Chapter 9 Ė Webs of Intrigue
††††††††††† One month had passed in the
.† One mouth since the authority of the royal family had been challenged then overthrown.† The fate-filled battle that had encompassed the castle lasted very briefly for a single afternoon and evening.† The defenders of the crown had failed in holding the castle and subsequently had tried to retreat to the city surrounding it.† Their retreat had been cut-off by two companies loyal to the Captain of the Guard, Muion.† Into the night the defenders fought their way to freedom, aided greatly by the sheikah mage Shawn.† With horses and hooded faces the remnants fled into the night.† Out of numerous only a handful had survived.† But they had spread the word.† Spread the message that the King had been deposed and the Heir had fled to safety. landof Hyrule
††††††††††† Companies and squads around the breath of Hyrule drew together in their loyalties.† And as each guard, captain, and lieutenant chose, chaos reigned.† There was fighting in every district and fort throughout the realm.† Some areas were held by the royalists, those loyal to the Heir, others to the cronies, those loyal to the new Regent of Hyrule Muion.† The fighting had been intense and in constant flux for weeks, but now the fighting was dying down has the cronies were brought into line under a unified banner.† Their organization was what the royalists lacked.† The royalists had no focal point.† The Heir had yet to make her presence known.† Thus, territory by territory, fort by fort, the cronies were pushing the royalists from Hyrule.
††††††††††† In this time of flux and change the common people wondered.† They wondered what their future would hold.† They worried that maybe their king had brought this upon them.† And they waited in darkness for the Heir to rise up and defeat this usurper.† And yet they wanted no more conflicts.† But, all they could do was watch as the events passed them by while they could do nothing to intervene.
††††††††††† The newly chosen Regent was seated upon the throne and the aristocracy was presently gathered around.† They pressed upon the short-man their wants and desires.† They wished to return to their estates and help to bring order to the kingdom.† Help to support the companies of guard that fought now.† Muion was having none of that.† He did not wish to see a single one of these pompous fools leave his sight in case they had some fool notion of backing the Heir.† With their wealth behind the Heir it would be that much easier for her to fund an uprising.
††††††††††† With a quick series of sentences he bid them dismissed from the room.† He ordered his guards to escort them back to their quarters.† They needed to be controlled.† At least until he had control of the Heir.
††††††††††† As the wealthy landowners left, a slim figure garbed in a purple robe came forward.† There was a secretive smile playing across his lips and his eyes danced merrily.
††††††††††† Muion scowled at him and his expression. †Every time he came to him it was with more bad news.† And he seemed to relish giving that news.† "What's happened now, Quiri?† Have the Zoras and Gorons rebelled finally?† Or is the villas and their mysterious militias?"
††††††††††† Quiri's smile only broadened.† "Nothing so exciting as that."
††††††††††† Muion's scowl deepened.
††††††††††† Quiri's smile was nearly splitting his face.
††††††††††† The moment stretched as Muion's patience broke.† "Tell me what has happened!"
††††††††††† Quiri laughed out loud, the sound like crystal cracking.† "Nothing major.† Only a few words from the desert king."
††††††††††† "Oh yes.† Ganorim is most eager to send his blessings.† He regards you as someone who will understand his desires better than the king.† He isn't mistaken is he?"
††††††††††† "No, he's not.† I don't quite think he realizes just what he's getting himself into."
††††††††††† Quiri chuckled.† "As yes.† For king and country you shall ring this kingdom dry for your sovereign, won't you?"† Quiri's eyes were now alight.
††††††††††† Muion scowled once more.† "He is not my sovereign!"
††††††††††† "You do his bidding.† You fulfill his wishes.† What exactly am I missing?"
††††††††††† "I have sworn no oath to him or his empire.† And what I do, I do for myself first.† Him second."
††††††††††† "Ah, I see.† As of now your wishes correspond with his, but in the future that will not be so?"
††††††††††† Muion was silent.† Then he turned to Quiri, a stark expression on his face.† "You can stop playing games.† I know of his plans.† His plans for the other races here."
††††††††††† Quiri's smile vanished in a second, and his expression became guarded.† "What else do you think you know?"
