The Silver Tower Chronicles Adventures in other worlds, other times, and other realities

8Aug/12Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0006

Aldebaran dove into the thicket of grass with alarming speed. The rest of the mercenaries quickly dug and found the unconscious Kava. Eurysa immediately did all that she could. The kit bag she wore at her side was slung so that it crossed its leather band with the strap of her quiver. Ritter was surprised that she had any training in healing, but knew that someone in the group had to. Otherwise any wound might be the group's last. Infection was a terrible affliction and caused at least as many death as the weapons of war did themselves.

“Will she make it?” Aldebaran grunted.

“I'm not sure. I've bound the arm as well as I can, but she has lost a lot of blood. We need a real healer.”

The minotaur lifted her limp body, “Then we move. Now.”

Laerdik's voice interjected, “Eurysa, correct?”

“Yes?” the gorgon replied.

“That was an interesting show of arcane power,” the Magehunter said, “Magic is dangerous enough in human hands.”

“We really don't have time for this,” Eurysa said, “So just stay put for a while will you?”

Her gaze settled on the Magehunter but he merely shook his head, “And using you power so casually. I am sorry for your friend, but it is my sworn duty to end all magical threats. It is too bad, you seemed honorable enough.”

With the sound of a loud crack, Laerdik's eyes rolled back in their sockets and he hit the ground. Behind him Ritter was shaking his mailed fist. The other mercenaries looked almost quizzically at the dwarf.

“What?” Ritter asked, “Let's get a move on then! He will wake up eventually. He seems smart enough to chase after some real dangers instead of us.”

Eurysa smiled, nodded, and turned towards the northeast. Aldebaran carried their fallen comrade as Mayitso plodded along beside them quietly. The dark furred lycanthrope had already slunk off towards the south and the Tarvo Forest that lay in the far distance. The small group hustled off in the hopes of saving their friend.

***

For many, waking to the moans of the wounded and the smell of blood would be uncomfortable. To the vodyanoi it was the sound of life continuing on despite the odds. Her right arm gave her a dull, throbbing pain that told her she was still alive. Kava's memory flashed sharply, seeing the unprotected belly of the female troglodyte. She had cut at the easy target, but it had been a feint. Her hatchet had struck true, she had seen the blood. She had seen the vital organs start to spill outwards. She had also felt terrible pain.

Her world had gone dark. She had thought she had felt motion. She imagined that must be true. She was laying in a cot of some sort. It was not something one found in the middle of nowhere. She finally opened her orange eyes to gaze upon the world once more. She immediately regretted that. The light was harsh. Still she struggled to figure out where she was. As the world around her came into focus, she saw she was in a small tent and light was streaming inside and over top of her. The flaps lay open and a cool breeze blew over her almost painfully dry skin.

She could hear the groans of other wounded, perhaps in another nearby tent. The pain in her right arm was not dulling, so Kava glanced down, shakily lifting her weakened limb. She saw the bandaged stump. That would not do at all. That meant half as much killing. She tried to pull herself out of the cot but her head spun. The blood loss had left her weak and her dehydration was not helping. She wasn't going anywhere quite yet.

“You know,” she croaked softly, “Maybe I'll just rest here a while longer.”

***

Ritter was not certain what to make of Mayitso's human form. His pale skin was similar to that of the Tarvoni, perhaps slightly more pale. Perhaps pale was not the right word as the skin seemed almost translucent, but that was not the correct word either. He was much larger than the Tarvoni mage had been, but smaller than the Hirkan mercenaries that Ritter had seen. As the pale races dominated the southern forest where the lycanthropes lived, he could understand why their form matched more closely to them if it was meant to be a way to blend in.

The Halz had never seen a Vashimi but wondered how close this form was to one of them. The lycanthrope spoke in the language of the Feergrus. Eurysa and Enzi understood him, but Aldebaran did not. The minotaur seemed more worried about Kava than what Mayitso had learned from the other lycanthrope. Ritter's grasp of the language of the Feergrus, a tongue they called the Infernus, was getting better but the Halz still sometimes struggled with it.

“The mage had a plan to eliminate the leadership of Feergrus, to slay the one called Glanar Dale.”

