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    VVesley
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The Truce - 19. Chapter 19

Adrian boarded his vessel hand in hand with Kade, the two walking up the gangway and both giving salutations towards the captain. Captain Bjornan waited for them at the edge of the ship, and gave them a personal greeting. She was all smiles, and Adrian was glad that she was there to meet Kade. She was one of the few other capable leaders in the Illjard, and had been a family friend for as long as he could remember.

“Welcome, my prince,” she said with a respectful nod. “And my prince-to-be,” she said with a turn towards Kade.

“Thank you,” he said back. His face remained stony for a second before breaking into a smile at the slight squeeze of the hand by Adrian. Appearing friendly and greeting others with smiles was something that Kade would have to condition himself to do – it was not natural because of his upbringing. While merchants, smiths, and shopkeepers weren’t necessarily held to the exact same social standards as other Nabian citizens, there was still progress that needed to be made. “I’m honored to meet you, and appreciate you taking us back.”

“You’re very welcome – and no need for such formality aboard my ship. Save that for court. Adrian, I assume you know where to go?”

“Of course.”

“Good. I’ll let you take your groom to your quarters, and we’ll prepare to set sails within the hour.”

“Sounds great,” Adrian said with a conspiratorial wink. “Thanks Sarah.” The captain gave nothing more than a grunt and walked off to the docks. Adrian knew she had already drifted off to thinking about other things, and he was fine with the privacy anyhow.

“This way,” Adrian pulled Kade along by the hand. It wasn’t long before they entered an enormous cabin at the stern of the ship, which was normally the Captain’s quarters. An arched wooden door with a carving of a kraken led to the nicest part of the ship, but Kade turned for a moment before entering.

“Shouldn’t we get our stuff?”

“A worker will bring that,” Adrian said dismissively. “You should go in.” He ushered the Nabian in through the archway, and let him explore. The prince watched Kade gaze around, taking in the elaborate woodworking of the ship’s interior. The entire ship was painted white, and the interior held enamel and glass embellishments that culminated in a giant crystal and silver chandelier that hung from the ceiling. Kade said nothing for a while, and ran his fingers over the art on the walls. After observing his fiancé absorb what he was seeing for a while, Adrian broke the silence with a simple question. “Do you like it?”

“I’ve never been on a ship before,” Kade replied honestly. “It’s… it’s like what I’d imagine the inside of a general’s house to look like. Are they all like this?”

“Ships? No,” Adrian said with a laugh, “not all of them. Captain Bjornan heads our fleet, and is the highest ranking captain in the Illjard. She has one of our nicest ships.”

“Oh. I see. It’s pretty impressive.”

“I’m glad you think so,” Adrian said truthfully. It was a matter of pride for him, seeing as the Fray family had commissioned each and every ship that the Illjard boasted. “We’re very proud of our ships, and this one is somewhat of a jewel. Be sure to tell the captain what you think – she’ll like that.” Kade nodded.

“Will do. Do you think she’ll like me? She will, right? And all of your other advisors?”

“Of course. Though I’m honestly surprised at the question… do you care what they think?” Adrian had not known Kade to be self-conscious. Kade shrugged at that.

“Ordinarily, no. But I suppose it’s the type of thing I should start caring about, right? And besides… it’s more about whether I’ll fit in.”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“I mean…” Kade gestured to the ornate walls and ceiling, and then to his own clothes. His wardrobe hadn’t exactly been revamped given that they left the Di Coteau estate almost as soon as it was safe to do so. Even compared to the crew, Kade was underdressed.

“You do have money now,” Adrian reminded him. “Or you will.”

“That’s true. But not all the decorum that I’ll probably need. And the etiquette – I’m sure there’s a lot that I don’t know yet. And I look… different than the rest of you.” Adrian nodded, understanding Kade’s implication. With everyone aboard the White Wind being Illjardi, Kade was the only person that had color in his hair and skin. Having just experienced life on the mainland, being an outsider was an experience that he could relate to. Even if Kade was a generally confident person, being different could be isolating. In a way, Adrian was glad that Kade had the good sense to foresee this.

“You will be different,” Adrian replied. “But that’s not a bad thing. And besides, you know that we take in outside blood every so often to promote a healthy population. You’re not the only mainlander on the island… just part of a small minority. Plus, you’ll have me. Nobody can turn you away or treat you poorly.” When Kade raised an eyebrow at that, Adrian hastily addended his last statement. “Not that they would – the Illjard isn’t like Nabius in that way. Everyone is generally friendly.”

