Wars of Kindaluar
Darkness was settling in on the Souda skies and the rapid running of horses covered the sounds of the grasshoppers' song. Tirian Boula was riding his horse so quickly you would think that the very ground itself was catching ablaze. Behind him were two soldiers of one of the last resistance groups against the tyrant Vida Toural. All three had been running under the cover of night as the Mikan soldier under Toural's orders were searching for them. Uninterested in their lives, they knew that it was their corpses that were being searched for.
Tirian turned back to the last two men that were following his rule. Some tactician he was. Even after joining three resistance forces, he could not best the Mikan army. Guerrilla tactics, traps, even full on frontal assaults were worthless in the face of this hell that was being created in his home. "We have to get to the pier in Alahbra! If we don't get out of Souda now we are not going to be able to stop Toural at all!" He yelled to them over the sounds of the dirt path being beaten by the horses' gallop. Tirian knew he had to get out of Souda, but it still pained him to admit. He had failed his home here, but he was determined to at least live long enough to get the bastard who ruined it. He just needed more allies, and Puražn was his first hope. He just prayed to the Goddess that it wasn't going to be his only.
Bellatrix roused herself. The sound of horses was approaching. She grinned. So it begins... She grabbed her bow and shouldered her quiver. Her blade was already sheathed, strapped to her back to stop it from clattering. She reached back and strung an arrow, moving towards the road.
The sound was closer now. It was definitely horses, more than one, and they were being pushed hard. Strategies flowed through Bella's head: take out the leader's mount, causing them to fall. This would stop the others and trip a few up if she was lucky. Then she'd go to work with her sword.
Easy. She thought as her victims rode closer.
Cece was also hunting. She was even after the same quarry, a few troublesome rebels. She had brought three soldiers with her: an archer and two cavaliers, all of which, to her disgust, were as dull as planks and pretended not to understand her obvious coquetry. Of course, that didn't stop her. She dropped back behind the cavalry to the lone archer, a female.
So, honey, how about after we've killed these trouble-makers, I buy you a drink and we get to know each other a bit better? She said in her most seductive voice. The archer merely looked away and coughed before catching up with the others. Cecelia sighed. They were terribly boring but they were good enough fighters, at least to take a few strays. The rebellion was a joke; the forces were spread throughout the country and without a real plan, they'd be finished easily.
Tirian continued his fast escape into the forest trying to get to the closest pier that he could find. Alahbra was the only place he could think of considering their lack of time to get someplace else. Alahbra was going to be difficult to get out of, as it was a Mikan controlled port town. Also the site of many foreign individuals, it was currently noticing a large influx of Muagans as they try to sail around Puražn to avoid the horrible storms found in Wiquan's Rift. Hopefully Tirian and his remaining "freedom fighters" would be able to get some assistance and avoid confrontation along the way.
Some time later Tirian noticed the horses were beginning to slow down and grow tired. Considering the fact they had been running since the moon first began peaking over the mountains in the north and now the crescent shaped wonder now stood directly over head, it was time to rest for a small amount of time. Tirian turned to the soldier behind him as they also slowed down, following his lead. "Quickly, rest the horses in the large brush over there." Tirian said as he pointed to a large collection of bushes that reached about their horses' eye level. "Lay them down so they can catch their breath and so they make as little noise as possible. I have to make sure we are not noticed." He told them as he jumped off his saddle and quickly picked up a large branch he saw one the ground in the moonlight. He quickly began kicking up the dirt and spreading leaves along the road, making it appear that they were still running. After he was finished he rushed over to the two soldiers and laid himself on the dew covered grass. Tirian then focused his attention on the road, hoping whatever was following them, if anything, would buy the trick he had set.
Bellatrix had almost caught up with them. She had been trailing through the forest, tracking them. As she came closer to their position, she almost missed them. It was only a slight rustling at the right time that alerted her to their position. This confused her. The soldiers were in hiding but from who? Obviously, it wasn't her. They didn't know she was here and even if they did, there were three of them. Surely they'd at think they could defeat her... She moved in closer. She needed to see. Then the inevitable happened. She tripped and the last thing she saw was a flat rock speeding towards her face. Ah!
