Balance

Check your pulse

I felt a helpless desperation as I watched Hiro ride for help. Now I had to see if anyone else survived. Looking at the inferno where I’d last seen Flit and Aurellia it didn’t seem possible. I stroked Elthorns beak as she perched beside me.
“I know you’re tired and hurt, but we aren’t finished. Our friends may be lying injured dying even as we speak. I need you to scour the field look for even the smallest movement. If it’s the enemy they can wait. We will find the survivors of Amberdale first. I’m going to see if the is anyway back into town. There may be people trapped.”
Ethoron took to the sky, I could tell from here that there would be no going back the way I’d come so I began picking my way carefully around the raging inferno. Please Sylvanus let there be survivors.

View
When It Rains, It Pours Pt 1

28th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Kezrenad Strait, 8:14am, 24 kilometers from Harbinger

Thitmed let out a long low whistle with a happy smile; he waved the Strix down as the large ship had noted their flags and was changing course to dock with them. The OHCS Roebuck looked to be a formidable vessel, at least twice the size of the Champions Boot, with iron sides and an array of cannons, if they could be bought they’d be a formidable ally. Thitmed didn’t recoginise the prefix, but with so many ships hitting the trade lanes these days that wasn’t unusual

As the two ships pulled alongside each other a ladder was dropped from the much higher deck of the Roebuck, a voice sounded off the side

“Two may board” Thitmed shrugged and approached the ladder turning back to his crew

“Leslie, the Boot is yers till I get back, Lindy, yer with me” there was a nod around the ship as Leslie moved from the Bow up on to the Stern Deck to take command. Thitmed climbed the ladder and crawled onto the deck of the Roebuck, turning and helping Lindy up. Thitmed’s breath was stolen as he regarded the ship… she was beautiful, strong clean lines, a uniformed crew, and she sparkled, she must have been recently launched. Her gunner crews stood at their posts the very image of discipline while no less than three sailors scrubbed at the deck in various locations. Thitmed glanced at Lindy to be sure she was seeing all of this she nodded and the two looked forward as a group approached them.

The one that stood out most was a large Grey Minotaur, he wore a blue officer’s coat trimmed in silver and a large try corner hat. His belt held a pistol in it and a great scimitar. To his right stood a much shorter blue skinned Undine, he wore a similar uniform to the captain but held not pistol, his scimitar was traded for a rapier as well. At last there was a darker skinned human wearing yellow robes and a matching turban, he had a neatly trimmed goatee and mustache. He held no weapons but his hands were adorned with many large baubled rings. His neck also showed a heavy golden chain nearly as thick as Thitmed’s thumb. Unconsciously Thitmed rubbed his grubby hand on his pants, wishing the Captain were here for such a meeting.

“G’day to ya, I’m Thitmed Ironbraid, First Mate of the Champions Boot, down yonder” he was nervous, and regretted pointed, as if they would not know to which boat he was referring. “This here be Belinda Featherfoot, Ships Quartermaster”. The Minotaur let out a large grin and stepped forward, he had a tranquil way about him that put everyone at ease

“Glad to meet you Mr. Ironbraid, Ms. Featherfoot…” he stepped forward and shook hand with each as he spoke “My name is Captain Joval Kinnotox, this here is my First Mate Khov Rodak” he gestured to the Undine who kindly stepped forward to shake hands. “and of course our benefactor representative Arjun Vihaan” he said ushering to the yellow robed man. Arjun did not shake hands but put his hands together smiling and offering a small bow of his head to each of the guests. “You raised a flag of distress Mr. Ironbraid, how can the Roebuck be of service to you?” the Captain finished

“Aye, and thank ya for stopping,” Thitmed began “We are on a mission of morality at the moment, and have been trying to rescue goodly people from certain death, my ship has neither the man power nor the capacity to move the people or defend them, begging your pardon Captain, but I am asking for whatever help you might be willing to offer.” The Captain’s face darkened as he heard the tiding and he looked to his first mate before replying

“I am not sure how much assistance I can offer you Mr. Ironbraid, while I applaud your morality, especially in a time were civility and decency seem to be on the decline, I am afraid I am on a mission of high import myself, we are hunting vile pirates and thieves, the longer I tally the longer lead they can get, you understand?”

“Please… Captain Kinnotox, we need your help, surely saving hundreds of people is more important than catching a few pirates?” Belinda pleaded.

