|The Happenings II|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||Return to Aurora and the Darkness|
|← Return to Aurora and the Darkness||Chapter Chronology||The End →|
CHAPTER TEN: WAR AND TRUTHSEdit
Cassie sat nervously on the Auroran ship next to Ben, while Walter and Swift went below deck to discuss a few things. Page and Sabine had returned to their men and were currently making their way to the west and east routes. Cassie, Ben, Walter and Swift were not to act until they got the signal from Page that they had destroyed the barracks.
'You nervous, Princess?' asked Ben.
'Is it that obvious?' Cassie said with a nervous chuckle.
'Just a little.'
'Everything I have done now seem pathetic compared to what I am about to do,' admitted Cassie. 'I mean, I'm attacking my own kingdom. My own brother!'
'You're only doing what must be done. The people will understand and they will be happier with you as their queen than Logan as their king.' Ben said gently.
'But what if I turn out like Logan?' Cassie asked desperately. 'He started off fairly before he became a tyrant. What if that happens to me?'
'It won't,' Ben said firmly.
'How do you know?'
'Cause Walter, Sabine, Page, Elliot, Swift, Kalin and I won't allow it. We'll be by your side no matter what.' said Ben.
'Thanks,' smiled Cassie as she looked back towards the land mass of Albion.
Three hours later, they received a signal from Page and the Auroran ship carefully got them to the land outside Bowerstone Old Quarter. Sadly, Logan's soldiers were their waiting for them as were the Albion guards that normally guarded the palace. To Cassie's great surprise, the guards turned on the soldiers and pledged their allegiance to Cassie. Word had gotten out among the guards and they too wanted a new leader. Together, Cassie, Swift, Walter, Ben and the Albion guards fought their way to the Bowerstone Old Quarter gates, leaving a massacre behind them of soldiers and guards.
Once inside the city, the league pressed forward, smiting every enemy in their path until they were outside the castle gates where they met up with Page.
'Always with the damn gates,' cursed Ben, when he found the castle gate locked.
'What we need are explosives,' said Page. 'But I used mine up on the way here.'
'If only we knew some sort of tiny, crazy old man who enjoyed blowing things up...' said Ben, clearly still thinking about how Sabine nearly blew them up on the way there.
Next minute, the castle gate was blown off its hinges and pieces of wood went flying everywhere.
'Ha ha! Did you see that, Boulder?' laughed Sabine as he walked towards them from the other side of the blown up door. 'Let the whole city bow to our thunder!'
'Hang on,' said Ben, once his initial shock of their appearance had passed. 'How did you get to the other side in the first place?' he asked, asking what they were all thinking.
'Dwellers have their ways, my boy.' Sabine shrugged, looking around. 'Is there anyone left to kill?'
'There will be soon,' answered Page. 'More troops are on the way. Kalin's fleet got a fair few, but not all.'
'We will hold them off, Princess.' Swift told Cassie. 'You and Walter go find Logan.'
'Right,' nodded Cassie.
'Good luck in there,' said Ben, before grinning, 'Hope the crown fits.'
'Let's finish this for good,' said Walter, rolling his eyes at Ben's comment.
Cassie and Walter hurried to the War Room, knowing that's where Logan was likely to be. Once outside the War Room, Walter whispered, 'Shall we knock? Nah, let's surprise him.'
Cassie nodded and together they kicked down the doors.
They were right though, they did end up giving him a surprise, for the moment the doors went crashing down, Logan whipped around and aimed his gun at them, before lowering upon seeing who the intruders were.
'So this is how it ends. The old fool and the child who ran away.' said Logan indifferently. 'You've finally become the woman I always wanted you to be,' he added to Cassie, somewhat sadly.
Maybe because he finally realises that I'm not the little girl who use to climb into his bed after a nightmare, thought Cassie, noticing his sad look.
'She's a lot more than that,' said a cold Walter, walking towards Logan. 'And now she's ready to take your place.'
'Perhaps the time has come for someone else to lead Albion,' muttered Logan, sounding hopeful and reluctant at the same time. On one hand, he really wanted to chuck away his crown, but he was worried about setting all the pressure of the kingdom and all his mistakes on Cassie's shoulders. How would she handle it?
'You were never a leader!' Cassie snapped suddenly. 'Just enough tyrant!'
