech. One month ago, Nuage, Hekutaa, and all of the individuals that Heku once ventured with, fought a demonic, megalomaniac man bent on destroying the world with a power that seemed to rival that of a god's. Heku and his companions prevailed, leaving a small seed that contained all of the man's power. Heku, in hopes of eradicating the destructive power, destroyed the seed, causing the unimaginable power within the to possess him. He gained an innumerable amount of knowledge and strength, yet the spirit of the chaotic man dwelled within Heku, simply waiting to finish its task.
"Right…" Wreight mumbled. "There's no telling what will happen now."
"Our plan still deserves a try, even if it transforms into a suicide mission." Kalech reasoned.
"I guess we don't have much of a choice , do we?" Nuage agreed.
"I'm fine. I still have a score to settle with Heku anyway. How 'bout you, Fleur?" Wreight said, standing up.
Wreight looked at a young girl with brilliant blue eyes and long, jet black hair with curls at the end of her hair. She stood up, fluffed her brilliant, shining white overcoat while she walked out of the room.
"What's gotten into her?" Blankly inquired Nuage.
"I think she's trying to tell us to split up." Wreight said. "Knowing her, I think that something's troublin' her."
Kalech nodded in acceptance. "Here," He said, formulating a quick plan in his head, "Fleur, Nuage, and you go assist in the frontal attack. Erina and I, on the other hand, will take care of Heku. Sound fair?"
Nuage nodded, then looked at Wreight. He nodded in agreement, then swiftly exited the room. Nuage followed suit, stopping his stride at the doorway. He looked behind him, spying Kalech sketch a plan for their seizure of Lumisade.
"Don't you go abandoning us again." He mumbled under his breath.
"Don't you go running away in times of need again." Argued Kalech.
Nuage slammed the door behind him. Kalech sighed, shook his head to regain his composure, stood up tall, and exited the room.
He walked through the red, velvet-lined corridors of the Lumisian castle, walking until he reached Erina's room at the end of the hallway, and then opened the door.
Erina still sat in her chair, as if she was petrified.
"Save your breath, Kalech." Erina growled.
She sluggishly stood up and plucked a sheathed rapier beside her doorway, trying her best to avoid eye contact with Kalech. She had a slight limp in her step, her tall body almost struggling to stand upright.
She stood in the bright hallway, exposing her dark-golden, hair which curled at the tips of her hair. A portion of her hair covered her half-open eyes, obscuring her vacant and sullen expression on her face.
She was dressed in a dark-green blouse with an ornately-tied, bright white cravat with a red, sparkling jewel in the center. Her black skirt stretched to her knees, while a pair of black boots were carefully strapped to her legs.
"What the hell's gotten into to you?!" Kalech snapped.
"Really now?" He said sarcastically. "Spending hours in the rain, staring at a candle, not even eating, and you call that nothing?!"
"Just leave me alone."
"Great. You even sound like Heku."
"Shut up! You try to make everything right, but you just make people feel worse about themselves!" Erina snapped, ready to draw her rapier at her friend.
Kalech smiled wryly in bittersweet accomplishment.
"There's the Erina I know." He said, chuckling faintly, a tinge of disgust in his voice.
"What…?" Erina asked puzzled.
"Now come on; I devised a plan to allot you to talk to Heku." Kalech continued. "Since our latest plan involves a two-pronged strike, I thought it might give you a chance to talk to him."
Erina smiled, then returned to her indifferent, sullen expression. "Now what makes you so confident that he'll even want to see me?
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"I could have stopped him from taking such a harsh sentence, I could have stopped him when we tried to stop-"
"You really blame yourself for all of Heku's… changes?!"
"You didn't do anything to harm him. After all we've been through, I saw you being the most loyal person to Heku in his most desperate times of need. And now you suddenly blame yourself for all that's happened?! "
"Get a grip on yourself! What happened to that headstrong, compassionate person I called Erina?!"
"Look, we don't have enough time to keep arguing like this; be on the railway depot within ten minutes, or else we're leaving without you."
"Alright…" Erina said weakly.
Kalech smiled bitterly, and then walked away.
"Wait." She said softly.
Kalech stopped abruptly, looking back at Erina.
"If you're wondering why I exploded at you, Heku did that to me the first time I met him. I was in so much anguish and self-loathing when I lost Laura, but then Heku bashed me on my feet. I thought I would do the same to you."
"Thanks Kalech." Erina smiled, standing up tall. "I'll be at the depot shortly."
"Fantastic!" He said, continuing his stride.