Xorsis : Invasion\Lost
It was necessary to take a good look before jumping into the situation - a stranger showing sudden kindness was way too suspicious. And the fact that he, though recognised them, didn’t express the slightest wish of turning them in - it was way too surprising to all of them.
But the situation turned out to be exactly as he told them. The batch of four small cargo ships were standing. There weren’t any officers around. The man himself handled the orders to the porters.
It all seemed to be okay.
But still, Mersoy felt the shape of the dagger under her upper light dress, I have to be prepared for anything that might go wrong.
A few minutes later, he stood silently near the bushes, quietly, looking out at the sea.
Nia came down from the tree and sneaked to the man, so did Aez and Mersoy. From this place, the two curved swords were visible at the back of the man. When they were near him, the man gave a soft chuckle.
He murmured, loud enough in the quiet morning for the three behind him to hear, “If you are planning on murdering me here, you won’t be able to get out.”
“Oh, there’ll be plenty of chances to murdering,” Mersoy replied sternly, “don’t expect to stay alive the moment we notice something goes wrong.”
“If you notice that in the midway, you won’t be able to go anywhere,” the man answered, “even if you survive, the other two won’t.”
Mersoy cursed under breath.
“It doesn’t matter,” Aez’s voice came from behind.
Mersoy looked at Aez, surprised.
“It doesn’t matter. Even if one of us survives,” he said quietly, “that person will be enough to carry on.”
Nia slapped Aez from behind.
The man chuckled again. “Come on now,” he said.
After checking that the port was empty except the man, the three walked behind him. The man boarded a ship, and the three followed him.
“Go there,” he said.
The crew on the ship didn’t pay attention to them, or look surprised as they walked to the leftmost part of the cargo ship. There was a chamber there, and inside, many supply boxes were stored. Without words, they slipped inside, and their view was hidden from the rest of the world.
“Ahoy! The man grabbed the attention of the rest of the sailors in the other ships. And in a few minutes, the ship started moving.
Good, so far. Mersoy thought.
But that man was still suspicious.
It was because, in her whole life, she had been to many places, and observed many people. There were hardly any people who had grey eyes. And matched with that, the dual swords in his waist.
There was only one person like that.
Mersoy closed her eyes and tried to relive the memory inside her mind.
She was walking stealthily, the scroll clutched tightly in her hand. After all this time, she had finally found it.
It wasn’t Pensylan who had the scroll - it was Nevidilandi.
The scroll doesn’t look much different than the normal ones - except the upper part of the scroll had red colour splattered randomly. What can that be? Mersoy wondered, blood? But if a scroll is that sacred - shouldn’t they be more careful handling-
Another noise reached her ears and Mersoy stopped thinking.
She turned back at once, raising her dagger in defense.
There was no one behind her. She turned forward at once and noticed him.
In the dark corridor, his features were almost invisible, but in the faint light that crept in through the windows, his grey eyes, and the smirk on his face was visible.
“How much,” he said, “how much money do you need?”
“Well, this isn’t the best way to greet a lady, is it?” Mersoy said, pointing the dagger at him. “Well, if you resist, I have no options.”
The boy sighed.
Who is he? Mersoy wondered. And then she realised.
“It’s you. The P-”
All of a sudden, the ship came to a halt.
Mersoy blinked twice. She waited.
A few minutes passed, but it stayed the same.
Alarmed, Mersoy stood up at once.
“Stay here, don’t move.” Mersoy commanded the other two, and walked to the door. Opening it slightly, she peeked outside.
She clenched her fist.
They’re here already.
There was a different colourful ship out there, with a few Tokreian officers. Some of them had boarded the cargo ships, evidently searching - for them. Two of them were on their ship.
This is bad. Though, fortunately, we have come across quite a distance from the port. If it comes down to that, then, at least it’ll take some time to call reinforcements.
Mersoy waited patiently, watching their actions. They walked around, inspecting the cargo boxes. The man stood grimly at one side, evidently annoyed at the intervention.
One of them approached the chamber, walking slowly, curious eyes moving around. He walked to the door, to look properly at the gap at the chamber door.
Then he walked inside.
That was all she needed.
Swiftly, she closed the door of the chamber and kicked, aiming at the Tokreian’s stomach. But it seemed like he was ready for something like this too, and he dodged it, the kick landing on the wall instead. He retreated inside the room, his hand now holding a firearm he brought out from his belt, aiming at Mersoy’s head.
The next moment, Nia had thrown a throwing knife at him, which cut at his leg. The man flinched, but he was still standing upright. Aez ran at him from the back, pointing his dagger. The man was quicker, he dodged the attack Aez was about to launch and hit Aez’s head with the back of the firearm. Aez fell on the floor with a grunt.
