Somewhere, a place of mountains that covers a field clearing. There’s a podium installed near the middle, and around the podium were tents set up. One banner fluttered wildly on a flagpole. Men and women carrying estranged pistols and melee weapons stood sharply in line without moving.
Mia Alician stood alongside these people while wearing her navy blue uniform padded with protection written by the Witch of Nether herself. On the edges of the mountains were shadows barely visible by the naked eye unless one already knows the position they were standing by.
“Grandma called,” a voice said. “You know something, Mia.”
“I do,” Mia said. “But it’s better if Grandma arrives to show you all. I rather not tell.”
He wore a blank look on his face. He had scars around his cheek, and his physique was stern like a wall. He stood alongside Mia while watching the only entrance on this horseshoe valley. His eyes staring at the distance, eagerly waiting for the Matriarch of the Alician Family to arrive.
“Are you planning to head back?”
“Who knows?” Mia said. “The Cascadian’s are eager, and all we do is care for this world. They attacked us, and we retaliate. What need is there to think about that than anything?”
“Would they use that as an excuse to attack our forces?”
“Let them try,” Mia said. “We’ll never bow their heads to the enemy.”
“I agree, though I rather have my men fight in peace. We are killer of monsters, and only the Alician Family has remained vanguard against the monsters. The Knights of Talons, the Crusaders of Salt Passing, the Hegemony Scholars, the Wizard's Society, the Tian Islanders, the Sunspawn Knights, the Huntsmen of Zayas, the Adventurers Fraternity, and the Holy Knights of the Pontifex are busy helping the Empire in its Imperialistic Dreams. Your Maiden of Throes are stretched thin, and none of them would bother to attack a monster burrow unless we lend them our hand.”
“The Tian Islanders...I will never understand why they joined the Empire.”
“Who knows?” He said. “They have been focused on their navies and I heard they now dreamed of taking it to the skies. What’s the best way to get funding? Obviously, they would need the help of the Empire. I understand that Grandmother doesn’t want us to interfere with the affairs of the mundane, but if it this keeps up then we’ll have states forcing us to abdicate and help in claiming the Islands of the Cascade.”
The man’s face grew cold as he narrows his eyebrows.
“I heard of rumors that the Draconian Four is starting to take arms. Grandmother has already defeated their Champion, but I fear what would happen to this world if they decide to move. I fear that Grandmother might stand alone against the enemies. She has already spent rivers of blood on this continent. We cannot let her spill more.”
Mia folded her arms and leaned her back. She recalled the lonely figure of her grandmother in that field of blood. The thought tightened her heart for a second.
“I too wish she wouldn’t spill blood. However,” she paused, “I don’t think she will be as lonely anymore.”
“Is that why we have been gathered here?” He asked.
“More or less, but Grandmother does not waste time, and she knows our time is golden.”
“We’ll be willing to take our time if she wants to.”
“This is related to the Cascadian, and the state of this country.”
“I see. When will Grandmother arrive?”
“She’ll be here, and was it Elder Cousin who sent her that automobile?”
“I believe so. You know how much he cherishes Grandmother. Ah, speaking of the devil.”
A man in his fifties sauntered alongside a woman on her forties. Their chins were raised, and their chest puffed proudly. Alongside them were men and women in their twenties, strapped in military gear.
“Mia!” The man spotted Mia. “So you’ve come first?”
“Elder Leander,” Mia said. “I see that you brought Camilla and the others? I thought your children were going to suppress the monsters of Low Pale Plains.”
“They were!” Leander said. “But the Call of Grandmother Matriarch takes precedent first.”
“Mia,” Camilla said. She was a woman that stood sharply as her husband. “I am pleased to see you, so what is the occasion?”
“You’ll see,” Mia pointed with her chin.
They saw an automobile with square headlights entering the valley. Leander narrowed his eyes while looking at the automobile that he sent for his grandmother.
“I don’t remember it looking like that.”
“It was modified,” Mia said.
The automobile traveled slowly. The group of people stood in life as they watched the automobile parked near the podium. A man, whose eyes were red, and hair that resembled ashes came out first. He wore a frock jacket, and he had the countenance of a man barely before his thirties.
“Who is that?” Leander said. “I thought your Maidens were going to be piloting that vehicle.”
Mia stayed silent. She watched the man open the back of the automobile, revealing the Matriarch of the Alician family, wearing no gown, only a trench coat paired with black pants. She took hold of the hand of the man, and she marched to the podium where a high back chair was placed. She slumped herself on the floor, scanning the people that gathered, while the man who escorted her stood on her right with his hands behind his back, and hands positioned in a palm in palm gesture.
Leander frowned. Mia lifted her lips slightly while staring at that frown. Ciara scanned the gathered people and nodded at them. She stood up and summoned her elemental blade out of thin air.
“I have gathered you all here to decided our stance in this war. Our family has been provoked, and thus it is time for us to decide the actions that we are going to take. Shall we wage war? Or shall we cool our minds and speak words? The whole of the family shall decide!”
Leander took a step forward. His head bowed slightly to Ciara.
“Grandmother,” Leander said. “It is a pleasure to see you once again, I trust that your health is fine as ever?”
“Leander,” Ciara said. She looked at the people behind him. “And Camilla as well, I trust that the family is doing well?”
“Yes, Grandmother,” Camilla said. “We’ve come here all to heed your call.”
“That is good,” Ciara said. “Mia, are the twelve branches here?”
“They are, Grandmother,” Mia stepped forward and bowed. “All are present, shall we move on to the discussion?”
“That would do,” Ciara disperses her elemental blade. She turned towards the man who escorted her. “Come, we shall move to the inner room of the valley.”
Leander’s brows furrowed. He wasn’t the only one whose brows were raised.
“Pardon, Grandmother,” Leander said. “But I believe that the inner room will not let this gentleman passed. The guardians are still active and taking this gentleman inside this valley might cause the guardians to react. Shall we have him wait here?”
“That won’t be a problem,” Ciara said. “The runes are mine alone and I don’t think the guardians will disobey my will. If they are acting strangely, then I shall destroy them, Vie will kindly provide me with materials, and I’ll create them anew.”
“I see, though I am confused why you would let a man barely known to the family inside the inner valley. I trust that this gentleman is worthy of the trust of the Alician family?”
“Worthy?” Ciara beamed a smile. “I’ll trust this man with my life, and my soul. There’s no need to concerned, Leander.”
The branches of the Alician Family stared at their grandmother who momentarily gave a brief smile. They’ve known their Matriarch, yet her smile was a rarity that they cherish. Their attention gathered to the man who remained stolid despite all the gazes that have been gathering around him.
“Oh, you should introduce yourself,” Ciara said. “They can be a worrywart, and I think it would be better if we clear it up before they keep asking you questions.”
“So may I know your name?” Leander asked.
“Nolan Salvatore, a Bleak Walker.”
“Excuse me?” Camilla said.
“Yes,” Leander nodded. “May you repeat that?”
“I am Nolan Salvatore, a Bleak Walker.”
“Ah,” Leander turned towards Ciara. “Is it true?”
“Of course,” Ciara said with a loud voice. “This is Nolan Salvatore, a Bleak Walker, one of the last Walkers of this world, he’s the same as Vie, however, he’s also the person who delivered me to the Three Fates, allowing my rise to power, and the one who opened the possibility of defeating the darkness. He is my noble confidant and the partner that I would trust and lean on if I am weary.”
Mia hid her mouth behind her right hand. She couldn’t help but chuckle at the look on the faces of her family. After all, who would have thought that they’d meet the person who they heard in their childhood so much?