|The Happenings II|
|Series||The Happenings by Azaelia Silmarwen|
|Previous||It's a Beginning, Not an End|
|Next||So The Rebellion Begins: Allies|
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Part Two now beginnings, which is to do with Fable III
CHAPTER FIVE: A HERO IS BORNEdit
Twenty-three years had passed since the Prince Logan's safe return from Aurora and in that time, Albion flourished once again with its people enjoying peace, prosperity, and a rapid pace of technological development, but what excited Albion most was when Amy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Cassandra, but that happiness was not to last. Days before Princess Cassandra's fifth birthday, King River made an announcement telling them that a tragic illness had taken the life of his beloved wife. It came as no surprise when Walter, the royal adviser and old soldier, announced River's death two years later. The people of Albion were surprised that he lasted that long. They all knew how much the queen meant to the king. It was then that seventeen year old, Prince Logan became their king with a heavy heart with his seven year old sister by his side.
In the beginning, Albion was happy with their young king for he was caring, patient, intelligent and decisive, and he ruled the kingdom with a strong, but even hand...but it was not to last. After one of Logan's many trips to Aurora, he's policies and troops became stricter, harsher and unforgiving. He took money from both the extremely rich and poor alike which started to lead to poverty. Their king, who once listened to those around him, began to ignore the cries of his people, advisers and even his sister. In the end, a revolution had begun...
'What a dreadfully sorry sight,' sighed Jasper, a faithful butler to Princess Cassandra as he opened her curtains before waking her for the day. 'Such a beautiful day to waste in bed, don't you agree?'
Cassie didn't even bother opening her eyes. Instead she burrowed her heading to her pillow groaning.
'Go away, Jasper,' groaned Cassie. She was having a wonderful dream about her lover.
'Now that is hardly the response of a princess,' stated Jasper sternly as he walked over to her bed. 'I'm afraid it is time to rise. With your permission, I shall wake your sleeping companion.'
Cassie groaned again. He would have done it regardless.
'Ah, yes.' said disapproving Jasper as he moved Cassie's cover's to reveal her dog, Lightning. Lightning was one of her mother's dog Storm's children. As for his name...she was four years old when she named him. 'One's heart soars before such regal bearing. I trust you both slept well. You have a busy day ahead.'
Cassie groaned again and lent over to rub Lightning's tummy.
'Come on, boy. If I have to get up, so do you.' she said, before hopping out of bed herself. Lightning followed quickly and went over to Jasper, before looking up at him with a sad look on his face.
'It's not going to work,' Jasper said firmly, knowing that Lightning was after a pat. 'Don't look at me like that!' Lightning made a whimpering sound. 'Oh, very well. Good dog,' sighed Jasper in defeat, before muttering, 'What a pair...the kingdom is doomed.'
'It's a good thing then that Logan is king. I will have nothing to do with the running of Albion!' Cassie said happily.
'Hmm,' was all Jasper said, turning his attention to me and getting down to business. 'Now, madam -' Cassie had given up on trying getting him to call her "Cassie" or at least "Cassandra", '- if you follow me, perhaps we can find more appropriate clothing for today's activities.'
'Right, what's on the agenda today?' Cassie asked.
'Firstly, Master Elliot is most eager to speak to you this morning and is waiting for you in the garden.'
'Did he say what he wanted to speak to me about?' Cassie asked, frowning slightly. Something must be wrong.
'No, but I have no doubt, regardless of what he wants to talk to you about, that you will wish to look your best for your young friend.' He stressed the word "friend" and Cassie felt a slight blush come to her cheeks. 'I have taken the liberty of arranging two suitable outfits, if you would care to choose.'
Cassie smiled at how organised Jasper was - honestly, she would be lost without him - and went to see which outfits he had chosen. One was her white and blue elegant outfit while the other was a more practical outfit. Assuming that she wouldn't have any sword practice with Walter today, she decided to wear her elegant outfit. She quickly took it off the mannequin - leaving the hat behind (she thought that she looked ridiculous in it) - and went behind her screen to get changed. Once changed, she put a royal blue chocker around her neck and matching earrings in her ears. She went to her dressing table and focused on her long, brown hair. She decided to leave it down to frame her face, before focusing on her makeup. With that all done, she walked over to Jasper.
'Ah, splendid choice!' Jasper said approvingly, looking up at Cassie once she approached. 'I'm sure Master Elliot will approve. Perhaps you should make your way to meet him now. And I would recommend avoiding your brother today.' he added warningly.
'Why?' Cassie asked suspiciously. What was wrong with her brother now?
'King Logan is rumoured to be in an ill temper.' Jasper said simply. 'Have a good day, madam.'
'Will do. Bye, Jasper.' Cassie replied as she left her chamber. She wondered what had Logan in a foul mood this time.