Cecelia's group were still moving. She'd made sure not to move as quickly as the rebels. It would help in the long run. They were speeding up now though. Cece felt that they were getting closer. She watched the road, following the track towards the port town of Alahbra.
Tirian turned to the sound of a loud scream. He turned to his two fellow soldiers and warned them to keep down. He slowly picked himself off the ground as he calmed his horse as it made a small whinny. Tirian began walking quitely and low to the ground, keeping his sword's hilt in his hand. He wasn't sure what exactly made that noise or if it was a friend, but he had made too many mistakes at this point to not go into this new situation without some kind of reserved feeling.
Tirian and his soldiers had been on the run for the last 3 days, trying to leave the country to avoid death. Imprisonment for members of the rebellion was rare. Nearly impossible for one of the figureheads. The problem was that Tirian's face had been seen in many battles against Toural's forces, so they knew who and what he was. Every town had his face on a poster, crudely drawn with a large bounty of gold promised to whoever could bring the head of the supposed "traitor to the flag". Suddenly Tirian found himself staring at a body lying face first in the ground. "State your name and allegiance. Should either be a problem..." He said as he slowly pulled out his blade Mirada, "I promise you this will be quick." Tirian couldn't tell the gender of the body, but could see the light armor and the bow. He could tell this was a warrior, but who this warrior fought for was his major concern.
"You STUPID creature!"
Olina kicked at the tree so hard that leaves began to flutter to the ground. Her head was turned upwards, eyes narrowed in anger. Above, clinging to a treebranch, was a small, skittish white creature whose tail was shaking back and forth in fear. Olina delivered another swift kick to the tree, her shouting increasing in volume. "COME DOWN FROM THERE!" Olina took a step back and delivered a much more fierce kick. The white creature could no longer hold on and tumbled off the branch and into the waiting hands of Olina.
The woman held the furry fellow by the scruff in its back. "You'se an ugly bastard, you'se are." Olina looked the critter in the eye before clamping a hand over its head and snapping its neck. The squirming in her hand instantly stopped as the creature's life was ended. "Yer pretty small, I hope yer filling." Olina hung the dead critter next to an identical one currently hanging from her wast belt.
It wasn't what she had pictured eating for dinner, but her supply of gold had run out after paying the rather exorbitant docking fee in Alahbra. She couldn't afford a meal after renting a room, a rather cheap room at that; tomorrow she would have to find work somewhere. But first came dinner. The man at the inn informed her that these small creatures were a local delicacy and it was better than starving.
"Let this be a lesson to you, critters!" Olina spoke, addressing the animals scurrying about above in the trees and below in the underbrush, "You can't run away from a hungry seaman!" She began to laugh a hearty, loud, belly laugh as she made her way towards her campfire, the corpses swinging with every step.
The creeping darkness covered the night in a blanked, erasing the shadows of the day. Lights could still be seen in the windows of The Black Badger a small tavern that was placed not far from Alahbra Port. It was an old inn, with creaking wood and tilting chairs. The ceilings were low and the tables’ rough, but the beds were soft and the ale strong, the food was good as well, or at least in was in recent times, a month back it would’ve been terrible. Five people adorned the room; three guests sat huddled around the fire, talking in low voices and enjoying a pint of mead. And then there were the two hosts, both very different. The first was a tall and narrow old man who had long since passed his expiration date. His head was bald with only a few long strands of silver hair skewing in many directions, his beard was long and thinning and well brushed. His skin was soft and discolored while his brows were gone and his eyes were squinted. This man was known as Sermil Aebord and to those who frequented the area it was common knowledge that he was becoming senile.