Logan flinched and not by her words, but by the tone of her voice.
'Did it ever occur to you that I may have had a good reason to be?' Logan argued back as the two of them fell into a sibling argument.
'We're not interested in your reasons!' Walter said coldly.
Logan turned calmly to him.
'Cower behind ignorance if you will, but my sister deserves to know the truth.' Logan replied just as coldly.
'Save it for the trial, Logan.' said Walter, growing tired of the conversation and grabbing him by the arm. 'You can beg for your life then.'
Walter led the calm and willing Logan out of the room, leaving Cassie alone and confused. What did Logan mean about knowing the truth? Was that what Reaver and Logan had been talking about the day of Swift's execution? In addition, why did he lower his gun when he saw them? Moreover, why did he go willingly when he could have stopped Walter? All these questions tossed and turned around her mind as she went off to find the others.
Three days later, Cassie stood nervously behind the doors of the castles announcement podium where she was going to be crowned Queen of Albion in front of all her people. She only hoped that she was doing the right thing.
As she stood there waiting, her thoughts drifted back to Logan, who was currently in a prison cell, below the castle. Walter told her that it would be unwise for her to go and see him, so she had everyone that saw him report to her. Cassie was surprised to learn that Logan had not tried to resist in any way, but she was not surprised when the guards caught sight of a hooded person talking to him, before they fled. It only made sense that Reaver would make sure that his son was all right.
Cassie's thoughts were interrupted as the doors began to open to reveal the blazing sun of a beautiful day, and the cheering of the crowd below. Taking a deep breath, Cassie walked out into the sunlight.
Standing on the podium was Page, Ben Finn, Major Swift, Kalin, Sabine, Walter, Jasper - who looked like he was going to cry with proudness -, Elliot and Gail. As Cassie walked passed them, they either bowed, smiled, winked or made some motion to her.
Cassie stopped at the railing, in between Walter and Jasper and looked down at the crowd below. All of the people of Albion had come to see her. The Dwellers were there, the Resistance, people from Bowerstone, Oakfield, Bloodstone, Millfields, Mourningwood, Brightwall and even the people of Aurora had come to pay their respects.
Next to her, Walter accepted the crown off one of the guards and gently placed it on Cassie's head.
Ben will be happy, thought Cassie as the crowd began to cheer even louder. The crown does fit.
Of the next few days, Cassie, Elliot and Gail moved into the palace and just spent a few days catching up on sleep and relaxing. Little did Cassie know that this would be the last time she would be able to relax of the next year.
Four days after she was crowned Queen of Albion, Walter introduced her to Hobson, her new butler seeing as Jasper remained in the Sanctuary to keep things organised and to tell her if someone needed their queens help. Cassie was not sure if she liked Hobson very much seeing as he seemed to talk about wealth a lot, but she was sure he would grow with her in time.
Her thoughts about Hobson was interrupted when Walter said, 'I'll leave you two to get better acquainted. I should begin preparations for the trial.'
As Walter left, Cassie paled slightly.
'Trial? As in Logan's?' she asked Hobson. How could she have forgotten about the trial? Maybe it was because she did not want to sentence her own brother. While she hated him for everything that he had done, he was still her older brother that protected her and practically raise her, and for that, she loved him dearly.
'Yes, of course,' said an excited Hobson. 'The very first item on today's agenda.'
'Agenda?' repeated Cassie. Why hadn't she seen this agenda?
Hobson handed her a scroll with had the agenda's on it.
Cassie's stomach dropped as she saw that Logan's trial was indeed on the top of the list. Groaning her eyes scrolled down the listed appointments and tasks and she felt her stomach drop again when she saw that she had to speak to Reaver in Bowerstone Industrial. She was not looking forward to that. What if she decided a sentence for Logan that Reaver did not like? Would he be angry with her? Upset? Indifferent?
Swallowing her fear, Cassie made her way to the throne room and sat in the throne. The trial would start in an hour's time, but Cassie knew that if she did not go now, she would chicken out.
Half an hour later, Gail ran in where a pretty, baby-pink dress. It was her dream come true to live in a castle and be a princess.
She ran straight over to Cassie and sat in her lap, before recounting her adventure in the royal gardens. As Gail spoke, Cassie felt all her fear melt away, and when the trial was to commence, Cassie allowed Gail to remain with her in order to give her strength.
