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Chapter 2 - Request and Order

Following the events of twenty years prior, a "Cult of Gongora" had emerged, causing chaos around the world. Chief Inspector Jien Austere has apprehended its leader and prepares to lead him to Uhra to receive justice.

Chapter 2 - Request and Order

Chapter 2 - Request and Order
Chapter Two: Request and Order

Chief Inspector Jien Austere was met by two Gohtzan soldiers as she approached the gate of the border. They feared their eyes were deceiving them when she presented the infamous Bandit General confined in chains. Haleigh snapped at them like a wild animal. They jumped back, allowing the pair passage. Haleigh smirked at their idiocy.

Jien pulled the chain tighter. “Ouch! I call police brutality, you’ll be reported, missy.” He was ignored.

“A train will be along shortly to take us to the capital,” she informed her prisoner, leading him to the platform.

It had taken more than ten years for the magical trains to be restored to their full working capacity. A devastating magical ice storm had destroyed the line, not to mention much of the grand city of Gohtza. The trains that were once used as a means of transportation for commuters and general travellers of Gohtza were repaired to be utilised for the reconstruction and management of the city. There was no telling when the trains would be used by the average citizen again.

“Ma’am,” coughed one of the soldiers, “how…how did you do it?”

Jien turned to the soldier, “What would that be?”

The soldier, intimidated by tales of the dreaded Bandit General nudged his head toward the prisoner. “You know.”

Jien cocked her head.

“I was captivated,” cut in the prisoner, “by the dear lady’s beauty.”

The soldier’s eyebrow rose, taking a minute to size up the Chief Inspector. It was impossible to tell her body type under her armour, though her soft golden hair fell neatly over her shoulders, and her cheeks were high and flush, her skin a delicate pale tan, and eyes sparkled aqua, like a clear ocean. She was good looking for sure, but captivating was overstating that fact. “Uh-huh.”

Jien rolled her eyes, irritated to have one man demeaning her skills as a warrior, and another demeaning her femininity. It was a relief when the train arrived. When the doors open, she pulled the chains and pushed her captive through the doors. The soldiers weakly farewelled them as they watched the train leave.

The soldier turned to his companion. “So, how do you really think she did it?”

“I dunno,” the other shrugged, “but I know I wouldn’t want to piss someone like that off.”


Jien sat cross-legged, her captive sitting a metre away. She stared into space, counting down the hours she would be back in the capital, reporting to their superiors. Perhaps she would be commemorated for capturing the world’s most wanted fugitive; she hoped a pay rise would be involved.

Haleigh rubbed his small crooked nose, his wrists in chains. “Hey, would you mind loosening these?”

“Actually, I would,” she replied, closing her eyes. “Go to sleep, it will make the journey quicker.”

“Ugh, yeah, because that’s exactly what I’d want.”

Without looking at the man, Jien unsheathed her sword, presenting the hilt. “I could knock you out again, if you desire.”

Haleigh held out his chained hands in defence. “Um, no, no, sleep is good!” He feigned a yawn. “Yeah, man, I am so tired. I think I’ll take a nice long nap.”

The sword was returned to its sheath. The hum of the train was so relaxing.


The Gohtzan High Council had been notified when the Bandit General was in custody; the man had eluded the authorities of many nations for several months. It was an extraordinary morale booster for the country that they be the only ones that managed what appeared impossible.

The title of “Bandit General” had thrived for dozens of generations, passed down from father to son. The Bandit General lead a highly organised band of thieves, though their crimes tended to be reserved to larceny and the black market. This generation’s Bandit General had expanded the group’s repertoire to carnage and mass destruction.

The crime which elicited the manhunt, however, involved the destruction of half of the Uhran naval fleet and over a hundred merchants off the coast of Uhra. The King and Queen of Uhra personally issued the warrant for his arrest, and demanded he be brought in alive.

Now that Gohtza had Uhra’s most wanted criminal, the Gohtzan High Council was delighted to host the King of Uhra, and invited him to sit with them in their chambers.

“I cannot express the depth of my gratitude to the people of Gohtza for capturing this…man,” King Tolten considered stronger terms of reference for the beast who took so much from him, but decided on civility, in case he were to be swept away in rage.

Councilman Redgrave bowed his bald head from across the room. “Uhra was once the enemy of our nation, it is truly sad that we must unite under such circumstances.”

“Indeed,” interjected Councilwoman Teffing. ”Two decades ago a common enemy seized hold of Uhra, and devastated the mighty kingdom of Gohtza. To think another would move to demobilise the world, and deem himself the successor of that…Gongora…is an outrage.”

Councilman Geuna stroked his long white beard, “This so-called ‘Cult of Gongora’ is quite a mystery, ay. All they do it cause devastation. What is their plan, I wonder?”

