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

7Aug/13Off

Enzi’s Irregulars #0058

Yells and shouts marked the argument in the camp. Enzi rushed for the gate as the light of Feras tried to bring dawn to the world. Enzi tried to piece together what was happening from a few fragments he heard. By the time he got through the gate and made his way to the arguing men, he knew two things. One was that a Ravaleian had been murdered. The other was that the form of a Kurrot had clearly been witnessed at the scene.

There were only two Kurrot in the camp. Syrian Dow was the one the Ravaleians called out as a suspect. Enzi felt more confident. A man had been watching Syrian just for this situation. General Cassius called on that man to step forward and tell the Ravaleians exactly what the Kurrot had been up to. Cassius explained that Syrian had been under watch to prevent any misunderstandings.

“Yes, I had been watching Syrian,” the soldier stated, “Unfortunately I am only one man. This murder happened while I was asleep. I can not confirm Syrian's whereabouts.”

“Yes, perhaps a smarter general would have had two people watching this Kurrot,” a Ravaleian man said with a growl.

This Ravaleian wore the symbol of the Rava Coast Trading Company. He was obviously the head of the mercenary force at the camp. Scars ran across the man's arms. It was obvious this was a career warrior. His brown eyes had a fiery intellect behind them. This was not a man to take lightly. Now Cassius had to match wits with the man. Enzi could not imagine that this would be easy.

“You are making assumptions when there are multiple suspects,” Cassius stated.

“Where was Syrian when you awoke soldier? Was he still in his bed?” the Ravaleian asked.

“No, he had awoken before I did,” the Nuvroci soldier said, then turned to Cassius, “I am sorry, my general.”

“Now to the other Kurrot,” the Ravaleian mercenary said, “Where is he. Let us solve this crime here and now.”

The other Kurrot stumbled out, obviously drunk and the Ravaleian spoke, “What do you have to say for yourself?”

The Kurrot collapsed as another soldier spoke, “We were up most of the night celebrating. He was in no condition to do anything last night. He still has not slept it off as you can see.”

“Then we know our guilty party,” the Ravaleian stated, “I call for the immediate execution of Syrian Dow.”

“On what evidence,” Syrian said, “I certainly did not kill anyone. If this witness can be trusted, there are more than enough with a thin build here.”

“Not a witness,” the Ravaleian said, “Three witnesses. Two of our men and one Nuvroci soldier. All of them described a tall thin man in the greens you like to wear. Someone who moved fast and with uncanny grace. There are not many who meet that kind of description here. One of them is drunk off his ass. You are already a known murderer.”

“I have never murdered anyone,” Syrian said, “Here or at home. The false talk of murders in my homeland did not begin until your men arrived.”

“Perhaps.” the Ravaleian leader said, “It is odd that word of it has not arrived here. Your name was plastered all over the border in Ravalei. Maybe your general friend is just hiding something.”

“Or maybe you are lying,” Syrian growled.

A short yell for identification at the gate showed that the base camp had a visitor. The man that stepped inside was a Kurrot. It caused the whole conversation to pause. It was the possibility of a new suspect. Yet it was also the possibility of news from afar. The encampment had not seen any messenger for several weeks. The silence in the base camp spooked the Kurrot. He looked around skittishly. It certainly did not help his possible appearance of guilt. Syrian could easily have passed off the blame on the man, but he did not. The Bladestorm would not stoop so low.

“I brought a message. We had not heard back from any of our other messengers. We assumed something happened to them or to you,” the new Kurrot said nervously.

The Ravaleian leader snorted, “We have been without a message for some time.”

“Yes, I was instructed to bring again the messages the last two messengers were to bring, as neither has been heard from.”

“Then let us see them,” the Ravaleian said, “Show us you are who you say you are.”

The messenger opened up the bag he had and gave out several missives. General Cassius Tessium took control of the letters with the Ravaleian trying to peer over his shoulder. Most were battle updates. However, there was one other message that caught the eyes of the scheming company man from Ravalei. It was obviously a message of a more dire nature. It was marked to be opened immediately as important but not private. Such public news was unusual. Even the general wondered what news could be so important that it needed to be read even with prying eyes watching.

Cassius read it aloud, “This message is all the more important if it did not arrive with the last two messengers. We have received news that a murderer has escaped justice in Kurrot to come to your base camp. He is responsible for the murder of Deshi Wan.”

Syrian gasped at that name as Cassius continued, “This known murderer goes by the name of Syrian Dow.”

***

Tuvaar Lat looked over the great walled city of Rheamoor. He knew that the message about the murder of Deshi Wan should have reached the northern front. Deshi had been a long time companion of Syrian. Tuvaar wanted anyone who might become a spokesman for Syrian to be eliminated. Finding Deshi had been difficult. He had disappeared as soon as the war started. In some ways this was advantageous. It meant that the long disappearance could be blamed on murder.

