This is a work in progress and therefor is not done, it is about the first half of a story i have been meaning to write for some time.
It was summer that fateful day when Cortant Denorn woke to the sound of breaking glass. He sat up to find a rat pushing empty bottles off a low shelf, the shelf held several old bottles some with a faint silvery hue around them as if the potions they had once contained where still inside. Cortant quickly chased the rat off the shelf before it could cause any more damage and surveyed his room. Several of the bottles adorning almost every flat surface had broken and a book in one of the giant piles on the floor had been slightly gnawed on. He picked up the book and flipped through it “My old spell book” he muttered to himself “I really ought to keep practicing”. He tossed the open book onto one of the piles and reading from it he summoned a small web of fire around himself but quickly dismissed it when one of his nearby books started to smolder. “Still as bad as ever” he sighed heavily and walked out the door. Cortant had spent the last three years of his life here, The old school of magic that was destroyed in a attack several years ago killing his best friend. The only part of the school that remained was a small area of the dorms in which he had found a cot and a spellbook. During the past three years he had searched the wreckage of the school and found many books and started a new hobby: old potion bottle collecting the magical aura being good for his magic. He usually went hunting twice a week but this week was hard, he had already gone hunting three times and he was low on food again with a sigh he left the school and walked into the woods. The woods where nice, apart from the occasional troll or wolf they where usually peaceful but today something was wrong, and he could put his finger on what. He soon found food, a rabbit that had strangled itself in one of his traps. With a smile he took it out, reset the trap, and set back on his way to the next trap.
Orsk Nafar traveled alone except for his old mule Jake. Although they where common in that area it was not the trolls that made him uneasy that day as he walked along in the forest toward the old magic school, the one place he could have a roof over his head without shelling out coin. As it was it had been a perfectly normal day for him, get up at the crack of dawn, take down the tent, and try and get the that stupid mule to move. Only one thing was bothering him: the silence. That day no birds had been calling and the usual chatter of the squirrels was gone, he knew such signs, something big was here. Earlier that day he had tripped on a small animal snare, probably set for rabbits, that meant one thing to him, people, ordinarily he liked some company but not today, today he needed to hunt. He spotted some tracks out of the corner of his and keeled down to examine them, “Big buck, two or three years I'll reckon” he said to his horse “looks like we have some hunting to do”. He smiled, adding the the lines crisscrossing his forehead, most where scars from dragons he had hunted earlier in his life. After ten minutes he had successfully tracked the deer to a small pond in a clearing where it has taking a drink, taking careful aim with the bow that had been slung across his back he tensed, breathing in, ready to let the arrow loose. Then it struck.
Cortant heard the yells and crashing coming from the south. He hurried toward the noise but was cautious because the trolls around here where vicious and cared little about magic. He stepped into a clearing and was overcome by shock, he was facing a hill giant that was attacking a human with plate armor that looked strong enough to pick up a tree by it's roots. He acted quickly creating a web of ice around the human and launched a fireball at the same time. The fireball impacted on the giants skin and created a large scorch mark causing the giant to howl in pain. The human quickly sliced at the giants foot with the sword at his waist and threw a dagger to Cortant “Know how to use that?” he yelled “Well ya better, its us or him” he quickly sliced open the giants kneecap and danced to the side as its hand created a large crater in the ground where he had been standing. The man then did something Cortant thought he would never see, he climbed up the giants back and stabbed it in the neck, spraying the ground with blood, the only effect the wound had to the giant was to send it into a bloodrage, it shook itself like a dog and sent blood and the man flying, Cortant heard a surprised “oof” of pain as the man hit a tree and slid down the trunk, dazed. Cortant cursed then decided to risk it, he began the incantation for fire-web. A web of fire surrounded Cortant and lit several bushes on fire but did nothing other than that, until the giant struck. When the giant attacked it thought it had a easy win, the human was just standing there but as its hand closed on him fire streamed up his arms and to his head. He let out a ear-splitting screech of pain and crashed to the ground, a quick ice-spear to the head finished it. The stranger was getting up, shaking his head after the impact with the tree, he held out his hand to Cortant who, after a moments hesitation, took it and said “Names Cortant, yours?” “Orsk” the man said “Orsk Nafar”. Orsk went into the bushes to get something and came back with a slightly mutilated deer “That giant, blast him, hit the deer first” he said “Poor thing got flung into the bushes”. He loaded the deer onto a mule standing along the road and they walked back to the old school.
