2.4 – Chapter Four: Cydel

“It looks like one of the naked ladies was actually right.” Cydel turned from the window. “A storm is coming…”

“You mean one of those mystic crazies? They can predict all they want. Eventually, they were bound to get something right,” Francesca said.

Cydel leaned against the window. “I suppose. It hasn’t rained in awhile, though. Do you think the DeLures will attack if it’s storming?”

Ace and Anroma walked into the room, Chandler pulling up the rear. “There’s no way to be sure,” Ace answered, “There’s only been one minor battle in Elodine’s history and that didn’t go well for Sarkard – they might try something new…”

With the arrival of the stragglers, everyone scheduled to attend the briefing had shown up.

“We can jump right into matters,” Ace continued. “There are three entrances to Ikalga, one of which is directly behind the wall in progress in the west. The two, north and south entrances are only somewhat covered by the stone wall. Unfortunately, the builders didn’t get to as much as we would have liked. I’ll be pulling them in shortly to avoid the storm and battle. Currently, the wall is only a semicircle, but it should hinder their approach. I have a general idea on who I’ll assign to each entrance but I wanted to get your input first.”

Ace smiled his typical smile that Cydel knew well. The King’s face hadn’t changed much in the years since he took over ruling Ikalga, though Cydel could only speak for the last sixteen or so years. Ace had been nothing but jovial in that time.

“I can take the most vulnerable entrance,” An said as she carefully lowered herself onto a red couch.

“Okay,” Ace said. “How many soldiers would you need behind you?”

“None,” An replied. “Give them to the second most vulnerable entrance, acting as extra protection behind Cy and Fran.”

“Oh, An,” Ace sighed, “I don’t know why I bother when your bravado is always squawking up my carefully laid plans. But you’re going to be Empress so I will yield in favor of your suggestion.”

“Empress? When?” Cydel asked.

“If you haven’t noticed I’m getting pretty old.” Ace winked at Cydel. “So I figured I’d abdicate the throne within the year.”

Cydel looked to his mother who just calmly nodded, seeming to enjoy the comfort of sitting after their recent adventures.

“I’ll be giving her the scepter’s gem. Elder Ginter, the only man older than me might I add, can cook that into your weapon of choice.”

“Is it possible to split it? Maybe it can be utilized in three weapons…” An suggested.

“I imagine so,” Ace said. “You want to give some to Cydel and Francesca?”

“They might as well start practicing now,” An said.

A loud sigh came from across the room, Chandler was sitting cross-legged on the floor. “Don’t I get any gifts for the coming battle?”

Ace slowly turned to face Chandler. “Do you see how many damn people are in this room? I was just about to get to you.” Ace flashed a smile. “Dang teenagers. So impatient.”

“The scepter just looks cool, I got a bit excited.” Chandler held up his hands apologetically.

“Anyway, you’ll be with me this battle. We need your coordination and planning for the west wall – I can’t command forever.” Ace walked over to Chandler and gently kicked the boy over. “See wasn’t that worth waiting for?” Chandler smiled and nodded under Ace’s foot. “Good, the Rayon family should go see Gint now then – I’ll deal with this punk.”

Cydel, his sister, and mother left the red briefing room and reached Elder Ginter’s lab without much conversation. The Elder greeted them with a wide smile, per usual.

“Ah, and to what do I owe the pleasure?” the wrinkled tinker asked.

“We’re looking to get three weapons made from Ace’s scepter,” Cydel said enthusiastically.

Ginter nodded. “I think I can manage that. I’m guessing you’d like a bow, Cydel?” the old man smirked, “And, what about the two ladies?” He glanced at Anroma and Francesca, hands clasped politely behind his back.

“I’ll take a ring,” An said with a weary smile. Cydel took a mental note to ask his mother why she was so tired today.

The room’s occupants all brought their attention to Francesca, eagerly awaiting her response. “I kinda want a hammer, but I don’t know how practical that is…”

“Forgive me if I’m incorrect with how the Whisperer’s arts work, but if I built you, say, a handle with the gem in it… Would you be able to draw from yourself to form a weapon of your choosing around the handle?” Ginter looked quizzically to Francesca before settling his gaze on An.

“It’s worth a try. You could forge a weapon if her element doesn’t take to the handle,” An agreed. “But knowing her, I bet her element will be the earth itself, so I think it’ll be perfect.”

“What about me?” Cydel asked.

“I’d guess you’re water or wind,” his mother answered. “Although, wind is usually the default for non-whisperers so I’m not sure if you could get that.”

“Wonderful! If that’s alright with you, Francesca, then I can begin work immediately.”

“Sounds good to me,” Francesca said.

“I’ll only need a few hours,” Elder Ginter called out to them as they left his workshop.


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