Fledgling King

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Twisted Fantasy

I apologize in advance..

Chapter 3 (v.1) - Art of War

Submitted: May 21, 2017

Reads: 102

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Submitted: May 21, 2017

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  They rode the rest of the way in silence, traveling in a diamond formation with Vel and Etski at the very front, Orin and Ralva to the immediate left and right of him, and Raven to the rear. Each being a few meters apart from each other, they careened their way through trees and foliage, often having to turn and avoid direct impact with many of the trees that covered them. By now it was sundown and the group had been traveling for almost 7 hours.

 

  Vel and Etski's horse came to a slow, signifying everyone else they were going to rest. They halted a few meters in front of the riverbed. The Saret river was the only thin stream of water that traveled across the entire country and remained a huge source of water for many villagers. If one were to try and make it through these Feisner Forests, it would be wise to take the river-path. A constant exhaustion and hunger would eat at you otherwise. That, doubled with the constant need to watch for predators from all angles. Taking the river, you only have to watch one a 90 degree angle of your location. They had traveled 20 miles already in the couple of hours that awaited them. The dense foliage of the Feisner provided a heavy delay to their expedition.

 

They set up camp right along side the river, allowing their horses to take drinks and for the rest of them to wash off. They looked like they had bathed in a sea of bodies. As soon as they had submerged themselves in water, the essence soothed off their bodies, giving the lake before them a pink allure. As they showered, Raven's eyes watched Velharys. He was strange and since the camp...no even before that, something about Vel threw him off and raised suspicion. His eyes widened upon realizing that his suspicion was correct. There was not a single scar on him. Even though he bathed with the wraps around his body, the wraps were entirely clean and as the dampness made them cling to his body, it revealed no scar tissue or even bruising. 

Vel noticed Raven observing him and gave him a wink "I didn't know you rolled that way" he laughed, making his way to hide behind Etski. Raven scowled. "There was a strange bug on your back. I think it might be poisonous." 

Vel wasn't much a fan of bugs...in fact, he wasn't a fan at all. The immediate joking tone he held changed to fear and he began shaking wildly, attempting to remove whatever bug was on his back. Etski merely pushed him into the lake, not wanting whatever it was to land on her either. The scene was too funny that both Ralva and Etski burst out laughing. Etski doubled over with laughter even more once Vel rose up asking if its still on him. 

 

It wasn't a couple minutes more before Orin came in dropping a giant boar over his shoulders. The literal giant of a man had been hunting while the rest of the group remained hunting. Out of the entire group, you'd think Etski the bow wielder was the better hunter. Nope. Orin was by far one of the best hunters you can encounter. He was silent, patient and always gauging his prey. It was over-all, his patience that lead to most of his successes. Even in direct combat, knowing his capability to sustain damage, he patiently awaits until an opening presents itself, delivering his most powerful blow and attempting to incapacitated an enemy immediately.

After dropping it on the ground, the loud thud resounded and made everyone look over. Like ravenous creatures, they all began to run from the waters cheering their champion. Orin simply grinned, loving the attention he received. "For the record, there were 3 boars in total. I'd have killed all of them, but I couldn't bring 'em all with me." He kicked the dead creature in the back of its head. "I took only the biggest." 

 

Etski poked at the creature who seemed almost as if it was still alive. The body was still warm and tense. Orin must've recently killed it. However staring at it, she noticed something strange-There was no stab wound. "...What did you kill it with?" she asked, prodding the creature in the eye to see if it would react. This was the question Orin was waiting for, he simply grinned, flexing his arms. "It charged at me, so I picked it up and slammed it into the ground." Everyone almost looked up in unison. Of course, they knew how strong Orin was, but it was just always a surprise to hear the feats he was capable of.  A man killing a boar with his bare hands is a type of tale usually spoken of legends or behemoths. 

That night they ate a good chunk of the boar, before bundling it up with the rest of their food and attaching it to the horses carrying Ralva. She was the thinnest there and thus, her horse would have less work to do carrying both her and the luggage. 

