Geb was sitting in front of the fire, his lieutenants were seated round him, joking and laughing. Inionri’s voice was louder than the others. Beautiful and dangerous Inionri. Geb usually enjoyed her company, but for the last few days, during the trip, her presence had become a painful reminder of the days they had served under Kaiserin’s command. The rest of their squad was nearby, but it was Inionri the one that reminded him of her.
Kaiserin’s death had been premature, she had left them too soon, leaving behind her an emptiness in their lives. He still remembered that day, it was the last battle he had participated. The Empress had died and in the chaos it had taken hours to notice that Kaiserin was gone, more before Kamose returned to camp carrying the torn body of Kaiserin. She had gone after the Rebels and they had killed her.
At first he had refused to believe she was dead, but eventually he had to accept it. Almost two years had passed and he had finally made peace with the fact that she was gone. But then he had been ordered to go to battle once more, and the memories of his last trip came to him.
“Since our fearless leader is still lost in his dreams I guess that I will have to go elsewhere to look for some fun,” announced Inionri.
“What?” asked Geb as he saw Inionri walking away.
“I think Inionri dumped you and went looking for someone else to spend the night with” explained one of his lieutenants. “I think I will follow her example, I need to get someone to keep me warm at night,” as he was talking, he tried to put his arm around the young woman next to him, but she moved out of his reach and with a little shove sent him to the ground. The lieutenant fell next to the bonfire, and as he tried to get up, put his arm on the fire and his uniform caught on fire.
“Do you think that is enough to keep you warm?” asked the young woman to her partner while he tried to extinguish the fire.
Laughter erupted around them, even Geb joined them, first with a contained laugh, then with a shout of laughter as he watched the young lieutenant trying to attack the woman just to be thrown into the fire once again. Still laughing, Geb used his power to drop some sand on him and help him put out the fire. Partly buried under the sand the lieutenant was unable to attack his partner again.
“If you need a translation I think that she was trying to tell you: ‘no thank you, I don’t want to go with you’. Just accept that and respect her wishes,” said Geb, putting an end to the fight.
“She could just say that instead of throwing me into the fire,” he complained.
“I’m so sorry, I promise I won’t do it again,” she said, but everyone laugh, knowing that she would do it again in a heartbeat.
A loud noise caught the attention of people around the place, Geb saw a sergeant a few feet away, he was whipping a person. People from several bonfires were observing the spectacle. Geb saw Agis getting up and approaching the sergeant, when Rimsin also stood up and walked toward them Geb lost all interest.
Geb heard them discussing, but he wasn’t interested in Agis nor Rimsin, so he just ignored them, like most of the people around. The voices around the bonfires started to rise again as people resumed their talks.
“No!” Rimsin yelled loud enough to be heard over the voices of the camp. “Don’t take the hood off!”
A piercing scream followed his words,once again the group was the center of attention, but Rimsin assured them that everything was under control. Geb watched as Agis held in his arms the body of the person the sergeant had whipped. That was a weird sight, so Geb started to pay close attention to them.
People around him was trying to guess what was going on, but Geb wasn’t listening to their theories, he observed. He watched as Agis gently lay down the person on the ground and then turned to confront Rimsin. They were arguing heatedly, but he couldn’t hear what they were arguing about. When Agis punched Rimsin Geb decided to go and help. Since Kaiserin’s death, his relationship with Agis wasn’t good, but he felt like he should be by his side.
Before he realized it, he was already half way to where Agis and Rimsin were fighting. Echrad was also approaching them. The sergeant, noticing that the captains weren’t paying attention to him anymore was approaching the person in the floor once again.
“Look Agis, if what you want is your lover back we can share her,” Rimsin was offering, Agis’ answer was another punch. “You will regret this Agis” yelled Rimsin, “if you think you can defeat me you are gravely mistaken.”
Geb finally was close enough to see the person they were fighting over. A young warrior, one that looked familiar, but it was impossible. Geb walked closer. Echrad was talking to Agis, but Geb didn’t even noticed, all his attention was focused on the person in front of him.
“Kaiserin?” The woman had a terrible aspect, she had been beaten and whipped, she was very thin and looked sick. Geb had seen something like that before, when they were captives of the Creator’s Clan. They had tortured Kaiserin, and the woman in front of him looked like Kaiserin did back then. “Is it really you?” he asked, as he tenderly caressed her face, trying to make sure she was real.
“Sir?” the sergeant approached them, Geb saw the woman tense when she heard the sergeant’s voice, was she afraid of him? “I’ll deal with her, she’s mine,” he said.
“Yours!?” roared Geb. “Are you responsible for her condition? What the hell did you do to her?”” Unable to control his fury, Geb threw a wall of rocks against the sergeant, the coward ran away from there. Geb turned his attention back to the woman next to him, she was watching the sergeant, but then she turned to him and their eyes locked, any doubt he had about his identity was melted away as Geb stared into her eyes. Kaiserin was alive! For a moment he thought she had recognized him, but then her face contorted in pain and she screamed again before passing out.
“Kaiserin? Kaiserin, please wake up.” Geb took the woman in his arms and held her close to him, noticing how thin and fragile she was. What had happened to her?
“Captain?” asked one of his men.
“Go look for Vikomt and Inionri, tell them to come here immediately, tell them that Kaiserin is alive,” he ordered.
Agis and Echrad had already defeated Rimsin, but a couple of lieutenants from Rimsin’s group was approaching them. Without letting Kaiserin go, Geb walked closer to the others.
