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A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Ten


by dudeiloled

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     "She’s agreed to negotiate,” General Hadon told King Jazan and his officials, reading the parchment that had been sent urgently from Sakhmet. The handwriting on it was scribbly and hard to decipher, clearly a sign of panic and confusion as to the best course of action from Sankara. “She’s written: ‘General Hadon, I am incredibly disappointed that despite my best efforts and the huge expense incurred from training our army that you have failed to take control of the situation. Your letter to me was brief, but communicated everything I needed to know. I agree to meet with King Jazan on peaceful terms and negotiate with him. I would just like to remind him that Queen Nabile is in my custody.’” Hadon cleared his throat awkwardly. “I’m sure that last bit is a threat to you, sir – or rather to the Queen herself.”

     They were in a makeshift tent on the far edges of Sakhmet, resting for the night before they went to Sankara the following morning. This was a large, expansive area with room for a wooden table and chairs, which were arranged in a circular shape around it. King Jazan, General Hadon, Jazan’s own advisors and officials, Tomos, Vyssa and the foreign leaders all sat around it, discussing their final plan of action before the fateful day. It was a surprisingly cool evening and a gentle breeze drifted in through the tent opening, allowing them all respite from the normally overwhelming heat. Outside of this tent, the thousands of soldiers were in their own, thousands of small tents that made the desert seem like a polka dot blanket. The soldiers worked in shifts, guarding the area just in case there was an unexpected attack, or ambush.

     Unlikely, when the Sakhmetian army was now on the same side. But it was better to be safe than sorry.

     “She wouldn’t do anything to Nabile,” Jazan said confidently. “If she was going to, she would have done so already whilst we were in our weakened position. Now is her only chance at redemption, she wouldn’t spoil it.”

     Nightsteed frowned at this. “Redempton?” He echoed. “I thought we had agreed…”

     “Yes,” Jazan cut across him smartly, raising an eyebrow expertly to avoid him saying any more. He wasn’t sure if he completely trusted the General yet, and didn’t want to reveal their trump card. But he gave Nightsteed a silent nod of acknowledgement to show he understand exactly what he was talking about.

     Redemption, for Sankara? That wasn’t going to happen.

     General Hadon seemed to sense the discomfort, and cleared his throat. “Well, redemption or not, I think we still need to proceed with caution.”

     “We’ll look for Nabile when we get to the palace,” Tomos suggested, “and we’ll catch up with you all in the throne room, where Sankara will inevitably be waiting for us.”

          “Agreed,” Jazan murmured, even though he wanted to be the one to find his wife. But he knew, even looking around at likes of Jeran and Terrana, that it was he who was in charge of this all. He had to show real leadership right now, where it mattered. This was his own redemption, ironically, after all he had done to Sakhmet – he had never truly forgiven himself for it.

     Vyssa stood up suddenly. “I just wanted to thank you all for doing this. None of you from outside of the Lost Desert had to concern yourselves with this. But you have done, and I will be forever grateful.” Her breath caught in her throat as she felt tears prick at her eyes. “And I hope you all understand that this is not about me getting the throne. It’s about justice for my sister, and stopping Sankara from damaging the citizens of the Lost Desert. When I become Queen of Sakhmet, I promise that I am a changed Neopet. I will put the pets first, always. I will honour her legacy.”

     Tomos squeezed her arm gently. “Of course you will, Vyssa. You will be the best queen you could possibly be. Your father would be so proud if he could see you now.”

     She sat down again, unable to stop a few tears falling from her eyes. But they were no longer tears of sadness – they were tears of frustration and hope.

     “Let’s do this,” she said, a flash of determination in her eyes.

     XXX

     Nabile was desperate to look out of a window to find out what was going on. She could hear loud noises, the sounds of people cheering and the guards running around outside. What was going on? Had Sankara won? Or were the cheers for Jazan? Was she about to be set free…or worse?