“So you’ve said,” Kade acknowledged with a nod. At the mention of his home country, Kade frowned. “I guess it’s good to get away now anyway. They say that Alex’s odds are about fifty-fifty of winning the war after what’s happened. His victories were unexpected, but now people are starting to rally. A lot is about to change, either for the good or for the bad. Let’s hope for the good… but I guess we won’t be around to see it.”

“Yeah,” Adrian nodded. “I suppose not. It’s a shame really – were the southern generals accessible by water, I would offer Alexandre naval support.”

“You would?” Kade asked, seemingly genuinely surprised.

“Of course. We don’t normally get involved with politics of the mainland countries, but Alexandre’s vision of Nabius would be easier to work with, I have to admit. His win would be better for my country. I also probably already pissed off most of his enemies by picking you as a groom anyway. It’s pretty clear which side the Illjard wants to win. Once word gets out about who you are and that I was at the siege for Alexandre’s home… the world will know.” Kade only nodded. “And most of the enemy generals are pricks to work with anyway,” Adrian grumbled a little more quietly. Kade smiled at that, and returned to stoicism.

“We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Adrian said. A long silence stretched between them, and Adrian hoped that he had done enough to mitigate Kade’s worries. It was pleasing that Kade actually wanted to participate and make a good impression on the Illjardi people – that much couldn’t be said for all mainlander spouses of the past. Adrian hoped for a good relationship with Nabius regardless of the outcome of their civil war, and that would be made easier with a well-matched husband from the country.

“Hey Adrian?” Kade asked with a serious tone. His face was somber, and his eyes were severe.

“Yes?” Adrian looked at his lover’s face, taking in the expression and searching for any sign that Kade was still uncomfortable. He noted an underlying playfulness, and couldn’t tell whether Kade was being serious or not. When the prince ticked up the corners of his mouth in the start of a smile, Kade responded with equal joy. Kade’s face devolved into a devilish grin in a flash, and he took off his ragged shirt and threw it to the floor.

“You ever fucked on a boat?”

***

“You took quite a while,” growled Ysabel from her hiding spot. General Devan had only been in his tent for a few minutes before Ysabel spoke up, but he didn’t react at all to her appearance. For a few moments she thought he hadn’t heard her. Without looking up from the stack of documents he was reading and annotating, he offered a simple greeting.

“Hello Ysabel.” His back was towards her, but he didn’t turn around. Normally Ysabel would warrant at least a bit of a reaction, but Devan wasn’t intimidated in the least. Ysabel had forgotten what it was like to be in the presence of an equal, and had to stifle the flicker of annoyance she felt at his nonchalance.

“Thank you for coming,” she said as she stepped out of the shadows. She was in one corner of an enormous tent that stretched up at least two stories. It had taken half a day just to erect the structure, which was situated just outside the walls of Alexandre’s home. The tent had multiple rooms delineated by hanging sheets of canvas, and Ysabel had gone directly to where she knew Devan’s makeshift office would be. He must have noticed me when he came in. “We would have fallen without you.”

“I’m aware.” This was all he said, but Ysabel didn’t respond. Eventually, Devan turned around in his chair and gave a sigh. He looked at Ysabel’s hands and saw that she was armed, and raised one eyebrow before continuing. “I came as soon as I could.” He raised a flat hand towards the chair across from him, indicating that she should sit. General Clarion walked slowly to the seat, staring with slightly narrowed eyes.

“I doubt that,” Ysabel replied coolly.

“I didn’t know you were here.”

“Nor Kade?” Devan’s mouth pressed into a hard line, and he stared Ysabel down. He clearly wasn’t used to being challenged either.

“I had originally intended to let these lands fall,” he said while shifting on his seat. “I never understood why Darion chose this territory of all of them. It’s practically worthless, resource-wise.”

“I’ve often wondered about that as well,” admitted Ysabel. “Perhaps it was symbolic. Sitting at the ‘head’ of Nabius… that would have suited him.”

