Fortunatus Light of Dark – Part 6

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Fortunatus Light of Dark

by AJ Marks

Part 6

Tess made her way to the mess hall. She had taken a bath, which the twins prepared, before donning her armor for her morning workouts with the troops. She looked forward to that as a way to keep her skills up. They also used such time to try new magical techniques, some worked most did not. She knew to keep a good mix of different elements of magic in the same squad. If she only put ice magic in one group then a smaller group of earth mages could eliminate them. A lesson she had learned early on. Each of the four elements had another element which it was strong against and one it was weak against.

When she learned that lesson, she put together groups depending on the enemies’ strength and weaknesses. More than one would group their soldiers together according to magic allowing her an easy victory.

“Empress, I’m so glad I caught you here,” Lycos said walking up to her. Tess frowned but waited patiently for what he had to say. “The Soulviers are asking to meet with you now. I think they wish to head back today.”

Tess sighed, knowing that she would have to talk with them but she also had little time. “All right,” Tess finally said, starting to walk to the meeting room.

“Empress, you’re not going like that?” Lycos said, horrified at the fact Tess still wore her armor.

Tess glanced down and for a second thought about changing but putting on her armor took time she really did not wish to spend. “Yep, if they don’t like it, I don’t care.”

She watched as Lycos sputtered a bit, but continued towards the room, entering without much of a preamble. She watched the three Soulviers appear slightly surprised. Jarkal seemed taken aback with her choice of outfit to meet with them, but Tess merely walked in and sat down waiting to hear what they would say. To her surprise it was Perlock who spoke up first.

“Ah, this is the Empress I expected yesterday,” he said, looking a bit more impressed with her. Tess filed that away before turning her attention back to Jarkal.

“Eh, yes, for a barbarian I guess,” he stated.

“You wanted to meet with me, I was on my way to the training grounds to work with my troops and I saw no reason to change,” Tess replied, honestly looking into Jarkal’s silver eyes.

“I wished to conclude our meeting so we could head back,” Jarkal said. “It seems that there is information you gave us about that group of humans on our boarder that our Emperor requires.”

“My honest opinion, with everything I’ve learned lately, eliminate them,” Tess said honestly, seeing surprise on all three Soulvier’s faces. She knew they were not expecting to hear that from her.

“All of them? Isn’t that a bit hasty?” Perlock said.

“No, if this group is Gregory then he will use it to awaken this Enokrad,” Tess sad to them.

“Ah, that, I’m still not convinced about that,” Jarkal said.

“And you are a fool,” Gallic’s voice said, from the doorway. He hobbled into the room taking a seat and looking at all four of them. “I have told you what is to come, what you do to prevent it, if possible is up to you.”

Tess knew that where Gregory had set up any move from her army would provoke a response from the Soulvier Empire. She did not want war with them at this time. There were other groups requiring her attention first.

Tess looked at the group. “I can’t tell Bararra what to do, I ask that he give serious consideration to eliminating that group.”

“We are a peaceful race, not violent like you,” Jarkal said finally.

“But we will take it under advisement,” Perlock said.

Tess hoped they would, otherwise she knew that the force would head to her Empire and another fight would break out. She bid then good-day and safe travel before heading back out to the training field where Becca waited.

“Problems?” she asked.

“The Soulviers are leaving, don’t think they’ll do anything about Gregory’s troops, we need to prepare for an invasion by them,” Tess said. “I don’t want to be surprised at all if they do move against us.”

“So you think they will?” Becca said.

“Whatever Gregory is after is in my empire,” Tess stated looking out at her troops already working hard. She wondered if she would have to call on them to make the ultimate sacrifice for the empire real soon or not. “Have you heard from Carrie yet?”

“Only that she reached the border and is organizing her battle-mages,” Becca said.

“Good, hope she doesn’t do something stupid and rash,” Tess said, knowing the red-head’s ability to act before thinking.

“She doesn’t act like that anymore, or at least not as much as she did,” Becca replied.

Tess had to nod in agreement about that. Though she felt a bit concerned, Carrie could still explode under the right conditions. She wished now someone else went with her.

“Last thing we need is a war with the Soulviers over something she did,” Tess said. “How are the preparations to move troops to the border for patrols?”

“We have a squad of men ready to go in the morning,” Becca replied. “They are getting their gear together today.”

“Good,” Tess replied, hoping such action might quell the nobles’ attitude. She wanted to get the troops there in case the merchants finally got their act together and requested additional troops to go with them. She sent a message to the two kingdoms nearby whose boarders it would effect.

“We’ll should enough troops there to detour the attacks, hopefully,” Becca said.

