Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 115

It took me only a few hours to arrive at Lrash, Tina was right, this was a damn fast horse. I slid off the saddle, pushing my way into the guild as people stopped, stared and whispered. Talk stopped dead for just a moment as I entered, and for a moment fear and anxiety gripped at my chest. Then it broke into explosive gossiping and I relaxed. Nothing out of the usual. I walked up to the reception, and a young man with grey eyes looked at me with wide eyes. “Can I help you?” He asked, his eyes slipping on and off my faceplate.

“Yes, I need to see Frejr, it’s urgent. Can you tell me where she is?” I asked, taking a quick look around. She normally wouldn’t be sitting out here drinking, but it wasn’t unheard of. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case now, and the seats were only populated by a number of other adventurers drinking and talking. The man nodded, wringing his hands a little as he reached for a ledger, then stopped, before reaching for another.

“Frejr isn’t in at the moment.” Another voice called out from the side. This one calmer, composed. “She’ll be at the administrative building.” He sized me up, folding his arms across his chest and frowning slightly. “If you wouldn’t mind, I’d like to see your badge.” He requested, walking up beside the other man. I cocked my head, slipping my hand into a pocket to bring it out. He nodded. “Your unique style has become quite the fashion statement.” He said simply. “It’s only a matter of time before someone tries to impersonate you, since no one has ever seen your face.”

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 114

It was almost a week before I was fully healed, I told Numen about the reason behind my wounds after she pestered me for the fifteenth time. She and Qent forced me into bedrest during the time, and as a consequence no one in the guild was any the wiser that their ‘Masked’ had been injured at all. The Aerathi, true to their word, forged peace talks between the races, easing fractured civilizations whole again.

Qent was officially ‘graduated’ a short while after, presumably because if fighting a demonic war on the frontlines and winning didn’t qualify you nothing would. Frejr stopped taking on their apprentices directly, instead managing to somehow negotiate Qent as an instructor for them to be sent directly to the guild, earning Rince’s disbelief and Numen’s further respect.

While I was cautious about admitting it, it was hard to deny the stabilizing effect the irregulars were having on the rural countryside. Most people trusted us not to be involved in border politics, it seemed that my little stint with Cale and the Republic was considered giving them their due. In fact, a few weeks later Cale and his team apparently managed to make quite the name for themselves, bringing down the leading members of the Council. Some whispered of shady deals and dark dealings with others that worked in shadow, but at least from what I could tell, it was a move to the better.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 113

Returning to the farm, the farmhands waved to us. Baen explained the situation to the rest of the farm, while Lapi joined me to take a look around the perimeter. She kept step beside me, watching the forest with keen eyes and pricked ears. “Sorry we didn’t bring you with us, thought they’d need you more here in case something happened.” I said absently, slowing every now and then as I Delved.

Lapi bumped up against me, her jaws gently clamping on my arm as she pulled me to rest. I turned to her, and she held my gaze. I sighed, dropping to a knee as I ran my hand through her fur. “Sorry, this isn’t very much like me I guess.” I said. “I came across three other dire wolves you know? Kinda like cubs.” I grinned. “Maybe sometime they might come down to meet you if you’re willing.” Lapi snorted, lifting her head to lick the side of my helmet. I laughed. “I’ll be fine, in time, trust me.”

Lapi huffed a little, unhappy, but let me go, the perimeter at least seemed sound, but considering how long it took me to circle the farm it could well have approached from a different side while I was circling. I doubled back towards the farm. Baen was organizing something with Baer, Teb instead nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he was finally passing off his duties, would be about time.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 112

Baen eyes blinked a few times, sliding to look at me with a somewhat thoughtful expression. “I’m… not sure what to tell you. If you chose what you wanted to do… then… does it matter?” He winced a little, eyes slipping away from mine. “I mean… we do what we have to right?” He gesticulated a little. “Sometimes things don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean there’s something against you.”

I shrugged, shaking my head. “I suppose that’s true, but doesn’t really solve everything I’m thinking about. I suppose that’s a problem with how I explained it really… It doesn’t matter, it’s something I’ll figure out eventually.” I’ve got all my life to consider it after all. I thought to myself bleakly. An awkward silence started between us, broken as Baen reached into his pocket.

“Oh, they gave me the badge a while back when I was checking in.” He said, fishing it out to show me. It looked like a ceramic version of my own, without colour. I’d kept mine away after I’d left, couldn’t bear to throw it away after all the work they’d put in. “It’s like every time I visit the chapter they have something new to show me.”  He mused. “It’s pretty awesome, I think at the least even if the military does get back into patrols and the like we’ll still be called in for mapping and exploration.”

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 111

I spent the night outside in the forest, a blazing bonfire to keep myself warm. I didn’t fancy staying in those houses for the night, their roofs strained under the weight of the snow. It was only a matter of time before they collapsed upon themselves. I gathered up more branches, wiping off the snow and poking at the flames, before settling onto a cloth I’d laid over the snow.

I know exactly what I had hoped to find here, clarity of action, purpose. Maybe just someone to validate the things I’d done, but in the end I’d half assed everything, and that made this impossible. If I accepted that staying to aid the war effort had been the right thing to do, if I accepted that what I’d done as an irregular was right, then I also had to damn myself for not taking action sooner. In the same vein I could just as well turn it around, if I hadn’t been so invested, so… involved, so passive to be dragged along… I’d be gone, and the world would still be saved.

