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The Storm


Seylos

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In Selbourne it was a lovely day. On the beach near the Royal Palace the waves lapped gently along the shore and Eleanora stared out across the sea sitting in the sand, her arms wrapped around her legs. Grasped in her hand was an official letter from the government of Éire. She had heard the news long before, but it wasn't until the paper was in her hands that the truth had truly struck her. Her father was gone, for good or for ill. At first she hadn't known how to feel when it happened, and even know she still felt some confusion. She remembered growing up and him being the best father she could have ever imagined, but it was everything after the death of her mother that changed everything.

"Mum?" A voice called out behind her. She turned her head to see Aidan walking towards her from the palace. He was still dressed casually, like he was most of the time her didn't have some official function. He smiled as he got next to her and sat down in the sand. "Enjoying the view?"

She turned her attention back to the ocean and let out a sigh, "Not really Aidan. I suppose right now it's a bit hard for me to enjoy much."

"I know, I know you've always had your problems with him but he was still your dad, and my grandad. It's not wrong to be sad he's gone."

"It's so hard to think straight about it," She replied looking back at him, "Some days I feel like my father had died a long time ago. After I came here, to Selbourne with your father, he changed so much after my mother passed. Then after my brothers... the things he did, it's like a demon had possessed him. He stopped coming, stopped talking, and those riots."

She trailed off at the end. Aidan looked at her concerned, he had grown up hearing some bits and pieces of what had happened in Éire, but Seylosian intelligence at the time had never considered it a priority, and while some truths were known to him now, he knew his mother had held back so much more. "Mum, what did he do?"

Eleanora straightened herself up, wiping her eyes a little and tried to regain some of her composure, "He managed to cover a lot of it up very well, and when I was first told I didn't even believe it at first. But those protests in Loughrea... Well he ordered them finished, by any means. When he was done with them, he went after the people who organized it, all over the country. There are three less villages in Éire than there were twenty years ago."

"I never really knew..." Aidan replied. He knew he had made a mistake in probing. In fact he was having a hard time figuring out what to say exactly. He had never known the man, and had always grown up with at least a certain amount of disdain for him. "I don't leave for Éire for a few more hours yet. There was supposed to be a late hurricane heading that way, but it seems to have turned away. Hopefully it will be smooth flying."

His mother didn't reply, just nodded. Aidan didn't know what else to do but just hold her while he waited.

 

--------------

 

Aidan came back to the palace an hour later and was greeted by Geoffrey Tatum, his minister of foreign affairs, "Your Majesty, how is your mother?"

"She's... coping Minister," he replied, sighing heavily, "How are the preparations for the trip?"

"Every is in order Your Majesty, you're scheduled to arrive in Éire in around four hours from now. From there you will be taken to the ducal palace to begin negotiations. I'm still quite surprise myself that they are willing to accept a union with Seylos like this."

"They've been suffering for a long time, my grandfather seemed to have made a mess of things before he died. That reminds me the culprits...?"

Geoffrey nodded pulling a paper out of a file he had in his hands, "Ah yes, at this point we aren't sure exactly, it appears numerous groups have taken the claim that they had killed the Duke. It appears in Éire that killing him means serious political points in your favor. For the moment the ducal palace has had its security tripled, and some personal guards will be accompanying you. The Hurricane Catherine has taken a turn away and forecasters aren't predicting it to come back. Lord Gareth will be awaiting you at the airport."

Aidan nodded, happy that at least everything was going smoothly, "Alright, I'll be heading off in a moment."

Geoffrey turned to leave but was stopped before he got too far, "Oh and Minister, Derthalen?"

"I will make the announcement myself after you arrive in Éire Your Majesty."

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  • 4 weeks later...

The royal plane had arrived without issue, and the Harriers that had been escorting it glided off as they made their descent into Éire. It had been years since Aidan had been here, and for good reason. His mother had cut ties with his grandfather years ago, but it didn't erase the old memories he had of the country. Of course it was colored by youth, where he never understood what was really happening. Many of the times he remember running in the gardens playing with Henry, who at the time was being quite the dutiful brother, while guards rushed to some place on the palace to what he only assumed now was dealing with enraged Éirans.

