Apollos stumbled over a rock and spit the bag out of his mouth for the tenth time. Large hands shoved him roughly forward and he heard Malcolm saying from beside him, “Please, there must be some mistake! I assure you that Apollos is no spy! He has fought as hard against Geraldo as anyone I’ve ever met!”
Another voice answered roughly, “He entered the camp in the company of General Aldrick! He can’t be trusted, and I would be careful about associating with him; if he is a spy, as we expect, then you may be joining him!” The man shoved Apollos though a set of open tent flaps.
Apollos stumbled into the tent and another pair of hands roughly grabbed him and shoved him onto a chair. The bag was pulled off of his head and Apollos blinked against the sudden light. Once his eyes adjusted to the light he saw that a number of men were standing facing him, and Barnabas stood at the center of the group. Aldrick said, “I knew that nothing good would come of this.” Apollos turned his head and saw Aldrick sitting next to him with his hands bound behind his back.
Apollos shook his head. “What did you do now, Nathan?”
Barnabas growled, “You can stop with the pretense, we know he is General Aldrick! Fortunately for us, George recognized him.” He paused before continuing on hesitantly, “You are sure that this is General Aldrick, aren’t you, George?”
A man in brown robes nodded his head. “I’m certain that’s Aldrick, I’ll never forget when he gave the order for me to taken to Geraldo to be punished for aiding the rebellion. I begged for mercy and he told me to pray for a miracle. If it wasn’t for your raiding party, I would be dead right now.”
Barnabas glared at Aldrick. “I’m glad we were able to help you, you have more than repaid our kindness in the time since you joined us.” He turned his look to Apollos. “Aldrick’s fate is all but decided, so the only question is if you knew who he was before you arrived here with him, Apollos.”
Aldrick gave Apollos an appraising look, interested to see how he was going to react. Apollos could save himself if he told them that Aldrick had met him on the road and lied to him the entire time. Aldrick deserved anything they chose to do to him and worse. He had betrayed him, turned his son into a monster, and brought pain and death everywhere he went. On the other hand, he was risking everything by rebelling against Geraldo. Apollos swallowed hard and said in firm voice, “I was aware that he was Aldrick.”
Shock filled Aldrick’s face. “After everything I’ve done to you, you should have abandoned me, Apollos. I deserve what I’m going to get.”
Barnabas shook his head. “I commend your honesty, unfortunately, it would have been better for you if you had lied.”
Barnabas turned to leave the tent and Apollos said, “There is more to Aldrick than what you have heard.” Barnabas stopped and turned to look at Apollos. “In fact, he was training to succeed me as the guardian of the shadow sanctuary before this whole ordeal began. He made a mistake and thought that the Acerbi sword could be used to help this country, to make the lives of everyone that lives here better, but the sword has a mind of his own and twisted Geraldo to its own ambitions. He quickly realized his mistake and has been trying to fix it these past years the best he has known how. He finally realized that talking wasn’t going to solve this problem and is to tring and use his talents to end this.”
Barnabas crossed his arms. “Because of that man, much of this country is under Geraldo’s control, and many people have lost their lives. I might believe that you had good intentions, but I can’t believe that this man has anything but dubious plans.” Barnabas turned and walked out of the tent.
The other men watched Aldrick and Apollos, and Aldrick smiled at Apollos. “Thank you for trying to save me, Apollos.”
Apollos snorted. “What else could I do? At this point the only way I’m getting out of this is if you do.” Aldrick frowned. Apollos continued, “Besides, without you guiding us I feel that this rebellion is doomed to fail.”
Tara’s concerned voice came from outside of the tent. “What is so important, Barnabas?” The tent flap was pulled back and Tara walked inside and gasped. “What are you doing with Nathan and Apollos?”
Barnabas walked in behind Tara. “We have discovered that Nathan is actually General Aldrick. Did you know that he was General Aldrick when you came here with him?” Barnabas pointed at Apollos. “Do you even know who he is?”
Tara looked back and forth from Apollos and Aldrick in shock. “How did you find out?”
Barnabas frowned at Tara. “So you did know. How could you bring General Aldrick into our camp? How could you let him look at our troop positions? If we hadn’t found out who he was, he could have betrayed us and had every member of the rebellion killed.”
Tara shook her head. “It’s not like that! Aldrick is different now, he’s one of the good guys! I was captured by Acerbi, and they were going to take me Geraldo to be tortured, to have every bit of information I knew about the rebellion pulled out of me, no matter what it took, and it was Aldrick who saved me. What was the point of saving me if he just wanted to destroy the rebellion? I knew more than enough to bring the rebellion down, he didn’t have to sneak in and try to deceive us.
“He has decided that he wanted to use his talents to help us fight against Geraldo. Do you have any idea what kind of an advantage having Geraldo’s greatest strategist on our side would give us? He would give us the best chance to beat Geraldo that we ever have had! He is far too valuable a resource to just waste! Apollos knew grandpa, and grandpa trusted him. Not only that, but over the past two weeks, I have grown to trust him too. I have no doubt that Apollos will be a valuable asset to the rebellion as well.”
Barnabas shook his head. “You’re too close to the situation, I don’t know that we can trust your judgement. We will take your opinion into consideration while we discuss what to do with these two.”
Barnabas and the others turned to walk out of the tent, but they stopped when Aldrick said, “Am I the only one who doesn’t get to speak in my defense?”
Barnabas sneered at Aldrick. “Why would we want to hear what you have to say?”
Thomas spoke up. “Let’s hear what him out.” Barnabas and the others looked at Thomas in shock. Thomas shrugged. “He deserves a chance to defend himself, it is his life at stake.”
Barnabas nodded his head. “Very well, we will hear what you have say and take it into consideration.”
Aldrick cleared his throat. “Two years ago I convinced Geraldo to take the Acerbi sword so that we could use it to try and protect our country. The King wasn’t interested in working Geraldo and me, and that was when I noticed that Geraldo was beginning to change. He decided if the King didn’t want to work with us, then he would simply have to be taken care of. I tried to convince him that it was foolish to do so, but he wouldn’t listen. I set him on that course, I couldn’t leave him on it alone.
“Geraldo’s designs for this country quickly went from protecting to conquering, and I learned that in order for me to have any influence with him, I had to have success. I found myself doing worse and worse things just for an opportunity to try and convince him that we were going about this the wrong way. It seemed like I was getting through to him sometimes, but his Acerbi would always come undo everything I had accomplished.
“Geraldo’s ambitions have changed once more. He isn’t happy with just controlling this country, he has set his eyes on the world. I finally realized that Geraldo couldn’t be saved, and he had to be stopped. That’s why I came here to help you, to finally have a chance to take Geraldo down.”
Barnabas scowled at Geraldo. “You should have tried telling us that when you first got here instead of lying about who you were.” Barnabas turned and walked out of tent and the others followed him out.
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, and don’t forget to check out my new book, The Kids on the Case! You can find it here: The Kids on the Case: Our First Case.