Chapter 8- Mhia Atlas

Chapter 8- Mhia Atlas

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 8

 

Mhia Atlas

 

 

            Saix’s hand gripped his jian’s hilt, conflicted. “What you suggest is treason.”

            “What I suggest is justice. Justice that we will never have if we wait for my brother to make a move,” argued Mhia.

            “But treason nonetheless.”

            Mhia had known that persuading Saix Atlas would not be easy but she needed him. Saix was her closest friend; they even shared the same starbirth, Atlas. In Cruor, a person’s surname derived from their starbirth, which came from the month in which they were born. It was said that people with the same starbirth shared a spiritual bond that could not be attained otherwise. Saix was six years her senior, but the bond they shared was like none other she had. With him beside her she felt like she could take on the world.

            Both Saix and Mhia often joked they shared a womb. They had similarities that were indistinguishable and differences that looked like they fought for them. Where Mhia’s hair was bright and her eyes dark, Saix had dark crimson hair and bright ruby eyes. Mhia was impulsive. Saix was methodical. Mhia was a right-handed. Saix was left-handed. Mhia was a woman. Saix a man. But their love for battle was in their genes. Their pride and hate for Judicium, in their blood. Both would gladly give their lives fighting for their kingdom. That was what Mhia was counting on.

            “Only if we fail,” she corrected.

            “Which is like to happen. You’re putting our lives in the hands of a Judician.”

            Mhia had considered leaving that part out but knew she’d only be able to avoid it for so long. “We share a common enemy. Charles is no more friend to the Church than he is to Cruor. Trust in his faith if not the man. There was once a time when it didn’t matter who wore the robes of the Church.”

            “You yourself told me that you didn’t trust this Cardinal. That his Highness puts too much faith in him. He is still the same man he was before. You know that.”

            “I never said I trusted him, only that we share a common enemy. In that much, I trust.”

            He tightened the grip on his sword hilt. He wants to believe in me, he wants to kill Charles, he wants to hurt Judicium, but like me, his loyalty to my brother is keeping his hand. “Have you spoken to anyone else about this?” he asked.

            Mhia shook her head. “If you won’t stand behind me, I don’t have what it takes to go through with this.”

            He frowned. “Is that your way of unloading all your burden on me?”

            She smiled. “I’d be pleased if I didn’t have to carry it all myself.”

            “You’re cruel,” he said with a smirk. “I’ll admit it’s tempting. But I won’t make my decision until I see this Cardinal for myself. I’d like to access him personally. You tend to blind yourself of everything else around you once you lay eyes on a prize.”

            She hugged him with delight. “I knew I could count on you!”

            He struggled to get her off him. “I haven’t agreed to anything yet.”

            Yet.”

            You could see the irritation on his face. It was the same face he made whenever she dragged him into something dangerous. “So, who else do you have in mind to join this little assassination of yours?”

            She didn’t hesitate to answer. “Serevex and Odhis. Serevex would give the world for me and Odhis has protected me since I was a little girl.”

            “And you’re certain neither will tell his Highness?”

            “Not if I tell them not to.”

            He nodded. “If I do this, I’d like to bring a friend of my own.”

            She knew where this was headed. “Gia…” she said, glumly. “I don’t trust her. And besides, she doesn’t like me enough to risk her life for me.”

            “But she likes me enough to risk her life for me. And I trust her. Besides, her talents will come in handy.”

            I guess it’s little to pay for having him along. “Fine. If she gets us all killed, it’s on you though.”

            “Fair enough. So where do I meet with the Cardinal?”

            “Go to the church during hour of confession and enter his booth. He knows I’d only let those most trustworthy know of the plan, so your knowing at all will be reason enough for him to trust you.”

            He looked at her puzzled. “You’re not introducing me?”

            “I’m going to go speak with Serevex and Odhis. His Eminence is a cautious man. He won’t want us both approaching him together, it’ll attract way too much attention. Make sure you go over all the details you require. We’re only allowed to speak with him on his notice unless it’s an emergency.”

            “At least he thinks before he acts unlike a certain someone I know.”

            Mhia pushed him teasingly. “Try not to kill him. We need him.”

            “I’ll do my best.”

            Mhia felt a breath of relief. Now that she had Saix, getting Serevex and Odhis to her cause would be as easy as asking. While every member of Paradise Lost pledged their loyalty to her brother, the King, there were those that would sooner follow her if Paradise Lost were to ever divide.