King Tolten clenched his teeth. The name ‘Gongora’ always sent a shiver down his spine. He would never forgive himself or that man, for the atrocities that still plagued the world. “Unfortunately, Uhran intelligence has been unable to determine the true goal of the ‘Cult’, however, their actions to date lead us to believe they are anarchists. Officially, we are calling them terrorists.”

Councilman Redgrave waved to a thin middle aged man who sat opposite King Tolten. “Dalquist, what say you?”

“Sir?” He questioned, straightening his monocle.

“Have your men secured new information from the prisoner?”

The High Council directed their gaze to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Edvard Dalquist, who coyly cleared his throat at the attention. “It is my dishonour to say not. The Bandit General is as steadfast as the stories claim. He will not respond to routine inquiry, nor of…less polite lines of inquiry.”

“I see.” The High Council was heavy of heart.

King Tolten felt the gloom of the room; he smiled, nodding his approval to Dalquist. “I humbly thank you for your efforts, Commissioner; your team have performed magnificently. You have much to be proud of.”

“You are far too kind, Your Highness.”


Big blue eyes beamed up at her, a smile cracked over the face of the young boy. He held out a flower wreath, placing it on her crown. “One day I’ll give you one made of gold, I will!” the boy determined, looking up at her. “It’ll be shiny and everything, you’ll see, big sister!”

Jien laughed, rubbing his head. “Sure, sure. Now run back to your mother, dinner should be ready soon, so you’ll need to wash up.”

The boy pulled a face, but reluctantly agreed. “I’ll see you tomorrow, big sister!”

What a sweet kid, she thought, petting her crown of flowers.

The air suddenly felt hot and putrid. Fire was everywhere. People were screaming, and running in a mad panic.

“Where are you? What’s going on?! No, this can’t be happening! Aaaarrrhhhhhh!”

Jien fell from her stool, crashing to the hard wooden floor. A passerby helped her to her feet. “You must have had quite a nightmare.”

“Oh, nightmare…that’s right. It was a nightmare.” A trickle of cool sweat lined the frame of her face.

“Chief Inspector, have you tried out those herbal supplements I recommended?” offered Rosa, the owner of the café Jien frequented.

Jien nodded. “Yes, but I only take them at night. I can’t be sleeping on the job; at least, not on purpose.”

“Don’t you worry, hun,” assured Rosa, “After what you did, I bet the High Council will give you a year long vacation!” That prospect sounded rather pleasant.

“I can only dream,” she wryly smiled, paying the bill. She exited the café and began her walk down the street of the Third Precinct. She waved to the usual merchants and the construction workers out on break.

It was funny to think that twenty years ago Gohtza’s capital was divided into three unequal towns, High, Mid and Low. The magic snow storm had destroyed High Town and froze over most of Mid Town, leaving Low Town Gohtza’s primary hub. Since that time Gohtza had undergone a social revolution that reverberated across the entire nation; the caste system of ancient times was revoked and in that place emerged a system that based worth on the merits of the individual.

Gohtza relied on the wisdom of the elected High Council, and the strength of its police force to guide the rebuilding of the nation. Though they were no longer a mighty superpower, they were united. Jien Austere was proud to be a cog in the system, though she had been involved with the Gohtzan police force longer than any of her colleagues, not that she cared to dwell on that fact.


“Pardon me!” Yelled the young police officer who had rudely bumped into Jien. He didn’t sound apologetic. “I have been called to a domestic dispute!”

Jien grabbed the young man’s arm. “First, you will apologise properly.”

The young officer tried to pull away, “Do you mind? I have far more important matters to attend to! Now release me, you lowly beat walker, I am Tobias Rykiel, I am a Sergeant!”

Jien released her grip. “Well, do forgive my rudeness, Sergeant.” The Sergeant nearly fell forward. He regained his composure, huffed and ran on his way. Jien folded her arms; that young man was itching for a demotion.

“Chief Inspector Austere, do you copy?” muffled a voice in her ear.

Jien pressed a button on her belt. “I copy, where’s the fire?”

“In the Police Commissioner’s office; you know the location, correct? He has requested your presence.”

“Now?” her heart skipped a beat; she would finally know what her reward would be.

“Yes, now. Now hurry, we’ve got a pool going on what the HC is offering. I say it’s a tickertape parade, Jonas thinks it’s gonna be a golden statue outside of the Council Hall, and Mala thinks – “

“Roger that.” Jien turned off the radio. She pulled a wide grin, and began to sprint down the road at the speed of that haughty sergeant.


The last time Jien had spoken with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dalquist was to gain permission to pursue the Bandit General. He had expressed little to no faith in her request, but agreed to it anyway. She could imagine the look of horror in his face when he had learnt that a little woman had overpowered such a brute.

Jien checked in with his secretary and was promptly invited to step into the commissioner’s office. It was a spacious room, but felt cluttered; the walls were covered in paintings of eclectic styles; beside the left wall were rows of houseplants sitting and hanging; the office library was an odd mix of literature on constitutional law to a children’s picture book of kelolons; and the commissioner’s desk was cluttered with stacks of documents and snow globes. He was an odd character, but no one would ever deny the strength and genius of the man who had saved Gohtza from marshal law.

