Chapter Three: Ceremony

The room was quiet; eerily so. Just moments before it was abuzz with the sounds of delegates conversing. Karr Joon and the other two elders of Ishlan had been defending the actions of Ishlan’s council for the better part of the day. They had faced the boards of Zanox and Angsk who wanted to improve Ishlan’s relations with its neighbouring nations. Astrok had been busy regarding some political dealings in Virav since the start of the week, so they were excused. However, the lack of one council did not seem to reduce a number of words being spewed forth in the council room. Karr was wondering if he would be able to hear again after the day’s events when a messenger was let in.

Normally a messenger wouldn’t be let in until the end of a national council meeting but considering the length of the meeting and the apparent urgency of the message he carried; it seemed reasonable to pay attention to his words. The messenger opened the scroll he had been given, making sure to present the sender’s seal beforehand. It was from the councils of Astrok and Virav; an unusual combination. As the scroll unfolded, a great gust of wind filled the room leaving behind the scent of green roses and blue lilies.

“This scroll is from the councils of Astrok and Virav, declaring an official truce, ” the scroll boomed, “A ceremony would be held later in the month to signify the formal signing.”

The room fell quiet, even as the scroll repeated its message once more. The words seemed to echo into the distance, far away from the ears of those present. The messenger wrapped up the scroll just as it began its third repetition; the gust of wind carrying the aroma of the roses and lilies back into the parchment from whence it came. It wasn’t until the messenger was long gone that the assembled councils understood the meaning of those words. The 125-year war between the two countries had finally come to an end. The elders broke into a uniform display of emotion; joy. The time of torment and disaster was over; it was finally the time for peace. However, few knew that this peace would be short lived. Karr Joon and his fellow elders could only feign a smile as the others celebrated. The other first elders shared the same look; it had finally begun.

It was night time. Karr Joon and some of the other elders had retired to their chambers though a majority were still celebrating. They had moved to the event hall to partake in the festivities that came with the message. Karr was a bit annoyed; it wasn’t that he disapproved of their activities, just that if they knew what he knew they wouldn’t be so happy about what had just happened. It was great that the war was over, with this it wouldn’t be long till all of Procul was at peace. The question was; at what cost?

Karr was still pondering the message and what it meant when he heard two rasp knocks on his door. Karr was inside one of the strongest fortresses in all of Procul, but he couldn’t help but be cautious. He got to the door only to find James and Drake lying in wait.

“You know, ” James started while looking at the staff, “If I were here to get you I wouldn’t knock on the door.”

“Anyone who would come here with such intentions would most likely be crazy,” Karr said as he laid his staff to rest.

“Crazy not stupid” James rebutted.

“You’d be surprised how often those two collide,” Drake chipped in.

The three elders were good friends, but the tension in the room was thick. Each elder pondered over the events of the day especially the unexpected news of the treaty; it would have severe impacts on the future of Ishlan and all Procul.

“The prophecy seems to be coming true,” James said; cutting to the chase.

“It would seem so,” Drake replied. They air became even heavier.

“Prophesies are just mere representations of what could be. There are many more paths that this world can take.” Karr said as he tried to alleviate some of the tension in the room, but his words held no substance.

“Prophecies tell us in which way Rideon moves and with every passing day the path to our destruction becomes ever clearer.” James rebutted.

“Maybe there is a beauty to this madness, James,” Drake said, “One does not know in which ways the gods move.”

“I would rather there be no madness at all!” James retorted.

“Wouldn’t we all?” said Karr, waving his staff in dismissal. “Unfortunately it seems we no longer have that choice.”

James was silent, even though he was hot-headed, he rarely acted before he thought. “Perhaps you are right Karr, but is there no better way.”

Karr could feel James anxiousness, he too had spent many nights asking that very question. “If there is, I’ll do my best to find it.”

“That’s all we could ever ask for,” Drake replied. He too understanding the gravity of the situation.

“It seems I have troubled you enough First Elder, I wish you good luck on your travels,” James said as he finally exited the room.

“I too bid you farewell, it seems that you need all the blessings Rideon can offer.” Drake chipped.

“It would seem so,” Karr replied.

With the other elders gone, Karr made a final farewell setting out on his journey.