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Part 1

Henry stared at king Erik and his sandy blonde hair. His shoulder capelet hung down his left shoulder nearly obscuring a frostrium steel sword, the hilt had a blue tinge to it. He looked confident and unconcerned at meeting four people, while he entered alone.

“Hello, sister.” the king said. “It’s good to see you again.” his gaze resting on Cara from across the room.

Henry couldn’t tell if Cara was glad to see him but she replied politely and as any sister would when greeting a brother she hadn’t seen in many years.

“And you dear brother,” she replied calmly. “You look tired, please, take a seat.” a smile brightening her features.

An instant later two servant girls came through a back door and entered with a tray of refreshments. One girl laid a tray of fruits as the other passed out glasses of wine and water. To Henry’s surprise and delight, the wine was placed before him as well. He had half expected to be skipped but he was old enough to drink and would do so gladly.

Erik adjusted his sword and sat across from Xerath, locking eyes with the king. Neither said a word and the room fell silent.

“Before we talk about what happened in Vulkira, I am willing to offer money in exchange for safe refuge behind Xer’s walls,” Erik stated.

“How much?” Xerath narrowed his eyes.

“Two thousand pounds of gold,” Erik said. “I’m also willing to give you our most precious resource.”

“Frostrium Steel?” Kyburn asked, shifting in his chair.

“Yes,” Erik confirmed. “Fifty pounds.”

“Fifty!” Cara was shocked, brought out from her calm demeanor.

“Is that a lot? Henry whispered to Kyburn.

“Yes.” Kyburn sighed. “One pound of Frostrium Steel could buy a small city enough food for a year.”

Henry’s mouth dropped open. That amount of wealth was unknown to Henry, just imagining it wasn’t enough.

“Agreed,” Xerath said calmly. “I will decide later where you and your people will stay within my borders.”

“Very well,” Erik said.

“Eh-Uhm.” Kyburn coughed, drawing everyone's attention. “If I might change the subject, we are all glad to see that you are well king Erik and we hope that the people of Vulkira are safe as well.”

Erik nodded in thanks but said nothing. Turning to look at his sister again, frowning once more. Another moment passed then he locked eyes with Xerath a second time, staring him down.

“I’m sure you have ample amounts of questions, so let's get started shall we?” Erik said calmly.

“What do you know about these creatures?” Kyburn asked instantly.

“I received a report from one of my mining villages in Vori that they had discovered a structure deep underground and noise had come from behind a door.” Erik began. “I sent a dozen soldiers to investigate. The villagers had shut down their mines and were in fear for their lives. Thinking it was a minor issue I brushed it off with little concern.” he paused, thinking, “However, I was sorely mistaken.”

“I could never have anticipated the events that followed. Only hours after I had found out all the men I sent to Vori were missing and every soul within fifty miles was rushing to Vlakias for safety, did I realize the threat was real and upon my doorstep.” Erik continued, slowly as he recalled the events. “They attacked Vlakias during the night, without warning, and overwhelmed the city in a matter of minutes. Our walls, useless, as they jumped clear over them or simply smashed through the gates with ease.”

While Erik talked, Cara’s face grew skeptical but listened intently. Kyburn looked horrified but composed. Xerath hadn’t moved a muscle, he only stared blankly as his brother in law spoke of the events in Vulkira. His first response was an eyebrow raised when Erik mentioned the monster crashing through walls and entering the castle itself.

Henry was amazed and hung on Erik’s every word. The creatures were less of a mystery and more a probable opportunity for research and study. His eyes were wide in awe at the mention of their names.

“They call themselves Vog,” Erik explained. “Their leader, Felkuru, is far more intelligent than you or I.” he addressed Xerath. “They pose a great threat to us all but at the same time, I see us coexisting together peacefully if only we could communicate better.”

“It spoke to you?” This… Felkuru, creature?” Xerath spoke for the first time since Erik arrived.

“Yes. It did but… not in the way you or I would speak.” Erik crudely explained. “You would… find it difficult to believe.”

“Please,” Henry said, still fascinated by the whole thing. “Tell us.”

Erik looked at him and looked slightly confused. “Who is he?” tilting his head in Henry’s direction.

“Henry,” Kyburn said. “He is from my town, Zulin. He has done extensive research on the… Vog as you say they are called.”

“I see.” Erik smiled. “Then I will happily tell you all I know if it helps us understand them more.”

Henry blushed from embarrassment, he once again got ahead of himself and spoke without thinking. It was not his place to speak, especially in a meeting this important and he feared he would be removed for his interruption.

Xerath nor Cara made a move to berate his actions, only nodded for Erik to continue. Henry guessed they would have asked the same thing and let it slide.

“Fel made a connection with me somehow, I have yet to fully understand this connection but I assure you… I can see into his mind.” Erik paused, taking in their reactions.