She barely noticed everyone bowing and curtseying to her as she made her way to the gardens to find Elliot. She had a pretty good idea where he'd be. She would check the garden outlook where they normally stood looking at the city below. Her hunch was correct for there he was standing patiently for her. Lightning, upon seeing Elliot, let out an excited bark and ran over to him barking. Elliot turned around, before bending down to pat the excited dog.
'Oh, fierce warrior, are you here to join my army?' Elliot asked cheerfully. Lightning barked in reply. 'Good. We shall face all our enemies together, won't we? Yes, we will. Yes, we will.'
'Then the kingdom is safe,' said an amused Cassie.
'Ah, our fair princess,' began Elliot, standing up and walking over to her. 'Your two brave knights will protect you with their lives.'
'Thanks, but I can look after myself, you know.' laughed Cassie.
'Really?' said a disbelieving Elliot. 'I'm afraid I'll need some proof. Perhaps you can give me a demonstration of your abilities?' he added slyly.
Cassie smirked and closed the gap between the two of them till their bodies we're pressing together. She then wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him passionately on the lips.
'How's that?' giggled Cassie, when their lips broke apart. She kept her arms wrapped around his neck and his arms remained around her waist.
'That's...I'd have to say that's quite satisfactory,' said a breathless Elliot. 'Thought you'd never get up. Did jasper tell you I wanted to speak to you?' he asked, taking a small step away from her and becoming serious suddenly.
'Yes. Did something happen?' Cassie said worriedly.
'I'm not sure,' admitted Elliot. 'But everyone in the castle seems to be upset with your brother.'
'What else is new?' said Cassie.
'More than usual.' said Elliot, before walking over to the railing and looking down at the city below. 'And it's even worse down in the city. You hear such terrible stories. Listen, they say that a factory worker was executed this morning. I'm sure it's only a rumour, but you can imagine the way people are talking. The staff in the castle are anxious. I told them you'd speak to them. Will you do that? I'm afraid what will happen if someone doesn't calm things down.'
'If you think it will help...'
'I do. They may fear the king, but they still care for their princess.' smiled Elliot. 'So, my good princess, may I take your hand and escort you to the castle? Everyone's waiting for you.'
'Of course you may,' smiled Cassie, taking his offered hand.
'Good. Now let's go,' said Elliot, leading the way up to the palace. After awhile, Elliot spoke again. 'I can't believe Logan could have had a work executed. But sometimes I think...,' he hesitated.
'Elliot, we have known each other since we were kids. You can speak your mind,' Cassie said gently.
'Well, I sometimes think that there is something wrong with him.'
'What makes you think that?'
Elliot shrugged. 'He's changed so much. And he looks so tired all the time.'
Cassie had to admit that she couldn't argue with that. Indeed Logan had changed as they grew up and he did look extremely tired, but that didn't mean that there was something wrong with him, did it?
'He's probably just stressed,' said Cassie.
'Maybe. Anyway, I told Sir Walter about the speech. He'll be there to support you. I don't know what this place would be like without him.' continued Elliot, changing the subject. He could sense that Cassie was uncomfortable talking about her brother's actions. 'I'm sure he'll want to carry on with your instruction today. He seems obsessed with combat training lately.'
'Obsessed isn't the word I would use,' grumbled Cassie. 'And here I was thinking that he would give me the day off.'
'I'm sure he has a good reason for it,' agreed Elliot. 'Good luck,' he added as a whisper as we entered the kitchens, where the staff had assembled.
'Thanks,' muttered Cassie as the voices of the staff met her ears.
'Well, I heard all he did was stand up for one of the kids working in the factory.'
'Who knows where it ends. Next thing you know it's one of us that's -'
'Quit your gossiping now,' stated the head cook, catching sight of Elliot and Cassie. 'And straighten those clothes!' The staff quickly obeyed and gave their princess their complete and utter attention. 'Welcome, your highness. Such an honour to have you here today.' said the cook, bowing deeply to Cassie. 'The staff have convened to hear your words. Whenever you are ready, Princess.'
Cassie didn't start straight away. Instead, she looked around at the worried faces of the staff that had assembled. Finally she began in a loud, firm, but caring and understanding voice; 'You have all been through some difficult times, and the king has been too...preoccupied to treat you as he should. But I ask you to ignore any wild rumours you hear. I promise to speak with my brother about improving conditions for both you and your families outside the castle. Thank you.'
With that said, the staff was dismissed and Elliot walked over to Cassie.
'Great job,' he said.
'You call that a royal speech?' asked a strong loud voice from a nearby doorway. Elliot and Cassie both jumped. Neither of them had seen or heard Walter enter the room. 'You didn't shout, you didn't threaten, and you were far too reasonable...it was bloody marvellous!' chuckled Walter approvingly. 'Right then, ready for today's training?' he added, looking Cassie up and down. He didn't think she was wearing the appropriate attire.
'As ready as I'll ever be,' muttered Cassie, following Walter out of the room. Behind her she heard Elliot yell out, 'Take good care of her, Walter!'
Cassie smiled. Elliot was always looking out for her and spoiling her.