By nightfall that day they had found Orsk a room, a cot, and they had cooked venison, the deer was good, and would last the whole week. They went on like this for some time, almost two months. On the morning of the fifty third day, Cortant heard marching Cortant ran to the window and yelled for Orsk “Fifty men out there” he yelled “Little over half on horses” Orsk came charging up and looked out the window “You have no idea what you just got yourself into by yelling to me do you?” Cortant shook his head, still watching the troops. “Well those are death-tongue's men and you really do not want them to spot you.” He shook his head “were in for a really big drubbing now”. He grabbed his bow and dashed off to get his mule Orsk took one more look out the window and followed him. One minute later the first ballista bolt had impacted on the walls causing them to shudder, more bolts followed and several walls cracked. Orsk had just grabbed his mule and untied him when Cortant ran up and the dorm area collapsed behind him, “I told you those building where unstable” muttered Orsk as he broke into a run to the west, the well traveled road would be that way, so would the castle. They jogged out of ballista range then found the road and , after a quick look behind, them they continued down the road to the east.
When they reached the castle Cortant stared up in awe, the gates where almost as tall as a church tower and over fifty men patrolled the walls, the castle stood in the background its white marble stones reflecting the setting sun. They where let through the gates and into the town within, it was bustling. People where gathering up wares before the curfew set in and others where hurrying to the many houses and inns. Cortant was jerked out of his revery by Orsk “if you've finished your sight-seeing lets get a room in a inn or boarding house before the curfew” they walked off to the shabbiest inn they could find, “How much for two rooms?” Orsk asked “half a drackna” she answered “but you'll have to pay more if you'll be wanting anything to eat” “Fine then where done here” replied Orsk hotly “lets go Cortant. we'll find a roof to sleep under somewhere” They left the tavern and walked to the market. “Cortant” Orsk said “go talk to that fruit trader and ill get us some dinner” Cortant walked to the stall and started haggling over the price of the dragonfruit, a large spotted yellow and red fruit that grew in volcanic areas, on display. Orsk went behind the stall and grabbed a dragonfruit and two other fruits. Cortant gave up haggling and went over to meet Orsk by the gutter, “Got some fruit?” he asked “Yeh” said Orsk and grinned. They broke open the dragonfruit to be greeted by a sweet, mildly spicy aroma. The actual fruit was warm to the touch and dissolved with a mango taste in your mouth. They bribed the stablehand of a inn to take in Jake for the night with a quarter of the dragonfruit. They ate the rest on a corner near the market, later they walked to the gates and Orsk felt a slight tug at his pocket, he spun around and found himself facing a youth with the other piece of fruit in his hand. He looked around guiltily then broke into a run racing away from the gate and into the slums. Orsk yelled to Cortant and charged after the youth with Cortant racing behind, soon the slum area of town was within sight, abandoned buildings where everywhere. The young man ducked into a small broken-down house, they raced in and found it empty, they quickly searched it and found footprints in the dust that disappeared under a pile of rubbish Orsk heaved at the rubbish and suddenly, much to his surprise, the whole pile came up as if it where nailed to the floor, which in fact it was. They where suddenly facing a trapdoor that had a rubbish pile nailed to the top “someone doesn't want to be found” muttered Orsk as they descended the long staircase under the trapdoor.
