Chapter 9: The King's Word
King Ozpin stood over the balcony of the castle throne room. Gripping his sword like cane, The Long Memory, which he held before him, the good king gazed out over the mighty city of Beacon. Observing the high towers and buildings that stood high above the walls surrounding the castle. The ships and transports that either flew, rose ore landed in the city. He was a middle aged man with silver hair and thin brown eyes. He wore a pair of shades glass spectacles, a dark green cowl with a purple cross around his neck and a black suit.
Ozpin narrowed his head, complementing. The times of which he feared would come to pass came sooner then he had expected. News of the attack on Arthamore had spread throughout all of Beacon. Though it was an action not even he would have foreseen on the part of Salem and the Grimm. It was one which surprised the King. The Empress was cruel and driven by her lust for power. The attack on Arthamore was but a consequence for continuing to deny her word and power over the realm. To strike fear in the hearts of all his subjects.
But it would not work.
He wouldn't let the fear deter him. Nor would it do the same for his people. And as King, he would stand firm against these invaders. Like his father and his father before him. For the sake of his people and for the realm.
Ozpin glanced back into the throne room. He saw Glynda, his devoted Queen standing there in the open doorway. She was a middle age woman with light blonde hair tied into a bun with a single curl along the right side of her face. She had bright green eyes under a pair of thin ovular glasses and dangling teal earrings. She also wore a white long sleeved pleated top with a wide keyhole neckline, a black high waist pencil skirt with bronze buttons and black boots with high heels.
Ozpin turned to her.
"Commander Kallious and the Grand council are waiting." She said.
Ozpin turned to her, nodding his head.
"Right," He said to her.
Ozpin the turned and followed her into the Throne room.
Two royal Guardsmen opened the door to the Council Chamber as they stood to each side. Ozpin and Glynda walked into the room where Oobleck, Port and the senators seated along a long curved table. At the center of the room, a tall man with dark brown hair, wearing bright blue shoulder and chest armor over a long sleeved shirt, a pair of dark blue jeans and had a large battle ax over his back.
At the sight of the King and Queen, each of the council members stood up in attention. Commander Kallius turned to the king.
"Your majesty." He said, bowing his head
"Be seated." Ozpin said, raising his hand to them.
The council nodded their heads and sat back down. Ozpin and Glynda came around the left side of the round table before coming to the seat which stood at the center. Ozpin sat down at the round table as Glynda sat down next to him. He gazed down at the small monitor before him and pressed his hand over the screen.
"This meeting will now commence!" He announced to the council members.
The other council members pressed their hands over the monitors before them, causing them to glow a bright blue. Signifying their attendance. It was then after that Ozpin glanced up to Commander Kallius.
"The council recognizes Commander Kallius." He began.
Commander Kallius stepped forward before Ozpin and the Royal Council.
"Your majesty," he said, bowing his head to the king.
"Members of the Royal Council. I bring grave news. The town of Arthamore had been completely overrun by the Grimm"
Several gasps of shock erupted from several of the senators. Kallius pulled out a device from his side.
"My troops reported there's nothing but debris," He stated to the council.
"We've received these image feed from some of our intelligence officers."
He held up the device as it parted open as a flash of blue light beamed from the center, creating a small holographic screen, revealing several images of the burned ruins of Arthamore. The council members gazed to the images in shock, glancing to one another. Oobleck shook his head.
"Tragedy, such a tragedy!" he said so hastenly.
"And what of the survivors?" Ozpin asked, curiously.
"We have the refugees in one of the warehouses at the docks," Kallius insisted.
"My men are scouring Arthamore for any survivors. But we've only found a few of our troopers but there's been nos sign of any others."
"I wish to speak with General Lukas." He stated to the commander.
Kallius stood silent for but a moment, gazing hesitantly at the King. Bowing his head, he narrowed his eyes, mourning. Contemplating what he would tell the council. Ozpin peered curiously at Kallius.
"Is something wrong?" He asked, curiously.
Kallius glanced up at to Ozpin before speaking up.
"My lord..." he said.
"Lukas... is dead."
Gasps of shock and awe from the council as many of them stood up from their seats. Port stood up and leaned over the table.
"Are you certain?" He asked, curiously.
"One of the troopers we found spoke as and eye witness," He said.
"He said he saw Lukas be executed. By Cinder."
There were several gasps of shock at the mention of the Empresses apprentice. They glanced to one another, chattering among themselves. Many of them in belief of the notion that Lukas's death. Ozpin bowed his head, closing his eyes as he mourned the loss of his best General and friend.
"We also recovered several bodies from the ruins," Kallius continued.
"We identified one as Zak Ark."
There could be no doubt in Ozpin's mind now. This attack on Arthamore. The death of Lukas and Zak. It was all but an example of Salem's wraith. In hopes that when word had gotten back to Beacon, it would cause them to kneel to her rule. To crush any such hope of rebelling against her.
"What of their families and the rest off team AAZC and ELSA?" Ozpin asked, curiously.
"They are at the warehouse along with the other refugees, your majesty." Kallius said
Ozpin looked up to the council members.
