Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nithron (part 2 of maybe 3)

    The world seems to tilt and reel every time I move my head.  I slowly roll onto my back, every muscle tight from lying in one place for so long.  Aside from a few bruises, a broken arrow in my arm, and a gash in my left calf I'm pretty well off.  Accept for my head, and when I lift my hand to feel it, I see a three claw scratch across my forearm bleeding profusely.  No doubt from the creatures we were fighting.
    Smoke fills the sky with the remaining flames still burning as the camp grounds continues to smolder.  Arrows, weapons, and bodies lie around me as I attempt to sit up.  The world starts to spin again, so I lie back down, splashing my head into a puddle of mud and blood as the rain begins to fall again.
    Two days ago, when the sky was blue, and all seemed to be the same as any other, the whole camp was preparing to leave to meet the Elves.  Nairi, Nuvole, and Kaymele were getting better with everyday.  Nairi was actually able to help with some of the packing, before Anakis saw her and ordered her back to bed.  Though still very ill, four days after the Slasher Vine attack, Kaymele was able to sit and stay awake.  The fever she had was no more, and most of what remained of her wounds was either covered in bandages or healing rapidly into scars that would never fade.  I visited her as often as I could, and every time she had dazed look on her face.
    'What troubles you?' I said brushing back a loose strand of hair.
    'I don't know if I can explain it, but lately I have seen what I guess to be the future.  And from what I can see, it won't be long before we must face the enemy,' she said quietly.
    'Well I think that is very certain, is that all that troubles you?'
    'No, it's just something in the air.  It feels heavy, like the weight of the world presses on this one spot.  But never mind that now, I have something to tell you, and something I wish to give to you,'
    'Tell me anything,'  I said.
    'I am getting better with every day that passes, and the troops leave tomorrow.  I still wish to join you in the battle,' I started to object but she continued, 'and if I were to perhaps die in battle, I want you to have my journal.' she said holding it out.
    'Oh, Kaymele I couldn't, and besides you aren't going to die because you're not going into battle,'
    'It was decided that you, Nairi, and Natia are to stay behind,' I admit as I rubbed the back of my neck.
    'You can't make me stay behind,' she said stubbornly.
    'It was not my decision, Beleg said you're too weak to go into battle against Felix,' I said sternly.
    'Oh I'll show him weak,' she stood up and started to walk out of the room but fell after two steps.  Luckily I caught her, and gently lifted her back into her bed.
    'Now, you see.  You can't even walk yet, and you want to go into battle.  I can't let you Kaymele, you're far to precious to me,' I said as I ran my fingers through her hair.
    After that we talked no more about dying, or the battle at hand.  Before the people were gathered I visited Kaymele briefly.  She said nothing, just wrote in her journal fervently as if any moment she would be forced to stop.  When I thought I could stay there no longer I started to stand from my stool, but she grabbed my wrist and held it surprisingly tight.  Her eyes were glazed over and wide open, looking almost like she'd gone mad.
    'They're coming,' she whispered.
    The next day, we gathered the people in the center of the camp. Only those who were ill or too old to join us were omitted from attending.  Beleg stood at the front of the crowd with his long list of men who were to fight.  A breeze from the southeast was starting to blow in a slowly gathering mass of dark clouds.  Beleg started reading names faster so as to get the people back into the tents and buildings before it started raining.  But the faster he read the faster the clouds seemed to approach, looking more ominous the closer they got.  Before he was even halfway done with the list, the first drops of rain started falling.  By this time Beleg had stopped calling out full names, and the men who already knew their names were on the list started lining up.  The rain started falling harder now, and most everyone was now drenched in rain.  I was already in place when the first arrow flew through the air and struck the man beside me.  
    'RUN, ARM YOURSELVES!' I shouted above the noise of the rain.
    Most of the people heard me, and the message spread rapidly.  No sooner had everyone started running, the piercing screech of a dragon was heard above us.  The rain was now in sheets and it was nearly impossible to see two feet in front of you.  From behind us several dragons must have landed, and were breathing fire onto whatever was in their path.  Another battle cry was heard from the left almost in a whisper but Nuvole was closer, he used the rainwater and shot a giant ball of water into the general location of the sound.  Something hissed and it was soon clear we had other things to worry about besides the army of dragons.  Something dark like a shadow moved, and along with the rain the sky filled with hundreds of arrows.  Shields went up as the arrows descended, we were helpless.  Far off you could hear the screams of women as the arrows entered their bodies, children wandering around calling out for their parents, infants crying out for their mother's who will never come.  Everything seems to be moving in slow motion, and I can hear my heart beating that seems to echo around the camp.  I hear Adonis's voice shouting at me to turn around, and as I do a shadowy figure emerges from the rain.  Clothed in a tattered cape, and with a skull for it's face.  The creature charged at me with it's sword lifted high, I meet it with a defensive upward stroke.  We fight for what seems like an hour but was really about five minutes, when I got a clean thrust at it's chest, and it falls to the ground dead.  The next one is upon me before I can catch my breath.  I soon found out that this new creature had claws on it's right hand that projected from it's wrist.  It lashed out with it's claws, I ducked and swung my sword at it's legs, which it easily jumped over.
