Chapter 34- Drake Lightheart

Chapter 34- Drake Lightheart

A Chapter by Cynical_Art

Chapter 34

 

Drake Lightheart

 

           

            Drake had heard many people call ruling, serving justice. Giving to the people and protecting them. Providing change with hope of a better future. But it was all gibberish and lies. Ruling was having power. A heavy hand. A lash upon the back. Power was fear and only through fear was there order. That was how God ruled men, and how the Fuhrer ruled the world.

            The Fuhrers conquered the world on fear and molded it to what today stood as Judicium. A land of the absolute. A land without question solely governed by authority. Within Judicium, ambition was a hollow concept. Your fate forever the destiny Judicium carved out for you whether for better or worse. As Drake gazed upon another line of crucified victims he was yet again reminded why this world had to fall.

He glanced beside him to the sight of Edgar praying. He shows remorse for the ears of God yet continues his sadistic routine day after day. May he burn in hell the day he dies. Yet the true culprit of these atrocities was not amongst them, at least not to the naked eye.

            Drake had not met with Raziel since the day the snake visited his tent but he was no fool. The Mentor was always everywhere, listening and watching to everything, scheming behind people’s back. There was nothing as nerving as a Shadow, and Judicium was more than abundant in them. Drake learned early in his life that no one was ever who they pretended to be and that no friend was friend for long. He himself presented a great example of said case.

            After the crucifixion ceremony was over Edgar stepped beside Drake. “You seem less rebellious than usual,” commented Edgar.

            “In hope of an imminent end to this barbarity,” replied Drake.

            Edgar nodded. “Soon. Once the Shadow in the Light brings us our prisoners.”

            “And if it fails? If your grand master plan fails, what then?”

            “Then the Fuhrer will have to settle for what you’ve always wanted. War.”

            Now there’s something I can sympathize with. “I for once pray it never comes to that. As much as I desire for the days when life was simple, I would not see it come at the needless cost of countless lives.”

            Edgar looked at him baffled. “Since when are you suddenly the sentimentalist? I still recall the days you went on your raping frenzies after a victory in foreign lands.”

            “Days long forgotten. People change. People grow. Much like you changed after the Crimson Treason. I still recall the days you and Charles were like brothers.”

            Edgar’s eyes darkened. “Sometimes it takes the death of those dearest to you to open your eyes.”

            “Yes. Charles had to lose his brother before he saw the Cruorian Queen for who she was. And you your whole family before you realized you hated the whole world.”

            Edgar grabbed Drake’s arm tightly. “What are you suggesting, General?”

            Drake yanked his arm away and looked up into the eyes of Judicium’s Sun standing above him. “Merely that we’re not all responsible for the crimes of others.” He glanced towards the victims on the crosses. “And that we should not all be punished equally for them.”

            “Sounds like the words of a True Believer…”

            “No,” said Drake with a chuckle. “Sounds like the words of a man who still has his sanity. Charles fell into the darkness. You, into the madness. It seems out of the Great Three after all that’s happened only I had what it takes to come out shining from it all.”

            Edgar took a step back with an angry smirk. “Watch yourself, Drake. You seem to often forget that we no longer stand as equals.”

            “Indeed.” You’re far below me.

            Drake returned to the only thing he enjoyed within the white ring. Sky. As usual, she welcomed him with open legs and flattering words. In a ring of s**t it came as a huge relief. It felt nice being in power and hearing something other than accusing insults. Even if some of the insults were true.

            But other than that, Sky offered little. Sky was hardly even an Angel amongst Caelum Infinitum. In truth, she only bore the title for being Drake’s b***h. Her only role, aside from pleasuring Drake, being her unquestioned loyalty to Caelum Infinitum if the time where she was needed ever came. Which in her case, never would. She did however know more than the average Angel. Drake was guilty of spilling more than just a few secrets to his prized possession. His allies would call it careless but he knew Sky had no one else. If the day ever came she betrayed him, she would find herself alone and with nothing. Or so he liked to believe. He had heard what happened in Lumina and knew how much one traitor could cost. Perhaps it is love then. He gazed into Sky’s deep onyx eyes. Or not.