“Aye, and we could pay for your time, I have good silver that I’d be willing to part with to compensate yer crew for its time” Thitmed added. The Captain gave them a sad smile

“It is not a matter of coin Mr. Ironbraid, Normally I would agree with you, but this ship was commissioned by the Omar Trading Company to hunt and sink Pirate Ships that cause these waters to be so dangerous, I don’t have the freedom to divert course no matter how good the cause…”

“Perhaps there is another solution…” Arjunn Vihaan interrupted “Pirates are the mission Captain Kinnotox, but I have other objectives in this region, and hearts and minds is indeed one of them, with the offer of silver and aiding the locals, perhaps this would be an equitable situation…” Arjunn continued at the Cpatian turned to hear him out. That was lucky, Thitmed was sure he was white as a ghost as he realised what ship he stood on, it took all his concentration to keep his face neutral. Finally he snapped out of it realising the Captain was talking to him

“Well that settles it then, have your ship lead the way Mr. Ironbraid, we can divert and give you a few days, this will be a good opportunity to test our crew before we bring them to bare against hardened pirates”

Thitmed swallowed hard before nodding and replying

“Al’right… Thank ya…come on Lindy, we got’s no time to waste” almost like a robot he nodded stiffly to the Captain and Crew and turned and clambered down the ladder trying to figure out what he was going to do next.

View
Battle of the Burn Pt 2

28th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Amberdale, Kenzrenad, 7:39am, The Battle of the Burn

Loann Rogard watched from the trench as Hiro walked across the great field to taunt the wretched Count Aderal. He worked hard to steady his breathing. He’d been in many a tight scrap before. Growing up in Pirates Swoop who hadn’t? but this was different, he wasn’t on a ship, and this wasn’t a barroom brawl or a heist, it was a flat out open combat in a field, the kind of things that Knights and Pikemen did, not scoundrels and sailors. He heard a shout from yonder

“KILL HIM, KILL THEM ALL” followed by the clicks of crossbows and the thundering of hooves.

“Steady” he urged to the miners beside them, the huddled in the trench holding their spears, they were nervous, and had every right to be. Loann had opted to keep his scimitar as opposed to switch to the spear. It seemed more comfortable, and his time on the Boot had given his voice an easy loud timber that let him be heard over the coming thunder of death. “Ready Spears” he called and watched as the miners set their spears properly, he looked down the trench and could see Digger doing much the same, Thalion and Flit were on the end prepping themselves. He grimaced in satisfaction, they were good sailors those two, and calm before the fight, if he lived he’d be sure that Thitmed heard about it. Hiro slid down the trench and scambled up the other side continuing his run, already they could hear the screaming of horses as some of the traps had been sprung.

“FIRE” someone yelled from behind. A flurry of crossbow bolts raced from behind and shot over the trench slamming into the coming onslaught. Loann loosened and tightened the grip on his scimitar.

“NOW!” Digger yelled

“NOW” He echoed immediately, the spears came up and they descended into hell.

The first moments of battle were lost to Loann, he had no idea what happened after the first horses hit the spears. But now he was in the trench scimitar spinning fending off three brigands. His consciousness caught up to his body as he heard himself screaming at the few nearby spearmen

“FALLBACK! FALlBACK TO THE DROKKING TOWN” he turned narrowly avoiding a sword and skewered a brigand, he kept the momentum in the spin reaching out and grabbing one of the gnomish minners, he shook the fellow and screamed in his face “FALL THE DROKK BACK!” the miner nodded and pulled away.

SLASH

“AHHHHHHGGGHHHH!!!!” Loann let out a primal scream as a sword had slashed down removing his outstretched hand. He turned shooting out an elbow into his attacker’s face then reversing grip on his sword and killing the man. The other two in the ditch approached, one moving to get the poor miner who was scrambling up the back end of the ditch. Loann jumped in the way kicking the attacker and swinging his sword wildly to buy space. It worked and both squared off with him. It was getting hard to stand as he watched blood freely poor from the stump of his left arm. He heard more thundering and saw a horse coming over the ditch to ride him down. Instinct took over and he spun slashing the horse and stepping in close to one of his attackers, the mounted prick either didn’t see his ally or didn’t care as he lanced out with his spear even as he was dying, the spear went through the bandit and deeply into Loanns leg. Then the horse gave out collapsing into the ditch rider and all, on top of Loann, the bandits and anyone else who had fallen.

The trench had become a mass grave.