“Perhaps.” The silence stretched on for a minute while the two reflected on the loss of Darion. Even all this time later, Ysabel still felt pangs of anguish when he came to mind. “There was no point in defending it until I discovered that there was family here. When I found out that Kade was inside the manse… I knew I had to come. He, Alexandre, Talia, and Jezebel are the last hopes for the Di Coteaus. Considering the current situations of Alexandre and Talia… I did my duty to preserve the bloodline.”

“Situations?” Ysabel’s interest was piqued. She knew, of course, what Devan was referring to about Talia. When it came to Alex, though, she was unsure. “Are you referring to both of them as situationally safe? Alex is in danger, yes, but marginally more than he was just for being born into this family.” Devan frowned at that, and cleared his throat.

“There has been an update.”

“What… is that?”

“Alexandre has been wounded. Perhaps fatally.” Ysabel felt the news hit her like a wall, and she swayed a little before her vision went red.

“What happened?”

“He killed Pitor Davora. Davora and Fran La Croix attacked the capital. General Torne has informed me that Alex sustained an injury before taking the Devourer out. Prince Cathcart carried him all the way back to the capital, it is said.”

“How bad is it, Devan?”

“I’m not sure,” said General Di Coteau honestly. “Elsa says it’s an abdominal wound, and that she’s taking care of him.”

“Which – “

“I don’t know the organs that were hit,” Devan cut her off with a raised hand. “And I don’t know if he was poisoned. And I don’t know if infection is likely.” Devan answered all of the next questions that Ysabel had before should could raise them, proving that he understood what her line of thought was. “This is all that I can tell you.” Ysabel nodded, supposing that would have to do. She was fraught with emotion at the news, but knew that the situation was out of her control. She would have to focus on what she could impact.

“Very well.”

“Anyway… as you can see, it may be that Jezebel and Kade are the only ones to come out of this alive. At the bidding of Alexandre’s steward and his plea for my son… I decided to come.”

“Kade only,” Ysabel corrected.

“I’m sorry?”

“Kade only,” she repeated. “Jezebel is dead. I found out that she killed Darion, and killed her for it. Also at the bidding of Alexandre’s steward.” Darion sat back in his chair and thought for a long time on that. He seemed to handle the news without losing his temper, but Ysabel knew that he was also the type to seek vengeance. Jezebel having killed Darion was startling, and she left him as much time as he needed to regain his internal composure.

“That… is distressing to hear. Are you sure it was not the steward? He’s orchestrated this well. A little too well, if you ask me.”

“I did consider that,” Ysabel said with a nod. “But Luca is not the type. As capable as he is, he does not thirst for power. It would have been interesting to see what he could have been were he born into a noble family, but he is Ironian. A slave that rose to become more than he anticipated – that is all.”

“How can you be sure?” Devan seemed angry now, and Ysabel could understand that. Like her, he would sniff out every lead to avenge his losses. Ysabel had already taken care of that though, and she did her best to assuage his annoyances.

“Jezebel admitted it to me. Or rather, she admitted it without knowledge of my being in the room. I am one hundred percent confident that the perpetrator was finally caught. And trust me Devan… I enacted justice.”

“I see.” Devan gave a sigh, and rubbed at his temples. “I suppose that explains the news I had for you. It’s convenient that you’re here – I had rather hoped to catch up with you after our last conversation about the war effort.”

“More news?”

“Yes. When I made the decision to defend the north, I had hoped that Damien would join forces with me.”

“Damien is a coward,” Ysabel said with a roll of her eyes. “I’m not surprised that he said no. I’ve tried to inspire him with fear, but it doesn’t seem to work like it used to.”

“It’s not that he said no… it’s that he has disappeared. His lands are empty – subject to civilian and Tomacian rule. He and his troops are gone.” Ysabel was interested by that.

“And now you presume he’s gone off in search of Jezebel?”

“Perhaps.”

“Or do you think he’s treasonous?”

“Perhaps.”

“When he doesn’t find her at her estate…”

“… he’ll continue moving south,” finished Darion. “One way or another, he’ll be treasonous to our cause. Whether it’s because he’s a rat upfront or because of the death of his daughter, he is now the enemy.”

“I agree. He’ll defect to Yago.” Ysabel let out a frustrated sigh. “He may already know that Jezebel is dead anyway – I saved her head for Luca. I don’t know what he did with it, but I’m certain he’ll use it to gain some kind of advantage if he hasn’t already.” Ysabel thought things over, growing increasingly annoyed at Damien’s lack of resolve. “Of course… another problem to worry about. How annoying. I wish he was of the same stock that you and Darion came from.”