'I suppose you've heard the rumours then?' Walter asked as we walked through the corridors of Bowerstone Castle, once known as Castle Fairfax.
'About the factory worker? Yes.'
'Well, I'm afraid they're quite true,' sighed Walter sadly. I nearly stopped dead upon hearing that statement. Sure Logan had done some harsh and unforgivable things in his time, but something like this...she couldn't believe it! 'Who knows what your brother will do next,' continued Walter. 'In the meantime, the mood in the castle is getting more uneasy by the day. A lot of people to see your brother today. Poor sods,' added Walter as the two of them entered the main entry. There was a group of tired looking people standing in line waiting to have an audience with the king.
Logan must be in the Throne Room, thought Cassie, but her thoughts were interrupted as a villager called out to Walter.
'Sir Walter!' he exclaimed. 'What a stroke of luck! Would you be so kind as to sign my petition? We must fight to eradicate poverty in Albion. Too many suffer on our streets, and the king does nothing. He must be made to care.'
Cassie frowned at that. What the villager said couldn't be true. Logan does care for his people, and she was sure he was doing everything in his power to help stop it. She was surprised by Walter's answer.
'Oh, very well, but I'm just an old soldier. I doubt my name would mean anything. But perhaps the princess here would care to help you out.'
It took all of Cassie's strength not to glare at Walter. How could he put her on the spot like that? And against her brother too. Plus she didn't even know much about life outside the castle since she had spent her entire life inside - except for the few short years she had with her mother. Her father and brother never let her outside after her mother's death.
'Oh, that would be wonderful, your highness!' Said the villager excitedly. 'It would be a great honour.'
Taking one look at his face, Cassie knew that she would never be able to say no. Inwardly sighing, she agreed.
'Thank you, my princess. Your support will make all the difference. I'm certain of it.' he said, after Cassie had signed.
Cassie nodded to him and left with Walter through the opposite doorway.
'That was a courageous move,' said Walter the moment we were out of hearing range. 'I doubt it will make much of a difference, but perhaps your brother will finally realise you have a mind of your own.'
Cassie frowned again. Of course he knew that she had a mind of her own!
'Let's see you put it to good use in the combat room,' Walter added as they entered the combat room. 'You have made good progress these past few weeks, but today isn't about practice. I want you to fight me, as if your life depended on it.'
Cassie nearly dropped the sword she was holding as he said that. Firstly, she didn't think that she was wearing the suitable attire for fighting - though it didn't really matter since her mother could fight in anything - and secondly, she didn't want to accidently hurt Walter, but she did as he asked. Again and again, Cassie stuck blow after blow, but Walter was able to block every single one, without much effort, which didn't help her confidence. Half way during the fight, Walter began to speak.
'Do you remember the stories I'd tell you when you were a child?' he asked, blocking another blow. 'About your mother, the great Hero Queen?'
'Yes, what about them?' Cassie panted, striking again.
'You never got tired of hearing those stories.'
'That's because they were the only things left that I had of my mother, seeing as Logan would never talk about her. It pained him too much. Still does, in fact.' Cassie said, failing to see where he was going with the conversation.
'After every story, do you remember what you would say?' he asked.
'Teach me how to be a Hero,' replied Cassie.
'Every single time,' chuckled Walter. 'I wish there was something an old soldier like me could teach you...but I have done my best. Now I need you to do your best. Strike me! It's time you show me what you've got!'
Cassie obeyed. Her grip tightened on her sword handle and she flung it around striking Walter's sword. The force of her attack knocked Walter backwards and her sword and upper body went downwards. She stood there staring at the floor panting and only looked up when she heard Walter laughing.
'Look at that! You only went and broke it!' laughed Walter.
Startled, Cassie looked up and sure enough, she had broken Walter's sword in half. She had done that, but how on earth did she manage to do that? She didn't inherit her mother's strength. In fact, she hadn't inherited anything from her mother except her looks. Logan was the same. While the staff assumed that he looked like their father, they weren't sure. They were sure about one thing, however, and that was that Logan had inherited his father's unnatural ability as a marksman, making Logan the best marksman in Albion, excluding his business adviser Reaver, the Hero of Skill, who Cassie was yet to meet.
'Look at that! Am I a great teacher or what?' Walter continued to laugh, while Cassie remained stunned. After a while, Walter began serious once more. 'Listen, there's something -'
'Walter!' interrupted a worried Elliot as he ran into the room. 'You have to go quickly! Both of you!'
'What's happened?' Walter asked quickly.
'Outside the castle! It looks like a demonstration!'
'This is not good,' muttered Walter, following Elliot from the room.
'There right inside the castle grounds,' explained Elliot. 'I've never seen so many people out there.'
'Balls,' cursed Walter. 'I should have known this would happen. I don't think they realise what Logan is capable of. This isn't going to end well.' he said, looking out a nearby window at the crowd below. 'It has been a long time since Logan has listened to me, but I should find him. Stay here.' he added firmly. 'There is still something we need to talk about.'