To Be Continued

View
Battle of the Burn Pt 3
Post rated R: has mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised

28th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Amberdale, Kenzrenad, 7:43am, The Battle of the Burn

Dewey English stood with the crossbowmen on their line. He held a heavy crossbow and shuttered to think he would have to use one again. During the Goblin wars, his daddy had ridden with the old king, still that night haunted him when the goblins had broken into the town and attacked his Ma and sister, he had grabbed the crossbow and done what he needed to do, but the bolt had killed the creature and his sister… he hadn’t ever wanted to fire a weapon again. Now here he was, twenty seven years later hefting the weapon he hated most. He had apparently had the most skill with the weapon, Digger had called him “a Natural” during training. So now he was leading a small squadron holding the death machines that had stolen Katlyn’s life. He gazed ahead and watched in horror at the sheer amount of horses that road over the ridge and into the valley after Subaru. He waved to his “men”, children and women mostly, to load their bows, they did with practiced skill, Digger had been relentless over the last six days and most could now load a crossbow with their eyes closed. The horses rampaged with masters of death astride, hurtling towards carnage. When they were about two hundred feet away he raised his weapon and sighted in a rider, he noted in his peripheral that the others did the same. He didn’t call any commands he just squeezed the trigger and let his squad do the same as they were ready, rushing wasn’t going to help matters. His heart lurched as a rider fell from his horse but he quickly looked down and focused on reloading. Digger had been clear on that, ‘FIRE, RELOAD then run… do not run until you a ready to shoot’. So he diligently reloaded his weapon and looked to see if his team had done the same, when the finished up he waved his arm, they wanted to run he didn’t need to encourage them as they quickly ran past the musketeers and sighted again. He shot twice more until he heard the bang from the musket line and saw them break

“ONE MORE!” he called to his team and loaded another quarrel, he sighted a horsemen charging for Ms. Aurelia and fired, he didn’t kill him, but had caused the horse to veer. He reloaded… had to remember that you weren’t allowed to run until you reloaded; he looked to his line, they had already scattered towards the town. He finished his task and started running to, holding his weapon tightly as he ran towards the Hooper house; that was his next waypoint. He was two thirds of the way there when he saw Addie. She was bleeding badly, lying in the dirt to the left side of the road, it looked like a musket ball had taken out her calf and she seemed to be crawling towards her waypoint. He bent to helped her up.

“RUN DEWEY, THEY”RE COMING!” she gurgled, she must have been hit somewhere else two as blood escaped with her words. Dewey turned, he could see some scattered spearmen running along with the last of the Sailors and a host of horsemen hot on their heels, he looked to the Hooper House, and knew that there was no way he was going to make it there. He hefted his bow and shot at an oncoming horsemen then slung the weapon and grabbed Addie under her arms. He wasn’t a big man, and hadn’t the strength to properly carry her so he dragged her towards one of the nearby houses. “What are you doing Dewey, these are rigged to blow!” Addie nagged, he recalled why several people in town referred to her a Nan.

“That’s another three houses down, I think we’ll be ok in here” he said softly as he opened the door and dragged her in. It was Fred’s old house, a nice two bedroom place with a shared kitchen and common room in the front. Dewey pulled Addie to the back room and placed her on the bed before running forward and closing the door, as an afterthought he locked it. Then remembering Digger’s training he stopped and reloaded his crossbow. Once that was completed he placed his loaded crossbow on the small kitchen table outside the room and entered to look at Addie. She was white as a ghost and fumbling with her Blunderbuss trying to load it.

“Put that down Addie, and let me take a look at you” she fought and refused until he assured her that the weapon was ready to fire, he placed it beside her bed and started at the leg, but things were worse than that, she’d be shot by an ally not an enemy, there were pellets all through her midsection and down her right leg, the limp was the least of her worries. Dewy didn’t know much first aid but he ripped apart the sheets on the bed and started bandaging as best he could.

BOOOOOOOOOM

That would be the collapse of the buildings, there was a little more musket fire and then things got quiet. Dewey focused on his task but quickly decided he needed water, and maybe some herbs, he raced from the room and entered the little kitchen fumbling around in the cupboards trying to remember what herbs, if any, helped gunshot wounds.

THUMP

CRASH

Please Listen While Reading

The door burst open, and in HE staggered. The man was tall and well built, covered in dust from head to toe. His clothes had little blood nor tears in them, but did show some signs of recent battle, his hair line was receding but what hair that was still their held the black of its youth. The Man had dark eyes mixed with his pointed nose it gave him a hawkish look; his face with spattered with a salt and pepper scruff and his lips held a smile that did not reach his eyes. Dewey looked over to the table maybe three steps away that held the Crossbow, the man just smiled and nodded to his left hand that held a pistol in it. Dewey let out a sigh and raised his hands.