He was shook out of his thoughts as the plane touch down, rocking his seat. In front of him Dustin grabbed his hand, as if to reassure him their plane wasn't going to crash. He had been afraid of flying for years, but of course as King you can't not do it. The plane rocked a bit more before it began to slow and taxi to its destination, soothing the ride.

"Are you alright?" Dustin asked, a look of mild concern showing on his face.

Aidan nodded and smiled, "I'm fine, you know me and planes. Well, and I suppose becoming the king of a new land."

Dustin chuckled, he new how bizarre this was for Aidan. He became king not only because of the passing of his father but because of how his brother reacted. Now to gain control of some other land because of another death in the family, even if estranged, must be hard for him. "You'll be fine hun, this can't be worse than storming the SBC."

"Straight combat seems easier than this to be totally honest, " Aidan said while rolling his eyes.

---------------

After the plane had taxied to its destination, Aidan and his party was met with a small contingent of Éiran royal guard lined up on the outside of the stairs that came from the plane.

Through the fanfare, a single woman approached Aidan, tall and well sharply dressed she made for a slightly imposing figure, "Your Majesty King Aidan, I'm Aileen Ráichéal First Minister of Éire  after the passing of the Duke"

The First Minister extended her hand which Aidan grasped looking her in the eyes while doing so. He wasn't sure exactly who she was or her background, and as far as he knew she was a new player to the Éire political scene. As far as his own advisors had been able to figure out so far, she seemed to relatively in favor of unification between Seylos and Éire.

"First Minister, I'm glad to finally meet you. I know right now times are a bit trying in Éire but I'm excited to begin the negotiations  as soon as possible."

Aileen nodded, "I'm honored to meet you myself Your Majesty, the negotiations have been setup in the Ducal Palace. Security has been increased for the meeting and we have already been in contact with the leader of your security contingent to coordinate."

Aidan nodded and gestured forward while following the First Minister towards the awaiting motorcade. Behind him the leader of his security contingent, Major Franklin Parker rushed up to him.

"Your Majesty," He said, with a worried look on his face, "Hurricane Catherine has taken an unexpected turn. It seems like the storm will be grazing the southern coast of Éire soon, during the negotiations."

The sudden arrival of the storm was unexpected, however as Aidan thought it shouldn't effect the talks in any meaningful way, "Make any arrangements that you see fit Major, I don't however see this being an issue for the future. These talks have to move forward if the union is going to exist."

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  • 2 weeks later...

As the motorcade pulled up to the Ducal palace, Aidan took note of the sprawling complex. His grandfather had added much more onto the palace than he had remembered from his childhood. Several more ornate buildings, connected to each other in various ways had sprung up around the original structure. In his mind he couldn't really think what any of these had been for except to show the opulence of the Duke while his people were in need. By now the outer bands of the hurricane had begun to hit the city, and rain was pouring from the skies with lightning illuminated the palace from angles giving it a dark and foreboding look. The cars wound their way through the grounds until the reached a sheltered entrance.

The doors were opened by soldiers from the Éire royal guard and Aidan stepped out. He took a look around quickly before Dustin and Major Parker, carrying a large briefcase, made their way around from the other side of the car to join him. The others in the motorcade, mostly various officials from Seylos and Éire filed out making their way into the palace. First Minister Ráichéal made her way over to them extending her hand towards the doors.

"You Majesty, the delegates from Pleinmont and Sark are awaiting us in the east conference room. We've all expressed a desire to at least begin preliminary talks before the official negotiations in order to give our teams time to prepare and to make any adjustments needed before we begin."

Aidan nodded, though this was a bit odd that it wasn't mentioned earlier. However, he thought, it could be nice to lay some groundwork before the talks officially began. As he walked in, he stole a glance behind him seeing Dustin give a brief wave as he walked with the gaggle of officials and their escort. However a few of the Éiran guards seemed to split off from the main group, unfortunately he couldn't see more as the doors shut behind him.

Aidan look to Parker, who had come with him, "Did you-?"

Parker nodded, "I did Your Majesty."

"Trouble?" Aidan said, concern marking his face.

"I don't know yet."

