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Post by themagus on Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:37 pm

I'll use this place to write some ideas that won't leave my mind...

Tale of Hev

The sun left this part of the world, leaving it under a blanket of purple and deep blue, cold winds rising from the ground and lanterns recently lit filled a small town in the endless hills of southern Swynkeep. The Village of Hev was the only town in the south, the single settlement that now held the new outstretch of the empire, far from any other form of civilization. Walls and battlements surrounded the small but growing colony and two large gates were installed on their southern and northernmost edges to allow travelling parties a passage, with a well maintained road crossing the town from one gate to another, the only overland road connecting the north and south of the world that went through Swynkeep. In the heart of town was another wall, with the same battlements and watchtowers the outer walls had. It contained the original village that was built after the conquest. Inside those walls was one of the most famous inns in the empire, it didn't have a name unlike many others but it was one of the clearest and most lingering memories one could have after visiting there, because everyone who stayed the night in had a chance to meet a hero.

He sat in the inn, his inn, in his chair, his feet, covered with thick black and red socks were resting on his wooden floor and his hand patted the fireplace, which wasn't entirely his but he did help with carrying the bricks that were used to build it, so many long years ago. This was one of the first buildings - everyone practically stopped doing whatever it is they did and came to build this inn, they all agreed it was a place they couldn't do without. It was reconstructed nearly from scratch one time, and he also helped building it then, but the fireplace remained, because what's a good inn without a good fireplace? Sometimes it seemed to be even more important than the booze, especially at the beginning when the days were long and the work was hard, and you had to hunt orc parties, defend the village from monsters, treat the fields, build houses and do the laundry, often as not by yourself and all in the same day. He loved the fireplace. His hand trailed over the bricks, partly resenting them for not getting a scratch from all the times he patted them with an armored glove and party proud in how tough they are. This was his home, not only he belonged here, this place also belonged to him by any right any man can claim - he made it real, from vision to existence. The armchair he sat in had cushions sewed into the wood, it was warm enough in the winter and not too warm in summer, it was comfortable and he could sway. Sometimes he wondered how he could have let the old clerk have it, but then he was young and the clerk was old, and the armchair wasn't as interesting.

The man crossed his withered, scarred hands and looked at his audience, satisfied with the attention as he began; "Well kids, what do you know about this village?" Some of the children, the locals, kept quiet, they knew this part - the opening. He always asked that so he could astonish the children of the travelers who were passing through the town and interrupting him could get them into big trouble. A girl with a shiny black skin, earrings that were not only in her ears but on her nose and eyebrows and lips as well, metal rings around her neck, a simple white shirt that came with tiger skin pants tight about her thighs and heavy curls on her head ventured "This is the Village of Hev the knight, he built it and let the Swynkeep empire expend to the south." The man smiled, this was a smart one, intelligence was a candle light in her eyes, he said "Very good, we have a knowledgeable girl here." This was new, and his own idea, the story time every evening at the inn. His wife loved it and so apparently his grandchild who sat there every evening he could spare and listened to his grandfathers' adventures, some he has already imitated, some he aspired to, and some he knew he'll never get the chance to meet. The old man continued "Anyone else?" This time it was a boy, a half-elf from his looks. He came with his parents the day before, the man considered the boy lucky to have both parents - under most circumstances half-elves didn't get to know their parents, let alone both of them, he'll watch his human mother grow old and die while he's still a youth, and will have his father taking care of him at old age, while the father remains young. The boy seemed happy though, and that always was a good sign, he asked "Do you know where's Hev now gramps?" The question came earlier than the old man has expected, but maybe this night he could afford going to sleep early. He leaned over, his eyes sparkling with the mystery he was about to uncover "My name is Hev and this night you will hear the tale of my exploits!" he announced. The kids, already leaning back with a fearful glee sighed with amazement because in front of them sat the person who was the most famous man in the current century, and probably in the next one to come.