“Ya’ Hidin’ Boy?” the man said taking the moment to enter the room and push the door closed with his foot. It took all Dewey had not to look over towards the open bedroom door he didn’t trust himself to speak so he just nodded “So thar be at least one clever fella in this po-dung town… HER HA!” his laugh at the end seemed forced and though that smile held their seemed to be seething menace emanating from the creature of a man. The fellow stepped into the room further and approached the table, keeping his eyes on Dewey all the while. “Name’s No-Fluke Bradley…” he said as his right hand pulled an oversized knife from his belt and cut the string of the crossbow “What’s yer name… boy?”

Dewey swallowed and took a tentative step forward. He was halted by No-Fluke making a tsk tsk noise and rattling his pistol

“umm.. Dewey… Dewey English” he stammered

“Ha… Dewey English, don’t reckon I ever heard a more sly name if all my years… folks must of hated you from the start” Dewey said nothing to this not knowing how to reply, he watched as the man put down his knife and picked up his water skin and moved to drink.. Dewey knew it was now or never and rushed forward to tackle the brute. No-Fluke lived up to his name easily side stepping the clumsy attempt and smashing Dewey in the nose with the butt of his pistol. Dewey staggered back a step or two as No-Fluke punched him in the stomach allowing Dewey to slump to the ground wheezing. “Now that was just genuinely unfriendly Dewey” the brute said as he kicked the smaller man in the ribs once more before returning to his water skin. “Now, I’m not gonna lie to ya Dewey, I would have honestly preferred if you was a women, but I have been in the saddle for some time now, and this battle has got be all stirred up… since you and I need to while away the time until the Count has the rest of yer ilk rounded up… well I do believe we should get better acquainted” as he said the final words he grabbed Dewey by the scruff of the neck and bent him over the kitchen table. Dewey began to turn and struggle to try and kick, but quickly felt the pistol to the back of his head, tears began to well up in his eyes as he heard the man speak again “Now I don’t mind some fight, that makes it all the more fun, but you best keep them legs spread and yer boots on the ground, else this is gonna be a hell of a lot messier” Dewey didn’t move, he stared as the table in front of him as he felt the man’s knife cut through the belt at the small of his back. He felt the cold iron of the pistol muzzle pushing against the back of his head. In his mind he told himself to wriggle, to fight or dive or move or bite him, but he faced the facts, he couldn’t, he was too scared to move. The knife finished its job and Dewey heard the rustle of a buckle and saw a grubby dirty hand reach around him and take a handful of butter before retreating behind him once more. Dewey sniffled and let out a whimper as a greasy hand touched his hip and drop his pants. Dewey bit his lip hard, so hard it began to bleed. “Now remember Dewey, the more ya clench the more I’m a gonna enjoy it, so feel free to do as you need”

CHICK CHICK

“and you feel free to Die Asshole!” Both men looked up and saw a ghostly Addie leaning in the door frame of the bedroom; her Blunderbuss was loaded and pointed at No-Fluke. No-Fluke pulled Dewey into a standing position hunching behind his victim.

“HOO-WEE! You were holdin’ out on me Dewey, look at that pretty little thing, death becomes her” No-Fluke cackled at his terrible joke

“You Sick Drokk! You’re gonna die slow” Addie said her voice was weak but her will was iron.

“Oh, come on now girly, you ain’t gonna do that… ya see yer hold’in a Blunderbuss, that thing has a good old spray, that will mangle me something fierce, but yer dear boy here, he gonna look a lot worse taking that in the face… how bout you lower the weapon and we figure something on out” If No-Fluke was nervous he wasn’t showing it, he genuinely seemed to be having a good time. Dewey looked at Addie, she was dripping blood and looked like she might fall any minute, all No-Fluke had to do was stall, he looked her hard in the eye and nodded

“fine with me” Addie said pulling the trigger

BANG

View
Hikaru's Long Ride

Hikaru felt drained as he rode the horse at a trot in the direction of Harbinger. The smoking wreckage of Amberdale lay behind him as did the majority of its citizens and those who came to liberate them. They’d done all they could to prepare and train the townsfolk but these were not warriors, they were simple folk who were unlucky enough to live in the path of an ambitious and cruel lord. They’d fought for their freedom and paid a terrible and bloody price for it. Hikaru had seen no survivors and feared that none had.

