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Chres Sansus


@fetzen@13org@Jerkchicken@HokumPocus@Typical




In the distance, Chres could make out an angry mob of people rushing at the well armed group protecting the gatehouse. It seemed, that once again Shimmer Town was going to be a town in chaos. Except this time, instead of people turning on their family and friends, the cult was in their sights.

Soon enough, the violence would spread through the streets. Ideally, Chres and the rest hoped to make it into the north side of the eastern wall before that happened.

Watching from behind the cover of an illusion they had Octavio hobble together the night before, Chres and the rest waited a decent distance away from the Northern tower of the eastern town wall. There a small faction of the wall guard waited, stationed by the door.

These guards, like the rest of the wall guard, had been turned by the cult. They stood watch, making sure no one infiltrated the wall from inside the town. A few guards wouldn't have posed much of a problem for the group. Problem was, Chres and the others didn't just have to worry about the guards on the ground, but also the guards atop wall as well.

"Shouldn't be much longer now." Chres said, sporting a newly found headband, said to the rest of the group. "They should take notice of the fighting soon enough. When they pull away, that will be our moment to strike."

Chres had picked up the headband the night before and promptly began storing his excess body heat into the head attire. With the head band, Chres now able to store the maximum amount of body heat his magic allowed. No longer could he afford to walk around with just enough stores of body heat to get by. From now on, he would need every bit available to him... especially for today's fight.

"How you holding up, Octavio?" Chres asked the ridiculously dressed man. Even on a day like today. Octavio had chosen clothes which appeared more stylish than practical.
Plot Point


@fetzen@13org@Jerkchicken@HokumPocus@Typical


Year 4256
5th day of the month Olfaccium
Mid-Summer
Nation of Sight
Shimmer Town

"Remember, the gate consists of three parts." The Kharu-Natjer said to a room full of Malkev's men, Svephraey's brutes and the pact makers. "In order to open the gate, we must take control of each part. Lose control of a single section, and we won't be able to open the gate for the Army of Touch. Without the army to distract the Cult, our attack on the seed risks failure."

Somehow the Kharu-Natjer had seemingly learned about the army's approach and Karina's newly assigned mission to open the gates. He had called everyone together the night prior to prepare a plan of attack.

All participated in the planning, even Malkev though his participation came grudgingly. The man had apparently approached Karina earlier in the day and came to some sort of agreement with her. The details of which had yet to be shared to the rest of the pact makers.

Svephraey was the only one who didn't have anything to add. Keeping to herself, the woman watched the group from the corner of the room. Her eyes seemed to twinkle with amusement. She was noticeably absent today, to the displeasure of the Kharu-Natjer. Her lack of appearance earned her a scornful comment from Talon.

"There is the inner and outer portcullis, and in-between them there is the actually door."

Malkev had been kind enough to provide a detailed description of the gate's workings the night prior. Each portcullis was opened by their own winch and pulley system. Once the gate's reached their apex the would lock into place to both the benefit and detriment of the pact makers.

On the one hand, it meant that the pact makers didn't need to hold the portcullis opened. On the other hand, each portcullis locked into a lever that would cause the locking mechanism to release when hit with a sludge hammer. It was a defensive measure built into many gates these days. The release mechanism allowed soldiers to quickly shut the gate on an invading foe, trapping them between to metal grates. It was kill zone of sorts. A trap allowing the defenders to pick off enclosed invaders with ease.

This was why it was important to maintain control of the opening mechanism for both of the portcullis. The outer portcullis had its winch exposed at the top of the gatehouse. The winch for the inner portcullis, however, was enclosed inside the gatehouse's guardroom. The pact makers would need to make it inside the gatehouse to open that winch.

The door between the two metal gates was held in place by a thick wooden bar. So not only would they need to open the inner and outer portcullis, but they would need to unbar the door as well. Fortunately unbarring the door was more trivial in comparison to taking control of the two opening mechanisms. That, however, didn't make the job any less important.