The moment that Walter was out of sight, Elliot turned to Cassie.
'I have a horrible feeling about this. We can't just stand here. We need to do something.' He glanced over to the stairwell that Walter had just gone up. 'Look, the guards have moved away from the stairs. We should follow Walter; find out what Logan's going to do. Let's go while we can.'
Cassie hesitated. Hadn't Walter told them to remain where they were? But she soon figured that she ought to know what was happening. After all, she was the princess and she was eighteen years of age.
'Okay, let's go,' said Cassie, following Elliot up the stairs. 'They'll most likely be in the War Room.'
'Then let's get there before anyone sees us,' replied Elliot nervously, hurrying down the corridor that lead to the War Room. Once they arrived at the War Room, they quietly went to the closed door and listened through the keyhole.
'Think about what you are doing, Logan!' Walter warned.
'I'm protecting the interests of the people. Do not question me again.' Logan, now twenty-eight, said firmly before turning to one of his soldiers. 'You will shoot to kill. Start with the ringleaders, and if necessary, continue with the crowd.'
'This is wrong, you can't do this!' said an outraged Walter, advancing on Logan.
Logan made a small hand gesture and one of his soldering smashed his weapon in Walter's left knee. Walter collapsed to the ground, making Elliot and Cassie gasp. Cassie had never seen her older brother like this before. Was this the man that everyone else in Albion saw?
'Never tell what I can't do,' Logan said coldly, looking down at the man kneeling before him.
Elliot and Cassie moved quietly away from the door. The moment they were sure that they wouldn't be overheard, Elliot turned to Cassie.
'We can't let him kill all those people.' he said, stating the obvious. 'You're his sister! Maybe he'll listen to you!'
Cassie nodded her agreement, went back to the War Room door, and flung it open, startling those inside.
'What are you doing here, Cassie?' asked Logan, realising who it was. He sounded annoyed. 'The War Room is no place for a child. Leave now.'
It was Cassie's turn to be annoyed. For once she wished that he would stop treating her like the five year old girl he taught how to dance.
'I'm here to stop you.' Cassie said confidently. 'You can't kill those people!'
'No, wait...' Walter said desperately, but Logan interrupted him.
'Enough!' he stated firmly, before advancing on Cassie. She held her ground. She was not scared of her brother. 'How dare you turn against me? Perhaps you believe you should be the one making these decisions.'
'What? No! That's not what I meant, Log -' Cassie argued back. Logan held up his hand to stop her.
'Well, seeing as you really wish to defend those traitors, I should let you make the decision this time.' Logan said coldly, making a motion to the guards to take hold of Elliot.
'Let him go!' Cassie said angrily, making a move towards the guard that held him. Logan grabbed her by the arm to stop her.
'Take my sister's friend to the throne room.' ordered Logan, sneering at the word friend. He knew that Elliot and Cassie were more than friends and Logan, being a typical older brother, didn't approve on him one bit.
When Logan and Cassie arrived at the Throne Room, Logan's soldiers were in there guarding both Elliot and three villagers. Cassie looked up at her expressionless brother worriedly. What was he planning?
'Cassandra,' began Logan, once they were standing in the middle of the room, 'today you have disappointed me beyond measure. I have been betrayed by my own blood...and a filthy spy,' he added, glaring over at Elliot. He always thought that the boy was a bad influence on his little sister.
'We did nothing wrong!' argued an angry Elliot.
Logan ignored him as he often did.
'Punishment must be apportioned where it belongs,' continued Logan.
'Punish me then!' Cassie half begged of her brother, looking up into his tired face. He looked ten years older than he actually was.
Logan looked down at her desperate face, before saying, 'You are no longer a child, and it is time I stopped treating you as one. You wished to save the traitors who had gathered outside the castle this morning, so you shall be given the chance to save them. Here stand the leaders of the violent mob,' Logan said, motioning to the three scared looking villagers. 'I will give you a choice.'
'What choice?' Cassie asked, hardly daring to breathe. She knew that she wasn't going to like what was about to happen.
'Who will be punished?' Logan said simply. 'These strangers, -' he motioned to the mob leaders, '- or this boy.' He motioned to Elliot, with much dislike on his face. 'The sentence will be death,' said Logan, looking over back down at Cassie.
'What!' exclaimed Cassie. How would she be able to choose between her lover and her people?
Logan took her chin in his hand and looked her straight in the eye. 'You are the princess. Decide.' His tone was almost gentle.
Walter couldn't remain silent anymore.
'Your majesty. Logan. Please.' begged Walter.
Logan ignored him and continued to look at his little sister, never letting go of her chin, nor did she force it away, but her angry eyes never left his cold ones.
'I am giving you power over life and death,' said Logan.
'No! I won't do this!' yelled Cassie, knocking his hand away and hurrying over to Elliot. Elliot wrapped his arms around her.