As Parker said that the lights flickered and went out, then a couple seconds after they came back on. The First Minister, who was leading the small group heading to the conference room, turn back and gave a smile, "My apologies, the storm has been causing power issues all over the cities. The backup generators should be working just fine however, I don't believe we will be experiencing any other disruptions."

Aidan hoped that was the case.

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  • 3 weeks later...

"And you want to tell me it's just out of the kindness of your heart that Pleinmont be subjected to Seylosian rule forever? Haven't you seen what being underneath the boot of Éire has done to us? That grandfather of yours spent years sucking our lands dry!" The man across the table from Aidan shouted. Ambassador Moss Collins was a short man, with an almost uncontrollable temper at times. His arrival at the ducal palace had been almost as dramatic as his current tirade, and he never tired of admonishing the Éireanns or the Seylosians.

Aidan took a second to collect himself after this latest shouted speech from Collins, "Ambassador, I can assure you we have no intentions of repeating the sins of the former Duke. We are all well aware of how the people of Pleinmont were affected by his actions. I only wish to-"

"What? Annex us?" Collins interrupted.

"No Mr. Collins I don't plan on rolling tanks through the capital and stealing territory. What I want, and what I think all of us here want is a voluntary union. A real shot at a united kingdom that can benefit us all."

Collins rolled his his eyes, "Your family history does not instill me confidence King Aidan. Your family has an unfortunate habit of going slightly insane."

It took an enormous amount of self control for Aidan to not jump across the table and slam his fist into the ambassador's face. He didn't need to be constantly reminded of his family's tumultuous history. "Now-"

"I think-" Again Aidan was interrupted, but this time by Hugo Walton, the ambassador from Sark. "-that Ambassador Collins is simply trying to convey our collective trepidations about entering into a union in such an unknown environment. We've been dealing with the unequal relationship between Éire, Pleinmont, and Sark for decades now. Mostly, might I add while Seylos stood by and watched. Why is it now that Seylos has become so interested in us? We need to know that we are much more than just some land to be signed over by a deceased grandfather."

"Indeed, Seylos has usually been kept afar from Éireann politics. While a union is certainly legally possible, many people in Éire are dubious of the intentions of a grandchild of the Duke, even if he is a Redmond in name," First Minister Ráichéal spoke up. Her voice was calm and collected. He gaze locked with Aidan's making him feel a sense of unease for the second time after arriving here. 

The wind outside began to howl louder than before, and the rain began to shake the windows as it continued its assault on the ducal palace's walls. Suddenly the lights shut off again, plunging the room into darkness. Standing behind Aidan, Major Parker quickly pulled out his flashlight, bathing the room in a harsh white glow. Aidan could see him mumbling under his breath but couldn't hear with the storm raging outside.

Ráichéal stood up, still acting much calmer than anyone else in the room. "Excuse me a second, I'm sure the generators simply need to be refueled."

Aidan raised his eyebrow, "I don't recall Éire having a fuel shortage."

"I'm sure it will all be sorted," She replied with a thin smile which quickly fell back into a cold expressionless face. She motioned to her bodyguard who walked out with her into the hallway, closing the door behind them. They watched as their flashlight illuminated silhouettes walked along the wall of frosted glass that adorned the hallway side of the room. Eventually the disappeared leaving the group.

Aidan stood up and turned to Parker who stood nervously, his hand sitting close to his waist where is weapon was concealed. "What are you thinking?"

Parker grumbled somewhat before replying, "I'm thinking a palace would have plenty of petrol for its generators."

"Well there is a sudden hurricane going on outside, I suppose... what?" Aidan looked intently at Parker, who had seemed to not be paying attention. 

Parker stood there still, before clicking off his own flashlight leaving the other guards in the room to exchange a quizzical look. His narrowed eyes suddenly widening, "Down!"

Suddenly the glass wall exploded in automatic fire raking the room with bullets as Parker dove into Aidan slamming him onto the floor behind the room's conference table. Almost immediately two of the other bodyguards in the room collapsed to the ground having taken several bullets. Aidan could hear the others in the room yelling and watched as Collins clumsily threw himself over the side and curled into a ball beside him. Overcoming his initial shock Aidan turned toward Parker waving his hand toward himself and yelling, "Gun!"