"You will each be given a bag of salt. It wasn't cheap. So do be careful not to lose it all before taking on the seed. And remember, don't forget what our friends told us. Rip out its hearts. Cut off its stem. Salt the stump. Only then can we kill the seed..."




The world changed within an instant. The sun turned green and shifted in the sky. The sky turned black, like night, just without casting the remainder of the world in darkness... though everything did seem gloomier, oddly. The sight stopped General Viktor Frost in his tracks. He could hear his men muttering with concern. The words 'Dark Magic' popped up more than once.

Colonel Raelar stepped up beside Viktor seeming strangely unperturbed. "Scouts weren't lying then." The colonel said in a flat tone.

General Frost exhaled softly. "So it would seem, Colonel." Viktor agreed.

"Point towards the Lieutenant's sanity then." Raelar said with a sniff. "But, do the rest of her words ring true or are they mere fancy?"

"With any luck, the Lieutenant will open the gate and we won't need to find out."

Raelar eyed Viktor with a frown. "Well then," He said. "Shall I have have one of our feathered familiars give us a look beyond those walls?"

General Frost nodded curtly. Frost's next move depended on whether or not the girl had received his message.

He was about to focus his attention on calming the troops when suddenly the gates stirred. They opened wide enough for a lone rider to exit.

"Ah." Raelar said. "That must be their envoy. Well General, I'll leave you to it."

Viktor drew his mouth in a line. He watched as the rider drew closer.



"Open the gate! Let us out! Open the gate! Let us out!"

A small crowd of angry citizens had gathered at the foot of the wall. Crowds like this had apparently started gathering sometime during Tayla's isolation. Apparently some lord named Malkev had rallied the people up, instigating them into protest.

"You don't own us!" She heard one of them shout. "You don't control us!"

Tayla ignored the shouting for the most part. They had people patrolling the foot of the wall making sure nobody got too close. According to Smit, who was now her boss, it was their job to assist in securing the wall and the gate's opening mechanisms.

Smit... She thought her grip on the hilt of her blades tightening. She could feel her nerves tumbling around like little pebbles inside her chest. Thinking about Smit made her feel... what? Anxious? Betrayed? Remorse? Jealousy?

Too many feelings circled around that man. Emotions which had only been stirred when she bumped into him the day prior.

"I hear you've taken my... old position." She had said to him that day, after breaking a long awkward silence.

"Someone has to keep the newbies in check." Smit had replied with shrug. "I didn't exactly ask for it... well... sort of..."

"Sort of?"

Smit cleared his throat uncomfortably. "You made it clear to me that my help was neither needed nor wanted."

"I-" Tayla started, but she was quickly cut off.

"You nearly killed me trying to smash that woman with the bell."

"I saved you!" Tayla retorted.

"And immediately after you put a sword to my throat."

"You were undermining my authority!"

"Tayla..." Smit sighed. "Look where your authority got you."

Tayla stiffened. His words catching her off guard. Since when did Smit argue back?

"Does it not even bother you that you nearly got me killed?"

Tayla's hands balled up into fists. Her gaze lowering towards the ground. His words hit at something. Something she didn't want to acknowledge.

"You... you sold me out..." She said at last. Her words had a tremble to them.

"I-"

"You sold me out!" She shouted. Her eyes meeting his with a look of pain. "You made me think I could trust you and then... then you sold me out..."

Smit gave Tayla a hard look. "I took your advice after that night." He said quietly. "I told Sightless Syella that I was ready to lead my own group of clan members. You know... just like you said I should." Tayla's heart skipped a beat. Smit in turn drew his mouth in a line. "She gave me your team... Like I said, I didn't ask for this."

Tayla shook her head. Tayla didn't have time to think about Smit right now. Right now her main concern was to hold the gate.

Standing atop the wall's fortifications she looked out towards the Army of Touch. Their rider had finished negotiations it seemed. He was on his way back.

Hold the gate. That is what the Sightless had told the Clan. The army of touch had no siege weapons or boats with them. They would need time to take the city, and that was something the Clan had on their side.