Hev was a farm hand all his life, almost 18 years by now and lived in one of the biggest farms around. The farm belonged to a landowner Hev didn't know personally but it didn't really matter because eventually it belonged to the capital, named after its' empire - Swynkeep. As it were the main road south crossed the farm, dividing his family's fields. He didn't mind at all - he loved seeing everyone who came from the south, heading for the capital. There was always traffic and all the sorts of figures he could ever imagine, and, if he was lucky, he got to see a real magical beast, he was always enchanted by those, he'd stop working and go over to the road to get the best glimpse he could. Hev remembered this day all his life, for him it was when his story began, and it began with a mage. Now, you might be thinking 'Ok, so that's another story that begins with a mage' and that's true, there are all too many mages around these days but not here, in Swynkeep, where magic is prohibited and shunned. The mage was the court mage, one of the single mages that were allowed to roam the kingdom freely, without fear for his life. He was said to survive multiple assassination attempts but there was still difference between fighting a single assassin and fighting a whole town, a likely situation for a mage in Swynkeep if things even got loud over the bar. Hev was expecting him, well, he was as far from being someone who'll meet the royal mage as a young farmer can get, but it wasn't all about the mage - several months ago a party the size of a small army left the capital. They were heading south, to the orc lands and meant to deal with several orc leaders that were raiding the towns in the border, and today they were coming back, everyone talked about it. It was late morning and Hev worked the potato fields, he liked working here because it meant he's sure to have some for dinner, his father worked at the corn fields and his brother at the cowshed, they were well covered. He was currently fighting a huge potato to the point he had to dig around it to manage pulling it out 'it must be more than 10 kilograms' the young man though. He shoved and pulled and eventually was thrown back, a potato the size of a watermelon in his lap. Must be the biggest potato he ever seen, what did they give this one to make it so big? He sat up and was about to put it aside when a glitter of sun over metal caught his eye. He looked up and there he was, with his wooden staff adorned with a crystal at the top and a worn brown travelling cloak that had the hood pulled down to cover the face, yet there was no mistake due to the golden circlet on the mans' forehead, this was the royal mage. Hev got up excitedly and ran the few paces from the field to the road to watch the parade, a rush of adrenaline washed over him as thoughts of war stories that were about to be told by the soldiers to anyone who'll be brave enough to ask them on their way were about to be heard and it took him a moment to realize the mage walked between two carts that were belong to traders, not the army, the mage was alone. Hev must have been lightning struck and out of his senses because he walked straight to the mage and asked "What happened?"

The mage stopped, the trade cart passing behind him. He turned slowly, a tired and cumbersome turn, he looked into Hevs' eyes and Hev saw the huge, raw scar that ran across his face, it looked like a small meteor scratched him "They're all dead, the orcs defeated us." was all he said, but he didn't look away and he didn't walked away, maybe because he was too tired, too fed up with death and failure to go on. This was a serious blow to the kingdom, a decent amount of troops was sent with the kings' second son and only the royal mage, who was supposed to protect all these men with his renowned might returned. Then the mage looked to something behind the farm boy, and then back at him. He closed his eyes slowly and when he opened them they shone a bright blue. Hev had the feeling the man saw him where he couldn't even see himself, the mage blinked and the light was gone. Hev stood frozen, with fear of the unknown and the thought that if he moved just now something terrible might happen. "But maybe you could succeed where we have not." the mage said and seemed to find the strength to go on, he turned back to the road and left. There was definitely something in the boy, some powerful light in his core, and definitely nothing magical about the potato. He glanced behind and said "That's one big potato, what's in the ground that make it so big?" Hev was shocked, he just nodded his head to show he had no idea about it either, the mage smiled and kept walking 'a coincidence?'