            Drake had found comfort between many women’s legs in his lifetime, some willing, some not so much, yet he had never loved. There were some he lusted for more than others, and others that he felt a greater sense of achievement after obtaining, but never had he obtained one with the strong emotional connection known as love. But neither could he find himself away from any woman’s side too long. It was a dilemma. Sooner or later they all lost their spark. Just like war.

            “Sir! I have urgent news!”

            Drake let out a deep sigh of frustration and got dressed. “Enter and speak.”

            The White Coat came inside, sweat upon his brow, and his hands shaking. “Sir, four of your men have been found dead. The fourth lived long enough to share some troubling words.”

            Drake shrugged it off. “Everyone breaks in the white ring at one point or another. Have one of my officers handle the situation and don’t ever come into my tent bearing such petty news.”

            “I’m afraid there’s more, sir. All four of them had crosses carved into their foreheads, each bearing a different word above it. ‘God. Will. Punish. You,’ said the words together.”

            Drake was still disinterested in the incident. “True Believers trying to spread fear in our ranks. Maybe even Loyalist. At this point the distinction is so little that anyone would do anything to scare the Sun into sparing his own men.”

            “Sir, I mean no disrespect but I think this is a little more serious than you give it credit for. The names we heard weren’t just anyone’s. Two were Captains and the third a General.”

            “A General?” Now he had Drake’s undivided attention. “What were these names?”

            “The Captains were Bruno and Phillip. I know them. They’re under Cromwell’s direct branch of command. As for the General mentioned…it was Henry.”

            “Henry? That doesn’t make sense. If anyone in this world is a Loyalist, it’s Henry. The man might as well be a Starfall.”

            “So I’ve heard, sir. Yet those were the names I was given.”

            Drake pondered it for a couple seconds. “Well, this is a rather interesting. I’m rather curious what the Sun will make of it.” He looked at the messenger. “Forgive me for my initial dismissal. Accompany me to Bright Edgar’s tent.”

            Drake did not know what to make of the situation. It wasn’t the first time people were murdered within the white ring for as little as being a Loyalist or True Believer, but this was without a doubt conspicuous to say the least. The fact it was his soldiers being killed meant little. Like most Generals, he only knew but a handful of his men, so he figured it had little to nothing to do with him. More interesting to him was what the men of Cromwell, the famed tactician, were doing with Henry, Judicium’s most devoted General. It didn’t add up. Especially since the murders could only be assumed to have been caused by True Believers. Drake knew for a fact that neither Cromwell nor Henry was one. His only conclusion was that whatever was going on had Raziel’s name on it. Those suspicions were soon confirmed.

On his way to Edgar’s tent he ran into Edgar coming the opposite way towards him beside none other than the Mentor Shadow. Drake restrained himself from giving any noticeable glances at the Shadow, focusing only on Edgar. “Perhaps you’ve been informed, but four of my men were just found dead,” said Drake.

            Edgar stormed passed him. “F**k your men! I just intercepted a letter that proves Cromwell is a True Believer!”

            Cromwell a True Believer? Drake quickly fell in line behind Edgar. “Funny. One of my men that was murdered mentioned the name of two of Cromwell’s officers before he died. He also mentioned Henry’s name…”

            Edgar stopped and looked back. “Henry?”

            “Yes. And that’s not all. On my men’s foreheads, carved unto their flesh were the words, ‘God. Will. Punish. You.’ I can only assume True Believers did this, but it all seems too sloppy. Not to mention out of character for someone like Henry who has proven his loyalty time after time.”

            The furious Sun resumed marching. “Pretty soon I’ll have no more Generals. I pray I don’t hear your name next.” As do I. God knows what scheme Raziel has plotted.

            They continued storming through the ranks until they heard the clashing of metal. They ran towards the noise and found Henry and Cromwell with their swords at each other’s throats and a platoon of fighting men around them. What the f**k have we walked into now?

            “Seize this RIGHT NOW!” commanded the Sun.

            Everyone froze.

            “Henry has betrayed us!” shouted Cromwell. “I found him killing two of my officers in my very camp! Coincidently after hearing news that they had a lead on a key member of Caelum Infinitum.”