Every day the Distortion grew. Already its influence reached beyond the town's walls. Soon, it would reach further. Far enough to shroud any effective location for the army to make proper camp for a prolong siege. That alone played to the Clan's advantage... in more ways than one...

"Open the gate! Open the Gate! Open the gate!" The citizens cried. It appeared more people had joined the crowd. Tensions between the crowd and clansmen were rising.



Sightless Nieffar stood by the eastern gate. Behind him stood Sightless Syella and four other Sightless. The envoy had finished bringing them up to speed. The Army of Touch had ignored Nieffar's request to hold negotiations as expected. Instead, they demanded unconditional surrender. Open the gates to them, and they would handle things peacefully. Resist and there would be bloodshed.

"Bloodshed?" Sightless-to-be De'laire -no... Sightless De'laire- said. "Oh no no no... Wouldn't want that... or would we? Could rid us of those protesters, hm? They are quite noisy, yes..."

Sightless Nieffar gave De'laire a frown. She had been rubbing her eyes intensely the day prior, as one does when the itch spreads to the eyes. By night time, she had taken to clawing at her eyes. Her screams of agony mixed with cries of joy. Both had echoed throughout the once Inn as the woman made her transition to Sightless.

De'laire did not yet have the full look of a Sightless. Though her skin had already begun to harden, its hue was not quite black. Likewise her blood had yet to fully change to the sickly greenish yellow puss. Instead her newly scratched out eyes bled a light orange goop. It slowly gathered at her damaged eyes until it succumbed to gravity's weight and slid down her cheeks. The woman didn't seem to mind though. She let the goop do as it willed, all the while muttering to herself in typical De'laire fashion.

Sadly, turning Sightless had made the once Crazed woman no less crazy. It seemed her hopes to regain her lost sanity had proven fruitless. On the upside, she no longer would wield her magic against their new recruits. The ones who were unfortunate enough to not know better than to talk over her. Like all who go Sightless, De'laire's previous magics were now lost to her.

On the flip side, however, her new powers would make her even more dangerous. Though not at her full strength yet, she had already proven capable of strangling a poor clansman early today. His crime? Whistling.

Sightless Nieffar made a tisk with his tongue. The crowd of protesters were getting quite noisy indeed. What's more, the crowd was growing. A few people were even beginning to shove at the clansmen holding the crowd back.

Sightless Nieffar tilted his head quickly left and right, producing a loud pop from his neck. He found the people's cries irritating. The noise made the call of Insight stir within him. It beckoned to him. Urging him to dive into its depths. The desire to let it take him was strong now. It had been that way ever since that night at the tower. The night where he let himself slip.

“Syella, De'laire, with me. The rest of you, tend to your positions.” Nieffar said to the other Sightless. They nodded and spread out, Syella and De'laire falling in step with Nieffar.

"I don't like this." Sightless Syella said. "I don't like this one bit."

“You worry too much.” Nieffar said.

"And you worry too little." Nieffar's mouth twitched in annoyance at Syella's words. "Are you prepared to abandon this precious town of yours if the milk turns sour?"

"Everything is under control." Sightless Nieffar replied.

"Really?" Sightless Syella shot back. "And what of that one?"

Nieffar furrowed his brow, confused. He let the Insight guide him. Showing him the one Sightless Syella referred to. Within moment he found the man. He stood atop a crate at the center of the crowd of protesters. A crowd of protesters which had grown quite large...

It was Lord Malkev O'Kal. It seemed the man was addressing the crowd...



"This is our city! Our home!" Malkev shouted to the roaring crowd, his voice projected through use of one of his personal guard's magic abilities.

"And yet they take from us, acting as if they own this city. They take our food! They take our sky! They take our loved ones and twist them to their ways!" Malkev looked to the crowd meeting the gaze of individuals. "We cannot let this go on!"

The crowd roared. Raising sticks, poles, chisels and hammers. Malkev waited for the crowd to quiet. He then dramatically pointed to the eastern gate.