“Yeah, otherwise we get more angry arguments with the nobles,” Tess said, not wanting to go through another one. Last time she really wanted to kill Leon. The only reason she did not, was due to the she had barely had any time alone with Ami.

The girl was intoxicating to Tess with her submissive attitude, long blonde hair, cute lips, and nice figure. Tess had yet to send the girl to her room after their activities at night and she had almost become accustom to the girl’s presence in bed.

“Hello, earth to Tess!” Becca said, waving her hand in front of Tess’ face. “Thinking of that girl again?”

“You mean my little one, yep, she is worth it,” Tess replied, giving Becca a smile

“She is a Zero-Mage, you didn’t mention that to the Soulviers, or the Segic,” Becca said.

“Because it wasn’t worth mentioning,” Tess replied, a constant argument between them. Becca and Carrie seemed to think Ami was some sort of spy. Tess had no illusions due to the fact she had learned so much about where Ami came from. Their talking in the mornings, and in the evenings when they ate together, had been most beneficial for them both. Ami had learned a lot about her new home, and Tess finding out things about where she came from. Surprising Ami had picked up the written language rather easily and Tess had the illusion that she could do the same with Ami’s written language.

“Well, I don’t know,” Becca said. “Though I also don’t like that a Segic came here, makes me nervous.”

“That I’ll agree with you over, makes me nervous as well,” Tess replied thinking about the things that Gallic mentioned. He had a lot of things to say and left a lot of things unsaid as well. Tess did not like the lack of information that Gallic gave her. “Only wish we knew something about this, Enokrad, which I can find nothing about. Though Carrie seemed to know something.”

“An old legend,” Becca said.

“So old and terrible that they destroyed just about any record of it, if it even exists,” Tess said, shaking her head. Why did the not leave something, especially if they failed to kill it.

“You don’t think it does?” Becca asked.

Tess took a moment to think about it. “I don’t know, if anyone but a Segic told me about it, no, but now I don’t know,” Tess replied honestly, wondering how long the Segic would stay with them. He had walked out of the room right after the Soulviers had.

“Looks like everyone is here,” Becca said, nodding her head towards the training grounds.

“Right, let’s line up and go over some basics,” Tess said, heading out to where the men were waiting. She pulled out her wand and it transformed into a sword. She swung it around a few times to loosen up her arm watching as Becca yelled out instructions.


Tess sat down at the table eating a sandwich after a long morning of drills. A week had passed since the surprise appearance of the Soulvier ambassador and the Segic. Carrie had returned the previous day with no word of what the Soulviers were going to do against Gergory. She also had some basic idea of the group’s location, but was wary to do anything else due to the proximity of the Soulvier Empire.

She looked up seeing one of the twins walk into the room. Tess took a moment to watch as Kari went about her work before speaking up. “So where’s your sister and the little one?”

“They are in the library, reading some myths that Ami seems to like,” Kari replied.

“Ah yes, she does love those,” Tess said, recalling all the questions Ami had about such myths. “I’ll have to ask her if she’s come across something called the Enokrad.”

“The what?” Kari replied, looking up from putting up some clothing.

“The Enokrad,” Tess said. “I’ve never heard of it either, some ancient evil creature so powerful they froze it and destroyed any evidence of it.”

“Oh, if you say so,” Kari replied, her tone sounding unsure if Tess was actually being honest or not.

Tess looked up at the door opening again as Lycos entered the room looking a bit hassled. She had come to hate that look as it always meant something had gone wrong. She watched as he walked right up to her before taking a breath to speak.

“Empress, General Becca requires your presence in the meeting room at once,” he said to her. “The Grunks have attacked Navatown.”

Tess dropped the sandwich, stood upright, and quickly headed out of the room. Grunts had invaded her empire? The implementations were enormous in her mind. Why were they doing such a thing? Sure they were violent and had a bad temper but she had done nothing recently against them.

“What’s the situation?” Tess asked, entering the room seeing a lot of people there that normally would not be. Becca and Carrie were both there as were maps and several extra aides.

“We received word from Captain Otto that Navatown came under siege early this morning, we don’t know by how many Grunt troops or the reason why,” Becca said, handing Tess a message from the captain in question.

Tess quickly scanned the note seeing that the captain currently defended the town successfully but had low hope for defense without reinforcements. Tess’ blood boiled a bit at the fact she had been attacked without warning.

“Where are the troops?” she asked looking at the map.

“The 1st Army is scattered here in the capital, it would take a day or two to gather them up,” Becca said. “The 2nd and 3rd armies are defending the boarder, the 4th is currently in reinforcement to the border near the Shadowlands. The other armies are currently scattered around the Empire.”

