"WHAT ARE YOU MUTTS DOING!! ARENT YOU WOLVES?!! PROVE IT TO ME THAT YOU ARE WOLVES AND NOT DOGS!! BREATHE DEEPER, BREATHE HARDER. TAKE IN MORE AND WHEN YOU RELEASE YOU BARK!!!!! I CAN'T HEAR YOU, MIDGETS!!!!"
Sonorous shouts of two young kids rung through the entire Castle of Cainhorn, giving headaches to all people within it. As for the kids, it was a miracle that they haven't already broken their vocal cords by shouting continuously for around 3hours. But the ruthless instructor, still had them shout louder and louder, and so, the shouts kept on echoing perpetually and continuously without a single hint of stopping anytime soon.
The kids who were practicing were none other than Aslak and Felix and they were training in the Black Wolfe Battle Technique. The Battle Technique which focuses more on leadership, companionship and cohesion rather than strength and agility. With the basic precept to lead and cooperate than to attack, this technique was fairly tough to master, because it needed one to understand his partner's or the guy next to him, intentions and help him execute it. This was the Black Wolfe Battle Technique of the Dean family.
The shouts and cries rung through the entire courtyard, but then suddenly, a Persian slave, wearing the lightest of armors entered the courtyard. He had long black hair, pitch-black skin and large biceps. He is one of the few Persian slaves, who chose a member of the Dean family as their master and swore to serve them. Yalcin, he is called and since he has the fastest of the feets and had the best tongues, he was 'recruited' by Sir Loann, to make him his 'errand guy.' Sir Loann didn't really have much job and therefore in his free time, he would be asked to fetch reports on his siblings' condition and more importantly, of his mother's situation.
Yalcin entered the courtyard and immediately gained the attention of all of its inhabitant, especially Sir Loann. Yalcin bowed lowly to Felix and Aslak and then made his way to Sir Loann. He went really close to him and whispered some message in his ears, which instantly enraged him.
"What!!!" he cried out loud, turned to Felix and Aslak and commanded, "Both of you don't stop practicing!!"
Saying that he dashed into the Castle along with Yalcin, leaving Felix and Aslak in great confusion and bafflement.
"Well, that ... was easy. Never knew it was so easy to get rid of him!" said Aslak hoarsely from the side.
"Shuddup! Follow!" replied Felix with a more broken voice. "What! But he told-hey! Wait up!" cried Aslak but Felix had already dashed into the Castle.
Into the Castle, everything seemed pretty normal until Felix asked one of the servants passing around.
"Is there something special going on?" he asked and the reply was quite astonishing.
"Oh! Yes, of course, sire. I heard that a messenger from Lord Hendrickson had arrived to exchange the big boats, Sir. And... um, I think I heard something like having an Imperial meeting or something, which Lady Faye had to attend. I'm not quite sure."
"Thanks a lot!" replied Felix and dashed towards the Hall Room, which is the usual place where foreign guests are attended. He was sure that that's the place where Sir Loann was headed. Behind him, Aslak was running and huffing terribly because he was already half-exhausted to death by the training.
Felix dashed into the Hall Room and pretty much like all the other places of the Castle, it was also quite ... empty. He looked around a bit, but other than the old wife of the house butler, there were none. Bang!
"Ju-just stop there... huff...Felix... I'm dying..." cried Aslak as he banged into the room, but he and his condition was all ignored by Felix. He, instead went towards the old-woman and asked, "Did the meeting with the foreign delegates happen over here, Madam?"
"Oh! No, sire, I'm afraid not. You see, the new ships have arrived. So, Milady Faye went to welcome the delegates and it seems like she was to leave along with the delegates for some... for some..."
"Yes, yes. Imperial council. That's exactly what I heard, sire. Why? Is there a problem, sire?"
"No, thank you!!" replied Felix hurriedly and dashed towards the exit, but while doing so, he glanced at Aslak and said, "If you don't get up, I'm gonna leave you."
"Leave ... me ... alone..." cried Aslak slowly and tiredly, but instead of showing concern, Felix smiled brightly and said, "Oh! Well, fine by me, but If Sir Loann asks me, I will tell that you're lazing around. See ya!!"
Saying that Felix dashed without looking back a single time and as for Aslak, after a moment of surprise, he kept on cursing Felix as loudly as he his broken voice could facilitate.
"Heave-ho! A new ship has arrived!!"
"Look at the size, my goodness!!"
