986 The Event 4
As he screamed his last sentence, a different Hero stood up in the meeting hall.
“I’ve just made the calculations. The Church has swayed a fifth of the entire force of Angaria. A fifth! It was supposed to be a small number…”
“My brother is in that group.”
“My closes friend, too. She said she would never consider it.”
“Are we doomed?”
More and more Heroes began to speak, spilling out their thoughts in a rare moment of doubt, but when one of the youngest of their numbers asked this question, a hush suddenly swept over them all.
They had been avoiding it, but now that it had been spoken, it filled all of their minds.
In this hush, no one dared to speak. Even the Head was suddenly speechless, as he felt unsure about what he was supposed to say.
The facts were in front of them. From the number of people the Church had managed to sway under their noses, it had displayed its cunningness. From the Artifact it had supplied to trap the King, it had shown the type of magic it was capable of.
Putting both these things together, and adding into the mix the tremendous forces that would be deployed when the war finally arrived, it was a very valid question to ask.
An aged voice suddenly cut through the hush, and as everyone looked around, they saw that it was from a woman who had only recently come out from a very long period of isolation.
“Look at you all. Where is the pride you carried yourselves with after getting into the Order? Where is the conviction that was present when the first meetings about the Church were held? Where is the nonchalance you displayed when we found out that we would be attacked? Just because a few of us turned out to be greedier and stupider than we could have thought, you’re all scared? You should be ashamed!”
Chastising hundreds of Heroes was typically something that would get most people killed.
However…for the woman who had just appeared in the center of the room, right beside the Head, it was a completely normal thing to do.
The Mother of Healing had come out of her meditation to heal the King. And now, she seemed to be here to heal them all of the disease called ‘fear’.
With a humph, she turned to the man beside her and spoke.
“What do we do, Head? As the Overseer, it is your duty to choose the best course of action for the continent according to the rules laid down by our ancestors. Let me remind everyone of the reason behind the existence of his post. Heroes tend to lose themselves in their training, or their desires. One person must always be present, who can devote themselves to studying the continent and choosing the best thing that can be done for the safety and continued existence of Angaria. The Ancient Artifact stands guard to make sure that no decisions are made that do not align with the rules. It failed us. Or rather, we failed it. Yet, that is no reason to disregard its duty, and the authority of the man who took the mantle of that creature which sought to vanquish us. I’ve been keeping an eye on you for all your life- meditation can be boring, you know. So, I know that you are one person I can always trust to care for the continent and do the right thing, even if it costs your life. Speak. What must we do?”
Hundreds of gazes suddenly fixed onto the Head as the woman finished speaking.
For a moment, he felt overwhelmed, as the realization that the fate of the continent depended on the words he would choose to say now crashed onto him.
Should he give hope, even if that meant lying?
Or should he be brutally honest, thereby risking more fear to sweep through whoever they had left?
In all his years of being in such an important position in the Big Four, he had never had to make a decision so important, so vital that the lives of millions depended on it.
A haze filled his mind, and it seemed as if there was no way out.
He was just a weak Hero who was supposed to command so many people stronger than him. Would his words even carry enough weight?
As all these doubts began to form in his mind, the Head felt lost.
All he managed to do was keep his face calm, but if he didn’t speak soon, the opportunity given by the old lady would be for naught.
In such a critical moment…a trinket vibrated in his pocket.
At first, he decided to ignore it. However, seeing that it was in his innermost pocket, he sent out his mind, and saw that it was the one which he used to contact the king.
Like a drowning man, he clutched for the reeds on the sh.o.r.e which the trinket represented, and as he heard the message from the king, all of the haze in his mind cleared.
“King Daneel wishes to address you all.”
With that, he took out the trinket, which began to relay the message that had been pre-recorded by Daneel.
“If you’re listening to this now, dear Heroes of the Order, then it means that I’ve been trapped with no way out by all the spies of the Church. Their number is shocking, isn’t it? Anyway, I am sending this message because I know what all of you might be thinking. They are such a formidable force. How can we hope to stand against them? Well, today, you will find your answer. Look to the sky, Heroes of Angaria, for it shall be burned into your eyes by the time I am done. I have asked. I have requested. I have even made earnest expressions of good-will, but all these attempts were not enough. So, now, I shall pound Angaria into one, even if that makes me look like a heartless despot. Those who understand that it is necessary will follow me willingly, while those who still don’t understand that death is at their doorstep can rot in h.e.l.l, for all I care, but only after I make use of them fully. Now, then, without further ado…enjoy the show!”