Chapter 2- Mhia Atlas

Chapter 2- Mhia Atlas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 2

 

Mhia Atlas

 

 

Mhia had no time for tears. She had to be strong. She knew people would die. But what bothered her the most was not even the fact that so many innocents died. He was there. 

Running away from the shelter was easy enough. They had hidden underground passages. Unfortunately the escape routes only applied to members of the Paradise Lost. Having too many people know was too big a risk. Common people prioritize themselves over their country. If any were to be captured, they were sure to talk. But Mhia had her suspicions someone on the inside was already talking. Why else would they attack the shelter?

The attack on the shelter had to have been because of a betrayal. The Fuhrer’s attack was too sudden and well planned. For years they had managed to avoid a trace and yet it was as if he knew his enemies were hiding there. But all the same, it didn’t appear as if any of the soldiers attacking actually knew about the hidden passages. Well, too late to find out now. Dianos and me made sure of that.

Mhia was exhausted by the time she reached the Paradise Lost underground city, Elysium. Elysium was a dark and musty place. The fortress was underground so the air was damp and the firelights created an unbearable heat. But for what it was worth, it was safe. Elysium had come a long way over the years, when Mhia was only ten it was little more than a big space underground. Now massive brick walls and an iron gate guarded it from the outside. Inside, Elysium had the likeness of a town. There were houses, stores, watchtowers, a church, and something of a small castle.

Mhia was sixteen now but some might have said she was already a grown woman. The hard years had made her mature faster although she still had the likeness of an adolescent girl. Mhia was tall, slender, toned, long legged, and had subtle curves. She had long and luscious burning red hair up to her waist, with bangs hovering just lightly over her almost pitch black eyes. Her olive skin was smooth minus the small scars and bruises she earned herself over the years.

She was wearing a loose but shapely beige dress, a leather waistband, and collar around her neck. Over her dress she wore a black scarf that hung loosely over her torso and head like a hood. Her arms were decorated with different braces. On her feet she was wearing sandals strapped all the way to her knees. For the exception of the lack of jewelry, her garb was no different than that she would wear regularly as a princess.

By Cruorian customs, Mhia was still a princess and part of the royal family. Even after the war ended, a good portion of the royal family lived. Aside from herself, her two brothers, uncle, and cousin still lived. She was the third youngest out of the bunch coming after her brother Calam who was nine and her cousin Luna who was only thirteen. The oldest, and King of Cruor, and leader of Paradise Lost, was her brother, Ezra Octem.

When Mhia entered the war room in the castle she found Ezra and his council. The room was small with an oval table in the middle made of stone with imprints of fire. Surrounding it were chairs for all the council members and at the end of the table a throne in which her brother sat upon. The throne was made of stone, similar to the table, and had a cross mounted on its back.

Ezra was with three of his council. Sia Septem, Dianos Mars, and Cardinal Gilles. Sia Septem was the People’s Voice, a petite fair woman who tied her crimson hair up like a bouquet of flowers and always wore exotic makeup. Growing up she had been like a big sister to Mhia, practically raising her.

Dianos Mars was God’s Ear, an old man with a crimson braided beard and a burn scar of a hand on his head. He was the head of the Church in Elysium. Mhia did not meet Dianos until after Paradise Lost was formed but had grown close to him over the years, spiritually.

Cardinal Gilles was instantaneously the oddball in the group. Unlike the rest, he was a Judician. His thin black and grey hair almost touched his shoulders and was balding on top. His face was shaven clean, fully exposing his cracked face; he had permanent frown lines, laugh lines, and wrinkled eyes with bags under them. Despite that, he still looked healthy for his age. His golden eyes had a mysterious glow to them that Mhia mistrusted. Of course the fact he was a Judician alone was reason enough for her to not trust him. If it were for her, they would’ve never admitted him into the council. Arguably though, if it were not for him there wouldn’t be a council to begin with.

            King Ezra was the first to look when Mhia came rushing in. “Sister. I’m so glad to see you safe. Dianos told me what happened. I still can’t believe those monsters…”

            “Charles Veritas was there!” she interrupted. “He led this attack. It was his shot that gave them the signal. I saw it with my own two eyes.”

            Ezra frowned. “Are you sure it was him?”

            “Who else has a scar from the corner of their eye to their collarbone.”

            “So he lives…or rather, he’s back.”

            Dianos Mars cleared his throat. “Be that as it may, Charles Veritas is not our priority. The issue at hand here is how they found out about the shelter. Who’s to say they don’t know about the other locations. Or the tunnels even. We’re going to need to move people around to make sure they are safe and start questioning our own.”