“As do I,” said Devan with his hand curling into a fist. “The tide has turned to favor us now. The north and the Capitol have held – there will be one great battle left.”

“My brother,” Ysabel said with a nod. It was a truth that she knew, but was still grappling with. “And we’ll need as much help as we can get. He’s been cultivating an army from the provinces for years.”

“I’ve already amassed my full force. I’ve plead to Giovanni as well… but he still seems uninterested in conflict.”

“His people are decimated as it is,” Ysabel said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I doubt he could offer much, even if he wanted to.”

“I’ll continue to try.”

“As will I. I’ll reach out to those that I can. For now, I believe we should all march south towards the Capitol. I will assume control of Jezebel’s territory until a new general is instated.”

“I thought that you might.” Ysabel shrugged.

“I killed her after all. It’s my right to control her assets. I’m also going to set something else in the works.”

“What is that?”

“You’ve inspired me, Devan. I cannot risk losing both of my children. Once I’ve got things squared away with full commitment to our united armies, I’m going to make a play. Talia is strong, but Yago is stronger. Look for me when you march upon my brother.” Just a moment went by before Devan’s face lit with recognition, and he gave a wicked grin.

“A Di Coteau classic.”

“Indeed.”

The things we do for our children, she thought.

***

Talia lay dazed, unable to control her muscles. Every thought she had was to fight against her restraints animalistically, but she resisted. It took most of her willpower to retain command of her body, and the result was that she was mostly unmoving. Her uncle had expressed deep disappointment in her opposition to the change, but always remarked that she would eventually lose control anyway. Try as she might to be brave, this scared her.

I can’t let fear take over… but I don’t want to end up like them. She shivered at the thought, recalling the other people that had been brought into Yago’s office during the past few days. Many were counts and traders of a high status that lived in Yago’s region, who were thus his subjects. Talia had seen the tribe members from the provinces perform their ritual on other people a couple of times now, and each time Talia felt revulsion. After preparing flesh with substances unknown to Talia, the leaders were all subjected to consumption. Yago watched as they were affected in different ways, most of which involved screams of agony or horrific medical emergencies. Of the dozen people that Talia had seen Yago experiment with, eleven had died. Only one person had survived the inculcation of the demon, and he seemed to have gone mad. It reminded Talia of her mother on her worst days, and she had barely been able to look.

To either die or go mad… neither are appealing choices.

You won’t, said another voice from within the depths of her mind. You were made for this. This will feel good for you.

Going mad it is I guess. She pushed that voice away from the forefront of her thoughts, and tried to focus on nothingness. Despite regular feedings and Yago attempting to instill the demon in her persistently, Talia had been able to resist the pull of power and insanity by making her conscious blank. There were some changes that she had noticed, but for the most part her strategy had worked out. It was a small victory, but one that Talia would take. Stay blank. She was staring at a particularly interesting piece of dirt on the floor when the news arrived.

A rapt knock on the hall’s main door echoed in the room, and Yago let out a terse “enter” from behind his desk. He did not look up from what he was doing at the guard who walked in. Talia could practically smell the fear on him, and knew that he was about to deliver unfavorable news.

“Updates from the battlefield, General Clarion,” he said with a stiff salute.

“Proceed.”

“Pitor Davora has fallen at the hands of Alexandre Di Coteau. Elsa Torne retains the capital, and all remaining allied troops are retreating south. General La Croix is now leading them.”

Talia felt a surge of hope, but that emotion left her feeling unbalanced. Maintaining equilibrium was her most important need, but this good news gave her a sell of joy.

“How many were lost?”

“Thousands, sir. An exact count is being put together, and will be on your desk as soon as possible.”

“That will be all,” Yago said with a wave of the hand. Instead of turning to leave, the guard spoke again.

“Jamison Hadeaux and Marie Lafeye are also dead. Devan Di Coteau disrupted the siege on Alexandre’s home and ended them both.” The room went unnaturally still, and Talia’s demon was irked.

This was the real bad news, she knew. Taking our home was personal – the capital was just business. That missive shouldn’t have been failed.

“And how,” Yago said with a hiss, “is that possible?” His tone was soft, and deadly. The scent of fear from the man who delivered the news grew stronger now, and Talia focused in on him.

Funny. I can see the hairs on his neck rising from here.

