A Sword of Ivy, Part 21

There were some murmurs of approval in the auditorium at this statement. Hana paused, and looked around the room. These men and women were like her. They believed in Fangalin. They believed in the promise of building a new and better society that Fangalin had presented. They may not have been condemned to execution for crimes they hadn’t committed, like she had, but they had been rejected just as thoroughly as she had. She just needed to make them see that.

“No matter what we do, we are traitors to Fangalin,” she said firmly. “If we rebel against Ven Ron, try to fight against him, overthrow him, assassinate him…we are traitors to Fangalin. The Fangalin Charter is our highest law. The Charter was given to our founder, Wellin Votara, as a gift from the Dark Presence itself. It is holy, sacred. It cannot be changed. Not even a Supreme Commander, with the full support of the Grand Council, can amend the Fangalin Charter. And according to this Charter, the very foundation of the state that we hold dear, Ven Ron is the rightful Supreme Commander.”

She paused for a moment, letting that statement hang in the air, and then she continued. “You may not like the idea of joining the Republic. You may think it is treason. But I am telling you, the only way to avoid treason now, is to go back to Numoris and swear loyalty to Ven Ron. Are you willing to do that?”

“Never!” yelled a voice from the back of the room.

“Then stand with me!” roared Hana, punching her fists into the air. “Come with me to the Republic of Hadramoris! Together, we will fight the evil that our beloved Fangalin has become! We will forge the Republic into what Fangalin should have been! We will build the nation that we want to live in!” Swept up in the emotion of her speech, all of the COs began cheering. Some of them got to their feet and started chanting Hana’s name. Gradually, more and more joined in, until all of them were chanting her name and cheering.

Hana just stood there, fists raised in the air, letting the emotion of the moment wash over her. The expression on her face was solemn, but triumphant. Ven Ron would pay for what he had done to her, for what he had done to all of them. A grave injustice had been done, but Hana would correct it.

***

A few hours later, Hana was sitting in her quarters, still exhilarated about her experience in the meeting with the Fleet COs, but she was also somewhat bewildered by it. She had truly expected that no one, or almost no one, would follow her to Hadramoris. Instead, she had gotten the entire 3rd Fleet to join her, and not reluctantly, but enthusiastically. It was somewhat hard for her to believe that she had been so persuasive.

A chime sounded, and she immediately said, “Come in!” The door slid open, and Xeliana walked in, beaming brightly.

“So!” she exclaimed, her eyes shining with delight. “Your terrible idea was a resounding success!”

“I can’t imagine why,” Hana said, shaking her head with a grin. “I still think it’s a terrible idea, but I don’t have a better one.”

“It’s a fantastic idea, Hana,” Xeliana replied, shaking her head as well. “You were right. Fangalin rejected us, so why should we keep fighting for them?”

“I’m surprised at you,” Hana said with a slight frown. “I mean, it’s one thing for me to defect from one state to another. I’ve done it before. It’s practically old hat to me now. But you were born and raised in Fangalin. Can you really turn your back on them so easily?”

“It’s like you said, Hana,” Xeliana responded solemnly. “I’m not turning my back on Fangalin. Fangalin is turning its back on me. I may have been born and raised in Fangalin, but my parents came from the Empire. They believed that Fangalin was better than the Empire. They had certain morals that they felt the Empire wasn’t living up to, and they instilled those morals in me. And now I see that Fangalin isn’t living up to those morals either. The Fangalin Charter may be the highest law of Fangalin, but there is a higher law out there, and I have to live by that law. And that law says that murder is wrong, and I don’t care who is doing the murdering. If someone kills the man that they’ve sworn allegiance to, that person should be punished, not rewarded with the dead man’s position.”

“Well said, my friend,” Hana replied with a grin. “I must say, it seemed pretty obvious to me, but I don’t always have the best grasp of what will seem obvious to other people.”

“You don’t understand the effect you have on people, do you?” Xeliana asked, shaking her head in bemusement. “You don’t realize that I, and so many others, would follow you into the very bowels of Nerzaga if you asked.”

“But why?” Hana blurted. “Why? I’m just a regular person. I’m not anybody special. You keep trying to tell me I am, but I’m just not.”

“You are, though,” Xeliana replied earnestly, “and the fact that you don’t realize it is part of what makes you so wonderful. Somebody like Ven Ron thinks that he’s spectacular, and worth following, but you really are, and the fact that you don’t realize it is part of what makes you so special.”

“Well, then why are you so determined to convince me that I’m special?” Hana said with a frown. Xeliana opened her mouth to reply, and then shut it again, her frown mirroring Hana’s.

“You know, you’ve got a good point,” she said. “Never mind. You’re just a regular person after all. Nothing special about you.” She looked at Hana, a small smile playing at the edges of her mouth, and then they both burst out laughing.

To be continued…

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