It wasn't till dinner that Hev brought up the event and by then it was the biggest snake he ever had in his stomach, going on with the work like nothing happened was harder than walking to the capital with a boulder on his back, so he kept very quiet till he finally spoke, and when he did it came out so fast that he knew what he said only because he thought about it in advance. They were all there, his father, Donald, his sister Ily sat next to his mother Joana and he sat next to his younger brother John. Potato chips, corn, cheese and bread were served and everyone began grinding, eating off the day of work. Hev and his family, the Catherwoods, had most of their evenings together around the table and it was his father, Donald, a practical, strong hardworking man who got it out of him, he gave him 'the look'. It was more like being shot with a bow than getting a look, it left no one with choice and no questions, and this look made Hev skip right into a corner, there was no place left to go, and everyone ate very very quietly. Hev mumbled a bit under his lips to get some practice because courage wasn't going to help him now, then he said "I met the royal mage." That got everyone staring, this was deep under 'out of the ordinary' category, enough so that Donald could afford himself a blink. "What did he say?" his father asked, the only one not shocked enough to keep the silence. "That everyone but him died in the south, the conquest failed." That got him a "Mhm" from his father, the kind that says 'And you were about to add…?' he just had to know that these weren't the big news, didn't he? "And that I can succeed where they've failed." He finished, feeling the snake rumbling out of his stomach. His father thought for a very short moment before saying "Okay then" and that was it. Hevs' eyes popped and he slammed his fists hard on the table making everything jump, his mouth open in an awed defiance, his look begged his father to take it back. 'Okay then' meant that there will be things done about other things, and Hev was terrified. He was about to say 'Can't!' but he'd been through that, and his father would say 'Can.', and Hev knew that if he only asked 'How' his father would supply the answer, but it was Donald who took the lead on his own "Honey, prepare our son a meal for the way."

Joana stood up, brushed her sons' cheek and softly patted her husbands' shoulder, and headed for the kitchen, signaling Ily to follow. "We've got a long night ahead of us, better get started, come on boy, and you too John." Johns' now bewildered eyes met his brothers' already resigned ones and they both followed their father outside and around the house to the small personal crop their family owned, it had mainly vegetables and a few fruits. Donald told them to wait and entered the small garden, climbed the houses' stone wall to the hay roof and pulled a sword from under the hay. Both sons were shocked, it was the first time they saw their father holding a sword, not to mention owning one. "You'll need this if you're going to the capital, not to kill anyone, but that's more respectful than coming unarmed, and to keep that slight respect you're going to learn to use it." Then Donald dismantled two hoes, gave one stick to Hev and kept the other for himself while throwing the heads aside, he gave the sword to John, to keep while watching.

That night Hev learned that fighting wasn't all about slashing, it had leg positioning and body movement and momentum, and his father made him do all that till he could keep his eyes on Donald instead of his legs to 'always keep the enemy in sight', Hev didn't have enemies, but he wasn't a fighter either. Then his father let him train with his brother till midnight 'without stops to drink'.

When Hev and John came back inside Donald was waiting on a chair, a candle lit on the desk beside him "Well done boys, you can carry the sword now, Hev." Donald offered the sword and Hev took it and unsheathed it, it was more balanced than the poles they used, and definitely sharper. "How was it?" asked Donald, he wanted to hear it even though both his sons smiled "I like it." Admitted Hev, his brother nodding at his words. "Very well, true Swynkeep men." The smile was showing on Donald too and he sent his boys to sleep, he remained sitting in the candle light till his wife came to take him to bed.

When morning came Hev joined a caravan master who was kind enough to take him the short distance to the capital for free. He had his fathers' sword and he watched the image of his hugged, proud parents till they disappeared behind another large caravan container as the road curved.

Hev knew he could get into the court but had no idea what to do once he got there. The caravan huddled slowly and the caravan master and Hev were in deep talk when they reached for the gates. The merchant occupied only a small guard force and when asked he said he was transporting berserk armor, and as much as the Swynkeep army was unorganized no one would mess with them. Swynkeep had superior numbers in population and it's army was naturally huge, and they had berserkers, no one stood against the Swynkeep berserkers who were famous for their ability to keep on charging, fighting and winning after being shot in any spot that doesn’t cause immediate death. Hev remembered then that he heard his parents talking about sending him with the horse the family owned, his father was for it but his mother talked him out of it. The horse helped with the field work and with carrying merchandise, and while Hev was disappointed and somewhat childishly hurt it was usually him or his brother who worked with the horse since his father liked to work with his own hands and so he understood and agreed to join a travelling merchant without a word about it. The capital of Swynkeep was one of the biggest cities in the world. Millions of citizens occupying hundreds of miles lived there and all of the houses, workshops, taverns, markets and the inner castle were surrounded by a great wall with towers and battlements, like every other Swynkeep city, castle or settlement and everyone could feel the presence of the large militia force. Hev and the merchant said their goodbyes, both well updated by then about the news from the capital and from afar. Hev headed off and went on his way from the merchants' warehouse. It was noon by then and Hev was just in time – the hearings in the Common Court were about to begin so he headed to the royal castle for registration. The hall, located in the outer castle wasn't as full as Hev expected it to be, he imagined it jammed with people who came from all across the empire to solve their problems, the place wasn't empty, but it wasn't packed either. He was called in some time before sundown by a manservant who showed him to one of the small courts that the waiting room led to. The manservant went over a tall stand and took a pen, ready to write necessary notes while the judge addressed Hev in the dry tone of someone who's been through this all day long and had to keep doing it "Is your name Hev Catherwood of Swynkeeps' capital lands?"