Cortant was uneasy, they where quite possibly descending into the city's underworld operations and he had heard stories about what they did to people that discovered them. Soon the pair had reached a locked door, Cortant peered under the door and saw nothing but the legs of a table, he checked the lock and was satisfied to see it was a simple one. He asked Orsk for his dagger, inserted it into the lock and gave it a few twists, “oh damn” he said as the blade of the dagger snapped Orsk gave a grunt of exasperation, pushed past Cortant, and broke down the door in one blow the door crashed to the ground and the sound of people running toward them rose to greet them. Cortant quickly surveyed the room, there where two doors: the one they came through and another from which the running sound came from, in the center of the room there was a table which he quickly put on its side and stationed himself next to Orsk who had already grabbed his bow and bastard sword. He tossed the bow to Cortant and grabbed the chair ready to throw it. Thirty seconds later the door burst open and about twenty people came out, Orsk threw the chair knocking back two people and stunning another he then charged, sword swinging. Cortant had been firing arrows but trying not to kill anyone he hit one person in the leg and pinned another by his hand to the wall, Orsk was swinging with the flat of his blade sending several people to the floor and another crashing into the table Cortant was hiding behind “seven down thirteen to go” He called “just keep fighting” . Soon though they where both fighting for their lives: they had defeated a little over half of the original party but more reinforcements had come, “get the archer” one yelled and Cortant was clubbed over the head with the flat of a sword, quickly losing consciousness. Orsk was still yelling taunts at his opponents when he got a bad cut on the arm and was tripped in a single move, something hit him in the head and he went out like a light.
After a few hours of unconsciousness Cortant woke. He was shackled in a small stone room with metal bands reenforcing the door. He tried to sit up and collapsed again nearly losing consciousness from the pain in his head, he felt his wound and immediately regretted it, the side of his head was sticky with half-dried blood. “ah so you've woken up have you” a voice sounded in his ear startling him he looked around and saw Orsk sitting next to him with dried blood on the plate armor on his arm “damn thieves slipped a blade in” he said “in all of Lordor I've never met such a dastardly band” he sighed inspecting the chains “huh that's funny” he said “I guess they don't have good blacksmiths” He grinned at Cortant and jerked from side to side then inspected the chains and grunted with satisfaction “They didn't make these too well” he grinned again, then continued to jerk from side to side.
A little over two hours later Cortant had fallen asleep, he was woken by Orsk gently shaking him and motioning to be silent. Orsk had ripped through his chains and broken them from the wall, his hands where raw and sore but he was free and had a weapon, he had also ripped Cortant's chains free from the wall. They both moved silently to the door and listened, they heard nothing so Orsk bent a chain link into a hook and hooked it onto one of the metal bands, they both pulled as hard as they could and the bar came flying off and hit the other wall with a loud clang chipping it slightly. Cortant ran over to where the bar was lying on the floor and picked it up testing the heft, he then inserted it into the crack on the side of the door they both pulled and the creaked but did not move, Cortant went to the other side of the room and began pacing, Orsk ended up hammering the door with the metal. After about half an hour he gave up and sat down, then he heard a man and a woman conversing outside he motioned to Cortant and listened to the conversation catching snatches every now and then “That's what he said.. ...interrogation......No not that.....what do they know?” they took up a position on either side of the door weapons ready soon the door opened, Orsk whipped his chain around the mans neck and Cortant knocked out the woman in one blow, they quickly gagged the man and locked both of them in the cell after taking the dagger and bow they had.