Cara nearly rolled her eyes in disbelief, while Kyburn smirked slyly. Xerath said nothing, only gave him the same cold look, expressionless.

“He called it ‘Fusing’ and it nearly killed me. I can feel him now, faintly. Our minds are connected and I have seen visions of his perspective, or at least I think it is his.” Erik said, still confused by the whole matter himself. “He can see into my mind also. How much he sees or understands is still unknown but if he were an enemy they would have killed us all already.”

“If he can see into your mind… then he is listening to this very conversation, yes?” Henry dared to ask. “If you have a connection from this far or from any distance it must be a form of telepathy.”

Everyone looked at Henry with the use of the word, which he guessed they had no idea what telepathy was. Without them needing to ask, Henry explained himself.

“Telepathy is what you described, king Erik. It is a conscious transmission of thoughts or memories much like your connection to the Vog leader. If what you say is true then your brain has ‘Fused’, as you called it, with Felkuru. My guess is, the reason it nearly killed you was that our human brains are extremely fragile, and making that bond with an alien species possibly overloaded your mind in an attempt to fight off the foreign invader. Or perhaps your mind couldn’t contain the amount of information the Vog was transferring to you and your mind simply could not handle the stress and sensing the fragility of your mind, it broke the connection before killing you.”

Both kings, Cara and Kyburn looked at Henry with stunned faces. At first, he thought he had said something wrong but quickly realized they were surprised by his knowledge of what he was saying.

“I-I read i-it in a book.” Henry stammered, defending himself. “I read a lot.”

“Indeed,” Xerath smirked.

“That makes perfect sense.” Erik suddenly said after a long pause of silence. “My mind felt as if it were going to explode and my body was in intense pain.”

Henry read the room and noticed the looks of disbelief from Cara and Xerath. Kyburn had a face of extreme skepticism but might be the only one that believed Erik’s story. Gus had endless conversations with lord Kyburn so perhaps he would listen to Erik. Henry was unsure himself whether or not to believe him but the situation brought out his curiosity like never before.

By this point, Erik had read the room again and stared at each of them. “You don’t believe me.”

“That you were attacked by monsters from the mountains… I believe.” Xerath stated. “The facts speak for that but I cannot believe that you have a ‘telepathie’ connection, whatever you call it, with the Vog.

Henry inwardly cringed at the king's pronunciation but kept his mouth shut and didn’t correct him.

“Brother, it is hard to believe all that you say,” Cara added. “We have had reports from our own scouts that the creatures lurk close by and know this to be true but what you speak of is nonsense.”

“I see.” Erik looked slightly hurt that even his sister doubted him. “I don’t blame you. If I were you, I wouldn’t believe me either, however, I can prove it.”

Xerath furrowed his brow, “How?”

“I only need time,” Erik responded. “Within a day or two, you will get word that general Brynd, from Tykin, slipped into Vulkira with an army and attempted to take Vlakias behind my back.”

“Please. This is preposterous, you’re embarrassing yourself.” Xerath scoffed.

“You will receive word, that his army confronted the Vog and was slaughtered,” Erik stated. "No one knows this. Not even my own people. But I saw have seen it happen."

Erik grabbed the glass of wine in front of him and gulped it down quickly. Without another word from anyone, he stood suddenly, nearly knocking his chair over, and left the room. They only stared as he slipped away from sight.

Cara seemed upset and Xerath looked annoyed. Kyburn and Henry kept quiet and waited for a response from their king and queen, unwilling to turn their attention to themselves.

"Does he take us for fools?" Xerath growled. "He's lost his mind, Cara."

"Why would he lie though?" she asked, to no one in particular. "He has nothing to gain by lying."

"Because he is insane. You can't question a crazy person's logic." Xerath huffed.

"My brother is many things but insane is not one of them." Cara defended Erik. "He is under an enormous amount of stress, perhaps he is... sick." she shot in the dark for an excuse for her brother.

"Yes… the word is mentally unstable." Xerath dug at the insult further. "Why are you taking his side anyway?"

"I'm not taking 'his' side,” Cara said coldly.

Kyburn shifted in his chair uncomfortable to be in the room while they argued. Henry was in a similar state but was distracted by everything Erik had said. He was consumed in thought but still listened in on the conversation.

“Why are you defending him then?” Xerath shot back. “It certainly sounds like you are.”

Cara stood, her purple eyes and nose flaring in anger. “I’ll be in my room, husband.” she started to storm off but froze at the door. “He’s my brother. I love him, and I’ll do anything for him, you of all people should know that.”

Xerath’s jaw dropped at the implication. Even Henry caught the meaning. Kyburn cringed and was visibly squirming. He wanted to leave as soon as possible. Henry and Kyburn both were loath to be in the middle of a heated argument, especially when the queen implied she married the king only to save her brother.