††††††††††† "That Emperor Darious the Third of the Sunlit Empire of Arcadia wishes to extend his empire across the sea.† To do that he needs a navy the pirates of Portleon can't decimate.† He needs the Zoras.† The Gerudo and Gorons are only icing on top.† Gorons for deeper mines and the Gerudo as a fighting force that none could match.† But, itís the Zoras he needs most of all.† A fish people that could swim the waters and plant bombs on his enemies' ships.† What conqueror wouldn't want that?"
††††††††††† Quiri nodded to himself, weighing his options.† Sometimes when one is working for two different interests they become confused.† Truly, only one commanded him completely, the one that had broken him.† The other one was still important to the plan, though.† Luckily, he was given some leeway to maneuver.† "There's more that just that.† He also wishes to add this lovely and ancient kingdom to his already brimming provinces.† Do you know when his sights were first drawn here?"
††††††††††† "When Oberon sent that call to all the lands for help to build this glorious kingdom.† Oberon never thought Darious would look this way.† He thought he was too preoccupied with his sights across the sea.† He was wrong.† Of course, the son's methods are much more devious than the father's.† Darious' father would have swooped in and just conquered the land."
††††††††††† "You knew the father?"
††††††††††† "I know the father."
††††††††††† Muion's eyes came alive with the possibilities that tumbled into his mind, and for once he thought, maybe, he could crown himself King.†† "What a fool to leave someone that important alive.† Do you know where the father is being kept?†
††††††††††† "You don't know the politics of the Arcadian Empire as I do.† They value family very highly.† The son may have overthrown the father, but that doesn't mean he would kill him."
††††††††††† Muion grunted not caring much.† All he wanted to know is where the father lay.† "It matters not. †The Emperor has made a fatal flaw.† And I plan to capitulate on it.† If I can free the father then
will be split by civil war and I can crown myself King." Arcadia
††††††††††† "Not without the Heir."
††††††††††† Muion's eyes narrowed.† "Oh?"
††††††††††† "Oh yes.† Crowning yourself regent means you're not king.† Means people think that maybe you just want some power.† That maybe you're not permanent or aren't too serious.† Name yourself King and everyone who had any inkling of loyalty to the crown will rise up and fan the flames of rebellion, with or without the Heir's help."
††††††††††† "And I'll crush them with my guards and beat the people to my will.† They already fear the Guard.† I will make them..."
††††††††††† Quiri's burst of laughter cut Muion off abruptly.† The Regent narrowed his eyes.† "You have two options Muion.† Kill the Heir and crown yourself and then fight a war against the people for a decade.† You'll have a half-built kingdom and a very downtrodden economy.† Or, find the Heir.† Wed her and then crown yourself.† Have her assassinated and blame it on
.† The kingdom is then yours." Arcadia
††††††††††† "Devious sheikah.† Very devious.† What of her precious shadowfolk?"
††††††††††† "He shrugged.† They obey royal blood.† The Heir or the King.† You have one and you can use either against the other to get results.† The Heir's life threatened to bring the King to order the sheikah.† And the King's life over the Heir's head for her to be your doting wife.† It would seem that last part was your own idea.† I think it is best we stick with it.† For as long as the Heir lives, you live."
††††††††††† Muion glared at the robed figure, malice burning in his thoughts.† "Is that a threat?"† He took a step forward.
††††††††††† Quiri's laughter rang out like glass shards falling across stone.† "Oh no.† Oh no.† You must realize that Darious has a back-up plan in the small chance that you fail."
††††††††††† Muion remained silent.
††††††††††† Quiri laughed again.† "The Sheikah will listen to anyone of royal blood.† It just so happens that Darious has one fitting that very description."
††††††††††† "The Queen died in child-birth.† The King was very lonesome afterwards.† He found respite in one particular maid here.† She resembled the Queen in many small ways.† They had their tryst and then up and vanished.† Carrying his child."
††††††††††† Muion nodded, slowly recalculating his own position.† "Darious has the child?† Did the old emperor set this plan in motion?† Wait."† Muion's expression gradually shifted from one of stern contemplation to mild shock.† "You don't work for Darious do you?† Or do you and you're just double-crossing him?† Why else tell me this plan?"
††††††††††† Quiri regarded him for a moment then smiled, his teeth bared.† "I do work for Darious.† As I work for you.† As I work for myself.† And as I work for another."
††††††††††† "Then how can I trust you, traitor?"
††††††††††† Quiri shrugged.† "Right now you being in power with the King and Heir alive is where my interests lay right now.† And believe me those interests won't change anytime soon.† And if they do, then I might suggest something to you.† And it would be in our best interests if you heeded my suggestions."
