Jump to content
Dabi

A First Step [Ariana’s Adventures]

Recommended Posts

At about 11am that day, Ariana arrived at the Katana no Ie. She got off her horse and completed the security procedures at the gate before entering. Once inside, she requested a meeting with Philip. Ordinarily, she’d have to wait a long time before getting her chance, but just saying it was about Dauner, was enough to make her get her meeting immediately. As it was, the Black Blade was affected by the disappearance of its Commander just as much as Hasturia was affected by the disappearance of its king. Once in Philip’s office, Ariana saluted him as one would salute their superior in the military. After all, Philip was a member of the Royal Circle of Hasturia.

Please take a seat. I understand you have something to tell me about Dauner’s whereabouts?” Philip inquired as soon as Ariana was seated.

“Not really sir. I’m here to request that you lend me some manpower so I can effectively search for King Dauner”

Philip was quite surprised by the request. “And would I want to grant you your request?” he asked looking at her skeptically. “As far as I know, you are the captain of the Royal Guard. Why can’t you take your men?

“My men are n sort supply and are needed to keep the palace safe”. Even though she sounded quite convincing, Philip saw through her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that really the reason?” he asked staring at her intensely.

“And we have orders to not abandon the duty of protecting the palace”

Orders? From who? Gozen seems like the kind who would give such an order, but I doubt it was him. He’s been away since the day Dauner went missing

“Orders from the king”

Ah. It seems like he doesn’t want to be found just yet. And why are you disobeying your king’s orders?

“Please help me out” Ariana asked in one last desperate attempt. “The king’s security is my duty. I have to find him, wherever he is. If I’m to be punished for breaking my orders, then so be it, but first, please help me find him”

Are you insinuating that Dauner is so weak that he would let himself be harmed that easily? E is the commander of the Legions of the Black Blade. His strength is unparalleled in our ranks. Don’t ever forget that”. Philip’s loyalty has always been so strong that he gets easily annoyed whenever anyone looks down on his lord. By the time he regained his composure, he had already said the words and there was no taking them back. “You can go now. I’ll think about your request” he finished in a calm tone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ariana got back on her feet and saluted once again. “Thank you sir”. With that, she left his office and walked back to the gate. Once on her horse, she returned to Hikari palace and awaited Philip’s decision with eagerness in her impatience.

Later that day, as the sun slowly sank below the horizon, Shelly returned to the palace and immediately asked to see Ariana. Ariana was busy getting her things ready to leave the next day. It didn’t matter whether Philip accepted to help or not, she had already set her mind on leaving. As soon as a maid informed her that Shelly had summoned her, she left what she was doing and hurried to Shelly. Shelly was in her chambers and was seated on her bed when Ariana arrived.

“You called for me, m’la…”

Ariana!” she called out in excitement, cutting Ariana off before she could complete her sentence.

“uh… yes my lady”

Are you still interested in going after Dauner?

“Yes my lady. I’m determined to”

Good! And how was your meeting with Philip?

“He said he’d think about it, but I have a feeling that I’ll be on my own in this”

Hmm. And here I was thinking Philip will jump at the prospect and give lend you the men without hesitation. Anyway, I got news that Dauner was last seen in Ursa Madeum last week. Apparently he attended the wedding of Queen Varda.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Really! Great! That’s my first lead”

But unfortunately, knowing Dauner, he’d be long gone from there since it’s already been a week

“That doesn’t matter. If I can just get to meet Queen Varda, I can ask her directly if she knows where to find him. There’s no way he’d have attended a wedding without being noticed by the newlyweds”

Seems like you already know him quite well, Ariana

“Of course, protecting him is my duty, so I have an obligation to him well enough”

Ok then. You bring Dauner back safely, and I’ll make sure you don’t get into any serious trouble

“Thanks Lady Shelly”

Don’t sweat it. Now go finish your preparations. You’re leaving tomorrow at dawn right?

“Yes my lady. I’ll take my leave”.

Oh, and remember! Watch your back once you find Dauner. You’ll be in more danger with him around” Shelly finished with a humored smile.

