Chapter 20- Caius Ashfall

Chapter 20- Caius Ashfall

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 20

 

Caius Ashfall

 

           

            Credit had to be given to the Cruorians. There was a reason why Cruor was once the biggest Kingdom in the world. They had a certain pride and will to fight that all of Judicium’s discipline lacked. Judicians fought because it was their duty, because they had to. Cruorians fought because they loved it, because it was their passion. When you looked at it like that, it made it easier to accept the amount of losses Judicium was facing in the dark tunnels of Paradise Lost.

            Breaching the city alone had taken days. Behind their city’s walls, the Cruorians had an immense advantage. And underground, no airship could attack from above. Many Generals argued for a siege, but fear of a Cruorian escape route from within the city won against it. Instead, hundreds were sent to their deaths. Wave after wave of men to fall upon arrows. With each wave though, the city’s defense became less menacing, and once the White Coats overwhelmed them, climbing the city walls on ladders, they opened the gates from within to true carnage.

            Once inside the city’s walls it was clear the Cruorian’s numbers had been highly overestimated. Whether or not it was due to a large number escaping or if that was simply the pathetic size of their rebellion, was unsure. But the few men that were there died, and died hopelessly without a glimmer of a chance for victory or survival.

            The White Coats swarmed in like an ocean drowning a city. The fact that Paradise Lost even managed to place delay against such overwhelming numbers was astonishing. These people did not break. They did not waver. The fire in their eyes ever burning. Caius admired their will to fight but couldn’t decipher their stupidity. There is no victory to be had here. Their deaths accomplish nothing. So why do they fight? The Cruorian way was to win at all cost. Even if it meant surrender to rise another day. Perhaps they realize that they deserve no mercy and have nowhere left to run.

            Caius led the way through the city towards the castle alongside a platoon of White Coats. At its gates, a host of Cruorians was waiting fully armed with jians and naginatas. As the two groups clashed, the music of metal burst into the damp air. Caius maneuvered evasively with his enhanced reflexes, cutting through, slicing, and stabbing all who stood in his path with his rapier. One of the rebels proved harder to kill than the others, waving his naginata left and right skillfully, always keeping from within Caius’s range. They continued to dance until Caius decided to just shoot him with his revolver instead.

            Caius and his host continued onward, storming through the castle, killing any in their way. The White Coats broke every door to every room. They ran into numerous ambushes but all in such small numbers that the Cruorians fell to quick disappointment. This was a battle all but won, but for Caius it wouldn’t be over until he had his brothers and sister’s head.

            He was still in disbelief of the news Sia had given him. More jaw dropping than the fact that the Cruorians still had living royalty was the fact that he shared a mother with them. He kept all mention of the relation to himself, of course, but the thought continued to burn inside him. I have a family…and they’re all traitors. He shook the thought from his head. No! They’re not my family. I have no family. I am an orphan from Judicium’s Youth. I am Caius Ashfall. The man who will bring an end to Paradise Lost.

            Caius kicked the door to the throne room open, fifteen White Coats standing behind him. A man with crimson hair and a golden crown, dressed in black silks and armor, with a red sword in his hand, stood at the center. Beside him were eight soldiers. All men, no women?

            Four White Coats lined beside Caius, two on each side armed with bayonet. They all got on one knee and aimed their guns at the King and his guards. Caius raised his hand. “Halt!” Caius took a step towards his brother; at the same time all of his brother’s guards took three towards him. “I see you have good men beside you, Ezra Octem. Who would’ve thought? A Cruorian King. And right under our noses this whole time.” Caius scanned the room. “But it appears we are short some people. Where is the rest of the royal family?”

            Ezra spat in front of Caius. “They’re far beyond anyone’s reach. Be sure to inform Sia that whenever you see her.”

“Does that mean there’s a back exit after all?”

“You can search for one if you’d like. You might be disappointed with the result.”

“I imagine by now the entrance to whatever tunnel they used no longer exists.”

Ezra grinned. “Did you come here to talk or to fight?”

“Eager to die, are we. If you insist.”

Caius signaled his hand and four shots were fired. Two of the King’s guards managed to block Ezra before the triggers were pulled, absorbing all four shots. “Charge!” ordered Caius. The four White Coats ran beside Caius with their bayonets ready to pierce through their enemies’ hearts. The Cruorians proved no easy victims though. With extreme ease, all four White Coats were parried, evaded, and instantaneously kill. Only Caius was able to outmaneuver the guard that went for him, sliding his rapier in the man’s heart before he could strike. In seconds, the other White Coats were upon the other guards and Caius found himself in single combat with his brother.

Ezra was more skilled with a blade than Caius was expecting but still no match for Caius. Caius toyed with him, parrying, kicking, and cutting him in nonlethal areas, all with a grin on his face. “Is this the might of Cruor?” he provoked.

Ezra started attacking more aggressively and surprisingly more accurate and precise as well. “You think this is the end, Judician! But it’s only the beginning! Cruor will rise again! And your Fuhrer will die along with his Godless nation!”