            “I gave traitors their rightful punishment!” Henry defended himself. “Some of my men heard the traitors praying like they were part of some dark cult in the middle of the night. I was going to question them when I found them with three of Drake’s men already dead, from where I chased them all the way back to their camp where they resisted arrest.”

            This time Drake made little restraint to look at Raziel, but the Shadow remained immune to the world around him, staring calmly at the situation. Drake turned to Edgar. “We need to have a trial. There is too much in question.”

            “Trial? We have no time for trials!” said Edgar. “We’re about to have Caelum Infinitum Angels at our very doorstep, I won’t have us in complete and utter chaos when that happens. This gets resolved now. Men! Arrest General Cromwell!”

            Cromwell’s eyes opened with utter shock. “You have truly gone mad, Bright Edgar! The Fuhrer will not overlook this! You cannot condemn a General of Judicium without a fair trial and evidence of their crime!”

            “I have all the evidence I need.” Edgar pulled out a letter. “It is a crime for anyone other than me to send out any letters from within the white ring. And how suspicious that this one was meant to reach a nun in residence within Eden.”

            Cromwell stared at him perplexed. “I wrote no such letter! Yes I have a daughter, which you and everyone else knows is a nun. Yet I did not write to her nor anyone else since the creation of the white ring!”

            “Who else then?” asked Edgar. “You cannot fool me, Cromwell.”

            Cromwell turned red with rage. “You’re a mad f**k! How many years of loyal service have I spent alongside you?”

            Henry pointed his sword at Cromwell from the distance. “And I with you. Yet the question remains. If not you, who else? And putting that in context with your men’s actions, even you must admit, there’s plenty of reason to suspect.”

            Cromwell looked around appalled. “You all really think I am a traitor, don’t you?” He looked directly at Drake. “Drake, you know I’m innocent! You know I am a loyal Judician! I’ve fought with you! Bled with you! You know I’m innocent, God damn it!”

            Yes, I do. “No. I don’t.”

            “You cannot condemn me for this! As a General of Judicium I demand a fair trial conducted by a Judge!”

            Edgar unsheathed his sword. “You forget. In the white ring, I hold absolute authority. Here, I am the only judge there is.” He pointed his sword. “And I judge you, guilty!”

            Cromwell assumed a fighting stance. “If that is your choice you mad f**k, I will not die by a cross!”

            Every White Coat in the perimeter unsheathed their swords, including Drake Lightheart. Finally, a fight. Yet not the one I had envisioned. This would mark the first time directly fighting his own people and it was a gut wrenching feeling. Why does this feel so wrong? I haven’t done anything, and it was him who chose to draw his sword against a superior.

            Cromwell charged but only a fraction of his men actually accompanied him to his death. It was a quick thing. Drake didn’t even make it to the fighting before it was all over. The sight of white coats stained with blood was unsettling for Drake. It had been many years since he’d seen so many fallen. And never at the hands of their own kind. Well, I best get used to it. This is only the beginning.

            Edgar released his rapier from Cromwell’s heart. As the General’s body hit the ground Edgar stood over it. “He was a good tactician. Probably the best. It would’ve been a shame if he could’ve put his talents against us.”

            Drake gazed at the corpse of a man he’d fought beside countless times. Never in a million years did I expect him to die such a shameful death as this one. He deserved better. “May he rest in peace.”

            “Heretics like him go to hell and burn for all eternity,” informed Edgar. “There will be no peace where he is going.”

            “Heretic or not, he helped Judicium win countless battles in the past. The least you could do is honor him.”

            “Honor him on a cross. Judicium’s Light shall see that even Generals will fall if found to be a traitor. Remember that, Drake.”

            Drake clenched the hilt of his unstained rapier. “If the day ever comes where you feel the need to raise your sword against me, know that I will gladly accept the challenge, and that I will not perform as poorly as Cromwell did. Remember that, Bright Edgar.”

            There was a heated stare between the two that lasted a couple seconds before breaking off. “Return to your tent and your w***e. You need the stress relief. You’re ever growing boldness begs for death.”