"Beyond that gate lies the Army of Touch. They've come to help us! Come to purge the cult from this town! Come to put an end to this Distortion! However... they cannot do this alone... It is up to us to help them! Up to us to open that gate!

"So I ask you all this one question. What do you say to taking back our own city?"


The people cheered. The people roared. The people rushed the cult for their lord...

And thus the Battle of Shimmer Town began.
Interlude

Tayla




Year 4256
2nd through 4th days of the month of Olfaccium

Thirsty... Tayla thought. So Thirsty...

Tayla banged weakly against one of the walls to her 'prison'. "Let me out!" She croaked. "Please!"

I'm sorry! She thought... or did she speak those words? It was getting hard to tell. So so sorry... But what again was supposed to be sorry for?

Hungry. Dehydrated. Delirious. Tayla had been chained to the floor in some lone room in the cellar. They held her captive, much like her good for nothing father had imprisoned her as a child. Except this time, she had no means of escape.

They hadn't fed her since locking her in this room, nor had they given her any water to drink. The later was of more consequence to her. For the fight with the white haired princess had already dehydrated her significantly. She had barely had enough time to rehydrate at all before getting thrown in here. She would have escaped then were it not for them pumping her with deterrents. Now though, lacking the water her magic required, Tayla found herself at the mercy of the clan's good grace.

"Please..." She whimpered. Her eyes closing in the darkness. "Someone..."




"She really is pathetic, isn't she?" A familiar voice said, waking Tayla from her slumber

"Smit?" She croaked. Senses, she was thirsty! She could feel her tongue sticking to the roof of her mouth!

"Always depending on me yet never admitting to it."

"Smit... what?" Her mind fuzzy, Tayla creaked her eye open as much as she could muster. She felt so weak. So tired.

"Its worse than that." Another voice said. This one belonging to that white haired 'princess' "She refuses to let others in."

"You..." Tayla seemed growl. A bubble of hatred rising to the surface "Acting like you know me..."

"I think she does know you though." The voice of Smit said. His form seeming to materialize in the darkness. "Better than you know yourself."

"Shutup!" Tayla barked! Her cry seemed to grind at her vocal cords.

"Look at her coward in fear." The woman mocked. Her form materializing next to Smit's. "Always running, that girl is. She runs from me. She runs from you. Senses, she even runs from herself!"

"YOU DON'T KNOW ME!" Tayla screamed. She launched herself at the visions, stopping short due to the chain locked around her ankle.

The visions laughed. Not at Tayla, they seemed to be ignoring her. Rather they laughed among themselves.

"You know, I always knew she was a runner." Smit said. "Told her as much from the start."

"And look where all that running has got her." The white haired woman said. "Locked away, once again, in a closet. Chains wrapped around her ankles."

"I said shut up..." Her cry came out weak this time. She shut her eyes. Her body trembling.

"It seems you've come full circle."

That... that was her father's voice... She could help but take a look... Looming over her stood her father. He stared at her with those predatory eyes.

"No..." She whimpered. "Please no..." Her head was pounding. The world was spinning. In an instant her father vanished. His form replaced by Smit.

"You don't look so good." He said leaning over her form. "Here. Have some water."

Graciously. Tayla reached for the skin he held, but it was just out of reach. "Too far..." Her voice barely above a whisper. "Can't reach..."

The skin fell to the floor. It's contains spilling out red. Smit's form shimmered into the form of the white haired woman. The world bleeding black.

"Should have taken the water." The white haired women said. The darkness swooped in taking Tayla yet again.




Tayla awoke in coughing fit. She felt a cool liquid wetting her dirtied garments.

"Hush..." Said a dry sounding voice, trying its best to sound soothing. "Your punishment is over. Drink... You need the water..." Sightless Syella... She had come through for Tayla...

The Sightless held a cup of water in her hands. Slowly she brought it to Tayla's cracked lips. Tayla took the offering graciously. She drank the water faster than she probably should have.