“What’s going on here?” Asked one of Rimsin’s subordinates.
“Nothing for you to worry about, just take your captain back to his tent, he needs to rest.” Ordered Agis.
“Do you think I’m stupid? You did something to him, you will tell me what you did or I will go to your superiors and inform them of this attack.” The woman wasn’t backing down, she wasn’t afraid as she faced the two captains in front of her.
“It could have been worse, but out of respect we haven’t killed him yet, take him away before we change our minds,” said Echrad to Rimsin’s lieutenant.
“Isn’t that the girl from sector 32?” Asked the other lieutenant to the woman that was confronting Agis, Geb and Echrad.
“Yes! She is.” She answered, surprise crossed her face and then something else before setting in something similar to anger. “What are you going to do to her?” she asked.
“Do you know her?” asked Geb.
“I know she is a soldier from sector 32. One of the sergeants there offer her to Rimsin as a sexual slave during her visit.” Answered the woman.
“I can’t believe she survived…” the other guy was staring at Kaiserin, with pity and surprise.
“Rimsin has always been rough,” the woman shivered as if remembering something awful, “but the way he tortured her…”
Just as Geb heard the words the ground around Rimsin opened up, Geb was going to bury him and kill him for what he had done.
“Stop, we cannot react like this before we find out what the hell is happening here,” said Agis. “Just take your captain away and don’t say a word about what happened here. I will talk to our superiors and explain to them what happened. Understood?”
“Understood.” Both of them answered. They collected Rimsin’s body and took him back to his own camp.
“We can’t say here, we should go to my tent, we can speak calmly there.” Suggested Agis.
“I don’t follow your orders Agis, we need to take Kaiserin to a healer or a doctor,she is not well.” Said Geb.
“Something weird is going on here, I think it would be best if we don’t attract any unwanted attention,” said Echrad, “let’s take it to Agis’ for now, then we will decide what to do.”
The three of them walked in silence, Geb still with Kaiserin in his arms. The three of them were deep in thought, wondering what had happened to their friend, their savior, their captain.
They were just arriving to Agis’ tent when Vikomt joined them. “What’s going on? Someone said something about Kaiserin…” his words froze as he saw Geb lowering Kaiserin to some pillows Agis and Echrad had prepared for her.
“She looks worse than when we were captured by the rebels,” said Echrad, thinking out loud, “some of these scars are old, some must be just a few days old.” Echrad traced a scar on her arm and started to cry for her friend. None of the men said anything to her, they didn’t blame her for her emotional outburst, they were all in pain.
Thousand of questions were going through their minds, but the most important was what the hell had happened to her?
“We need to do something, for starters, we can’t let her go back to where she was, I’m sure that sergeant is partly responsible for her injuries. Just a few minutes go he was whipping her.” Geb was the first to break the silence.
“We can’t do anything until we are a hundred percent certain that it’s her” Vikomt suggested, always cautious. “If we are mistaken, we are going to have a lot of trouble.”
“Of course it’s her! You are her cousin, you should know that better than anyone else,” said Echrad, enraged.
“I’m just saying that she could be someone that for some reason looks like her, you know Kamose was the one who said she was dead.” Vikomt tried to calm Echrad.
As soon as he spoke Kaiserin screamed and put her hands on her head.
“What’s wrong?” Geb was by Kaiserin’s side in an instant. He tried to hug her, comfort her, but she went stiff and then tried to push him away. Geb felt the fear in her and let her go, afraid of hurting her, scared by her reaction.
“What is wrong with her?” asked Vikomt, surprised by his cousin’s reaction.
“I don’t know yet” answered Agis, “she doesn’t answer when we call her and Rimsin wasn’t very communicative. We focused more on creating an alternative memory of this night so he wouldn’t keep fighting us rather than gathering intel.”
“Why? You should have found out what happened,” said Geb. “She was supposed to be dead, and now we found her like this, broken and abused and you don’t even bother on trying to find out what happened?”
“We have to go inside her mind,” said Echrad “is obvious that they did something to her, we have to find out what.”
Agis, Echrad and Vikomt went into Kaiserin’s mind, looking for the answer to her change. Geb was the only one that couldn’t do anything, so he just stayed there, staring at her. She had her eyes closed, but she was awake, and scared. Geb didn’t like seeing her like that. Agis and Echrad were whispering to each other, talking about whatever they had found in her mind.
“Geb!” yelled Inionri from the door, “the idiot you sent looking for me was saying a bunch of crap and making no sense, I need you to explain why you summoned me.”
Kaiserin shivered when she heard Inionri’s voice, then she opened her eyes and saw her. Kaiserin’s hands were still on her head, but as she looked at her cousin the pressure on her temples increased, as if she was trying to squeeze the pain out of her head.
“What have they done to you?” Inionri kneel in front of Kaiserin and cupped her face with her hand, looking at her as if she was trying to make sure she was real. On Kaiserin’s face pain, confusion and fear crossed in quick succession.
Agis cursed and Echrad and Vikomt screamed and then collapsed. Geb went closer to them to see if they were ok, but his eyes kept going back to the two girls.
“Inionri? What’s going on Inionri?” Kaiserin’s voice was weak and insecure, a voice that was so different from the one they remembered.
“Oh Kaiserin! I can believe you are here, alive” Inionri felt the tears on her eyes, she was so happy to find her best friend, her cousin, alive!
“Who is Kaiserin?” Kaiserin’s question froze everyone around her.
Copyright © 2014 | Kaiserin Novel