'If you can't or will not choose...then I will.' Logan said coldly. 'They will all be executed.'
Cassie couldn't do anything but stare at her brother in sheer horror. Elliot was right. He had changed, but not for the better. She couldn't believe that her brother become so dark so...evil, heartless, take your pick.
'So tell me, Cassandra. What are you willing to sacrifice to do the right thing?' Logan asked, watching her closely.
Cassie looked from the man she loved to the people she had never met before. How could she decide? As though reading her thoughts, Elliot made the choice for her.
'Choose me, Cass.' Elliot said gently. 'You can't let them all die. Choose me.' he added, gently lifting up her chin and looking her in the eyes.
Tears began to fall from Cassie's eyes as she nodded her head. Elliot smiled sadly down at her. Cassie had to be impressed by Elliot's courage in the face of death.
'Thank you, thank you!' cried one of the mod members.
Cassie ignored them. If it hadn't been for them, she would never have been put in this position. Her eyes remained locked to Elliot's. Tears freely flowing down her face.
'It's all right. You did what you had to do.' Elliot said gently, wiping away her tears with his thumb as he tried to memorise her face. 'Never forget what he has done and always remember that I love you.' he whispered, before taking her lips in his own.
'Take the boy away!' said Logan harshly. Cassie and Elliot probably made him madder by kissing each other. He probably would have like Elliot more if he hadn't been dating his sister. 'Take him to the dungeons and wait for my orders to kill him.'
Logan quickly pulled Cassie away from Elliot as the soldiers dragged him away.
'I will never forgive you for this!' Cassie screamed at Logan, before hitting him in the chest. He moved uncomfortable, before grabbing hold of her hands to stop her from hitting him again. If she was someone else, she would probably have been killed to for attacking the king.
'Good. Then you will never forget it.' Logan said quietly. 'Escort my sister to her chambers. Now.'
Two soldiers came over to Cassie and each took one of her arms.
'I can walk by myself!' she snapped, before leaving the Throne Room, with the two soldiers following her.
The moment Cassie arrived in her chambers; she opened the door before slamming it shut, startling Jasper, who was currently sorting a few things out.
'Cassandra? What's wrong?' exclaimed Jasper, hurrying over to the now sobbing Cassie who was lying on her bed. Lightning whined sadly, jumping on the bed trying to comfort his mistress.
'E-Elliot has been sentenced to d-death!' sobbed Cassie, not noticing the use of her first name. 'And it's all my fault!'
'What do you mean?' Jasper asked quietly, gently rubbing her back in comforting circles.
Cassie then explained exactly what happened after she left her chambers that morning. By the time see had finished, a storm had hit and rain was pouring down, and the clouds made it look as though it was night.
'How could Logan do something like that?' yelled a now angry Cassie as she stormed over to her sofa. 'If only I had kept my mouth shut instead of thinking that I was old enough and mature enough to do...' Cassie broke off with a scream and hit her sofa arm.
'You mustn't blame yourself, madam.' Jasper said gently, walking over to her. 'I don't think any of us realised just how far he'd fallen into madness.'
'I have to do something. I can't just stay here.' Cassie said firmly, trying to get a hold of herself.
'You're not,' said Walter firmly as he entered her chambers. 'This kingdom needs nothing less than a revolution. It needs a new leader. It needs a Hero.'
'A revolution has already begun, Walter.' said Cassie, not even bothering to turn around. 'That mob is proof of it. As for a new leader, you'd be more likely to find the Archon's Dream that was stolen from the museum than get Logan off the throne and as for a Hero...the only Hero I know about that is still alive is Reaver, and he is in league with my brother. The others are either dead, or across the seas.'
'Wrong, Cassie.' said Walter. 'Come with me. It is time to see if you are ready.'
'Ready for what?' groaned Cassie. She wasn't in the mood for riddles.
'To be your mother's daughter,' answered Walter. Cassie turned around and gave him a look. Couldn't he tell that she was not in the mood for riddles? Elliot would have known.
'Very good. I will pack some essentials.' said Jasper.
Cassie looked over at him quickly. He understood what Walter was on about. Had the two of them planned something long ago or something?
'There's no time. We take nothing.' Walter said firmly, leading the way out of Cassie's chambers.
'Not even...pyjamas?' said a shocked Jasper.
Cassie nearly laughed at her butler's reaction, but she didn't for she was hesitant to leave her chambers. Hesitant to do anything else to make her brother angry.
'Don't worry, madam. I shall follow you wherever fate may take us,' said Jasper gently, giving Cassie a little nudge out the door.
Taking a deep breath, Cassie hurried after Walter. While neither Jasper nor Walter was related to her by blood, they were still her family and she trusted them with her life.
'I should have done something in the throne room. I should have stopped him,' ranted Walter, leading the way down to the garden. Lightning gave a little growl over being out in the rain. He was more on a luxury, stay inside dog compared to his father, Storm.
'All you would have accomplished would have been your own death.' Jasper said firmly.