The other host was not so much as host as an employee, although in recent times he had begun to do the majority of the work. He was much younger, with lavender hair and pale skin. An amiable smile danced onto his face whenever he was dealing with the customers, in the meantime though, he wore a neutral expression as he did now. Erelent leaned against the counter as he held a glass in one hand and a cloth in the other. Dinner had been served already and the dishes washed, normally the art of drying them belonged to Mr. Aebord but he now lay asleep in the corner. The man was not bothered by the extra work for he had very little to do otherwise, or more, there was little he wanted to do otherwise. Souda under Tourel’s rules was very likely to be a dull place…
Watching the sun set from a creaky bench just outside a port-side tavern within Alahbra, Ariette found herself musing that being stuck in this goddess-forsaken city wasn't as bad as she first thought. Sure, the salty air constantly blowing in from the sea was a irritating, and the houses all looked unsafe, and the entire place - along with the uncivilized locals - reeked of alcohol, and she couldn't help but wonder what each meal made of, but there hasn't been the need to cast a spell since she arrived. Given that she expected to be woken by some barbaric battle cry each and every morning, the chance to simple read a book by sunset, the whole situation was almost bearable. Of course, she wouldn't have stayed a second longer than was necessary. Unfortunately, with the recent rise in naval tariffs, made staying the only option available to the girl. She had money, just not enough for a trip home, the price of which seemed to rise every other day.
Noting that reading under the diminishing ambient light was impractical, Aria gently closed the copy of Titus' Discourses on Anima that she was reading for about the sixth time and sighed as her thoughts turned to a late dinner. Meals had become more of a chore since arriving in the country, though for some reason that she couldn't quite understand it had gotten better since moving to the Black Badger. Slipping the tome between the others inside the satchel hanging over her left shoulder, she made her way towards the glorified hovel that passed for an inn. As usual, the girl did her best to avoid eye contact with anyone as she made her way to the counter, unwilling to start any sort of conversation with any of the locals.
With her eyes still averted, and a forced smile on her face, she turned towards the server behind the counter. In complete monotone, she exclaimed. "Hey mister. Is there any dinner left?"
Syriel was tired. And hungry. He had heard talk of a town called Alahbra nearby, however, along the way, he had gotten lost once again. He sighed slightly as his stomach growled. The small amount of food he had brought along with him had quickly disappeared, and his plans for "hunting" had got him nowhere. His horse was in much better shape, as he had made sure to bring extra oats, but unfortunately, Syriel had not planned for himself.
There were more pressing issues however. Namely where was where he? He had been on this small dirty road in the woods for a while, and was beginning to question if he hadn't just looped around a few times. However, the sight ahead of him quickly discounted the thought.
A man stood over a prone body, sword out and ready. Syriel slowed Verse slightly with a gentle touch of the heels. "Hullo?" He said as he adjusted his bandanna. Although he wasn't ready to watch someone die, there was no sense in antagonizing the other man, especially with his sword drawn. Nevertheless, he lowered the point of his lance as Verse came to a stop.
Bella groaned and looked up into the man's face, momentarily forgetting the danger she was in. Then it suddenly dawned on her.
Bugger! She pulled back, trying to avoid the blade, making her way to her feet. It was unlikely she'd get out alive but she may be able to take one or two. She tried drawing her blade but, still disorientated, she fell backwards and lay still. Her nose was bleeding, probably broken, and the blood mixed with her red face paint. She became still as the flower of red bloomed from her nose.
Get it over with then. She would die with dignity, at least until she started kicking and screaming.
The trail had gone cold. Cecelia had made it all the way to Alahbra to no avail. The rebels must have tricked her. Clever sods. She muttered to herself with a soft smile.
Okay people, we're stopping here for the night. She pointed towards the tavern just next to the docks. Anyone want to bunk with me? No... okay then.
The horses were quickly stabled and the Cecelia's band of soldiers made their way into the inn. Cecelia quickly went to the counter. She had spotted a cute girl with a bag and she was feeling amorous.
Hello there. What are you having? I'd be more than happy to pay, if you'd give me the honour of eating with you. She smiled and pulled off her hat, pressing it to her chest as she had done many a time in many an inn before.