“He would not have made it far,” Enzi replied, “Though I commend his goal. His attack would have only slain the Feergrus that got in his way until he was defeated. Likely a force awaited them at the border in case you failed.”

“That may be more right than you know,” Eurysa said, “We were met by a healer from Feergrus on our way to return here. Her power brought Kava back from the brink of death. Though I do not understand why they did not move to aid us earlier.”

“That is simple enough,” Enzi said, “The government of Feergrus will not allow any of the warriors under their command to get involved in any battles outside of their lands. Their strictness in this allows for several things. For one, their healers are welcome everywhere as all know they will not fight. The government can also disavow any violence that takes place by one of their people as the actions of an individual. I suspect their hand in a great many events in the world, always behind the scenes.”

“Then why not let foes blaze their way through to end the government?” Mayitso asked.

“I may disagree with the government, but I still love the people. They are my people, my family. The government may manipulate many things, yet they are smart enough to allow the people to do good for the world. It serves their purpose. That does not stop the actions from being good. The people that do them do it for the right reasons.”

“It is indeed foul to use the good deeds of another to bolster ones own plans,” Ritter said, “To borrow their reputation.”

“Do you think the Magehunter will come after me?” Eurysa asked.

“Hard to say,” Enzi replied, “We will keep our guard up just in case. You say the healer mentioned him?”

Eurysa nodded, “They came not only to aid us, but to the fallen Agonish man.”

Enzi nodded, “He is in good hands with the healers of Feergrus. The priests and priestesses of Rakar have no equal in the medical field. For our sake they will likely hold him as long as they can tending to his wounds. They can be quite persuasive. Certainly if he was set on you as his primary target, he would have found a way to get here by now. Perhaps some time has cooled his head to allow him to see true dangers to the people of Agon.”

“You don't seem surprised by the news of the mage's plan,” Ritter said

“No. I came into more information on what was going on after you left. It does not change what had to be done. No matter how much I might like the government to fall, it should not be at the expense of so many innocent lives. That is why I never joined the Ahk separatists. Their methods are too violent and poorly targeted. Even if I had taken over command, I would be leading a group known for murder and terror. I'm not sure the government can even be overthrown by simple violence.”

“Only when the corruption is revealed for all to see,” Ritter said, “A true revolution.”

“Perhaps someday,” Enzi replied, “But for now shall we go see our wounded friend? I have a gift for her to make her feel better.”

The group made their way to the healer's tents on the edge of Center Point. Kava had her own small tent away from the others. The healers had thought that her inhuman appearance would affect the other patients. Ritter had a hard time disagreeing. The humans often gave the Halz odd looks and they were far more human looking than a vodyanoi. Soon the small group arrived and found the vodyanoi resting in her cot. She looked tiny in the cot, her stature was smaller than the average human for whom the cot had been crafted.

“Now to wake her up,” Enzi said.

“Oh that is my job,” Aldebaran said.

The minotaur had brought a bucket and he spilled its contents upon Kava. The water poured across her and Kava's bright orange eyes snapped open.

“Oh I needed that,” she said.

Aldebaran grunted.

“Yeah, I'm no fun am I?” Kava said, “Though it looks like I only get to have half the fun now.”

“Not entirely true,” Enzi said, “I brought a gift. I had this made especially for you.”

The dark skinned man unwrapped a prosthetic and worked to strap it to the vodyanoi's arm. The end of the prosthetic gleamed in the light streaming in through the tent's entrance. Her right arm was now a weapon in its own right. An axe that was effectively part of her own body. The vodyanoi grinned as her eyes gleamed.

“I didn't know people could do this sort of thing,” Kava said, “So can someone lop off my other hand so I can get another of these things?”

Enzi chuckled as Ritter asked, “Then how would you feed yourself?”

“Well, I'd just have Aldebaran here feed me.”

“Not going to happen,” the minotaur grumbled in his gravelly voice.

“Guess I am going to have to get some practice with this thing,” Kava said as she tried to leave to cot again.

She grunted and laid back down as her head swam, “Well, maybe tomorrow.”

“Maybe tomorrow indeed,” Enzi said, “For now, all of you get some rest. Things won't stay quiet for long.”

The Feergrus native strode away as the mercenaries chatted among themselves and mumbled under his breath, “They never do.”

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