That left me here, with no real resolve to stay or run away. What was there to run from? Everything that I wanted to leave behind was in my mind and there to stay. I scowled, laying myself on the ground. I fumbled at the Aesor, pulling it out and flipping it in my hand. The runes were an ornate mix of colours, white, yellow, blue, red. Part of me wanted to reach out in the aether and tear the magic to pieces, but it was Gaven’s last work, and perhaps his finest.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 110

I couldn’t gauge a response to my words, the faceplate, coupled with their lack of bodily cues, left them inscrutable. “I see.” They replied finally. “In a way you’re correct… Their opinion might matter more in regards to the world, but you aren’t part of their politics. You lack the myopia that would otherwise affect them, while we are too far detached. Our war was fought to protect them from our machinations, now for the ‘Greater Good’, could we really decide to perform them?”

“So what will you do now that I’ve given my opinion?” I asked, folding my arms and squaring my shoulders. “I’d hardly be able to watch every one of you, even with your force small as it is. As you said, I’m an outsider, hardly with the infrastructure or the personnel to enforce anything.” I’d still attempt to check in now and then, but if they swallowed this… it’d keep me safe…

They shook their head. “I won’t do anything to you.” They sighed. “And for what it’s worth I’m trying to make sure we don’t walk that path. Much as he may malign the bureaucracy, this isn’t a case for blind action.” They sighed, reaching up to remove their faceplate. Crimson catlike eyes caught mine, she smiled slightly. “It’s somewhat interesting to see his old and new personalities clashing.” She said.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 109

I stared up at the canopy, shutting my eyes against the light. The situation was absurd, I had given up the chance to return for absolutely nothing. Well, you were right. I shouldn’t have stayed. I thought to Page. It had been silent since the fight, not a word since the Aerathi had made the whole thing a fruitless endeavour.

[You could not have known.] Page said after a moment’s deliberation. [Despite it all you made your objective to save them, and with all you knew there was no other way to do so.] I arched an eyebrow, and Page sighed. [Despite it all you made mostly the right choice to achieve your objective, and it was a cruel twist of fate to make your actions obsolete.]

Well, I’m not letting you say I told you so later on. I thought back, trying to crack a smile, but instead biting my lip as I struggled to either laugh or cry. Teal lay down beside me, stacking her hands above her stomach as she lay beside me. At times she seemed to want to speak, but in the end the silence stretched out, a heavy smothering presence.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 108

It gave a harsh laugh. “So you speak the tongue.” It said, a vicious grin on its face. “I had given up on finding any other than the dragons.” It twirled the sword. “But your bravado reveals a rather disappointing intellect, the gods do not exist child. No gods were there when my predecessors carved their way from our prison, it was no god that turned us back. There is only man, beast and magic.”

I didn’t reply, steadying my blade and putting my injured foot behind me. The Edratchi walked over to me, letting the blade trail on the ground, wisps of shadow and crackling energy between the earth and the blade. As it drew near I moved to swing at it, the nice thing about aether, it couldn’t be blocked, or… it shouldn’t have been possible.

Its blade met with my own and halted its advance, my swing had carried little force, and the blade was easily stopped. It pushed me back, and I stumbled backwards. Its blade had pushed against my own… Aether was incorporeal… How? “I told you… Magic changes for me.” The Edratchi said, voice a low growl. “Your rules are not mine, and when we take this world we will make it our own.”

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 107

Its eyes tracked me, and it roared, charging forward. I dashed to meet it. To hurt that thing was simple, I just needed it to enter my range. As its feet stomped onto the ground in front of me, it howled, the magic that formed what passed for its feet unravelling and scattering. The mana itself split and flowed around me like a stream against a rock.

The creature backed away, spreading out its arms with another howl. The air whistled, and the earth shifted beneath me, water seeping out from the rapidly cracking earth. The earth around me didn’t change, but the water spilled in all the same. As I glanced down at my feet in confusion, the water surged up, attempting to wall me off.

I moved forward, every step causing the walls ahead of me to fall. It shifted back some more, and a wall rose ahead of me to freeze outside of my range. I approached it and swung my blade, the ice blurred, shattering as I kicked it. I sprinted forward, managing to sweep at its feet with the Aesor.

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Losian, Stories

Losian: Chp 106

I sat up, bolt upright. Now? I thought. Why? I stood up, careful not to wake the others. For a moment Numen stirred, shifting a little before turning away. I stepped out of the tent, shaking my head to clear it. Page was right, the portal was open, I could feel the faint pull at the edge of my mind, pulling me away from the warzone.

I stared at the horizon, rubbing at my wrists. Now… it had to happen now… I thought to myself. Most of the army was still asleep, though the walls were still fully manned. I began to pace, idly wondering if the demon army needed to sleep. Though if they didn’t this war would probably have been over already.

[With the portal open, we can leave now.] Page said. [Why are you hesitating?] It asked. Its voice shocked me, not least because of what it had suggested. You want me to just… abandon them? [They do not need you to hold the line. From what we have seen the behemoths they talk about have yet to displace the army.]

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