"You came..." Tayla said having finished the offering. "I thought... you would leave me hear to rot."

"Course not." Syella said. "A mother does not leave her child to die."

Tayla nodded, taking the time to take in her surroundings. They were still in the cellar, but no longer in the room they locked her in. She hear the shuffling of feet towards the far wall. A group of Sightless had entered from a hidden passage built into the cellar wall. In their hands they carried rags with darkened stains.

Tayla furrowed her brow. "What... what's going on?"

"Nothing. Feeding time just finished is all." Sightless Syella said.

"Feeding... time?" Tayla repeating. Her mind still seemed muddled from her time in isolation.

"That's right." She said. "Come child. Let's go upstairs and get you some food."

"Food?" She asked, her stomach growled at the word.

"Yes." Syella say. "You're going to need it. Food and rest. We have battle coming our way and I'll need you at your best."

Tayla's mind struggled to keep up. "Where's Smit?" Tayla heard herself say

Syella almost seemed to frown. "He's... busy." She said hesitantly. "He been given a promotion actually. From now on Smit will be a squad leader. As for you? Well... Perhaps I was too hasty in stating that your punishment was over. From now on, Tayla, you will be taking orders from Smit."

The words hit Tayla like a rock. They had demoted her for her actions. Everything she worked for ruined in one fell swoop.
Interlude

Malkev




Year 4256
3nd day of the month of Olfaccium
Afternoon

"Look Uncle! I figured it out!"

Malkev's head perked up. Pulled out of his contemplative trance by his nephew's call. He looked up at his nephew. Watching as the boy turned to the underground lake and tossed one of the many smooth, flat rocks which were generously provided by the Kharu-Natjer. The rock skipped across the water's surface twice before plopping into the depths beneath.

The water stirred oddly. It's surface rippling towards the disturbance in the water instead of away from it. It was one of the many unsettling affects caused by the Distortion. His nephew, however, seemed unperturbed by unnatural motion of the ripples. The boy spun happily on his heels, beaming proudly at his uncle.

"See!" The boy exclaimed. "I told you I could figure it out on my own!"

“Aye lad, so you did.” Malkev said, forcing a smile on his face. “But can you get it to skip even more?”

The boy, Taleb, frowned. He bent over, picking up another rock from the pile. "Maybe." He said. He proceeded to toss the the rock against the water's surface. It skipped once before plummeting beneath the surface.

Malkev smile softly. That will give me a few more minutes. He thought while idly swatting at a fly which landed upon his shoulder. It buzzed in protest. Zipping in circles, it's surface appearing to glint in the crystal jade's green light. Eventually it settled on a far wall. In a place where it wouldn't bother anyone.

Malkev sighed. Taleb was ignorant of his father's passage. Ignorant of the hatred he should hold against his uncle. Malkev's entire world had flipped on its head in the matter of a week. How did things ever go so wrong?

“What I am going to do?” Malkev muttered under his breath.

"Sir?" One of his nearby personal guard asked.

“It's nothing.” Malkev said, waving the guard aside. The guard eyed him. Was that concern he saw in the man's eyes. His worry must be rubbing off on them

Malkev shook his head. The girl, Karina, was a way out. A way to potentially save his people from having to fight off the nation of Touch's soldiers, but it was only a temporary reprieve. She expected loyalty out of him. For him to put his people back in harm's way in a moment's notice. It seemed simple, but what else would they ask from him? Furthermore, what might they do to ensure that Malkev makes good on his promise?

Malkev looked Taleb, watching the as the boy tossed yet another stone across the water's surface.

That boy... He would hate Malkev one day. The moment he learned the reason for his father's death. For the time being he knew not that his father was even dead. But once he did... how long could Malkev keep the reason behind his death a secret.

Malkev had failed his brother. Failed him in the worst way possible. One day, Malkev would pay for his crimes. For now, however, the least Malkev could do was ensure the safety of his brother's son... Even if it meant putting his people on the front lines to some future war he didn't agree to...

