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

3Apr/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0040

“Odd that a man who is considered untrained to work on humans has all the right knowledge to be exactly what we need,” Eurysa hissed.

“Yeah, its kinda ironic,” Kava croaked.

“He probably knows more than a lot of doctors,” Enzi stated, “His history of working on farms and then his time doing autopsies here mean a lot of knowledge of bodies and how they work.”

The Feergrus man looked to the minotaur, “Get some rest. We will probably need to move out soon.”

Captain Aurari Koto soon approached the group, “It seems the local authorities need my help to sort out all that happened here. I was expecting some violence from the situation you were in, but this golem thing was unexpected. It is a good thing you were here to stop it before it rampaged across the countryside.”

“Yes, that thing was a menace,” Enzi replied in Rava, “I am saddened by the loss of the people in the laboratory however.”

“Nothing you could have done,” Aurari replied, “Golem creation is a touchy business. If this had worked out, we could have mass produced several units to aid the front line in the war. Obviously this was a dead end for such research. The golem did not even leave much of its victims behind, we can't identify what was what. The experts looked at the research and determined everything looked good, so it is obviously a major incompatibility in our two different magics. It is yet another failed project while we move on to the next one. It seems the war will have to drag on for a while.”

Enzi nodded, “I figure we should leave before someone finds a reason to blame us for this. Zindaro Plam would have a field day using this to turn people against us. We are mercenaries after all, perhaps we can help on the northern front.”

“You have two choices then,”Head south into Kurrot and deal with incursion the cross Lake Hargis or come out of the Siren Swamp. Not a major front, but still important. The other is to head east into Nuvroc and deal with the goblins encroaching through the forests there. The Nuvroci rangers need a lot of aid. There is a significant amount of territory to cover there. Most of our support has gone there.”

Enzi frowned, “I wish this could have gone better. There were no winners today.”

Aurari replied, “That is often the way of the world. I wish you good luck. You have done what you could/ That is far more than what most people can claim.”

***

The man who helped Aldebaran returned to his office. Another Ravaleian was there. This new Ravaleian was in his early eighties.

“You have what I want?” the elderly Ravaleian asked.

“Yes doctor,” the younger Ravaleian said as he placed the horn of the minotaur on the table as well as the material he had sliced off of Aldebaran's head.

“Excellent. I had feared I would not get the chance to study one of these creatures in any way. Now I am one step closer to achieving a greater success with alchemy than even the finest minds of the Caseans.”

“I can't imagine that is easy. They are planning to lock down the Alchemist's Stone after today's incident. Too many people around and not enough security.”

“No one can stop Doctor Calind Vega. Come with me and you can be among the first to reap the benefits of my research. It is time to liberate the stone and use it to its full potential. Already I can feel my age begin to turn me towards my final days. I can not afford the luxury of patience.”

***

Zindaro Plam sighed unhappily, “So the minotaur was damaged? That is unfortunate. There is too much trouble to deal with them at the moment, especially as I have lost so many trusted men.”

“You can't let them make us look like fools, right boss?” a henchman asked.

“That is not a worry. They will pay a price for what happened. I want word sent to every mercenary and bounty hunter in this land. I want the minotaur and gorgon. Dead or alive.”

“We will have to make quite an offer. The war is certain to keep mercenaries busy and well paid.”

Zindaro nodded, “That is not a problem. I have more than enough gold. I want it done. Make it happen.”

***

The woman had left work for the day and stopped by the theater. It had been an interesting day at the Rinn Institute. She dropped off a note behind one seat as she moved on to her own seat to watch the show. The note almost seemed to magically vanish as someone stealthily appropriated it and delivered it up to one of the private boxes. The Master of Assassins was there and he read the note carefully.

It told him of the incident with the Bone Golem and the suspected death of Rukiya Bora and her Ravaleian partner. The terrible conditions meant that it could not be confirmed who it was, but the project was certainly ended. That would be enough. The Master of Assassins assumed that the Quiet Death had been lost as well. The destruction of the bodies meant that her presence was unsuspected at least. The spy was an excellent tracker and had noted no sign of an escape by Rukiya or the Quiet Death, although the massive number of people that had been through the area muddled things. At this point the Master of Assassins did not care about such things. The mission was complete and the reputation of the assassins was secured,

***

The eastward road was long but Enzi's Irregulars made a good pace as they traveled. They traveled southeast so that no one could tell which part of the northern front they were headed for. They stayed out of the cities and avoided contact, keeping their cloaks on for anonymity. As they were nearing the Kurrot border, cloaks would not be unexpected. Southeast of the town of Levine, the group turned east and entered the forest known as the Barrier Vale. It separated the lush farmlands around Singer Lake and Singer River from the northern plains. It also made for excellent cover.

It took nearly two weeks of walking though the forest before the group finally had to exit it. At that point they had nearly two days of travel through the fertile lands east of the forest until they reached to town of Tranum on the Tranumea River. It was a mighty river at that point, fed by over flow from Siren Swamp and the Singer River. There were other tributaries further south, but as those all flowed through the swamp, they were part of its effect on the Tranumea.

Tranum was one of two places where one could easily cross into Nuvroc. The other was the town of Northbridge, much further to the north where it sat on the Rava Coast. One could certainly take a boat to some of the fishing villages in Nuvroc, but that also requires a much more northerly tack. The Irregulars needed to reach the south part of the area Nuvroc controlled. It was there most of the battles were being fought. Enzi figured they could do some good while staying out of more civilized areas.

