Beast Blades, Chapter 8: Sparing General Aldrick Part 1

Tara splashed through the river calling out Lucas’ name, and Apollos sat upon General Aldrick’s chest, quivering in rage. “Choose your next words carefully, they’ll be your last!”
Aldrick sighed and turned his head away. “Go ahead and kill me. Without those beast blades I won’t be able to stop Geraldo’s plan.”
Apollos looked at Aldrick in confusion. “What do you mean you won’t be able to stop Geraldo’s plan without them? Weren’t you going to take the legendary beast blades to Geraldo so that no one would be able to stop him?”
“Those were my orders, but that’s not my reason for searching for them. Geraldo isn’t the same young man that he used to be, Apollos.”
Apollos scowled at Aldrick. “I am aware of that, and I have you to thank for that. If you weren’t searching for the legendary beast blades to aid Geraldo, then why were you looking for them?”
“I was looking for them because my success is the only way that Geraldo will listen to my council. I had hoped that bringing him a legendary beast blade would earn me his ear more than ever, and I would be able to change him back to the young man I used to know, to alter his course from dominating to protecting.”
Apollos snorted. “You were ever the optimistic one. As long as he has that shadow blade it is going to keep corrupting him and twisting his will to the blade’s. Giving him the legendary beast blades would only accelerate it. As much as it saddens me, my son must die.”
A tear formed in Aldrick’s eye. “Then allow me to be the one to swing the blade. It’s my fault this happened, and it should be my responsibility to correct it.”
Apollos sighed and sheathed his sword. “You never did pay any attention to my teachings, did you? Only the one who has gathered all five legendary beast blades can stop the wielder of the shadow blade, and the one destiny chose for the task may be dead.” Apollos got off of Aldrick’s chest and helped him up.
Tara looked up at the raft in horror. “What are you doing, Apollos? Why aren’t you killing Aldrick?”
Apollos sighed. “He was a fool doing bad things for a reason he thought was right. I believe that he wants to correct his mistakes, and I mean to give him the chance to do so by helping us.”
Tara scowled at Aldrick. “You actually believe what he said?”
Apollos shook his head. “Not completely, that’s why I’m going to keep a close eye on him.” Apollos drew a sword from one of the sheaths on his back and held it out. “Awaken, Aeroslithe, and watch over Aldrick.” Air swirled around the blade, and transformed into a cobra made of air.
Tara turned her back on Apollos. “This is a bad idea, Apollos. He’s manipulating you and is going to kill us all.”
Apollos stepped off of the raft and started searching the river for Lucas. “I believe that he is being sincere, and if I’m wrong Aeroslithe will take care of him. If I’m right, think of how well your rebellion could do if they had the infamous General Aldrick leading them?”
A smile crossed Tara’s face. “That would be amazing, having a master strategist like Aldrick leading us.”
Aldrick’s eyes opened wide with shock. “Woah, who said anything about joining a rebellion? I just want to stop Geraldo, that’s all.”
Apollos turned and glared at Aldrick. “Lucas, Tara, and I will stop Geraldo. You are going to do your part and help the rebellion in Falance out. Now help us look for Lucas.”
Aldrick sighed and stepped off of his raft and into the river. Tara searched along the right hand bank, checking every overhand and hollow spot along the river for Lucas or any sign that he had passed through there. Aldrick did the same along the left bank and Apollos searched the center of the river. They searched three miles of the river before the three of them climbed out onto the left bank.
Apollos climbed up onto the wagon and slumped his shoulders. “I didn’t want to believe it, but I’m afraid that Lucas is dead.”
Tara sniffled. “Don’t say that, Apollos. Maybe he just got washed a little further down the river.”
Apollos shook his head. “If Lucas had survived he would have climbed out of the river by now. I’m afraid that he drowned in that river.”
Aldrick chuckled and shook his head. Tara glared at Aldrick and drew one of her beast blades. “This is all his fault! I’ll kill him!”
Apollos jumped off of the wagon and took the sword from Tara’s hand. Tara looked up at Apollos with confusion on her face, but Apollos didn’t pay her any attention. “What do you find so funny, Aldrick?”
“Nothing, only that once I decide to betray Geraldo the only thing that can stop him from killing us all is lost. It’s so horrible that all I can do is laugh.”