"I did it!" Taleb exclaimed. "That's three skips now!"

Malkev smiled to his nephew. His mind now made up. He would agree to help Ms. Frost. In exchange, he would ask that she assure his family's safety.
Interlude
-Collab Between Pezz570 and JerkChicken-

Chres Sansus
DB, (A.K.A. Jen Gibre)


@Jerkchicken




Interlude
-Collab Between Pezz570 and HokumPocus-

Lynx
Sil


@HokumPocus




Interlude
-Collab Between Pezz570 and Fetzen-

Týfurkh
Chres Sansus


@fetzen




Interlude
-Collab Between Pezz570 and 13Org-

Karina Frost
Chres Sansus


@13org




Interlude
-Collab Between Pezz570 and 13Org-

Karina Frost


@13org



Plot Point

Meanwhile...



Year 4256
1st day of the month Olfaccium
Mid-Summer
Nation of Sight
East of Shimmer Town - Army of Touch Encampment

Da da da dum. Da da da dum. Da da da dum.

Viktor Frost, High General of Emperor Talissare's army, drummed his fingers on the side of his war table. Idly, he contemplated the message one of his foot soldiers relayed.

That code... it was Lieutenant Frost's code for sure... A reference to Viktor's favorite Opera... The girl had gone alone, and yet the voice had been a male's. A voice that had come from nowhere. Heard, by chance, from a few soldiers.

It was a curious situation. One that begged the question, was the message really from her or some sort of elaborate trick? Either way, one thing was clear. Karina's cover was blown.

"That girl..." Viktor grumbled under his breath.

Did Lieutenant Frost understand the trouble her actions had caused? A First Lieutenant on a scouting mission?! Her actions had not only sewn discord among the Company at her command, but it also gave the wrong message to her the scouts! Did the Lieutenant not think her scouts trained well enough to perform their duty? Or was she just growing bored of her position in the army?

Or is it worse? Viktor wondered. Is she trying to earn my approval? Well, this certainly wasn't the way for her to do it.

To be honest, Viktor didn't have the luxury to single out soldiers for praise, let alone play favorites with his own daughter. Karina was a soldier. As with any soldier, he expected her to act the part. Not go out on risky ventures such as this... Although, if her message could be trusted... If what the voice spoke was truth...

"You're dismissed, soldier." Viktor said, rising to his feet. The young lad saluted and left the war tent.

Viktor sighed. In many ways, this was a bad situation. Command in disarray. Officers questioning his judgment. His daughter a possible prisoner of war... On the flip side, if the Lieutenant truly had sent that message, then perhaps he had another way he could sabotage the town's defenses.

All communication from within the city had gone dark. His contact in the city had yet to respond to his negotiations for two days. Scouts entered the city, but they didn't leave. Viktor needed this city to fully cut off supply chains from the north. What he did not need was a drawn out siege.

Shimmer Town's lake provided the city with plenty of fresh water and food. He could use that same lake as route of attack, but that would require building boats and laying waste to the city. Not to mention all the lives he might lose.

No, Viktor would much prefer that the city open its doors to his army. Hence the negotiations he'd undertaken in trying to turn a member of the city's nobility. He had initially attempted negotiations with the lord of the city. Lord O’Kal. The man however had proven... uncommunicative. Viktor had then started making contact with other nobility, until finally he got a nibble.

Viktor rubbed his chin in thought. His face rough from his stubble of a beard. Silently he strode out of the tent. He needed fresh air to help sort through his thoughts.

The sounds of the army encampment surrounded him. Officers shouting out orders. The whine of restless horses eager to run. Foot soldiers laughing and shouting over early evening fires. Soothing sounds. Calming sounds.

Viktor wandered the camp, his hands clasped behind his backs. The soldiers he passed gave mixed reactions. The mainstay troops were better trained. They would solute at his passing, the higher ranking soldiers often giving him a nod of respect. The foot soldiers, however, was comprised mostly of peasants. The ones who recognized him would pay their respects with an awkward solutes, or a bow of the head. Others would gape in awe, point at Viktor while whispering to their comrades.

