Chapter V: Preparations (Part 1)

THEY ATE DINNER prior to Charlotte’s training in the evening time. The one sitting at the end of the table wiped his face with a napkin before looking to the auburn sitting to his left.  “I’ve informed The State that you are in my keeping for the time being.” While Simone had wanted to keep Charlotte’s identity a secret, Elliot had mentioned that there might have been a snake hiding in their midst ever since the fall of Fleet Admiral Rothschild’s estate. So without Charlotte’s full permission, he revealed to The State that a Lottie Lionsheart was found by The Protectors. This group was an unknown group of men and women working toward the sanctity of keeping the Stone safe and put under their protection until further notice. It was a secret organization only known by close family members or those who had been affected by the stone in their lives.

While The State found The Protectors to be a justified entity that took up only one percent of the actual government officials, the higher ups did find that the Protectors were estranged to search of the Relic Stones. As the pirates continued to search for their fabled item of lore, the Protectors would step in and protect the rights to those stones. This only caused the pirates to consider the small government team as a baneful existence to deal with. According to the pirates rumors, for the past eleven years the original stone managed to escape any of the parties’ notices. There was even discussion of someone already being in possession of the Stone, but were actually in the Protector Program to keep it safe. This though did not stop the Pirates from flying themselves into a frenzy trying to find this fabled item. In consequence, it was shown through the many towns getting destroyed and causing many homeless victims seeking refuge within the State.

And just as Elliot suspected someone would, an insightful eye witness from The State revealed that Charlotte Rothschild had somehow possibly survived the attack on the estate. Conspiracy theories began to pop up on the frontlines of the newspapers with the stories of her being rescued by several vessels nearby. These newspapers littered the streets for weeks with faces of young girl’s fitting the description of the seventeen year old Rothschild heiress.

Unfortunately these news articles didn’t do any good for these innocent girls. If any of the girls whose faces appeared on the newspaper were found, they were met with a pitiful end. The State put an end to the rumors declaring that Charlotte Rothschild was to be known as killed in action until she stepped forward proving her lineage, thus ending the acts of piracy against any other innocent girls.

The State offered other news about The Division; that the prized vessel that Elliot Cheric first built for Earl Drummond had been decimated with a majority of its crew fatally injured or found to be in the care of Olivia Cheric. Some newspapers weren’t deterred in attempting to piece together their delivery routes compared to the time of attack on the Estate. According to the previous report given to the State via telecom, The Division had been one of the first fleets on scene at the Estate. While they had not disclosed picking up any individuals, it could have been a cover up to protect the identities of those survivors. This led some reporters to begin their speculation about Charlotte Rothschild possibly resting at the Cheric estate to recuperate from the attack and unfortunate storm. Some other papers wrote that it could have been possible that she had disappeared into the depths of the sea. While it was a small action in itself, it created a domino effect of larger proportions upon the general populations within Chiariotti, the region The Cheric household resided in. Higher rates of piracy started to spike on the borders along the sea, even affected the coasts of Gailyna and Zyttle.

From the main branch of The State there was a consensus that the State’s main Admiral Force Fleet (AFF) would make temporary quarters within Olivia Cheric’s estate to prevent an attack on the same scale at the Estate to happen, much to the inventor’s anguish. It was from that moment many Statesmen and women from all different classes and ranks filtered into the main countryside of Chiariotti. With Etrius, the main State Headquarters being so close to Chiariotti’s borders, it only added the amount of guardsmen and personnel being set over.

Reaching the third month of her sudden appearance, she was living within the estate of Simone and Elliot. The girl had just finished eating dinner with Elliot Cheric and Simone De La Croix. They had taken to evening sit-down dinners twice a week to discuss the recent events going on in the world. They typically did this to keep her current events up to date, but also to inform her of her role in this war against the Pirates. It was also a clue to her that something catastrophic was about to occur.