††††††††††† Muion grunted, not fazed by the coy threat.† "I'm almost sick of all the webs people have spun around this kingdom."† He rounded on Quiri.† "And this other you claim to work for.† Was he the one of orchestrated that the king bearing another child in secret?"
††††††††††† Quiri chuckled.† "Yes.† In my stint with the Arcadian Empire's old emperor I learned many things.† Met many people.† This other was one of them.† It is thanks to his methods and knowledge of the Sheikah that I was able to break free from the bloodoath my people swore to the royal line.† It was also thanks to him that you're alive now.† Those wards I have up around the castle aren't shadow magic.† It is blood magic.† Old magic.† It kept the Sheikah out of the old passages."
††††††††††† "Instead causing them to the scale the very walls at night."† Muion bite-out bitterly, his mind forming the memories of that blood-soaked struggle.
††††††††††† It had been a week since the Heir had vanished and he had secured the castle.† That night over a hundred shadowed entities had scaled the walls and breached his defenses.† The only thing that had saved his and his mens' lives had been Quiri's presence warning them.† They had fought till dawn.† For every one sheikah dead three of his own guards had been found.† It had not been an easy night. †Over three dozen sheikah had been killed before the rest departed with the dawn.† Quiri had now put up wards around the walls designed to trigger bursts of light when his people's shadow magic touched them.
††††††††††† Muion brought his attentions back to Quiri.† "What is your otherís plans.† I'll agree to it so long as I am King of the land."
††††††††††† Quiri nodded smiling.† "Very well.† I have not been privy to all the details of this bold plan, but it involves a lot of people.† The old and new emperor's of
.† You.† Myself.† The Heir and King.† The Heir's half-brother and surprisingly enough the Heir's shadow." Arcadia
††††††††††† Muion smirked.† "A month ago I would have laughed at that last one.† Not now.† That boy single-handled held off twenty-five guards.† He had killed over half of them before those two sorcerers had appeared.† There's something about him.† Do you have any ideas on it?"
††††††††††† Quiri only shook his head.† "None.† Only he is involved with my master's plan."
††††††††††† Muion ignored the slip.† Though, he realized that Quiri was coming clean with his secrets.† He just did not know why.† "The rest of the plan?"
††††††††††† Quiri nodded.† "In the future you will be wed to the Heir and be crowned.† The scenario I painted earlier will keep the sheikah in line.† Once you are crowned the old emperor will be freed and civil war will grip the Arcadian Empire.† In the while, The King and Heir will be assassinated.† The half-brother listening to my master will come forward with his royal blood and the sheikah will be forced to obey his commands.† From there I am uncertain."
††††††††††† Quiri shrugged.† "That's the overall plan."
††††††††††† Muion waited in thought a few moments.† "Okay.† Why are you confiding in me?† What does your master gain by me knowing this."
††††††††††† Quiri laughed again, his laughter resounding in the large room like a crystal goblet shattering a stained-glass window.† "He doesn't care.† This is my choice.† I'm telling you all this to help you not make too many mistakes.† As I said before, you kill the Heir too early, you die.† Darious will send in the half-brother to lay claim to throne and to the sheikah.† You'll be eliminated.† That's why it is important she live until the Arcadian Empire is in turmoil."
††††††††††† "Why am I important?"
††††††††††† Quiri almost laughed again.† He stopped himself.† "You're not.† You could be replaced with some effort.† Effort I don't want to go through.† That and....well I guess you don't have any messy morals getting in the way of your decisions."† Quiri's smile this time was almost a leer.
††††††††††† Muion only regarded him coldly.† Suddenly, he really didn't want to be in this man's presence.† "Go.† I'll think on what you've told me."
††††††††††† "Of course."† Quiri bowed deeply.† Muion knew he was mocking him with it.† Quiri straightened and swept towards the door.† He stopped though and turned.† "Oh yes, before I forget, Ganorim also said that a number of his ladies have defected to the Heir's side.† Thought you might want to know your soldiers may be facing gerudo fighters."† Quiri then jerked his body in the direction of the door and parted.
††††††††††† Muion grabbed the nearest object, a stack of scrolls, and hurled them across the room.† He then sat down on the throne, for once feeling the weight of ruling coming fully to his shoulders.
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