'Are you ready?' Elliot whispered to Cassie as he stood beside her throne.
'No, but no time like the present to do it,' replied Cassie as Sabine, Swift, Ben, Kalin and Page took their places up with her to over look the trial and testify against Logan.
Moments later, to guards led Logan into the room. Cassie looked sadly upon Logan seeing what he had become. She had never seen her brother look so vulnerable, being restrained the way he was. As the guards and Logan stopped at the base of the steps, Logan looked indifferently at Cassie, before frowning as he noticed the child in her lap, before looking suspiciously at Elliot.
Typical, your first thought is that Elliot got me pregnant at the age of thirteen. Cassie thought, immediately knowing what her brother would be thinking. He really was an overprotective brother.
'Logan, former King of Albion, you stand accused today of crimes against the kingdom and its people,' began Walter, snapping Cassie out of her thoughts. 'Those who brought you to justice will now speak.'
'There's not a soul alive in the kingdom who hasn't suffered for his glory,' said Sabine, the moment Walter stopped speaking. 'And plenty who've died for it. I say, let him have some death of his own.' Sabine said, too Cassie, who tried hard not to flinch. Is that really what everyone wanted? Did they really want her to sentence her own brother to death?
'Look,' said a serious Ben, which was very rare, 'I'm not one for lopping people's heads off, but we nearly had to witness Major Swift being executed, like it was a bloody circus act! He deserves nothing less as far as I'm concerned.'
Cassie felt her heart drop. She was hoping that Ben would take her side, instead of wanting death. Instead, someone unexpected took her side. Someone she had thought would want him dead. Proves that Cassie was a horrible judge of character sometimes.
'But aren't we better than that?' argued Page. 'Isn't that why we fought to be here now? I've seen what Logan has done to this city. People starving to death, children forced to work...but killing him now won't solve anything.'
'Page is right,' said Major Swift. 'Death is not the answer.'
'It is not my place to decide his fate,' Kalin said quietly. Cassie noticed Logan look quickly at Kalin, disbelief present in his eyes as well as something else. It was then that Cassie remembered Kalin telling her that Logan and her use to be best friends...and even something more. 'But his betrayal condemned many of my people to death. He promised, as Queen Amy promised before him, that Aurora and Albion were allies and when Aurora was in trouble, he would come to our aid. Instead, he left us to face the darkness alone.'
Cassie noticed that Logan's features darkened at her words.
'Why are you looking at me like that?' demanded Kalin.
'How dare you blame me for the alliance breaking,' snapped Logan. 'I can stand by and allow what the others say about what I did, for it is true, but I will not stand quiet and allow you to accuse me of something that I didn't break!'
'What do you mean?' Kalin asked quietly.
'What do you mean, "What do I mean"?' asked Logan angrily. 'You father made it very clear that he no longer wished Albion and Aurora to be united, on my last visit there!'
Kalin did not reply. Instead, she just stared at Logan.
'Something happened when you returned home, didn't it?' Cassie asked quietly. 'Something happened which made you change.'
'Yes. The day I returned to Albion, I received a visit from a blind seer.' explained Logan. 'Theresa, our mother's guide. She showed me the future of the kingdom; the darkness in Aurora is coming here, bringing death, destruction and the end of our way of life, just as Mother, Father and I believed it would. The sacrifices I had to make, I did them for Albion. If a few had to suffer, it was to build an army. If a few had to die, it was to save a country.'
'If this is true...if it's really coming here...we are all in grave danger,' said Walter, looking abnormally pale, while Cassie sat there shocked. Why didn't Theresa warn her of the darkness?
Cassie suddenly became aware of everyone looking at her.
'The people await your verdict,' Elliot said quietly, barely moving his lips. He knew that she had not heard a word of what was just said. 'Execute or spare.'
'Now is not the time for revenge and too much blood has already been spilt.' Cassie said, rising to her feet, putting Gail on the chair and walking over to Logan. 'We need your help Logan. I need your help. Will you stand by my side and help me?'
'Of course,' Logan smiled gently down at her.
'The Queen has made her decision,' declared Water, motioning for the guards to realise Logan.