"Yes, yes I am."

The manservant made a note in his ledger while uncertainty and regret began to flood the young farmer and panic was boiling his lower spine, the notion that he stepped into something much bigger than him and the life he ran filling his mind, but he couldn't think of a way out yet. The judge continued with his flat, inquiring tone and his simplified questioning which helped keep Hevs' focus on the events "State your business then, Hev." Hev swallowed at that and said in a loud clear voice, simply because he knew he weren't lying "I came to see the royal mage." There was a moment of silence as Hevs' mind races, rushing with as many ideas and thoughts he could contain as to what was waiting for him but the judge made it easier against all the odds Hev imagined himself going against "Do you have a reason to believe the royal mage will want to see you Hev?"

Hev wasn't sure about that part, he couldn't know whether the mage remembered him or not, but it was a bet he had to make, there was nothing else for him there "Yes, he may recognize my name if he'll know where I'm from, I met him on the main road when he came back from the south." The judge gave him a look and then told the manservant "Call Glen." The manservant left and they waited in silence till he came back with a man wearing one cut bright red robe, this wasn't the royal mage so Hev guessed he was an apprentice. He went straight to the judge, there was a hushed conversation and the robed man glanced at him once, the judge pointing and nodding, and Glen left them to the official silence. Some time passed and Hev was running out of patience, it must have showed because the judge told him that if he was loosing his temper he could go to one of the benches in the small court and sit there, Hev complied with silent gratitude. After a while Glen came back and faced Hev "Please come with me Mr.Catherwood, the mage is waiting for you." Hev got up with a tight sigh and followed Glen. They passed errand boys, smiths, horses and squads of foot soldiers drilling in the early evening, Glen kept leading him deeper into the castle, till they got to a large, solid drawbridge, the entrance to the inner castle. Glen exchange a few words with a captain and they were allowed through and when crossing the bridge Hev could see and hear a river running far below him, the inner castle stood high, surrounded by cliffs from all sides that weren't visible because of the buildings of the outer castle. The inner castle was a single stone structure that used all the space the plateau offered, the walls, watchtowers and the castle itself all made of the same stone and efficiently built, easily being the tallest construction in the city. Once they got past the wall the first thing Hev could notice was the guard – they entered a large pergola with a row of heavy chargers on each side armed with axes, swords and lances to make an effective strike force, the soldiers are obviously berserkers ridden on the biggest horses Hev have ever seen in his life, all of them wore heavy armor and even the horses didn't budge when they passed them by. The more impressive figure was that of a huge battle titan resting on a dish-like surface above the cavalry. The fact that the horses agreed to stay near the beast told of their exquisite training, and the fact the titan wasn't trying to eat anything told the same about it and its' rider. Two huge wooden doors reinforced with iron awaited them, it seemed magical to Hev that he could walk right between these two perfect lines of elite warriors and they didn't seem to blink or breath, they did ofcourse, but their stillness and presence were so powerful they could be enchanted statues. The great doors of the keep opened to them and they walked inside Glen leading the way to a corridor to their left. Other than the occasional suit of armor, painting or furniture the keep was simple and not very elegant, the luxury was kept in the more private rooms where the nobles could fall asleep on piles of gold while counting diamonds.

