Mort sat in his office with a brother he hadn’t seen in ten years, a friend whom he hadn’t talked to in10 years as well, a nineteen-year-old child they rescued three days ago, and his usual friends/ex-comrades.
They arrived earlier than he’d anticipated and so they had to wait for Korn and Mrol to arrive.
Mrol walked along the slums of the Under City. He followed the man who introduced himself as Korn. Yesterday Mort agreed to dismiss the meeting due to Mrol not being able to continue and at the same time asked his scarred friend a favor. Korn wasn’t like the other men, while most of the generals looked as if they had minor scars that they carried with, Korn had a scar that covered most of his face. When Korn noticed how Mrol had been looking at his disfigured face, he began explaining what happened.
Apparently, during their raid to avenge president Khol, their group was attacked. In open land, the generals would have been a force to break through any front line, but in those tight corridors, a force of 100 soldiers from the Frol’s honor guard had attacked them, and miraculously they survived. However, it was at the cost of their female friend and the scar that would live with Korn for the rest of his life.
There was something he never expected to see. Poverty was beyond anything he could imagine. He thought Notrania’s slums were to be sympathized with, but this, this was ten times worse. Everything was dark, sun rays barely scratched any surface down here, the only source of light were scarce light bulbs, scattered around the whole layer he walked on, and people used candles to light up their mini-homes.
They continued walking and each step Mrol took pained him. He wanted to do something to help, back home he would have the power to, but here, he could do nothing but watch. He had a few Morshan notes and he quickly checked his pockets to give a child who huddled in his mother’s arms. But, Korn held his hand before he could take them out. He shook his head and spoke:
“Don’t, it will only make things worse. The Pure Bloods spread food among the population, money won’t do them any good. The only thing you could do with this money here is keep it as a souvenir.” His tone wasn’t affected by what he had seen, he seemed used to it. After all, Korn had lived in this place for the past decade or so. “You can spend this money to buy food that we can then spread out later.” Mrol enthusiastically nodded, shaking his spectacles on the head movements.
Mrol had always enjoyed a life of luxury, but his father made sure to make him taste what it's like to live without the simplest rights a human must have, yet cannot obtain because of their situation. However, it never came close to this. Children were literally walking out with their diapers, mothers could barely cover their female parts, and strangely there were no adult males. Later, Korn explained how every man above the age of 16 is required to help manage Morshina’s operating engine.
He continued moving through the ‘streets’. Everything in this place was metallic, rusted, and old. The air carried the stench of piss and disgusting odor. He felt his feet ring after each step he took, the roads – more like platforms – felt unstable. Every face he saw was dirty, every eye he met was innocent, every soul in this place was treated unfairly, and every child here was barely able to walk. Why? Why were the Pure Bloods so harsh on their own people? Someone needed to answer these questions and they needed to do it fast.
Earlier this day Korn had given Mrol ragged clothes to not draw attention, at first he was skeptical, but he realized why. Korn hurried his steps and got out into an intersection, Mrol, tried his best to follow.
“Why are you speeding up?” Mrol asked the tall man.
“We need to get back for the meeting, we are already late.” He replied not looking back.
Mrol took one last look at the city, I’ll do anything I can to rescue you from your own people, he made a vow to himself and hurried after Korn.
“What did you want to discuss with us Mort.” Teph asked. Now that everyone had arrived it was finally time for their meeting to begin.
“A rebellion.” The founder of the Under city flatly replied. Teph’s eyes widened, it was the first time Entz saw the man expressing such emotions, he must have been tired from his daily duties and now the rescue.
“A rebellion?” Teph repeated.
“A rebellion,” Mort confirmed.
“A rebellion.” Entz said, the group erupted into laughter, but Teph was still shocked, while Mort maintained a casual face. He walked up towards Mort and held him from his shirt.
“Do you have any idea on what you are saying actually means,” shouted Teph, Entz prepared to get up to break the fight, but Jack held him back; he was sitting next to him.
“Mort has a plan,” he whispered, “he always does.” Entz nodded.
Mort got his hand up and pushed away Teph’s grip. “Relax Teph, you know that I carefully choose what I say and what I do. So, please listen.” Teph continued looking into Mort’s eyes but eventually backed off.