    The rain was letting up, and I was close to defeating this last opponent when I hear a cry from above.  Not the cry of a dragon, or of the many people lying around me dying, but one of terror and I recognized it far too well.  My sword ran the creature through, and I look up to see a cage large enough to hold ten men at the least, and beside it riding a dragon yet not a dragon, as it was made of what seemed to be smoke, Lady Andromeda.  Her chin held high, and a victorious smile upon her lips.  A dragon approached her and the cage, someone else was already inside it looked like Anakis, but in the talons of the dragon, knocked unconscious, was Kaymele.  The scream was hers, and for some reason she was taken prisoner of Andromeda.  She was flung into the cage with such a clatter that the cage tilted slightly.  I was distracted for too long, when something or someone hit me from behind and I remember no more until now.   
    'She's gone,'
    Soon it becomes clear that I'm not the only one alive.  Movement amongst the bodies start happening from all areas of the camp.  I search the camp for Prid, Adonis, Percy, Nuvole, or Beleg.  Apparently the creatures were told not to kill just to disable and capture, but the dragons were told differently.   Slowly I make it to my feet, and start helping others to the infirmary. After the bodies are gathered, counted, and either burned or buried we count our losses.  Four hundred and thirty six (436) dead, many soldiers, women, and children.  Countless others wounded, very few are expected to make full recovery in time.  Natia, poor dear, has had to try healing with what little knowledge she has been taught, by Anakis, about healing.  Though she tries very hard, she's not the expert that Anakis is.  No one knows where she's gone too, but I think I have a pretty good idea.  I remember that Kaymele is not here either, but captured by Andromeda, and I know I saw her face in the cage. This information needed to be taken to Beleg, so I force myself to go to him.  
    His tent was slightly burned in the battle but it still stands.  Many people are gathered outside, some shouting terrible things about him and his plans, and others throwing mud and charred bits of whatever they could get their hands on.  I carefully work my way to the front of the crowd.
    'People, go back to your tents, or back to the infirmary,' I pause to make sure they're listening, 'This was to be a proud day, that has been turned into a nightmare by those we strive against.  It is not Beleg that is to be blamed, it is the cruel tyrant of a king that rules this land that sent those creatures to kill our friends and family.  And now we are to fight, not just for freedom, but for the men, women, and children that have died today.  This is the future of Incantevole if we allow Felix to reign,' I shout for all to hear.
    'He's right,' says Percy, who has a black eye and a wounded shoulder, 'you are blaming the wrong person.  Go, return to your families, and tell them of the bright tomorrow that will one day come.'
    A low rumble of conversation rolls through the crowd, and slowly they depart.  Some still grumbling, and others with their heads hung in shame.  I look towards Percival, and he gives me a wink.
    'Good to see you're still with us,' I say slapping his good shoulder.
    'Yes, and you.  We have so many wounded, and Anakis is no where to be found.  And I haven't seen Adonis, or Prid since the fight started,' he says.
    'I was just about to report the missing.  Kaymele was taken prisoner, and I fear the same for Anakis,' I say walking into the tent.
    Beleg was inside sitting on his chair with a cloth pressed to his head.  Prid was also inside, his eyes wide and skin pale enough that anyone would think he had seen a ghost.
    'What are we going to do?' asks Prid.
    'I don't know, all I can say for now is that we can search but there's no guarantee that we will find her,' says Beleg.
    'You speak of Anakis, do you not?' I ask.
    'Yes, do you know her whereabouts?' 
    'I think I saw her being taken prisoner of Andromeda.  I know this because I saw Kaymele also being taken,' I say.
    The tent flap is sent flying open as Adonis comes charging in.  His face is bruised, and the rest of him is covered in cuts, one cut in particular was quite deep and ran across his chest.  His face is red, very red, almost the same shade as his hair.
    'They took Nairi!' he spits out.
    'They also took Anakis and Kaymele,' says Prid.
    'But why would they need to do that?' asks Adonis.
    'I wish we knew,' I say putting my head in my hands.
    'We have to do something,' says Adonis banging his fist on the table.
    'Right now we must meet up with the Elves.  They are very knowledgable about these sorts of things and maybe they know why these three ladies were taken.' says Beleg.
    We all look to one another, what else could we do, and together we planned the journey to meet our allies.