            Whenever their swords clashed, waves of vibrations would be sent through Caius’s rapier all the way into his arm. Caius quickly started to refrain from clashing blades, depending more on his evasive skills and quick reflexes to avoid damage. Ezra’s fury was relentless though and Caius found himself being forced to block in more than one occasion. One blow unexpectedly sent Caius’s rapier flying from his grasp.

            Ezra tried to end it then and there but Caius quickly closed in and grabbed his sword arm and twisted it, forcing Ezra to release his jian. The fight continued on as a fist and grappling fight. In this, Ezra appeared to have a distinct advantage. Crylist and all, Ezra was blocking and landing twice as many hits as Caius was. Caius succeeded in taking him down but only for Ezra to flip into dominant position in a full mount. Caius guarded his face from an onslaught of punches until he caught one of Ezra’s arms, and managed to flip Ezra over in an arm lock attempt. He fell short though and Ezra managed to escape and get back on his feet.

            Caius eyed his rapier and rolled to it, at the same time Ezra leaped for his Jian. Soon both were fighting with blades again and Caius was no longer taking him lightly. Through agile and lightning quick strikes, Caius quickly regained his superiority in the fight, forcing Ezra into an entirely defensive position. Caius cut deeply into Ezra’s thigh and followed it with a stab to his left shoulder. Like an animal, Ezra sunk the blade deeper into his shoulder to get closer and slice Caius across the chest. Blood splashed everywhere. Caius pulled back quickly, ejecting his blade from Ezra’s shoulder. Caius looked to his wound since he hardly felt any pain and was relieved to see it wasn’t grave. Ezra limped two steps back with his sword hand in front and a look of hopelessness. It was clear to both of them that Ezra had suffered the worse of that exchange.

            Caius decided it was time to put an end to their charade. He pressed him harder than ever with nonlethal blows, guiding him towards the throne at the far end of the room. When they were within two feet of it, Caius landed a hard kick on Ezra, sitting him down. Caius aimed the point of his rapier at Ezra’s heart and said, “Your sister and brother can run to the ends of the world, but we will find them, and we will kill them. The same as we did you. In every shadow we see truth. Remember those words on your dying breath.” Caius slid his rapier through his heart and whispered in his ear, “Farewell, brother. Mother would’ve been disappointed in you.”

            As he pulled back he saw the look of shock, terror, and confusion in the King’s face. Ezra struggled to talk but all his words came out in a spit of blood. A fitting end for the King of the Kingdom of Blood. This was the first real family Caius ever killed and it couldn’t have felt better. Stabbing through Ezra’s heart felt like cutting free off a chain. Is this what you felt like, father? When you killed mother…

            Cheers started booming across the halls and Caius knew it was over. Paradise Lost was no more. They were dead, already buried beneath the ground. It was a weird feeling. He’d accomplished many jobs in the past throughout his life but none felt like this one. None were as personal as this one.

The cheers started to become singing.

 

All hail the Fuhrer!

For this everlasting peace and order

All hail Judicium!

The land where all is one

United we stand

We are the proud and glorious

We are the Sun

Our light is the justice

We are the Moon

In every shadow we see truth

We are the proud and glorious

All hail Judicium

For this everlasting peace and order

All hail the Fuhrer

All hail the Fuhrer

All hail the Fuhrer

 

            “Is it over?” asked Bright Edgar, as he came rushing in the throne room to step beside Caius.

            Caius kept his gaze on his brother’s corpse. “I’m afraid not. Three members of the royal family live yet.”

            Bright Edgar scanned the room, walking idly. “So they had another escape route. We’ve gotten no suspicious reports of anyone in the outskirts of the city. How many do you think escaped?”

            “Not a lot. They wouldn’t get far in high numbers,” said Caius. “I think this is the end of Cruorian rebellions for now. Just not the end of this war. The Cruorians didn’t accomplish all this on their own.”

            “Of course they didn’t,” exclaimed Bright Edgar. “Cruorians aren’t capable of such bold accomplishments. Our true enemies have been amongst us all this time.”

            Bright Edgar seemed certain enough for Caius to conclude the Sun knew things he didn’t. But Caius also knew things he didn’t, and he knew where to get more answers.

As he traversed back through the halls, cheers of victory could be heard in every end. A nostalgic feeling of loss in a victory came back to him. Even with the end of Paradise Lost, he knew Ezra was right. This was only the beginning. With Ezra dead Mhia would now be Queen. Funny, I could’ve killed her once before and she slipped passed my grasp all because I hesitated. A mistake Caius would never make again.

 

***

 

As soon as Caius opened the door to the room, Sia stood up shaking. “Is it over?”

            Caius looked at her with eyes made of stone. “Your King is dead. Along with everyone else in the city.” Sia burst into tears and fell to her knees. She betrays her side and then cries when they die. Just what exactly was she expecting to happen? “Unfortunately…not everyone died,” Caius finished.

            Sia looked up almost hopeful. “Who lived?”

            “The rest of the royal family you mentioned,” Caius said with contempt. “Any idea how they got away?”