Cara’s jet black hair flipped over her shoulder then left the room. Xerath’s face lit with rage and began to shout something but stopped before any words were formed. His anger faded as quickly as it came and he placed his elbows on the table and dropped his forehead into his palms.

Kyburn indicated to Henry for him to leave, which he did gladly and swiftly. Before slipping through the door, Henry glanced back to see Kyburn pat Xerath’s shoulder and whisper something to him, comforting his friend.

Henry was momentarily distracted by the reasoning for the falling out Cara and Xerath faced. There was clearly tension and past issues at play. He could only guess the reasoning for all the drama between them but it must be grim enough to cause such disunity.

Henry made his way to the front of the castle and lost himself in thought again, wanting to escape the issues they faced.

 

Part 2

“Henry, was it?” a voice called to Henry’s left.

Turning toward the voice and to his surprise, he faced king Erik, laying back in a thickly cushioned chair, sprawled comfortably.

“Uh, um.” Henry stuttered. “Yes. That’s me,” he said awkwardly, unsure what to say to him.

“Did they start fighting again?” Erik asked him, pausing, waiting for an answer. “My sister.” he clarified.

Henry didn’t say a word but his face betrayed him, answering Erik’s question.

“I see.” he sighed heavily and sat back, placing a wet cloth over his face. “They weren’t always like that you know.”

Henry’s interest shot to the room and wanted to hear more, so he quickly sat on a stool next to the king.

Erik heard him sit down so he continued, “They used to love each other very much. Nothing would separate them. The two of them had a rare relationship any person would envy.” he sighed again.

“What happened to them?” Henry asked.

“Something out of their control happened.” Erik’s voice saddened. “Tragic, really. I used to be an uncle.” he let Henry put that together.

“They lost a child?” Henry guessed, unsure what to say or why Erik was telling him this.

“Murdered.” Erik sat up, looking Henry in the eyes. “My nephew was murdered.”

It all dawned on Henry at once. Xerath’s reaction on the hill on their way to Calchester, his reluctance to meet Cara. The sadness in Cara’s eyes and why she had left Xerixes to live in Calchester. All the reasoning and details compiled together and Henry knew it to be true the moment Erik spoke it.

“I can see you want to know how it happened.” Erik frowned. “It was no one's fault really, but both of them blame themselves. I don’t think they are aware that they blame each other either but can’t see it yet.”

Henry sat motionless, still unsure why Erik was divulging this information to him, someone he had just met.

“Forgive me, sire… but why are you telling me this?”

“Hmm,” Erik paused. “You seem trustworthy. Also, I must admit I am being selfish.”

“Selfish?” Henry looked confused.

“I don’t get out much and I simply wanted to talk to someone,” Erik said plainly. “And you… believed me back there.”

“Oh,” Henry said uncomfortably.

“No matter. I don’t wish to keep you if you want to leave.” Erik sat back down, replacing the wet cloth on his face. “I must wait here anyway.”

“Why are you waiting? And what for?” as Henry said it, the reason came to him. “You want to be seen here, where no one will inform you of any significant information.”

“Correct. When my visions are proven true, no one can accuse me of being given the information before I heard it.” Erik explained, smirking under his cloth.

“Smart.” Henry praised. “In a way, I hope you are lying.”

Erik lifted the cloth from his face and looked at him from his back. “Why?” he asked, curiously.

“If you are telling the truth, that would mean the Vog have an evolutionary advantage over us. Giving them the ability to communicate from hundreds if not thousands of miles away, the Vog would have such an advantage that our scouts would be rendered utterly useless. They would outmaneuver us in every turn.” Henry paused. “If it came to war with them, we would have no hope of defeating them.”

Erik raised his eyebrows in surprise, “How old are you?”

“Seventeen… why?” Henry asked.

“What are your parents' names?” he asked strangely.

“Josef and Lauryn but they passed away many years ago… why do you ask?” Henry looked at him skeptically.

Realization washed over Erik’s face, making Henry wonder what his reaction was for.

“I see. That makes sense.” Erik pursed his lips. “You’re a smart young man, Henry.”

Henry was taken aback by the compliment, “What do you mean?”

“Nothing. Ignore me. I’m very tired.” Erik yawned.

Henry sat there, staring at him for several moments before standing and leaving the room. “That was an odd conversation,” he thought.

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About the author

MorseCode

Bio: Hello, all. I am a new aspiring author and I'm extremely excited to share my stories. I've always loved writing and bringing the ideas in my head to life, though it was only recently that I began to write on a more serious level. I have many many books I wish to write and I hope I can share them with you all in the future. I have a lot to learn but I hope to grow into a more experienced and learned writer.

I don't shy away from gore, which will be present in all my books to come. I hate plot armor, and I do everything I can to make things as real as possible. Real decisions, consequences, logical outcomes, and making a darn good story are my main focus.

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