Okay, so this is part 3 in the post series I’m writing for you guys about the Rebels, because, ya know, we all know you’re jumping up and down on the edge of your seat for the rest of this. 😛 But I enjoy telling this story (<- a little pathetic, I know), and you get to be the (un)lucky ear to receive the download.
Alright, on to part 3 off 20! Just kidding, lol. 🙂 In this post I’m going to skim through books 2 & 3, The Outlaw and The Return. These are the last two with The Three (Johann, Rupurt, and Wystaria) as the leading trio, other than The Gang (the prequel that recounts the founding of the Rebels. Wystaria is barely in it, only coming in at the end at the overlap of this scene, practically the last scene in The Gang).
Aside from The Rebel (and almost in competition with, except for the fact that The Rebel wins over because it was the first and started the whole thing), this one is my baby. I can’t really tell you why, other than it was just so… me. But I get this wicked thrill whenever I go over the multi-layered double-dealing of the story, for lack of a better way to put it. Here, let me show you (grins and rubs hands evilly).
The kingdom of Kole is kicking back and living up the peace following the recent upheaval that set the kingdom back on its feet. But then the Rebels receive an urgent message, highly cryptic, from Ahan, their father’s brother (whom they only just met at the end of The Rebel). He tells them that some terrible danger is building in the unpopulated jungle-ish area beyond the southern border of Kole, and “to come but not to come” and to “stop what cannot be stopped”. The Rebels attempt to investigate, but whatever power is in the jungle seems to have uncanny knowledge of their movements, and all they are able to find is traces that show that people (perhaps ten, perhaps a thousand) have been there recently.
At one point, Wystaria, who was one of the Rebels investigating the jungle, finds Ahan there. He tells her in short words that there is an army of outlaws and lawbreakers being built there, and that he is one of several prisoners, having sent his message only just before getting captured. This army plans, once they have enough man power, to sweep across Kole, breaking all resistance and occupying it, and once Kole is defeated to eventually take over Saathlir (the much more rich and lush dainty but very powerful neighbor of Kole across the sea). How the leader plans to do it and when, Ahan doesn’t know. That, he says, Wystaria will have to find out, as he has done all he can. She begged him to escape with her, but he explained that if he didn’t stay in captivity, his captors would know that the Rebels knew something of their plans.
So Wystaria returns to the mountain without him and a secret hasty meeting was convened with The Three and the king. [The long and the short of it] They decide to infiltrate, and in a way that whoever the spies are that are keeping this growing power informed will never suspect. They would send Wystaria, the most trusted person that could be spared (and who, I might add, volunteered), but would attempt no secrecy. Instead (as a memorandum they drew up in case of issues/contentions in future showed), Wystaria would “attempt” an assassination on the king, get arrested and banished, and then make her way to the outlaw army and “join” them. The spies would verify her story, because the only people who knew the plan were her brothers and the king, and she would learn their plans. After all, a cunning warlord couldn’t resist a traitor Rebel joining his forces; it would be an asset beyond measure to him.
I had fun with the scene where she leaps through the king’s window, holds a last-minute whispered conversation with him, and then she draws her knives and he shouts for the guards. The guard who actually took her down, a man named Marcus, was the brother of a former Rebel, who had taught him some tricks for beating a Rebel in a hand-to-hand fight.
The plan goes smoothly [I’m skipping over a chunk here… nothing especially interesting – just, you know, evading detection, building tension, playing both ends against the middle and all that good time stuff]. Wystaria finds out only days before the attack when it was to be, and rides with all speed on a horse borrowed from a terrified farmer and informs the king of everything she learned before riding back before daybreak. (“It was a long night”).
So the outlaw army marches right into a Kolite trap, and Wystaria joins the Rebels in the fight. When the battle is over, the Kolite soldiers take her captive, but then it all comes out and everything’s cleared up and happily ever after.
And I knew I shouldn’t even try to tell things like this, because this doesn’t do it half justice. After all, I know I’m bad at synopses, and what is this but an extended synopsis?? Oh well…
So I’m going to basically skip The Return because it’s like my least favorite of the Rebel series (probably not least because I knew while I was writing it that I was saying goodbye to these characters I’d come to like so much 😭 ). BUT I’m going to give you the one line (and it’s context) that is like my brother’s all-time favorite line from the Rebel series (maybe not; don’t want to speak for you, man, but you do quote it a lot, lol).
So the leader of the outlaw band in The Outlaw had two trusty sidekicks for his evil plot – Wystaria, and Jack Vaughlin Jacques. Jacques escaped and turned pirate (what can I say?), and took over a ruined fortress and an abandoned island for his rest stops/evil lairs/hideaways.
Rebel scouts were scouring the land to hunt down the last of the outlaws who had escaped the battle, and they came across his fortress lair. Those two scouts didn’t return when they should, and when they were a day overdue, the rest of the Rebels who weren’t out scouting march out to see what disaster might have befallen them. They find the fortress, nestled against the sea and guarded cliffs and mountains, accessible only through a narrow and treacherous pass. Here, in the place where only a few men could pass at a time, they find the bodies of the two Rebel scouts who were missing, surrounded by hundreds of rogue fighters they had taken down. A Rebel is sent off to get reinforcements from the king with all the speed possible. Jacques, who has been lying in wait for them, springs his trap. The rest of his rogues sweep in from behind and ahead. The Rebels make a stand, beat them back, and force Jacques and his crew to take to the sea again.
Shortly thereafter, the king and as many of the standing army as could be gathered quickly arrives. The Three hold an impromptu conference with the king to take stock of the damage and make plans for how to proceed. Noticing how grim and pale The Three are, he asks what is the matter – what could be so terrible as to distress them so much. To which Wystaria answers:
“You don’t understand. We’ve never lost so many.”
They had lost five Rebel warriors.
Which was hard, because they were friends and colleagues, and since the Rebels were such a small group they like all new each other personally on some level. But to most people… 😄
And that’s it for today, folks. I’ll be back (eventually) with the last two (a much more brief covering, I think): The Faithful, and The Moonset. This is where I skip into the future and look at the Rebels in a couple hundred years, when the world is changing. This is after I carefully packed away the Rebels for “unless I have very good reason”, I would leave them be. And then my brain goes, “what would happen in a hundred years or so, when the Rebels aren’t all just-thrown-together and no-real-organization-or-structure…?”
And you know what happened. 😛
Happy New Year, everybody!!