The blazing hot sun was shining brightly on the training grounds and its harsh rays fell on the men who were practicing their skills with great zeal and determination. They did not care about the scorching heat as it was a daily occurrence to them and they continued with their exercise. Perspiration dripped from their faces like molten ice and vanished into their clothes. However, it was not something they loathed. To them, it was a display of their strength and their capabilities, a prize which they liked to exhibit with pride. The arrows swished through the air and gunshots were heard everywhere and the man repeated it until they perfected their marksmanship.
Amidst the chaos and the noise, a man dressed in black was walking around the passage observing everyone on the training ground. His eyes were fixed on them like a hawk as he scrutinized everybody's capabilities and every now and then, he would bark orders for his men to improve and work on their weaknesses.
The training ground was huge and there were a lot of men in there practicing their skills, not even caring about their exhausted bodies. It was not the time to think about themselves when their kingdom would be at war at any time. Their enemy was keeping them on their toes by sending them false signals and they wanted to be prepared in case they attacked their land one fine day.
The man in black continued to survey the arena when suddenly he noticed a knight, who did not come under his command, rushing towards him from the other end of the passage. The hallway was long and it surrounded more than half of the arena. So, it took some time for the knight to approach him.
The man placed his hands on his hips in an imposing manner as he waited for the knight to calm down. His demeanor was not something to be ignored, not when he was the Knight Commander of the battalion. He was just second in command in the order of chivalry and the knight who had come running to him bowed to him as a symbol of respect when he calmed himself. He pushed back the hair that had fallen on his forehead before he wiped the sweat.
"Is anything the matter? What was so important for you to come running here at this time of the day, Sir Barlowe?"
The knight was surprised to hear his superior call his name especially when he did not belong to his battalion. The man was trained under another Commander and he was here to convey an important message.
The man noticed the look of shock on the young knight's face and he smiled mysteriously. "I keep tracks of all the people who are in charge of guarding the Lord. Now, tell me what brings you here?"
"Sir Laurier, I am here on the orders of the Lord. He has sent a letter to the Commander of the East Batallion." The Kingdom of Volar had four battalions: North, South, East and West Battalions, which took charge of keeping the kingdom and the people safe and preventing any enemy to enter from the respective directions they were in charge of. The man who was here to convey the message belonged to the North battalion and he had been appointed as the guard to protect the Lord immediately after his training.
"What letter?" Laurier asked, his eyebrows narrowing at the man who stood respectfully before him.
Barlowe then retrieved a letter from the inner pockets of his coat and handed it over to the Knight Commander. "The Lord has ordered me to hand it over to the Commander in charge or you and not to anybody else." The man uttered and this time Laurier furrowed his eyebrows wondering what had happened now. They were already in a difficult predicament with their enemy keeping them on their toes. He did not want any more problems to add to their basket of troubles.
Laurier dismissed the young knight and stared at the letter that had the royal seal on it. He gazed at it intensely wishing its contents to reveal itself before him without him having to open it. He was the second in command and even though the Lord had ordered the knight to deliver the letter to either the Commander or the Knight Commander, Laurier did not attempt to open and see what it held. He knew that this act of his would surely irk his superior and this was something he did not have in mind.
So, he decided it was best to hand over the letter to the Commander and took the stairs to the first floor. The Commander's room was located on the first floor, just above the passage where he was standing a few minutes ago. It was right in the middle of the passage and from where he stood, he could see the entire arena at one glance.
The Commander's room had the splendid glance of the entire ground and with just one look through the window, anybody could see what was happening outside. Laurier took one glance at the arena before he proceeded to knock at the door. While he waited for his orders to enter, he noticed a group of soldiers running down the steps with enthusiasm. Their faces were filled with emotions he was too familiar with. There was fear, zest and excitement in them and it was all because of one reason. They were thrilled to put their skills into practice in the war that would start any day from now.
Only when Laurier heard his Commander's voice, did he enter inside. However, to his surprise, the entire room was plunged into darkness and the thick curtains were drawn close, not allowing any light to pass through the window. If not for the torch at the wall behind the table that was burning lightly, there would have been no light even for him to see his next step. What was even more startling was that there was no one inside the room.
The man wondered how it was even possible when he had clearly heard his Commander. Blinking his eyes twice, he then ran them around the room once again and this time he noticed a dark silhouette at the farther end of the room. He padded softly lest his Commander should get annoyed by his noisy footsteps and halted before the couch. His eyes landed on the lady who was lying asleep on it as she took slow deep breaths. Though the room was dimly lit, he could make out that she was dressed in a black attire just like him.