'Still,' muttered Walter. 'Maybe I should have taken you away sooner.' he added to Cassie.
'What do you mean, "Taken me away"? Taken me away where? Walter, you're not making any sense!' Cassie told her beloved mentor. Walter didn't answer.
'There is something rather sinister about this garden at night,' muttered Jasper.
'Jasper, it is afternoon,' said Cassie.
'You know what I mean,' he replied.
'Walter, can you please tell me where we are going?' Cassie begged.
'We are going to pay our respects to Albion's greatest and truest Hero,' answered Walter, leading them to the Catacombs where Cassie and Logan's parents were buried.
'I never thought I'd enter this place again,' muttered a sad Jasper.
'You should have known better,' said Walter.
Cassie looked between the two older men again. They were talking in riddles that only they seemed to know. Why should Jasper have known better?
Curious and confused as to what was happening, Cassie followed Walter into the Catacombs, followed by Lightning and Jasper.
'The night your mother died I promised her that I would bring you here one day, when you were old enough, and strong enough.' Walter explained as he led the way through the catacomb towards Cassie's parents' tombs.
'Why?' Cassie asked.
'Because this is your history and legacy,' answered Walter, before adding,' and she told me that you were Albion's last hope against the Darkness, whatever that means. Anyway, the world has been too long without a Hero - a Hero that helps people instead of taking advantage of them -,' Walter was talking about Reaver, '- but I'm hoping that it will have one soon.'
'What? Are you saying that you think that I could be a Hero? Like Mother?' asked a disbelieving Cassie.
Walter nodded and walked over to one side of a huge statue, while Jasper went to the other side. There they pushed a secret pressure plate - which looked like any other stone brick - which made the statue lower its hands to reveal some sort of seal.
'This is your mother's most treasured possession - besides you and your brother,' explained Walter. 'Your father put it here immediately after her death. The Guild Seal chooses those who have the power inside them. Those who have the potential to become legends. Take it.'
Cassie did as he said and picked up the small seal. It fitted into one of her dainty hands. She stood there for a moment holding it, before turning to Walter.
'Was something supposed to happen?' Cassie asked. The moment the words left her lips, the Guild Seal began to glow and pain began to course through her body. Walter and Jasper just stood there watching her. She wanted to yell out to them, to tell them to get the cursed device away from her, but she couldn't. But then, the pain stopped and she felt stronger and more powerful than before. Was she a Hero or something now? Or was it just her imagination?
She was about to turn to Walter and Jasper to ask what had just happened, when she realised they weren't there, and neither was Lightning. In fact, she was no longer in the catacombs. She was standing in some fog filled place in front of a huge gate with the Guild crest on it. In front of the gate was a woman that looked exactly like the statue in the catacombs. The lady was dressed in a red and white dress with a matching hood. Her eyes were white. Cassie watched her cautiously wondering whether she was friend or foe. They stood there in silence for several minutes, before Cassie decided to break the silence.
'Wh-who are you?' she asked nervously. She had no weapon to defend herself with if this lady turned out to be a foe.
'I am Theresa, the Seer of the Spire. I guided your mother to her greatest triumph and I am one of the reasons to why your parents met, but you have an even greater destiny ahead of you, than both of theirs combined.' said the white eyed woman. 'The Seal awoke at your touch, as it would no one else's - except perhaps Logan's. This means the fate of Albion rests on your shoulders.'
At her words, Cassie was strongly reminded of what Walter had told her. "Because this is your history and legacy, and she told me that you were Albion's last hope against the Darkness, whatever that means". Is this what her mother had meant, and if so, how did she know about it in the first place?
Cassie began aware of Theresa talking again.
'Before you lies the path you were born to take. And at its end is the kingdom you were born to rule.' said Theresa. 'Like all Heroes, you will face many trials, but you cannot pass through these gates alone. You will need to gather followers and gain the support of the people. For now, you have the support of two friends. Jasper, who will serve you always...and Sir Walter Beck, who will be your greatest ally. Together you have already taken the first step in your journey. Walk through the gate and claim your reward.' she said before disappearing.
Cassie was definitely spooked out now. Not even those people that claim to be magicians could do that. But somehow, she knew that she could trust the Seer Theresa, and she hoped that it wasn't just because she mentioned her parents. For all Cassie knew, she could have made that up.
Drawing upon her courage, Cassie did as Theresa asked and walked through the gates where she soon came across a chest. She opened it and found a red gauntlet. What kind of reward was this? Was it so she could protect her forearm? As she tried it on, Theresa appeared once more, scaring the living day lights out of Cassie.
'I use to do that to your father to,' Theresa said casually, referring to Cassie being scared. 'The gauntlets - created by your mother and her friends Barnum and Garth - will channel the magic within you. Use it by the tomb in the mausoleum, and the way out of the castle will open for you. You will return here when you have gathered enough followers to reach the next gate.' explained Theresa. 'Now go. Walter and Jasper will follow you wherever you lead. And one day, perhaps the rest of Albion will do so too.' she said before Cassie's surroundings began to disappear and she found herself standing back in the catacombs. Walter, Jasper and Lightning were standing around her.
