Callum Lynx

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Chapter 26

A unit of Shadowcloaks were camping out in the trees when they noticed a large mass approaching off in the distance. One of the Shadowcloaks climbed higher up the tree to get a better look at what they saw. Sure enough, the assassin saw men and women in black clad armor riding on horseback.

"We need to go tell Fuljir now. Come on!" said the Shadowcloak who climbed the tree. All five Shadowcloaks swiftly descended the trees and ran as fast as they could towards the border of Lekkyu's territory.

Shogun Lekkyu had every single samurai wake up early in the morning and eat breakfast before coming out into the training yard for his before battle speech. Callum was standing near the back of the formation, as Lekkyu wanted the better trained samurai in the lead. Vilija stood right next to him. Throughout Lekkyu's speech, Callum tried his best to keep himself calm, as the thoughts of the upcoming battle kept crossing his mind. Lekkyu's speech took over thirty minutes, but to Callum, it felt like it took way longer.

"Fight with honor and die with pride. No matter what happens today, you will fight as heroes." Lekkyu finished his speech. Callum glanced over at Vilija, who seemed to be much calmer than him. Vilija noticed Callum looking at her and turned to face him.

"You okay?" Vilija asked with a smile.

"Yeah, just nervous." Callum replied with a slight nod.

"Don't let that get the best of ya or you probably won't last very long." Vilija joked. Callum gave her an death glare. Vilija raised her hands.

"That was a joke if you couldn't tell." Vilija said. Callum looked forward again as he heard some commotion between samurai, and saw a figure dressed in black standing in front of Shogun Lekkyu. It's a Shadowcloak, Callum thought to himself. The young samurai saw General Kr'aska step forward next to Lekkyu and then suddenly walked around the side of the temple before coming back moments later. Kr'aska said something to Lekkyu, who then turned the face the samurai still in formation.

"I need your attention once more. Shogun Kaz's army is approaching. It appears they are heading towards the Valley of the Dead. It's a good thing I had you all get your armor on before you came here, because we need to get on our horses and meet them over there. I'd rather fight them there than fight with them in my village." Lekkyu shouted. Each samurai made their way over to the stables outside of the temple walls to retrieve their horses.

"Get back into formation as soon as you are on your horse!" Kr'aska ordered. Callum climbed on top of his black horse and noticed the samurai forming up beside the stable.

"Callum, over here!" the young samurai heard a voice from behind. Callum turned his horse around and saw Vilija. Callum and Vilija were at the very back of the formation once again, and Lekkyu began to lead the army out of the village and over to the Valley of the Dead. The valley earned its name due to the battles that always take place there. Countless numbers of knights, samurai, and even travelers have died within the valley. To make matters worse, the bodies of the dead were just left there to rot away, and nowadays, there were tons of skeletal remains of nameless victims.

Within each minute, Callum's heart raced faster and faster as he could see the enemy army approaching from the distance. Originally, Callum felt safe and protected in his armor. But now, after seeing the amount of enemy samurai, he no longer felt safe. Callum once again thought about Ketra, and wished he was with her instead of being in the Valley of the Dead with the possibility of being another member added to the valley.

"Cal." Vilija's voiced suddenly snapped Callum's attention towards her. Callum looked over at Vilija.

"Stay right beside me this entire time. If we fight together, we may have a better chance at survival." Vilija said. Callum nodded his head and then looked ahead at Shogun Lekkyu, who was raising his hand to discontinue the march. Callum noticed that they were halfway across the valley, and were now waiting for Shogun Kaz to reach the other half. After several minutes, Kaz's army eventually reached them.

"Shogun Lekkyu, it's been awhile since I've seen you." said Kaz, scanning his enemy's army.

"Yeah, well it will probably be the last day you will see me, Shogun." Lekkyu returned. Kaz chuckled as he hopped off of his horse. Callum couldn't see anything over the heads of the samurai in front of him, but could only hear the two shoguns conversing. Callum felt something tap the side of his left leg, and when he turned to look, he saw a Shadowcloak.

"Cal, I'm staying down here with you guys, but we have Shadowcloak archers positioned within the valley, ready to shoot the enemy down." Callum recognized Dzin's voice.

"They are so high up though, how will they be able to spot and pierce the openings in the armor?" Callum asked.

"Trust me, we are trained enough. I've got your back, brother." Dzin said, smiling underneath his garb. Callum nodded his head. Vilija looked at Dzin, who returned the look and waved.

"Do you remember me?" Dzin asked as he walked around Callum's horse towards Vilija.

"Yeah, and I'm going to kick you in the face while I'm in the position." Vilija said with a slight smile.

"How rude, I'm going to be helping you guys fight Kaz's army and I get this from you in return?" Dzin said in a teasing tone.

"I'm still a bit mad from you attacking Cal." Vilija brought up.

"That was awhile ago, girl. You need to calm it down if you want me to save you at all today." said Dzin. Vilija shook her head and looked away from the Shadowcloak, focusing her attention on the shoguns conversation.

"May I ask why exactly you find it necessary to take my territory away?" Lekkyu questioned. Kaz took several paces forward and stopped, leaving a good amount of distance between him and Lekkyu.

"Because I'm going to become the new emperor of this island, and you just so happen to be the first territory I'm going to claim. It's easy as that." Kaz replied, resting his hand on the hilt of his katana.

"I hate to break it to you, Kaz. But that little scheme of yours isn't happening. To be honest, I really don't want to have to fight you. We could just talk this out and be civil about this." said Lekkyu.

"Really? Be civil about this? Come on, Lekkyu. Do you honestly think I'm going to let you guys out of this one? The answer is no, by the way." Kaz said in an agitated tone. Lekkyu glanced at Kaz's generals, and noticed the one wearing the phoenix insignia on his army.

"I can see you have your cousin Phoenix on board." Lekkyu mentioned. Kaz looked back at Phoenix and then back at Lekkyu.

"Both of them are." Kaz returned, referring to Jet.

"Look, Lekkyu. I can make a little deal with you here that could ultimately leave you and your army alive." Kaz started.

"And what is that?" Lekkyu asked, tilting his head to the side.

"You can help me take over this island, and you can be my second in command after we claim the other territories here on Newern. If you agree to this, we can settle this out and not have any fatalities. Is that civil enough for you?" Kaz said, raising out his hand. Callum and Dzin looked at each other as they waited to hear for the response.

"No, I'm not going to let you do that." Lekkyu stated.

"Yeah?" Kaz said as he dropped his hand and began walking back over to his horse. Lekkyu watched him the entire way.

"Well, I tried to make it to where we didn't have to battle, but now, I guess that will just have to be the final solution." said Kaz, drawing out his katana.

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