Laurier's expressions changed from respect to fondness and he continued to gaze at her beautiful face. Her short brown hair had fallen over her forehead and she looked angelic in her sleeping state, utterly different from her usual brave and robust form. She was the only Lady Commander in the Kingdom of Volar and he prided on it that she was his superior, unlike many men who had other thoughts altogether. It hurt their ego to be led by a woman, but Laurier marveled at it. He knew how efficient she was. The woman before him was more skilled than any person he had known and she was the only one who had made him feel things he could not yet decipher.
Laurier was so deep in his thoughts that he did not realize when his hands had reached her cheeks. Before he could touch them, a strong arm held his wrists stopping him and startling him completely. His black eyes met her hazel colored eyes and his eyes widened suddenly.
"Raelynn, you scared me." He whispered as withdrew his hands and sighed in relief when he noticed that she had not sensed his feelings. He had been careful enough to mask them when she had opened her eyes. Though he wanted to tell her everything, he was scared about her answer. He feared that if she did not reciprocate his feelings, it would become awkward between them and he did not want to ruin their amicable relationship.
"Who told you to come in like a cat? Why did you not make any noise?" The woman chided him as she hoisted her legs and got up immediately. She adjusted her holster and dusted her pants before she gave Laurier a smile that had him blanking out for a second.
Raelynn Rosevelt was the most charming woman he had ever met. Although she did not fall into the category of beautiful women, she had her charms that could attract men and that made her more alluring than those beautiful women. She had the courage and the stubbornness which the other graceful and doll-like women lacked and that was what pulled Laurier to her.
Raelynn noticed her friend's absentmindedness and she rolled her eyes at him. "Your disease has started to act up again. Why don't you listen to me and go visit the medics? I tell you that you need some serious therapy."
"Am I supposed to be laughing here? Are you mocking me?" The man retorted back immediately coming out of his thoughts on hearing her words.
"Not at all. I am being serious here. You are sick and I am concerned." She sassed as she took a seat on the chair and gave him a thorough look.
Shaking his head at the woman's ludicrous words, the man went to the windows and drew the curtains apart allowing the light to enter in. The sudden brightness in the room made Raelynn to scrunch her eyes and when she got adjusted to it, she glared at her friend.
"Are you trying to scare me now?" He asked her as he looked at her innocently.
"What do you think?" She scoffed. Her expression changed when she noticed the letter in Laurier's hands and she became serious at once. "What's that?"
"The Lord has sent us a letter. I presume it's something urgent."
"Did you read it?"
"No. I didn't want to get killed for not handing it over to you."
"I appreciate your thinking." With that, Raelynn took the letter from him and started to go through it. Gradually, her expression changed to horror and finally, it settled on anger.
"What is written in there?" Laurier had been observing her and he found it perplexing to see her furious all of a sudden.
"We need to meet the Lord. Our enemies have sent death threats to him."
The two friends immediately left the arena and rushed to meet the Lord on their horses. The two horses galloped across the deserted roads at a speed that was not comprehensible to the naked eye. It was just like a bullet piercing the air as they swooshed through the roads. The East Batallion arena was situated more than forty-six miles away from the Royal Palace and it was the second farthest battalion, the first one being the South Batallion which was fifty-two miles away.On the way, they had to pass through a thin jungle that stretched a few miles, only after which they could enter the kingdom. Even though the jungle was thin, it acted as a barrier and protected the kingdom and the people like a shield.Raelynn and Laurier rode their horses in the deserted area. Not many people were in the region as it was a hot summer day and moreover, it was lunchtime. They could only see people who were carrying woods from the jungle or the hunters who were out to hunt deer
As Raelynn and Laurier entered the castle, they met two of the ministers from the Lord's court, who were walking towards the court hall. These were the type of men who held contempt and looked down upon women, even if they were more brilliant than them and this was what exactly made them feel annoyed. To them, women were only meant to dress up and be presentable in social gatherings, and once they were inside the four walls, they were only allowed to cook and take care of the children. Heavy and strenuous works like being a Commander or a minister in the Lord's court were all meant for men.Thus, Raelynn being a part of their environment irked them whenever she was around or even if she was mentioned in any of the topics of conversation. To them, she was a taboo whom they wanted to avoid at all costs. So, as soon as they saw Raelynn sauntering proudly with Laurier beside her, they scoffed at her arrogantly before walking away with their chins held high.Raelynn was not