Parker stopped firing back at the dark assailants and tossed his pistol over to Aidan, who in turn aimed over the cover of the table firing back at the bright muzzle flashes. Parker grabbed the suitcase he had brought with him and wrenched it open, revealing another pistol with more ammunition clips. 

"I thought those were my negotiation papers?!" Aidan yelled over the gunfire.

Parker slammed a clip into the pistol from the suitcase while motioning with his hands pointing out targets he had seen behind the cover of the table. "I didn't think we'd be doing much negotiating!"

The automatic fire stopped for a brief second and Parker nodded to Aidan who nodded back. Both men rose over the cover of the table and started firing at where the enemy had been shooting at them from just moments before unloading their clips before retreating behind the cover of the table again. They both reloaded, then waited being greeted on by silence. Parker took a second to steal a glimpse above the top of the table which was covered in bullet holes. He looked at Aidan making another motion with his hands while whispering, "Cover"

Aidan nodded waiting for the crouched form of Parker to round the table before emerging himself pointing his pistol towards where their assailants had been. Parker's flashlight lit up the scene revealing three men all dead in the midst of the shattered glass they had been firing through. Aidan stood up and looked down and Collins who had uncurled himself and was shakily trying to sit up. He heard a groan from the other side of the room and ran over, taking not that Parker was still in the hallway. Underneath the body of one of his guards Ambassador Walton was shaking in fear with a look of pain on his face. Aidan pulled the dead guard off of him and grabbed one of the fallen flashlights on the floor, "Are you alright?"

Walton nodded slowly sitting up, "I don't think it's that bad. Is it?"

Aidan shone the flashlight on his arm revealing what appeared to be small flesh wound. "You'll be alright. Come on now."

Aidan started helping him up, seeing the look of terror on Walton's face as he saw the guard that had died saving him. In the distance Aidan could hear more than the sounds of the hurricane, distant gunfire from all around.

"Area's clear Your Majesty," Parker called from the hall, "We need to get moving."

 

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  • 2 months later...

"Come on now" Aidan said harshly, pulling Walkton with him, Collins sheepishly in tow. Up ahead, Parker was advancing slowly down the hallway towards a set of side stairs they had passed on their way up. Both Aidan and Parker has taken the now dead assailants weapon, which had been surprisingly well armed. Aidan rushed a little to get closer to Parker who took a quick glance behind him.

"Your Majesty please-"

"Don't 'Your Majesty please' me Parker, we're in this together right now. You aren't taking on all these people by yourself. Drop the your majesties for the moment."

"Sir... I need to get you out of here safe. I can't do that if your busy shooting people right beside me." Parker replied, worry on his face.

"Well if we shoot people together maybe we can both get out of this. Let's save this discussion for later and get to those stairs."

Parker nodded and sighed in frustration. He turned his full attention back towards the end of the hallway continuing his advance while Aidan and the ambassadors tailed behind. The spent some time weaving around the long halls, hearing the sounds of gunfire in the large palace complex. Eventually the found something worth investigating. In front of them was a small door, indicating a stairwell. Parker went through first followed by the others, but instead of being greeted by the stairwell an elevator door was in front of them. It was an older style elevator, and guessing by the table full of old snacks and drink cans there were guards posted there at some point.

Parker looked back towards Aidan, "Sir?"

"I suppose it's time to take a ride in a lift, come on get in."

Parker opened the doors to the elevator, which was strangely still in operation. Aidan quickly shepherded the ambassadors into the elevator with them.

"Were are we going?" Collins spoke up.

Aidan glanced at him while pressing one of the only two buttons on the elevator, "f*ck if I know, but it's out of the line of fire."

When the doors closed behind them Parker turned to Aidan, "Sir, shouldn't we be making our way out? Or at the very least trying to get to the Duke?"

A pang of anxiety ran through Aidan. He knew Dustin was in danger but he had to think clearly and pushed any thoughts out of his head, "He can take care of himself Parker. We went through a coup together, I'm more than confident he can take care of some terrorists."