            Sia shook her head, wiped her eyes, and stood back up on her feet. “No…that’s impossible…I showed you where all the tunnels were. There’s no way they could’ve escaped.”

            Her eyes said she was speaking truth. “Then it seems not even your own King trusted you with all his secrets.” Caius moved closer to her. “I guess this means you’ve exceeded your value.” Caius pressed the barrel of his revolver between Sia’s eyes.

Sia didn’t even look the least bit surprised or scared. “So was this your plan all along? And here I took you for a man of your word.”

            Caius laughed in her face. “A man of my word? What good are words in this world filled with lies? My Mentor lied to me. You lied to your kin. Your Queen lied to her people and Judicium. The Fuhrer lies to the whole goddamned world.” Caius slid his free hand around her neck and moved the barrel of his gun to her temple. “We’re all liars here, Sia. I simply do what I must to keep order.”

            “Than maybe you shouldn’t be so eager to kill me.”

            Caius frowned. “What do you mean?”

            Sia smiled. “I told you once the True Believers were your real enemies. What if I told you I might be your best lead on finding them?”

            Caius laughed hysterically in disbelief. “Let me f*****g guess, not until I f*****g marry you.”

            “Now that you showed your true colors, could you expect anything less?”

            Caius threw his body on the floor; arms and legs spread wide, eyes at the ceiling. “Cruorians. Cruorians. F*****g Cruorians! No matter how hard I try to put an end to them they just keep coming back. Now I will die married to a f*****g Cruorian.”

            Sia walked to his side and looked down at him. “What happened to you? Before, when I first met you, you used to be so calm and collected. Cold, but kind in a way. Now you’re a shadow of that man.”

            What did happen to me? Even now Caius had no real answer. “Maybe I’m just angry…angry at all the lies. Angry at all the people in my life. Angry at the choices I made. How would you feel if everything you ever believed in…suddenly became a lie?”

            “I’m living it right now,” she answered, glumly. “For years I ran, fought, and hid with the royal family. When the True Believers took us in and gave us refuge, I actually believed that one day Cruor might rise to its former glory. After spending years in Lumina and witnessing Judicium’s rule first hand though, all that hope faded. I saw the towers stand high above the city like the sun and moon watching down on us. We could fight the rest of our lives and we would never bring this down.”

She sat down hugging her knees. “Each day I saw my people starve. I saw them pray to a God who would not listen. To a King who had no power. I wanted to believe, but all I saw was us stranded in the ocean, paddling to keep our heads up above the water. As I watched us struggling not to drown I asked myself, ‘is this all my life will ever be? A fight with no end.’ I knew I had to get away from it all. Even if it meant abandoning those I loved.”

            Caius laughed hysterically again. “Love. You didn’t love them. If you did, you would’ve never turned your back on them. For love conquers all.” He continued laughing.

            “Maybe you’re right…but it doesn’t mean I didn’t care about them.” She stood up. “Care or not, I’ve already made my choice. And that’s to live.” She looked down at Caius. “Find something new to believe in, Noctis. Or keep fighting for what you always believed in. Just because everything else changed doesn’t mean you have to too.”

            Caius started remembering his whole life in retrospect. He’d grown up an orphan. Raised in Judicium’s Youth. Never alone but always alone. Killing those he hated as well as those he loved. Always fighting for the right cause. Fighting to protect. Fighting to cleanse. God had given him a purpose. Judicium had given him the power to accomplish it. He became the world’s shadow. Embraced all the world’s darkness. All its lies. All its truths. He had abandoned his right to live beneath the light. But he did it because it was all he knew. Because it was what he was born to do.

            Caius laughed. “Order…it’s the only truth in this world. It’s always been that way…since the beginning. And it’s my job to keep it.”



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
This is the last chapter of this segment of the story. Starting on Chapter 21, there will be a time gap. In retrospect, what do you think of the story so far? And where do you think it's headed?

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Reviews

I am one of those people that likes to jump into the middle of a lake and see what happens. And I like what I am seeing.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

I'm guilty of doing the same when skeptical about a book. Sometimes it's fun just getting a small gl.. read more
OKay, I loved this! I can't wait to read the next chapter! The action is starting to roll, and it makes everything better. I love how you described the fight scenes. I can't do that. And I like how well developed your characters are. One question though. When Sia said, "Find something new to believe in, Noctis," who is Noctis? Or is it mean something that I have yet to pick up on? XD
Other than that, I loved it! :D

Posted 8 Years Ago


Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

Oh. XD I must have forgotten that part. And I can't wait for more!
Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

It's a minor detail only mentioned once so I don't blame you. It's only real purpose was to show Sha.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

Well, that makes sense. I wouldn't give someone my real name either if I was in Caius' shoes.

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

498 Views
2 Reviews
Added on February 28, 2013
Last Updated on February 28, 2013
Tags: fantasy, Religion, science-fiction, family, death, betrayal, sex, war, conspiracies, characters, love, psychological, development, God, hierarchy, order, cynical, victorian

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