Chapter 8:

Ordalia's Scar

Reverie's End: Blades of Malice

                                                          Date: 5/14/991; Time: 1st hourBookmark here

Ordalia woke up in the middle of the night, screaming from the pain she was experiencing. Her right hand was throbbing as usual; the curse mark had been activated.Bookmark here

She stumbled out of her bed and fell on the floor. Her attendants rushed in, picked her up, and carried her to Gerdo's research chamber. Ordalia's scar was activating more often as of late, and no one knew what to do.Bookmark here

They laid her body on the silver table, and a healer put his arms over her to try and stop the pain. The curse was no simple wound; it would not heal with basic magic. Gerdo walked over and applied some Helim Salve on Ordalia's right hand. The pain subsided and Ordalia relaxed.Bookmark here

"This is only a temporary cure. I cannot say how long it will last," said Gerdo in a melancholy voice.Bookmark here

Ordalia looked away from Gerdo and said quietly, "What will happen to me?"Bookmark here

Gerdo replied hesitantly, "the two souls will grow even more distant from each other until they rend asunder completely. I don't claim to know what this means for your psyche but you might lose even more of your memories as well."Bookmark here

After a long silence, Ordalia replied, "Is there no other solution? Preferably one that is more permanent?"Bookmark here

"Not one that we have in this facility, I'm afraid," said Gerdo. After thinking for a moment, he replied, "Long ago I read in a book that curses can be undone by killing the caster. This may be your only recourse in this predicament."Bookmark here

Ordalia sat up and said, "At least it's something to go off but I still don't know who did it."Bookmark here

"I fear that he stole your memories to cover up a secret; you saw something that you were not meant to see," said Gerdo with great gravity in his voice.Bookmark here

"My parents saw it as well. This secret. What is it? Why did they have to die for it?!" screamed Ordalia as she shook her fists.Bookmark here

Everyone in the room fell silent; no words of consolation could be found. Then Gerdo spoke, "As long as you breathe, Lady Ordalia, there is still hope to be found. The curse has yet to overtake you."Bookmark here

Ordalia nodded and replied, "Sure, whatever. I'm going to bed."Bookmark here

Gerdo and the others walked her over to her room and bid her goodnight. She went to bed and slept soundly.Bookmark here

In the morning, she went about her usual routine and made sure to read Athena's notes from the previous day. Ordalia did not feel inclined to do anything mentally or physically strenuous after the previous night's events. She merely stared out the window in her study room until she heard a knock on the door.Bookmark here

"Come in," she said.Bookmark here

A soldier with light-blue armor and a green cape walked in, saluted her, and said, "A message from Beron, my lady."Bookmark here

Ordalia raised her eyebrows in amazement. Beron was one of her spies, currently responsible for locating the Stones of Ethos.Bookmark here

"I hope that this is good news," she said as she walked over and took the letter from the man. "You may leave, she continued."Bookmark here

The man left and Ordalia sat down in her usual red study room chair. She looked at the letter with hope as if pleading with it to give her the answers she needs. Ordalia opened the letter and read its contents.Bookmark here

"The Blades of Malice are finally on the move. The Emerald, one of the Stones of Ethos, has been located deep in the Emerald Jungle. It's only a matter of time before they find it."Bookmark here

Ordalia's hands shook a little as she put down the letter. She had heard awful stories about that jungle. Few ever ventured inside and this fact explained why the stone took so long to find. It was clear that they needed to act quickly. Ordalia quickly called a meeting of the small council.Bookmark here

They convened in the war room an hour later to discuss the next course of action. Isle's small council consisted of Ordalia and her 4 advisors, Gerdo, Lloyd, Sam, and Dari. They all had their area of expertise and could provide council when called upon.Bookmark here

"So, it has finally been located?" asked Lloyd, the tall, brown-haired man who was Ordalia's warmaster.Bookmark here

"Yes. It is finally time to make our move. Lloyd, take 100 men with you. That should suffice," replied Ordalia, as she clasped her hands together.Bookmark here

"What shall I do, my lady?" said Dari, a red-haired woman, impatiently. She was the Master Informant, responsible for notifying Ordalia if something was afoot. Her network of spies stretched beyond just the borders of Charon.Bookmark here

"Continue giving me updates on the situation in Gamma. We cannot have them meddling in our affairs. The Emerald will be ours!" said Ordalia, passionately, as she raised her fist.Bookmark here

Gamma and Isles have never been on the best terms. For centuries, House Isles had been tributary to the royal family of Gamma. It has always been the dream of every lord of Isles to break off the yoke of servitude.Bookmark here

"The council is now dismissed. Lloyd, you and your men leave at nightfall," said Ordalia.Bookmark here

"Yes, your grace," replied Lloyd with great enthusiasm.Bookmark here

"We must not falter. This may be our last chance to reclaim what is rightfully ours," replied Ordalia in a grave tone.Bookmark here

Everyone in the room sitting at the table got up and headed towards the door. Before Ordalia got too far, she was stopped by Sam, a short, bulky and young brown-haired man, that was also the bookkeeper of Castle Isles.Bookmark here

"My lady, there is a matter I wanted to discuss with you," he said hesitantly.Bookmark here

Ordalia turned around and looked him in the eye before saying, "Is it about the coffers?"Bookmark here

"Yes, my lady. I believe they are running low and perhaps only good for eight more months. These are trying times for everyone," he said meekly.Bookmark here

Ordalia replied without hesitation, "Raise the taxes. There's no other way."Bookmark here

"But my lady, the people's morale will plummet," stuttered Sam.Bookmark here

"We can worry about that later. We are about to have a war thrust upon us. Be it from the Malice, Gamma or both."Bookmark here

"Very well, my lady," replied Sam as he looked down on the ground.Bookmark here

"Keep your chin up, Sam. We shall live through this. Isles has never fallen, and I will make sure that it never does," said Ordalia cheerfully.Bookmark here

Sam sighed, looked up at Ordalia, nodded in agreement and left the room.Bookmark here

Only Gerdo remained in the room with Ordalia now. "Do you truly believe that?" he said with doubt in his voice.Bookmark here

"If we believe it strongly enough then maybe our wish will come to pass," said Ordalia in a hopeful voice.Bookmark here

Gerdo chuckled and said, "I never took you for a dreamer. You were always a strategist that used wit and logic to solve all problems."Bookmark here

"Those days are long gone. I don't know what I am anymore," said Ordalia as she trailed off and got lost deep in thought.Bookmark here

Golden Boy
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