Well, this was probably a bad idea…The Journal of Isis
The troops gathered in the field and waited impatiently for Mkle. The man climbed up on a small wooden scaffold to be seen by the whole army. “People of Yanters!” he bellowed over the din. The field went silent to listen. “We come together on this day to create an infamous memory in the history of our people,” Mkle turned and looked at the crowd around him. “We have gathered here to gain back what has been taken from us by the emperor and the royal governor. We have come together to gain our freedom!” The people whooped and clapped. Mkle seemed for once, since the group had met him, proud to be a man among men.
“Gear up!” shouted the self-made general. The people hurriedly rushed to their tents and grabbed their weapons. They returned to the fields to stand in formation with their designated groups.
The fog had dissipated and the haunting beauty of the people standing on the field had disappeared. Time to get started. Solomon told himself as he watched Mkle on the top of the hill. Mkle turned and signaled the other section generals. The men moved forward to stand in front of their groups. The first out were the Ipty Airborne Division.
And war began.
It had been left to Fado and Isis to approach the governor. They made their way to the gates as the rest of the troops gathered in the shadows of the trees. “This had better work,” Isis grumbled. Fado patted her shoulder.
They stood before the massive gates and realized what depended upon them. The life of a city was at stake. Isis took a deep breath and rapped on the gate. There was a shuffling of feet and cloth from the inside before a gruff voice yelled from behind the door. “What’s it you want?” A small panel slid from the gate and a pair of red, blood-shot eyes met theirs.
Isis froze. Fado took his cue and spoke in a demanding tone, “We need to speak with the royal governor.”
“And who are you that the gov’ would take his time to speak with you?” sneered the quarrelsome man.
Isis glared at the man. “Believe me,” her lip thinned, “after he hears what I have to say, you’ll be wishing you had never asked.”
“Oohoo, kitty’s pissed,” the man smirked. Then something crossed his mind. “Alright,” he smiled, revealing rotted teeth under his greasy mustache, “if you make it worth my while.” Isis switched to playing nice. “Okay, but you would need to open the gate first,” she smiled sweetly, Knowing how to play this game. The guard pulled the hidden door in the gate open and allowed them in. Fado took his time on entering after Isis, distracting the guard. There was a swirl of Isis’s cloak as she spun, bent, and retrieved the knife from her high boots. She brought the point up to the guard’s carotid artery and grabbed the back of his head, pulling it back and down to her height. “Alright, now that I’ve made it worth your while,” she hissed in his ear. He squirmed and a drop of blood flowed along the sharp edge of the knife. The guard stilled immediately. “You’ll be taking us to the governor’s if you don’t want to become a pin cushion.” The guard gulped and another drop of blood dripped down his neck.
The guard pointed. “Right,” Fado said as he boxed in the guard on the other side. Isis shifted, releasing the man’s head and dropped her hand down his armor, just over his kidney where she poised the tip of the knife through the plaiting. She effectively hid her hand with the cloak and no passerby was the wiser.
The man led them to the governor’s house and led them through the maze of hallways to the governor’s office. He knocked hurriedly at the door. Isis dropped her hand just as the pocket door slid to the side. A maid peeked out and blushed before ushering the guard, Fado, and Isis inside. The governor’s face was a flushed red and he looked pretty put off. “What’s the meaning of this!” yelled the governor.
“This Sho’ren and woman wished to speak with you, m’lord, on an important matter,” the guard gulped.
“And what would that be?” the man snapped.
“They didn’t tell me, m’lord,” he whimpered as he made his escape.
The royal governor turned to the Sho’ren and the woman and suddenly remembered what Yute had forewarned him about. He motioned for them to be seated. The woman sat in one of the overstuffed chairs across from the governor. Fado took up guard behind her. “You do not trust me?” The governor tried to smile.
“I don’t even trust my own blood relations,” Isis replied with a toothy smile. “I see,” the governor replied patiently. He slid his foot along the wooden floor under the desk, searching for the security call button. “I wouldn’t touch that,” Isis whispered, revealing the garret that she had hidden in the palm of her glove. The thin metal wire gleamed in the light filtering though the windows.
