VIII. Lucius

Loud chatters of merrymaking rang out from the tavern stuffed with youths yet to be marred by true violence, and at the head of them all was no other than Lucius, the boy that only passed as a man because of his royal status, his born affinity for power and of his ability to mimic his brothers’ authorities. The subject of joy was the imperial orders Lucius received to aid his brother in the battle against the Kingdom of Amzra. Obviously, he failed to mention the fact that he was instructed to only bring an insignificant troop of five hundred, so his friends assumed from his lively airs that he was in command to turn the tides of the conflict.
“To General Lucius!” They all laughed at how ridiculous that sounded before intoxicating themselves in their naivety.
Just before Lucius finished retelling his plans for Amzra’s quick defeat to one of his friends, a firm tug at his sleeve interrupted.
“What, who are you?” He turned to confront the killjoy, only to find a hooded figure cloaked in a degree of sorrow amplified in the jolly atmosphere of the tavern.
“I must speak to you in private, Lucius.”
It took a while for the voice to register with him, but when it did, it caught him off guard, “M-Morgain, what the hell are you doing here?” Could it be Lucem sensed his fooling around somehow and he now sent his beloved as an envoy to scold him? But, the tremble in her voice suggested something much graver, and fright shook off his silliness.
He followed her out of the tavern to the back alley, where a feline shadow leapt onto higher ground at their intrusion. Morgain started speaking with her back to him as soon as he closed the tavern door.
“You must tell Lucem that I cannot marry him.”
All the effects of the drinks seemed to have been scared away at her statement, “What?”
“I…I cannot marry him. Tell him that after the war is over.”
“Where are you going to be that would prevent you to do that yourself?”
“I can’t see him. I just…” She stopped, her head lowered and face buried within her hands.
Lucius forced her to face him, and noted with a slit of relief as the ring was still there, So Lucem is not dead, “What happened? You can tell me…”
She merely shook her head, her delicate frame shook with each suppressed sob.
“Even if I did exactly what you said and told Lucem, he would just take me for a cruel jester,” He attempted to prompt her. “So please, I want to help you, Mor, but what happened?”
She allowed her eyes to look beyond her hands, and Lucius thought he heard some hesitant whispers as her frown increased.
“…Sorry, what?”
She sighed heavily, her hands falling to grab a fistful of her cloak and wrung it until her knuckles burnt white, “I-I have…I have been defiled, I-I have broken our promise…” The tears came back to drown her and Lucius could only panic against a rising rage at her confession.
“What? Who dared to? I will kill that bastard right now!”
She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out as she choked. Lucius noticed for the first time how her entire body trembled, and her hands abandoned her cloak now to clasp together tightly in a sorrowful prayer that God had yet to heed.
“Morgain…” He had never seen her so weak, so reduced from the older sister that always softened Lucem’s strict scoldings and coaxed him back to his studies by conjuring pretty spells along with fulfilled promises of adventure; and he could only wish death upon the man who would dare touch a hair upon her, who would dare to threaten the perfection and happiness that Lucem and Morgain’s future was supposed to be.
“…He drugged me…otherwise I could have resisted…”
“WHO IS HE?!”
At last, she whispered the name, and Lucius gaped as his murderous intentions gave way for despair. “What can I do for you?” Broken, betrayed by the high regards he held against his oldest brother, Lucius asked with a lesser sorrow than Morgain.
“Ensure Lucem’s victory a-and deliver my previous message…”
“No, no you can’t…I have to speak with Luctus,” It hurt him so much that she would flinch visibly at that very name. “He has to pay!”
“Y-you are just getting yourself killed, Lucius, what good could it be…?”
Lucius burnt with a new commission for justice, but he tried to be careful, “He’s always been on better terms with me: I would convince him…to send more troops so Lucem could return as soon as possible.”
“B-but I cannot, I cannot meet him…I cannot see him again…” She began to pace around, her clasped fingers digging into flesh.
“Please,” He forced her to a halt from her nervous fit by gripping her shoulders. “You would kill Lucem if you do that.”
She paused, staring blankly at the floor between them as the idea horrified her.
“Don’t worry, Morgain, I will confront him tomorrow and bring good news, he would have no idea that you even met me.”
After swearing his secrecy to Morgain and comforting her to the best of his abilities, Lucem marched off with the weight of his new commission and into darkness.

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