They creeped up a dank and slightly wet corridor and climbed the stairs, there was a door at the end, Orsk put his ear to it and listened. “....Are bringing them up for interrogation” a woman's voice “Maybe they don't know anything” a man responded “That boy, curse him, led them here” “Even if they don't know we could still use extra troops, the death-tongue's men are on the march” The woman was getting angry “Where are those guards?” Orsk heard the scraping of a chair being pushed back and got his chain ready. The door opened, toward him, his eyes widened for a instant then the door slammed back hitting him a terrific blow and sending him flying down the stairs his armor clanking all the way. “I thought someone was there” said the woman self satisfactory, before getting hit in the face with a large metal bar, she fell backwards her long black hair flying, out cold. “Saconorra!” several of the people around the table cried, Cortant surveyed them, a man with a face as black as night, a man with a scorched apron who looked like he could probably rip the cell door off with his bare hand, and a woman with flowing gold hair. The black man stood up and inclined his head to Cortant “My most profound greetings to you” he said “I think it is time we introduce ourselves I am called Blackface, I am the leader of this band, this” he pointed to the the woman with golden hair “Is Silvestia, our tactical expert, he” he pointed to the man with the apron “Is Varnoth, our blacksmith, and the woman you just knocked out cold is Saconorra, our security expert. And you are?” “Cortant, my friend down there is Orsk” “Now that we know each other we shall get down to business” Blackface said “As soon as Orsk and Saconorra wake up of course” An hour later Orsk was awake and rearing to move. “How are we friends with them again?” asked Orsk “They did pick my pocket and try to kill us” “I never said they where our friends” replied Cortant “I just said we weren't still enemies” they where sitting in a room with a table and several seats the door opened and Blackface, Silvestia, Saconorra, and Varnoth came in and sat at the table opposite Orsk and Cortant. “What do you know about us?” The question was very abrupt, Blackface had voiced it. “Nothing except that your men threw me down stairs picked my pocket and cut open my thrice-cursed arm” Orsk replied hotly “Very well” Said Blackface “If I am to tell you what I will then you must swear by the world of Lordor that you will not tell” They both swore “I am glad you decided to keep quiet because now you will be able to be a part of the saving of our kingdom” He continued “We named ourselves the resistance. For what we are trying to do is defeat the death-tongue.” Orsk and Cortant stayed silent in shock for about five seconds. “That's impossible!” Orsk burst out “The death-tongue's army against your little band? Not a chance” “We think there is a chance and it needs to be done, the Death-tongue's army is marching ever further in fact we think there might be a ban d quite close only about fifty but we think they had just reached the magic school ruins by yesterday, you know the place?” “More than you know” Replied Cortant exchanging a look with Orsk “I lived there three years before we where driven out the day you found us” “Good lord!” Yelled Varnoth “They are moving faster than we thought.” “Exactly how long has it been since you imprisoned us?” Asked Cortant. Blackface looked slightly guilty “erm.....four days” he said “the raiding party will be about ten miles out of town tonight, we would be honored if you would join our ranks and lead the assault. Will you?” “Yes” They both replied.
Orsk woke at around midnight, he was restless, the Death-tongue was dangerous it would take a large army to infiltrate his castle and a larger one to actually be able to kill him, he sighed, obviously things where not going to be pretty, he turned back over and went to sleep. He woktoo e again as the bell tolled five he left his room and walked down the hallways to the main room he glimpsed a half-open door with light streaming from it, he walked toward it and found Blackface and Silvestia conversing over a table with a map spread over it. They saw him and the prince called him over “Here is the map of our land” He said “The Death-Tongues troops are here, his castle lies beyond a large cove, here. It takes much longer for troops to come around the cove that sail it, we believe his next strike will come from there” “We managed to spot ships flying old deathys banner, they are as of two days ago, here” Silvestia pointed to a spot on the map about halfway through the cove. “The fleet is composed of around a score of ships, most are warships but about a quarter are merchant vessels, probably carrying the supplies for the voyage, and the loot home” She took another map out of a drawer in the table “This is a map of the terrain surrounding the current position of the advance party, we counted two and a half score with one and a half on horses, study it well, your our commander tomorrow you know” Orsk rolled his eyes “When did that get established?” he asked, Blackface chuckled “I don't know, if you wouldn't like to be commander I'm sure we can arrange someone else” “I never said that” Orsk said then he left the room, laughing. Back at his room he studied the map “This is going to be difficult he muttered” By noon he had created a battle plan that would serve their purposes. He had two score men to work with, he divided them into squads of five, each squad would attack from a different side effectively trapping the soldiers in their own camp after picking off most of them the soldiers would mock retreat and ambush them with a extra half score. Each group would follow their own orders and be prepared to break and run, or charge, given the order. He presented his battle plan to the five leaders of the resistance at one and they started marching for the camp at two they reached the camp at three and began the attack at three thirty everything went as planned, until the false retreat then they where in range of the ballistas and bolts rained down, injuring several people and killing more. “Charge!” Yelled Cortant taking charge “They can't shoot us if we've killed them” After a moments hesitation, they began close combat. Orsk was having a hard time of it, his squad had lost two members and the three where backed up against a large tree fighting for their lives, they where nearly overrun several times the last they where only saved when Cortant who, while in a different squad, had cast his signature move: fire-shield and killed or disabled most of their attackers. Soon they had overrun the ballistas and turned them around on the soldiers, now the battle lurched in to the favor of the resistance
After a few more minutes of fighting they had won. It had taken a hour and they had lost nearly a half score of men and another score where wounded, they dug a mass grave under the setting sun burying over threescore men never to see the sunset again. Orsk surveyed the battlefield, blood stood out against the green grass like dew, scattered weapons where being collected and piled in the carts the Death-tongues men had brought for supplies, the ballistas where hooked up to horses and dragged back to a cave just outside the main gate everything else was brought there and sorted while Cortant sat against the wall, thinking, remembering.