The moment Logan was realised, Cassie wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly, startling Logan with her sudden show of emotion. However, he soon recovered from his shock and held her the way he use to.
'I know that you will never forgive me for the things I have done.' Logan told her quietly. 'You told me so once, remember?'
'Of course I do,' replied Cassie, ignoring the angry crowd that Walter was trying to dismiss. 'But I forgive you.'
'Not that that matters,' sighed Logan, stepping away from her a little, ending their hug. 'What matters now is that we defend our kingdom. The castle, my men and the throne are all yours. I'm glad to be rid of them.'
Cassie laughed lightly, before she noticed Logan looking over to a dark corner of the room. Following his gaze, Cassie briefly saw a hooded figure before he disappeared within the crowd.
Minutes later, Cassie was heading to the royal vaults to make a new tax policy when her world went foggy and she was once more standing in front of Theresa.
'You have fulfilled the first part of your destiny,' said Theresa. 'You were little more than a child when you left the castle. You have become a Hero. A leader. And now, finally, a monarch. But your journey is not yet done. Now you are Queen, you can know the truth.'
'The truth? Oh, you mean the vision you showed Logan?' Cassie demanded. 'The one where Albion will be lost to the darkness? It was never about Logan, was it?'
'I told you what you needed to know, and I never spoke anything but the truth.' Theresa said calmly. 'With Logan on the throne, Albion would have been doomed. That is why you had to take your brother's place. This much I know. Only with a Hero wearing the crown do we stand a chance of survival.'
'Then how do I stop it?'
'You won't. Its arrival is inevitable. One year from now, the darkness will fall upon Albion. All you can do is prepare and hope to save as many of your people as you can. How you do so is up to you. You have one year to do what Logan could not: be the ruler that readies Albion for the greatest threat it has ever faced. And be the Hero that can stand against it.'
With this knowledge, Cassie arrived back into the castle and quickly went to sort out the tax, before hurrying off to Logan's room.
'Enter,' came Logan's tired voice after she knocked on the door.
'Hey Cass,' he said, when he saw who it was. He was currently sitting at his window reading a history book. 'Are you all right? Why are you out of breath?'
'Can you meet me and my friends in the family room in fifteen minutes?' Cassie asked, ignoring his questions.
'Sure, I'll head there now,' replied a curious Logan.
'Great, and if you see Rea-Father, can you tell him to be there too?'
'Father's not here,' said Logan.
'Where is he then?'
'He went to the Spire, shortly after my hearing.'
'Great. I would have preferred him to be there, but I suppose it can't be helped.' Cassie said somewhat bitterly. 'Why did he go to the Spire?'
'Don't know. All he said was he needed to go and speak with Garth and Hammer about the darkness,' shrugged Logan.
'Right. Okay, I'll see you in fifteen minutes,' said Cassie, running off to find Sabine, Ben and the others.
She soon found them all talking in the throne room, along with Elliot.
'Are you ready to go to Bowerstone Industrial to talk to Reaver?' Page asked, catching sight of her. 'Have you been out running or something?' she then added, taking in Cassie's sweaty brow and shortness of breath.
'No, I've been looking for the seven of you,' answered Cassie. 'By the way, the meeting with Reaver has been postponed for something even more important. Besides, he's currently not exactly in Albion,' she added, leading them room the throne room and towards her families personal family room. She thought it would be the more private than the war room.
'What do you need to talk to us about?' asked Kalin.
'The darkness,' Cassie said simply.
'I'm not sure what to say after receiving such news,' said Walter. 'The darkness that is coming...people won't understand what it means. Nobody could, without living it first.'
'That is why we need to prepare,' said Cassie. 'Theresa told me that its arrival will be unpreventable, but that doesn't mean we can't stop it.'
'I'm sure that we can handle this enemy.' Sabine said confidently, when the allies arrived at Cassie's family's living room.
'You should not be so confident, Sabine,' warned Kalin. 'My people have died trying to defeat it -'
'Aye, but we'll be fighting it on our own ground, won't we?' interrupted Sabine. 'That means that we'll have the upper - what is he doing here?' he demanded once he caught sight of Logan lounging in one of the armchairs still reading some sort of history book.
'Last time Iooked, I live here.' answered Logan, without looking up from his book. Cassie could not help but smile at her brother's comment. 'Plus my sister also asked me to be here,' he added casually.
