He was tall and lean and was extremely fit for his mid-age. He had a bald head and spoke in a monotone unlike before when he spoke to us. “Some news to enlighten you…” he said although he did not seem enthusiastic about it. I prayed somehow hoping the Zelia event was postponed or even better canceled. But my hopes were shattered almost instantly as Were spoke. “No bodies from our side. This is good.” he said again in his monotone voice as the battalion cheered banging their weapon and against their armor or shields. “Although,” he said as the cheering died “I wonder why the siren went off late!” he said rather loudly hoping to get the attention of the guard in the tower. “Lanka!!” he shouted as he directed his voice towards the top of the tower. The thin, wiry soldier came down within a second sliding down the pole and landing the ground with a considerable thud.
He then regained his footing walked up towards Were and stood in attention and gave a salute like a disciplined soldier, but thing was that no one saluted the Were, because we were not full-time soldiers, we were citizens of the village first, only then soldiers.
Yet he insisted doing the salute to Were every time he saw him. So Were just accepted him. Were now looking Lanka in the eye spoke again “Why did the siren go off late Lanka?” asked Were, his tone seeming serious. Lanka quivered his body shaking and one of his hands still stuck in salute. “I….I must have….eh….dozed off a little,” he said and as soon as he finished he bowed as if in cowardness. “Lanka, you do know we are relying on you for our village not being destroyed right?” he said his tone clearly serious.”Yes, sire!” replied Lanka almost instantly and it seemed like he was scared of Were. But Were despite his looks was pretty good-natured himself with the only exception being extremely strict in battle-related issues. He rarely exempted mistakes in battle because his ultimate goal of the battle was not winning it, but making sure there were no deaths, like today.
He now spoke now returning to the same monotonic voice. “You have done this job for eighteen years now and this is only one of few mistakes you have made.” Lanka’s face relaxed. “But do know we need to rely on you if we need to survive.” Lanka bowed again saying. “Yes sir! Yes, sire! I will make sure the enemies never enter our territory, as far as I’m alive sire!” "Good.” spoke Were as he turned around and pulled on the reins of his Xion. We followed him as Lanka sprang to the stairs and went up and out of sight almost too willing to look out for enemies now, trying to mend his mistake.
But it was a well-known fact that attacks would not come so soon and there was at least a few weeks gap between these attacks.
As we rode up nearing the houses of our village we noticed a strange sight. The leader Ivor Osborne was on his own private Xuite and was heading down right towards Were. He stopped short and turned facing his direction and resumed walking, matching the stride of Were’s Xion. The leader did not give much attention to us as he seemed busy with talking business. They talked for a few minutes in quiet tones and it seemed obvious the leader did not want us listening on him, and then just like he came, he went without much so acknowledging us.
We continued riding till the stables and Were was unusually quiet all the way till there. At the stables, as we got down from our creatures and tethered them and just as we were getting ready to disperse, Were called out to the battalion and it was clear something was disturbing him.
“I really glad we won this battle,” he said his face showing unease and although we had heard this many times before, we knew this was not the end of this speech. “But there something I really need to tell you,” he said and he hesitated and then gestured for us to come closer to him. We huddled close towards him keen to hear what he was saying. “I really…..I mean really shouldn’t be saying this to all of you but since you are first responders and the only defense our village has, I think you all have the right to know,” he said and took a breath and then spoke. “This year we are very thin on supplies…..this was informed by the leader himself and our analysis expert has told us that this time even one small successful raid on our village might spell the downfall of our village.” he said and panic seemed to seep into everyone present there.