Remnant: Book of Tulefore Chapter 2
Outside the walls of the vibrant city and the bustle of its people, was the location of the barracks of the Tuleforian military. As peace had been long-standing upon both the mainland and many of the empire’s colonial settlements overseas, the men and women serving in the force were relegated to local peace-keeping and community service. As a result of holding such a position, many sons and daughters of the Tuleforian upper class were easily introduced to ranks of power among the forces.
Though not holding the highest rank of Guard Commander, the Prince-Elector’s second child, Kiaren Auriline, was held in high regard all about the city. The man holding said title of Commander and Kiaren’s superior- likely in title only- went by the name of Silvus Alwyn. The two of them were present that day that the barracks training grounds, watching over the sparring between the veterans and the recruits.
“Don’t give him an opening!” Kiaren directed intensely, her eyes trained to the slashes of wooden swords between the pair of men. The clouds produced from their breath dissipated into the brisk wind. Kiaren winced at the dust picked up by the air which guided the bundle of her reddish-brown hair to dance around her face.
A weathered thumb pushed at the side of her cheek and forced back more of the escaping locks behind her ear. “You’d best get a mirror for your quarters here if you wish to maintain such an unruly head of hair.”
Kiaren opened her eyes to Silvus as he held himself in close proximity to her. She pushed at his chest to force a distance between them and looked back to make sure none of the others had taken notice of them. “Your mother ought to have taught you to keep your hands to yourself.”
“My apologies, Lady Kiaren,” Silvus taunted, his eyes trailing elsewhere while crossing his arms.
“I would never allow myself the vanity of a mirror in the barracks here,” Kiaren stated proudly. “What’s next, bringing my wardrobe down from the castle, and perhaps have a servant as well to help me dress myself?”
“That would indeed be the day.” The commander huffed.
Kiaren tugged on the bundle of hair at her neckline. “I’d be better off chopping off this mess.” She finally declared.
“Now, you shouldn’t think of things so extreme,” Silvus replied, warily looking to the lady’s tender nape.
It was at that time when Terren had come about the barracks on foot to deliver the news of the arrival of the Viceroy, and the message from their father, Danus. “Commander Silvus, sister.” He waved his hand at the two to interrupt the bickering. “I need a word.”
Silvus acknowledged Terren’s arrival and clapped his hands loudly, alerting the trainees. “That shall be enough for this afternoon. Pack it up!”
Kiaren was already at her brother’s side, glancing out in the direction he had come. “Rare for you to venture all the way out here.”
Terren breathed through his mouth and looked his sister up and down. “On the contrary- it’s you who might dare and venture to the castle once every few weeks to offer your greetings… and perhaps enjoy a bath.”
Silvus walked by the two on the way to the dark stone and wood of the barracks facility. He opened the door and stood beside it expectantly. “You two, let’s get out of the cold, shall we?”
The officer’s chambers contained maps of the land and the seas, including the coasts of certain landings to the east where Tulefore held power. Silvus yanked out several of the chairs about the wooden table where meals were taken and training regiments planned. “You must have some good news for us, then, Terren? Is Manek hoping to run a festival for the good harvest this year?”
Terren shook his head before sitting down roughly in an open seat. “You’re familiar with Viceroy Medan?”
“He resides in Slana, is that right?” Kiaren spoke up, her back against a wall nearby. “The quite rotund one?”
Terren shook his head. “If not a bit thinner, even, with the long voyage he’s been on. He’s just returned from the colony there. Says some instability is brewing, if not something worse.”
Silvus frowned and cupped his hands before his chin. “I’d always understood that we had good relations with the native people.”
“Correct, but…” Terren shrugged. “in recent times I’d heard of them pushing farther to the east. There are tribes out there that are less accepting of strangers. That, and the borders between our lands and those other savages can’t be well enough guarded. At least, that’s what father says.”
“So, Danus needs more forces over that way?”
“Our interests and our people would require it,” Terren began, matter-of-factly, “if it is as bad as Medan describes. Danus requested that you come with me to the castle, so that we may discuss how to proceed.”
“Proceed?” Kiaren butted in, “I suppose that means sending more forces to secure the colony? Silvus, my father could intend to send you. If… if that’s the case, I won’t allow it. They won’t send you, if I have any say.”
Terren grit his teeth. “You don’t have any say, sister. Or should you wish to tell father of the secret courting you two have been undergoing?”
Kiaren huffed and paced about to another part of the room. “That is none of your business.”