They walked the purple and gold carpet that seemed to cover every corridor they might walk in and reached another wooden door, this one made of a brighter wood and decorated with symbols, wards, miniature arts of gold and silver and few precious gems. Glen stopped, hesitating. He turned to Hev with a nervous look about him "You'll enter the royal court now, not just the mage's there, there are the king, queen and few other influential figures are in there, now I were told that you're a farmer, so be polite, you won't be expected of ceremonies and ermm" Glen made a miniature flailing movement with his hands "please just… behave." Glen stared at Hev to make sure he got it while Hev decided that keeping a blank unreadable face was polite enough, Glen gave up and opened the doors.  They arrived at some small lobby and went up only a few stairs till the hall opened to them. It was empty but the few people standing around the crown, and the two sitting royalties. Glen got Hevs' attention by a tap on his arm "I'd better make sure it's Okay for you to approach the mage, the king is in a bad mood since the failing conquest became known." As Glen left Hev he could feel sweat in his clenched palms, the king of Swynkeep was a monarch, the god in his kingdom, and one like that in a bad mood could mean quick and unreasonable death, that thought became more threatening by the memory of the mage comparing the kings' son to Hav, and to Hevs' favor. Glen came back nearly as soon as he left, told Hev to approach the royal mage and left hurriedly back to his post. Thing were going fast, this was clear enough and Hev thought he should play along so he walked as fast as he could to the point he could feel a movement of air even when the hall was entirely sealed. He kneeled and brought his head as close as he could to his knee level, he father told him that he should never get his head to his knee level, this was a sign of slavery or a status of someone lower than a man but as close as you could get showed respect to the point of worshipping, and while Hev didn't worship the emperor anything less than that could get him hanged. "Hev." There was a male voice, loud and clear. He didn't respond because he couldn't tell if they were announcing his name or asking if it was indeed his name "Hev." the voice insisted, what was he supposed to do? Letting them call him for the third time would be a mistake but he was speechless, the palace, the royal blood, the guards, the grim silence, it got to him and he was shocked enough to raise his head, silently asking what it was that they wanted of him. He saw the mage, only a slight reminder of the scar was on his cheek now and the king, giving him a disdaining, arrogant look that disqualifies him to anything but the place he came from which made the young man as uncomfortable as he could get – the two most powerful men in the Empire, one who raised his name and one who disowned it. "Then the king turned his head to look at the mage and there was a look in his eyes that I didn't know to read then." The old hero said, his hands frozen, grabbing the soft armchairs' handles in memory so tightly his knuckled turned white "It was of sorrow and regret and fear and a call for help to a close friend, such as that no man should ever know, he didn't just loose his son you see, he could've lost the kingdom to those orc clans if they could beat something the size he sent to kill them."

"But you killed them!" A child protested and a few others joined him, Hev quieted the kids with his open hand "I did, but we'll get to that when the story does, shall we?" And that kept his audience quiet.

It took some time till they managed to get him up and by then the king ran out of patience while the mage tried to get Hev out of his shock and into cooperation. They wanted him to lead their army. The king sentenced him to failure and the mage hung his hopes over him. The king was impatient while the wizard insisted to give the youth time the make up his heart. Hev didn't know that, but as usual the magician got things his way and Hev was sent home to make decide whether or not he desired this quest, and if he did to prepare himself. No one told him how long he had but he knew the answer will come soon, no one held the king from his desire, not even the royal mage. At dinner he told his family everything and this time Ronald didn't offer his opinion, he wanted his son to make the choice on his own, a thing that became the most difficult challenge he had given Hev up till now. Hev couldn't decide that day. He spent time with every one of his family and a bit of time with his neighbors and finally spent some time with himself, he had no answer nor rest. He ended up in the barn, sprawled on a hay pile near a newborn foal and his concerned mother till sleep took him. He had a dream, one about fighting orcs and winning, a dream of new homeland and lineage and legacy. He stepped out of the barn, it was much before dawn and there was no moon in the sky, the stars shone and tingled in a time after all the fires went out and no one traveled the road. A weird sensation took over him, a feeling that told him that the start were asking him if they could execute their plan, if he agreed to give a go to some new design, he looked into his heart that was pure as they sky were, and through it he said 'Yes, let's do it.' A new star shone a bright red, or maybe it was a star he never noticed before, and Hev went back to his bed and slept, tomorrow he and the world will begin a new course.

