Admiral Buhle Mavuto had a dream that he was face to face with the Demon King. No, a nightmare. After all, in a dream he would have his navy at his side, facing off against him and somehow winning. In this nightmare… he was frozen in fear, unable to even move.
Admiral Mavuto spoke carefully, trying to keep his voice even. “Are you here to kill me?” Though he was afraid, he wasn’t a coward. Cowards let their fear dictate their actions. Brave men did their best to act despite their fear. Those who were never afraid… were fools.
“Perhaps.” The Demon King stepped forward menacingly, “That depends on you.”
“I’ll not give up any military secrets!” Admiral Mavuto said stubbornly, though he wasn’t entirely sure he could keep his promise.
“It is quite possible I already know everything important… but you don’t really have a choice. Now then…” The Demon King stretched out his hand, and the pain started. Dreams weren’t supposed to have pain. Even nightmares weren’t supposed to have pain of that sort.
Admiral Mavuto woke up in a cold sweat. He could still feel the lingering pain as if it had been real. “Hello, Admiral.” A voice shocked him out of his thoughts. A new voice, nothing like the Demon King’s. He looked up to see a relatively unassuming figure, dressed in military uniform.
“Who are you? How did you get in here?” Was it another dream? Both of them felt so real and yet… he was still in the captain’s quarters on his ship.
“Who am I? I am Uzoma Idowu. I’m here to talk to you. I’ve been told you had a recent battle where you fired upon your own men…”
Ah, another nightmare then. It was bad enough thinking about it, now he was judging himself with words. “The Demon King was there. He was going to kill them all anyway. It was better for them to go quickly.”
“Oh? Not going to make excuses? Say you were under orders.”
Admiral Mavuto shook his head, “I was under orders, but I made the call. We had to try. The Demon King… if he reached our people… who know what he’d do.”
The man who called himself Uzoma Idowu nodded his head. “Indeed. Who knows? He’s a hard one to read, that one… but it might not be so bad as what the council is doing. You heard about the soul destruction?”
“Of course. You know that. Everyone knows the rumors but… they’re just rumors.”
“And yet you believe them. Or you almost do.” Uzoma Idowu pulled something out of the pocket of one of his jackets. “Here’s a picture of the formation we dug up before we destroyed the island. Now, you might not recognize everything right away… but you will surely be able to confirm its authenticity with some study.”
Admiral Mavuto reached out to take the picture. A quick glance didn’t tell him much, but the magical formation was certainly strangely different from standard. “This could be some other island. It means nothing.”
“I know dozens of prisoners who can verify it. While having you talk to them is a bit impractical at the moment… it might be possible to arrange it. In the meantime, why don’t you ask some discreet questions?” Uzoma Idowu also pulled out a small communicator. “I have the pair for this communicator, if you wish to contact me. Of course, if you don’t trust me you can just throw it out… but maybe bury it somewhere safe in case you change your mind. Oh, don’t take too long… the war isn’t just going to stop.” Uzoma Idowu waved. “I look forward to hearing from you.”
With that, he stepped towards the door. “Wait! Do you… work for the Demon King?”
Uzoma Idowu turned back and shook his head, “I work for our people. But you don’t have to take my word for anything. Look for the truth about everything, and maybe you can also help our people out.”
Admiral Mavuto woke up in the morning. That had been a strange series of nightmares and dreams… but somehow everything still hurt. A dull ache, but real nonetheless. More importantly, he found the picture and the communicator next to his bed. So, not all of it was a dream, then. Maybe none of it.
He didn’t like the idea of working with a traitor to the demons. It was crazy. His trust wasn’t that easy to win over. However… asking some questions wouldn’t hurt. For all that Eclea- and New Eclea- prided themselves on magical knowledge and thinking… there were some things that seemed off. Were the tales about the demons really true?
It was hard to say. Certainly, the wars were real. Nobody denied that. However, that was ancient history. There had been something about a new Demon King… Admiral Mavuto shook his head. That one wasn’t so clear. He barely even knew anything about the demon lands, for all they were told how evil they were. At least, the recent years were… vague.
Yet… every other nation was not only at peace but basically allied with them. That wasn’t common knowledge, but something he needed to know as an admiral… and it should have been common knowledge. That mattered. There had to be some reason the elves and dwarves that would make them ally with the demons now. Disregarding the commonly held opinions about non-humans, those groups traditionally hated each other at least as much as humans and demons. There were also the other human nations to take into account, and ‘old’ Eclea. It was possible they were all crazy… but was that the most likely option?
Well, he had some free time now. They weren’t exactly eager to send him back out onto the frontlines, even though any other Admiral would have performed no better. Perhaps if there had actually been any other fleets nearby… but he would have a few weeks before they could do anything about that. That was plenty of time to talk to a few friends. He would probably have to call in some favors to get what he actually wanted to know, if things were as bad as he thought they might be. If not… well, he would be happy enough to go back to fighting demons as long as they gave him a winnable battle.