Tara gasped. “That’s right! Lucas had two of the legendary beast blades with him when he fell into the river! How are we going to stop Geraldo now?”
Apollos sighed. “I can only believe that destiny has chosen someone else to take up the quest, and they will find Lucas’ body and the two legendary beast blades, and continue on from where we left off. My question is where do we go from here?”
A look of resignation came over Tara’s face. “We have to go back to Falance and give aid to the rebellion. I think they are our best hope of resisting Geraldo until the new champion rises up.”
Apollos slowly nodded his head. “That could be our best option for now. We can aid the rebellion however we can, and listen for rumors of more legendary beast blades being found. I can go and help guide the one finding the blades after that. For now, we should make a large pyre in honor of the passing of our friend and ally.”
Tara nodded her head, but Aldrick shook his. “That would be a mistake.”
Apollos turned and glared at Aldrick. “What?”
Aldrick looked down at the ground. “If you make your memorial pyre tonight, you won’t make it in time to save Jerome.”
Apollos pulled one of his blades free. “Why does Jerome need saving?”
“I left a hoard of Acerbi behind to watch to see if Jerome made any move to aid you, and if he didn’t they were to wait until night of the second day after I left to break into his home and steal his beast blades, but knowing the Acerbi, I believe they will kill Jerome, regardless of what I said.”
Apollos quivered with rage. “Why are you waiting to tell us until now?”
Aldrick sighed. “You were searching for your friend, Apollos. I didn’t want to distract you from that until you had given up.”
Apollos climbed up into the wagon and reached out his hand to help Tara up. “We don’t have any time to lose then. Come on, Tara.”
Aldrick climbed up onto the wagon and crossed his arms. “Rushing in to help him could be a mistake, Apollos.”
Apollos snapped the reins and Terrumbarrus started lumbering along. “What would you suggest? Abandoning one of my oldest friends to his death?”
Tara looked up at Apollos. “Why not? He’s just a grumpy old man who already said he doesn’t want to see you again.”
Apollos glared at Tara. “I’m aware of that, thank you very much. I have no intentions of abandoning my friends when it’s in my power to aid them, whether they want my help or not.”
Aldrick held up his hands in defense. “I’m not saying we should just abandon Jerome. I’m just saying that you rushing in to help him is a bad idea. I left three score of Acerbi behind to guard the place. I think that even you, Jerome, and I would have a difficult time dealing with sixty Acerbi by ourselves.”
Apollos’ eyes opened wide. “Sixty of them? Why didn’t you bring any of them along with you to attack us?”
“I thought that Hugh, Charles, and myself would be enough to deal with the three of you, and I wanted as many soldiers as I could spare for Jerome incase he found them ahead of time.”
Apollos sighed. “Fine, but that’s all the more reason that we need to get to Jerome as soon as possible. I won’t leave him to fight them alone if I can help it.”
A smile crossed Aldrick’s face. “That’s the beauty of my plan, if everything goes right, we won’t have to fight them at all.”
“How do you plan to stop sixty Acerbi without fighting?”
“Simple, I approach them alone and tell them that I killed the two of you and tell them to return to Geraldo with news of your deaths and that I am going to continue searching for Lucas who escaped. Once they are gone we can go and join the rebellion and Geraldo will think that everything that could threaten him is gone.”
Tara’s eyes opened wide. “Apollos, we can’t go along with this! He’ll just go and order the Acerbi to attack us! You can’t trust him.”
Apollos bit his lip, and turned to look Aldrick over. Finally he sighed, and said, “We’ll give your plan a try, Aldrick. But if you betray us, then I won’t hesitate to kill you next time.”

Thank you for checking out my story, if you liked this and want to see more of it, come back on Wednesday when I will publish part two, and check out the other stories I’m working on writing, here: Tales of the Imagination, check out my facebook page to connect with me and give me some feedback: Facebook, and follow me on Twitter here: @EJBorchardt. Please like, comment, and tell your friends if you like what you’ve read.Also, if you enjoy reading my stories, and you enjoy drawing, I’m looking for pictures of my characters. If you want to send me your fan art, I promise to include it with some of my posts! I look forward to seeing that art!

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