Metagore, The Battle For

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: House of Ghosts


The three Senturian groups all start to make their advancement west.

Chapter 55 (v.2) - Three Tipped Dagger

Submitted: July 08, 2017

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Submitted: July 08, 2017

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A week after conquering Talean, the Senturians were still enjoying their spoils of war---taking what they could from the frightened citizens and shopkeepers. From food to wine, and from women to dragon pennies, the knights took pleasure from everything that Talean had to offer. The beautiful landscape and marvelous buildings were the perfect descriptions of paradise for the ninety Senturians.

While most of the knights were off gallivanting in the brothels and gambling houses, Dagrus and O'Bryon sat in one of the manor's cabinets that they had commandeered from Solaris---who had retired himself to his chambers, in fear of the dreshdis. The two Senturians sat at a desk across from each other and began to plan their next course of action. Every so often a shriek, followed by a bellow of laughter would drift through the window of the cabinet.

"We need to make our way to BrightHelm," Dagrus mentioned as he looked at the map laid out in front of him. "Once we take the high city, Lord Darius will hold the crown."

"Aye," O'Bryon acknowledged. "Do you wish to stay here with a handful of men and hold control over the city, while I lead the rest beyond the clouds?"

"Nay," Dagrus grumbled, then glanced at his right leg. "This splint won't keep me immobile."

"I am aware of this, Ser Dagrus. I meant nothing by it," the djinn humbly stated. "But who will keep the Taleanics loyal in our absence? You can not trust their marquess to keep a knee bent in Lord Darius' name."

"Nay, but you said yourself that he bears the mark of the dreshdis. If I had to guess, he will fall to the shadows within the moon," the dark-skinned demon pointed out. "Talean will fall on its own without a leader guiding it."

"If you believe it is true, then it is so," O'Bryon doubtfully responded.

"Aye, it is," Dagrus stated as he rolled up the map. "Go round up the rest of the knights, and have them meet me in the garden around back."

"As you have commanded, Ser."

"I hope they are sobered up because today we ride for BrightHelm."

***

Four days after being betrayed by their god, the nineteen hundred Senturians on the northern edge of Willowgate in Alberon were making their way south once again. Only left with twenty steeds, they marched through the fields leaving their mares to carry all of their gear.

As they marched, they found villages desolated and in ruins. Homes were tore to shreds, and the fields were riddled with ruts. Carcasses of residents and cattle littered the ground---their bodies nearly picked clean of any flesh from the scavengers in the area. Bent and broken tools and weapons were strolled amongst the corpses which appeared to have attempted to put up an attack.

"Do ye think Libras did 'tis?" one of the knights asked as the group passed through the village.

"Surely it 'twas him helpin' us with the war," another knight spoke. "What else could it hath been?"

"Are we still in the gods' favor?" the first knight questioned. "Libras did turn on us."

"Aye, the gods of the eight divides gave us their blessin's," the second responded. "They wouldn't not keep their word."

Caski---who had overheard part of the conversation---spoke up, "Maybe they gave us their favor to weaken us."

"What? Why would they do that?" another knight asked.

Caski looked across the destroyed village with his yellow, cat-like eyes. "Maybe the gods of the eight want us to fail."

"That would be cruel of them."

"Are we any better?" Galzar asked, hearing his men speculating about the betrayal of their god.

"Are they even gods?" Caski asked in an almost hysterical voice. "Maybe we just worship the idea of something greater than us, when the truth is: Libras is just a dragon that we fear and feed for when we feel we need something to rest our guilt upon after slaying the innocent. As if that would release us from any punishment that would be justly given for our heinous crimes."

One of the knights' brows raised underneath his steel helmet. "If 'tis true, then we are responsible for our own actions, and we deserve to die for thee villages that we've burnt down."

Galzar gazed around him, fearing that the mighty dragon could return at any moment. "Quiet with your dishonoring of the gods. If Lord Darius heard word of your distrust, he would have your head on a pike, or worse---lock you in his dungeons and torture you for all of eternity."