            Elysium was more hot and musty than ever. The streets were crowded due to everything going on up above. After the attack on the shelter, many felt the need to react. Those that did found a quick end under the White Coats and caused others to react just as reckless. Had Mhia not been a Princess, she would like have been up amongst those dying. The streets had become so dangerous though that essentially every member within Paradise Lost was choosing to hide below until things quieted down. Her brother finally had his hands full, busy attending his underground kingdom.

            Mhia decided to visit Serevex Julius first. Serevex was her childhood friend, family to one of the upper nobles at court. They were of an age, but shared different starbirths. Serevex was more pious than your usual Cruorian but no less acquainted with a Jian. He wasn’t the most remarkable in other areas however. Despite his noble birth, everything about Serevex screamed out forgettable. He was not known to be handsome and was famous for being unmemorable. His words were few and held little value, never having the authority expected of high nobility. For as long as Mhia had known him, he had streamed through life in the background. But she had seen his true value. His immense loyalty to his kingdom. His kind and caring heart. And most of all, his love for her. Serevex had confessed to her numerous times, all of which she had turned down for fear of hurting him more. Serevex deserved someone better than her, or at least someone who would truly appreciate him. Mhia’s heart only had room for vengeance.

            Serevex lived on one of the towers in Elysium. It wasn’t much, but each lord was given a tower since there was only one castle. Serevex’s father was the real lord, but Serevex spent most of his days inside. Like most other youthful nobility, his parents preferred him underground where it was safe and they didn’t have to beg. A fate Mhia herself often had to deal with.

            She found Serevex painting what looked like…her. It wouldn’t be the first painting he’s made of me, she thought. He was wearing a black silk tunic tied with leather waistband, baggy woolen pants up to his shins, and leather strapped sandals. Serevex was short for a man, about a height with Mhia. His muscular arms were easily his best trait. His face was broad, squared-jaw, and plain. Serevex kept his hair semi-long to let it fall on his face and cover his plain features. Unfortunately, his hideous hair was worse than his forgettable face. His red eyes and hair, the pride and joy of all Cruorians, had an unpleasant washed out pinkish color.

            When he noticed Mhia, his face lit up. “I wasn’t expecting you. I’d heard his Highness confined you in your chambers.”

            “Only until I cooled down,” she explained.

            He offered her a chair. “So, what brings you here, your Grace?”

            She sat. “I’ve already told you a million times, call me Mhia.”

            “You know I can’t. It’d be an insult to your station and beauty.”

            Mhia smiled. “How have you been since the incident at the shelter?”

            He stared out the window, sadly. “The same as everyone else. Hidden, hoping things get better. How long do you think before they discover we’re underground?”

            “The thought doesn’t seem to have crossed them yet.”

            “God bless the True Believers. If not for them, we’d be up there dying as well. We have God and their churches to thank for hiding us out.”

            Mhia believed in God, but she didn’t like him taking all the credit. “It was our hard work that put us here. We’ve aided the True Believers as much as they’ve aided us. Without us, they’d have no swords fighting for their cause.”

“You’re right.” Serevex didn’t like to argue. Mhia hated that about him.

            “Well, I’m glad to know you’re doing well. But I must apologize, my reason for coming here today was not to check up on your wellbeing. I need a favor from you.”

            “Anything you need,” he said, almost too eagerly.

            “It’s not a simple favor. This favor would require you risking your life for me.” She looked around the room. “Are you the only one in the tower?”

            He nodded. “Yes. My father is at council with his Highness.”

            She grabbed his hand with both her hands affectionately. “Serevex, I mean to finally avenge my family, but I need you.”

            His eyes opened wide with confusion and a glimmer of fear, but the warmth of her hands seemed to stay him. “You…you can’t mean…you’ve found the killer of your mother and sister?”

            She held his hand tighter. “I have. But my brother has forbid me from taking action, which is why I need you. I need people I can trust with my life if I hope to come back alive.”

            This time he tried to pull away. “If his Highness has forbid it, then it is treason. We can’t do this, your Grace.”

            “We can.” I didn’t want to have to do this. “Cardinal Gilles has heard God’s voice. Charles is an enemy of the Church. His very life threatens the life that God has given us. If we don’t put an end to him, the entire Church will collapse.”

            “Y-you told me you hated the Cardinal…”

            “I do. But I love God more. And Charles is both a threat to this kingdom as much as the Church. Since the fall of Cruor, many of our people have lost their faith in God. Which is why the Cardinal simply can’t tell my brother about the voice he heard. Only we can do this, Serevex.”

            “I don’t know about this, your Grace.”

            She squeezed his hands tighter. “Please, I need you. Together we can do it. We can avenge my family and save the Church.”