 

For the remainder of the night they swiftly traveled, not having any delays or even rest. If they were to keep up the pace they would reach the city of Carsage within 2 days. Their entire voyage and goal would have been met. On the second night, they rested further away from shore, eating whats rest of the boar and riding off after the horses were adequately rested. They hadn't even the time to pitch their tents. They merely slept, ate and drove off the very next morning. As they headed down towards the city, everything was exceptionally hush. They hadn't encountered even a single creature on the way there. 

 

Having found a sense of destination and belonging, Vel felt relieved. He was to reach Carsage long before his set deadline. He had wanted to reach it within no more than three months. Else, he'd have failed and found himself traversing the world during the Sequinox. That an outcome he was not favoring. The Sequinox is a biannual season occurring 6 months into the 2nd year. When it comes, there will be no day time for a whole year. There after, the Sentinox follows and the entire world is bathed in sunlight for several months. Travelers often have to consider those two seasons if they find themselves nearing the years of the Clashing Skies. Ironically enough, those two seasons are both hated equally. 

 

Suddenly, Vel's horse came to an abrupt stop. The rest of our horses came to a stop as well and he hushed everyone to be quiet. "Vel, are you alr-"

 An immense amount of fear came from his voice as he shouted "-GET DOWN!" Somehow they all immediately knew who he was talking to. Ralva ducked as quick as the order was shouted and Vel leapt into action, jumping off of his horse in one agile leap. Such movements were never seen of him before... at least, not from Raven. Sailing directly above Ralva's ducked head, Vel's foot met with the giant four legged creature. Its mouth wide open to chomp down on Vel's foot only to be met with the full force of the kick and send its body lurching back. Nonetheless, it still clamped down, refusing to let go. As they sprawled through the sky, Vel had already withdrawn his own small knife. The same one they were using to cut up the boar from earlier. One quick precise strike, piercing the creature right between the eyes and bridge of the nose. It immediately let go and whimpered crawling back in immense pain. The dusk wolf squirmed, banging its head across the ground and reeling away in an erratic motion. It had disappeared back before the darkness of the forest. There was an almost two second silence before converging upon just Velharys, several different gigantic dusk wolves leapt into the sky. With his attempt to slice one down its midsection having failed, one of the wolves burrowed its teeth into his arm, pulling it down and threatening to tear it off from the sheer weight. 

 

The only thing Vel could've done was to fall down to the ground to avoid having his arm ripped off as well. The sequence of events happened so fast. The horses began to panic. Orin quickly jumped off the horse along with Ralva. Etski, arrow drawn launched several flurry of arrows at the wolves, hitting one square in the shoulders. It completely ignored her and the group of wolves dragged Vel off into the darkness. Almost as quickly as they could, Orin, Etski, and Ralva followed suit. 

 

"WAIT!" Raven's stomach tensed up. "You guys don't know what these things are capable of!" Before they could get far, another set of 6 wolves jumped out of the darkness, stopping the group short of their pursuit. "Dusk wolves..travel in colonies." Raven said softly. "There's around 30 of them in any given pack." These creatures were tactical geniuses. Perhaps, the only other creatures that hunted on the same level as human beings. Attempting to face these wolves was akin to facing off against another army. Right now, they were being analyzed. One wolf hidden amongst the bushes was watching their every move and orchestrating these attacks. They were intelligent, but if you should take out the leader, they will begin to lose collaboration and fight over leadership.

