The Road to Halcyon

Chapter One

All stories must begin somewhere. This story begins, or should I say, began at a quaint little inn between the road to nowhere and no road at all. Nowhere isn't a good place for an inn, I suppose, but sometimes nowhere didn't start out that way - and somewhere always begins as nowhere. This story began with the meeting of two very different people with the same agenda, one very important similarity.

During the time in which this story took place, there was a war, although the necessity of relaying this information is rather questionable. There was always a war, there is always a war, and there will always be a war unless something is done to stop them. It is commonly said that history repeats itself, but arguably, it sometimes dresses up like something different, new, strange. Like leftovers. History suffers the unfortunate, but generally accepted, fate of leftovers, which is, was, and always will be being recycled. The two very different people were conversing over leftovers as they tirelessly tried to decide what to do about the war. You see, it hadn't started yet.

The debate at hand was the issue of how to start the war. A revolution, they were calling it. The people would free themselves from their evil monarch and trap themselves - and their freedom - beneath a democratic government. The two men conducted this argument with the utmost care to ensure the highest amount of privacy. Their lean bodies almost flattened across the table as they closely studied the worn map spread beneath them. Whispering in low, hushed voices, they tried to keep the feeling of harsh urgency off of their faces. They could run no risks.

Ideally, they should have been outside. However, the rain pouring down heavily onto the roof of the little inn suggested otherwise. They had traveled a long distance to get here, and much of the journey was in the rain. The two men continued their conversation, sheilded from the prying ears of the sparsely populated inn by the drumming rain and their own clever devices, particularily the way they leaned inconspicuously over the table.

One of the men called himself Aidan von Holmes, and he considered himself the proprietor of the entire revolutionary idea. Aidan carried himself with a military air and had a rather large hat tilted just enough so that it shadowed a scar that was chiseled roughly into the right side of his nose. The eye that could be seen beneath the large hat glinted with visible evidence of a violent, possibly rash temper. His thin mouth was twisted into a skeptical arch on just one side beneath a week's worth of unshaved, red stubble.

The second man proudly went by his given name, Karelian. He, unlike his companion, had a soft expression, no hat at all, and moved as if the world was his and would turn at his command. The world, of course, disagreed, but with a shrug and a calm "suits me," Karelian at least gave the impression of possessing the world.

"I'm not going to preach revolution," he muttered at Aidan. "You have to give people reasons."

"They have reasons," Aidan growled. "Right in front of their faces! If they'd just -"

Karelian held up a hand. "I know. I know. But people have learned to live this way. They don't want to disrupt their lives, no matter how bad those may be. Unless they know they'll succeed. I heard some sailors on the dock yesterday. They hate the king as much as you do, but they're afraid they'll have no backup if they try anything."

"We could back them up," Aidan replied, his voice quickening as his eyes widened at the idea of rebels from the king's own navy joining his cause. "All we need is a hundred more people, and..."

"And what? Be crushed by the army and spat on by the people we're trying to do this for? I don't think so. We have to tell the people why, or they'll never understand."

"What is there to understand? Why is this so difficult?!" Aidan's eyes threw daggers at Karelian, who simply shrugged his shoulders and leaned back.

"Because." He replied, drawing the word out and resembling a bored king silencing his gossiping court.

Aidan took a deep breath and glowered at the map. His fingers pried at the overcooked piece of what was once chicken. For a moment, he struggled with it, his head jerking the angry glare away from the map and focusing it on the piece of chicken. Finally, he managed to yank a piece off and triumphantly turn back to Karelian. "History is going to repeat itself unless we do something now," he said, reciting the phrase he has been hearing over and over again since before he even began his revolutionary crusade. Slowly, a lightness passed across his face, and he lowered his voice, preparing to take revenge on Karelian for frustrating him. "Remember the massacre in the mountains years ago?" He asked, innocently enough but with that cold, low voice. He watched for Karelian's reaction, and when he received none, he added, "It happened again recently." There. There was his proof that history repeated itself, and his plan needed followed.

Karelian's eyes widened, and his body stiffened. "In the same county? When?!" He demanded.

"When you were in Riendorn," Aidan responded in the same cold voice, then, having seen that his words took affect, he said, "That reminds me... what did Else say when you asked him -" Realizing that his companion was no longer listening, Aidan paused.

"Damnit," With his eyes closed, Karelian almost whispered, unable to raise his voice for fear it might crack. "Nidawi."

Aidan again tried to push his point. "I told you - history repeats itself. But we can change that..."

"No...no. History doesn't repeat itself, Aidan; circumstance does. History just is. Unless you take a singular advantage of a common circumstance, the result will probably coincide with something that has happened before." His voice back to normal, Karelian paused and looked thoughtfully at his plate. Raising one eyebrow, he continued, "Like this meal, for instance. It must be three days old, and it is probably the product of familiar practice."

"Huh?" Aidan stared at him curiously.

Karelian didn't trouble himself with responding to Aidan. "Since I am going to do what I have always done when confronted by leftovers," he continued, "I bid you goodnight and hope that you don't find the food as distasteful as I did." With that, Karelian slid his barely touched plate to Aidan and left him to ponder their argument.