            He gazed deep into her eyes and then stared at the cross hanging from his wall. “What can you and me do alone? Or are there others to this we?”

            This part he won’t like. “Saix has already agreed to help, and he means to drag along Gia. I also mean to bring Odhis to our cause. The Cardinal will be in charge of laying out the plan for the assassination, but we’ll be doing all the wet work.”

            Mhia was hoping she cushioned the blow with the mention of the other members, but the expression on Serevex’s face said otherwise. “Saix already agreed, huh. So you asked for his help first…” Serevex made no effort to hide his jealousy of Saix whenever Mhia mentioned him. She never meant to hurt him by it, but the bond she and Saix shared was simply stronger than the one she had with Serevex.

            “I was closer to his house when I decided it was time to speak to everyone,” she lied.

            He saw right through. “Then you must’ve forgotten Odhis was stationed between the two of us.”

Why must he make it so difficult? She couldn’t think of another half descent lie.

            He stared long and hard, his eyes begging for another excuse. Finally he gave in. “Very well,” he said. “I’ll help. If Charles is an enemy of the Church and this kingdom, someone must put a stop to him.”

            Mhia smiled wide with gratitude, but felt a deep guilt somewhere in her heart. “Thank you,” she said. “I knew I could count on you.” That leaves Odhis.

            Odhis Maia was the oldest out of all the people she wanted to help her. He was twenty-eight years of age. Despite the age gap, Odhis and Mhia were very close though. Back before Cruor fell, he was her Shield. For the majority of Mhia’s life, his duty was to be by her side protecting her. Without a doubt, he was the most dangerous with a sword out of the people that would be helping her.

            Mhia knew Odhis would help her without a doubt. Odhis had the hunger for battle and glory every warrior had. Being hidden away underground made men like him restless. Most would shoot at the chance to fight with little reason other than a fight. But his loyalty for Mhia was even stronger than his thirst for blood. He would follow Mhia into the depths of hell itself if she asked it of him.

            When she found him, Odhis was drinking a jug of wine alone by his post near a watchtower. The drunkenness could already be seen through his red eyes. He was sweating from the heat and his long scarlet hair that he tied over his shoulder hanging by his muscular chest was drenched. Odhis was a handsome man with a lean face and muscles that looked like they were sculpted into his body. He was wearing no shirt with only a right shoulder pauldrons for protection. He was wearing similar baggy pants to the ones Serevex had, stopping at his shins, with leather strapped sandals working their way up to his knees.

            When he caught notice of her he waved the jug of wine in her direction. “If it isn’t my favorite little Princess. What brings her Grace to my humble post?”

            “Should guards be drinking while they’re on watch?” she teased.

            “With how busy things get around here, I could be sleeping and still do an excellent job on my post.”

“Better be careful. The day you decide to sleep might well be the day Judicium discovers we are underground.”

            “And I’d kill them in my sleep all the same,” he boasted confidently.

            She laughed. “Well it’s good to know I won’t have to worry about Judicians raiding us with you here to protect us.”

            He grinned but quickly changed to a serious expression. “So why are you really here? The only time you seek me out personally is when you’re going to do something stupid that will piss your brother off.”

            Well, at least he’s already half anticipating what I’m about to ask. “I need your help to kill Charles.”

            He didn’t seem even remotely shocked. “When do you want to do this?”

            Mhia felt a grin of victory spread across her face. “I still don’t know, but soon. I’ve assembled a small host of people I trust to get the job done.”

            He didn’t seem too thrilled about that. “I can deal with one kid, but the rest of your friends I’m not so sure.”

            “I can swear on my royal blood for them, they can be trusted.”

            “You can hardly swear on your royal blood for yourself. The fact is you’re all still kids. If this is Charles we’re talking about we’re going to need warriors who know war, not kids who dream of it. I can deal with you; we’ve fought Judicians side by side in the lower districts before. Your friends though…I’d sooner go alone than have their deaths on my conscience.”

            That pissed Mhia off. “They’re not going to die. No one is going to die. Charles will never see this attack coming. No one will.”

            “How do you plan to do this, exactly?”

            “The…” She hesitated. “Cardinal Gilles has agreed to help us. His cathedral is in the upper districts of Lumina. If we use his tunnel we can get there unnoticed. He says he can get us in and out of Charles’s house unnoticed. All we need is a group of people capable enough of doing the deed.”

            He burst into a drunken laughter. “I must really be drunk. You trusting the word of a Judician.”