“So what is it that you want so badly as to come armed into a government sanctuary?” the governor tried for bravado.
“We would like to request for you to resign your post with the emperor and hand over your rights as governor to a new council that will install a fair and equal local government, and maintain school systems, hospitals, and care centers within this town,” Isis replied politely, tucking the garret back into its hidden hole.
The man scoffed. “And if I don’t…” the man asked, reaching for a hard candy in a glass dish that rested on the table.
“You may choke on that,” Isis pointed out. The man paled before realizing that he had left the cellophane wrapper on the candy. He gently removed it before popping the sugar orb into his mouth. “So, there’s my life, but if I don’t resign the post formally, the emperor will just issue a new royal governor and deconstruct this shame government you are trying to impose. So there’s not much to it now is there?” the governor replied, callously throwing the wrapper in the vicinity of the trash can. It missed and landed on the cherry wood floor, but the governor made no move to pick it up.
“We have an army waiting for you to make your decision. If you do not resign immediately, your town will no longer exist for you to rule,” Fado interjected. The governor chuckled at this before stepping on the security call button. Alarms rang across the city. “It’s war!” cried Isis as she and Fado fled from the room. The Sho’ren collided with Yute in the hallway, sending the man flying into a suit of armor.
“Come on, we need to get back out of the city,” Isis caught the Sho’ren’s shoulder before he could pummel Yute. He huffed in reply but followed the woman. They ran down the muddy streets, against the flow of guards running to the governor’s house.
The gates loomed ahead. Ipty fliers had already taken the walls. Fado jerked the gate door open and followed Isis out to the awaiting militia.
“So?” Yute sauntered into the room. The governor glared hard at him. Yute settled himself in one of the chairs and kicked his feet up onto the desk.
“What do you want from me?” The governor squeaked.
Yute slammed his feet onto the wood floor, his hands crashing onto the desk. The governor trembled in his leather chair. “I want her alive…” Yute hissed. He stood to leave. “But, what about the others?” the governor asked the man. Yute, this man, was dangerous. The governor quivered under his steely gaze.
“What about them?” Yute disappeared down the hall. The governor sat in shocked silence. The ticking of the mantel clock drilled into his brain. He slowly became aware of the noise outside. He turned toward the windows to find his city burning.
Isis sat in council with Mkle to discuss possibilities for the city. The tent flap snapped in the noon breeze and the heat caused sweat to drip down her backbone. The sickly sweet smell of long sage grass and burning pine permeated the pasture and the tent. Isis turned her head to look out on the encampment. Wounded were being carried back on stretchers. She turned her head back to the small table that sat between her and Mkle. A jug of water, two wooden cups, and an enlarged map of the city lay on it. She reached over and picked up one of the cups full of water to take a sip, but stopped before the rim touched her lips. Patch popped his head in the tent flap and motioned for her to follow him.
He led her to one of the medical tents. She took a deep breath and pushed her way in. She knew that by getting the group involved in a battle that she had asked them to risk their lives, and what she was about to see on the other side of the tent could be devastating. Honfu sat in one of the beds, a bandage wrapped around his head and a nurse was patching his wing with striplin. He looked up at Isis and gave her a sheepish smile. “I’ll be fine,” he told her. “I hit an updraft and ran into a chimney.” Isis smiled. Then her face fell. “What about your brothers…and the other fliers?”
He shrugged, “They’re doin’ alright. They’re not in here now are they?” He smirked. She returned the smile and followed Patch out of the tent. He led her to the fort walls and motioned her into a hide-trap. Solomon, Otly, Wain, and Rew had gathered with the generals. “We need to begin with phase two,” one of the generals was saying. A general standing next him nodded, “time to take down the big man.”
“We’ve breached the perimeter and have successfully taken the south and east quadrants. The governor’s house is the next in our line. A messenger should come when the man knows that he’s beet. Once we take him, we can stop the fighting,” a third lieutenant informed the generals.