“If you spent more time at the castle, you would know that such things have a certain order to them, less you wish to upset both families.”
“Enough.” Silvus stood suddenly, projecting his voice. “We don’t know yet of his Highness’ intentions. Kiaren, your father has requested my presence. My duty right now is to answer that call. What comes after is not yet set in stone.”
Up in the office of the Prince-Elector, Danus had laid out the old map of the colonial lands of Slana across his table. Medan was at the opposite side, drawing in fresh lines with a quill to mark out more recent changes in the territory. “We had pushed into this area where there are known to be rich copper deposits,” The viceroy described. “The simple folk there wouldn’t know it from any other rock on the ground, let alone what to do with a coin. They all live in the trees or something.”
A knock came to the door, pulling both of their attention up. “You may enter.” Danus stood and called in response.
Terren was the first to come through the doorway, followed by Silvus and Kiaren. Medan turned about and reached up for Silvus’ hand. “Ah, what a fine gentleman man you’ve become,” He praised. “Last I saw you, you barely had a whisker upon your face.”
“Good arrival, Viceroy,” Silvus reciprocated. He looked to Danus in hopes of redirecting the focus away from himself.
The bearded man was at the window, looking out upon the sea and the dissipating sunlight. “Thank you for coming here in such a haste, Silvus. Kiaren, I see you were able to make it as well.”
“Ah, the daughter,” Medan noted excitedly, looking the young woman up and down. He sat back down before the map and took to rolling his fingers across the parchment.
Kiaren cleared her throat. “You can’t blame me for taking an interest in such things as well, father.” She folded her hands at her back and leaned against the wall.
“Is that so?” Danus finally returned to face the room. He propped himself on the edge of the table with one hand while tracing bits of the map with a sole finger. “Well, I expect Terren has filled you both in on our current situation. As the good Viceroy was just explaining to me, there are a fair bit of separatists who would like to see our power over their land dissolved.”
Silvus shook his head. “Slana does nothing but benefit from the trade passing through there on the way back to our ports.”
“Alas, some of them would want to take it all for themselves.” Medan huffed. “They don’t even have a force of ships to bring it anywhere across the sea.”
“Regardless of what they want…” Danus spoke up, “They are threatening our people. It seems they’ve rallied forces in the capital.”
“They’ve gone and razed the lower quarter of the city!” The viceroy tapped loudly upon the map. “Forced out our fine folk in the mercantile district where they were just trying to make a living. Those people ended up holed up in the Villa, expecting us to keep them safe.”
“And are they safe?” Silvus spoke up.
“When I left, they were, yes,” Medan sighed, “But the good few Slania and the Tuleforian guards stationed there won’t be able to defend for all eternity.”
Danus hummed. “You’ve told me you have a few more ships there at the port you could use, Viceroy.”
“Only if worst comes to worst.”
“Of course.” The bearded man nodded. “Which is why I am… authorizing the formation of a unit to be sent that way. The least we can do is stabilize the capital and protect our people while we reach an agreement with the leaders of the rebellion.”
“At the very least!” Medan stressed.
“I see.” Silvus nodded.
“The only worry, at this point, is the coming winter, which would make the voyage an ordeal even greater than being upon the land.” Danus studied Silvus and Kiaren. “Silvus, can I trust you to assemble a unit to take on this assignment? I’ll see the procuring a proper ship in the meantime.”
“Of course, Prince-Elector, my lord.”
“I intend to step up as well, father.” Kiaren stood up from the back wall. Terren glared at her from behind Silvus’ back.
“A good intention, my dear, but your role here in our lands is still a valuable one.”
Kiaren stepped forward and crossed her arms. “The presence of someone of royal blood upon their land would remind them of who they must submit to.”
Medan looked weakly to Danus, who had already come out from behind the desk. “You still have much to learn, Kiaren. You know that above anything else, I appreciate the role you take in supporting the people of this land. I need you here by my side to continue to do so.”
Kiaren looked to Silvus for aid but received only a turned-down glance of submission. “Kiaren, those men will not train themselves.”
Danus reached out for Kiaren’s shoulders, but the young woman jerked away and distanced herself before exiting the door of the office. The bearded man rested his forehead against his fingers before turning back to the table. “Silvus, create a list of men you would have with you. Terren, I have one last errand for you. Pay a visit to the Asterium, I shall prepare a requisition order. I can foresee the magi being of aid to us in this endeavor.”