Nia gasped. Mersoy had disappeared behind a box, waiting for a chance. The man waited a moment, but seeing that neither Nia, nor Mersoy tried to launch an attack, he tapped his wristband once. At that moment, another throwing knife penetrated his wrist. The man gasped in pain, staggering back.
Now was the chance!
Mersoy walked to him and kicked him in his injured leg. He fell down, his leg bleeding. Mersoy was wondering whether killing him would be better or whether tying down would suffice, and that very moment, the chamber door banged open. The other officer was standing, pointing the gun at her. He pressed the trigger, and Mersoy jumped sideways, narrowly dodging it, while the bullet he fired hit the glass of the wristwatch of the other man, shattering it.
But that didn’t stop him. Before Mersoy could take any action, he came forward and grabbed Mersoy, banging her head against the wall.
Mersoy fought back, and after a while, she broke away from her clutch. She looked at the other two. Aez was lying on the ground, knocked unconscious, and Nia was unsurely holding throwing knives - not understanding when to throw it safely.
Mersoy looked at the door.
Whatever the fallen Tokreian had transmitted had gone through well. And so, there was another Tokreian standing at the door, pointing the gun at her.
Mersoy gritted her teeth. She narrowly dodged both of their bullets, but how long could she go on?
There was no escape...
But suddenly, the black coat of the Tokreian started to become blacker, and the white garment underneath had turned red.
Both Mersoy and the Tokreian inside the chamber stared in awe.
The blood came out like a fountain and the man dropped, revealing the suspicious sailor, wielding a sword whose blade was now blood red.
Seizing the chance, Nia shot three throwing knives at the remaining Tokreian, and Mersoy kicked him, knocking him unconscious. Then she looked at the sailor.
He glanced at Mersoy and unconscious Aez, and the bloody mess inside the chamber once, and then without words, he had gone out. Through the open door, Mersoy watched as all the Tokreians had now targeted him, shooting him. The man jumped from their ship to the other one.
I need to help him.
“Nia, take care of Aez!” Mersoy called out, “Don’t do anything rash. I’ll be back!”
And she rushed out.
She was quick, and ran to the other cargo ship which was joined to theirs now. A Tokreian was shooting at the man, and Mersoy knew no matter how skillful one could be, there would be no chance of winning, if six of them were firing at him now. But Mersoy wasn’t good in face-to-face fights, and it’d be difficult to handle them if they targeted her now. But still, she’d have to go on.
Unless I fight, unless I win, there’s no escape.
She despised killing.
But for the sake of those two in the chamber, for herself, and for this man, she’d do it.
Mersoy brought out the dagger from the hidden pouch under the outer garment. The blade was shining in the light.
This blade had seen many deaths, but this was the second time, it’d be red with personal fights again.
Mersoy jumped on the cargo ship’s edge, narrowly avoided a bullet that came to her, and shoved the dagger to the chest of the Tokreian. Blood soaked his black suits, and the firearm dropped from his hand. Mersoy looked around and noticed that the crew on the ship were pointing firearms at her.
But there wasn’t enough time to let them know that she wasn’t the enemy. And so, she ignored them; picking up the firearm, she pointed at the other ship.
The sailor had brought out both of his swords, and he was still fighting with both of them, though his dress was now red with blood. Aiming, Mersoy shot at the Tokreian, successfully hitting him in his head.
The sailor stopped, and looked directly at Mersoy, who was still aiming. He nodded, and jumped down in the water. The Tokreian ship was a bit away - and no one could jump at it. Mersoy too, put the dagger inside again, and dived at the sea. Her natural habitat.
She swam quickly, easily, to the Tokreian ship, and climbed it through the ledges. At the same time, the man too had boarded the ship. The four remaining Tokreians, who had now retreated to the ship again, pointed at the both of them and shot. Mersoy avoided one, and the other one hit her leg. It started bleeding, but Mersoy still swung her dagger, stabbing at the chest of the one at the front. She swung it again, cutting the throat of the other Tokreian.
He fell down, so did Mersoy, the pain in her leg almost blinding her senses. She heard two dropping sounds, and turning back, she noticed that they were the other two Tokreians. The man had slit their heads, and Mersoy turned away, not wanting to see their decapitated bodies.
“Victory is ours,” the man commented, sitting down.
Mersoy nodded. “But there isn’t enough time,” Mersoy said, “unless we can set off now, they’d be sending reinforcements any second now.”
“Of course.” the man said, “I was prepared for that. Logan!” He shouted, his voice booming despite his injuries.
And Mersoy noticed a younger sailor had jumped to their ship, waiting at the wheel.
“He’ll take you to the coast,” the man said.
“Thank you for everything,” Mersoy said quietly.
The man chuckled.
“It’s just to repay a favour.”
Those words again.
She looked at the sailor. He was bleeding profusely at many places.
He won’t survive them, Mersoy thought, and she felt a sharp pang in her chest.