"We believed we had beaten Salem and the Grimm," He said.
"And now the Grimm repaid for our ignorance by attacking one of the few sanctuaries in the hopes to spread fear throughout the realm."
"How is this possible?" Port asked.
"The Realm's gate is guarded by the armada. No ship would be able to slip passed without detection."
"Unless they found another way of entering the realm," Commander Kallius insisted.
"There were once pendents that allowed one to jump to each realm without the use of the Realms Gate."
"Impossible!" Oobleck insisted.
"The pendents were all destroyed before the war began."
"But could it be possible that the Grimm may have gotten hold on a few?" Kallius insisted.
"One powerful enough to transport the Leviathan?"
Ozpin narrowed his head, pondering the possibility of it. The king was indeed puzzled by it. The pendents were created long ago to allow knight's to travel to each of the seven realms without using the gateways. But they were all destroyed when the war began to keep them from the hands of Salem and the Grimm. He and the other Kings and Queen oversaw the pendents destruction.
"Regardless," he said.
"If the Grimm have found a way to travel to each realm without using the gateways, the realms may be in more danger then we thought. We must be more vigilant with our enemy if we are enemy."
"My lord, I already have the Third Fleet surveying the mountains as we speak," Kallius insisted to the King.
"I am also doubling patrols and defenses around the city."
Ozpin nodded his head.
"Thank you, commander." He said.
"My lord, what of the public?" Port asked, curiously.
Ozpin held up his hand to him.
"I shall handle the public," The King insisted.
"In the mean time, Commander Kallius, I want you to secure the realm. The Grimm may use this time to launch another invasion."
Kallius nodded his head.
"Yes, my lord." he said.
As he turned and walked out of the Council Chamber, Glynda glanced to her husband.
"Are you sure, my love?" she asked, curiously.
Ozpin stood up from his seat, turning to face the window behind him. Peering out over the city, Ozpin knew there was no hiding the truth from the public. They were already informed with the news of the attack on Beacon. Although now, all it took was his very word to confirm it.
"The public is already aware of what has happened," He insisted to the queen.
"And I have no intention of hiding the truth from my people."
"But your majesty," Oobleck said.
"Is that wise?"
Ozpin stared out over the city.
"The people's will to fight is the key to winning this war," Ozpin insisted.
"Salem believes that this attack will cause us to fall to her rule. But she has only tipped this war in our favor."
Ozpin glanced back to his queen and the council.
"Lukas and Zak sacrificed themselves because they believed there was a chance against Salem. And this will encourage others to stand and fight. They were but the spark. And they will be the ones that will light the fire that will free the realms."
The public was gathered in the castle courtyard, awaiting for King Ozpin to make his appearance. The announcement of the press conference had gone out but a few hours ago regarding the attack on Arthamore. After hearing the news, many wanted to know if it was all true. Several reporters and camera men were standing over several balconies, peering over the crowd at the front doors of the castle. Ready to broadcast the King's announcement across the realm and others as well.
The doors then opened. Ozpin along with Glynda came out over the balcony of the stairway. The king stepped up before the stand, staring out over the crowds and the flashes of scrolls and cameras. He then cleared his throat and spoke out to them.
"Citizens of Beacon and the Third Realm," He began.
"Today our victory against the Grimm has been answered with the lives of our people. Last night, on the seventh day, Arthamore was attack by the Dark forces of the Grimm."
Hearing their King, there were sudden gasps of awe as the news came to be set in stone.
"The purpose of this attack is still unknown at this time. But it has served as an example of our presumption of the victory we thought we had gained against them."
The inside of the warehouse was crowded with the survivors of Arthamore. They were gazing up at the hologram of Ozpin at the center. Amara was sitting along with Terra Juane and her sisters in the warehouse. She gazed up at the hologram of Ozpin as he made his announcement.
"We believed that we had beaten them. Only to be repaid for our ignorance with an attack against her own people."
Amara glanced back to Messua, her team and Flint, who stood at the crates along the wall behind them. Flint was sitting over a crate, his shoulder covered with bandages as the Medic attended to his injuries.
"Fortunately, with the efforts of General Lukas and the Knights, most of the people have been safely evacuated before the Grimm had breached our forces. However, it pains me to inform that it was at the cost of over two thousand lives of our proud soldiers, knights, and citizens have been lost."
Amara glanced back to the hologram. She frowned nervously for her husband and daughter. She looked back at Terra and her family, who looked as worried as her. Her daughters embraced each other in their arms, holding one another. Juane glanced to her sullenly. Seeing how scared he was of what may had happened to his father and Pyrrha, Amara narrowed her head as she pleaded with the Gods.
Hoping that they were merciful to the lives of her family and fellow teammate.
"Salem hopes that Arthamore will deter us with fear of her power. That we will instead force us to give in to her rule over the realms."
Ozpin cocked his head as he peered over the crowd. He paused for a moment before he continued.
"However, this tragedy, no matter how great it may be, the people of this realm will never bow to he tyranny. And instead, we will continue to stand and fight until the day our Realm and all others are finally free from her rein!"