            “Finding the traitor on our side could take forever! Killing their contact, Charles Veritas, will not. If he led the operation, it’s him we have to kill. And if we’re lucky enough, before he’s dead we might be able to squeeze the name of the traitor right from him and take down two birds with one stone.”

            “Mhia, I understand where you’re coming from,” said Sia Septem. “But Charles is a man of high status. It’d be near impossible to find him defenseless. Besides, not only would we not even know where to begin looking for him but also there’s little we can do in the upper districts. And even if you did manage to kill him, to attack him would be certain suicide.”

            Mhia clenched her fists to restrain her frustration. “I’ll gladly offer my life to kill him. It would make a great victory…”

            “But not a greater loss than losing you,” finished Ezra. “If you kill Charles, the Fuhrer will already have a replacement. If we lose you, the royal family is one member shorter. Our battle is a hard one. Many of us will die. We can’t take unnecessary risks.”

            Mhia slammed her fist on the stone table. “Sometimes I wonder if you still remember those we lost. It seems all we ever do is sit on our asses hidden in this cave of a home waiting for something to miraculously win us our country back. But I guess you’re just doing what’s best for your people as usual, your Highness.”

            “Mhia perhaps it’s best if you go to your quarters. You’ve had a long day.”

            “Yeah…perhaps it’s best.” Her brother was as stubborn as a mule. As much as she’d love to stay and argue, she knew it would be to no avail.

            Just as Mhia was turning around to leave she heard Cardinal Gilles’s scheming soft voice. “If you don’t mind me asking, what is this personal vendetta with Charles about? I knew of his efforts in the Crimson War, but this sounds much more personal…”

            Mhia turned around ready to rip his throat out. “Yeah, it’s f*****g personal! Listen, Judician. Don’t think for a second I trust you. You’re first on my list of potential traitors.”

            Gilles frowned shifting every crack on his face. “I’m hurt that you would even suspect me, your Grace. I serve God. I was hoping we could’ve done him a service by helping each other. See, Charles is no friend of mine either…and I know quite a bit about him. A great deal more than you, for sure. Enough to perhaps achieve a common goal.”

            That caught Mhia’s interest, but refused to show the hope in her voice. “Is that so? And what personal issue could a Cardinal have with a General of Judicium?”

            His chuckle was as condescending as it was mocking. “Charles has not been a General for ten years. He retired after the war. He serves now as the Head of Judicium’s Youth. And as to mine own personal vendetta, Charles has never been a friend to the Church for as long as I’ve known him. Especially now that he’s breeding orphans into nonbelievers.”

            Charles having no respect for God was no news to Mhia. He made that clear ten years ago. “Fair enough. Perhaps we can help each other, seeing as my own brother is too much of a coward to avenge his own family.”

            “You will not be taking action against Charles, Mhia,” said Ezra in a stern voice.

            “Someone has to. And seeing as you’re not stepping up to the plate, I’ll gladly take the honor.”

            “I forbid it!” And there he does it again. Has there ever been a more cowardly Tyrant?

            You could see, feel, touch, and smell the tension in the air between the two siblings. Ezra looked as much a king, in his ebony robes bathed in jewels and golden crown, but to Mhia an appearance was all he had. The past recent years it seemed he was more concerned in rebuilding their kingdom underground instead of reclaiming what was rightfully theirs. Mhia had learned she could no longer depend on her brother. He’d changed. But unfortunately, he was still her king.

            “May I take my leave, your Highness?” she asked with spite.

            “You may go to your quarters.”

            She swallowed her rage and took her leave. Despite being underground, her room was at least fitting of a princess. Her bed was massive enough to fit eight people and was surrounded by colorful translucent sheets. At the corner of the room she had her own bath. She still had many of her personal belongings that she managed to take with her before Cruor fell. The only thing she was truly missing were slaves to cater to her every need. Having a Rat or two around lightened the stress. At the very least she still had a cross to pray.

            Mhia didn’t have many good memories. She was born into war and was running and fighting for as long as she could remember. She’d lost count on the amount of people she had lost over the years but her hate was ever growing for each one added to the list. She often asked God why their fate was so. Why they were not protected from Judicium’s greed and cruelty. Dianos Mars always told her that God does not interfere in the quarrels of men, that he does not strip anyone of their free will, that he only offers guidance. But whenever she saw another child die, another friend die, another family die, she couldn’t help but feel abandoned. Often she wondered if God meant for Judicium to rule over mankind.