            “Trusting the word of a man who serves God. You were there when Charles killed Mother and Sister…he is as much an enemy to God as he is to us.”

            “True enough. I’m sure the Cardinal wants him dead as much as you. Doesn’t mean he wants you alive just as bad. What’s to guarantee he’ll have a rescue plan once the deed is done?”

            Mhia had no answer except how much she stupidly believes in Cardinal Gilles. Only that was a lie too. At the end of the day, he was still a Judician just like Charles. She looked at the floor angrily embarrassed.

            “You want this so bad you’re not even taking your own usual precautions.” He stood up and placed a hand on her shoulder. “But just because you don’t have the answers doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I’m no fan of Judicians any more than you, but I also don’t think all of them are evil. We owe Elysium to the True Believers, and to this very Cardinal. I for one actually believe his fight is alongside us. He has sacrificed too much by helping us already. And he’s sacrificing even more by helping us kill Charles. If you die during this assassination, all swords will point to the one who gave you access to the upper districts. He’s already too deep in to cut all ties with us. So for his sake as well as ours, he’ll make sure we come back in one piece.”

            Mhia smiled with relief. “I’m starting to think I should’ve gone to you first. I think you would’ve done a better job at convincing Saix than me.”

            His expression darkened again. “I was afraid he was part of your little plans. I figured you’d drag him and Serevex with you though. Is there anyone else I should know about?”

            “Gia,” she said with disgust. “Saix insisted on it.”

            Odhis took three big gulps from his jug. “So we have the young sadistic prodigy. A hopeless tortured boy with hopes of proving his love. And Elysium’s famous rose with thorns. Remind me to bring some wine the day of our suicide.”

            Mhia pouted. “Do you ever have anything good to say about anyone other than yourself? I say we make better warriors than half of my brother’s guards.”

            “You think so? Saix is young, proud, and hungry for glory like any warrior his age. As smart and cautious as he is, his priorities are questionable. Who knows what he might do if things start looking bad. Serevex has the training of any young noble, but he’s never seen real combat. Even you have gotten your hands bloodied. We can only hope he’s not one of the few Cruorian men who cry at the sight of blood.”

            “I’ve trained with him before. He’s as good with a sword as he is with his brush. And for my sake, he’d wash his whole body in blood.”

            Odhis shook his head in shame. “Don’t you ever compare a sword to a brush again. Listen, it’s a very different thing practicing to kill someone and actually doing it. You yourself can speak for that. Remember your first kill? If I hadn’t dragged you away you would’ve never stopped butchering that corpse. Serevex has lived in Elysium ever since it was built six years ago when he was only ten, and unlike you he never goes up to see what the world is really like. How do you think he’ll react when people are dying all around him?”

            “He’ll be fine. What do you make of Gia?”

            “If she’s as good in a fight as she is in bed, I’d let her do all the work for us. They don’t call her the rose with thorns for nothing. Even though I’ve never seen her in action, out of all of us, she’s the only real assassin. Discretion is her forte. Loyalty is not, however. She’s been known to abandon her allies before. She has only one priority, and that’s herself.”

            Mhia bit her lip. “Yeah, that’s what I’m afraid of. But Saix seems to trust her.”

            “Let’s hope he can keep her in line. This little group of yours is very fragile.”

            “What do you mean?”

            “In war, men fight beside men they know. Men they’ve killed with. Suffered with. Men they respect. Led by someone whom they’d all give their lives for. Aside from Serevex, and me, none of the people tagging along would take an arrow for you. Even worse, none of us share a bond with one another. I wouldn’t trust a single one of them with my back no more than they’d trust me. If things start looking bad, we’ll fall apart.”

            “You’re wrong!” she snapped. “Saix would die for me the same as you and Serevex. And things won’t start looking bad. I mean for everyone to return with me.”

            Odhis took another swing of his jug. “As you say, your Grace. I won’t argue with you any further, but know this. On that day, whenever it may be, I’ll have only two priorities. The first and foremost, your safety. The second, to kill the son of a b***h who murdered your royal mother and sister.”

            “And that’s all I ask.”

            He took a seat again. “Then I’d best get back to watching my post. You know where to find me if any changes arise.”

            And now we wait.



© 2013 Cynical_Art


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Cynical_Art
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I'm very interested to see how this little assassination attempt will play out. I like Saix, and feel a little bad for Serevex. But Odhis seems like a fun guy. XD I can't wait to see what happens next. :)

Posted 8 Years Ago


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Added on January 23, 2013
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Cynical_Art
Cynical_Art

New York, NY



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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..

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