Chapter 18 - Ewanna
Haliea woke me up early in the morning, telling me Seraphina was back already, and she had important matters to discuss with us.
“So fast?” I asked, leaping out of bed.
“They came back through the night, Shiki’s power and speed grows at night, so they managed to reach Gairon around 4am in the morning. Seraphina doesn’t seem to be very happy. I’m not sure what she’s upset about, but we’ll know later,” Haliea said, turning her back on me so I could change.
I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, and then curled them into a bun. Pinning them into place, I then reached for my boots.
Gairon was not at all pleasing because of the dirty air, but I do not have much to complain when I’m offered a comfortable bed, running water and sufficient food.
As we walked towards the exit of the guesthouse, I peered through the dusty windows. The sun had only just awakened from its slumber, peeking shyly through the horizon. Rays of sunlight bathed Gairon in a gentle hue. The village had almost no trees or foliage within its radius, thus the temperature rises fairly quickly, especially in the afternoon. For once, I missed the cool, chilly weather in the Second Region.
Terron and Land were already waiting downstairs. I greeted them with a nod and they returned it solemnly.
Guess they were summoned to the meeting too.
From what I got to know from Haliea, Land was the one that saw the awakening of the Eshban girl, and Terron was the one that helped her when she needed it the most. I was quite surprised that Zoltar wasn’t the one that sparked her awakening. The couple had a special bond that not many people have. An unspoken, mutual bonding that only exists when both of the individuals trust each other completely.
We made our way towards the village inn, where the meeting is going to be held. The streets were near empty as the day had just started. We didn’t want to attract too much attention, so we hastened our footsteps.
Seraphina was already waiting with Zoltar by her side. They were seated at the bar with their drinks half finished. Her eyes were like embers in a fire, glowing with intense heat.
“Good morning,” Haliea greeted them, and pulled a few chairs towards us.
I took one gratefully, and handed another two to Terron and Land.
Land looked at me amused, his head slanting to one side.
Then I realized the hellhound didn’t need one.
Ugh, my bad.
“Good morning,” Seraphina replied. Was it me or was her tone slightly deeper than I remembered?
Our party sat in a closed circle, waiting anxiously to what the leaders had to say.
“We will be heading to Ewanna next,” Zoltar started, his amber eyes on Haliea’s. “The capital of the Fourth Region, where the High House of Aeolus is in charge. From the news I heard, Ewanna’s oracle sides with the Sovereign, yes?”
Haliea nodded. “The oracles in most region capitals sides with the Sovereign. Thus the capitals' are the most risky, they have eyes everywhere.”
Zoltar chuckled, the sound catching in his throat.
“Oh I will blind them,” he purred.
The deadly aura radiating off our two leaders tells me they got some terribly news from their trip to Delta.
“According to the information the oracle of Delta gave us, the High House of Darya is involved in a lot of underground trading. Do you know anything about this, Penny?” Seraphina spoke, her red eyes turned to me.
My mind sparked to life. This was my forte.
“Yes, the Daryans are very active in the underground. The underground market is split into two different clans, ‘the Order’ consists of people like me, exiles from the Sovereign that holds power to certain trade points. We don’t get ourselves involve in dirty schemes and plans. We have no interest in blood-stained money. However, the other clan, we call them ‘the Chaos’, are made up of assassins, robbers, mad necromancers, pedophiles, basically people who have very fucked up minds. They go to extreme extents for money, they will do anything as long as they get what they want. The Daryan’s mainly do trade with the Chaos, and not the Order,” I explained.
I watched as Seraphina’s eyes narrowed. I could see her first clench on the wooden table, pushing her fingernails into her palm. This was probably what she was upset about.
“I do not know exactly what they deal with, but I have heard rumors. They deal with child trade. They purchase young children at a very high price, thus the members of Chaos would willingly serve them, and help them accomplish their needs. But what they do with the children, I have no confirmed answer,” I continued.
It was one of the topics that I would rather not touch. You could only imagine what the Daryans will do to the children. Slavery would be a blessing for them.
“Biford told us something similar. The High House of Darya is the one in charge of the Second Region I believe. My plan now would be for all of us to head to Ewanna, gather as much information as we can there, and then move on to the Second Region,” Seraphina said slowly.