'Well? Do you...Do you feel any different?' asked a curious Walter.
'I...I feel stronger,' admitted Cassie. 'Sorry if I made you worry by the way when I disappeared.' she added.
'Disappeared?' repeated a blank Jasper. 'Madam, you've been here the entire time.'
'Wh-what? That can't be right. I've been gone for at least fifteen minutes.' said a now confused Cassie.
'What are you talking about, Cassie?' asked Walter and Cassie quickly explained about Theresa and what she had said, before showing them the gauntlet on her arm.
'Theresa knew River?' repeated a shocked Walter.
'I'm more shocked about the part of her being a reason to why they met,' said Jasper. 'It's weird for Queen Amy's great-great-great, many more greats, aunt to set her up with a thief. Do you think she was trying to save King River from a path of hate and crime or something?'
'I don't know. But what I do know is that Cassie will have to try and cast a spell.' answered Walter.
'Why?' asked Cassie.
'That's suppose to be our only way of getting out of here,' Walter said simply.
Cassie and Jasper stared at him.
'You might have mentioned that earlier,' muttered Jasper, sounding annoyed.
'And spoil the surprise?' grinned Walter.
Jasper didn't look amused.
Sighing, Cassie relaxed her body and mind and tried to focus on the power she could feel running through her veins and before she knew it, a fireball came out of her gauntlet, scaring Jasper and startling Lightning, Walter and herself. They looked around. Nothing seemed to have happened.
'I thought you said casting a spell would show us the way,' said Jasper.
'That's what Amy told me. Maybe you have to stand in a certain spot.' said a thoughtful Walter, looking around.
Cassie too began looking around, when her eyes feel upon a circle of light red light, lightly emitting from the ground. When she walked over for a closer look, she saw that the circle was the Heroes Guild crest. Gathering her Will again, Cassie sent a fireball into the ground in the circle and the ground beneath her parents tombs began to move revealing a secret passageway.
'It bloody worked!' exclaimed Walter. 'You really are a Hero!'
'I never doubted it for a second,' huffed Jasper.
'Well, of course, neither did I. Still though...it bloody worked!' Walter said happily, walking down the stone stairs that lead to the way out of the castle.
Cassie didn't follow straight away, instead she said goodbye to her parents, whom she had barely any memories of - Logan took down all portraits and photos of them, along with statues and books - before hurrying after her friends.
'Somewhat narrow, isn't it? Dark too,' muttered Walter as they walked through the passageway.
'You never did care for confined spaces, did you, Sir Walter?' said Jasper.
'I never cared for being poked in the eye or having my head chopped off, what of it?' snapped Walter.
'Oh, dear. I seem to have struck a nerve.'
'How about if I strike a butler on the bunce!'
'Enough you two.' Cassie said tiredly. She wasn't in the mood for listening to them scrabble like an old married couple. She was tired. First her boyfriend is executed, a fight with her brother, then she runs away only to find out that she is a Hero and she has to start a revolution all to become the next ruler of Albion...it was definitely not a good day for her.
They walked in silence for a few minutes until they arrived at a large opening.
'Ah, now this is more like it.' exclaimed Walter. 'Grand, spacious, a plentiful supply of oxygen...just the way a castle's escape route should be.'
'I hesitate to ask, but what is our plan?' Jasper said hesitantly. 'Other than leaving the castle far behind us, which I wholly approve of, obviously.'
'It's simple. We have to stop Logan.' Walter said as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
'How am I supposed to do that? Even if I am a Hero, I'm just one person.' said Cassie. She decided not to add "easier said than done" to her statement.
'Exactly. That is why we need to find allies.' said Walter. 'And lots of them. Once you prove what you are, people will follow you, and many of them will be willing to fight. But they need a leader. Someone to believe in. Albion needs nothing less than a revolution...'
'Bats! Take cover!' yelled Jasper as colony of bats came flying at the group.
Cassie tried not to laugh at Jasper's reaction to the bats as she sent fire ball after fireball at the small creatures. She was really starting to get the hang of it. Walter must have thought so to, for once Cassie had killed them all, Walter exclaimed happily, 'Excellent! Did you see that, Jasper? Did you see it?'
'Indeed. Your mother would have been proud, madam.' said Jasper, straightening his clothes.
That simple comment meant the world to Cassie. She wished that she had more memories of her mother, and hearing that she would be proud of her made her happier than you can imagine.
'Well, I know I am!' smiled Walter, before continuing down the path. 'Come on.' he said, before adding to Jasper, 'And I'm proud of you too, old friend.'
'Why?' Jasper asked suspiciously.
'I've never seen a man cower with such grace.' Walter said making Cassie snort with laughter and Jasper's next comment made her laugh good-naturedly.
