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Despite the devastation wrought after 196 years of battling trolls – killing two-thirds of the Commonwealth – the united army of Liraehne cleared the lands. The great Fanaal Emperor Tian’Tal pushed the trolls to the edge of the Frontier, making a stand at the outpost of Tarn, but it was the leadership of Queen Kalynn Wytestarr who led the final victory within the Crax. Of those who went to war, many would never return home, some not because death claimed them but because their wounds made travel impossible, and the outpost swelled into a city.

As Tarn grew, with farmers and families restoring a sense of normal after so much loss, the great heroes and leaders began to pass into legend and new powers began to arise to fill the voids left behind. 

This is the story of one of them.

Author Chuck Sperati Writing Distracted Logo
Onvical
Ambyr Valry
Cariss Mesila
Torgin
Elis Rhees
Elis Rhees

Part Fifteen: Battlefields

“What do we do now?” Ambyr asked, pouring a little more golden brown liquid into the wound to wash away the blood.

“That jugs only half full,” Cariss grumbled, “stop wasting my mead washing it out and bind it.”

“If you’d go to Neris, I wouldn’t have to use it at all.”

“I got water,” Torgin boomed, carrying a pail as he entered. The liquid inside sloshed around, spilling over the sides as he moved towards them. Corded muscles moved under tanned flesh, briefly drawing the attention of both the warrior woman and the elfen. Wearing nothing above the waist, his deeply tanned flesh and chest full of thick brown hair only enhanced the powerful physique. A series of tattoos crossed over many of the scars, never quite allowing the eyes to settle on those raised blemishes.

Just below the ribs on his right side, a bloodsoaked rag partially pulled away from the gum that held it in place, revealing the poultice Ambyr had stuffed into the stab wound.

“Don’t pour any of that dirty water on me,” Cariss stated, wincing as the elfen wrapped a honey-filled cloth around the slash. “The wells in this town are terrible.”

Pulling the cloth tight, she finished the binding, watching blood beginning to blossom through it. “You know the mead is made with water from the wells.”

“Not from this jug. It came in on a caravan.”

“You two need to go to Neris,” Ambyr stated yet again.

While the braidon shook his big head, Cariss stood up. “If we go to the town surgeon, he’s going to find out about what happened. Do you want that? Cause I sure don’t.”

Smearing tree gum around the edges of another rag, Ambyr moved to replace the one falling off Torgin. The heavy musk that usually hung around him had diminished without the hide tunic, making it almost bearable for her to be so close. “I still don’t understand what happened. You were supposed to talk to Elis, not attack him.”

“He attacked us,” the braidon shouted, stepping away as she pulled away the bloody cloth. “Ow, stop it.”

“I was trying to talk to him. I kept trying to talk to him. He wouldn’t listen. He kept mumbling about us coming for him or something.” Picking up the jug, Cariss took a long drink, closing her lips around the opening to ensure that not even a tiny drop escaped. Setting it down, she watched as Ambyr followed the braidon around the room, trying to affix the cloth while twin streams of blood streamed down from the wound. “I don’t think that guy’s right in the head.”

“He isn’t.”

They all heard the voice moments before Onvical stepped from the shadowed alcove where Ambyr had tossed the gear that had been packed for her.

“Bracken-blight,” Cariss uttered, pulling the chemise up to cover her wounded arm.

Cocking his head to the right, making her aware of the pointlessness of that action, the Magis moved towards the other two. “Elis is cursed. That trinket he wears around his neck speaks to him. It makes him paranoid. In time, it will drive him mad.”

The braidon’s wide eyes followed him, and the elfen’s turned down, her golden flesh dulling at the thought of losing one’s mind. He could tell by their expressions that they did not doubt his words, false as they were. Turning on his heel, his gaze returned to Cariss – her eyes were narrowed in challenge.

“The bigger problem here,” he continued, stepping back towards the woman warrior, “is that you attacked one of Kasilla’s Stable Marshals.”

That look of challenge dissipated in a groan as Cariss closed her eyes and let her head fall back.

“Why is that a problem?” Ambyr intoned in a semi-musical dismissal that so many found insulting.

 “Kassilla is Rylin,” the warrior woman answered, continuing over the elfen’s derogatory response. “I know, you think dwarven are all the same, but this time it matters. In the Rylin caste, they have a responsibility for the wellbeing of those in their charge. It has something to do with collapsing tunnels and leaving people behind or something. I don’t know. A Rylin in Eizly tried to explain it to me once.”

“The point is,” Onvical continued, “that even if Elis chooses to let this go, which he probably will because he kicked your asses, Kasilla won’t. The moment Sheriff Burkhard returns from searching for that butcher boy that got lost in the woods, he’s going to have you arrested.

“Can’t you do something? Don’t you control the mayor?”

Turning to Ambyr, the Magis shook his head. “You were seen fighting with him. How many times have I told you that public perception is important?”

“Lots!” Torgin boomed.

“What do you want us to do?” Cariss asked into the silence that followed.

With effort, Onvical kept the corner of his mouth from turning up in a grin. “We need to get out of town for a while and let the events here play out. By the time we get back, no one’s going to care about any of this.”

“How do you know that?”

Those eyes narrowed in challenge again. As much as Onvical wanted to pluck one of those eyeballs from her head, this time, he allowed the corner of his mouth to turn up. “Around here, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Besides, I recently learned of a battlefield a few days from here where…”

“You want us to pick through a graveyard for treasures!” Ambyr interrupted, crossing her golden arms over her chest. “Do you people have no dignity?”

“Where a braidon brigade held a pass,” the Magis continued, ignoring the outburst.

Torgin’s fingers stopped touching the tree gum that had smeared onto his flesh around the cloth, his fiery orange eyes again going wide. “The Topos Pass?”

“I’m pretty sure.”

“What’s the—”

“It’s where a tribal Shaman died,” Cariss interrupted. “Rossil.”

“Roszil,” Torgin corrected, the strength of his voice momentarily drawing their attention.

“Yeah, Roszil. She carried the Eye of Cemlan. It’s a battle relic that the three braidon tribes fought over for centuries and was lost during the war. Don’t look at me like that,” she snapped at the elfen. “I didn’t say I believe in Cemlan. I’m just telling you what I heard.”

“We go!” Without waiting, the braidon turned and ducked out the hut door.

“Torgin has spoken.” Turning towards the warrior woman, Onvical narrowed his eyes, again letting one side of his mouth turn up in a grin. “I believe you’re already packed.”

*              *              *

“You’re lying, Cinia,” the young platinum-haired elfin stated, placing small golden hands on his hips.

“I saw it myself,” the elfen replied, her pale lips pulled back in a happy grin. “When we were out looking for Delwin, I saw giant flowers, just like in the story.”

Eyes narrowing, Rovi turned his head slightly as he continued to stare at her.

“Fine, don’t believe me then, but I know what I saw.”

“Then you have to take me.”

“I will, but we have to wait.”

“Why?”

“Because we don’t know what happened to Delwin. If there’s a troll around, do you really want it to find us alone in the woods?”

With his golden lips turned down in a pout, Rovi nodded. “But as soon as we can.”

“Yes, as soon as we can,” the elfen replied, running a hand through her crimson red hair.

“Rovi?” a voice called from outside.

“Yes, mother?”

“Who are you talking to?”

“Cinia.”

“Cinia is make-believe. Come out here and help me in the garden.”

Maps
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Part Sixteen is Now Available
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Part Sixteen is Now Available

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