“Alright,” Wain said, looking at Isis, “ready for the next mission of the day?”
Isis nodded and exited the hide to begin preparation. If she could help it, she did not want any member of the group from finding out her secrets. The only one that she knew she could trust to help her deal with the governor was Solomon, and only because she held the Corianada. Her long-term plan was coming together and for now, she needed to keep the men in the dark.
The governor, boxed in by armed guards rushed to the walls to witness the devastation of his city. Every soldier, every dependent of the royal family or governor suffered in the wake of the flames that burned the city. Men fought Ipty on the walls and humans and humanoids had torn down the massive gates, leaving hinges slashing the air like gaping jaws and rotted teeth.
“Retreat!” the governor commanded the guards who immediately swung around and headed back towards the mansion. He looked at his beautiful utopia city and witnessed complete anarchy that had ensued just since this morning. She’ll pay. He vowed to himself. He locked himself, his personal guards, and his servants into the mansion and waited as the battle waged on. All the while Yute watched on from an upper balcony as the troops took the soldiers and came closer to the mansion. Finally, as troops came within blocks of the building, Yute hunted down the governor and instructed him as to what to do next.
Isis had taken up position with the firing squad and was helping to bring down the Royal Archers. It was the first euphoric moment where she felt like she was alive and doing a deed that would really benefit the galaxy. She felt…real.
She was at the front between the south and east quadrants and she could see the gables of the governor’s mansion looming above the town homes in front of her. The groans of fallen men, the cries of the newly injured, the crash of window glass, and the hissing crack of roof thatching on fire resounded around the advancing troop.
Suddenly her squad leader was standing at her side with a foreign messenger. “The governor asks for peace talks,” the messenger told her before fleeing. She looked in surprise at her leader, “sir, may I have permission to leave my post, sir?” “Go, get this fighting done with,” he shouted as she ran to find Solomon or Wain.
She found Solomon in the medical tent holding up an injured tree Elivik. He was translating for her to the doctor. Isis waited with barley held patience. Solomon turned to her once finished. “What’s happened?” he bent to wash his hands in a porcelain bowl.
“The governor has requested peace talks,” she told him breathlessly. He looked up at her, his eyes going wide. He signaled a go-for boy who rushed over. He told him to take a message to Mkle saying that the governor requested peace talks and he, Isis, and a few soldiers would go in for the meeting. The go-fer rushed out of the medical tent in the direction of Mkle’s tent and Isis and Solomon went in the other directions, picking up a set of soldiers on the way.
They entered the governor’s office to find Yute sitting smugly in the governor’s chair and the arrogant governor sitting on the corner of his desk. Yute! Crap! Solomon thought as he spun in time to see a Chac-archer pull tight the string on his bow. The sharp, thick black arrow was aimed at Isis. Everything seemed to slow in Solomon’s vision. Yute continued to sit smugly in his chair. He flicked a cigarette to the ashtray at the end of the desk where it smoldered with a red coal tip. The governor glared hatefully at Yute. Solomon’s eyes fell to Isis, who stood poised with a knife.