Her ominous feelings were not put to rest as Elliot shared with her a recent letter from a prominent upper rank Admiral named Andrew Nielson. It had contained details about the attack at the Fleet Admiral’s Estate to the decimation of the Deserted Islands. Pirate Captains started to make their comeback as Nico Guarneri’s actions as the conspirator for the Bloody Reign of Pirates steadily increased.  All the while the pirates fueled their assaults based upon their search for the fabled Relic Stones. It was mentioned in his letter the decisive battle two months prior where Guarneri’s forces dealt Nielsen a tremendous and nasty defeat, resulting in his naval ship being sunk and crew left to retreat. The rash decision of aggressiveness was the downfall to many State ships sailing after the demise of their Fleet Admiral Gerald Rothschild. As the letter stated, Andrew Nielsen was not exempt from that rash blindness of emotions dealing with their top leaders murderers.

Within this certain letter revealed Nielsen seeking refuge with Elliot and Simone, but not to regain his strength and attack again.

“I have read reports of a stray girl living with the owners Elliot Cheric and Simone De La Croix. I beseech the owners of the estate to supply me with a job in protecting and educating the girl known as Lottie Lionsheart. The reason for why I am applying for such a position is because I have been dealt a serious injury that will most definitely affect my leading a crew of abled men and women to battle and as such, I am requesting to be placed in a more suitable position. I am well-versed in the English Language, and do have an accreditation from The Academy to teach privately. I also have experience guarding young masters and mistresses from previous orders and details. I hope to hear favorable words from you in regards to this request.

Much obliged, Andrew Nielson.”

Simone read the letter to the young girl before catching her eye. He knew that with her name flying around the continent as the girl who survived Zaine’s wrath would attract anyone and everything to her. This, of course, was the main reason for changing her name as such to protect her whereabouts. And if he was correct in his intuitions, she had a deeper power surging deep inside her that could end this senseless war once and for all.

“Elliot and I have known him since we were children, we can vouch for his character but what do you think? Would you like to start some studies to take your mind off the current events?” Elliot nodded in agreement with Simone before taking a bite from his steak.

“I think it would be beneficial for you to have someone at your side.” Elliot mentioned nonchalantly. “There are plenty of people that would betray you for riches and empty promises. I think it would be wise to have someone who can keep an eye on you.”

Charlotte felt a flush rise above her cheekbones before placing her silverware on the tablecloth. “I feel like you’ve already approved of this man and have sent for him.” She narrowed her eyes at Simone since between the two of them; he was more susceptible to reveal himself.

“We have.” Elliot bluntly replied much to the chagrin of Charlotte. “It will be good for you, and likewise we will benefit from having another prominent official in our hand.” He paused before closing his eyes. “I know you have written dozens of letters to my sister asking her of her well-being, and if you allow Nielson to be your tutor I will allow you to send your letters to her.”

Simone smiled, “Though you cannot mention the whereabouts of where this estate is, nor can you reveal yourself as Charlotte Rothschild; the Lottie Lionsheart sitting before us is the only way we will refer to you as. Do you understand this Charlotte?”

She was excited to finally hear that her letters could finally be sent, but with great rewards come great consequences she feared. “I understand Simone, Elliot.” She smiled intently at her food, “As long as I can talk with Olivia and the others. I am content with any price even if it is having a body guard impersonating as my English teacher.”

Simone chuckled, “True Andrew Nielson is your bodyguard, but he will also be looking over your studies. A week from now you will be guided through a pivotal and rigid educational structure that will fundamentally help you as if you were studying at The State Academy.”

Charlotte felt her jaw drop, “But I haven’t been enrolled in school since I was thirteen! How will I learn everything when I’m so far behind?”

Elliot rubbed a napkin to his lips, signaling the end of their dinner discussion. “It will take some patience, though I fear for Mr. Nielson more so than you. Watching Simone instruct you from the Relic Stones to fencing is enough to make any instructor not want you as a student.”

Charlotte fumed in her seat. “I will take that as an insult sir.”

“Good, it was meant as one.” He replied and she became quite flustered.

“She wasn’t that bad of a student, a bit clumsy but highly intelligent.” Simone laughed into his napkin, not appearing to care about his reputation in the dinner hall.

“Excuse us, Simone and I have previous engagements to attend to. Find yourself a small room to hole up in, and please, do not destroy any more of my walls.” Elliot remarked after taking one last bite off of his plate. He picked his napkin off of the table to wipe his chin before getting up to leave. Simone started to follow his example and Charlotte remained where she was, still eating the rest of her dinner.

“I only tripped on the corner of the bookshelf, how was I supposed to know it would knock over three more in its wake?!”

۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞ ۞

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