“The citizens were armed,” the guard explained. “They fought back long enough for General Di Coteau to –“

“Be quiet,” Yago interrupted. The soldier did, and dared not move from his spot in the doorway. He was across the room from Yago, but Talia knew that the distance meant nothing. His life was in the balance, and she wondered how it was decided that he should have to be the one to deliver bad news to the general.

He definitely drew the short stick. After a while, Yago shook his head and spoke.

“Orr?”

“Alive. He’s retreating here as well.”

“Good,” Yago said rubbing his hands together. “I’ll send word to have the remaining generals of our alliance come here. We will consolidate our strength. Alex wants a showdown, and so do I.” The anger seemed to have dissipated from Yago’s body language, but the guard still stood rigid.

It’s your lucky day, pal, she thought.

We could kill him ourselves, said another voice within her. She ignored it, and looked over to her uncle.

“Have ravens prepared to deliver messages to all remaining allied generals. I’ll draft documents now.” The guard nodded promptly, and slipped wordlessly into his next duty and out the door.

Talia finally couldn’t resist the urge to let the other inside her take over for a moment, and began to laugh. Even though she was taking glee out of another’s suffering and thereby enabling the demon, Talia didn’t feel bad.

I’m allowed to feel joy in another person’s pain if it’s him.

Yago looked up curious at that, and smiled a wicked grin. “Coming around then, are we?” he asked.

“Not in the way you would hope for,” Talia replied. She barely recognized her own voice.

“Oh, I’m not so sure about that.”

“I’m only rearing my head to gloat, uncle,” she said with a venomous smile. “You’ve failed. You are a terrible failure, and a pathetic excuse for a general. You know that the current steward at the Di Coteau house was a whore before this? He has no training whatsoever, and you couldn’t even bring yourself to touch him.” She chose to provoke him with this loss rather than the one at the Capital, as she knew that it would goad him the most. Yago frowned, though appeared to be less bothered than she would have hoped for.

“I don’t care what happens to the north,” he said while inspecting his fingernails. “That was just for fun. If anything, it reflects poorly on the generals that went there themselves. I have nothing to do with their military failures.”

“I don’t think so,” Talia shot back in a gravelly voice. “You’ve monumentally fucked up. You lost in the north, and you lost at the Capital. You’re going to lose it all. And I’m going to love watching you fall.” Yago smiled, a twinkle in his eye.

“The more you give in to the mirth, the quicker it happens, you know. You’re much better at controlling it than I could have ever expected. How pleasing.”

“Shut your mouth,” Talia snarled. She lunged, pulling on the restraints that held her. She hadn’t even felt herself get up.

“I told you so,” Yago said with a smile. “I’m glad you’re finally coming around, even if it is at my perceived expense.” Talia’s blood was boiling now, but it didn’t stop her from catching the key word in that sentence.

“Perceived?”

“Yes,” Yago confirmed, “perceived. How do you know the battles that have occurred aren’t going exactly as planned?” Talia scoffed at that, annoyed by the fact that her uncle never could admit when he had miscalculated something.

“Your ego is going lose you this war.”

“Maybe,” he said with a shrug. He pushed his chair out from beneath his desk and stood up. “Though it is going my way right now, in spite of my ego and in spite of what you might think. Actually, things couldn’t be going better.” He began walking around the desk, and headed out towards the hall. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a few things to take care of. Another count has come to take his test, and I have some letters to write… how exciting. I’ll just leave you to stew here some more.”

Yago walked just out of range of her restraints, and placed a small wooden bowl on the floor in front of her. It was filled with blood – human blood – and Talia knew that it was the type designed to further her progress. She stared contemptuously at it, fighting all the way. She was doing her best to resist, but her psyche was too steeped in anger to not give it serious thought. Deep down, Talia knew the terrible secret that was beginning to grow and fester inside of her – I want it. Yago gave an arrogant smile, and began walking out of the room.

After a few moments, Talia let loose a primal scream while yanking at her restraints. She yelled something, but it was unintelligible and she didn’t even feel herself say it. She felt spittle fly out of her mouth and drip down her chin, and her normal consciousness slide further and further behind a growing fog of hate within her.

Cocky bastard, she thought. He must be bluffing, or delusional. She thought to his smile, and his unusually calm treatment of the guard that had delivered bad news to him. She had seen people skewered for less, and she felt confused. He has to be crazy… right? Surely there’s no way things are actually still going in his favor.