Solomon felt like he was yelling for Isis, but no voice was sounding. The twang of the taut string shattered his conscience. Then everything began to move fast. The arrow bristled from Isis’s shoulder with a dark brown chuckma feather. She lurched forward and ran the blade of her knife up Yute’s leg by accident. The governor reached forward to grasp Isis’s forearm as Yute flipped forward in an effort to draw his leg away from the poison tipped knife. Black tendrils slowly spread in the veins of his leg with a gaseous rotting smell that permeated the room. His eyes rolled back in his head as he grasped at his chest. Sweat began to bead on his brow and roll down the side of his face. He fumbled in his cargo pocket for a small blue vial. The chac had fled down the hallway. Solomon watched in silent awe. He fell under a spell, cemented to his spot. Isis glanced back at him and yelled something, but he couldn’t hear, he didn’t know how. All of his languages crashed down around him. There was no processing; he just heard random words in his head that had no meaning. A sharp pinpoint of sound invaded his conscious. A loud buzzing noise split away the words to pull him towards one voice. A light female voice that pulled at him until he found the ability to understand the garbled words. “Save my daughter…” “Who are you?” He asked the voice. “No time, no time, the drug in you is almost gone and then you’ll have to hurry!” and then the voice was gone. Reality hit him bluntly and took his breath away as the foggy veil lifted from his eyes. Suddenly his scream shattered through his ears and his feet went out from underneath him as he reached for Isis. The governor jerked her away from Yute and Solomon. His empty hand grabbed the arrow shaft in Isis’s back. She hissed and suddenly everyone stopped moving. Yute’s fingers that clasped the antidote vial turned white at the knuckles. His eyes crawled over the three people before plunging the needle into his thigh. The governor tightened his already bruising hold on Isis and twisted the arrow shaft out of reflex. A small groan escaped from Isis as the arrow dug deeper into her shoulder muscle. The black tendrils retreated in Yute’s leg and the normal color of his cheeks returned.
Isis wrenched in the governor’s arm, coming up with a solid round kick to Yute’s jaw. The arrow dislodged from her shoulder with a sickening scrape that raised the hair on the nape of Solomon’s neck. She pulled up and flipped over the governor. The movement dropped the governor on to his pompous butt and he looked up at Yute. Yute’s head lolled back as blood trickled from his mouth and a giant red knot developed on the right side of his head.
Solomon grasped the governor from the throat and brought him to eye level. “Remove your contract with the emperor. Hand over your mansion to the council and leave this town,” growled Solomon as he dropped the fat man back down to the hardwood floor.
“You can’t make me give up my post!” chortled the governor, trying to stand up again. “You have nothing to prove of any wrong doings or reasons to leave!” He rumbled as he finally pulled himself up off the floor. Solomon grabbed him and shoved him towards a gaping bay window.
“Look out there and tell me what you see,” Solomon sneered in the governor’s ear. Men in the street pushed and clubbed at men in uniform. Fire smoldered from the roves of collapsed buildings. Chimneys reached scarred fingers into the smoky sky. A baby’s mew rattled above the din of battle.
“Look, look at what you have caused, Royal governor!” Solomon spat. The governor had paled considerably when he caught sight of an Ipty flier with a holocam taking footage of the battle. “The emperor won’t care,” the governor shrugged, grasping for a foothold. “No, but I do,” Isis whispered in his other ear, lowering the tone of her voice so that Solomon couldn’t even hear her, “Benti.” The governor, shifted his eyes slowly to Isis, mortified horror plastered to his cheeks. “Don’t play the fool, Benti, it never suited you as magistrate and it doesn’t suite you now,” Isis whispered as she flicked the poison blade of the knife shallowly across his jaw. The poison gnarled in his bones and paralyzed his tongue as it spread to his vocal chords. He would be left mute for the rest of his life.
The governor signed the contract, withdrawing his post from the empire and handing over the mansion to the new council of Yanters. He arranged a pack and caught a transpoplane flight off planet.
Mkle, as council chairman, ordered the reconstruction and renewal of Yanters. Work had begun just as soon as the ink touched paper when the ex-governor signed the contract. The dead had been properly buried in the town cemetery, the guards and the mutants side by side. Rain had poured from the sky the day of burial, washing the taste of ash and battle from the town.
Mkle now stood on the ramparts of the city wall, watching as a mason and a bricklayer fought with a loose beam. He turned to the scuttled crunch of footsteps on the stone walkway. “My good friends, how nice to see you this fine and glorious morning,” his jovial face beamed. Wain shook his hand with pleasure and offered a polite smile. The group proceeded to exchange handshakes and hugs. When Isis’s turn arrived Mkle pressed a hard object into her hand. She looked down to find a gold coin tucked into her gloved palm. Her jaw dropped in startled surprise. Rew and the Ipty brothers hollered and egged each other on at their good fortune.
“I found it in the gov’s office in one of them fake, leather-bound books. I figured you might need it,” he turned away and made his slow way down the stairs.
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