three years ago
The only thing Cortant was thinking about in July three years ago was the web of fire encircling him, this was why he did not notice the book next to him emitting a sputtering sound and smoking until it exploded with a terrific bang scorching his fingers, creating a large scorch mark on the table, and sending burning pages flying. He heard yells from somewhere else in the academy and cursed, wincing as he grabbed the book with his burnt fingers, he frantically stuffed the book under the dresser as the door swung open, “What is going on here?” professor Arisstul's sharp voice cut through the air like a knife “N..nothing sir” Stuttered Cortant “I can see that” Replied Arisstul, surveying the wreckage of the room “If I where you I would clean this room up before the headmaster gets up here. Oh and just out of curiosity what spell where you attempting?” “fire-shield sir” “That's extremely dangerous magic, Cortant, be careful with that” and with those words he swept from the room. That day went normally for Cortant, until two he was in his final lesson then, suddenly the entire school shook and half of the dorms was set of fire “what was that?” someone yelled “Magical explosion” replied a teacher “someone probably attempting a high-level spell” Soon however this explanation was proved to be extremely false, the school had withstood several more blasts then a wall collapsed and revealed the full terror outside, there was a massive army composed of over ten score humans and about a score of dragons, then the battle was on. The teachers where yelling to students to run as they ran out to engage the army Cortant spotted the headmaster charging a dragon head on and firing spells left and right as he went. he saw the ceiling begin to crack and ran as fast as he could for the forest, he would have made it, had the ceiling not collapsed at that moment. Cortant dived under a table and felt it shake as the rest of the ceiling collapsed burying him in a deluge of desks, papers, and rubble. He woke later still holding on the the tables leg, he started to dig his way out, after a half hour of digging he spotted it, a arm sticking out of one of the piles of rubble next to him. He noticed that it had three bracelets on it, the same kind his best friend used to wear, “Oh my god” he whispered “I hope your ok” He checked the pulse, and started to cry. He finished digging himself out of the rubble with the tears streaming down his face. After he got out he looked around, scorch marks where everywhere, as was the blood, he slowly walked to one of the still standing dorms, he would spend the next three years of his life there.
