Thursday, May 12, 2016

Serah IV

Serah entered her quarters to rest for an hour as the Princess would be doing the same. Although the girl was full of vigor when it came to watching John in the training yard, Serah had noticed her health decline ever more. Each day, the climb up the rampart stairs became a little more strenuous. Each day, the Princess ate a little less.
    It was Serah's job to take care of the girl, but how could she deny her what she wanted. She had tried of course, but not letting the Princess go see John made her sulk and the drained expression on her face had finally convinced Serah that if it made her happy it was the best thing to do.
    A quiet knock at her door pulled her out of her contemplation. The knock had a specific rhythm that told Serah there was a secret messenger at the door. She detested the word spy, rather referring to them as messengers of secrets in her mind. There were things that some people at court did not care to have her know. It was better to have a way of knowing these things, thus her employ of secret messengers.
    Serah rushed over and knocked her own rhythm, saying the coast was clear. She waited a second and then a small bit of folded paper was slid under the door into her room. She picked it up and opened it, wondering what news had been kept from her this time.

The spring is real. It has been found, but the Captain is keeping it a secret.

Serah couldn't believe it. She had always thought the King's insistence upon searching for the magical spring was a fool's errand. But it wasn't, it had been found. Though why Captain Bron had not informed the King she did not know. Did he want to use the the spring for his own ambitions? Did he not care about the Princess's health?
    Serah could not sit idly by, something needed to be done. The King must surely have his own messengers that would have told him by now. She needed to know what he planned to do and give him counsel if necessary. If it had to do with the Princess, it had to do with her.
    Serah quickly changed into more presentable clothing for the King. After fixing the loose strands of hair back into her bun she was ready and went straight to his chambers. On arrival she looked at the two guards in front of the King's chamber and frowned. She did not recognize either of them.
    Their grim expressions did not brighten as she made to enter. She could not help worrying about the fact that they did not try to stop her or even question her. It was possible that they knew who she was, but that thought was not comforting either, since she did not know them.
    Serah made a mental note to herself to have her messengers find out who was newly appointed to the King's Guard. She knew that many experienced men had been transferred to the new battalion to fight the Orcs, but she did not like having men in the palace that she did not know. She liked it even less that those men were guarding the King.
    Serah bustled into the chamber interrupting Commander Arenson mid sentence. Arenson turned on her with a scowl, while King Theowen's eyes shone at the sight of her.
    "Ah, Serah. I'm glad you've come. They've found the spring. It's real and it will save my darling."
    Before she could say something Arenson coughed loudly for attention.
    "As I was saying, my King. We cannot know for sure that all we have heard is true. I've still had no word from Captain Bron, which worries me. Why has he not informed me about this wonderful discovery that we have all been waiting for?"
    Serah was not fond of the commander, but she could not disagree with his train of thought.
    "I too, was concerned about that. To my knowledge, Captain Bron has been a loyal servant to the throne, but who knows. The power of the spring might have corrupted him. Maybe he saw a chance to keep its discovery a secret and profit from it on his own."
    If Arenson had been offended by her view of one of his captains, he did not show it. On the contrary, he agreed with her. Serah wondered what that said about him as a commander, if he did not trust his captains.
    "We have to proceed cautiously, for we do not know what awaits us when my men should arrive at the camp. If Bron is hiding the knowledge of the spring and betraying you, my King, by doing so. Then he might react with violence if we come to fetch some of its water for the Princess."
     King Theowen stood tall as ever, but his narrow shoulders slumped at his commander's words. Serah had her own doubts about Captain Bron's actions, but hearing his own commander echo those thoughts was quite disheartening. She could imagine what was going through the King's mind, but was surprised when he raised his head and she saw fire in his eyes.
    "Commander, no matter what the cost, we need the water from that spring. I want you to send your best men to gather it. If there is any opposition from Captain Bron or his men, then do what you must. Those are your King's orders. Understand?"
    Arenson's eyes widened at each word the King jabbed at him, but his voice did not quaver when he responded. "Yes, my King."
    King Theowen turned to Serah, the steel in his voice still menacing. "You came to see what would be done. Now you know. As always, my daughter comes first."
    The fiery glare was once more pointed at Commander Arenson and then without another word the King left his chamber to find a more private place. Serah imagined him going to his bedchamber to sit at a desk and ponder the hard decisions he must make.
    Not unlike the King, Serah also had hard choices to make to protect the Princess. It might hurt the girl now, but it would be better for her health. The young girl's mind had been much too focused on John of late and seeing him daily was draining her strength.
    "Commander, if I could make a suggestion as to which group to send to the spring. I know you have much faith in Captain Jason March and his men, but he seems such a valuable asset to the Kingdom. The Princess and I have been watching Guardian Morrison and his men of late and he seems more than capable to take care of any problems Captain Bron and his men might present."
    To be honest, Serah thought Jason March was an asshole and although decent with a sword, not much of a leader. The only reason why he was rising in the ranks was his family name. Guardian Morrison on the other hand was an excellent fighter and she could tell that his men truly were in good hands.
    Morrison and his men, including John, would safely get the water from the spring to heal the Princess. While she would no longer be able to watch John in the training yard daily, giving her much needed rest.
    This was for the best, even if the Princess would not see it that way.