With that, Ariana left Shelly, and continued with her preparations. It wasn’t long before it was morning and Ariana was ready to depart. As she stepped out of the front gates, a group of 20 soldiers welcomed her. One of them stepped forward to introduce the whole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Good morning Lady Ariana! I’m 1st Lieutenant Hitachi from the Prime Legion of the Legions of the Black Blade. We’re here under Commander Philip’s orders to assist you in finding the Grand Commander”

Ariana’s eyes widened when she heard this. She had very little hope that Philip would accept her request given how illogical it sounded. In fact, she had so little hope that she believed she’d have to go on her own. But seeing the men standing there ready to follow her, she immediately lit up.

“Thank you all for being here” she said in a sigh of relief. “Now, let’s go find our King!” she roared followed by the roars of the soldiers.

The journey to Ursa Madeum was going to be a long one and for that, they needed to have a fast means of transport. This was also very important because if they wasted too much time, Dauner’s trail might run cold and they’d have to start the search from zero. Hasturia was still in the process of obtaining magic operated airships and as such land transport was the only way for them to travel. They each had horses making the job a bit easier for them. They would ride to a port town by the ocean and get on the first boat they found to UM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahead of them was a long journey. One which could prove perilous giving Dauner’s kind of ‘place of interest’. For one to effectively track him down, they’d need to be strong enough to face near death dangers. Luckily for Ariana, Dauner had thought her a few things that could help in combat.

Their first stop was in a town near the Hasturian border known by the name Selmburg. After riding the whole day without stopping, they decided to take a rest. They made camp just outside of town and spent the night there.

The next morning, they immediately got ready to continue their journey, and rode through town due south east. As they rode on, they noticed that the people seemed to be weary of soldiers. After further riding in, they came upon a group of soldiers trying to extort a civilian. The man was terrified of them, but seemed to not have the money they wanted. Ariana halted the group got off her horse. It should be noted that her and group were all dressed as civilians.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“What’s the issue here” she asked as she approached the soldiers. They turned to look at her and were rather impressed by her boldness.

“Did you say something?” one of the soldiers asked as if warning her to get the hell out of there.

“Respectable soldiers shouldn’t bully the civilians they are sworn to protect” she said sternly not backing down an inch. “So I’m going to have to ask you to get out of here”

“This one’s got a pretty big mouth doesn’t she?” another soldier said in an annoyed tone. “If I were you I’d watch my tongue and get lost before I get myself hurt”

“As if a band of weaklings like you can scare me” she answered with a scornful look on her face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The now angry soldiers had completely forgotten about their earlier prey and were now fully concentrated on Ariana. The three of them were now determined to teach her a lesson in manners. The first pounced at her with a punch knowing that she would be an easy target since she was a woman. A big mistake on his part. A broken arm and a bleeding nose. Those were his reward for his earlier assumptions. The other two seeing that she wasn’t just anyone drew their weapons and launched at her. They were however unable to reach her as they were intercepted by two of the men from Ariana's group, who blocked their strikes and attacked them back. After the fight, all three soldiers laid on the ground unconscious. Soon after, reinforcements arrived to arrest the insurgent who had attacked military personnel. However, the guy Ariana had saved managed to get them along with their horses to a safe hiding place where they waited till the soldiers were gone.

“Thanks for your help” the man said bowing his head.

“Think nothing of it” Ariana replied. “Why were you being bullied by soldiers?”

“They wanted money in exchange for me not getting hurt” the man replied.

“Money? That’s terrible! And to say such behavior from soldiers of Hasturia” Ariana exclaimed in disdain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“It’s been that way since King Dauner assigned Barzhoul Eron as Duke of Selmburg. His reign has been far worse than that of our previous Duke. The city has gone under military rule since then”

“Bar-who? King Dauner never assigned any such duke to Selmburg. He hasn’t assigned any duke to any of the royal cities in Hasturia” Ariana blurted out.

“Huh? Um, who are you?” the man asked.

“I’m Ariana Linus, Captain of the Hasturian Royal Guard!” she said.

The man was stunned by the information he had just received. If an officer from the Hikari Palace itself denied the allegation of Dauner being behind the assignment of Barzhoul to Selmburg, then it meant Dauner had been largely misunderstood. “Then are you here to help get rid of Barzhoul?” he asked expectantly.

“…No. I was just passing through… until now. I guess I must clear the king’s name and remove the tyrant from Selmburg” Ariana replied.

