The Husband and Hero
As the crisp blue sky sends a breeze our way, Erebus and I enter the city of Bomi.
Making our way over here was much quicker than planned, but due to the conversation I had with Erebus this morning, the ride here was full of silence and back-and-forth glances.
Even though Erebus was waiting for my response, the response I gave him does not seem to be one he favors. Rather than being upset about my choice, Erebus seems more disappointed.
After the dream I had, I felt sure that I was meant to be Frosatla’s hero and that straying from this path I’m already on would lead to the deaths of the people I cherish. However, there's a small part of my mind yelling at me for my choice.
???: “Ah! Commander Devilynn and Sir Erebus!”
A heavier-set man in his mid 20s walks over towards us as we place our horses in the station’s stable. He is wearing a full suit of marble colored armor that displays the royal crest of Frostala; it barely fits him.
Devilynn: “Your majesty, it is a privilege to have you meet us here.”
The man scoffs at my comment and waves his hand up and down at me.
???: “At war I don’t want to hear any of that royalty talk. Call me General Donald.”
General Donald is Fern’s sole cousin. His father was the older brother of the current King, who had no desire to claim the throne. Unlike Fern, Donald is much more friendly and approachable. Within the camping grounds there is a rumor that Donald is known to be a big gossiper.
Gen. Donald: “By the way how is Ferny doing?”
Erebus: “Fern is Fern.”
Devilynn: “Fern has been holding up well.”
Letting out a huge laugh, Donald raises his hands up in the sky.
Gen. Donald: “Excellent! It’s the first good news I’ve received all day. Speaking of which, it’s getting rather late, you two boys should retire for the night…hopefully you two stay for a little while longer in Bomi, we can get a cold one together and chit-chatter.”
Erebus lets out a polite chuckle as a sign of agreement.
Devilynn: “That sounds lovely Donald.”
Gen. Donald: “Ah Ah Ah, that’s General Donald to you.”
Devilynn: “! Right, General Donald.”
Letting out another huge laugh, Donald rushes us off into the camper halls for the night.
The sound of cattle and carriages can be heard from within the inside of the camper. Groggily, I lift my head up and crawl my way to the front of the camper and peek outside. It’s the early morning, but despite this, three carriages are rushing through Bomi heading to the capital.
Lying back down to sleep, I try to close my eyes and drift off.
But it’s just too noisy. I grab one side of my pillow and fold it over my head to block the noise, but regardless of my tactics the noise still reaches my ears. What I wouldn’t give for a pair of headphones in this world.
Glancing over to the other side of the camper, I quickly notice that Erebus is still fast asleep. Lucky bastard. Not wanting to wake him, I quietly lay there with my eyes facing the ceiling.
I have a lot to think about anyways, so maybe it’s wise to give myself some time with my thoughts.
What Erebus told me still holds heavy in my mind. One moment I feel secure and safe with my choice, but when I'm alone and by myself, a sense of guilt rises within me. Erebus is someone I have always trusted, and I want to believe both his words and my kingdom.
If it’s true that Robal was created out of the misfits that didn’t meet our kingdom’s perfection objective, then are we actually the bad guys?
Thinking of Fern, I quickly diminish that thought; she has always wanted the best for her people and would never dispose of any-
“Anyone who isn’t set on perfection is disposable.”
Swallowing hard, I think about the words she told to Crowriff after his injury. Then I think about what Erebus said about the different types of people they ‘dispose’ of.
Surely, Fern wouldn’t just throw away Crowriff and the rest of the injured troops who have fought beside us. Right?
Breaking out in a cold sweat, I begin to think about what may happen to Crowriff if what Erebus said was true. Before I can begin panicking, Erebus’ sudden mumbling throws off my thought process.
Erebus: “Don’t let them find the finger.”
With drool dripping down his face, Erebus rolls over facing away from me.
Erebus: “My lady.”
Holding in my chuckles, I look back up at the ceiling.
Erebus promised to me on his lady’s word a little while ago. Although his personality and crude jokes could use some tuning, I suppose it was harsh of me to think he didn’t have a woman at home waiting for his return. He sure is handsome after all.