            Drake was about to counter with another remark when he saw the Shadow staring directly at him from behind the Sun’s shoulder. ‘Challenge the Sun like that again, and you’ll find yourself on a cross.’ Those had been Raziel’s words the day he visited Drake’s tent. Drake decided to take the warning. I am proud, but I’m not stupid.

            When Drake returned to his tent his blood was up. Out of pure pride alone, he did not ravish Sky. Edgar had already won the battle. He would not add insult to injury by doing exactly what Edgar expected him to do. Instead, Drake tried to make sense of everything that just happened. If Raziel was behind all this, what exactly did he gain us? We’ve lost a general and nothing has changed.

Sky walked over to Drake and stared into his blue eyes. “What’s wrong?”

“What isn’t wrong? White Coats killing White Coats. Believers killing believers for believing. All the f*****g plots and schemes. What happened to the days when life was simple?”

            “The days when I was a slave?”

“Twenty-seven years ago, when the Crimson War began, I remember feeling proud for wearing this coat. We used to fight to make the world a brighter place.”

“You still are. It’s why we’re doing this, isn’t it?”

            “Is it really?” asked Drake. “How is bringing a war making the world a brighter place?”

            “But I thought that was what you wanted. A war to fight for?”

            “I enjoy war. I enjoy the black and whiteness of it. But I also liked fighting with the hope of a better future. You will never get more peace than what Judicium offers.”

            Sky couldn’t really seem to grasp the concept. “Then why do you fight against it?”

            “Judicium has no moral law. There is only a ladder of command. If the Sun orders every person crucified in the white ring, we do it. If the Sun ordered all of us to get fucked in the a*s, we’d take it simply because he is higher up on the ladder. I want a world where there is peace but we’re still human beings.” Drake sighed deeply. “But a world like that can never exist. A world where everyone’s thoughts and feelings mattered is a world that will forever be plagued by war.”

            “Which is what you want?”

            “No. Like I said, I enjoy war but I need a cause worth fighting for. Otherwise, how can I kill hundreds of men without an ounce of regret?”

            “Then wouldn’t the greater cause be the one where there is peace at the end?”

            “Perhaps. Yet the choice is not mine to make. God chose me for this role and I must follow it through.”

            Sky leaned over and kissed him. “Well, whichever path you walk, know that I’ll be right beside you. I love you.”

            Drake faked a smile as fake as the woman in front of him. He knew as well as her that she didn’t love him. What she loved was where standing beside him placed her. For a Rat that came from nothing, it was more than she could ever wish for.

            Drake heard the curtains to his tent open. “Sorry to intrude again, sir!”

            The General turned to face him. “What is it now?”

            “There’s turmoil all over the white ring. A large portion of Cromwell’s men have begun to stand together and demand for justice for the death of their General and all the crucified victims. More soldiers are joining them by the minute. Some from our own ranks. I’ve never seen anything like it in Judicium before. Defiance of this scale is unheard of.”

            “How big a scale are we talking?”

            Sweat dripped from the soldier’s brow. “I don’t think there will be enough crosses.”

            “I have to see this for myself.”

            As soon as Drake exited the tent he could hear chanting off in the distance. No, not chanting. They’re singing. They’re singing the Judicium Anthem.

            Drake gathered eight men to surround him for protection as he approached the singing. As he crossed though the countless tents he could see many odd glances. Some with fear, others with hate. There were many that like him were tracing the sound of the singing, but sight of their General quickly demoralized them. It was sickening to see. This is what you’ve made of our troops Edgar. They no longer serve us out of respect. They serve us out of fear. Fear that is now quickly becoming hate. Years of discipline mean nothing once you start becoming desperate.

            When he finally reached the singing, it was he who was afraid. To call it a mere turmoil was far beyond an understatement. The sight before him was historic. Hundreds of White Coats were singing, tearing down the crosses that were in display, and freeing the corpses of their comrades. Even the officers were in the mix of the frenzy.

            Drake looked around desperately for where the Sun was and what he was doing about this. Far in a different corner, there he was. Shouting commands and threats no one seemed to care for. In front of him however, were three organized lines of men ready to fire their bayonets right at the crowd. Don’t be a fool! If you shoot, the white ring will implode.