"That's him, I tell you!" He heard one of them whisper as he passed. "General Frost, The Mirage. The man single-handedly stopped the raids during The War of the Crazed!"

The War of the Crazed... That brought him back. It had been a long time since his excursion into Sensory Range. A five day campaign investigating reports of raids attacking supplies caravans from The Nation of Touch.

The story the man told wasn't entirely true. Viktor hadn't ended the raids all by himself... well, at least not towards the end...

His squad had been ambushed by the Crazed. The high ranking officers killed, while remaining troops were captured and scattered. Alone and with limited rations. Viktor had to take to guerrilla warfare in order to survive.

He used The Range's network of caves as a means of hiding. Striking from the shadows at opportune moments. One by one he rescued his fellow solders and freed caravans captured by the Crazed.

None of it would have worked were it not for his illusionary magic. It had been during this excursion Viktor had been forced to push his abilities to its limits. Viktor had secured The Range through trickery. By developing mass illusions imitating squads of troops. It was this technique which had earned him his title, The Mirage. A title that unfortunately would follow him to the end of his days.

Viktor frowned. His gaze forward. His strides steady. What to do about the girl? He wondered.

The Lieutenant had been insistent they gather intelligence on The Cult. Insistent that there was reason to be concerned about The Cult recent activity. Taken by rumors of their ability to see the future and the dark powers of the ones referred to as The Sightless. A tale they spun to attract the gullible, or so Viktor always believed.

The Cult had been around for ages trying to win people over to their Unseeing God. Pointing to The Distortion as proof his existence while ignoring the flaw in that claim. If The Distortion was the touch of their god, then why could he not create its effects elsewhere? The Distortion was an enigma for sure. An act of God? Perhaps a little far-fetched.

But if a Distortion has taken the city... What does one make if it then?

The thought worried Viktor. He had figured the Lieutenant's concerns unwarranted. In the end, Viktor had tossed The Cult's recent activity as nothing more than opportunistic. A chance to add a few more believers to their numbers.

The Cult were not the people Viktor had set out to go to war with, and quite honestly he would prefer it remain that way. A war against a belief was tricky. Whereas a war against a nation can be ended by toppling its king, a war against a religion does not end with the death of their leader.

"High General Frost." Said a familiar voice. "A word, if you please."

Viktor looked up. Somehow he had found his way back to his war tent. At its flap stood Colonel Raelar holding an odd bag the size of a small melon. He had not taken well to the girl's disappearance. Her Company was a part of his command. Viktor gave the man a curt nod as he passed him by.

"Colonel Raelar." Viktor said as they entered the tent. "What have you got for me?"

"A messenger was sent by King Y’lleant." Raelar said. The man had a cold look to him. He was not one to usually mince words.

"Oh?" Viktor said. "And where is this messenger now?"

"Chained to a pole. Under watch."

Viktor parsed his lips. His eyes wandered to the bag in Raelar's hand.

"Out with it then." He said.

Raelar opened the bag. A head rolled onto the ground.



Da da da dum. Da da da dum. Da da da dum.

Yet again, Viktor found himself drumming his fingers upon his war table. This time for a different reason. Queen Tallea was dead. The Emperor's sister was dead! This... this was not good. The Emperor would not be happy to learn about her death.

One thing at a time. Viktor told himself.

First thing first. He needed to secure Karina's safety. He could not stop the assault on Shimmer Town now, even if the girl's message spoke truth. However, he could relay the message to her. Prepare her for the inevitable.

He would send a squad of men in to seek her out. Colonel Raelar would disapprove. As far as he was concerned, the girl should be labeled a deserter and executed. Senses knows he wasn't the only one who thought that way.

The man wasn't wrong. The girl had deserted her post. However, she may also be their best bet in securing swift victory without a prolonged siege.

He was going to have to trust the girl on this one. It was something he was not happy to admit.
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