This is a spin-off of Masquerade. Though it may contain references, it is a separate story. Stranded on an island after running from political problems, what will they find?

It was on the second day of the third month of the 945th year of the Kingdom of Handrin that my wife and I found ourselves running for our lives, escaping into the unknown, unsure of what we would find. One thing was certain, though; our sojourn had just begun.

As I contemplated recent events, I couldn't help but wonder what the future held - not just for my wife and I, but for many more people. My first thoughts and prayers went to the people of Ibera, but I suspected in time that Ibera's problems would break free, pouring over national borders, involving everyone under the rule of the king of Handrin.

It was our goal to escape the immediate danger, but at the time we did not know that we were escaping Handrin all together. Our destination was Fandora, the homeland of my family. There we would find safety, a thought that didn't immediately sway my wife. 

I wanted to do something to help. In fact, I had no problem with Ibera seeking independence from Handrin, but I didn't want to give my life for it either. Staying alive in the long run would help out a lot more than knocking down a few soldiers before being knocked down myself.

Her home was Ibera - always had been. She wanted to stay and fight for the freedom of her people, a noble gesture, to be sure. However, after her brother was killed by the hands of the enemy,  by a dedicated Handrin soldier, I was finally able to convince her to leave.

She didn't want to live anywhere that was ruled by the king of Handrin, but our options were limited. Heading south was not an option, for then we would only be running further away from the problems of not only her people but indirectly mine as well.

"Perhaps there is something we can do from Pandora," I told her. "Something politically, that is."

"Is there something particular that you have in mind?" Her question was meant to probe me, and after several years of marriage, she often knew just what to say to encourage me to expound further.

"I have heard from my family," I explained. "Although officially Fandora and some of the other provinces aren't interested in joining the fight - in fact, officially they oppose it - a prevailing attitude among individuals is in Ibera's favor. Perhaps we can exploit that."

We stood in silence for a few moments. She furrowed her eyebrows in a frown, obviously judging what I had just told her. Eventually, she spoke. "I know you aren't the most loyal Handrin subject, but do you mean to tell me that you would be willing to work toward the breakup of the kingdom of Handrin?"

"The kingdom," I replied, "or empire as many call it in jest has grown too big to operate efficiently. If Ibera doesn't succeed now, they will experience success at some point in the future. Other provinces are bound to follow suit, which I believe wouldn't be a bad thing."

She smiled, nodding her head. "The empire is nearly a millennia in age, after all." She emphasized the use of the word empire - sarcastic but subtle satire to be sure. "Well," she continued, "Fandora sounds like a good place to end up, then."

The End

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