            Drake started sprinting across to the other side before all this became another bloodbath. As he ran towards the Sun he saw Raziel in the midst of a different crowd, gliding through calmly away from the action. Drake quickly switched directions towards the Shadow like a reflex. If this is your plan, it’s f*****g stupid! The way this is headed I’ll be dead right beside the Sun.

            As soon as Drake caught up to him, he grabbed Raziel with both arms and slammed him to the floor. Before Raziel could get back on his two feet, all the White Coats around Drake aimed their bayonets at Raziel ready to end his life at a simple command.

            Drake raised his hand. “Stop! Give us a moment. I need to speak with this man in private.”

            The White Coats saluted and obeyed, giving them their privacy. Raziel stood up and dusted off his white frock coat. Drake hated seeing him dressed in the garb of Judicium’s Light. It didn’t suit a Shadow. “What the f**k are you doing? Do you see what’s going on?”

            Raziel laughed. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? It’s amazing what a simple whisper in someone’s ear can do.”

            Drake punched him. “So it is you!”

            Raziel wiped the blood off his lip. “I’m confused, just whose side are you on?” he asked, humorless.

            “A question I’d like to ask you.”

            “I do recall telling you the Sun’s last days were imminent. And I recall you being excited for the show.”

            Drake drew closer to him. “When you said it, I thought you had something better in mind. Look around you. After the Sun dies, who do you think is next? I’m supposed to assume command for our plan to work.”

            “And you will,” replied Raziel, confidently. “After you bring Judicium’s Sun to justice.”

            “What…?”

            Raziel grinned. “See, while I do admit I am guilty of exploding this more than necessary, I have played all the necessary cards for the fall of Bright Edgar and your rise in his place. Causing utter chaos and distrust was a simple step in disestablishing Edgar’s power. After he massacres all the people rebelling, he will reestablish his power with even greater fear amongst all the ranks. By then, only you will be able to challenge him, and when you do, you will win and they will all love you for it. You will be a hero and the Fuhrer will have no choice but to assign you as Judicium’s Sun.”

            “All this was not necessary for them to call me hero. There was already enough fear for Edgar.”

            “No,” argued Raziel. “They feared Bright Edgar. After this, they will hate him.” An ominous roar trembled the ground. “And now you will see why.”

            Raziel turned towards the source of the trembling. Off in the distance a mountain of dirt could be seen rising from the horizon. Drake’s eyes gazed in fear, as the mountain of dirt soon became a ship. But not just any ship. An airship. The Red Sun! When did it get here?!

             The Red Sun was the second largest airship, built specifically for war. The golden ship was kept afloat by a giant red balloon and two crimson wings at its side. Packed inside it was all the possible artillery you could think of. It was often considered by most as the single object that ended the Crimson War. When it replaced the sun in the sky, it burned everything beneath it.

            “He’s gone f*****g mad!” shouted Drake.

            As the General was about to run to the Sun and beat some sense into him, Raziel grabbed Drake and pulled him close. Drake was about to fight him when he felt the barrel of a gun pressed against his back beneath his cape.

            “If you kill me, you die too,” warned Drake.

            “I don’t think anyone is watching right now,” replied the Shadow, smugly. “Listen, I don’t want to kill you. I’m trying to help you. You will have your chance at the Sun, but you will do it when everyone is looking. It’s already too late to stop what’s about to happen.”

            It took all of Drake’s willpower to remain calm. “Was the airship your idea?”

            “Heavens no,” answered Raziel. “Well…bringing it wasn’t, using it was.”

            “How is it that you know this and I don’t? How did you even find yourself within the white ring?”

            “There are Shadows everywhere, Drake. But few are as talented as me. When I heard word that Eden would be quarantined I knew I had to find myself within the white ring. God knows you weren’t going to be any reassurance. So I went to the one man that could make it happen. Dark Charles. Everyone who finds themselves in a new position wants to prove their worth. I had just become a Mentor and what better way to prove my worth than to get rid of the sworn enemy of my superior.