Thank you for reading!

Copyright © 2018 VVesley; All Rights Reserved.
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Another great chapter VVesley. It allows for a short breather as we await further developments. I'm glad to see Adrian and Kade now safe aboard ship and preparing to leave for the comparative safety of the Illjard away from all the dramas. I'm looking forward to seeing how Kade adapts to his new role and tries to fit in with his new people.

Yago seems "happy" which is a disturbing thought. He claims his plans are coming along and unfortunately I believe him. I expect we are in for a nasty surprise. Meanwhile poor Talia continues to fight a losing struggle against the effects of the inculcation. As horrible as it seems, part of me wants her to gain that power if only to use it against Yago. My better side hopes not to sacrifice Talias' soul and prays fro some kind of intervention before she succumbs to that terrible fate. 

Finally where the hell is that rat Damien. With Devans' entire force at Alex manse, does this mean his territory is unguarded? As always thanks for the new chapter, not as action packed but still deeply enthralling, great stuff. :2thumbs:

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Yago's demeanor after receiving the bad news is troubling. He has something up his sleeve besides nasty needles. Maybe he's counting on his control of the Order to be a surprise factor.

Talia has been fighting against the demon madness successfully, but it appears to thrive off the emotions and she's losing ground.

One thing I don't understand here is the Devan we see now. This Devan doesn't look like the same guy who let Yago attack his family and then do nothing at all about it.

 

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On 7/20/2020 at 4:50 PM, drpaladin said:

One thing I don't understand here is the Devan we see now. This Devan doesn't look like the same guy who let Yago attack his family and then do nothing at all about it.

If I rememeber correctly I think he felt with Yago being Ysabels brother and her being married to Darion, he wouldn't get their support if he tried to take revenge on Yago, or something like that. Just made me think, it would actually be justice if it was Devan who finally killed Yago in the end to avenge his butchered family.

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21 minutes ago, Goodie said:

If I rememeber correctly I think he felt with Yago being Ysabels brother and her being married to Darion, he wouldn't get their support if he tried to take revenge on Yago, or something like that. Just made me think, it would actually be justice if it was Devan who finally killed Yago in the end to avenge his butchered family.

After I posted the comment the same thought occurred to me, but it's been years now. After a cooling period he could have used a series of cutouts to hire assassin's to take care of the problem without any of that being an issue. Given Yago's history, he's not the only one out there who'd want Yago dead.

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On 7/20/2020 at 7:11 PM, Goodie said:

Another great chapter VVesley. It allows for a short breather as we await further developments. I'm glad to see Adrian and Kade now safe aboard ship and preparing to leave for the comparative safety of the Illjard away from all the dramas. I'm looking forward to seeing how Kade adapts to his new role and tries to fit in with his new people.

Yago seems "happy" which is a disturbing thought. He claims his plans are coming along and unfortunately I believe him. I expect we are in for a nasty surprise. Meanwhile poor Talia continues to fight a losing struggle against the effects of the inculcation. As horrible as it seems, part of me wants her to gain that power if only to use it against Yago. My better side hopes not to sacrifice Talias' soul and prays fro some kind of intervention before she succumbs to that terrible fate. 

Finally where the hell is that rat Damien. With Devans' entire force at Alex manse, does this mean his territory is unguarded? As always thanks for the new chapter, not as action packed but still deeply enthralling, great stuff. :2thumbs:

Thanks so much! I appreciate that, and am excited to reveal more about all of the characters with the plot. Yes - Devan and Damien's territories are effectively abandoned as of right now in the story. Thank you for reading and the comment!

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11 hours ago, drpaladin said:

After I posted the comment the same thought occurred to me, but it's been years now. After a cooling period he could have used a series of cutouts to hire assassin's to take care of the problem without any of that being an issue. Given Yago's history, he's not the only one out there who'd want Yago dead.

Yes indeed! Though who's to say he hasn't? ;) I think for Devan, there's been a slow build up to an "I just can't take it anymore" moment that happened during the last gathering of the thirteen. Alex starting a civil war was somewhat of a wake up call for Devan. I appreciate the feedback - maybe I'll go back and make an edit to make this more clear in one of the previous chapters, after I get through the rest of the story 😅

 

Thank you for reading and for the comment!

 

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