This was no simulation or skirmish like those he’d faced back at the academy but true and bloody war. It was the first time Hikaru had been in an actual battle of this magnitude and the results sickened him. They had broken the Count’s men and destroyed the bastard in the process but this was no victory. Both sides were decimated and none could live in the smouldering shell that had been Amberdale. Oh the king of this place would send men and families for the mine was still nearby but what of Addie and her family? What of the youngsters that believed in this small band of sailors to save them? Dead and all because Hikaru thought he could win, how could he not with the captain’s support?

But the captain was missing and probably dead along with poor Mandy buried under the burning wreckage miles inland from his beloved boat. Loann too seemed to have perished and Ungle foolishly went to recruit the goblins. Not that his presence would have made a difference. Hikaru had been a fool not to scout the enemy and gain a measure of what and who he was going to fight. It had been the mortars, the deadly alchemical bombs that swung the pendulum away from victory. If only… but he could not rewrite the past for these people anymore than he could do the same of his own.

So Hikaru rode alone towards Harbinger, a messenger of failure and death. He did not expect a warm welcome and only hoped they would let him gather his things and come back to help cleanup before they kicked him from the Champion’s Boot for failing to keep the captain of any of them safe. It was only by the grace of Ymeri and her blessing that he had survived and he prayed his offering of the Count would balance his failure in some small way. He’d paid dearly for the sin of pride and fallen to the sin of wrath at the end. Looking back though he could find no fault with his motives and his need to protect those who were preyed upon only his inability to keep them safe.

So he would have to become stronger. No, not just stronger, but resolute and unerring like the arrows he used. He would accept the failure as his and embrace the chance to learn from it. He would become the wrath of the weak, the flame of vengeance if he could not save them and the fire that kept them safe in the darkest times. Hikaru prayed reverently to Ymeri to find him worthy and to bolster his heart against what he would need do to root out the corruption and burn it away in a righteous fire. Hikaru would not let Amberdale happen again.

(Posted on the plane in Calgary before the next leg. Sorry for any errors)

View
The Battle of the Burn Pt. 1

28th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Amberdale, Kenzrenad, 7:41am, The Battle of the Burn

“Anamachara’s icy wrath will protect you, Hansel’s wisdom will guide you, Aleau is charming and kind, following her wake, you can always look up to Prometheus for guidance and love. This is how we know the Brackish Emperor loves us, because his children care for us so… this is how we know the Brackish Emperor loves us, because his children case for us so…” Mandy Doyle found herself repeating the words of the nursery prayer over and over, it had been taught to her during her time in the orphanage and now was like a mantra. The dust cloud from the exploding building masked all but Mr. Subaru and she could hear little aside from the screams of horses and men and the steady shots of muskets. Mandy repeated the prayer one more time before she managed to work up the courage to go… she knew she couldn’t stay where she was, but she did not want to leave.

Off like a rocket she ran into the thick smoke and dust tripping and scrambling as she tried to see through the grey haze. She stopped seeing a large man with a sword, the man turned to swing at her but Oscar chain slammed into him first and the two struggled and were lost in the cloud. She kept running feeling more than seeing a horse run past. The sounds of muskets went off again and she felt the ground shudder knowing she had nearly been hit. And then it was clear and she could see again as she came careening out of the dust cloud. Ahead of her beside the town alter stood Ser Thalion and Mr. Fargazer. Her little legs didn’t stop as she ran towards them. She felt a little better seeing two of her crewmen alive, well and where they were supposed to be. She was halfway to them when a horse raced past her, its rider hefted a spear and impaled Mr. Fargazer pinning him to the ground. She stopped the horror in front of her sutting down her legs. Her crewmates mouth gasped for air and blood burbled from it. He moaned in pain as he weakly began to slump against the weight of the spear. The horsemen wheel for a second pass.

“MANDY GET OUT OF THERE!” a voice snapped her out of it, she looked around seeing Aurelia had called and was climbing down a rope from the Lonely Blossom Saloon. She saw Ser Thalion raise her shield to meet the foe and shook her head and began to run once more, her little legs propelling her towards the old Town Hall and the perch on top where the Captain was. She could hear hooves thunder, muskets and crossbows fire but she didn’t look back… no matter what happened she knew in her heart of hearts that poor Mr. Fargazer was dead. She made it to the town hall and entered the burnt out husk of a building. Finding the rope ladder where she’d left it. Quickly she scrambled up the ladder to the tower on the third floor and pulled it up behind her.