'Why did you ask him to be here?' demanded Ben.
'Cause we need all the help we can get.' Cassie said firmly, leaving no room for argument. 'Logan has faced the Crawler before and has survived, obviously, plus he knows a lot about military and other things that can help us.'
'Fine,' muttered Ben, though he did not look to happy about it and he was not the only one.
As Cassie looked around at her friends, she could see that none of them were happy about it though Walter, Swift and Elliot were doing their best to hide their feelings, and Kalin had a particular strange expression on her face that Cassie could not decipher.
'So, what's the plan? How are we to defeat our new enemy?' Ben asked after a moment's silence.
'I'd say our best hope is fire,' answered Walter almost immediately.
'Fire? Why fire?' asked Swift.
'When we were in the cave in Aurora that the creature calls home, I - er -sort of accidentally threw my flaming torch at the creature and the moment the flames hit it, it started to scream with pain and got very angry with me.'
'Fire, hey. In that case, can't we just get Cassie to use her gauntlets and shoot fire balls at this Crawler?' asked Elliot, taking a seat next to Cassie and wrapping his arm around her shoulders. Cassie noticed Logan giving Elliot a weird look.
Probably still trying to find a reason why he is no good for me. Cassie thought. That or he's not too happy about him suggesting that I should be near that creature again.
'Yes, that's a fabulous idea.' Walter said happily. 'If only Cassie had of done that when the bloody thing was close enough back in Aurora.'
'It won't work,' came a blunt reply from the doorway.
Everyone in the room turned to see who spoke. It was Reaver. Cassie still could not get over the fact of how quietly he could move.
'What are you doing here?' demanded Page as she pointed her gun at him.
'Page, put the gun away.' Cassie said wearily. 'I wanted him to be here, but Logan said he was already gone. You were quick,' she added to Reaver, while Page grumbled something incomprehensible under her breath.
'Your mother's cullis gates help a lot,' shrugged Reaver.
'How did it go?' Logan asked Reaver as he sat down on the arm of Logan's chair.
'Let's just say it could have gone better,' answered Reaver. 'It took a lot of convincing to get them to meet me at the Spire and when they did, the atmosphere wasn't pleasant. I swear Garth was just about ready to throw a fireball or something at me at any moment. Can't understand why he hates me so much.'
'You purposely shot him in the leg!' exclaimed Logan. 'Of course he's not going to like you after that!'
'I only nipped him and that was forty-nine years ago.' disagreed Reaver, making Cassie chuckle. 'He never came across as someone that held grudges.'
'Excuse me, but would someone like to fill us in and explain why you wanted him here.' asked Ben.
'Reaver has fought the Crawler before too,' Cassie began but Kalin interrupted her.
'It can't be,' muttered Kalin, looking at Reaver with disbelief written all over her face.
'It can be,' Logan disagreed gentle.
'But...how?' breathed Kalin.
'I faked my own death,' Reaver said simply.
'Excuse me, but what are you talking about?' asked Ben.
'And what did Reaver mean when he said that he faked his own death?' demanded Page. 'He's been around for years!'
'In Aurora, we were told that King River died shortly after Queen Amy, but here he is standing in this very room looking as well as ever.' Kalin explained, not taking her eyes off Reaver's face.
'Are you saying that Reaver is King River?' snorted Page, before gasping and looking at Cassie. She only just remembered the conversation they had after Reaver's party.
Kalin nodded and Cassie and Logan both smiled as confirmation.
'Balls,' muttered Walter. 'I won't believe it until I see some proof.'
Shrugging, Reaver took off a chain from around his neck revealing a charm that was a very old carving of an owl in flight, the charm of an eagle and a very expensive wedding ring, with an engraving on it saying "My Thief". Walter recognised them immediately. How could he not? After all, River always wore his wedding ring and the owl charm for it belonged to his dead little sister, and once the king and queen had returned from Aurora with Logan, he saw that River never took off that eagle charm that belonged to a boy he raised after finding him barely alive on the streets of Bloodstone.
'By the gods, it is you River...but how?' whispered a shocked Walter.
'Like I said, I faked my own death...with Logan's help of course.' answered Reaver.
'I believed it would be best if River disappeared and Reaver returned to gather as much information and money for the upcoming invasion.'