"Wah! Mom, how many guns are there? Can I destroy the Cainhorn castle with it?"
"Shush! Watch what you speak!!!"
"No! Not a single more word!!"
Felix heard some very disturbing voices in his ears while getting to the docks, voices which somehow felt like a rebel's voice and he didn't like it at all. But for now, his priority was his mother and so, without a care, he dashed to the dock. He shoved and pushed the crowd which has gathered to look at the massive ships, but unfortunately, he was already too late. Right when he was 100 yards or so away, he saw the largest ship he has ever seen in his life, sail away.
That ship was 150-200meters in length and was a whopping 350meters tall with a flag of the Dean household flying on the largest mast. It had long white sails with a big red cross painted on it and had 74guns in total. This was the magnificent Man'O'War of legend. The size and shape were not only shocking to commoners, it was also for Felix, who stared at it open-mouthed. And even though, the ship looked a bit wobbly in such shallow waters, it was still nothing but a beast.
It was only when the boat had almost touched the horizon, that his real objective lit up in his head, but right then, two things happened. One, Aslak caught up with him and secondly, Sir Loann had found them.
"What are you both of you doing here?!!!!!" asked Sir Loann in a rather angry tone. His anger was clearly visible from his face and eyes.
"Huh! Eh! That..." stuttered Aslak in terror, while Felix he was already frozen solid on the side.
"BACK TO TRAINING!!!!"
It was later that Felix was informed that his mother really went with Hendrickson's messenger to his fief to attend a dining party with other nobles. This was an unprecedent feat because the Dean family had remained neutrals for ages, living lives of hermits in mountains. This practically means that the Dean family is starting to come out of its shell and this is not what most people, at least the Dean household likes. Neither, Felix, not Aslak, Sir Loann, Sir Peder or Julian and the other veterans, who were all a part of the Dean household liked. But the deed had already been done and the ship has sailed. There was a chance to catch up with it, if it was a smaller boat, but boats like these weren't as slow or stiff, as one would think and has considerable speed than normal boats or horses could catch up to.
And therefore, with a faint hope that nothing would go wrong, the Dean household and all the people of the Cainhorn Castle and Cainshire went to their normal work and schedule.
Days passed and soon one month had passed and the date arrived on which Lady Faye's ship was scheduled to return. Felix, Aslak, Sir Loann and Lady Aarti were the only one present in the docks this time and there was also a barricade set up to prevent the common peasants to interfere like last time. They waited patiently and just like scheduled, the ship did return with most of it's hired crew.
Almost instantly, a heave of sigh was heard from all the people present there, but their hearts stopped when the actual fact was brought upto them.
Lady Faye was not there.
It was informed that Lady Faye had a change of heart and that she wanted to live a few days in Sir Hendrickson's fief and that she would leave by land and do a land tour on her way back, while visiting Earl Roderick, Viscount Clovers and other nobles of the Crest faction, the faction who had eternal enmity with the Dean family. The naval captain also said that, she wanted to forge better relations with the Crest faction and to create a large trade route to boost the family's trade. It was all good from the political point of view, but this was not something that was needed or desired and had lot of risk in it.
Sir Loann immediately apprehended the Captain and the crew and detained them. He even ordered all the people who heard this to keep mum, which basically included Felix, Aslak and Lady Aarti. The news was relayed to Julian and Lady Yasmin and an emergency meeting was arranged and immediately, letters and messengers were sent to Earl Roderick, Viscount Clovers and Duke Hendrickson.
They waited enough, but no reply came back, neither the messengers or their horses or ships returned. It was as if nothing had happened in the first place and with the higher ups getting more and more worried, Sir Loann called for another meeting.
Felix and Aslak wasn't allowed into these meeting, because of one reason: too young.
They obviously didn't agree on it, but they couldn't oppose Sir Loann's orders. All they knew was that three units of veterans were organized, one led by Julian, one by Sir Loann and the last led by Princess Aarti, herself. According to the plan, Sir Loann's unit was to sneak onto Viscount Clover's territory to investigate and the places further than that, Julian of Earl Roderick's territories and Lady Aarti was to take the armed Man'O'War and two frigates and go to Sir Hendrickson's territory, to pressurize him, if possible. It was more of reconnaissance, but they had to take into count all possibilities.
And so, just like that the units departed. The deadline was 1month and any later than that, it would be deemed that the unit has either died or disbanded for various reasons. The Cainhorn Castle was truly empty for the first time.