“Captain… they killed MR. Fargazer!” she cried… she didn’t want it to sound like the squeak and sob that it did but she couldn’t help it. The Captain seemed to pay her no heed as he continued to reach for arrows and shoot out through the dust cloud and into the fray. She looked back down into the street ahead and saw Ser Thalion dispatch the horsemen. The from behind a building she saw Mr. Suberu riding away to the north. Her heart broke as she saw her proud friend flee from combat. She could not blame him, the odds seemed hopeless but somehow she had not thought that any members of her crewmates would be the ones to flee. She watched as the Captain turned and noted Mr. Subaru’s retreat, the captain fired off three arrows, striking down enemy horsemen who were moving to intercept the Fire Nation rider. She nodded, it was good that at least one of them would live to tell the tale.

“Imperious Faex” the Captian swore (Oh Shit) and in a blinding motion he turned to Mandy dropping his bow and taking her by the shoulders he whispered some words to her “mea est prudentia tua” she felt the power of ancient elvish magic leave his body and race into hers, she felt strong and agile where she had not before. (my skill is yours). Mandy looked up, she could hear and odd screeching noise and now saw the first red streak smash into the general store, causing it to explode in flames and debris. She quickly looked up and saw one of those red streaks coming right for their position. She looked at the Captain who smiled at her and gave her the smallest of grins “Fly little Jack, Fly” with that he hefted her up and threw her off the side of the building just as the red screecher slammed into the wall beside the Captain.

KAAABOOOOOOOOOOM

Burn.jpg

Mandy was soaring through the air, it was amazing, had the Captain somehow given her the power of flight? She opened her arms to gain altitude…. It was not working, the ground began to race towards her, she was most certainly falling. She felt the heat lash out from behind her and felt debris fling past her at every angle. She tensed and closed her eyes awaiting the imminent impact of the ground below

to be continued

View
Rooftop Sunset

Hikaru sat on the roof of the inn staring out at the setting sun and absently fixed the fletching of one of his arrows. Though his body was recovered and present in the here and now his mind had wandered far afield. He thought of how he had ended up in Amberdale and how he was fighting for a people not his own to free them from a cruel man. Yet his own nation suffered from many of the same and he could do nothing to help them. Hell, he wasn’t even sure he could help these people. Sure he’d killed the mercenaries and soldiers set to keep the townsfolk cowed while the lord was away. But where was the victory? Sure they’d won the day and given the people a chance to flee, but to where would they go? Hikaru didn’t have the answer only a question; could he walk away from them and save himself?

He knew the answer as well as he knew his name. No, he would not back down from those who would stand on the backs of others for their own gains. It may not have been his fight to begin with but in asking Addie had made it his. He would do everything he could to see as many people safe as he could. They needed time or they needed to find a way to make it not worthwhile for this upstart lord to be here anymore. A straight up fight was not going to work and this day had shown that quite handily. Twenty plus mercs and soldiers down but too many more to face in a fair fight. So what could they do?

A thought about the gold mine surfaced and Hikaru wondered if it was even possible. The man wanted the riches this land had to offer, but if the riches were gone then he would have no reason to stay, would he? Could they even destroy the gold mine to the point where it was not worth trying to dig it out? He’d have to ask in the morning.

Setting aside the quiver and his remaining arrows Hikaru turned instead to a fresh piece of parchment from his journal. Uncapping the ink and pulling a fresh quill from his small supply he dipped and began to write a small letter to his mother:

Sora kono yoru wa, chiheisen-jō ni moeru yōna orenji-irodesu. Watashi wa anata ga shisa shita yō ni itte iruto watashi ga aru koto ga yosō sa reru basho kara tōkuhanarete sōkō suru koto ni yotte, yoriyoi jibun o kakushite imasu. Watashi wa korera no kotoba wa anata ga kanojo no idai-sa ni keiiwoharau tame ni mayonaka ni settei rōsoku no tenmetsu hikari de anata o hōmon suru kanōsei ga aru koto Ymeri ni shinrai shite imasu. Watashi wa watashi no tabi wa nagai mono to nari, watashi wa kore ijō kiken’na watashi ga ie ni taizai shitai baai yori mo naru yō ni idō shite inai dōro o mitsukeru osorete imasu. Sate watashi wa, ikutsu ka no yūkan’na hitobito ga issho ni ryokō suru koto ga wakatte kita hobo sonomama. Wareware wa, shin no dōmeikuni ni naru nodeareba sore wa mada wakarimasen. Watashi wa watashi yori moyori ni naru tame ni kenmei ni hataraku hitsuyō ga aru koto ga wakarimasu. Ymeri no shukufuku ni yori anzendesu.

