Esclice sighed heavily as he told Myrr about his mission. He knew Myrr didn’t like to be left alone since his father died in his mission. Myrr was crying for weeks before she regain to herself. Myrr was surprised to hear the news and she kept on silent. Esclice knew that she was sad but this mission was not the option. He had to go by hook or by crook as the Leader of his Squad. After his father’s death, the First-Line Commander chose him to take over his father’s place as the Leader. Esclice was better than his late father and he never failed his mission once.
Myrr shut herself in her room. She stared at the window and prayed that her brother won’t go. But she knew her wish won’t come true because she knew Esclice very well. He was a respected Leader and he carried his mission with full of determination. That’s why Esclice became her idol and she wanted to be like Esclice one day even though she knew the missions would be more dangerous than she could ever imagine.
She also heard the news from her uncle that there was a traitor among the Nightingales and they were investigating for a very long time. Myrr was scared when she heard that but since Esclice was always by her side, her cowardice subsided.
Myrr went out from her room and searched for Esclice. He was in his room, packing his stuffs inside his square small sack. Myrr slowly tiptoed to her brother’s room. Esclice knew her presence and let her came in. He turned to her and smiled half-heartedly. He also didn’t want to leave her sister alone.
“Do you really have to go?” Myrr broke the silence.
“I wish I won’t, Myrr. But I have to carry out this mission as a Leader,” Esclice stared at his small sack.
Myrr tugged Esclice’s arm and hugged it tight. “I don’t want you to go,” she said softly.
Esclice sighed and patted her head gently. “You don’t have to worry about me, Myrr. I promise I’ll be back home as soon as I completed the mission. And I promise not to let myself hurt,” said Esclice.
They had their last breakfast that morning – in silence. Myrr tried her best to hold her tears. She ate her cereal but it seemed tasteless. Arwe came as they finished eating. Arwe told Myrr that they’ll be alright. Myrr was sent to her uncle’s house.
“Take care of my sister, Houle, said Esclice before he went off.
“Don’t worry. She’ll be safe here,” Houle nodded.
“Wait for me here, Myrr. I’ll be back soon,” Esclice hugged Myrr and Myrr sobbed in frustration. She gripped her brother’s tunic tight but lastly she let it go.
Esclice and Arwe waved their last goodbye and they were off to Regnum’s barrack.
Regnum was sitting on his seat, in front of the square table. Only Esclice, Arwe and Flycerian, the Head of the Assassin were sitting around the table. Then, another two Leaders arrived and the meeting started. Regnum clearly stated about the crucial mission. One of the spy team members reported that the Apparitions appeared near The Hundred Bridges, the place where the Folcs lived. The Folcs are the common tribe of the Rhoms. Most of them are fishermen and farmers. Farmers usually lived in Slugstream while fishermen lived in The Hundred Bridges. The Folcs are not warriors like Nightingales. They need to join the Nightingale School and passed all the physical tests before being nominated as the Nightingales. But only few Folcs joined the school as they loved living as the common tribe.
“Our mission is to guard The Hundred Bridges before the Apparitions evolved into Phantom and spread to Newray Port and Horizontal Stream since they can’t intrude Soncity easily,” said Regnum. “I will now divide all of you into two groups. Flycerian will lead the first group while I’ll be leading the second group. Esclice and Arwe, you’ll be in the first group. The rest will go with me. First group must kill any sign of Apparitions and Ghouls that intrude the Black Area. If any of your team members encounter the Phantom, reported to us right away because the second group will break in their hidden nests. I’ve been reported they settled their nests near the Black Area and Newray Port.”
Flycerian and her team nodded in agreement. Then, the meeting was dismissed. Esclice and Arwe followed Flycerian orders and they headed to The Hundred Bridges by riding Gallop, a huge dragonfly-like creature with dark purple moth wings. Before they took off, they made sure that they had brought their weapons.
“This mission might turn out to war. Stay in groups; follow the Leaders’ and my orders. If you’re outnumbered, retreat and don’t take drastic step by entering the enemies’ den alone. Is that clear?” said Flycerian with a loud, clear voice. The troops of the first group nodded in unison.
Esclice and the other Leaders wore black headbands and rode the Gallop with full of determination and spirit. This was his first time leading his group to a war. Inside his heart, he prayed for Myrr’s safety. But he didn’t seem to be quite worried for Houle will take care of his sister.
It’s been two weeks since Esclice had gone to war. Myrr received no news about her brother since then. She was very worried and lost her appetite but it lasted only few days. Houle and her friends always cheered her up and that made her gain her cheerful self back. She knew that her brother will come back after completing his mission – she didn’t know that the mission had turned out to war. She went to school with highly spirit and that made her class tutor, Reopan, happy.
Every evening she and Houle went for training at Lach’s barrack. Lach’s father, Feoh, also went to the war for he was the strongest Leader among all the Nightingales. Houle trained with Lach’s brother, Joind. Feoh didn’t send him to go to war for he wanted Joind to take care of Lach since Lach was very small and needed to train hard to be Nightingale like him. They sometimes trained at the Blue Forest.
Houle was getting better at training every day. Joind trained him well although his training was harder than Houle thought. But Houle was determined to become stronger and he attempted to be part of the Nightingales. Myrr and Lach stopped training as they were very tired. Both of them were ready to take part in the sword fight competition which will be held in the next two months.
As they were cooling themselves down, they heard the sound of the trumpet blowing not far from the Blue Forest. They knew the sound was blown to announce that the warriors had came back home. Myrr and Lach couldn’t wait to see their love ones and they rushed to where the trumpet was blown; Soncity Square.
Houle caught up with Myrr and Myrr’s eyes were searching for her brother wildly. She saw Commander Regnum together with Lach’s father, Feoh. But she couldn’t find her brother. She grabbed Houle’s hand and went on further. Then, her eyes widened to see her cousin, Arwe was lying weakly on Gallop, accompanied by another archery teams. Feoh and Regnum were also injured but not as bad as Arwe.
“Arwe!” Myrr ran to him. “What happen to you? Where’s Esclice?” she bombarded him with the questions.
Arwe tried to stand up but his body was badly injured. One of his friends helped him up. “Myrr, I’m sorry,” he held Myrr’s hand. “I...couldn’t save Esclice,” he groaned in pain.
Myrr shook her head. She didn’t want to believe what she heard just now. Regnum came to her and looked at her with sad eyes.
“Myrr, your brother fought hard but he couldn’t make it. When the enemies attacked with shooting fires, we couldn’t save your brother. We didn’t even find the body but this,” he put Esclice black headbands on Myrr’s trembling hand. “I’m so sorry for the lost,” he said quietly.
Myrr cried. She wailed her brother’s name. She wished this was just a dream. She wanted to wake up from this nightmare. But she was not dreaming. What she’s heard was the truth. She lost her family, her love ones. She didn’t have anyone anymore. She felt that her heart was crushed.
Houle crouched down before her and hugged her tight. He remembered the last word from Esclice before he left. And he remembered that Myrr told him about her dream, his promise to her. He knew the feeling being left alone. He could feel Myrr’s feeling the moment he hugged her. Inside his heart, he vowed to protect Myrr with his life and will always be her side, forever.