Parker silently nodded as the elevator finally came to a halt. He wrenched the doors opened and slowly moved out into the deserted hallway in front of them. It was dark, but still lit slightly with what appeared to be emergency lights. The musty smell of what was in front of him confirmed how old this place was. Water stains ran down the decaying concrete walls while rusted piped ran along the ceiling.

"You and the ambassadors follow me closely sir," Parker said holding his rifle in front of him advancing slowly down the hallway. The flickering lights lent another layer of dispair as the group slowly made its way through the underground. Walkton turned to Collins shaking his head, his eyes wide in fear.

"What are we even doing down here?"

Collins shrugged, while Aidan stared him down, "I was hoping we wouldn't die down here, or do you have a better idea ambassador?"

Walkton recoiled slightly when the whole part froze. Somewhere in the distance there was some sort of noise. Too random to be machinery, maybe even the sound of footsteps. Parker signaled toward a close door, a heavy metal contraption. Both Aidan and Park cranked the door open while pushing slightly opening the door allowing the whole party to slip in. Aidan and Parker quickly pushed the door closed while resealing it. What they walked into though was bizarre. Around them were some old CRT televisions and some newer flatscreen monitors. To one side a small bank of computer sat in idle and on the other side of the room resided a large series of shelves loaded with VHS tapes. The walls were covered with papers and pictures. Writing scribbled over all of them.

"What is all this?" Collins whispered.

Aidan approached the wall with the tapes, slowly moving his hands over the various cases until he settled on a tape labeled only a month ago. He pulled itout and opened the case, producing the tape within.

"Sir, I seriously recommend we don't watch anything right now, somebody could hear us," Parker said, glancing at the door behind them all.

"I'll keep it quiet Parker, but this was my grandfather's. I just need to see. This has to have been something he was using." Aidan said glancing back Parker. Parker furrowed his brows in concern but nodded, letting his king explore his curiosity.

Aidan took the tape and walked over to one of the CRT televisions turning it on, he made sure to turn the volume low before he inserted the tape into the integrated tape player. As soon as the tape wound up he say the image of his grandfather, Mághnus Mac Aodhagáin on the monitor.

"It's been years but I finally feel I am close. I can save my daughter and stop those disgusting Seylosians. I've spent years playing their games and placating their pathetic royal family. She needs to be back with me, her father. Henry showed some promise, but Aidan... He's pathetic. Doesn't he see the enemies around him? Doesn't he see what they could do to Eleanora? It doesn't matter I've arranged for to be taken back to me in the next few months and I can finally deal with the Seylosians. She doesn't need to be near him. I know she filled his mind with all these... ideals. But she'll listen to her father I know she will. We've spent so long developing these weapons and they are finally almost ready. I can kill them all you know? Every single god forsaken Seylosian. I can only hope I hit the palace directly. Kill him. HIM. He's keeping me from her and Henry couldn't stop him... the idiot. Just need to... deploy the weapons, make him watch them all suffer. Watch them all die. I'll -"

Aidan hit the eject button on the tape stopping the video. He spent a second just staring at the blank screen.

"Christ, I knew it. Mághnus was insane he could have killed everyone in Pleinmont and Sark!" Collins blurted but was quickly shut up with a glancing scowl from Parker.

Paker slowly walked towards Aidan and put a hand on his shoulder, "Sir... Aidan are you ok?"

Aidan didn't move, still just staring at the blank screen. He couldn't muster any words and just muttered, "My god."

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Aidan stood up suddenly and made a glance at the closed door, then back at the wall of tapes and records. "Help me, find anything on a weapon."

Parker took a look back at the terrified ambassadors. Each of them held a look of fear and total confusion on their faces. Undoubtedly they were wondering why they were pausing for this while being chased by some rogue group, a thought that Parker himself was having. "Your Majesty, with all due respect... we are being hunted right now. I understand the gravity of this, but we can't take the time to look through all of this. I have to escort you safely out of here."

"Your king has issued you an order, " Aidan looked briefly behind him, and Parker could see the anger in his eyes. "If you want to go faster get them to help."

Almost involuntarily, Parker brought himself mostly to attention before forcing himself to relax and turn towards the two ambassadors. Collins was already up rifling through the records on the wall. Seeing the confused look on Parker's face he simply shrugged, "I want to get out of here as quickly as possible, but I won't lie I'd love to hold one over those damn Eirreans."