I wonder what kind of lady she is; maybe I’ll ask him in the morning.
With a big yawn, I close my eyes and drift off once again.
Before long, Erebus and I make our way to the confinement camp where the prisoner is being held. Despite it being called a camp, it is much more like a tower with a handful of rooms to hold prisoners.
The frosty air and lack of sunlight makes this place that is already horrid, somehow worst. Approaching the top floor of the tower, General Donald holds out his lantern in front of him.
Gen. Donald: “That’s as far as I’m allowed to take you. The prisoner should be right behind this door. Well I'll be standing guard downstairs, so just holler if you need something.”
With a gleam in his eyes and a short chuckle, Donald makes his way downstairs leaving us with a brightly lit lantern to lead the rest of the way.
Opening the door slowly, we find ourselves in a shallow room with stone covering every corner the eye can see. A frugal man with tethered clothes lies on the cold ground. Looking over at us, his eyes gleam at the light of the lantern.
Glancing over at the man, a sense of guilt comes over me calling these people monsters. In truth, they are humans too. The man’s eyes are darting back and forth in an obscene gesture.
Erebus: “What’s your name?”
Before I can speak, Erebus calming calls out to the man in a friendly gesture. Sitting down on the cold floor Erebus stretches out to appear more approachable.
Aron: “I’m A-Aron.”
Erebus: “Well Aron I am Erebus and this is my friend Devilynn, we wanted to ask you a couple of questions.”
As soon as I sit down on the ground close to Erebus, the man starts bawling.
Aron: “Am I ever going to see my family again? I-I don’t wanna die, I don’t.”
I can barely hear what he’s saying over his tears. Erebus glances at me before pulling out a handkerchief and throwing it through the metal gate to the man.
Devilynn: “If you answer our questions, you may see your family again. But if not, we can’t assure you what will happen.”
After saying my last statement, I feel quite cruel with the way I said it. Have I always been so crude in my responses? Erebus scoffs at me with a bewildered look on his face. Look, I know I said something wrong.
The man’s eyes being darting again as he wipes off his tears using Erebus’ handkerchief.
Devilynn: “I see your eyes darting around the room, there’s no need to be nervous.”
That isn’t true, a commander and a top tier knight are interrogating you. Of course, he should be nervous.
Aron: “I-I’m sorry, I have Tourette’s; I can’t help it.”
Feeling like an asshole, I decide to keep my mouth shut for the remainder of the talk and let Erebus take it over. I feel like a fool for even coming.
Aron: “H-Here’s your handkerchief.”
Erebus: “Please keep it, you never know when you’ll need it. You know, it might even come in handy.”
Erebus lets out a genuine smile that makes the room shine brightly.
Erebus: “Aron what’s was your role in the war?”
Aron: “I was a herbalist. I-I helped heal injured soldiers.”
Erebus: “Ah! How ironic, I too am a herbalist.”
Erebus’ strangely polite and friendly nature throws me off; it’s just not like him. It makes him feel more angelic that he truly is. For the first time, Aron lets out a slight grin.
Erebus: “So Aron, do you know anything about the Queen’s intentions or any tactics they have planned or are currently carrying out?”
Aron deflects the question and squeezes his hands slightly.
Aron: “I don’t.”
Nodding his head, Erebus bites the inside of his cheek as he thinks.
Erebus: “Then why is your kingdom going to war if you don’t know the intentions of it?”
Aron shrinks in his spot and then looks up at Erebus and I.
Aron: “Her majesty only wants to protect us. I-I don’t know if she has any h-hidden intentions, but I don’t care if she does. She h-has always stood up for us.”
A loving smile creeps across Erebus’ lips as he listens to Aron. Although the looks and actions Erebus is making isn’t how he normally is, and clearly an act, I wouldn’t mind seeing him like this every once in a while.
Erebus: “Do you know when and where they plan to attack next?”
Aron twirls his pointer fingers around one another and then opens his mouth.
Before Aron can complete his sentence, a loud crashing sound rings throughout the tower.
Aron: “I would say right now.”