"One could only survive so long in those dungeons," another knight spoke up. "Our suffering would all come to a quick end."

"Aye," Caski joined back into the conversation, "but Lord Darius has prisoners that he's tortured for thirty-four years...He will find ways to keep you alive well enough to be tortured."

***

As the other group of Senturian recruits passed through Medsa'lear, a faint hissing could be heard over the crackling of the burning village they had just left in Vaseere. The sound echoed around them, gradually getting louder before it dropped off into silence and then started back up moments later.

Briar---nervous and in fear of his life---looked around and noticed a few shadows moving in the deeper parts of the water. The shadows seemed to circle around as bubbles floated to the surface of the murky water. Every so often he could see what looked like a vine whip up out of the water and silently splash back in.

"Bunyips, nasty little beasts," a demon remarked to his fellow recruit.

"Pardon?" Briar asked looking up at the knight.

"Those creatures ye'r watchin', they're bunyips. Ye don't see 'em very often outside of Medsa'lear, they flourish here."

"What are they?"

"They are 'bout as long as that salamander of Darius' and as big as a droyaid---fast too. Ye don't want 'em to catch ye off guard, they travel in groups ye see."

Just as the demon finished talking one of the shadows broke off from the rest and made its way to the bank of the pond. The bunyip climbed out of the water and raised its head, looking towards the group of knights. The creature gave off a loud hiss and raised its frill around its neck---making it look twice as large.

"See thee tail? See how it has two points? Means its a male, females just have thee one. And they have a bunch of eyes too so they can watch ye better."

"How do you know so much about them?"

"Traveled 'round in m'days---studdied the beasts m'self. Just watch ye'self 'round 'em. If ye get too close to their nests, they'll swarm ye. They ain't afraid of anything but that damn hydra we killed."

The bunyip flicked his tail and eased back into the water after realizing the troops were not heading towards him---his shadow headed back towards the others, to swim around the cluster of bubbles.

After passing by the hive of bunyips, the recruits made it to a dry patch of land. As they continued through Vaseere, one recruit let out a yell, bringing the other men to attention. Exclamations could be heard from the back, and the knights all gathered to see what caused the commotion. With a gasp, they came upon a dead Learish death worm. Its dark green and brown skin was now a dull grey color. Its long, slimy body had visible signs other animals had feasted off of it.

"I thought I'd never see one of those in my lifetime. Thanks to the gods its dead, otherwise we'd be goners for sure!" Briar exclaimed.

"Don't be ridiculous. They don't eat meat, just the dirt that it digs," one of the recruits replied.

"Look at those teeth! You can't tell me it doesn't kill with teeth like that."

"I'm telling ya, they don't eat meat. My uncle told me stories about them."

"And my brother told me a story about a man who was swallowed alive by one of those beasts!" Briar responded as he stepped away from the worm, trying to avoid contact with its skin. "And the venom in its teeth is strong enough to dry a man's body of all blood, and leave him is ashes."

"Both of you knock it off. Damned worms haven't been seen in decades, and this one obviously didn't eat whatever killed it. Just cool it and let's move on," Rosule snarled out as he continued the treck---the rest of the knights slowly followed behind him.

While walking on down the path, the group could hear the roaring of the Diamond River. The closer they came to it the louder it became, and before long they couldn't hear anything but the sound of rushing water and corroding land. The river was massive---three kilometers wide, and it stretched from Lake Sound up in the mountains of BrightHelm all the way down to the Abyss Ocean---dividing the plains of Alberon from the swamplands of Medsa'lear.

As they approached a large, wooden bridge, Rosule turned to his men. "There it is," he stated as he pointed across the bridge and the muddy waters of the river. "Alberon, the land of the strix. Our destination is almost upon us. For in just a few short nights, we will arrive at Moll'ar's doorsteps, and he will bend a knee in Lord Darius' name." The group of recruits all shouted in excitement. "Be thy gods that guide us. Be thy gods that watch over us. Be no shame fall upon us!"


© Copyright 2018 D. L. Stewart. All rights reserved.

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