Murmurs erupted in the court hall and everybody was involved in discussion except for Raelynn and Laurier. They were more or less interested in finding out the others' opinions rather than forming their own theory. It was best to listen to others first, weigh the pros and cons of their suggestions and then prepare a complete strategetic plan.Raelynn was getting so bored staying in the room without doing anything that she had to stifle a yawn many times. She was silently wishing for someone to start the conversation. She wondered how long she could sit still without doing anything and stare at the idiotic people around her. Raelynn turned to her right only to meet Laurier's eyes who was already looking at her and she smiled at him faintly, only to receive a boring shake of the head in return. She nodded at him conveying that she was feeling the same. But what could they do? They could not leave the session halfway as they were in the Lord's court and it would be disresp
"We need to declare a war as early as possible," Raelynn suggested without any change in her expression. She fixed her eyes on Lord Eldrick, not caring about the looks the other people around her giving. As soon as she spoke the words, loud whispers erupted in the hall and everybody started to chide the only woman in the room. She even heard one of the ministers nearby scold her quite harshly."Women," He scoffed. "They have no idea how to deal with the situation and they think themselves to be great. This is the reason why women should not be allowed to enter the battlefield or the courtroom. They will just ruin us." The man said to another man sitting beside him and received a nod in return. They then started to laugh as though they had just shared a good joke among themselves.Laurier who heard the man's words crystal clear could not sit still and he stood up to deal with the disgusting man. However, Raelynn stopped him. She shook her head at him and assured him sil
After warning even man present in the courtroom, Raelynn went back to her seat. However, she continued standing. She was yet to put forth her points towards the Lord. "My Lord, it is best that we declare war on them soon. Our enemy kingdom is using underhand tactics to get to us and I am sure everybody here to knows about it too. So, why should we waste time in sending a treaty of peace to them when we are sure that they will not accept it?"Minister Rowen could not sit still anymore after hearing this. "Young Lady, we are concerned about the lives of our soldiers as well as our people. We could try our attempt at the truce. If things do not go well, we can wage a war against them." Everybody accepted his words this time and they nodded at him."If everybody agrees to this solution, then I have no problems with it. But let me warn you beforehand that I will not take responsibility if things go wrong in the future. Also, I have something else to inform the Lord." Raelyn
Raelynn hugged Eldrick and the man too reciprocated it with equal vigor and affection. How long had it been since the siblings met each other?"I missed you, Brother," Raelynn whispered as she pushed herself closer towards her brother. She always felt secure in his arms. After their parents' death, it had been Eldrick who had taken care of Raelynn. She had been only seven years when her father was killed by an assassin while her brother was thirteen. Their mother could not tolerate the heartbreak of losing her beloved husband and she fell into depression.Barely a year had passed since their father's death, their mother too left them. Since then, it had only been the two of them and they took care of each other dearly."I missed you too, Raelynn." The Lord replied back with a smile on his face. After his sister decided to join the army, he had been left alone in the palace and he missed her more than anything. He did not have any interest in anything and y
After conversing with her brother, Raelynn reluctantly took her leave from him. It was not every day that she got the opportunity to speak to him and now that she had found a chance, it had ended sooner than the siblings had expected. Eldrick too was not ready to see his sister depart. But he knew that she had her responsibilities and he could not stop her, even if he wanted.Lord Eldrick's chambers were in the far interiors of the palace and other than his trusted servants, nobody else was allowed to enter this part of the palace. So, Raelynn did not have to worry about getting caught wandering in the private quarters of the Lord. Everybody she came across knew who she was as well as her relationship with their Lord. So, they bowed to her and greeted her respectfully.However, the knights guarding the other locations did not know about it and as soon as Raelynn appeared from inside, they gave her one scrutinizing look before they averted their gazes. Raelynn too did n
"The man is planning something malicious. Send someone trustworthy to keep an eye on him." Raelynn ordered, her gaze cold and indifferent. Laurier could even sense her unhappiness from where he was and he looked at her wondering if she had found something."Did you get that vibe too?""Totally. He does not seem like a good man. There is something running in his mind and he approached us with some other intentions which I am unable to comprehend." Raeylnn answered, making sure to keep her voice as low as possible. The palace was not a secure place, especially when there were many who wanted to take over Eldrick's throne. So, she had to be careful about what she spoke even if it was something that meant no harm to anybody."He seems to be over-friendly at our first meeting and that is something not sitting well with me," Laurier added, his lips quirking up with a smile. 'As expected, Raelynn was not that easy to fool.'Raelynn's thoughts evaporated when she