Hide and Seek (Part 2)Mature

Craetor breathed in and out, calming his mind. He was going to need to stay relaxed while dealing with all these issues. He would like to believe himself incapable of being upset, but it was clear that his brother's death was not something he could shrug off so easily. Else, his emotions would not have made him angry just then.

In warfare, you always had to deal with one issue at a time. Craetor decided he would let himself be a general for now. First, he found Rhazin, then he could work to prove the boy's innocence, and lastly work to get himself back into a position of power. He needed Faerein to be stable before moving on the offensive. 

Just half an hour later, Craetor found himself looking up at the massive castle he called home. Behind him, the artificial river ran rather loudly. At least, it seemed loud to Craetor. Too loud...

Craetor turned to the river, embracing his Mineral Mystic, only to find a man in a black cloak standing by the river. He looked very familiar, for some reason, though long black hair and a hood made it hard to tell just who he was. Craetor could, however, see some intense wrinkles that stretched over this man's face. And was that a hunch? Someone old? 

"Who are you?"

The man grunted. "The better question here is what are you doing here? I thought you were the new king?"

Well, that wasn't the usual way people regarded their king... Unless... "Are you one of the enemy spies? If so, you are doing a poor job of hiding it."

The elderly man just turned and muttered a curse, though Craetor couldn't catch it. He was sure it was a curse, though. "I'm no spy, boy," the man spat bitterly, somehow speaking clearly over the river's loud noise. How was it so loud? "I'm just an old man who is looking after his boy."

Craetor looked around, seeing no boy. He doubted any kid was under the bridge either. Rhazin was the only boy he had ever met to hide under there. "What boy?" 

"You know the answer to that." The old man's voice seemed cold. Not like a grouch, or even like a war veteran who had been through many battles. It was like... a Void user! 

Craetor took a step back. "I know you!" he said, trying to maintain his calm. "You're Rhazin's Master." 

The old man looked back and nodded, his face still hidden mostly by the black strands of hair. "Yes, that boy can't do anything for himself. Even now he has help!" The man grunted and took a seat on one of the many benches that had been built beside the river. How could the man stand that sound?

"Do you know where he is?"

"Yes."

Craetor nodded. Calm. He couldn't rush this. "I do not believe he was in control when he killed my brother," Craetor said slowly, trying to make his voice reach over the river's verbal onslaught. "I need him to stay in confinement so I can defend him, though. Can you tell him this?"

The man looked at Craetor for a long time before answering. "No."

Anger tried to rise in Craetor but he beat it into submission. "Can you tell me where he is?"

"No."

"What about telling him that I wish to speak with him? Surely it would be easy for him  to talk to me?"

"No."

Anger tried to rise again. Sands, this man was infuriating! "I want to help Rhazin, too," he told the man, trying one last time, "Do you think I am lying?"

"No, but why does that matter to me?"

... Calm. Come on, Craetor. You have to be calm when dealing with people. No matter how much they pushed. "I assume there is something you want from me?"

"No."

"Is there any way to convince you?"

"No."

That did it. Craetor ripped the grains of sand flying through the air around him and pulled every loose stone in the vacinity to himself. In a mere second, he had a large serpent of rock and sand poised to attack the man. "I hate to use force," Craetor said, anger touching his voice, "But I need to find that fool boy before he puts himself in a worse position."

The man chuckled. "If you could connect my name to my face, then you wouldn't be doing this." That old eye looked to the side quickly, but Craetor didn't bother following his gaze. It was likely a trap so he could escape with a Voidgate. 

"What is your name, then?"

The man snorted. "You know my name, you just can't connect it to me," he said grimly, "And I think you have company." In a flash, he waved his hand and made a Voidgate appear. Despite seeing them before, Craetor was still surprised when he saw the swirling ball of... well darkness. 

Craetor attacked with his serpent of sand and rock, barely missing the man as he disappeared along with his Voidgate. The debris hit the bench and it's surrounding area, destroying it entirely. Scarred Father! He had let the man get away AND he had damaged part of the riverside walkway! 

"My lord!"

Moving up the walkway was three members of the confident; Maevis, Vivola, and Crat. Maevis had a look of disgust, as usual on his overweight face. He was supposed to look over the consensus, but it was rare that he did anything but play political games. To his right stood Crat, a man considered large by regular standards, yet still a head shorter than any Frae man, Craetor included. Behind Crat, Vivola shied from view, barely letting herself be seen. She was not embracing Void today.

"Confidents," Craetor said, once again calm. "We need to be looking for an elderly man with a black cloak. He uses Void, so we shouldn't engage him until we can surround him. I'll call up Mato Korka and see if he can-"

"What you will do," Crat interupted sternly, "is go back to your quarters and deal with your grieving there." He looked to the destroyed section of the walkway. The bench that once held the old man was no more. Scarred Father, how angry had Craetor let himself be? "We don't need you... assisting in this investigation." The man shook his head, letting his silver hair - which was tied back tightly - swing from side to side. "My lord." 

The End

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