The Night of the Lost
“I can’t contact the Northern Forts. I asked the Warden clan’s communications officer what the problem was and he said the issue is out in the mountains, not in the Corvus Castrum’s systems. I still find that weird but I understand. We’ll have to patrol without radio company. I imagine I’m in for a quite evening.”
-Personal Note: Marshal Verner-
Avisland: The Northern Border, Summit Post.
Rankivol and Alanza stood gearing up in their bunker atop the mountain. Rankivol was a head and a half taller but was under Alanza in rank. She was a Marshal. They had just sent out two of their party to send an emergency message to the caravan on the pass.
“Rankivol, I don’t’ get it. We sent Roost the warning. The scouts told us. But why did Roost just leave the Arbiters on the hill, do they think we meant a different slope?” Said Alanza.
“The scouts saw the fiends yesterday, Scouts told us last night, we told Roost this morning. It’s been twelve hours and they have had more than enough time to gear up. If they bail out on the defense, they’re going to be...” Rankivol said but almost couldn’t let the words out.
“This whole thing stinks. What the hell is going on, the two from Warden should have messaged us or arrived already.” Alanza said.
Alanza put her helmet on and attached her claws to her hands. Her black feathers were short, angry, and puffed out.
“Rank you were in Bedded once right? Activate our radio, signal all the posts, we have an emergency.”
Rankivol moved quickly and tied a message to a crow’s leg.
Every post in the mountains was a bunker and every bunker had a messenger crow and a radio of some sort. The mountain base was one room and a ceiling hatch to get in. A series of windows allowed Tribe Raben to view most points of the mountain slopes from their hidden bunker.
“Non-human attack, fiend variant, send aid.” He wrote on the note.
Rankivol sat the bird down and reached for his main weapon after setting up the machine for Alanza. A long staff with a blade on one end and a black powder weapon crafted into the shaft.
“Oh wait!” She took off her helmet finding her self in a silly situation.
“We’re getting sound through! I just have to use the equipment we have here.” She placed an ear piece to her head. And Rankivol adjusted the machine and Alanza shuddered.
“Rankivol, someone is screaming!” She gasped. “It stopped. Rankivol who was that?”
"No It was probably just me with the gear here sorry." Rankivol said while he tweaked and manipulated the system.
"No it wasn't." She said back with some irritation.
He adjusted a dial back.
“This is Marshal Alanza at the Border post, is anyone there?”
“This is Marshal Alanza! Come in!”
“I’ll try the the closest post.” Rankivol said.
“This is Marshal King...” Alanza’s heart leaped. “The communications have been going out.”
“It’s good to hear you, we have an emergency- “No! Alexa!”
A scream came through again. Then silence.
Rank heard the latch open to the bunker.
One of their Raben Marshals lept down armed with a Jezail on his back and twin claws on each hand. Rankivol glanced to see a superior officer. Rankivol returned to his gear.
“Thank goodness you’re here sir! We have an Arbiter Tribe caravan on the border and a migration of fiends approaching. And something is wrong on the other posts too I'm afraid. They might be in extreme danger.”
"We're here to take care of it." He said as he walked by.
“Hurry! We sent two of our squad out to warn the Arbiters.” Rankivol said as he left the machine to tie his talons on and strapped his sidearm to his chest. The Marshal passed Rankivol and walked to Alanza. She continued signal searching throughout the mountains for anyone to intervene or provide aid.
The Marshal, fresh from the surface moved with a poise and purpose. He pointed his firearm quickly from his side towards the caged crow in wire dome sitting in the corner. A long bullet flew out and impaled the bird before the sound had even reached their ears. In an instant, before the blast echoed around the room alerting Rankivol, first blood went to the Marshal. The Marshal moved first under the ultimate advantage.
The Marshal's claws were embedded on his hands as well as the knuckles. With a snatching motion. He had wrangled his fingers around Alanza's neck in a moment.
Then he squeezed his right hand and pulled her closer. Her fingers tensed around in twisting fists and extending palms in fluctuation and panic at the sensation.
In his clench, a spray of blood spurted out across his chest leaking down her back and chest. Her throat was opened and the pull had pressed her ribs against his left hand's blades. Her neck was shredded open, and the left blades had gone into her side from the back. A professional kill.
Alanza gasped out with blood dripping. She never breathed in again.
Time slowed for Rankivol. He saw Alanza’s eyes widen and couldn’t look away from the blood pulsing out of her neck like a deadly heart beat. As she fell, the Marshal’s claws reached out of her neck and chambered into a strike at Rankivol next. Rankivol snapped awake. He met claws and the Marshal’s second set of blades grabbed his free arm. Four points cut straight into him. just under an inch. The blades loomed around him in his duel. As they exchanged slashes in a frenzy of upper cuts and jabs, only one made it through. With most of them glancing some of his armor, Rankivol was able to lash out with his favored technique.
Rankivol leaned back and thrusted his head forward in a headbutt. He acted out his ploy. He was mostly trying to create space.
He was successful and was able to get the assassin back. Foot work was critical. Light movements allowed him to maneuver. It was just far enough to free the side arm and set off two blasts at the Rabenite when he stumbled back and lurched to the right, dodging a thrust from the razors.
Rankivol placed his side arm up and shot into the attacker’s torso and kept shooting the now empty firearm. His weapon was just clicking empty. After such a noise, it was silent. The crow was dead and Alanza was nearing death. She could not even speak. But she was still responsive, twitching, and her hand was raised clutching her opened throat on the floor.
Alanza brought herself up from the ground with an unbreakable will. She knelt low pounced on Rankivol. Her back exploded shortly after as black metal dart protruded from her spine. Only then did she rest her head against Rankivol’s chest. She couldn't even crawl.
Her eyes stop moving. With her life sold for Rankivol's, the second attacker was exposed.
Rank pulled himself up. But paused, the second adversary entered in from the hatch. He held his own side arm and a sword.
The second figure cracked his second shot as Rankvol fell and he drew Alanza’s sidearm swinging back lining the sights. The quick draw sent a metal bolt straight into the attacker’s head, pinning him dead against the ladder of the outpost with a metal cylinder. His attacker had pinned him to the floor in turn, but only by his leg.
The Raben weapons fired narrow, solid, cylinder rods. And the more developed weapons could fire longer ones for agents to climb when fired at flat surfaces. Rankivol’s were the length of his hand easily.
Rank, as he was commonly called, fumbled over to a cabinet on the side of the wall. His arm clumsily raked the drawer off with his claws. With it open, he reached in to get a needle. A Robin native feathered into the tribe years back. They had brought their medical knowledge with them and it was exactly for moments like this. He weaved a needle and the slight bit of tiny thread across his underarm where he was cut and as much as he could to his leg. The bleeding slowed everywhere except his leg after a few touch ups. He ripped and tore a piece of his attackers cloaks and tightened them around his leg injury.
Finally, he reactivated the the radio.
“This is Rankivol! Marshal Alanza has been murdered! As well as others on the northern mountain border. A caravan, ah!” the pain seeped into him from his leg. He spoke in rushed measures. “There’s a caravan! An Arbiter’s Caravan in the mountains... they're in danger as well.”
“Rankivol this is Marshal Katherine. I can hear you. We haven’t heard from many other posts.”
“It’s an ambush! Katherine! Watch your door! They’re moving in pairs. Raben is hunting Raben! We have Rabenites killing Rabenites.”
Several echoes resounded on the microphone.
"Fight well! Kathrine!