            After praying, Mhia decided she needed to relax. She removed her collar, waistband, and sandals and slipped out of her dress. The sweat from the heat gave her slender body a shimmering look. She had bruises on her knees and arms, and another on her left thigh, but she still looked as desirable as ever. Her breast weren’t large but they were firm and full enough to get a grip on them. There wasn’t a hair on her body, not even between her legs, which wasn’t odd given that it was expected of Cruorians to shave, both men and women. Even in all her beauty though, Mhia never saw herself as a woman. She grew up fighting and never had the luxury of entertaining any romantic thoughts. Many found that queer given how open Cruorians were in sexuality. The average Cruorian Princess had at least three bedding servants.

            Mhia tested the waters before jumping in. The warmth around her skin gave instant relaxation. To think I was this close to dying today…and killing Charles Veritas. The thought angered her even now. There were years when all she dreamt about was killing Charles Veritas. It was her way of compensating for all the nightmares he’d given her. She still shivered whenever she recalled them.

She dipped her head under the water and clouded her head with other thoughts until she heard a knock on the door. There wasn’t enough spare manpower in Elysium to have guards outside every door so people had to settle for knocking and asking for permission to be let in. It was annoying at first but Mhia had grown used to it. “Who is it?”

            “I was wondering if you were still interested in Charles Veritas,” an instantly familiar and misleading kind voice called out.

            Mhia quickly emerged from the bath in all her naked wetness and rushed for the door. When she opened it, Cardinal Gilles was waiting smiling with his piercing golden eyes. He was wearing his crimson Cardinal robes.

            “Does our Princess want a moment to…dress?”

            Mhia looked down at herself and realized she was fully exposed but she refused to look embarrassed or ashamed in front of a Judician. Although just the act of a Judician laying eyes on her bare body shamed her more than words could describe. “Come in. It makes no difference to me. Besides, you’re a clergyman. Your Eminence has relinquished all carnal desires. I shouldn’t feel threatened.”

            Gilles stepped a foot inside. “Forgive me if I hinted otherwise. I’m just now starting to get accustomed to your culture. Judician women aren’t nearly as…comfortable under their own skin as those of your people. It’s not in my Judician or Cardinal mind to step into a room with a naked woman.”

            She was relieved to hear so but wanted to maintain her uncaring demeanor. “Would you rather me dress?”

            “No, no. Don’t mind me. God created us with nothing to wear but our own skin. If you’d like I could remove my robes as well.” What mess have I gotten myself into?

            Mhia looked at his cracked face with blatant disgust. “Spare me. You came to discuss Charles Veritas?” She crossed the translucent sheets surrounding her bed in hopes of shielding her body from his Judician eyes. She lay down across her bed leaning on her elbow and one knee covering between her legs. Through the sheets she could see the Cardinal gazing through with his golden eyes. Mhia was surprised to find his eyes fixated directly to her own. Mayhap he is a more faithful servant of God than I have given him credit for. I almost feel as if I’m fully clothed.

            Gilles nodded. “Indeed. I know your brother forbid it but I believe God has a different plan in mind. It is no coincidence that we happened to cross paths with similar objectives in mind.”

            Mhia studied him but couldn’t read past his false smile. “Defying the King is treason.”

            “And defying God is blasphemy. If I’m not mistaken, was not the reason your people went to war because Judicium allowed their ruler to be placed above the Church? No man may stand above God. Those were your father’s words in his declaration of war. For your brother to deny you this right, one could arguably say he is no different than those he hopes to defeat.”

            “Assuming this is what God wants. A coincidence of common interest isn’t enough to conclude this a sign from above.”

            “Aaah, but it is more than just a coincidence,” he replied in confidence. “The sudden reappearance of Charles, your having coincidently been in the same shelter he was attacking during the time of the attack, my being here with the information and support you need to exact your revenge when you want it most. Just yesterday, Charles Veritas was nothing more than a black page in your family history, I imagine. Today, you have the power to close that chapter.”

            Mhia had to admit that everything seemed almost too unbelievable. But to call it a sign from God seemed too far a stretch. Charles still being the cause of Cruorians dying should come to no surprise given his loyalties. Him having enemies on his side on top of his victims was to be expected too, even Mhia had enemies in Paradise Lost. And given that there was most likely a traitor on their side, the shelter being attacked while she was there was hardly a coincidence either. Mhia knew she wasn’t well loved by everyone in Paradise Lost. Someone on her side wanting her impulsive self out of the picture was hardly out of the question. All in all, it was hardly a legitimate argument to defy her King, but his last words spoke truth enough for her to still entertain the notion. Until today, dreams of revenge were nothing but dreams.

