EarthBorn: First Days

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The Only Thing Left

Seconth Day 1st Quarter

Legion Wayke and Maidon stand in the middle of the courtyard awaiting Runes return, he walks under the arch to greet them...

“What have you discovered?”...Wayke answers first spilling all he has learnt...

’’The military situation is mediocre at best, they have a force though it is, lacking to say the least, no word of their allies could be alive or dead, they say land encampments litter the land but they’ve had no word and they don’t know where the enemy lay rest”...

‘’Good work?’’ Rune replies but Wayke has not finished...

“Something obvious troubles me, they use primitive materials in relation to what is available, the shepherd Alloy has signs sophisticated metallurgy on his throne and armour, the people and troops do not share this advantage”...Rune agrees ...

“ I agree, the shepherds have something about them I cannot pin point! Maidon what did you find out?’’...Maidon looks shifty but speaks quickly as if she had nothing to offer...

“ Erm, not much they follow pagan gods, they sing and do something called dancing, that’s all i found”... Rune is less then impressed and does not hold back...

“That is all? You were gone for a fair time and you found out they dance and follow pagan gods?” ...Maidon looks up like a child who cant lie...

“I couldn’t help myself...it was so ...relieving and exciting!”...she says while hugging her self tightly the memory of her waltzing still strong...” We will talk about this later”...Maidon retreats into herself as Wayke talks out loud...”What of you Rune?, what did the shepherds tell you’’...Rune tells all...

‘’ The situation is more complicated then we thought, there are others not just men who call this world home, Star fathers, subterranean people who live beneath the surface, the rock stacks who have all but vanished, they do not know of the one that plague them the shepherds have ulterior motives as yet unknown but they definitely hide something from us but, we shall see how things unfold’’... he turns to One Legion who stays quiet...

“Anything Legion? Anything at all?’’...Legion raisins his arm between his companions and plays a recording of the footsteps and grunts he heard looking out into the dark forest atop the wall...”Boom...Boom...Boom... Naaawwwwrrr!’’...

“A star Father! we can track it tomorrow ,maybe it can lead us to this unknown enemy of theirs, We have a quarters in the barracks and it seems my friends that there is only one thing left to do...Hunt them down”...they all nod in agreement and follow Wayke who knows the way to the barracks. On the way down just they see townsfolk running past with buckets of water in a frenzy, further down there is a frantic group engaging an inferno that was once a home with the carried water, not troubling or large but enough to anger some of the locals who combat the blaze, as they pass the commotion they hear An adult raising his voice at a child they notice a man on one knee holding a small palm sized metal trinket in her face, Rune Wayke and Maidon all look behind at Legion who sharply edges forward at speed hurrying them all forward in a cluster last the crime , he catches the little girls eye, the flames burn bright in reflection of her tear soaked iris, One legion puts his finger over his lips to beg for her silence, she answers with a devilish grin bringing his worry to an end they hasten away . Walking the same mud beaten path Wayke did earlier they arrive at the gate, well informed guards the same ones Wayke has already acquainted open the gate before the Knights can get to it, they enter the barracks area , all but a few sentries lay resting they snore sleeping off the substance abuse from the festivities, Wayke can see a well lit structure on the right next to captain Gores quarters that wasn’t there before...”Over there, that must be ours!”...he heads them to the large canvass pitch made of many rags, it is warm, well supplied it has beds food and basins of wood fire heated water, although tat it has all any man would need, very hospitable an overly thoughtful setup much of it is lost useless to them, they look at things picking them up observing and then tossing it aside... There is no time for rest, dawn approaches bringing quest with it, they must reacquaint with their weapons and muster a small troop of men to come on the hunt...

“At first light we track the Star Father as far as we can, that should bring more for us to go in search of, Legion i want vocals tomorrow no keeping things to yourselves anymore! Maidon you take the rear guard , Wayke centre of the formation constant readings, anything that moves I want to hear about it, I’m upfront...Let us begin!”...they all head as four at pace across the short distance to captain Gores quarters and find he is sitting in a chair staring at the weapons spewed out across the map on his table, his face red and full of pain they pick up their weapons looking upon the captain the whole time Rune speaks...”Get the men in camp into lines on the parade, i wish to speak with the captain alone”...the three leave voicing nothing and begin getting the men up as ordered Rune remains still before bringing a chair within two feet of captain Gore, the Elite Knight leans back comfortably into the seat looking at the Captain...

“That’s it for me now isn’t it, they’ve got you now and i cant compete, just by looking at those weapons the look i see in all your eyes i know this much , i see something I’ve never seen in any man beast or shepherd alike, it’s not evil all have evil in small measure, its not death...its not great loss, it’s, hunger, yet so much deeper isn’t it commander, it’s”... Rune interrupts captain Gore with his hand raised gesturing him to lower his voice...

“ Gore i will say to you what i said to your shepherds, we are here as help not conquerors, if we were we would not be sharing these words you and I or anyone else who lay here, you would be outside on fire along with the Shepherds, we share the same blood and a common goal it is logical that we aid you, we are you and you are us, do not feel you are being pushed aside by us for that is not our intentions, you are commander of this army, now you can either sit here and wallow away in self pity or you can stand fast come outside and select your best scouts for our hunting party , What will it be Captain!?”... Rune stands offering Gore his hand, the captain looks up with a different emotion present...

“Well when you put it like that!”...Gore take Runes hand and Rune lifts him from his chair...

“So what is the plan then?’’...Gore asks standing at the basin dousing his face with water as Rune reveals his plan...

“ We’ve got a Star Father sighting just inside the forest, we will start there then try catch a scent of these unknown enemies, we need to know what we are up against before we can formulate any type of strategy, hence why we need your scouts.’’ ...Gore sighs while drying his hands on a rag...

