Saturday, January 30, 2016

De Jure

Avalona’s tavern, Goldie’s Revenge, was one of the few buildings that had remained unscathed by the attack, it was saved by its location on the far west side of town. Colonel Gawain Dagon sat on a tall stool at the main bar. Four sheets of paper were laid out before him, each held down by empty shot glasses. By the time Dagon arrived, the Regular Militia had already surveyed the damage; in the process, they found and treated three severely wounded but still living villagers. Emergency crews from the city of Ambros put out some of the fires, cordoned off dangerous piles of rubble, and continued the search for Avalona’s 1,000, or so, missing villagers. Dagon angrily stared at the four sheets of paper, under the bar, his hands clenched and unclenched quickly. His fists matched the rhythm of his grinding teeth. The tendons in his neck stuck out an inch. A vein pulsed on his right temple while his carotid artery echoed its beat. Three of the papers were taken by Militia Medics describing where the survivors were found and each was accompanied by testimony from the survivors. The fourth paper was found by the first team to arrive on scene; it was recovered from an abandoned makeshift camp located just outside of Avalona. The plan detailed the destruction of Avalona, Markt, and Morley, with an eventual inward push towards Ecirava. If those four towns were destroyed, the citizens of Ambros would be pinched between North Iphigenia and hostile forces in the southeast. They’d be able to call on some of the southwestern towns like Dervishaw, Hank’s Grove, and Baroport, but even with the quickness of the Bell system, troops would arrive late. Likely, too late. The Kaiser had to be notified. If only they could find him.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Retegit Draco

     Every citizen within ear shot of the Templus Bells gathered south of the Heart of the Seven Faeries in the Ambrosian Fields, a 2000 year old amphitheater usually used for sports and plays. Chief Justice Adonis stood center stage, twitching nervously, in his grape and gold priest garb. Royal procedure dictated that the Kaiser announce the attack and the necessity for war preparations. However, the Kaiser was missing and in his absence the Antigone Courts had unanimously decided that the responsibility rested on Adonis’ shoulders. 
     “People. People,” Adonis said as he raised his hands and patted downward in that universal ‘sit down and shut up’ gesture. “Quiet, if you’ll hear my words...”

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Casus Belli

The war cry of the Phoenix Rose sounded through the ancient passageways of the Templus de Ambros. In surprise, Kaiser Rudolpho Imler stood up from his giant office chair. As per the regular maintenance of the Kingdom of Poterit Don, Imler had been going over public project reports with his Public Works advisor, Craig Archer. The two men stared at each other, neither quite knowing what to make of the noise. In Kaiser Imler’s many years of living in the Templus de Ambros, he’d heard the war cry only once when he was eight years old. The hair on the nape of his neck rose as he rushed to the window to look into the Gryphon Gardens. Craig Archer dropped decorum and stood on Imler’s right, also staring out the window. Through the dark, they saw the Phoenix above the Rose screaming as she flew in fiery figure eights.
     “What’s she doing?” Archer asked.
     “Calling us to war,” Imler said while still staring at the pissed off Phoenix.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dies Infaustus

     Fulco never had the chance to finish telling the tragedy of Rex Gryphus. Though it was still a bit before moonrise, Avalona and its surroundings were ablaze. Another fiery blast rocked the hillside just below Kent and Cassie, sending flaming tree detritus flying. The bird halted in mid-air and spun rising high above the forest. Kent, lunged for cover, barely avoided losing his good eye as a burning stick flew at him. He saw a huge branch land where the girl had stood. He never saw her move, but found her hunched beside him. She dug meticulously through her satchel, pulling out the ornate athame. She ran her fingers over the sheath, before handing the blade to Wheelock.
     “What do you want me to do with this?” Kent asked.
     “That’s my village,” her hazel eyes pleaded, “we’ve got to go,” her face remained stone.
     “You need a weapon,” Kent said, he was shocked at the sudden explosions, and bewildered that this rag-a-muffin girl would want to run into whatever danger awaited them, “you take the knife.”
     “I have this,” she held up her left arm.
     “Girls,” Kent sighed, “what’s a bracelet going to do?”
     “You’ll see. Let’s go.”

Saturday, January 2, 2016

De Profundis

     When Kent woke up, he found Chondee and Bonnie leaning over the large dining table discussing directions on a beat up map of the underground system. Spread out on the opposite side of the table was the contents of a medkit. Kent’s left eye ached and his head pounded. Out of habit, he raised both hands to his face to wipe the sleep from his eyes, “ow, dammit, that hurts,” he grumbled as his left hand slapped his missing eye. The bandage and the pain reminded him of his recent loss. The young man fought back the urge to scream.
     “Morning,” Kent said, slowly swiveling out of the bunk bed. His stomach rumbled as the smell of fresh breakfast and coffee traveled up his nose.
     “Actually, it’s afternoon,” Chondee pleasantly replied.
     “Yeah, we got a bit of a late start today,” Bonnie said.
     “Where’re the other two?” Kent asked.