Hev woke up with the sun like every other day and he thought he felt different but eventually admitted that this was a day just like any other and wasn't impressed. He didn't have to go back to the castle right away and he used his time to do some last field work and talk to everyone he knew. Both brothers wanted John to come with Hev to the conquest but they both knew their parents couldn't do without the help of one of them, no matter how strong their father was the age was taking its' toll and it'll be a matter of time until Donald would collapse under the workload. Surprisingly Ili wanted to go too but none of them approved, ofcourse, which made her angry, and Hev could see that this was the kind of angry that had its' reason, the kind of righteous kind and he decided he'll make some time to talk about it with her, later. She wasn't usually like that but he didn't have time to listen to her, and frankly at the moment he didn't want to, she was usually too smart for all of them, some mixture of their fathers' sharp wits and eye for people smoothed by their mothers' gentle touch that allowed her to win every battle between the brothers. The farms that were in the same area as his farm operated like a small village – some of them had smithies, one of them had a room that was a butchery and so forth, so when Hev arrived at any of his neighbors he got some useful presents along with some useful farm hands that also happened to be brewers, builders or anything else a village needed. The families who let their son or daughter join Hev were richer families or families that could afford sending one of their offspring away since they had more in stack. He kept walking around his family grounds after dinner and when he came back home Ili waited for him. She had every reason to join him, she wasn't needed at the household, not really, she didn't do any of the men's work and could help Hev with lots of things but Hev just couldn't accept that, his heart wasn't able to bear the thought of taking his young, loved sister to a journey of war and death, it didn't came to him before and only now he grasped the meaning and repercussion of it, war and death. He told her that and she didn't have an answer so they hugged till she fell asleep and after putting her in her bed and kissing her forehead Hev went to his own bed, tomorrow he'll go get his army. Morning came and Hev left early, he got a hug from his brother, his hugged together parents each ley their free hand on his shoulder and looked at his with such a pride that made him understand why they couldn't speak, and his sister held his hand with a silent promise and goodbye. A rider was sent with another horse from the capital that night, and they both rode to the capital at full gallop covering the distance in a single hour and riding through the city straight to the inner castle's courtyard. Hev noticed that half the berserkers now wore a different armor, unlike the first time he got there when they were all identically dressed. The rider took his horse and Hev was led by a servant to the same room where he met the king and the mage before without any questioning. Inside the king was standing, wearing his battle worn armor, hands crossed on his chest. Accompanying him were the mage and another man Hev didn't see before who wore an also battle worn armor decorated with the kingdoms' emblem above the heart. "We've been expecting you only in a few days." Said the mage "But the sooner the better." Added the king in a somewhat less depressed tone. "Hev, meet Stanford, second in command of Swynkeep army. He'll be your right hand and advisor. Stanford this is Hev, our…" The king glanced at the mage "Destined leader. The only reason we're here is that I could bless you on your conquest in the name of the Empire and so I do, go with success and luck, and make sure your stars shine over you. Stanford will show you the troops and brief you about the journey." With that the king retired, Stanford, not as tall as Hev bet thicker by every measure, blond hair and brown eyed and at the forties of his life gestured toward the door "Shall we?" while the mage picked up his staff.

The outer castle contained vast assembly grounds for troops and that's where Hevs' force camped. When they arrived a group of highly ranked officers welcomed them and Hev recognized them by their armor as the berserkers who were guarding the entrance of the inner castle, each wore a leather string necklace with a small triangle pendant. "Hev, meet our finest commanders and their sergeants, they'll be commanding directly on our troops in the field. The pairs stood in semi-circle around him and Stanford chose to keep the personal introductions for the way, they were pressed in time and he still needed to show Hev everything. The commanders joined them each to explain about his own personal force. Hev was amazed and was pretty sure he spent half the time with him mouth open. Berserkers, all of them. The best the kingdom had, he wasn't going to fight with footmen, most of them probably died already, he was getting the best of the best, all which remained and could be called in a short notice. Wearing the finest armor, bewilderingly huge sword and sited on tall horses were hundreds of elite berserkers, waiting for him, he barely grasp the magnitude of such fighting force. They headed to a different part of the assembly grounds and a different pair-commanders took the lead and Hev immediately noticed the difference between them and the rest – they were men, but they towered anyone else and were certainly the strongest amongst them. Hev heard a savage scream and froze, the mountainous sergeant turned around and slapped his shoulder with a hand bigger than his shoulder-blade "Come on, they won't bite." He said with a sincere and happy smile. Battle titans. Huge, monstrous, covered with armor plates the size of a man, claws and teeth that could tear a house apart, the magnificent, dinosaur-like beasts walked their residence or helped eachother to their own kinds' company. The ten of them together were more than enough to win a battle, or were they? At that moment they seemed to Hev as the demigods of war, capable of unimaginable destructive power and unstoppable by any kind of force that another empire could possibly present to them. The officer explained that they weren't tamed as much as they respected their riders and acknowledged they're decisions, somewhat like personal pack leaders. They nearly carried the staring Hev from the battle titans' compound and to another part of the gathering army, this time to see the maintenance and logistic abilities of his army, they went over the rationing and travelling speed, from there to defense tactics while on the road and to battle tactics using the units he possessed for when they'll finally cross blades with the orcs.