Someone is dying for me… again.
“Don’t blame yourself. It was me who brought this upon me.” He had a strange smile on his face.
Those grey eyes. That smile.
I wasn’t wrong.
“Prince of Nevidilandi,” Mersoy whispered. “‘The scholar yet charming prince, stealing hearts of women.’”
He chuckled. “The same words from that day, eh? You’ve got style, Mersoy.”
Mersoy felt depressed.
If only she could do something. But the necklace on her neck wouldn’t work on humans, despite it having immense healing powers.
“How did you end up here?” Mersoy asked quietly.
“I escaped,” he said. “I wasn’t an ideal person like my father. When the forest spirit lashed out at us, I knew there was nothing we could do but run for our lives.
“I happened to be a lucky person who survived it, somehow.”
And how do you keep living with that? Mersoy wanted to ask. Doesn’t it pain you? Don’t the memories stab you everytime you remember?
“I was a former prince,” he said, “But I’m no longer in that role. I’m a proud sailor.”
Mersoy kneeled next to the dying man.
“In my last war, I’m victorious.
“I’ve repaid your favour, Mersoy,” he said, smiling, “There was nothing I could do anymore. That’s how I moved, back then despite all the pain. By acceptance. And today too, that’s what I’ll say.
“To sail on - that’s where life is.
With the last words, his eyes closed.
“Prince of Nevidlandi,” Mersoy softly whispered. “No. You’re a sailor now.”
‘I’ve repaid your favour’.
What had she even done for them?
Conflicted, she closed her eyes. Tears were streaming down her cheeks.
The ship moved again. Someone had boarded it. But she was too caught up in her emotions to notice.
Please… I don’t want any more meaningless death...
“His death wasn’t meaningless.”
Mersoy looked up. The younger boy, Logan was standing, stretching his hand at her.
“This old man raised me,” he said quietly, looking at the dead body.
“Yes indeed,” he said even more quietly, “Today he dies, victorious, like he had been wanting for all these years.”
“That’s…” Nia was surprised and couldn’t say anything at what Mersoy just said. “The man - you knew him?”
“Years ago. When I was younger than you.”
“And you said that was when you ambushed Nevidilandi?” Aez asked.
Aez’s head injury wasn’t serious, fortunately. Though, it took some time for the bleeding to completely stop. He was feeling dizzy, and was lying all the time, only after a few hours had passed, he could sit up.
“That has to be… more than 15 years ago, isn’t it?”
“17 years, to be precise,” Nia said. “If I remember, it was in 1951.”
“Back then,” Mersoy sat down on the floor beside them, “I stole the scroll, but he didn’t try to stop me once he realised that’s what I was doing.
“He let me escape through the window of the tower, and he uttered ‘thank you’ to me. I don’t understand,” she clasped her hand at her face, Nia flinching, imagining how hard it could hit her, “I don’t understand what have I done for him. How did I ever help him?”
“Because you stopped the war indirectly,” Nia commented, “The third war between Cridelford - Crilania back then - and Nevidilandi - it started because the Crilianian minister was assassinated. But the war quickly changed its motives and in the end the battle was going on for the sake of the scroll.
“So when the scroll was no longer there, the war became pointless, and so, it stopped. If you didn’t steal it, both Crilania and Nevidilandi would have been erased from the map.”
“No one still knows who killed that Crilanian minister in the first place ,” Nia gulped, looking darkly at Aez, “Hopefully not my parents.”
At that moment, she also noticed a strange emotion surfaced on Mersoy’s pensive face.
“Leave me alone.” She roughly said, and walked out at the deck.
“I can’t believe she still doesn’t open up to us,” Nia sighed.
“At least she talks to us now,” Aez smiled.
Well, who do you think you are, asking others to open up to you? The voice inside Nia’s head said.
You’re right, Nia said back to the voice under her breath, we all have our little secrets that we don’t want others to know. In my case, that secret is you, Nes.
She finally gave the voice a name. She wasn’t sure yet why the voice was still there, or why it existed in the first place - but at least it made her feel less lonely. Nia was careful to take Nes’s advice though. The next time Nes would advise her to join the army - she’d take that with a grain of salt.
“Who are you talking to?” Aez asked.
“You’re hearing things, nerdo,” Nia laughed. “Wait, I’ll be back.”
Evening had fallen, and according to Logan, they’d reach the ports at night. Nia noticed Mersoy was crouching at one corner outside and so she said, loud enough so that she could hear her.
“If anything the prince would want to tell you Mersoy,” she said, “I’m sure, he’d ask you to move on. If you keep focusing on that guilt you feel for the deaths of your loved ones, you won’t be able to go on. That’s why he said.”
Mersoy heard her words, wide eyed, and then mumbled the words.
“To sail on, that’s where life is.”
Finally, a tiny smile bloomed in Mersoy’s face.