“The reason why we have Mrol here,” he gestured his hand towards his brother, “is because he will be the biggest contributor to our cause.” He walked from his table and moved to the middle of the room where he spoke with everyone.
“Let me ask you a question, Teph” he said, turning back to where Teph was. “Why did you react the way you did just now?”
“Because the way you said; your tone took the matter lightly.”
“Ok, but why?”
“First of all, it would require a lot of resources,”
“We have those,”
“Second of all, the only way for us to form a rebellion is by getting an army and then use it to attack the Pure City,”
“We have an army,”
“Lastly, but most importantly, when the government finds out about our attack, they will send their own army to us, but another to our families down in Under City and use them as ransom.”
“Well,” Mort said with a grin, “let me address your points accordingly:”
“We have the resources, how do you think I’ve managed this place and kept it in a state better than the Under City’s? I’ll explain more on that later, but getting to your next point. We have an army of engine operators who were ex-soldiers and are waiting for word to take revenge. Not only that, but we also have more men down there who are ready to fight. With the way they look up to you, I am sure they would agree to finally have a chance at freedom. Not only that, but, Entz, do you remember what happened when Teph and the others got banished into Under City.”
“Yeah, apparently twenty-six thousand men joined them. Right?”
“Yes, but, a small part of the story was left out. Since you are heir or well ex-heir I am sure you know about even soldiers can become Pure Blood citizens.”
“Of course, if a soldier or any member of the army had ten years of experience in battle, he/she can retire back into the Pure City with a paid salary from the government.”
“Exactly, well, did you know that 900 more men took that offer a month after the banishment and are now among the Pure Bloods waiting for order? So we practically have 900 loyal men acting as ‘spys’. Of course, we have to remember that they still had to ‘swear’ loyalty to the Frol faction. Obviously, some faked their allegiance, and others who rejected the offer were banished back into the Under City. However, the other men are still waiting and itching to restore order.”
“And, finally, your last point. This is where Mrol comes into the picture, do you know why he and Korn were late today?”
“No.” Teph said.
“Of course, you don’t. But let me tell you, he went to take a tour around the city.”
“Which city?” Trent asked.
“The city under my ass, the Under City strategist. Have ten years working as an engine operator messed with your brain? Try and keep up.” If this was taken out of context, one would assume Mort was being rude, but, in reality, that’s how those friends talked. They liked making fun of each other, it was something Entz had never felt before, comfort. Even though he had Yon, the two of them never shared a relationship close to this one. He smiled.
“Anyways, Mrol here went to take look at the real world of Morshina, the one even the heir himself hadn’t seen. Mrol will smuggle them into Notrania.”
“I will?” Mrol said, confused by what heard.
“He will?” Zaln – his assistant and friend – said in a tone just as confused as Mrol.
Mort nodded and they surprisingly didn’t say anything more.
“Mort, you don’t understand what I’m saying,” said Teph with a sight, “even if you did meet the requirements to this insane plan, how are we going to execute it?”
“Teph my good man, I told you, I think before I talk. So the plan is as follows:”
“Jack and Korn will gather the army. The Middle Cut, although I don’t agree with the name, can only facilitate twenty thousand men who will train here. The rest of the men will train back at the Under City with a few select lieutenants who will be in charge of training them. How we will bring them, I will tell you later. Trent will plan our moves and attacks, while I manage everything. Entz,” he looked at the heir, “I am sure you a few who are faithful to you in the government itself.”
“Good, you will be our way of spreading rumors and our mole in the heart of our enemies. Finally, Teph, you will lead us, make the important decision, and be the man to unite us.” Mort extended his hand out.
Teph looked at his friends, every one of them even Entz and Mrol nodded to him, nudging him to accept. Even though Mort planned everything, they still looked at for leadership and approval, dammit, they planned this all along. What would the caption have said?
“On one condition,” he said head looking down, “no one gets hurt.” He looked up meeting Mort’s eyes and smug face.
“Done.” The man replied and Teph shook his waiting hand.
“So, how do we begin?” Entz asked smiling.