At the end of day Hev found himself, or perhaps it wasn't entirely him, at the castle mess hall drinking good ale with the second in command of the Swynkeep army, exhausted and somewhat stunned "So you're telling me that before releasing a Battle Titan the I personally need to make sure that there are no berserkers in the area the beast will be fighting?" Stanford confirmed that with by grunting with a mouth that was currently quite filled with ale, after he cleared his throat he added "And don't forget the mage." Hev was perplexed "The mage!" Stanford insisted "He can enchant the beasts' armor or weapon or whatever it is he enchant before they charge." Then he sighed "Ehh you're a greenhorn, don't worry, once you see it you don't forget." He finished with a slight smile on the edge of his mouth. To Hev it seemed odd, even if it was a good strategy, but to demand berserkers to retreat and Battle Titans to hold their charge was somewhat against what he was led to believe, up till now. Hev felt better, a bit because he was now a leader of a large force and Stanford seem to give him the credit for that, and a bit because of the ale, he was ready to go on and so he asked "So what now?"

Stanford focused on putting down his mug as he began his answer "Now we wait. We got the fighting force mostly ready but we need to wait for the supplies and workers. We'll need professional smith, builders and whatnot so we're waiting for them to arrive. The last campaign took most of what this city could offer so they're coming from other parts of the kingdom, won't take too long. Want me to handle this for you? You could go back home to have some quality time before you leave."

Hev wasn't able to decide just then, there were too many things to think about "I'll sleep over it." He decided "Then let me know once you make your mind, I'll need to make preparations either way." Hev nodded and they called it for today. Hev went to his room while Stanford probably went to do another thing Hev will have to learn pretty soon. In the morning Hev discovered another function of leadership – someone was waiting outside his room, and Hev gave him a message to deliver to Stanford telling him about his family and that he'll head home as soon as he could. By the time ho got to the stables there was a heavy horse of pure white waiting for him loaded with all the gear he'll need to start his course from the farm 'more time saving' he thought, the mage may have found a leader to the conquest, but he apparently was on schedule too. The sight of the armored horse made him pick at his new vest that bore the Empires' symbol above the heart, he wasn't a farm boy anymore, now he was representing his kingdom. He got on the horse and rode off, galloping across the castle's bridge and into the city streets which immediately made him slow to a walk and spend the rest of the morning crossing the capital. Once out the gate he rode hard back to his farm knowing that everyone were in a hurry and that the army could move at any time given everyone were ready, it could happen only a few hours after he left or it could happen tomorrow, he didn't want to take a chance in any case. Once he got to the farm he was greeted by everyone who lived close enough to hear the rumors and make it to see them come true, everyone within a days ride were there and apparently a large group intended to join him while a larger group was there to say goodbye, both groups still asked if he were to lead am army down south and as the answer was given a large celebration began, a long and narrow fire-pit already lit to supply the host with enough food to fill their empty stomachs from the travel. He stood in his stirrups to see his family waiting for him by their house entrance, three figures, Ily wasn't there. 'This isn't good' she was probably angry with him and while he remembered her request but there was just no way she could join him on something like this. The crowd seemed to understand his intent and now after being given the information they craved for they made way for him and got to their preparations for the night.