Cortant arose from his sitting position against the wall, slightly stiff, and hurried to the Resistances hideout. He found Orsk looking at a map on a small table in the center of the table, he looked horrible, his eyes had bags under and where very bloodshot. “Don't you think you should get more sleep?” Cortant asked “You look extremely tired”, but Orsk just waved him off “I need to plan our attack on the fleet” “So they made you commander again?”asked Cortant “Aren't they working you too hard?” “Yes, and no” replied Orsk, never taking his eyes off the map “Our attack will be risky and difficult to pull off but if we swipe a score ships from the king we will have good, not ideal, but good chances of winning. We will arm the ships with the two-score ballistas we took from the army. To get close enough to fire the ballistas we will pose as some of the death-tongues men charged with resupplying the men with weapons, we only fire when we cant miss.” “Good plan” replied Cortant “But what if they board us or use their own ballistas” “Then we fight” Said Orsk simply “If you'll excuse me I need to plan further for the fight” He walked off, taking the map with him. Cortant left for his room, shaking his head. “He's going to collapse in the middle of a battle if he keeps going like this” He muttered as he climbed into bed. Orsk woke up in the morning with out ever realizing he had been asleep, his head was resting on the map in the middle of the table creating a large smudge mark on several of his notes. He sat up and rubbed his eyes, they where sore from too much time spent studying maps under candlelight and too little time outside. He opened his eyes and sat bolt upright, there was no time to be sleepy, today they had to devise a plan to steal a score of ships from the king at the same time and outfit them with two ballistas each. He, Blackface, and Silvestia went to the main room and planned. Four hours later, they had formulated a plan and it went without a hitch. In the dead of night they stole aboard the boats and slit the throats of the few guards that where stationed there, they then loaded the ballistas swiftly and silently, quickly lashing them to the deck. They set off before morning and quickly spotted the death-tongues ships about fifty miles offshore. They made towards the ships, stolen banners fluttering, and got ready to fight. As they came within twenty feet of the enemy they saw their faces clearly “There all so young” He muttered, Blackface walked up next to him, “Yes” He said “But their all out for our blood” Orsk surveyed the ships again, there where about half and a quarter score fighting ships. He waited for the opportune moment then gave the order “Fire”. Three ships fired on the first enemy and Cortant saw the shock on the soldiers faces, good the first boat sunk quickly taking with it most of its crew, one of the other boats quickly got through their shock and where loading their on deck ballista when the first bolt hit them, destroying the ballista and killing several people. Orsk was on deck when the first bolt rammed it into his ship sending him crashing to the deck as the entire ship vibrated under the impact. He heard someone yell “The hulls been breached!” and scrambled for one of the boats lashed to the side, he was nearly to the boat when a ballista bolt hit directly behind flinging him off the ship and tearing a large part of deck off. Orsk grabbed a large piece of wood scrambling to get his plate armor off before it dragged him to the bottom he unbuckled the arms and discarded them as he frantically unbuckled his chest piece, it came off and sank to the bottom of the ocean. Orsk dragged himself on top of the large piece of deck he had found and, teeth chattering, sat down to wait. It was nearly four hours after the battle that he saw anything, the death-tongues men had been destroyed and the resistances ships had left, a small ship was plowing through the water toward him he heard voices talking “It happened over here” he heard a deep gravely voice say “pretty nasty” “I don't care how nasty it was” A woman's voice “Just get me to the wreckage” The boat bumper against his piece of wood, he felt rough hands grab him and pull him onto the deck, he grinned weakly into the sneering face of a death-tongue soldier.
Cortant was in a rage “Why didn't you tell me he was missing?” “Because” Blackface said calmly “you would probably turn the ships around and spend a month combing the ocean for someone who is dead” “He's not dead!” bellowed Cortant, flinging his glass against the wall “How do you know he's dead?” “How do you know he isn't? He was wearing plate armor when his ship went down” You are inhuman” snarled Cortant “How are you so heartless?” “I've lost friends over the years” “You think I haven't?” asked Cortant, Blackface seemed shocked by this “I lost my best friend and saw almost five hundred people die three years ago at the attack on the magic school, you think I didn't feel for any of them?” Cortant turned and stormed out of the room, out of the building. As Cortant was walking toward the gates he happened to turn and see the boy that had picked Orsk's pocket following him, he turned and faced the boy “Why are you following me?” he asked “Please sir” the boy replied “I