"I'll just um... watch the door," mumbled Walkton, sheepishly facing towards the door away from the rest of them. Parker rolled his eyes grabbing the ambassador by the should and gently pushing him towards the wall full of records.

"I think it's better I keep watch, just keep it down." Parker said, making sure to keep an eye on Aidan. He had never seen the king be so focused on a task. But he supposed this was far into his own family's business. He couldn't imagine having a family line of people who endlessly disappointed him. First his own father, then his brother, and now apparently a killer grandfather.

After a few minutes of rifling around Collins triumphantly held up an open file whispering loudly, "What about this? I think this might be what you are looking for!?"

Aidan stopped what he was doing immediately and much to Collins' surprise grabbed the file out of his hand gently. The file, marked 'S42' was thick with papers, and other materials taped inside of it. Aidan took a minute to go through the contents before outside they could here the sounds of commotion outside of the door. The commotion quickly turned fro muffled shouts to heavy gunfire.

Parker immediately ran behind one of the old heavy metal desks in the room and threw his weight underneath it, flipping it over on its side. He aggressively gestured at the group pointing down behind the table. Both ambassadors virtually dived behind the table, and Aidan quickly grabbed his rifle off a nearby countertop before joining the rest, both him and Parker aiming at the door. The gunshots continued but the voices, at least to Parker sounded almost familiar. Almost on a leap of faith he threw up his hand hoping Aidan would notice.

The door screeched open, and with it the sounds of gunfire louder than ever, though less frequent than before. In burst a man in a suit, handgun raised ready to fire before he recognized his king.

"My god Your Majesty, Parker. We've been sweeping the grounds for you. Is the king alright?" The man said, pointing his pistol down.

Parker had noticed his command had been just in time, as Aidan was only just lowering his rifle, a look of relief on his face. "We're alright Abner. What's going on?"

Abner breathed a sigh of relief, "We've got the enemy on the run sir. We managed to rally the palace guard, it seems like whoever is behind this clearly didn't have their support. It's been hard tracking them through the storm..."

Aidan quickly hopped over the table almost shoving a paper from the file in Abner's face, "I need this area secured immediately."

Abner gave a quick worried glance over to Parker, who shook his head. "Your Majesty, we've got the enemy on the run, we can't just let them escape."

Aidan shoved the paper into Abern's chest, "I'm well aware, but it doesn't matter. This is the only thing that matters now do you understand?"

Abner took the paper in his hand, holding it up into the light and nodded in understand, "Yes Your Majesty, of course."

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  • 4 weeks later...

Aidan turned around to grab his rifle that he had laid down when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around sharply to see Parker looking at him. "Your Majesty, I need you to stay out of harm's way. I've kept you alive most of today, I don't intend on letting you get hurt now. I'll take care of this."

Parker took his hand off of Aidan's shoulder looking directly into his eyes. Aidan reluctantly nodded, he had always been more of a man of action but in this situation running gun ho into a fight felt ridiculous even to him.

"Your Majesty, Lord Garth is waiting for you. I would suggest you be with him. There's a lot of scared people who need someone like you right now."

Aidan stared at him for a moment, then blinked. He resisted the urge to shake his head while clearing his mind and gave a simple nod. Parker nodded back in return grabbing one of the Seylosian guards and ordering him to escort the king back to the main group. Aidan watched as he ran back towards to the growing group of palace guards and Seylosians to take the fight to the rebels that has stormed the palace.

For awhile everything seemed slightly in a blur. He walked past what felt like more than a dozen people rushing past him towards the fight. A fight he felt such an urge to get back to. Eventually though, they made their way over to the main entrance again, the sound of sporadic echoing gunshots behind them. Nobody registered their arrival, mostly wrapped up in their own terror, but almost as soon as he entered the room he heard a familiar voice call out to him, "Aidan! Oh god Aidan are you alright?"

Dustin ran up and nearly tackled him, "Oh god I had no idea what was going on. Are you alright?"