Their plans had changed. They weren’t going to hurry to UM anymore, but instead get rid of the Tyrant n Selmburg. After that, they’d continue their mission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Without wasting a moment, Ariana commanded the men to get ready because they were riding to the duke’s mansion. As they rode, they came upon a group of soldiers. The soldiers noticed their weapons and commanded them to get off their horses and turn themselves in. Ariana got down and sent her hand into her bag, pulling out her vambrace. She put the vambrace on and showed the rank insignia on it to the soldiers. The soldiers upon seeing it flinched.

“That rank insignia. She’s the Captain of the Royal Guard” one of them said. They all immediately put away their weapons and stood at attention. In Hasturia, one’s position in the military was engraved as an insignia on their vambrace or breastplate.

“Take me to Duke Bar-what’s-his-name-again” Ariana said putting down her arm. The soldiers did just that and led her to the duke’s mansion. After entering, she was welcomed by the duke himself who had been tipped about her arrival ahead of time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Welcome to Selmburg, Captain Ariana” Barzhoul said before introducing himself. “I’m Duke Barzhoul Eron of Selmburg”

“Save it. I don’t have time to waste beating around the bush” Ariana replied sternly. “You were never appointed to Selmburg. So how come you are the duke now?”

“Well, shortly after the establishment of the constitutions, I was appointed here as duke by the council. That was right before its dissolution” Barzhoul replied.

“And what happened to Lecard?” Ariana questioned.

“I’m afraid I have no idea. He left town right after being deposed. No one knows where he went to”

Ariana gave Barzhoul a menacing look and then walked out where her men were waiting. She got on her horse and rode into town to seek more information.

She ordered her men to scatter around the city and find out as much as they could about Lecard. While they would be out gathering information, Ariana went to the neighborhood where Lecard lived before his assignment to position of duke. There were several kids playing around and enjoying themselves without a care in the world. She walked over to Lecard’s previous neighbor’s house and knock on the door. After being welcomed in, she began to inquire about his whereabouts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“To be honest, I don’t believe that Lecard would leave Selmburg just like that” the old lady said to Ariana. “If he had been deposed, he would have returned here but instead, he disappeared without a trace. It was as if someone wanted him to disappear. This might sound presumptuous, but I think Barzhoul has something to do with Lecard’s disappearance”

“What make you say that?” Ariana asked.

“Barzhoul probably didn’t Lecard to take the position back. I always smelled foul play in Barzhoul’s rise to power. Selmburg was the only royal city to have its duke changed after the constitution was established. And Lecard disappeared on the same day Barzhoul took over. Strange isn’t it?”

“Yes. It is indeed. Thanks for your cooperation ma’am. It will certainly prove useful in the future” Ariana said getting up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Never mind that. I only want to see Selmburg return to the peaceful town it once was”

“I’ll do my best to make sure it does”. With that, Ariana was out. She visited a few more houses and taverns before meeting up with her group later that night. Apparently, Hitachi was the only one who got a lead. It seemed like someone had found a ring that belonged to Lecard in the sewers a few days prior. With that information, it was clear what they’d be doing through the rest of the night. They got torches and descended into the sewers at the point where the ring was found.

“This is where he said he found it” Hitachi said pointing to the place.

“The water’s flowing from that way” Ariana said facing the direction from which the water was flowing. “Let’s follow it”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The night was long. After hours of senseless walking and searching, they came upon a well concealed door in the wall. After forcing it open, they found themselves in some kind of dungeon. Coincidentally, it was right beneath the duke’s mansion. In the room, they saw a man in a cell. There was no doubt about it. It was Lecard. The men broke the cell’s door and got Lecard out. As they headed towards the door again, a guard noticed them. He immediately ran out and sounded an alarm before getting knocked out. Ariana and her men ten hurried their escape and exited the sewers. They took refuge in an inn which welcomed them warmly after recognizing Lecard. There he was fed and rested properly for the rest of the night. He woke up the next day at around midday. After eating and cleaning himself up, he sat at a table with Ariana.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Thanks for rescuing me” he said.

“Why were you being detained in an underground dungeon?” Ariana asked jumping straight to the issue at hand.

“I don’t know why myself” Lecard replied. “After Barzhoul arrived at the mansion with his letter of appointment, I left and headed for my old house in town. But on my way, I was knocked out by unknown men. After that they took me to that dungeon”

“Seems to me like Barzhoul did not rightfully get his position and so he kept you down there to make sure you didn’t ruin things for him. But what I don’t understand is why he didn’t kill you. In order to silence you, he could have killed you but he didn’t. There’s something else, isn’t there?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...