Jien bowed deeply to her superior, who sat at his desk signing documents. “You called for me, sir?”

Dalquist didn’t meet her gaze. He instead motioned a large chair before him. Jien assumed he meant for her sit. As she reached around, she was startled to meet King Tolten of Uhra, who rose to his feet.

“Your Majesty!” she exclaimed, falling to one knee.

King Tolten smiled. “Please, do rise, Chief Inspector Austere. It is I who should be bowing before you.”

Jien did as she was told, placing her hands behind and straightening her back. “Your Majesty?”

“Uhra and I, no, the world, owes you a great debt.”

Jien blushed; it was quite true.

“I would gladly give you anything you desire – land, money, a title, a high ranking position in the Uhran army.”

Dalquist frowned at that last suggestion; typical Uhra.

“But I fear that will have to wait. You see, I have a request.”

Jien narrowed her eyes at the king, “A request?”

King Tolten lowered his eyes, he appeared troubled. “You see, it would not be safe for the Bandit General to be ferried to Uhra by Uhrans. I cannot guarantee his safety from my men, or myself. If I were to meet this man alone I know passion would get the better of me, and I would take his life. Do you understand?”

She considered his words. She felt her own eyes lowering. “I…see.”

“If the Bandit General were to be slain, he would be martyred in the eyes of the Cult of Gongora. Chief Inspector, you had the intelligence and power to bring this man down, I believe you are key to bringing him to Uhra for justice.”

The carpet was chequered green and grey, there was a coffee stain by the desk that reminded Jien of Councilman Diorite’s head.

“Chief Inspector?”

Jien looked up, meeting the king’s expectant gaze. “I apologise, Your Majesty. I was attempting to compute the route I would take to reach your fine country.” She internally groaned. Wealth and an obnoxious title would have to wait – there was always more work to be done.

The King exhaled in relief. “Excellent, excellent, I am so pleased that you will undertake this mission!”

Jien forced a smile, politely bowing. “And I expect we will meet you in Uhra, Your Majesty.”

“Let us hope. Alas my work often takes me from my mother country. But I assure you, if I am not present, you will be warmly greeted by Queen Tisne and the Senate, who will take responsibility for the prisoner.”

He reached into a leather bag by his side and presented her with two golden wristlets, carved with ancient text. One held a blue stone, and the other, a red stone. “Chief Inspector, these bands were crafted by Uhra’s finest sorcerer; consider them to be magical chains. The prisoner will wear the red stoned band and you will wear the blue stoned band. If he attempts to escape or to harm you, all you need do is will him harm and he will be immobilised.”

Jien frowned. “I thank you, but I don’t believe that will be necessary.”

“Then consider it an extra precaution. One can never be too cautious, correct?”

“Yes, Your Majesty, that is true. Have they been tested?”

Jien swore she caught a vein on King Tolten forehead pop out. “Yes…I can guarantee their effectiveness. The queen and I tested their power before I left for Gohtza.” The king cleared his throat, his eyes widening in terror as he recounted the memory. “Evidently the queen bears certain ill tension toward me.”

“That is typical of any wife, is it not?” offered Dalquist.

Jien lightly laughed. King Tolten politely nodded to Dalquist, not so reassured.

King Tolten suddenly took Jien’s hands; she felt a tingle down her spine; his touch beared a familiar warmth. “That monster took someone most important from me, a friend close to my heart; you have my personal appreciation for apprehending this villain and I am eternally in your gratitude. When you arrive in Uhra you will treated as a hero. I swear, you will have whatever your heart desires.”

His eyes were so blue and so bright, but so sad and pleading. Jien relaxed into a warm, reassuring smile. “Your Majesty, I am humbled by your faith in me. I graciously accept in the name of the Gohtzan Police Force.”

“And if you’d refused, I’d have ordered you to anyway,” cut in Dalquist.

King Tolten went to protest, but was cut off by Dalquist. “Austere, you have a long trip to pack for, be prepared; you leave at the morrow’s light.”

Jien slipped her fingers from the king’s solemn grasp. She bowed to her superior. “Understood.” She bowed once more to the king and walked to exit the office. Just as she opened the door, she turned toward Dalquist, internally smirking. “Sir, I have a request of my own.”

“Say it.”

“Though I am strong, it will take more than one set of eyes to determine a given situation.”

“You request a team to assist you?”

Jien shook her head. “No sir, just one other will do.”

“Do you have someone in mind?”

She nodded. “Yes sir. There is a talented young sergeant that would be a great asset to this mission.”

“That sounds fantastic,” remarked King Tolten, “I discovered many years ago the value of a team effort.”

Dalquist tapped his pen. Who was running Gohtza’s police force, again? “Yes, Austere, that will be fine.”


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