Kingdom of the Weak - Chapter 126

Published at 19th of March 2019 01:54:10 PM
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Chapter 126

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That night, Remian stood alone in the cold and the dark .

It was quiet, with the sounds of man and Wild muted and distant . The wind was chilly at the top of the Guild Hall, but he stood there without complaint, feeling the cold outside as much as he felt it inside .

Humans . The word sounded oddly alien, as if considering a foreign kind . Strange thoughts were associated with the concept, for some reason . Destroyers . Liars . Betrayers .

Asda .

For a minute there, he itched to strike . Do something, anything, to cause her pain . Send the lynxmice to rob their food stores . Send the airships to bomb their homes . Something .

But what would the result be? Vengeance in return for vengeance . Airships and armies from the Coalition of Six storming what little Remian had left in the Wildlands .

For another minute he contemplated . Should he bemoan his lack of strength? Train himself to become an unstoppable mage, so that nobody would backstab him or bully him any more?

Ridiculous . His lifespan wasn't going to last that long . What would happen after he died? To his family, and friends, and everything he wanted to leave behind? Everything would fall apart if everything depended on him and his vaunted strength . What was selfish strength good for, except for bullying? Would it improve the lives of the needy? Grant a better future for the common man in the world?

Not by itself, no . Development could . Resource investment could . Technological advances could . Between these things, perhaps someday, people could eat good food that hadn't been cheapened to reduce costs and improve profits to the point of causing unhealthy side-effects in the long term to countless of unsuspecting people . Perhaps someday, people could actually trust that their medical and healthcare experts were entirely concerned about their well-being rather than the profits of selling them needed medication with untold side-effects . Perhaps someday, cures could be found for diseases and physical defects like the kind that would sooner or later end Remian's life .

That was the goal in his heart . That was the hope he held in trying to step toward a better future . It could not be done in the cultures and cities of modern, developed men . The Wilds had it right when they called men Destroyers . Man would destroy himself for money and indeed continued to do so .

No . The answers were in working together with nature, advancing in knowledge and sciences in harmony with nature . But there was no magic, no godly artifact or divine resource or all-giving system that would miraculously provide such advancement . It had to be discovered step by step, worked upon and developed like all sciences, the slow way, the difficult way, the costly way . There were no cheats in the real world .

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Given the time he had left, and the scope of what he needed to do, Remian had a choice to make .

He could wage war on Fal'Herim . Make Asda pay . With the Wilds at his command, they would wreak havoc and ruin upon the desert city, loot and plunder it for all it was worth, maybe even conquer it and turn it into his own capital .

What followed would likely be a generation of war with the Coalition of Six, one they might win by fending them off indefinitely . Remian himself wouldn't survive to see the end of it, but he would leave behind a nation of warriors, built upon a culture forged by lifetimes of war .

He was tempted . God knew he was tempted .

Or, he could go farther south in the Wildlands . Seek increasing connection with nature through the Wilds . Learn the secrets of these untamed regions, and seek the mysteries of the Black Ruins . Change the way they live, abandoning the industries and destructive ways of a human town . At this point, it looked like they were going to become a nation of air nomads, living in airships, taking from the ground what they needed, but building their homes in the sky…

He was close . Remian could feel it . Befriending the Eagle Lord was a huge step forward . To actually be friends with a Lord of the Wilds! If he could befriend enough of them…

Then all of the Wildlands would be open to him . The Coalition of Six would not dare set foot in these regions without his permission . Imagine! To raise a force the likes of a Beast Tide, the way Doom did! To this day, none of the nations of man had ever been able to withstand a Beast Tide .

All of this might mean keeping the Wildlands for himself . Even if it meant putting himself on the other side, standing with the Wilds against the majority of mankind in his destructive ways .

But on the other hand, that was wrong too . That was Doom's way, and he was doing it wrong .

It had never been Remian's desire to reject the world or mankind, but to change it .

That was why, ultimately, he was going to let go of Asda and her betrayal . Turn his back on them . He was making huge strides in reaching for his goals, and he simply didn't want to waste wasting time, effort, and blood just to make her suffer in return

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But would she ever learn? Or would she simply take more advantage in the future, again and again, since he was so docile to accept her betrayal?