(The sky this evening is a fiery orange on the horizon. I have done as you suggested and have hidden myself better by travelling far from where I should be expected to be. I trust in Ymeri that these words might visit you in the flickering light of the candle you set at midnight to pay homage to her greatness. I fear my journey will be a long one and I find the roads I travel to be no more perilous than if I’d stayed home. Well almost as I have found a few stouthearted people to travel with. It remains to be seen if we are to become true allies. I find that I need to work harder to become more than I am. By Ymeri’s blessing be safe.)

Folding up the small letter, Hikaru gathers the rest of his things. When midnight arrives he will burn the letter in the hearth downstairs before retiring to his bed…

View
Rescue by Numbers pt 3

It had been a long afternoon. With Randel guiding the wheel and Leslie pulling the cart the two had managed to move most the oil down towards the docks. Redistribute the food hoarded in the larder to the various families in Harbinger and put aside all the longer lasting foods to be processed should they decide on a voyage or not. Leslie had not spoken much throughout the afternoon, though is cursing had decreased substantially since Randel had offered aid. The solider felt he may have earned enough trust to ask, now that the core work was done for the day.

“Uh… Leslie?” he started, getting the large sailors attention. “I was wondering if… now that the work is done…”

“Don’t be so skiddish… we ain’t as heartless as your Count, we’ll feed ya” the Sailor had said. Using a rag to clean off his hands and taking a long pull of water from his wineskin

“Well… thank you… but no, it wasn’t that… I had a request if at all possible” Randel saw the sailors face turning towards a frown but pushed forward anyway “I’d like your permission to go and… well… I would like to… I want to bury my friends” he spat it out at last. The brows furrowed on the sailor

“Your friends… you mean those fellows you shot at us when we rolled into town? The ones who helped Count Assanal take over in the first place… those Drokking Peckers?”

“Yes, well… sort of… they didn’t know why you were coming, and many of them were good men, just doing their jobs… they were my friends, some of them just collecting money to support families… I would do it myself… I can’t really get into that much trouble with a shovel can I? and I’d do it on my own time, it wouldn’t take away from any of the work that you would need me to do…. please” Randel gave him his best innocent look, until he started speaking he hadn’t realized how much he cared

“All right, you want to play in the dirt… fine,” he reached into the cart and tossed Randel an old shovel. “I see you anywhere but with those bodies or in the graveyard and I will kill ya, we clear?”

“We’re clear sir… thank you” Randel said. Leslie just snorted with derision

“Sun’s setting, get to it Digger”

View
Rescue by Numbers Pt 2

Randel Trebond looked down at his cuffs, he sat in the shade in front of a wooden thatched building on the main street of Harbinger. He watched as the burly crew member of the elven ship loaded the ragged old cart with another barrel. He had been at it for a few hours. It seemed that they were short on man power, so the fellow… what was his name…. Leslie! Leslie would walk him down the street and tell him to sit in front of a building, then the bloke would slowly load up on the oil and materials needed, make Randel stand and walk ahead of him while he pulled the cart to the next stop. Randel watched as the shirtless crewmen heaved with exertion after hoisting the last barrel onto the cart. The last day and a half had caused Randel to think a lot about his situation. He had been hired on as a mercenary to help a minor lord with security. It hadn’t seemed so bad, the pay was reasonable and the work load had been pretty light, patrol the streets, make sure there were no terrorist actions, and report to his sergeant if he heard anything suspicious in the pub. He kept a quarter of his earning for himself and the rest he sent back to Truegar for his mother, sister and her kids. It wasn’t until after he’d been captured, after he’d been forced to sit in on the town hall that be began to hear the atrocities he’d been a part of. Count Aderal killed the Yoeman, Count Aderal had had a farm salted, Count Aderal had taken the innkeepers wife and beaten her to death,Count Aderal had killed the old town guards. And in many cases not only the Count but men he had worked with, men he worked beside had carried out these orders. He had always thought Harbinger an unfriendly town, the people had never friendlied up to him when he was in the inn and off duty, but if they were living in fear, being treated like this… how had he never seen it before? He shook his head in disgust with himself, he truly deserved whatever fate these people set upon him.

