The Mortal Rebellion: Episode 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The ten survivors of the attack are now in the safety of the mountain passes, although they are far from being okay. The Commander is in shock, and Dranon is worried sick about his family and Lorain. What will Grant and Serun, who are apparently the only sane ones of the group, choose to do?

Submitted: June 02, 2015

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Submitted: June 02, 2015

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THE MORTAL REBELLION

episode 4

Elias Holmquist

 

I’ve failed.

 

I’ve failed.

 

I’ve failed.

 

The only thoughts that ran through the Commander’s head blocked out all other sounds and communication. Upon being asked what to do, where to go from here, he would look up slowly, as if seeing the Necromancer their next to him, and murmuring in a slightly terrified tone, “I’ve failed.”

His composure alone was enough to set the survivors’ teeth on edge, but what he said unnerved and frightened them. How had such a great Commander, leader of 500 troops and who fought for the Empire in its expansion days sink so low to this mentally crippled state?

Serun was the first to suggest the idea to make camp where they were currently. They had taken shelter in the second mountain pass, one that held plenty of hidden valleys perfect for resting . . . and preparing for a Rebellion.

The ten people sat around a makeshift fire, on logs that had been brought up from the ditches around them. Trees shrouded their view of the distant pass, and provided a perfect tent covering for the few who needed rest and medicinal help. Serun offered his magic, and in no time, the few who were injured were hopping around on makeshift crutches, or slouching over arm braces.

Grant had decided to find who was in their group, and so he became the sloppy drill sergeant.

“All right, ya’ lot. Stand and line up right in front of me. I’ll be asking ya’ some questions, so we can best figure out how to go about our lives here, for now.”

He swaggered and strutted, and looked uncannily similar to a tall, fat peacock.

He stood in front of the line now, and all eyes were on him.

“Hm. Ok, ya’ go over there, I know ya’ already. Comfort the Commander, will ya’?”

This was to Serun, who nodded obediently and walked over to the Commander, who was still quaking in his boots. Grant turned his attention back to what was left of Kadelvacaer.

“Hm.” He pointed at Dranon, and pointed out of the line. “I know ya’ already.” When Dranon said or did nothing, Grant leaned in for a closer look, then widened his eyes. Putting a comforting arm over Dranon’s shoulder, he asked quietly, which was quite abnormal for Grant.

 “Dranon?”

 No response.

 “Listen, I know ya’re ma and da were in the city when we left, but ya’ gotta have hope, soldier!”

 This time, after a pause, Dranon spoke in such a tone you would think he would have grown ten years.

“As we were climbing over the North wall of the city, I looked over my shoulder at the ruins of Kadelvacaer, and instinctively looked for my home.”

Dranon’s body tensed, then drooped like all the fight was gone.

“They had burned the Library to the ground. There was not even a stray timber piece. All of it, was just gone.”

Tears began to stream from Dranon’s eyes, but he made no move to remove them. Grant looked down at this young man. He was 17 wintered, and had already seen a carnage that had not been matched for 50 winters. His mind might even be more fragile than the Commander’s, Grant thought. So with a heavy heart, Grant steered Dranon over to the nearest log by the fire.

 Again, Grant turned to the rest of the group. He went down the line, asking the person’s name and what they did. After they gave their answer, he threw his thumb over his shoulder in a mock drill sergeant move.

 “What’s ya’re name, soldier?”

 “Anthony Brenett, Master Archer, sixth cohort, sir!”

 “How old are ya’, Master Brenett?”

 “Twenty-six, sir.”

 “Ya’ have family in the city, Master Brenett?”

 “Ay sir. My wife and my grandmother, sir.”

 “I’m sorry to hear that, soldier.”

He threw his thumb over his shoulder, and Anthony left the line.

“What’s ya’re name, ma’am?”

“Maia Firlgoth, Mr. Grant. I work in the Cloak and Cloth shop down on Hymer street, with my sister..”

“Hmm. Yes, well, Ms. Firlgoth, I think ya’ will be most useful to our company.”

 Another thumb over the shoulder.

“Are ya’ another Firlgoth, ma’am?”

“ I am Hyla Firlgoth, Grant. Maia’s my younger sister.”

“I also think ya’ will be a valuable member to our company.”

Yet another thumb over the shoulder.

Grant made his way down the line. Two of the next people down the line were men, George and Rik, who worked at the blacksmith shop. These men were tall, broad, and well muscled. Unfortunately, Rik was the smart and mean one, and George was the naive and aring one.  The two were always brawling on each other, and Rik said he always won the arguments, although George always made the best reasons.