Hev was greeted with the loving hug of both his parents and with a quite hyperactive brother who wanted to hear everything that happened the in city. Ily was setting the table. She couldn't help but look at her old brother as he came in but part from that she did her best to ignore him. Hev answered questions and described the events in the Capital as dinner passed and for a while after before his family allowed him to get up from the table.

He couldn't find the chance to talk to Ily until later and he found her on a hill south of the house, this was a usual place for watching stars. She stood up and faced him as he came as though she was expecting him to go ahead and preach her.

Hev didn't know what to say so he just stood beside her, looking at her with a somewhat questioning look that asked what he did wrong.
Hevs' confusion didn't last long, his sister didn't waste time when it got to those conversations.
"I *am* good enough to come!"

He should have guessed, everyone seemed to want to join him but both him and Ily knew she had a role to play in the farm, Donald would never agree to that but apparently she wanted to hear her big brother support her, which he didn't.

"Ily, you know someone have to help mom and dad here." This was the safe card, it had nothing to do with him and it was true.
"I don't care, besides dad won't listen, you can tell him I can come, you're  a warlord now."

"It's too dangerous Ily, I won't-"

"-Let anything harm me, which is exactly why I can come, and I can learn how to use a sword just like you can." At the age of 15 she was only a few inches shorter than him and her eyes dared him to try and counter her in this argument.

"No Ily, this is why you can't come. You're the only sister I have and I'm not going to let you do something foolish that will jeopardize your safety."
"You're my big brother and you'll be in more danger than anyone who'll come with you because the orcs are going to remember your name but no one will know mine, no one have to know I'm there."

Hev didn't let go "No Ily. I can't take you with me, you're not coming as long as it mean you can die."
She knew he won't back down, not this time. This was too important for him to listen to anything she might say. Anger and hatred filled her, her fists that by now had bone white knuckles were shaking and her eyes spar everything she wanted to scream at him. She breathed in but by the time she could answer her brother had his hands around her, holding her in a tight hug.

"I'm sorry I can't take you with me, I wish I could – I wish we could stay together, I'll miss you so much Ily, I'll visit you as soon as I can."
He could feel her melt into him slowly, the storm inside her calming "I don't want you to go" She said with wet eyes "I want you to stay" She hugged him and her last word dimmed when she buried her face into his chest.

"I know Ily, I want to stay too, with you, but I belong there, I know it." He could feel warm tears wetting his shirt and for a moment he had to focus on his breathing so he won't join her, he was a big brother, big brothers don't cry when their little sisters do, they don't suppose to.

"I want you to stay Hev, I want to be with you…" The rest faded in her sobs that soon became a heart breaking cry of a sister that for the first time will be separated from her brother. Hev held on to her, knowing that he'll be leaving behind one of the people he loved most and one who loved him the most and treasured him to no end, so he held her tight till she calmed and looked into his eyes with her red, swollen wet ones.

He kissed her forehead and pressed her head back to his chest. He mouthed soft, comforting words in her ear as he put his hands around her waist and slowly huddled with his sister back home.

A hand shook Hev and he recognized his fathers' waking touch. Last nights' events seemed dimmer then the living memory they were when he'd gone to sleep and their weight was easier to handle.
"There's a messenger waiting for you son, you should dress up and see him."

The response was a moan and a raging blanket as Hev tried to wriggle his way out of bed. He wore his breeches and his new dark brown vest and went to meet the man.
The messenger delivered the letter but didn't wait for a reply, his horse was lopping off by the time Hev opened the envelope.

The letter said that the army is waiting for the hunters from Dofax and Halmor to arrive so Hev should be ready to go at noon together with all the volunteers. Hev made sure the word was spread and went back to his home to try and adjust his armor the best he could with the eager help of his brother. They eventually found a manageable size and Hev spent some time in walking around the house after which he went outside to the many applauds and laughs of the crowd.

Hev was satisfied on his part, the armor was heavy and hot but it felt good to have protection and to be able to stroll around with the feeling that nothing at the immediate environment can hurt him, it even became a fun game once he got his visor right. Sitting st the table requires several expenriments with how much gear he should take off before he could sit or get the fork to his mouth.

Reviews are welcome, too.

Last edited by themagus on Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:20 am; edited 30 times in total (Reason for editing : This post will be edited to add stuff, I'll try to keep it in one post.)


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Join date : 2011-06-23
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