Aidan embraced him back and took a second taking a look around. He grabbed Dustin holding him tightly and guiding him towards some door close to the main entrance. There was a Seylosian bodyguard nearby who approached him, seeming to warn him off but in his hurry he just waved at him. He heard Dustin speak briefly but he threw the door open and dragged Dustin in. Inside was a some sort of closet, not terribly small but enough to fit all sorts of janitorial supplies. Aidan turned to look at Dustin but didn't make a sound just staring at him.

"Aidan, are you alright?" Dustin asked in concern. He could see something was incredibly wrong with the king.

Aidan just stood there silently staring at him. Dustin felt Aidan's hand hold his arm hard in a vice grip.

He couldn't control his breathing anymore at that point, Aidan started heaving in and out and looked around in a panic, and was grasping onto Dustin for what felt like dear life. He couldn't focus and all he could do was grasp onto his partner, the only thing here that made him feel safe.

Dustin at this point was almost panicking himself, but almost immediately understood what was happening. He just grabbed Aidan holding him in his arms.

 

-----------------------

 

Parker was looking back and forth between the old blueprints that had been found in the room and straight ahead. Him, the bodyguards, and several palace guards were advancing down what felt like an endless series of tunnels under the palace complex. But Parker knew what they were looking for, and the dire consequences if they couldn't secure it before these terrorists could. After awhile of moving forward they could hear voices up ahead, he silently motioned to his group to get ready for the upcoming confrontation. Approaching a corner in the corridor, Parker peaked around and saw a door only a few feet away wide open. Inside several men were hurriedly trying to move large metal crates. He quickly looked back and gave the signal to move, at this point no amount of strategy was going to beat their element of surprise through that open door.

Parker and his group of guard rounded the corner, opening fire almost immediately. The closest enemy to the door was cut down quickly while the other scrambled to rally, throwing down their crated and hurriedly trying to get to their weapons. By this point though it was too late, Parker and his guards had already breached the opening laying down fire through the whole room. What terrorists were left were returning fire while trying to retreat. However Parker could see something wrong, even though most of the enemy had decided to return to engage them there was a bright light flickering around the corner where the other exit was.

By the time the battle was over, several of his guards were injured and most of the enemy was dead save a few that had been captured. But he had already known what was going to happen. He ran up to the heavy steel door on the other of the room and saw the welding marks. They had sealed it from the other side, and he knew the couldn't pursue them through the hurricane.

 

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  • 1 month later...

5 days later in Selbourne

"Is it something you're ashamed of?"

Aidan glanced over from his chair at the doctor. Dustin had been instant trying to get him to get some sort of help, and eventually his pride had been overwhelmed by his partner's pleas.

"Why would I be ashamed?" Aidan replied coldly, his eyes narrowing while responding to the psychologist.

"You told me that you had let them get away, that you felt everything had become much worse now. Is that true?"

"Of course it is, I couldn't stop those people from taking something my own family made. Terrible weapons..." Aidan trailed off slowly bringing his hand up to his head rubbing his temples.

"What makes you think you could have done more than you already had done?"

Aidan huffed, "What do you mean? If I had been there... I could have pushed them quicker or been more efficient. Or something! Not just gone back to a room full of scared people and cried."

"This bodyguard you were with? Mr. Parker was it? Do you think he was in some way incapable of his job?"

Aidan opened his mouth for a second but stopped. He didn't have a response and he paused trying to think of something. But of course the doctor chose to speak quicker.

"You described him as a man not only good at his work but as someone of solid character yes?

"Yes... of course, he saved my life."

"A veteran yes?" The doctor said.

"Yes, as far as I know he's been in the military for years. He was in Fulgistan before he transferred out and was assigned to my security detail."

"Can you tell me then... Do you think you would have been better than him? Would you have been able to stop those terrorists better than he would have? Right there in that situation?"

"You don't understand I have to be there, if I don't-" Aidan stopped himself. He was struggling with words to try and counter the doctor.

"I know you've been in a few conflicts, but do you think that Mr. Parker would be less qualified than yourself to take on that responsibility? Would it have been his fault?"

"Of course it wasn't his fault, he fought harder and with more skill than almost anyone I had seen before. He's a far more proficient fighter than anyone I've ever met." Aidan said, feeling a sort of anger building up while defending Parker.

"So if he couldn't have done it, how could you?"

 

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