     She paced about anxiously, feeling powerless to do anything. It had been months in this suite of rooms, and she felt like she had forgotten what the sky looked like. She had forgotten what fresh air tasted like when you first stepped outside. She had almost forgotten Jazan’s face and touch. It felt like she was the only one left in the world, a trapped bubble where she was slowly suffocating, her energy draining each day despite doing nothing of any activity.

     Suddenly, there was a loud banging on the door.

     “Nabile! Nabile, are you in there?”

     Tomos! Nabile ran to the door and banged it straight back. “Tomos! Yes I’m in here! It’s locked! Can you get me out of here?”

     “Hang on Nabile!” Vyssa’s voice! Nabile felt her breathing quicken; she was finally going to get out.

     “Step back!” Tomos shouted. “We’re going to kick it down!”

     Nabile hurried back a few paces, as the banging got louder and louder. But the door remained tightly shut, like a stubborn child refusing to do as it was told.

     Then, miraculously, she could hear the key turning in the lock and the door swung open, greeting Nabile with the sight of Tomos, Vyssa and Senator Barca.

     “Your Highness,” Barca stepped forward quickly, before Tomos and Vyssa could rush ahead with their eager greetings. “I can only apologise for you being in here these past three months…you have to understand, our job is to support and advise the monarch, as well as maintaining a separate and neutral position. We cannot be seen to take sides, and if we had helped you in any way, Sankara would have had the perfect excuse to get rid of the only support system the citizens had left.”

     Nabile smiled at her. “Honestly, Barca, I understand. It’s not you I’m mad at.” She sighed. “What is happening to Sankara now? Hey –” She turned to Tomos and Vyssa. “Give me a hug, guys! I’ve missed you.”

     As they embraced, Tomos chuckled. “I’ve missed you too, Nabile. There’s no time to tell you now, but we’ve been through so much to get you out and to clear Vyssa’s name. We’ve been looking all over the palace for you. Jazan and the others are about to confront Sankara in the throne room, so we’d better hurry!”

     They didn’t waste any more time, running along the long corridors and down the winding staircases until they were in the main ground area, the only part accessible to the general public. The great tall doors to the throne room were closed for the moment, and stood just outside them ready to go in was Jazan. Nabile’s breath caught as she saw him, and she paused for a second, before running into his arms.

     “Nabile!” Jazan gasped, holding her close. “They found you. I’m so relieved. I’ve missed you so much.” His eyes narrowed. “Did she harm you in any way? You need to tell me.”

     “Other than potentially dying of boredom, I was fine and kept in relative comfort,” Nabile assured him with a wide smile. “I’m just happy to be back.”

     Jazan looked at her lovingly. “There’s something you should know,” he murmured, dropping his voice. “Something that has been asked of me and I’ve…agreed to do.”

     Nabile frowned. “What is it?”

     “What I swore I would never do again.” Jazan said simply. “Do you forgive me?”

     “Forgive you?” Nabile echoed. “Don’t be ridiculous, Jazan. I support you in this. I always will.”

     Jazan smiled. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Now.” His voice was louder, more controlled and authoritative. He turned to everyone behind him – the generals, the advisors and senators, the foreign leaders – and he nodded his head to signal they were going to enter the throne room.

     “Let’s go.”

     XXX

     Queen Sankara was alone in her throne room. Ironic, really. All it had cost her and in the end, was it worth it? There was no one to celebrate it with. The only one she had was Frezon and…well, he was gone now.

     She slowly took of her crown and held it in her lap, staring at it morosely. Funny how an object can have so much meaning attached to it. So much malice. So much death.

     She could hear the armies approaching; she could hear the citizens cheering. Yes, cheering. Not screaming in fear of a foreign invasion, but actively welcoming it. That said it all really about how much the Neopets of Sakhmet had appreciated her. All she had done for them, and this was how they repaid her. That was peasants for you – fickle creatures. She allowed herself a small smirk at this thought, and then braced herself for the worst.

     The doors swung open, and everyone came marching in.

     

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» A Queen's Ascension - War
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Two
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Three
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Four
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Five
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Six
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Seven
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Eight
» A Queen's Ascension - War:Part Nine



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