“I know you know what your doing but take my word for it , you won’t find much of them, they leave nothing behind, as I said to your man earlier, all we know is they come from the North”...

’’well if the Star Father tracks end up being a wild goose chase we shall head North as a rule of thumb! Shall we Captain?”... Rune holding his arm up they leave the captains quarters side by side, they are greeted by the troops in assembly all on the dirt training patch, with all on bare their image cannot hide, that are thin and appear not well fed they are no warriors or smithy’s and judging by last nights antics they are not the most intelligent, Legion Wayke and Maidon stand at the head with lieutenant charge, lieutenant Anuk stands off to the side away from the others surrounded by some of his tribal warriors, captain Gore addresses the mustered men still rubbing eyes and yawning tired, he tells them the situation and plan to scout outside the walls...

‘’This is Commander Rune.... he is taking command answerable only to me! theses are his generals, also only answerable to me, while they are here you show them the same respect and loyalty you do me, things are changing for the better, these people are here to help , help us get things to the way they were before any of us drew breathe into this mess, no more hiding under rocks, no more shying from the night, no more disgrace of our dead!’’...the men all shout together half hearted some more then others...

‘’OOOOOAAAHHHH...OOOOAAAHHHH’’

‘’ We need volunteers to go with commander Rune on a scouting ride, to find where the abominations lay rest, we need any willing ,preferably those who have stood in combat before’’... the entire front line steps forward five strong, those who were loudest those of courage, those of heart... ’’Very well, go and get prepared weapons armour and provisions nothing more, we will see you at the gates as soon as you have your things!” ...the men leave at haste to gather their things wondering if they were to hasty to step up ,Rune looks to the Captain...

’’Gore how long will it take to muster your full force?...

“ For all man and beast?...a few hours”... Not what he was expecting but he goes along...

’’Begin immediately for our return I want everything you’ve got available ready to move to a position you will be informed of in time, keep them fed and rested...but ready!”...

captain Gore screams at the rest standing to attention...

“YOU HEARD HIM!, every man armed and ready, leave nothing out, beast riders Hillsiders , I want it all!! Fall out!’’...

The knights head for the keeps gate leaving Gore to get on with preparations ,they await the scouts to join them, conversation is thin only relating to the steps ahead of them and what may lay ahead...

“What’s the plan once we find the enemy ?’’..Maidon asks freely Rune answering simply...

“What we were made to do! ’’... the scout party arrives clambering to put their last pieces on dropping water bottles not very ready for a quest, eventually all gathered they stand firm in front of their alien commanders, Rune looks the line left to right looking into the soul of the five men....

‘’OPEN THE GATE’’...he bellows eyes remaining gazed into theirs as the gates fold open, he can see the fear run down their face like rain, their pupils dilate and lids widen , hearts begin to race all the knights can hear it...

’’DO NOT BE SCARED.....TODAY IS THE DAY YOU TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR DESTINY..... TODAY WITH THESE STEPS OUTSIDE THESE WALLS YOU START THE PATH TO FREEDOM, YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THOSE WHO TOOK THE FIRST STAND FOR YOUR PEOPLE....TODAY IS THE BEGINNING OF YOUR ACENSION!”....all those watching erupt into glorious cheer as Rune leads them from the gate, the guards atop the wall drape banners for them, messages of hope, not crossing the ridges they veer to the right and towards the Star Fathers last position in the forest, the location drawing closer all cheers retreating a howling wind sweeps in, unnatural lightning sheets the sky and downpour batters the ground from sightless cloud, Rune ushers in the group through some shrubbery and turns to look back once more at the keep, he sees Gaia on the wall where One Legion must have stood last night as if she was with him, eyes fixed on them like an eagle it’s prey, he turns and vanishes in to the low brush wondering hard about her atop the wall. They hold their pace stopping until the One Legion locates the tracks they seek, standing awaiting in silence with only the rain to hear until, the loud crashing of the gate closing up rumbles ripples the air the men clasping charms closing their eyes and whispering prayers, Wayke breaks Rune from his fascination of the men’s praying as Legion waves to them thirty yards away, he has found the tracks...

“ I want them Ina circle around the foot print facing the forest, Maidon get them in position”...

“You heard form a circle around the area face the forest keep both eyes open for any movements!”... The men fall out and does as she orders without question, Rune and Wayke bend down at the large footprint inspecting what they can...

“At least fifteen feet, the depth puts it around the two ton mark and they have...six toes? “... Legion grunts then spits on the ground, Rune looking ahead following each print from the first with his eagle eyes until the image comes clear, bark and branch lay snapped and shredded along the track any shrubs flattened in an instant they already begin to brown...

“ Something clearly was in distress!, form up on my orders , I want one up front with me, Wayke centre with two Maidon rear guard with the remaining two, Legion ,you know what to do!”...Legion bends down until he can no more and jumps high onto a tree clinging to it’s trunk with his powerful hydraulic assisted grip, he climbs high and fast leaping from trunk to trunk, the first canopy cleared with ease he disappears into the second and thickest foliage out of sight, Rune turns to look at the company in their form, he looks forward again his eyes bring the trail to focus it’s all that exists only one path appears, he lets rip a short sharp whistle, Legion leads from above giving a high view of what lies ahead, he tears through the tree top unseen, tree hoping high above shaking branches felling the fruits from their bunches, the others on the ground following the two tones of green shimmer, leaves that shower from above rolling in the airs revealing both sides, one pale, one rich and dark, like the old Fathers paint the very trail for them with unseen brushes in the sky lead deep into the forest...

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