            “Charles was skeptical at first, of course. But I knew once he did extensive research on me he’d find that I was well fit for the task. There are fifty-three Mentors and eight-hundred-and-ninety-three Nights inside the white ring. My ties to Charles are so few that even if I were to outright shoot the Sun in plain sight no one would ever suspect he was behind it.”

            Drake watched as the Red Sun slowly hovered over the crowd of White Coats. “If any Shadow is responsible for the death of Bright Edgar, it’d be Dark Charles all the fingers point to.”

            “Fine, I guess shooting him in plain sight is pushing it. Yet I won’t be in plain sight. I’m just a simple puppeteer in the background. The White Coats that killed your men were True Believers. I knew this and used their faith to manipulate them. Their conspicuous cult-like prayers were a lie I leaked into the ranks of Henry’s men knowing it’d get to him eventually. I forged Cromwell’s handwriting and signature and wrote a fake letter, whispered a harmless suspicion in the Sun’s ear, and had him accidently stumble upon it. Then I let the show commence. Once word had spread of Cromwell’s death all I had to do was encourage selective individuals to stand up in defiance. You tell them that others are doing it too and before you know it, there’s hundreds doing it. I must admit, I didn’t expect it to escalate to this level. Because it did though, I was able to put enough fear into Edgar’s heart so that he knew that the only way to regain order would be to remind people why they should be afraid of Judicium’s Sun. Charles had already told me the Red Sun was being hidden here, so I knew the ultimate result would be that right there in the sky.”

            The singing in the distance had turned to cries of fear. In the sky, the Red Sun’s cannons were all aimed at one point. “You’re a snake. A cruel, sadistic, inhuman, serpent. Do you know how many have died and will die tonight because of you?”

            Raziel chuckled. “You’re such a hypocrite. How many people have you killed in your life? How many times did you enjoy it? You took praise well enough after your victories. You even claimed some rewards yourself. I know all about how you used to rape the defenseless women after you sacked a city. I even heard how you used to round them up and give the prettiest ones to your most deserving officers. I don’t think the excuse of simply following orders can fill that slot, Drake. Admit it, you love chaos and death as much as I do. People like you and me…it’s all we know. Without it, we’re nothing.”

            He’s right about me. Without the chaos and bloodshed, I don’t know who I am. But in it, I know where I stand. And cruelty like this I will never accept. “I’m nothing like you. There’s not an ounce of this that I love. The day I become Judicium’s Sun, atrocities like this will never happen on my watch.”

            Raziel laughed condescendingly. “Engrave this image into your mind, Drake. Once you become Judicium’s Sun you will likely be reenacting it numerous times. The only way to prevent atrocities like this is to do atrocities like this.”

            The sky lit up as the Red Sun unleashed its fury on the rebels. The countless bodies being blown away and limbs flying off reminded Drake of the Crimson War. The cries. The helpless screams. The people running only to be shot down by the lines of White Coats waiting on the ground. This was war. That drug he loved so much and fought so hard to forget.



© 2013 Cynical_Art


Author's Note

Cynical_Art
Now that you have a better feel for what kind of person Drake Lightheart is, what are your thoughts on him? Also curious as to your thoughts on Raziel. Predictions are always fun to hear, as well as what characters you like, dislike, feel bad for, etc. :)

Also the next chapter is finally a Caius chapter again. I know he has been away from the spotlight some time.

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Okay, Drake is growing on me. He isn't one of my favorites yet,but that can change. As for Raziel, I don't think he will ever make it. I just don't like him as much. But this will definitely make things even more interesting in the next few chapters. I can't really say how it will turn out in my head, so I need the next chapter as soon as possible!XD

Posted 8 Years Ago


Cynical_Art

8 Years Ago

So I just posted the next chapter :) Sadly, that's the last one that was fully written and I just ha.. read more
Dark Rider

8 Years Ago

I don't care. It's in Caius' Pont of view! *goes to read*

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Added on June 2, 2013
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Tags: fantasy, Religion, science-fiction, family, death, betrayal, sex, war, conspiracies, characters, love, psychological, development, God, hierarchy, order, cynical, victorian

God's Requiem


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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..

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