For now the mercenaries enjoyed a walk through the farmlands west of the Tranumea. A calm and peaceful breeze blew through the fields. It was summer now, the harvest was still several months away, but the breeze made things feel almost like fall already. However, that meant something else entirely to Enzi.

“A storm is coming,” the Feergrus man said.

Those words sent a chill down Enzi's back as soon as he said them. Wars were never a pleasant thing. Now the goblinoids had begun a new conflict. The Fifth Goblinoid War as it was sure to be called. The first two of the great goblinoid wars were legend only, based on tales and myths of times before the Revolution of Ago. The First Goblinoid War was supposedly one fought against by the dwarves and the elves. Talks with Ritter had confirmed that the Halz told tales of these times.

The Second Goblinoid war had come several centuries later and greatly weakened the elves and the Halz. That war had ended when the giants came down from the mountain to crush all resistance and rule the world of Doulairen. That myth had proven at least some of its truth, even if Ritter had not confirmed it. The Revolution of Ago had begun under the heartless rule of the giants. It had taken fifty six years to overthrow the giants and had taken a toll on the great hero Ago. King Ago the First died a mere three years later, though by then a calendar had been set by the birth of the nation three years earlier.

The Third Goblinoid War had begun in the year two hundred and thirteen. They had won, seizing the Throne of Kings in the city of Agonor. The goblinoids ruled for a brutal twenty two years, finally ending when the nation of Nuvroc discovered the western nations and came to their aid. A time of rebuilding came for many hundreds of years until the great flood came and weakened all the nations of the land. Luckily the goblinoids did not take the opportunity to attack then. It was likely that they had suffered a great many casualties during this time as well. Their lands were already low lying and swampy for the most part.

The Fourth Goblinoid War finally did come. It had happened in the year thirteen hundred and sixty four. This was well known to Enzi. He had studied the battles during his training. It was during this time that Feergrus had proved itself to the northern kingdoms. Most encounters before the war had been with the followers of Ahk. They had made sure that people had a low view of the dark skinned people of the badlands. However, the northerners were more than familiar with rival cultures and civil wars and quickly came to grasp with the truth of the situation. It had been a long time since then, as the year was now nineteen hundred and ninety seven.

The assassination of King Ago the Second in the sixth year of the great nation by a Casean arrow had launched a great war against the king's younger brother, the man who had founded the island kingdom to the north, King Casea himself. That civil war had ended five years later with the death of King Casea. Casea had no heirs while King Ago the Third was too young to rule. With no leader, the Caseans retreated to their island. A siege would have been impossible.

Enzi wondered what all had happened to keep the peace after that. The flood had destroyed a great many records, most history before it happened were either relics that had somehow survived or oral tales passed down by the bards of Agon. That was certainly a biased source and Enzi found it hard to entirely trust the words of only one side. His thoughts were broken by the feeling of rain pouring down upon his face. The cool droplets felt quite refreshing. It was almost as if it was washing away all his worries.

***

“Now comes the fun part,” Enzi said, “Passing through the town of Tranum and over the bridge into Nuvroc. The last roadblock before we find ourselves diving into massive conflict.”

“Can't we just go around?” Ritter asked.

Enzi chuckled, “Not without a boat or trying our luck at the town of Northbridge. Today you will get to see why Ravalei is generally considered the safest country when it comes to defense.”

Kava nodded, “The great golem wall.”

“What, a wall that is a golem?” the Halz asked.

Kava laughed with a mighty croak.

Eurysa hissed, “No, it is a great number of golems that stand shoulder to shoulder. They guard the border of Ravalei. You can only exit or enter Ravalei at a few cities along the border or by traveling around the wall with a ship.”

“And the Rava Coast Trading Company controls the world's largest and most powerful navy,” Ritter said, “Yes, I can see where this would make the Ravaleians a formidable foe. The sheer number of golems however. That boggles my mind.”

Enzi nodded, “It was not always like that. It started with a few weak golems guarding the most dangerous areas. As more golems were created, they slowly filled in the gaps.”

“That is why there is a whole section of the populace devoted to the creation of golems. They call them the leaders the Gearwork Masters,” Eurysa added.

The motley mercenaries meandered into the town, their cloaks doing little to mask their oddness now that they were no longer at a distance from civilization. Enzi led the Irregulars down the winding roads as quickly as he could. Most of the townsfolk were too busy to pay much attention, but a small crowd was slowly gathering. Soon they reached the bridge across the Tranumea River. Several guards stood near the bridge and Ritter gaped at the mighty golems that blocked any passage into or out of Ravalei.

Here at dangerous border into Nuvroc the golems were made of iron. They were huge and powerful looking. They made the Bone Golem look weak and pitiful by comparison. However the Halz knew that the iron golems had to have been a major undertaking. As the group approached the bridge the guard gave them an odd look.

“Halt, what is your business here?” one asked in Rava.

“We are mercenaries headed out to the northern front to aid the war.” Enzi answered.

The guard raised an eyebrow, “Why should we let you through?”

“Would you rather we stay inside your borders to distract your people and cause problems by our mere presence? Or should we go try to do some good by killing as many goblinoids as we can?”

The guard snorted, “True enough. You do seem like trouble and I would rather not have any trouble inside my country. You can go bother the Nuvroci for all I care.”

The guard turned to the golems and gave an order. Two of the mighty golem shifted and moved. They opened up a path into Nuvroc. Enzi nodded to the guard as he passed by. The group hurried onto the bridge as many of the townsfolk of Tranum watched them scuttle by.

Enzi smiled as he looked over his Irregulars, “And now we charge head first into the coming storm.”

Kava gave one of her creepily too wide smiles, “The first good news I've heard in a long time.”

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