At the end of the line was a messenger boy named Henry. A very shy boy, he told Grant only is name, his home, that he lived with his aunt, and that he was able to get out here so fast because his legs carried him ‘faster than ever’. Grant’s eyes moistened, and hastily wiped the water away. What horrors this child had witnessed. He didn’t have the heart to throw his thumb over his shoulder, so just led Henry by his shoulders to where the rest of the group was.

 “All right people. We survived the attack on Kadelvacaer.” He looked around at the survivors, thinking, planning. “I think, that it seems it would be a good idea to send three people out. One to check out the city, and the other to call for help from the Lore warriors in their outpost out west.” Serun nodded in approval of the plan.

Grant pointed his finger at Dranon.
 “I need ya’ Dra- Look at me, Dranon!”

When that didn’t work, Grant walked calmly over to Dranon. His head was down in his hands, with his elbows slightly shaking on his knees. Grant shook his head, and suddenly leaned down so his nose was a foot away from Dranon’s head.

“Ahem . . . Soldiers of the seventh cohort, Atten-TION!”

With a startling rustle, Dranon was on his feet, hands on belt, feet spread shoulder length apart, as he should’ve done. In a second he retorted, “Yes sir, Drill sergeant!”

Grant smiled. Nothing like a quick refresher of discipline to calm a person’s head.

Dranon blinked, then relaxed his posture, looking around like he didn’t know how he got there. When his eyes settled on Grant, Grant spoke in a soft tone, “Dranon, I need ya’ to scout out and look for any developments in the city. Find out where everybody is being kept, find out news on the undead and the Necromancer, and above all,” Grant lowered his voice to a whisper, “DO NOT ENGAGE. IF YA’ SEE AN UNDEAD, RUN AND HIDE. THAT’S AN ORDER.”

Dranon nodded, and sat down, readying his sword, dagger, and cloak. Grant continued.

“In the mean time, I would like George to escort Henry to the Lore warrior outpost in the west. Ya should reach them by tomorrow, and be back here in two days if ya’ leave tonight. As for the rest of ya’,” Grant turned to look at those sitting around the fire, “get comfy, strategize, heal, and make ready. We’re taking our city back. DISMISSED.”


 

Dranon left not ten minutes after he was dismissed, and Henry and George left two hours later. Their path was straight forward, and it would be a tricky move indeed for the Necromancer to notice.

Dranon’s on the other hand, was probably ten times as dangerous. As he walked, off road and out of sight, stepping over fallen branches and crunching leaves, tugging his cloak tight around him, it was not the danger on the horizon that he was thinking about.

 It was family, and Lorain.

If the Library had been burned, than there was no way his parents had survived. They would have attacked the undead for doing such a deed, and might have actually taken few down with them before they were overcome.

Dranon shook his head, fighting off tears. He wanted to think, but he didn’t to be incapacitated by emotion if something happened.

Continuing to survey his surroundings, his thoughts drifted to Lorain. Immediately, his throat closed up, and he felt an unmistakable urge to lie down and cry. It was no use; he wouldn’t lie down, and he wouldn’t cry, so instead he continued on in a stupor.

I let this happen, he thought. If I had just stayed with her for the attack, we could have gotten out together! In the chaos of the battle, her cohort certainly mixed with mine. How could I not have seen her? I can recognize the back of her head!

An image of Lorain drifted through his head, and he longed to be next to her, to sit with her, fold his hand into hers and hold on tight. Because if they did that, nothing could stop them.

Dranon resolved to not think of Lorain as dead, and as long as she wasn’t dead, he reasoned, he would have hope. He just hoped that she wasn’t hurt, because when a group of bandits had attacked her and her teacher on the way to Kadelvacaer, he had gone into a mode Lorain had called his ‘bloodfog’. If that happened, he might not be able to save Lorain and anybody else, because his killing frenzy would be unstoppable, and therefore call too much attention.

Dranon reached the end of the pass, and hid behind a rock, looking at the smoking wreckage that was kadelvacaer.

 

 

In the city, next to the left wall with the hole in it, lay tons of rock and earth. Timbers of buildings lay here, as did tens of dead soldiers. However, not all the soldiers lying here were dead. In fact, only one was alive.

Long after the undead had abandoned this area of town, save the ramparts, a rustling could be heard beneath a heavy stone slab. Dirt and debris piled under it, making it a miracle that the slab hadn’t crushed it’s occupant.

The dirt to one side of the slab fell away, revealing a feminine yet hardened and very much alive hand, clawing a tiny air hole in the miniature cave.

Lorain was far from safety, but she was also very far from being dead.

end of episode 4


© Copyright 2018 Elias Holmquist. All rights reserved.

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