The trio were forced back. Now they were all huddled around Raven who remained standing atop his horse. The horse was growing increasingly distressed by the sight of predators. It would have been much better if they had all fled on horseback. But alas, two horses had already fled. Raven got off the horse, not wanting to have been carried away with it if it decided to run. He pulled two daggers from his belt and joined formation with the trio. "Alright. You guys have no idea how to deal with these things. So, pay close attention. Its quite possible that at this very moment, Vel is already torn to shreds and being fed upon. But that's still not enough to feed an entire colony. If we want to get out alive, you'll have to pay close attention to everything I tell you to."  The group nodded, which actually surprised Raven to a degree. They all held an animosity towards him despite tolerating his existence in the group. Perhaps this was due to him being an outsider and the three having known each other for years. "We'll hold formation. For now, Etski, you just keep shooting them. Ranged offenses will be the best way to kill them without breaking ranks. They'll probably realize this too, which means they'll want to take you out." Etski nodded, and crouched in the middle of the other three. Raven entrusted Orin and Ralva to both watch his back, and watch Etski. Orin was being protected by Raven and Ralva, and Ralva was being protected by Orin and Raven. This formation meant that at all times, there were to people watching for each other, all the while Etski, in the middle shot out between the gaps. She released her first arrow, striking an older Dusk wolf in the eye. The arrow lodged itself deep. It was most-likely the wolf was going to die. She released another arrow, taking down yet another one. Two more fell to her arrows after that. In total she held about 20 arrows, but it was most-probable that she wouldn't need each of them. The wolves began to change formation. They realized that she could easily pick apart the entirety of their attacking forces if they made themselves known. 

 

They all became hidden in the thick darkness of trees. There was just a dreaded silence. Apart from the ragged breathes of Ralva, there was not a single noise. Raven found this condition favorable for himself more-so than the wolves. With this kind of silence, he could hear them coming from a mile away. The first attack of the new formation ensued. In one giant leap, a wolf dashed forward, taking to the skies. Orin caught the creature square in the face with his hammer, ending all movement and even reaction. They must've thought that Orin was the slowest and thus the gap in the defense. "As expected...they're testing our defenses. Ralva, you and I are up next." Sure enough, two wolves dashed out simultaneously, snarling as they headed for both Ralva and Raven. Ralva immediately withdrew her rapier and attempted to pierce the creature in the mouth. However, she was thrown off guard. During her attack, yet another wolf was trailing behind the first one. Taking advantage of the gap in her defenses, it leapt right past her, aiming straight for Etski. The sudden appearance of another wolf having been in the shadow of the first threw Ralva by surprise and she screamed. Her strike missed the first wolf and now they both were through her defense. Realizing that the sword was to pierce it, the wolf stopped its motion and redirected its course. Where? 

The new gap in the formation. When Ralva screamed, Orin had ditched his post and turned around, attacking the wolf that slipped past the gaps. Its head was crushed into the ground before Etski could even so much as draw his bow. However, in doing so, Orin had caused the hole. Immediately afterwards several wolves converged upon them. They were all in the inner circle prepared to tear Etski to pieces. This broke the formation altogether. Ditching ranks, Etski, Raven and Orin converged upon the group of 5 wolves that entered the circle. One had already found itself on Etski's shoulder before she withdrew an arrow and lodged it into the wolf's eye. Orin then released a roar, picking up one wolf and tossing it out of the way before two others launched up and bit onto his shoulders, dragging him to the ground. Several of the wolves were already converging on Etski, taking several bites out of her still resisting body. They were attempting to help, but it was much too late. 

 

Behind them another circle had formed. They could save Etski, but they'd leave themselves open to attack from the outer circle. Raven cursed under his breath. In an unprecedented fury of anger, he threw his daggers continuously. He had over 40 on his body and the tosses did nothing to harm the wolves. Maybe one or two would fall to it, but it really was just a waste. In a matter of a few minutes, Etski will have been eaten and die. Then the wolves in the inner circle will turn against them as well. They will have to deal with attacks on both fronts and eventually be torn to pieces. This was a fact. 

 

The sound of silence continued to fill the air. Silence...minus the sound of flesh being ripped from the bones. Etski was being eaten alive and her screams was all they could hear. It was horrifying. They couldn't do anything about it. The whole group now realized the why dusk wolves were feared. They were as feral as any animal, but possessing the intelligence of the smartest leaders. It seemed as if this was game over... They were all going to die before even reaching Carsage.

 

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. When the rest of our surviving unit fled the battle field and escaped the horrors of war, another horror awaited us and picked all of us off one by one. I still tremble at the sight. I should've chosen to die in the battle instead."- Surviving Soldier, 1220 R.C.

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