Tess took all the information in, looking at the map. Her quick reinforcement squads were already deployed leaving her empire a bit weak in that regard.

“Inform General Russell to gather his troops and prepare for my arrival in Hollow Valley,” Tess said. “Prepare the Royal Guard to move out today.”

“Empress?” Becca asked, a note of slight confusion in her voice.

“I’ll be taking command of this. Carrie, I’m placing you in charge of the boarder along the Shadowlands. Take as many battle-mages as you need. Lycos, prepare a message to the King of the Grunts,” Tess ordered, watching as people stopped standing and started moving. “Becca, you’re in charge of the situation here. Keep me informed if anything happens with the nobles.”

“They will be worried if you lead the troops,” Becca said. “Isn’t that why you have generals?”

“Russell is a great defensive commander. Probably the reason Navatown is still in one piece, but he sucks at offensive tactics. We all know this, the Grunts probably know this. However, I like to attack and we all know I don’t like to lose,” Tess said looking at Becca, who finally seemed to understand.

“You want them to think you’ll invade them back,” she said.

“Yep, the threat of me coming into their territory should be enough to stop this nonsense, at least after I crush their army at Navatown,” Tess replied.

“You think that will work?” Becca asked.

“Yeah, the Grunts have never had a great military, and they use simple tactics which I can use to my advantage,” Tess said. She had never actually fought against the Grunts but had studied their tactics enough to understand what they would do. She had done the same with each race that shared a border with her empire.

“How long do you expect to be gone?” Becca asked.

“A week, maybe longer. Depends on how stubborn the Grunts are,” Tess replied thinking about it. “Bring the 1st army together and have them ready to move out.”

“It shall be done,” Becca said.

Tess walked out with the orders given, she now had to inform her staff. She quickly made her way down the hallway running into Helen who seemed waiting for her.

“I’ll be leaving later today pack up my normal stuff and,” Tess paused for a second thinking about who to take with her. She had a reckless idea and went with it. “Have the little one in charge.”

She watched Helen’s face which showed shock for sure before saying anything. “Her, are you sure?”

“Yeah, I want to move quickly and she’ll do well, I have faith in her,” Tess said knowing that despite the girl having no magical abilities she would do fine as others set up things. All Ami had to do was tell others where things went and Tess had a feeling that the girl would prove to be useful.

“If you think so, but I am against it, take one of the twins instead,” Helen said.

“No, I’ve made up my mind,” Tess said. “She’ll do just fine.”

“As you wish Empress,” Helen said, taking one last look at Tess before heading off to get things done.


Ami glanced up from reading as Helen walked into the library with a strange look on her face.

“You need to follow me child, we have a lot of work to do,” Helen said looking right at Ami.

“Me?” Ami said confused wondering what might have happened. She felt a bit fearful that Tess had finally gotten tired of her and was sending her away. She looked over at Kira who appeared just as confused as Ami felt.

“Come child, we have to move quickly, the Empress will be leaving soon and we have a lot to go over if you are going with her,” Helen said.

Ami quickly stood following Helen out of the room leaving Kira to clean up the mess they had made. Ami quickly walked keeping up with Helen who despite her size moved rather quickly.

“Um, where is the Empress going?” Ami asked as they walked quickly down the hallway towards the Empress’ quarters. They reached the room in silence and for a second Ami figured Helen was not going to answer her question.

“I don’t know, only that the whole palace is in an uproar. I’ve heard,” she paused, thinking before continuing, “I’ve heard that we’ve been invaded and the Empress is going to war.”

That news stunned Ami. She had not expected such a thing to happen. She also wondered why they were in the Empress’ quarters and not Kari and Kira.

“It seems that the Empress wishes you to be her servant while out,” Helen said, her tone saying she disapproved with it, not that Ami did not agree with the tone.

“Me, but wouldn’t she do better with the twins?” Ami asked knowing she could not do any magic.

“I said the same thing,” Helen said. “However once the Empress has something in her head it’s almost impossible to change. We shall have to make this do considering you can’t use magic.”

Ami watched closely at the things she learned as Helen went over things rather quickly. They were joined rather quickly by both Kari and Kira, who helped in the packing. The twins also packed practical outfits for Ami instead of some of the more sexy outfits she usually wore. Simple skirts and tops were packed instead of the see thru robes.

Ami felt overwhelmed, wondering how she would handle it all. She sat down during a small break trying to process it all. Kari placed a hand on her should causing her to look up.

