Part 47

Reinforcements

Hera watched them from afar, a thundering mass of wild men mounted upon dusty horses, a horde of barbarian cavalry men, in their thousands. The heavy hooves rumbling the ground for miles around as they made their steady way through DeepWood Forest.
On tow, a caravan of wagons carrying supplies, materials,  arms… These were war men set up to break camp upon command, self sufficient, trained warriors,  hardy survivors.

It was impossible to conclude upon their motives or what their course of action would be… They passed under The Shadow Order, as Indigo and her troops traveled the forest by the tall branches. The extent of their number was terrifying,  yet they passed hamlets and village without harassment. Pausing only a few times to collect fresh water for their mounts. Indigo noted, they always asked,  when a force that size could demand, could take without any resistance. They always asked,  always tending to their beasts first and always left an offering at well or spring. Traditionally, this was a platted length of mane, sometimes woven with the riders own locks. Or fruit… Hera too noticed the respect the wild men had for  the old ways and approved. Yet she also held fear and apprehension deep in her soul, these men could mark a sincere turning point in events within the story.

Brynn traded two sheep in exchange for the warriors aid to rebuild her tumble down shack. It was a bold move to approach the men, to engage in conversation. To bargain and banter, though it paid off, for she spoke not of any war or struggles. She kept the exchange light hearted, with her usual casual attitude. Before two days past, her shelter was weather proof and they dined on fresh roasted lamb together.

With the barbarians traveled a woman Kaxa, from the far South, loyal concubine and mate of their leader. A giant beast of a man, near seven foot tall with long strong arms. Heavily scarred, some from war, some self inflicted in intricate patterns across his board chest. He was a silent character,  always watching,  always calculating. He was simply known as Grave and he treated his woman like a Goddess.

Together Grave and Kaxa lead their horde towards the capital city, an impressive sight to behold, yet they did not enter the city gates, they camped outside the walls and there they waited… This mighty silent force, paused awaiting … no one knew what the next steps would be… anticipation gripped those who witnessed the arrival of this force and even your humble narrator isn’t sure what she’s going to write next…

 

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(No idea where the picture came from originally,  possibly Facebook –                                              apologies I’m unable to properly credit an image source)

 

Anne Harrison 12.03.17

Part 45

The Dragon Prince

Kol, Jago’s eldest son and now heir to the kingdom, was happily tending to his beloved dragons. He had been raised along side these beasts, knowing each one personally as old friends, his knowledge of dragons was impressive and his skill for flying, incredible.

Jago found his son, sleeves rolled up, with a trough of clear scented water, a thick bristled broom in hand, scrubbing down the irradiance scales of Sheba. A towering thirty foot beauty, purring like a kitten as she enjoyed her grooming.

“You can’t fight with them!” Kol said, without turning to face his father. “The dragons won’t attack the capital Father, there are two children there, yet to be born. The dragons honour these babes, they won’t risk their safety.”

“You’re just like Indigo with your cryptic logic.”

“We are twins Father.”

“What babies Kol?  What are you talking about?”  Jago snapped,  a little too harshly than he meant, feeling stressed and torn between a duty he was born to uphold and his own sense of morality.

Kol ceased his scrubbing and turned to face his father. “Can I talk openly to you? Am I still free to express myself to my own Dad without fear that my words would be seen as offensive and the talk of a traitor?  Can I be honest with you, now that you are King?”

Jago stepped closer and clasped him on his shoulder. “I will always be your father first.”

“Then maybe you need to ask yourself whether these barbarians actually did us a favour? Your Grandfather was a vile man and you know I speak the truth for look what he did to your mother, auctioned her off to a wealthy land owner,  just to expand his empire. I suggest we talk to these people,  I believe we can extend a hand in friendship, built on the death of a tyrant, for the good of the people and the country.”

“That is a very bold statement.” The King sighed, his mind in turmoil.

Sheba nudged him with her giant snout.

“At least let us scout?” Kol suggested a compromise. “Mayhaps we shall find the babes?”

“What babies?” Jago frowned, repeating his question.

“I don’t know Father, I just know we need to find them.”

He lovingly stroked the gentle beasts nose, ‘such creatures should never be used for weapons.’  He thought …

“Find out what you can Kol, it pains me to use you and Indigo on such missions, yet I know I can trust you both without question. Just please, be careful,  try not to do anything too rash!”

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Anne Harrison 11.03.17

Part 43

The Elite Twelve and The Unwilling King

 

To the west, spread across the land like a dark plague, from the seas and jungles of the far north to the scorched wastelands were six large empires governed by the ‘Six Lords and Daughters’. This was The Kings Legacy, his wide realm. Had Alleia conceived Pepes child, then The Northern Clan Territories would have also fallen under his command. Such was the greed of The King, such was his corrupted poison.

News of his death, of the slaughter of his only son, his beloved wife, reached the sisters swiftly and they called a council with their Husbands. A fierce collection of titles. Duke, Marquess, Earl, Baron, Viscount, Lord. Ranked in order of superiority in accordance with the age of the Daughter they wed.

They were gathered now around a huge solid table, headed by the heir apparent… The eldest son of the eldest daughter, the lineage following direct male descendants of The King, with The Prince also dead, the title fell upon the shoulders of Jago. A grown man with children of his own, he had given up the idea of ruling when The Prince was born and that morning he had not anticipated awakening to the news that he was by right now King.

He sat silent at the head of the table, watching his parents, aunts and uncles bicker and squabble over details and speculation in fear. War was inevitable, yet everyone also wanted to protect their own land and their own interests. Some even suggesting that the ruling city was left to the barbarians, that they protected their own boundaries, safely hidden away in grand palaces and counting their riches, cutting their costs and basically letting traitors get away with murder.

Jago listened, he read through reports handed to him by eager messengers. Chaos erupted around him as the family dissolved into bitter arguments. Each of those in attendant had provided an inventory of their troops and supplies available for war. Jago anticipated those numbers to be false and calculating the forces he would need would be impossible as no one could judge just how large the barbarian forces were or how many were involved in the uprising.

He stood, the simple action drawing silence from those seated, a hush fell across the room as they waited for their King to speak.

“There will be war.” He spoke firmly. “We can not let our capital city fall into the hands of these rogues. We will unite our forces and reach out to the Northern Clan Territories, hopefully they are unaffected by this mayhem. They have a formidable navy, which could present a risk to the Jungles lands far north if they have been compromised.” There was rumbling and mutterings throughout the family. “However, we can not act without more facts, all we have is hearsay and rumors. We need information and my daughter has offered to lead such a patrol, until we know what we are dealing with we shall prepare. Secure defenses, unite our resources, strengthen our boarders, man our fleet and awaken the dragons!” The last order drew a gasp. The dragons had not been employed in war for many centuries. “I would prefer to see the capital city raised to the ground by dragon fire than violated by barbarian scum.”

Finally, that was something everyone could agree upon.

 

Anne Harrison 07.03.17