Soon Nathaniel shook out of the loft and swiftly looked around with sweat streaming down his face. He sees the barrels of food and supplies near him and the roof of the wagon patched up with mismatched patterns of cloth. He then sees his companion Malthael near the opening of the wagon.
“Come on. We are close. ” he says.
They jump off the wagon onto the muddy ground and walk with the battalion of 1000 people. Armed with swords, spears, and shields. They are all clad in heavy armor, and some are riding confidently on horseback.
Onward they march, disappearing into the black smoke, lit only by the many fires near the town. All of them battle hardened and worn by the days and days of fighting the Dragoons. The soldiers all know what dangers they are going to come across.
Dragoons are wingless dragons of the old era, whose stature resembles that of a man. The lizards envelop themselves in a thick wall of scales, yet they still wear armor for the added protection. Their bodies now exceptionally impervious to fire and as hard as steel. However what really frightens the men, is the will and ferocity of the beasts.
They won’t stop unless you render them immobile. They are notorious for using their razor sharp teeth and claws for battle when unarmed. Their loyalty causes them to blindly follow their leader. They will even go as far as dying willingly on the field of battle. The strongest and most courageous men, still go unprepared for the intensity and pressure of the battles to come. However, these men, these men wear the Mantle of the Throne. The highest title a soldier can ever get. Among these most elite soldiers, there is the Hero of Pandora, Nathaniel. There is also The Angel of Justice known as Malthael. He was the very last of the Angel race.
Finally, They make it to a nearby resource camp. All the soldiers go and slump on the cold, soggy ground. They tiredly moan and massage their shoulders as they try to relax from the past battles. Nathaniel slings his battle axe over his shoulder, allowing it to rest perfectly center on his back. The thud it makes, causes him to flinch, as pain radiates up his back. He finds a tree stump close to the camp, slightly out of sight from the other soldiers. Sitting with a prominent slouch, he leisurely grabs his water bag from his waist. Lifting the bottle to his dry lips he relishes the feeling of moisture in his mouth. He dumps the last of the water on his head and shoulders, feeling the dust and grime slowly dissipate. Steam rises from his ragged yet smooth hair, the bulging scars on his shoulders become more prominent.
The soldiers nearby talk admiringly about his adventures and his companion. Nathaniel battles with Malthael, the Angel that has come to aid in the war the humans are engaged in.
Nathaniel overhears one of the soldiers say, ” Isn’t that the hero of Pandora? I hear he’s the strongest fighter of Tristram. ”
Nathaniel chuckles as he hears the over exaggerated stories and tales as they get more and more warped as they travel from ear to ear.
” Aren’t they the ones who had slain the Dragoon Army of 500 in Pandora? ”
“ He is the son of the famous Thor of Tristram. ”
Malthael looks around and speaks, ” Are you ok? And are they really that stupid to think we are heros? ” Malthael now looks at Nathaniel. ” I mean, who carries a cursed weapon to battle? And wasn’t it a battalion of fifty we fought in Pandora? ”
With a chuckle, Nathaniel replys,” Ahh, just leave them to their stories. As long as we know the true story. And a battalion it was, but we are not like them. They need at least 25 elite soldiers to stand against those fifty Dragoons. Besides, you know how we humans love to exaggerate our stories, right? And yes, to answer your question, I am fine. ” He finishes with a smirk at Malthael.
” True, but it does get tiresome. Hearing the same story over and over again, but each time more morphed than the last one. Besides, wasn’t Pandora where your family lived? ” He cautiously glances at Nathaniel.
” I thought that you had gotten use to the ole story tellers Malthael? And yes, Pandora was where I learned to battle, and eventually joined in a real one by my father’s side. The Thor of Tristram people called him. ” He says as he kicks a patch of dirt.
” I thought I had too, but its seems that the people here are very uncanny and ... ridiculous to say the least. I’m always finding myself curious as to how you humans work and speak. You spent years training with your father and you were finally able to win a sword fight, if I am correct? ”
Nathaniel lets out a throaty chuckle and says, ” I did beat him. However that wasn’t the only defeat he had tasted. My mother had also gotten countless victories against my father. As far as humans are concerned, you can blame it all on the drink. You do not know the power of liquor until you have tried it my friend. It is always quite a show when a batch of drunk soldiers cluster together. ” Nathaniel digs through his bag and triumphantly raises a bottle of chateau mango. ” You could always give it a try now, you know? It’s aged quite well, a whole 100 years if you believe that. ”
Malthael raises his hand at the bottle,” Thank you Nate, but I could not drink until my task is complete. However I will promise to have a drink with you when this is over. ” Giving Nathaniel a reassuring smile. ” Was it that dream again? The one that comes so often? ”
” I’m going to hold you to that, and yes, it was that dream again. The day where everything when to anarchy. ” He takes a big swig then puts the bottle back in his bag. With a half impatient sigh he continues, ” Do you think this will be over soon? It gets tiresome killing the same Dragoons over and over and over again. ”
Malthael offered a short laugh filled with contempt and understanding. ” I wish, but it seems it won’t be as easy as slaying a few scouting parties here and there. You will be able to find your family once again my friend. I know it, but It seems that we are going to be up against a much stronger force here. ” Halfheartedly pointing toward the smoke and bright fires across the desolate town.
” Yeah, I can tell. This will not be an easy feat for us to conquer. If the defenses were to be defeated, then there is a deadly force owned by the Dragoons. ” He strongly grips the ax handle that protrudes from behind his back.
Malthael places his hand over Nathanael’s and says in a soothing tone,” Easy, brother. That battle has not come yet. And it is not just a monster that we are fighting, we are fighting strong, cunning, and the largest of the largest dragoons. “
Turning a surprised look to Malthael he responds, ” What? I had thought you told me that they only get to the scout size and the king size. Are you telling me we are going into a fight with the King? ”
” No, Unfortunately, we are not fighting Eifreet. However we will run across at least one of his Generals, I assume. I had scouted ahead in the darkness to see what we were up against on the cliffside near the town. ” He pointed at the jagged cliff towering over the town. ” It seems we are up against the next big thing next to the scouts. Generals usually possess a big physique and a quality I have not seen for a long while. Long ago when I had fought the Dragoons with my brothers, we found the scouts were usually smarter then because of the well mapped strategies the generals put together. They have the leadership quality almost similar to the King, But do not possess the same power as him.Therefore they are put in charge of managing the scouts. ” He looks straight at Nathaniel when he is finished.
Nathaniel exclaims, ” Finally, a battle where I can go all out! ” grinning and quickly pulls his axe on both hands in front of him. Playfully slashing at imaginary enemies and celebrating a victory that has yet to unfold.
” I suggest being a bit careful young Nathaniel, Dragoons have a superior memory of their opponents strengths and weaknesses. That is how I lost my brothers in battle. We were careless because what we lacked in numbers, we thought we could compensate with power. That way of thinking, as it turns out, was the downfall of my race. ” He rests a hand on Nathaniel’s shoulder with a light grip, as he looks in the distance. He is seemingly lost somewhere between the past and the present.
” Don’t worry about me, just worry about the other people. Protect them. I can handle myself in the battle that approaches. ” He confidently swings his ax over his other shoulder, feeling comforted by its presence. ” My Blood and Glory shall have my back and I shall use it for everyone. ” He gives Malthael a grin and a pat on the back before turning around and marching toward camp.