'It is merely a matter of hygiene.' huffed Jasper. 'Bats are filthy creatures!'
Walter laughed at Jasper's comment, before turning to Cassie.
'Anyway, I think we've just seen the first proof of what you can do.' said Walter. 'You are the Hero who can lead this land in a revolution.'
'Walter, I just killed bats. How is that proof of anything?' Cassie asked.
'Amy started with giant beetles,' shrugged Walter. 'Bats are just the beginning.'
And so they were. As they continued down the cavern path, more bats attacked and Jasper cowered again while Walter and Cassie shot bullets and fireballs at them.
'Another impressive display, madam.' Jasper said approvingly as he straightened his clothes, once the last of the bats was gone. 'To think, this morning my job consisted of laying out clothes for royalty. Now I'm a midnight snack for bats.'
'You'll get use to it!' chuckled Walter as the four of them continued on their way towards a man built tunnel. 'You might want to cover your noses from here on. It's the Bowerstone sewers.' he added warningly.
'Ew,' muttered Cassie. She was wearing one of her best pieces of clothing.
As they entered the sewers, Walter added to Jasper, 'You might want to cover your eyes too, Jasper. More bats!' Once all the bats were no more, Walter headed deeper into the sewers saying, 'You've certainly got the hang of that spell. '
The deeper we got into the sewers; Jasper began to speak once more.
'Ugh, what an unusual stench. I daresay we must be somewhere beneath Bowerstone Industrial.'
'Very likely,' agreed Walter. 'Not the safest place for us right now, but we should be able to find a way out of the city once we reach the surface...'
'And how do we do that exactly?' asked Cassie as they came to a dead end with nothing but a raised platform.
'Well have to use that cullis gate. Your mother had them built throughout Albion so she was able to get from one region to the next at nearly a moment's notice.' said Walter.
'What's a cullis gate?' asked Cassie, moving over to the platform which was a cullis gate.
'Sort of a magical transportation system for Heroes.'
'How does it work?'
'I don't know,' admitted Walter. 'Perhaps try casting a spell like you did in the catacombs.'
Cassie did as he suggested and to her surprise, she felt her surrounding disappear, before she appeared in a dusty, mess room with a map of Albion and Aurora in the middle. Moments later Walter and Jasper joined her. Jasper clearly hadn't gotten the hang of the cullis gate for the moment he appeared, he fell over.
'What is this place?' Cassie asked, helping Jasper up.
'You know, it must be...It's your mother's Sanctuary.' said a awe Walter. 'She use to speak of it often, but I never thought it was a real place. Well, I don't believe it. Jasper!' Walter exclaimed, looking down at the map of Albion and Aurora with a book on it. 'This book...there's a note with your name on it. Look.'
Jasper and Cassie hurried over and sure enough there was a note with Jasper written on it.
'That's not possible!' said Jasper, looking down at the book and note. '"For Jasper". Well, I grant you, it is possible, but it must be a coincidence.'
'Oh, don't be a dolt,' muttered Walter, shaking his head at the butler's antics. 'Amy must have left it here for you. What's it called?'
'The Book of Heroes,' answered Jasper, opening the book. 'How extraordinary.'
'Does it tell us how to get out?' asked Walter. He wasn't fascinated by books, unlike Jasper.
'This really is remarkable,' said Jasper, not hearing a word of what Walter had just said. 'Everything that we could possibly want to know about Heroes and this place is right here in these pages.'
'Good to know, but how do we get out of here?' asked Walter.
'Oh, um. I'll just find out now, shall I?' said Jasper.
'That would be appreciated.'
Five minutes later, Jasper came back with an answer.
'This map -' he pointed to the table '- functions as a travelling mechanism. Simply choose where you want to go and, well, it should take you there.'
'Marvellous! Right, we can use that!' said a happy Walter. 'We'll have plenty of time to explore this place later, but right now we have a rather large task ahead of us.'
'But I don't even know where to start,' said Cassie, sounding a little put off.
'Our first stop will be the mountains of Mispeak.' said Walter. 'There are people there who would make great allies. They won't offer their allegiance easily, but they despise Logan, and if anyone can persuade then, it's a Hero.'
'Even if that Hero is the king's sister?' asked a doubtful Cassie.
'Yes, even though you are Logan's sister.' said Walter.
'I will continue to become acquainted with this Sanctuary.' Jasper informed Cassie and Walter. 'No doubt we will need to make full use of its facilities.'
'Right, all right then. Find Mispeak on the map and let's see if that book's telling us the truth.' said Walter, looking around for Mispeak.
Cassie joined Walter at the map.
'There!' said Cassie, pointing to the map.
'Okay, now what do we do?' asked Walter.
'The book says, that Cassie will need to use her Guild Seal,' said Jasper.
Cassie unbuckled her Seal and took Walter's hand before moving it over Mispeak's Dweller Camp. Next thing she knew, the Sanctuary was disappearing and she felt the cold mountain breeze on her face.
Written: 17 November 2011