'But, that was over seven years ago!'
'True, but Amy, Logan and I have known about the darkness since Cassie was a little girl.'
'You knew that you had not killed the Crawler!' exclaimed Kalin. 'Why did you not tell my parents? Or me?'
'We did tell them, Kalin.' Reaver said gently. 'But they didn't believe us, which is why Amy, Cassie and I never returned to Aurora... as a family anyway,' he added, when Cassie coughed "Sand Fury". On their way to the castle to hear Logan's announcement, after giving Benjamina Reaver's underwear, Cassie had asked Reaver where he had gotten the sand furies and he told her that he was able to charm them and they came back with him after he made a visit to check on the Crawler's progress.
'And then Logan tried once more years later,' muttered Kalin.
'Yes. Had we of known that you were now the leader of Aurora, we would have tried again to warn you,' said Logan.
'Well, that's all in the past,' smiled Kalin.
'So why did you go and see Garth and Hammer?' asked Logan.
'Last time we encountered the beast, some of Albion's best soldiers were slaughtered like lambs along with my men and...and Norman,' answered Reaver, stumbling over Norman's name slightly. His death still hurt him. 'And Garth, Hammer, Amy and myself barely made it out alive, each of us Heroes. The creature is powerful. It has proven that by surviving being barbequed by Garth and by killing Amy -'
'What do you mean, Father?' frowned Logan, glancing over at Cassie, then back at his father. 'Mother's illness just appeared out of nowhere. You said it yourself.'
'Your mother never wanted you to know, but when we faced the creature, its claws ripped open the skin on her stomach and of course its claws were poisoned and, well...the poison eventually kill- killed her.' Reaver closed his eyes has he said the last part, trying not to cry. After Amy's death, he became a wreck, the same way when Annabelle died. However, Logan and Cassie were the only things stopping him from becoming the heartless Reaver once more.
'Reaver, or River, is right,' said Swift. 'If four Heroes, plus a small army of well trained soldiers and pirates couldn't defeat it, then we are going to need all the help we can get. With a Hero of Strength, Will and Skill, plus Cassie on our side, we shall have a chance.'
'Four Heroes sounds pretty good to me,' said Page.
'Five,' said Reaver, opening his eyes.
'Five? Who's the fifth one?' asked Ben.
'Logan,' Reaver said simply.
Everyone turned to look at Logan.
'You're a Hero of Skill too, aren't you?' gasped Elliot. 'That would explain your talent with a gun.'
After that, they discussed ways of getting enough money to build an army.
'We're not having any children labour!' Page said immediately.
'Yes, I have to go against that too.' Cassie agreed.
'How are we to make the money then?' said Walter.
'The same way Mum did,' stated Cassie. 'She went out blacksmithing, bartending, wood chopping -'
'That was me in the end,' admitted Reaver, referring to the wood chopping part.
'- lute playing, cooking, bounty hunting and any other job you can think of, plus there was all the gold, gems and valuables she found on her travels.'
'Plus there is still the families personal vaults in Bower Lake -'
'Millfields, Father,' corrected Logan.
'Whatever - where the Guild use to be. Amy and I have been stocking it since we found out the creature was still alive, just to be safe. It's got all the treasure from her adventures and work, plus most of the fortune I've accumulated over the years from pirating and investments.' concluded Reaver.
'Which means there must be a lot seeing how old you are,' grinned Logan, knowing how much his father hated being called old.
'I am not old,' huffed Reaver.
'He's right, Logan.' Cassie said innocently.
'Thank you, Cass.'
'He's ancient,' laughed Cassie, making Logan laugh and Reaver groan.
'You two are as bad as your mother,' he grumbled.
'If I remember correctly, there is a diamond located in one of the caves beneath the Auroran wasteland.' said Kalin, getting back to business. 'It is an ancient site, an abandoned temple.'
'By doing this, we should be able to rebuild Bowerstone Old Quarter, rebuild Aurora, have more protection to the people, rebuild and open the academy, get a school for the children of Bowerstone, protect Mispeak mountains, get the guards and soldiers a pay increase, lower the taxes and whatever else needs to be done,' said a satisfied Cassie.
With that said, they began discussing what else could be done to protect the people against the Crawler and the darkness it was bringing with it.
Written: 11 December 2011