“Take it one step at a time, and be firm in your orders, you represent the Empress when you are setting up and packing up. You carry her mark,” Kari said to her in a soft, gentle voice.

“And if you mess up don’t hesitate to inform the Empress. She is much more forgiving if you come forward then if she finds out,” Kira said.

“I guess I’m nervous about this. I’ve never done anything like this before,” Ami finally replied, looking at the stuff in front of her.

“Well, you better get ready, we’re packed and you’ll be heading out shortly,” Helen said.

“Here, change into this,” Kira said, holding out come clothing for Ami. She took it and went to change into a medium length skirt and an almost normal sleeveless shirt. The outfit covered more of her than just about anything she had worn since arriving at the palace over a month ago.

“Just remember to be yourself and you’ll do fine,” Helen said giving her one last word of encouragement.

Ami then followed the three out of the room as other servants came into to take the packages out. Ami looked at it the three bags wondering if that was enough.

She did not dwell on the situation, following Helen out of the room, down a few hallways and stairs before walking outside. She had not been here before, only a garden inside the palace which she visited quite a bit. Now she looked around at the activity going on. People rushing around left and right, but she spotted Tess in the middle directing it all.

Ami watched as Tess spotted her and made her way over to her. The mere presence of the Empress made Ami slightly more comfortable and confident for some reason. “Follow me,” Tess said, then around and walked through the mess of people, Ami found herself standing in front of three men as Tess addressed them. “This is my personal servant for this trip, you’ll be taking orders for my tent, baths and food from her, understand?”

Ami watched all three nod their heads and say ‘yes Empress’. Ami noticed that all three looked similar and wondered if they were siblings. She would find out later on she supposed, but for now followed the Empress as they walked towards what looked like massive vehicles. The closer she got the more it looked like a train without rails. She realized that the despite the fact technology differed, it also had some similarities. They had made it to the moon after all.

“The magiport is fueled and ready Empress, only waiting for everything to be loaded,” a person said, walking up to the Empress.

Ami watched Tess acknowledge the person, before looking back down at Ami.

“Stick with me for now, it’ll be easier for you until you get used to it,” Tess said.

Ami did not argue with that logic. She made sure to remain by Tess’ side during the entire time watching as people loaded the train looking machine, or magiport as they called it. Tess finally entered the magiport, heading to a room. Ami saw the comfortable chairs and even a sofa in the room.

“Here, have a seat,” Tess said. “The first time riding one of these can be a bit nerve-racking.”

Ami frowned at that statement wondering what type of transportation this was. Did she need magic to ride it? She rationally dismissed that thought, Tess knew she did not have any magic. What she had to do now was work to keep the Empress happy by doing her latest job.

She sat down close to a window, Tess set down across from her and heard a high pitched whine start up. A few seconds later she felt the entire magiport lift up and then take off. She risked a glance out the window seeing the forest flying by, like a low flying plane.

“We’ll be there in two hours,” Tess stated to her. “Usually these transports are faster but we didn’t have time to fully charge it with magic.”

“Oh, we will make it there without crashing right?” Ami asked, suddenly unsure if it had enough fuel to make its journey.

She looked over at Tess’ chuckle. “Yes little one, just not as fast, that’s the key difference. We could go to the moon with this amount of magic but it would take a decade or so to reach it. The faster you want to go the more magic you have to put into it.”

“Oh, I guess that makes sense,” Ami said, thinking it sounded like fuel but not quiet.

“I guess it didn’t work that way where you came from,” Tess said.

“Not really, we used fuel, a liquid called gas, but it would determine how far you went, not how fast. Though at some speeds you used it up quicker than at others, it generally went so far and then you needed more.”

“Strange,” Tess finally said. Ami had to agree, this new world she still had to get used to. “You don’t get sick in such vehicles?”

“What? Motion sickness? Nope, never have,” Ami replied seeing a strange look on Tess’ face.

“Motion sickness?”

“Um, that’s what we called it over there. You get sick due to the motion of a vehicle,” Ami replied. “Most people get it while on boats.”

“Oh, sea-sickness, no we don’t call them the same, only being sick,” Tess stated. “So you don’t get it then, that’s good, one less person to worry about.”

Ami settled in to the seat taking a look out the window at the world going by. She had a lot to learn about this world still, though she hoped to one day feel at home here. She glanced over at Tess taking a moment to actually look at her. She was beautiful, black hair, blue eyes, and such a strong presence that capture Ami for some strange reason. She never had anyone capture her attention so much before. Perhaps she actually liked Tess more than just a master servant. She would have to think about that thought a bit more before deciding anything else. First she would have to live through this latest adventure.

End Part 6

Go on to Part 7

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