The Chains that Bind

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Two choices

The Captain finished his story by saying: "That orc female was the daughter of the previous War boss, and she vouched for me. I soon became the new "boss" and started raiding human and elven caravans. I couldn't win the war, but I could be a thorn in both armies' sides….. Lorien would have liked that."

He said her name slowly trying and failing to hold back tears. "They killed her just because she wanted them to stop fighting, and I still hear her last words."

He shuddered as Caewen placed a hand on his arm. He took a deep breath and "I let her die, because I wasn't strong enough. I couldn't defeat them all. I hate myself for not being able to save her, but I can save the idea she fought for. That's why I do what I do, because I'm keeping a promise, and I'm going to see this war end."

Caewen nodded "I understand."

The Captain looked at her and smiled, suddenly struck with an idea "Would you consider joining our little band of fighters?"

"Yes" She spoke without hesitation and knew in her heart that she wanted this, because more than ever this was a way to make a difference.

Caewen walked inside of the tent that the Captain had picked for her confident that tomorrow would be a brighter day and she would help make it.

The Captain stood and suddenly stiffened, his hand went to his sword and he spun around drawing it with a flourish, and placing it at the throat of a figure that was standing near him.

"Whoa!" exclaimed the figure, stepping into the light, "it's me, Kol." Kol was about as tall as the captain and armed with several throwing knives that hung in a sheath across his chest.

The Captain sheathed his sword and turned away "I don't know how it works in your city, but in my camp, you don't sneak around."

Kol shrugged "You are needed Captain, follow me."

And with that Kol turned and ran, with the Captain following at the same pace.

Both men rushed into the woodlands surrounding the Orc camp and soon came to the same clearing that the Captain had stood in just hours ago. The Captain looked around and saw no one as Kol shouted "Alright we need to vote!"

Several small blue orbs suddenly appeared in the clearing around the men and they expanded into projections.

A werewolf, a mage, a heavily scarred dwarf, a pirate and a half elf with a missing eye stood in the clearing, projected by magic.

Kol spoke first "We all know that the war between the humans and the elves is reaching its boiling point, and if it isn't stopped the war will engulf the whole world. Peace talks have failed and all out war seems to be the only option, but there is another way:

If we intervene we can stop the war before it claims thousands of innocent lives, but we need to stand together, or else we will die apart."

Kol looked every person in the eye and asked "Who's with me?"

"I am!" This came from the mage in the corner, who had a slight twinkle in his eye "It sounds like fun!"

The pirate chuckled "Well it will be a lot of fun to go and risk our lives!"

The werewolf spoke in between growls "….I kill…everyone!..."

The one eyed half-elf shook his head "My troops have already been fighting the elves on their island since this darned war began. Why didn't you pirates come to help us then?"

The Pirate's face turned stony "Hey, we've already been running supplies to that godforsaken island, and that is risk enough!"

"Enough!" Kol screamed "Look we all have our differences, but we need to put them aside and work together for a better tomorrow."

The pirate smiled "Well said Kol, the other pirate 7 leaders have voted 2 no to 5 yes! Our fleets will aid you."

The Werewolf growled his next sentence with great difficulty1 "I…..not kill….you…..for now!"

"I'm in!" laughed the mage "You got me right? I said yes!"

The pirate captain slapped his forehead "The mage is as crazy as my old wife!"

The dwarf spoke next, with the fire of vengeance burning in his eyes "I'm going, and don't you try and stop me! I'm blowing the humans and the elves to bits!"

Kol turned "My thieves are in as well, and with the Captain on our side…."

"No"

Kol faced the Captain "We need you, with you and your army with us we stand a chance against these guys"

"It's suicide"

"The Humans and Elves aren't invincible!" Kol protested

"I'm talking about the group you are putting together, put all of them in one room and they won't get along, much less fight together."

"If we don't stop them now they'll swallow the world!"

"Sorry, but I can't lose another friend." The Captain turned and disappeared into the night.

One by one the thief leader was hammered by rejections:

"Sorry Kol."

"If the Captain is out so am I."

"The pirate lords need to reconsider."

"It's too dangerous."

The projections faded away as Kol faced the half elf leader who remarked "Go back to your city Kol keep your people safe. We'll fight this war ourselves" before he too faded away.

The Captain walked back to his camp and sat down on the log as Caewen walked out of her tent "I heard what you said, but if you don't fight with your friends and let them in, then you can't keep your promise because you'll be dead too. So what man did Lorien fall in love with: The one who would do anything for her? Or the one who is a coward and a promise breaker?"

She left him then, and the Captain fiddled with his locket, and stayed there for a long time.

1 Werewolves have great difficulty not killing living beings


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