            Mhia tried to sound as unconvinced as possible. “What makes you so sure that with our combined efforts we can get rid of Charles Veritas with both our heads still intact?”

            “There is but one tunnel that leads to the upper districts of Lumina. The one leading to my Cathedral. If you can get enough people to follow you on this mission, I can take you to where you need to go and bring you back home safely. Of course, there will be risks. Charles is a cautious man by nature. But what war was ever won without taking risks?”

            “Even if you can get us to the upper districts. If Charles doesn’t trust or like you, how will we you ever get us close enough to cause him harm?”

            Gilles smiled innocently. “A clergyman has certain rights. Moving around inconspicuously is easy enough for me. And given my status I know my share of people of worth. I can find out where he lives, when he leaves his house, when he comes back, how many guards he keeps, and anything else to orchestrate the perfect assassination. To make this work though you will need a group of people you trust with your life and are dependable on the field. This is no one woman job.”

            Mhia sat up straight; hardly able to contain her excitement anymore, oblivious to the fact she was still naked. “I have such people. If you can guarantee all you say, we can be ready to attack by tomorrow.”

            His golden eyes opened wide. “Patience, your Grace. I will need some time to gather the information first. You should use that time to prepare yourself as well. Also, discretion is of utmost importance. I managed to find your room today discreetly enough, but if we talk in public it would arise questions. His Highness has made it clear he doesn’t approve of this…risk.”

“What do you suggest?”

“We only meet in church, during time of confession, to avoid any unnecessary suspicions. If ever I have an ash cross upon my forehead, enter my booth.”

            “What about after we kill Charles? By then my brother will know of our treason.”

            “By the time his Highness finds out you will already be a hero. With Charles dead and you alive, he will have nothing but gratitude.”

            “And if we fail?”

            “Then your life is in God’s hands and we will all grieve.”

            “How comforting…”

            “I understand if avenging your family is not on the top of your list of things to do. However, the offer remains and will continue to remain.”

She thought about it for a second before making her choice. “If the thought of betraying me even as much as crosses my mind…I will personally kill you. Is that clear, your Eminence?”

            Gilles smiled. “I am but a subject of God. You have no need to fear me, your Grace.”

            “Then next we meet, we’ll be working together towards a common cause.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
What are your thoughts now that you have seen opposing sides? Do you side with Judicium or Cruor? Who do you like better so far, Mhia or Caius?

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Featured Review

If there is something i learned from your writing its that you have a keen eye for making characters come to life, it is simply a joy to watch them interact. though not often the types of characters i like, this is just a magnificent representation. Honestly makes me want to go back and continue my stories. well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

I definitely consider my strong point as a writer, character interaction and dialogue, while my weak.. read more



Reviews

It's interesting the way you've set up the imperfect rebellion... again the tension between taking the state or building an autonomous space has a lot of real world examples. There are points where your characterization of Gilles could be a little more nuanced (you pack a lot of leading adjectives into describing his voice-- maybe an extra sentence with a tell or nonverbal cue could deliver the message more subtly), and your description of Mhia (breasts that aren't too big, but large enough to grip) was certainly enjoyable (it made me smile), but strayed a bit from her own internal monologue.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

First I want to thank you for reading on. Second, thank you for the criticism. It's the type of crit.. read more
If there is something i learned from your writing its that you have a keen eye for making characters come to life, it is simply a joy to watch them interact. though not often the types of characters i like, this is just a magnificent representation. Honestly makes me want to go back and continue my stories. well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

I definitely consider my strong point as a writer, character interaction and dialogue, while my weak.. read more
Oh it's so hard to choose who I like best! You're an amazing writer!

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

Thanks a lot! And I'm glad to know my characters are likable. Like I said in the other review, I try.. read more
I so far, can not say which character I like best. I have that problem a lot. But right now I'm leaning more toward Mhia than Caius.
Anyway, again, the details were amazing, and I love the plot line you made. Very original, and nice.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

Thanks for the support, and I'm really glad I'm having that affect on you (even if it happens to you.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

I wish I could make my characters like that. Character development is one of my weak points. But you.. read more

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Added on January 16, 2013
Last Updated on January 30, 2013
Tags: war, revenge, kingdom, nudity, royal, treason, betrayal, genocide, religion

God's Requiem


Author

Cynical_Art
Cynical_Art

New York, NY



About
I am 21 years old, I got my Bachelors in Science Degree when I was 19. My career profession is computer animation (I am an Environment Modeler, for those that follow the profession) but I love to writ.. more..

Writing