Chapter 16:

Trust

Downcaster


“The General explained that he couldn’t refuse his position, even if wanted to. But, his real reason was that he could not step down, not after what he saw.” Teph was telling a story to explain the men's history; Entz didn't trust the men; he thought they rescued him to exploit his position.

“He said that he’d spend too much time in the army fighting for his country. When the real problem lay in the government itself - who didn’t care for their people and only cared for themselves. You’d notice that during his reign, the poverty rate dramatically decreased. Back then, the Mixed Bloods were treated as equal; at least in his eyes.” Teph explained “But, after the sudden rise of the Frol faction, everything went downhill. I do not need to explain why, as you probably know more than I do on the matter.” Entz nodded at the remark. “Mort resigned from his position as general and disappeared into---”

“Coward,” Entz said. “Every General in the army should know to depend on themselves and be able to build their own army by by the experience they gagined, they—”

“Not at the age of nineteen,” said a man leaning on the table next to the couch Entz was sitting on. His hair was disheveled, it was mostly black save for the hints of green. Entz swallowed his words, he guessed this was Mort.

“We were responsible for the lives of thousands. If a woman lost her husband, I was responsible. If a child became an orphan then it was because of a stupid decision I made. The responsibility was heavier than I could ever carry, you should know.” He nodded to Entz.

“Yeah,” Entz said, then grew quiet.

“However,” Mort explained “I did not become a beggar or joined as an advisor to Trent’s tactician school, even though I received offers multiple times, no. I, unlike most of you, come from a family of power in Nortania,”

“Sure you do Mort.” Said a man, wearing a dirtied shirt, he was distinguishable by his towering height. Entz thought he was tall, but this man, he easily crossed the Sven feet mark. Entz recognized him as Jackson, he’d read on the Great Jack in the military books his father stored.

“As I was saying, my experience with authority helped me build this mini kingdom hidden from even the heir himself. I still carried the responsibility to care for my people, but at least I was away from killing men just because they fought against our ruler.”

“What happened after?” Asked Entz.

“After Khol took control,” spoke a man who was much thinner than the rest of the group, even though he wasn’t as tall as Jack, his this body made him larger than what he was. From the story Teph told, Entz knew the man as Trent – the genius Strategist. “We were united under Teph; the rest of us generals were overwhelmed by the war. Teph was made Supreme Commander and was in charge of four battalions. We didn’t go through many battles, we spent most of our time in camp, practicing. Usually, we’d have around 8 to 13 battles a year, but, during the general's reign, we totaled to me 6 in the five years he ruled. But, then,” Trent looked down. Entz knew why he couldn’t continue, the other men looked down as well.

Suddenly, Entz felt more depressed than usual. He remembered his father and his honest smile, a smile that brought Entz the only happiness he ever knew, a smile that he lost when he saw his father in his bed laying and eyes staring into the unknown. It was on that day as well when she left and couldn’t explain. On that day he lost everything and everyone and was left with utter emptiness. The room grew quiet, save for the flickering light build that settled above them. It lit the room with its light orange light rays, giving a warm and cozy atmosphere.

Entz snapped back from his sorrow, he cleared his throat trying to break the awkward silence.

“When my father died, what happened to you guys? Apart from Mort, why do you guys look like you are from the Under City?” Entz asked.

“That’s because we are,” answered Teph, “We, uhhh, umm, fuck, Trent you explain.” Teph seemed troubled by the story.

“The Frol faction were the cause of your Father’s death,” Trent said “We tried to retaliate by not taking their orders to battle certain groups they asked to attack or at least Teph ignored their requests. All to support Khol and give him military aid. At first, they were wary of the army, but later, they began to see us more of a pawn to manipulate, rather than a threat,” he continued to talk about more mundane manners regarding arguments that happened when they attended meetings, the Frol faction acting on their own without the approval of the president and other problems that didn’t matter. “And then, I think they thought Khol needed to be taken down in order for their plans of governing the country to proceed. During the last few months of your father’s reign, there were three assassination attempts on his party. Two were on him, the other was on Teph. Luckily, Teph not only escaped his death but killed his assassin as well, your father, however, barely managed to escape the first one, as he was in a meeting with no weapon at hand. But, the other attempt was through his food, in which, a traitor we believe it was your, umm.” Trent stopped talking.

“My mother.” Entz finished his sentence

“Yes,” he replied voice almost whispery “the only reason being, she was the one who cooked his food, but, someone could have poisoned her supplies, so it’s not confirmed yet.”

“No, it’s alright. Even I wouldn’t be surprised if she was involved in his death." He looked down trying to process what he heard and  then talked "None of what you just said points towards how you guys were involved.”

“We attempted to assassinate Tor,” said the last member of the group who hadn't yet spoken, Korn. His hair was chrome black with a few strands being silvery grey. “I, Jack, Teph, and Beth were devastated when we got the news about the man we respected found dead in his bedroom. We obviously knew who did and also knew no judgment would be passed on those who were guilty of his death. So, we took matters into our own hands”

Beth, Entz thought, for the first time he realized that the female warrior was missing from the meeting. At first, he was going to ask about her, but seeing Teph’s face when Korn mentioned her name, spoke the truth, she died in the attempt. And, later Jack explained everything.

They were found out before they reached Tor’s quarters. Apparently, the one who found them was Helet and her own guards. Instead of killing them on the spot, she explained that Khol always spoke highly of them and that instead they would be banished into the undercity along with all of the men who wouldn’t swear allegiance to Tor. In the end, about twenty-six thousand men joined the population of the Mixed Bloods.

“That’s basically it, our history.” Teph said.
“Now do you trust us?” He asked, Entz firmly nodded, embarrassed by the fact that he didn’t trust the men who saved his life.

“Now, with that over,” Mort exclaimed, “What can you tell me about the Nortanian government.” He asked .

“I’ve had a strong relationship with king Molf and his heir Mrol. The king usually comes over for a week's visit every year after Feynoor. During which we discuss our resource trades. And, should trade discussions succeed, we send a fleet of containers with the metal he requested as he leaves. Now that you mentioned it, the king was supposed to visit next week, but he apologized due to him having health issues. Why?”

Mort nodded as he walked outside their unit, he seemed thoughtful. “Where are you going?” Asked Jack. “To make a call. I have a plan. Teph,” he reached for the door, “have a tour with Entz around the city and visit my office in the afternoon.” With that, he shut the door and left.

Momentie
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