The real reason had been far more interesting. Despite showing considerable skill in combat training, the man was a pacifist. He wanted to be as far from the battles and conflict as possible. He had headed off to visit the city-state of Tempest. Like all the city-states of Kurrot, it had its own distinct flavor. While most knew it for its fishing, it was home to a monastery run by a man known as Li Neu Ven. There they taught a unique form of unarmed combat, meant to emulate the very elemental power of the world.

It was a quiet place far from war, but one where Deshi could have had an outlet for his physical prowess that would not lead to actual conflict. He had planned to relinquish his name and become an anonymous trainee of the martial arts. This wish to disappear had played easily into the hands of the Master of Blades. Now he made a perfect martyr. A man who wished for peace and would not kill, murdered by a soulless killer. It played quite well to the crowd.

He was a well known associate of Syrian Dow. The two had argued often about the role of combat. Some had even called Syrian bloodthirsty. This was not unusual for a Bladestorm. Such traits were often encouraged in the past. These facts gave Tuvaar ammunition for his call to bring more order to Kurrot. The country had been a group of independent city-states for too long. The people had nothing to rally behind. Tuvaar would give them a symbol to follow. He planned to be that symbol. He planned to be the man to lead Kurrot into a new future with him as the undisputed leader of the whole country.

The only loose end was Syrian Dow. Now that Syrian was wanted for murder, Tuvaar expected that the Bladestorm would likely be executed. Even if he survived and escaped, he would be a pariah. He was no longer a threat. While Tuvaar would prefer Syrian to be dead, his reach was still limited. The Master of Blades did not have the power he wanted yet. When he did, he expected nothing would stand in his way. Especially not some young kid. Especially when everyone would want the kid taken down for murder.

***

“Murderer!” the Ravaleian commander yelled out, “Surrender for justice now!”

Syrian took a step back and growled, “I do not have time for that now. I am no murderer.”

“We all saw how you reacted to that name,” the Ravaleian snarled coldly, “Your guilt is without question and now you try to weasel away. There can be no mercy for your kind.”

With a mere nod from the Ravaleian leader several mercenaries drew their blades and leapt at Syrian. The amazing reflexes of the Kurrot surprised many. It was almost as if his weapons suddenly appeared in his hands. He parried the incoming attacks and narrowed his eyes.

“Someone has killed my best friend and called me his murderer. I do not have time for your petty games,” Syrian snapped, “It seems it is time for me to go back home and find out what is really going on.”

“You are not leaving here alive after having slain my our soldiers,” the Ravaleian said with a slight smirk.

“Stop this immediately!” General Cassius Tessium commanded.

The Ravaleian commander turned towards the general with a sneer, “Your command is over. You have aided a murderer against all common sense. You failed to protect your men. I am taking command of this encampment as of right now. The Rava Coast Trading Company is now in charge.”

A crack of thunder broke the brief silence as a bolt of lightning struck the Ravaleian commander down. His smoking, quivering corpse hit the ground as shocked faces looked on. A glow emanated from the small Ravaleian girl nearby. Her eyes appeared to be little more than glowing balls of green light. Her hair floated in the air as the power of static electricity charged the atmosphere.

A lilting voice came from the mage, “You seek control? No one will control me ever again. Now I shall show you the power of thunder and lightning!”

One of the mercenaries yelled out, “Kill the witch! Kill the murderer! Kill the corrupt general! Take the camp!”

With those simple words, war erupted in the military base. The Storm Queen cackled as she unleashed raw electricity into anyone her demented eyes picked out as a foe. Enzi moved to protect Cassius. The mercenaries for the Rava Coast Trading Company traded blows with the Nuvroci soldiers. The chaos was insane. They had a war with the goblinoids to deal with. Now the Ravaleians had made a power play. The strong reaction from the unpredictable Storm Queen had now set off a storm that would not stop until everything was settled.

Syrian Dow fought to defend himself but steadily made his way towards the exit of the encampment. The letter had been damning evidence, but the actions of the Ravaleians had drawn the suspicion of Enzi and Cassius to them. They had little wish to stop Syrian. He had proven to be a great warrior. His secret life as son of Jaeris Hyn would give plenty of reason to frame him for murder. Having known him for many months, Enzi was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Enzi saw what had to be done. General Cassius Tessium needed allies. While the mechanics for the golems were Ravaleian, they were not from the Rava Coast Trading Company. The Feergrus knew that he could not allow them to join the other Ravaleians in the uprising. The golems could overwhelm almost anyone. Even the power of the Storm Queen would be of little use. Even if Enzi could only convince them to stay neutral, that would be enough. Otherwise he foresaw a massacre.

“Protect the general,” Enzi said towards the Irregulars, “There is something I have to do.”

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