Avisland: The Corvus Castrum

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Mafic gathered her spy glass and some of her gear back and signaled her sister.

“Be in the field as she returns to the villa. Your brothers will be ready for you and our prey. With luck she might survive. Robin tribe recruits have joined our numbers in the past, we can’t give up hope for her.” Said Mafic.

Felsic responded after adjusting four blades on her knuckles to attach to her hand for climbing grips.

Mafic looked backwards and flashed a small device in short bursts. The two lept from their perch and dove beneath the greenery. They blended themselves into the vegetation and began their crawl to the farmland.

“We’re never going to rise up in the ranks if we’re not allowed to prove ourselves. Verza always commands so tightly. She’s going to yell at us... Show personal initiative... show ingenuity, show leadership skills. We can't do any of that following orders. By the book. According to the rules. Instructions... Do we just have to wait until officers kick the bucket for some new openings.” Felsic said as their superior tracked their trail through the trees approaching their position.

“Mafic, Felsic!” Said a third operative with urgency. “This is a team extraction. You don’t know how the target has deteriorated. It might be more than enough for the two of you.”

The two twins entered into chaos as their hunting was disturbed. Their superior was quick to rebuke their rash and foolish rush into peril.

“Exactly how stupid are you two?” The superior shouted into their communication channel.

“Sorry Verza,” The two said in unison. The shock of guilt racing through them being challenged by their pride as professionals. The kind of guilt in being caught. Their pride on any other day would have objected to such criticisms but guilt strange guilts laced their thoughts..

Verza wore a black helmet with a visor like the other two and wore the traditional pair of blades at the knuckles, only hers could rotate to the inside of her fingers instead of the knuckles. “I know you too go lone wolf in your squads. What happened to your last squad Felsic? Lets have a long discussion about Volker. I imagine he’d love to see you with his own eyes, his own eye, my mistake. But at least he still breaths.”

Felsic remained quite. There pause was taken as submission, even if it were hesitant.

“You two will take point, I’m not unreasonable, take your vanguard positions that you covet and the rest of us will form a perimeter.” Said Verza. “I will secure your exit route. But move quickly and don’t advance too far ahead. And you will keep your microphone on! Going quiet has never been tolerated. We’ve lost operatives for less.”

Verza hand motioned behind her for three men in black cloaks and tinted visors to advance. But behind the rest was the commander who observed the extraction from the front.

Another operative arrived coming from the farmland, breaking through the stocks in a wild dash.

“I hate fields, there’s hardly any cover.” He said on his microphone to the group. “I’ve sabotaged the the device, we ready to advance now?”

The first force moved up through the thinning three line now approaching the farmlands. They spread out from the trees into the brush. Felsic and Mafic were ahead of them in a matter of moments.

“Yes, hold for a moment.” Another voice cut off Verza’s command. He spoke from above them as a shadow over the woods and a silhouette in the sky.

“You’re doing well Verza, pardon my interruption. Your evaluation is not compromised. But stay on the clock, featherings are erratic things.” The voice of interruption carried authority about it. It also carried something nurturing, the care of a teacher perhaps?

“Thank you Marshal.” She said with humility in her tone. Felsic and Mafic even noticed a body language change despite their superior only being present from the microphone.

“Verza, Roost Patrol!” Mafic said through the microphone. Hearing the noise she reported as she moved.

Six muscled creatures charged down the road separating the farm from the woods. Atop them were figures clad in golden designs on their plates of armor. Shields, swords, lances and smoke grenades adorned their armor. Each of their hands, clutching the reigns of their mounts, were metal plated gauntlets.

“Activate the first decoy.” Verza spoke to her squad and at her voice dozens of crows flew through the tress on the right of the road.

The squad hesitated than continued down the trail. But the creatures

“We’ll hold here, move forward you two. Don’t get me wrong back there. You two are the best people for extraction we’ve seen in years. I just want you two to tell the stories yourself, not become stories. You know what to do.”

One last breeze carrying the scent of pine sap filled the twins nostrils before it was so quickly interrupted by another figure.

A man just older than themselves invaded the air waves outside of his communicator. He reeked of authority.

“This is Marshal Verner, put your helmets back on. You do not want to loose an eye like Volker. Do not forget the Nadel feathering incident. It happened merely ten miles from this location. The tunnels were not kind.”

The forest permeated her as she did it. A rank and file operative of such stealth worked in precise manners and movements that the deer below would pause in their grazing with their ears at attention, hearing nothing and proving as good as deaf to the talons protruding from the agent’s gloves. The device was not an ancient relic but a symbolic weapon and tool. It was a product of necessity with humanity writhing under it’s own power, it collapsed under it’s own weight. It was an instrument of justice and metaphorical scalpel to lance infections and cancer from within the new humanity.

A shiver touched the twins as well as the rest of the squad in ear shot. A doe below them bounded in fright at the voice over it’s head.

“Lets hope we have the right target.” Verza said with a voice cringing at the thought of failure. Failure meant the transition of a random civilian into that of a blood letting creature. Success meant the creature was bound to the tribe and cured of blood lust. In phrase: a new sister.

The last time failure met a Raben squad, an eye was pulled from a screaming face by a human intoxicated by their own body chemistry. Mafic and Felsic had learned a lesson they would have preferred to forget.

Two bodies were pulled from a tunnel when Mafic and Felsic failed. The first was their friend clutching at an eye that wasn't there. The second would become their tribe sister, she was too far gone but survived the extraction.

"It will not happen again!" Mafic and Felsic thought together. Such a burden of shame would linger forever.

The sisters were signaled, and with a burst of intense light, they rushed out from the forest darkness and into the light of the fields. They dived low into a crawl as their squad moved around in a parameter. A swarm of black birds were over head squawking and croaking their terrible music. The visors dulled out most of the irritation caused to the mutated eyes of the twins. But a stinging sensation would not be enough to distract them from their mission.

Two tractors were leaving a dust cloud in the distance. Ten minutes would move them into position. Their target atop one of them.

Wren Koko and her father Muller Koko

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