What was that phrase the old queen used to wake Khar'al-dras, again? "Sior kri za'un"?

The last time that dragon woke up, Fal'Herim was reduced to rubble…

Hmm . Maybe not the dragon . Perhaps he could spare just a little effort on Asda herself, just her alone .


George, on the other hand, was not so forgiving .

"Maybe you can let them get away with it, but I can't . " George shook his head, upon hearing Remian's conclusion later that night . "We fought for everything we have! Every time a Beast Wave attacked, we fought! Every time our people were threatened, we fought! And now so many of them have been stolen right from under our noses by someone we trusted, and you're just going to let it go? No way! We have to fight for them!"

"How?" Remian asked .

"I don't know how! But I'll figure it out!" George declared . "Meanwhile, we have to go find Shadowflash . "

"Find Shadowflash?" Remian blinked . "Why?"

"Because until we find him and defeat him, either kill him or make him swear fealty, the Wilds will never recognize you as the true Lord of this Fief!" George pointed out . "You'll forever be 'the squatter', just the intruder human who should be driven out!"

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"That…" Remian stared, stunned . He hadn't even thought of that .

"Making friends is all very well, but the world isn't so kind just because you are . Sometimes, we need to use force . Out on the Frontier, every child knows that more than most . We live it, day by day . The weak die . That's the law of the jungle . The Wildlands is that kind of place . You should understand that . "

"But it doesn't have to be! That's what I'm trying to tell you!"

"That's a maybe, in the future . Right here, right now, we have to defend ourselves today!" George insisted . "This morning, a boy from the Harvest Sun almost died to a sneak Wild attack! He was just foraging in the forest for fruit! Tomorrow, it could be his sister, or his brother . It could even be me . We can't let down our guard out here! Not against the Wilds, not against the Sand People, not against Doom, not against Song Chen, not against anybody!"

Remian's face was pale at this point . "Fine . You do what you have to do . Protect our people . But me, I need to find my brother, and I'm going to try to ensure a future of lasting peace for everybody!"

George and Mindy watched him go, then exchanged cautious glances .

"He's losing his edge . " George shook his head . "Maybe it's the shock of losing to the Beast Tide, maybe it's because of concern for his brother, but Remian… it feels like he's going soft . "

"It doesn't matter . " Mindy shook her head . "I will go with him to the south . We will find whatever we will find . You can stay here and fight your fights . "

"You… you could stay here . " George trailed off . "Build your fleet of airships . Trade with the nations to the north . Fight the Beast Waves from the air . Take the fight to Fal'Herim eventually . We're going to need airships, and you're the one who legally owns them all . "

"You can have them . The Sky Barges, the Gunships, the Tugs… you can have them all on rent . They'll be mine to own but yours to command . And yours to pay for damages if you get them torn up . " Mindy suggested .

"Are you really serious?" George asked . "You'll follow Remian to the deep south in search of some future hope and leave behind all the dreams you've had?"

"I'm not leaving anything behind . " Mindy protested .

"I remember you telling me what your dreams were! A fleet of airships that can make lots of money trading around the world! Don't tell me you've forgotten! It wasn't that long ago!"

"I haven't forgotten . But there's an opportunity in the south right now, with Darian and Doom and Remian the way they are, right now, there's a chance for that future hope! I can't just give up on it, and I can't let Remian take it all on himself! I have to go with him . " Mindy said decisively . "The airships can wait until I get back . "

"And how long will that be?" George asked .

"I have no idea . " Mindy said, and that was that .


So Remian and Mindy and a small crew went south with the Red Fang and the Eagle Lord .

George was left with a defenseless farm, a host of adults who all saw him as just some boy under Remian's tutelage, and an outflow of people to Fal'Herim that was practically the lifeblood of the Fief bleeding out at a deadly pace .

This was it . Remian had left . Mindy had gone with him . Tim had disappeared somewhere .

It was up to him now . This was going to have to be his fight .

And the first thing he had to do was prove himself… even if it meant doing things he'd never done before .

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