A great cheer erupted from the crowd at the inspiring words of their king. Clapping and exclaiming their voice of awe and loyalty to the Kingdom of Beacon.
"It is on this day that I promise all of you, The Alliance of the Kingdoms shall avenge Arthamore as it will Ataria!"
The people once more exclaimed cheers of great joy. All inspired by the promise of their beloved king, willing to stand with him in hopes of the day all would be free.
Ozpin was sitting at his desk late that very night. He heard a knock on the doors of his office, causing him to glancing up from his paperwork.
"Come in." he said.
The doors them opened as commander Kallius walked into his office. He came up before his desk.
"You wanted to see me, your majesty?" Kallius asked as he stood at attention.
"Yes, Kallius," he said as he stood up from his desk.
"Please, walk with me. We have much to discuss."
"Of course," Kallius said, nodding his head.
Ozpin and Kallius were walking through the halls of the castle. The walls were lined with several portraits of past rulers and of the royal family. Kallius glanced to the old portraits of Prince Ozpin standing next to his father, King Agachi the wise and his mother, Queen, Kumara. He then turned to the one next to it. The day King Agachi passed his powers down to Ozpin on the day of his coronation as King.
A common tradition of the realms rulers. When an heir comes of age to rule the kingdom, the King or Queen before them will passed their powers down to them. Powers which were said to be even greater the the most powerful mage in all the realms. Its with these powers the rulers use to keep their realms in balance and protect and provide for their people.
Though throughout the years, many rulers had become corrupted by these powers and only sought to use them for their own desires. Falling to their pride and greed. As it was for the King of Atlas. Yet even with such powers, Ozpin was never so drawn with such temptations as he was. And instead remained a good King and as wise as his father before him. Only using them for the benefits of his people and all the realm.
"I understand you and Lukas have a history together." Ozpin then said.
Kallius glanced to his King.
"Umm... yes, your majesty." Kallius said, narrowing his head in respect of his friends.
"And that is why I wish for you to take his place as General." Ozpin said.
Kallius the stopped and glanced up at the king in awe at the position he had just offered him.
"Your majesty...?" He said.
Ozpin stopped and glanced back to the commander.
"The council has decided," Ozpin insisted upon his claim.
"You both were the last knights to have ever been trained under Akara herself. And whom we had believed that one of you would have been her prodigy upon the day of choosing."
"But your majesty, I'm not worthy of this honor," Kallius insisted.
"Not like he was."
"On the contrary," Ozpin insisted to him.
"Whether you believe are worthy or not matters not. Sometimes we are not given the choice of our own destiny. We can only rise to meet it if we so chose."
Ozpin turned and peered out the window next to him. Peering out over the city of lights which beamed in the darkest night.
"When I chose Lukas to be my General, he believed he was not fit of this honor," Ozpin said.
"He insisted that I chose you instead. He thought you were more worthy of the position then he."
Kallius frowned and glanced to the side. He was surprised to say the least that Lukas would think that. All those years at the Academy, the two were competitive to say the least, Especially after Akara decided to personally train them both. They each sought to be the better prodigy, training hard in the ancient techniques of the Knights of the realms. They would never admit to one another that they were a better choice then the other.
Though they had long grown passed their childish rivalry, to hear that Lukas presumed that he was a better choice then he was indeed a shock to say the least.
"I... I never knew that." Kallius insisted.
"You were top of you class at the academy," Ozpin stated, glancing back at him.
"You are respected by your division. And you have intensive knowledge of fighting techniques and strategies used by the knights of Opara. I believe he was right to assume so."
Kallius narrowed his head. He still believed the honor should not be his. Nor did he think he was capable of leading the armies of Beacon as Lukas before him. But even so, this was not of pride. This was for the sake of the kingdom and the alliance of the realms. He was the only one who could do assume command.
He glanced up to the king. Placing his fist over his chest, he bowed before Ozpin in acceptance to the duty he had been given.
"Then I accept the responsibility, your majesty." Kallius stated, nodding his head to Ozpin.
Ozpin grinned to his new General and bowed his head in response.
"Very good," he said.
"Now, there is another matter which I must ask of you."
Kallius glanced up to his King.
"Yes, my King?" Kallius said.
"The refugees have been moved to a shelter in the city," Ozpin explained to him.
"Zak's family and Lukas's widow are housed there as well."
Hearing the King speak of Lukas's widow, Kallius to narrow his head in remorse to her. To have lost not just her husband, but her own daughter in the attack, he could not fathom how she may felt at this loss she had suffered.
"Amara." he said.
Ozpin nodded his head.
"Given your friendship with Lukas, I think it would be best you deliver their belonging to them." Ozpin stated to him.
"You mustn't feel the need to ask, your majesty," Kallius insisted upon his claim.
Ozpin nodded his head in appreciation of his acceptance of his duty.
"Thank you, General." The King said, nodding his head.
The two then turned and continued to peer out over the city. Now faced with the uncertain future of their Kingdom which now lied ahead.