“You do not want to gain the entire Fourth Region first?” Terron asked, seemingly surprised at her plan. Zoltar was also looking at her, waiting for more elaboration.
Seraphina shook her head.
“No, Ewanna won’t be that easy to claim. It is still considered a Sovereign stronghold after all. Even though the rest of the Fourth Region is on our side, we can’t let our guard down. And even if we were to conquer the entire Fourth Region, and defeat Ewanna, this will cause the news to leak out to the Sovereign even faster. They would just gather the other regions and come for us. It would be an all-out war, and we won’t stand a chance against three other regions.”
Zoltar nodded in agreement, his hand under his chin, deep in thought.
Haliea looked impressed at the integrated plan.
“For one who has not been in battle for even a year, your mindset sure is impressive,” Haliea said, with a smile on her face.
Not even a year?
“I am born an Eshban, it’s probably in my blood to think this way,” Seraphina hissed under her breath. There was an edge of annoyance in her voice and I threw Haliea a glance, hoping the oracle doesn’t press on the topic.
Her powers, no matter how great or how powerful, could never atone for the loss of her family.
“So, my plan would be for us to head to Ewanna, gather as much information as we can regarding the other regions, and then search carefully for people who would join us and pledge to our alliance. We would probably start from the underground, since Penny is well-versed with the contacts there. Mainly, we’ll need a safe transport from Ewanna to the Second Region, away from the eyes of the Aeolus. I don’t think anything else in Ewanna matters, because I don’t expect us to find any reliable partners there.”
“I know some people that can help transport you over. I’ll stay in Ewanna and see how much men I can get. I’ll ask Ferro to take you guys to the Second Region, the rest is up to you,” I told Seraphina.
“Would it be a good idea for you to stay back alone in Ewanna?” Zoltar spoke, directing the question to me.
“Don’t worry about me, I have my ways. I’ll meet you guys within 5 days after you reach the Second Region,” I smiled grimly.
The underground was my whole world, and I know very well my name was well respected among the goons. But I needed to thread the waters carefully, there are no true allies in the underground.
“They might work together for the rebellion, just make sure the news stay out of the Chaos for as long as possible,” Elidyr whispered within me.
His familiar voice gave me the support I needed.
“Terron and Land,” Zoltar turned to the duo.
“You two find Helia, make sure she is safe. Set out after we leave for Ewanna. You two will be in charge of our allies in the Fourth Region while we’re away. Whatever news they have, they will pass the message through their oracles, and to Helia. Helia will inform me of the rest. Understood?”
“Understood, general,” Land grinned at Zoltar. The prince simply returned him a casual smirk before turning back to Seraphina.
“Once we’re in the Second Region, we’ll repeat what we did here in the Fourth Region. We head to the villages in the outskirts first, and then move on to the capital. The Second Region is very large compared to the Fourth Region, they have 4 villages, Anvindr, Esen, Ermir and Coro. Coro Island is the closest to us. It will be our first destination in the Second Region. That’s all we can plan for now. No matter what happens, keep in contact, all of you,” Zoltar crackled his knuckles and stretched out his stiff back.
The couple probably didn’t have any sleep at all.
“Pennilizia, we’ll be heading out tomorrow morning. Please let your man, Ferro know of our plans. I would like Seraphina to have sufficient rest before the trip to the Second Region,” he paused, his dangerous amber eyes turned to mine.
“And in the meantime, if you would prefer heading out to Ewanna earlier, you can feel free to do so.”
I couldn’t stop the grin from spreading on my face.
I am in love with the way their minds work.
“I’ll set out this evening with some of my men. The rest I’ll leave them in your care. They will help you get to the Second Region. We will probably meet again in Ewanna, and I will ensure a safe voyage for the both of you,” I said, not hiding the excitement in my voice.
“Be careful, Penny,” Seraphina said, giving me a squeeze on my shoulder.
“Don’t worry, but promise me one thing,” I place my hand over hers.
She turned her now dim, scarlet eyes onto me, waiting for me to finish my sentence.
“When you get the Daryans, let me get a piece of their flesh.”
As I watched her cat-like grin emerge from her face, I stood up and gave her a tight hug. The force of my hug almost tipped the petite lady off balance but her arms wrapped around me with a grip stronger than mine.
“For the death of the Sovereign,” she whispered.
“For the death of the Sovereign,” I repeated.
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