Legends of Varlaurea: The Dragon Emperor - 65 THE GREY MAIDEN 7

Chapter 7: Road to Heitei fortress

Later that day, went strolling around the pond in the palace's garden to clear his mind and comprehend what his wife has said at lunch, a servant came to Emperor Lam and presented a letter. The envelope has the military seal from Heitei fortress where his son's stationing and letter said:

"Dear father

I hope you and mother still well.

I write to you today is to informed you that the mad man Hua Xia has been found, he's now residing at a border village named Saida, not far from where I stationing, Heitei fortress. Furthermore, right now staying at the fortress with me is Kwanjobo and his brothers and sisters, the disciples of Ochwesi. They had follow Hua Xia to this borderland and has help me in discover of Hua Xia's evil plot.

His madness is manifesting fast in the region, at the moment I write this letter, over haft of Saida village has fallen into his hand and his accomplices a person known as the "Grey Maiden". Not much to be known of this person. What I've known so far is that, this "Grey Maiden" is being worship at some kind of herald or avatar of sort of the Old Gods. And Hua Xia and the Grey Maiden is plotting to turn the entire region into their base of operation, to turn every innocent soul here into a mindless drone for their maniacal cult.

I can assure you that I'll do anything within my power to stop this madness from spreading. But I know well that, this kind of matter is not to be taken lightly, so I sent this letter to notified you and hope to received your aid soon.

Your son.

Suk Tua."

Empress Aucelen was right, to turn a living person into some kind of vessel, an avatar so the madness of the "Abandoned Old Gods" can be manifest and took root in the mortal realm, and through that giving birth to a living god on earth. "Is such feat even accomplishable?" Emperor Lam still felt stupefied at the thought of it. And this "Grey Maiden" is no doubt to be the girl Li, the child Hua Xia has created for his maniacal plot. But nevertheless, such madness must be stop, no matter what. If Hua Xia is to be succeeded who know what calamity might be brought upon Varlaurea continent.

Thus, without a second wasted, Emperor Lam told his wife about their son's letter and prepare for departure. Right at dawn of the next day, the pair heading to Heitei fortress with the full force of Brocade Cloak Guard. Before heading out, through the magic mirror, Empress Aucelen also send a message to her people, calling them to send aid in case of the worst that may happen.

The road to Heitei fortress is far, it takes three weeks to reach the borderland, they rode tirelessly with a dreadful feeling weighting down on their heart. Their child is out there, their only child, along to fend for himself against some kind of ancient madness. Even he has the help of Kwanjobo and the disciples of Ochwesi, even so, they still worry, of course they are, of course they are. How can they not be, who know how many dark thoughts, how many worst case scenarios has crossed their mind, on every second their spent travelling and not be at their son side, such is the beauty of a parent's heart, with the wellbeing of their offspring always in their mind and heart.

Awfully slow is the passage of time, to them the sun crawl with such unforgiveable sluggish speed through the heaven. Oh! How they wish they can just leave the Brocade Cloak Guard behind, with just their own magical power they can run faster than a velelis can run. But they know, doing so for the entire road to Heitei fortress only exhausted them and rendered them unable to fight when they reached their destination, the only choice is to be patience and endure this dreadful feeling.

The weeks finally passed, there, on the horizon is Vudai, the border city, and not far beyond that is Heitei fortress where their son are. When they were only a dozen of kelias from the city, an old man of 60 jump out from the roadside bushes, standing in the middle of road, waving his arms and yelling for them to stop.

"You! How dare you get in the way of His and Her Imperial Majesty, Emperor Suk Lam and Empress Aucelen!" A Brocade Cloak Guard yelled

"Your Majesty?" The old man said, eyes widening with surprise. "I'm so sorry Your Majesty, but you can get into the city." He kneeled down

"Why? what'd happened?" Emperor Lam asked

"Your Majesty, the city has been taken. About three weeks ago, there was a mob lead by a man and a young girl dressed in white, who called as Grey Maiden or something, came from a nearby village and started to arresting people for no reason, I heard they are some kind of cult of sort. They perform weird ritual right in the open street and turn people into one of them, some people had die because of those ritual. And what worst is, the city governor, he doing nothing. When the captain of the guard lead men to intervenes, I heard that, with some kind of power, the young girl brought the city guard to their knees, literally, when the guards trying to apprehend the leaders of the mob, they suddenly scream in terror and drop to the ground unconscious, then be turn into one of those cultists too. The cultist held the entire city hostage, they took away all of the healthy men, women, even children too, only the weak and the elderly like me were spare. The arresting continues for two days straight, until an army lead by a prince from the nearby military base shown up. They battled the cultist, trying to retake the city, but the power of that girl proven to be too overwhelming, they were force to retreat and rescue as much people as they can to the fortress and entrenched there. The cultist now controlling the city and the surrounding villages and laying siege on the fortress, I had volunteered my old bones out here to warn traveller not to go near the city."

"Is there any way to the fortress?" Empress Aucelen aksed

"Ah, yes, yes, I'll shown the way." The old man said

They follow the brave old man through a small forest trail, going around Vudai city on foot to preserve the velelises's strength, when they traverse a small hill not far from Vudai, what had befallen to the city unfold in front of their eyes. The quaint city left in ruin, some building was reduced into a pile of rubble, some burned to the ground, there even what seem to be a remain of a house beneath another house.

They continue until twilight of the next day and Heitei fortress is within sight. From their vantage point, they saw a rows and rows of cultists, some 10,000 of them, just sitting there on the open field around the fortress, probably waiting for order from their master. A section of the fortress's outer wall had been breached, with her Elvas's eyes, Empress Aucelen can saw movements inside the fortress, the defender still holding on. But what she concerns the most right now is her son, Prince Tua.

"Do you see him, Aucelen?" Emperor Lam anxiously asked

"Yes!" after a few minutes scanning her eyes Empress Aucelen cried out in relief "I can see him, he is in there, leading the troop."

"Good, good, thanks the gods." Emperor Lam gave off a relief sighed "Men! Prepare for battle." He jumped on his velelis and lead the Brocade Cloak Guard for a charge, Empress Aucelen right by his side. There's no rest after their long journey, nor do they need or want any, their son is being siege and they can't stand still.