believe I can be of some help to you” “How?” “I heard your argument with Blackface and I think your friend is alive” Cortant sat down “Tell me, what is your name?” “Vivorar, sir” “Well then Vivorar, tell me your story” “It happened when I was about ten sir, four years ago, anyway I suddenly discovered I had this knack with animals and not normal like, and more well, magic. Anyway about that same time I was apprenticed to a fire-eater, I learned his trade well and he told me about those few people who where animal-spoken and if one became a fire-eater they could even talk to dragons sometimes, I immediately told him of my gift and we quickly set off for the high mountains where dragons live. On the way I learned to be even better with animals, talk even, we reached the high mountains and found a dragon after some days we tried to talk with it and my master was killed” Tears where coming out of Vivorar's eyes now “I resolved to actually tame a dragon one day and came here. Yesterday I sent some animals off to follow your ships and watch the battle, they said a large human was pulled on to a small death-tongue boat and taken off to a small fortified castle on shore” Cortant sat with his head in his hands “Great where never going to get him out of there” “Actually we can” said Vivorar “Do the drinks at the taverns burn well?” Cortant grinned “Flour in the air will be slightly explosive too. But what about Orsk?” “He wont be hurt” Replied Vivorar confidently “The cell blocks are made of stone, and about fifty feet underground. A pitard stuffed with fire-powder should do the trick.” “What's that do?” “Serious burns, extreme heat, half the wall destroyed, and possible melted rock and bones” “That's going to look nasty” “Exactly” Laughing they walked back to the resistance's hideout. Several minutes later Cortant confronted Blackface “Orsk is alive” Cortant said simply “Vivorar was told by the animals that they saw him being pulled onto the boat and taken to the border outpost” “Thrice curse that boys ancestors” growled Blackface, clenching his hands into fists on the table “I thought I could trust him” “You knew?” yelled Cortant, silver fire flashing suddenly around his hands and in his eyes “You knew all this time and you didn't tell me?” “I didn't tell you because quenching one mans grief is not worth losing two-score good men. I didn't tell you because these men have families, their families grief will be far greater than yours, Orsk is simply a friend to you.” Blackface was angry now, his hands where clenched so hard on the table his knuckles showed white and his face was a mask of fury “You will leave here now, and you wont come back until your friend is either saved or killed” “Fine” Retorted Cortant “But I am taking every soldier willing to be led by me to sa..” Blackface suddenly stood up “Enough, go, take your soldiers with you, and don't come back.” he hissed. Cortant walked to the barracks and soon walked out of the headquarters with about nine-tenths of the army, “Come on” He said “We have an appointment with the border patrol” They had almost cleared the gates when Vivorar ran up, “Blackface is raging around the headquarters and yelling at the two guards he has left” he said happily “With luck he wont have any guards left soon” “Why 'with any luck'?” “Just to annoy him” Cortant grunted and marched out of the gates with his army, toward the border with the red sunset streaking the sky like blood on rocks, possibly foretelling it. A day later they where caught in a bog, thick vines hung across the path and blocked the way forward as good as any wall. Most of the men had found sticks that they tied together to make shoes that stopped them from sinking as fast as normal, others made torches to burn vines out of their way. Soon though the men where in a very bad mood, the trees and vines where getting thicker, and the mud was thinner so people sank faster. Small fights where erupting all over the line until Cortant called a rest, the fire was made, tents where pitched, and everyone could relax a little bit. Out in the bushes a man covered in green and deep blue paint watched them, another man walked up to him silently he whispered into the first mans ear and the first man responded with a series of soft clicks and whistles. The second man ran off silently and the first continued watching, waiting. Things where heated at the camp, everyone was in a bad mood from the days travel. Cortant was already asleep in his tent when the men yelled for Vivorar to give them a performance, he ran to the center of the camp and blew a giant fireball into the air scorching the trees and sending a cloud of gnats up in smoke. The men looked on awe as he summoned small birds, and dragons made out of fire, the animals flew high into the night sky and burst in a gigantic fireball, soon the heat came like a wave over the camp and blew past them, the watching man cringed as the heat touched him, and ran off into the night. Vivorar was in the middle of juggling torches when the screams started, they where coming from all around in the woods, earsplitting screams if rage echoed from every direction, “That's enough to curdle your blood” Remarked a nervous looking soldier as Cortant charged out of his tent “At least the boss woke up”