CRASH

“BY ANAMACHRAS FROZEN GASH ARE YOU KIDDING ME!” Leslie cursed stomping around. The wheel had popped off the cart causing it to tip and spill most of its contents. “BY YOLO’S SALTY BALLS ON THE MOLTEN ANVIL OF DUMANTHION I SWEAR TO ALL THAT’S HOLY IF ONE MORE DROKK OF NERRID GOES WRONG I WILL MURDER EVERY KELEZANDRI PEDDLING TWERP NUGGET IN THIS BLASTED STEAMED ANUS OF A TOWN….DROOOOOKKKKKKKKKK!” Randel watched somewhat impressed… he supposed a sailors reputation for language was indeed well founded. He swallowed the lump in his throat and steeled his resolve before calling out to the angry sailor

“Release me… please” Randel hadn’t expected his voice to croak but nodded to accent his point. The sailor rounded on him

“What? Are you mad?” the sailor cracked his knuckles and approached, Randel hurried to explain

“look, you’re never going to get that wheel on by yourself… and there is nowhere for me to run, and nothing I can do to stop any of this… what I did was wrong… let me help… please” Leslie looked at Randel for a long moment weighing the odds

“If you try anything I will tear you an new asshole” he said patting the sword at his belt

“That’s fair… I guess” Randel agreed.

View
Rescue By Numbers Pt 1

18th of Patchwall, 381 ONT, Harbinger, Kenzrenad, 4:19pm

Thitmed ran his fingers through his oily hair as he flipped through Zephyrs predictions. Even if he gave Zephyr all the labour he needed and conscripted half the town to helping, there was no way to build enough boats or ships to move the people of Harbinger, let alone the added citizens of Amberdale off the island. He had tried the math, it would take the better part of a day to get to a landable shore on the mainland where they could drop people of in the wilderness, assuming he was willing to leave the Omar Cargo here while he did it. It would then take three days to row back up to Harbinger, he could do it in five trips if he was being dangerous with the number of people he was bringing onboard, but that still wasn’t enough time. He turned the pages over. In theory Zephyr could build two large rafts that could fit most the people on board, no possessions just people. But the sailor in Thitmed bristled at this. The Champions Boot could pull them, but the currents off Harbinger were dangerous for a sea worthy vessel, open rafts, and two of them, he doubted they wouldn’t lose at least one raft in the process, and more likely could get the Champions Boot beached on a shallow or sunk… What had happened to the Legendary Clyde was not lost on him. He sighed in frustration and looked up and Belinda, she was sitting across from him trying to tally the minimum amount of supplies the people would need for a journey depending on where he decided to take them, he had yet to factor in feeding anyone. He tossed down the papers and growled

“It can’t be done, I’m gonna have to talk with the Captain again about it” she looked at him trying to break his declaration with a gaze, but had no luck

“We can’t just leave these people here, they will die without us” She said

“YA THINK I DON’T KNOW THAT?” he yelled standing, his frustrations had boiled over “YA THINK I WANT TO SEE THESE PEOPLE DIE? I DON’T, BUT WE ARE A CARGO SHIP, NOT A MILITARY! I DON’T HAVE THE SPACE, OR THE MANPOWER, OR THE SKILLS, AND I TOLD YA ALL THIS BEFORE WE EVEN LANDED! IT’S SAD, I WISH WE COULD HELP THEM, BUT OUR CHOICES ARE THIS, SAVE OURSELVES, SAVE OURSELVES AND FEW OR DIE WITH THEM… THAT’S IT! I DIDN’T MAKE THIS UP, THAT’S HOW IT IS! YOU AND I OWE IT TO OUR PEOPLE NOT TO GET THEM KILLED!” he breathed heavy for a few moments a sudden exhaustion of the last few days settling into him, he slumped back into his chair his head in his hands as he spoke softly now “we can’t save everyone, and it’s time to start talking about who we can save as opposed to seeing everyone die”. Belinda got up and walked around the table, her soft hands rubbing the tight muscles in the first mates shoulders and neck

“I know your trying Thitmed… not matter what happens, I know you are doing you very best… you’re a good man” her words were soft and soothing “it’s not fair of us to ask you to figure out this mess… let’s start talking realistically, maybe we can take some of the non-combatants and help the others hide or start a pilgrimage south?” he turned and looked at her and nodded solemnly

“Aye… let’s get to work on that” he said grabbing a new sheet of parchment and pulling the page that listed the names occupations and ages of the townsfolk.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.