THE JOURNEY EAST
The setting is a wooden, Asian-looking ship. Devon, the Reptilian general and the Albino Syrana are travelling to the far eastern lands, by sailing all around the upper side of the great continent.)
Devon: (is standing at the wooden rail of the ship. Watching over the ocean - freezing a bit, as the Albino female joins him.) Oh, hello. I was... just catching some fresh air. I suppose, the cabin under boat is not quite my style of travelling... usually, I like to see where I am heading!
Syrana: (is wearing something like long dark kimono with hood and way too long sleeves, but it seems it is proper for this outfit. She is talking with a strong accent.) You won't see anything for next few days... only water. It is farer than you ever travelled, I guess.
Devon: (crosses his arms in front of his chest, since the wind is frenzy.) Yeah... as far as I know, we might be close to the Northern Lands... ice lands. No life. (sighs.) Well, I have no plans by now... as long as I can smash Xevon's troops in time, I am alright!! Okay... this might sound a bit like an obsession, but don't forget what he did to me!
Syrana: Your passion to destroy this man is really incredible... almost obsessive. (holds parts of her kimono near the neck to cover it from the wind.) Don't worry, you will avenge yourself in time. First, they should kinda forget about you - make them feel that you are gone! And when the moment is right, when their hearts will flow with peace... you will strike! All living are afraid of the dead, specially when they return...
Devon: (smiles evil and growls low.) Yes, there is some truth in what you say. (snickers a little.) It is a great thought... do be declared dead by your enemies. Yes, your words hit my taste indeed! Well... as I can see, you have quite the same spirit as I do - what are your motivations in all this? We have plenty time, so please tell me: why are you doing all this? My motives are clear - my revenge and victory over Xevon - over mankind - has to be done! I must not fail! But... I failed to figure out, what part you are playing in this game.
Syrana: My motivation is very similar like yours: I want to retrieve what is mine - take more from the traitors and get rid of those pitiful humans! That's why I need you and your hate for this puny race (holds her hood so wind won't blow it away), I need your leading abilities to lead armies, which I will gather for you. You will conquer the Eastern Lands for me first, then you shall return west with a bigger force you ever had before!
Devon: (feels some obvious pleasure in Syrana's plans.) You don't disappoint me... from the very first time we met, I was very sure to trust you. (slowly places one around her shoulder.) In fact, I can need the help of any "army", you can offer. My human allies have been killed... my own people have been corrupted. I am... alone. Well, not quite... (moves his hand to the back of her neck and strokes her neck softly through her clothing). I guess, we have even more in common, then you think... (smiles.)
Syrana: I never said that we are different... and I assure you, you won't be disappointed with the armies of my land! And with more land conquered, more strength it will gain!
Devon: This sounds very good! I would love to hear the cry of victims of war again... the scream of death, himself! A long time ago, we have been a proud and huge civilization... and then, humans spread all over the land! (takes his arm away from her Syrana's shoulder again.) It has been horrible times for our race. But my victory - my destiny - will soon be fulfilled! Anyway, I can understand you motives... even Reptilians don't want to live with Albinos - so why should humans act different? They are all the same... scum! (spits over the rail.) And I don't care, if our ancestors gave them freedom in the ancient times... they have been our slaves! And so they shall become slaves again!!
Syrana: We had a little different story... humans were our neighbours. We lived next to each other without bigger conflicts, but somehow humans started to spread on a larger amount of lands, killing our kinds, taking our ground... and the rest is similar to your story: wars, pacts, blood, death, slavery and treachery... (frowns.)
Devon: No matter how the past might have looked like for the both of us: we will change the future for good! Hmm... I guess, I could need someone like you at my side - even after the war and our victory.
Syrana: IF the war will end... (leans against the railing.) Whatever you are trying to say...
Devon: We will be victorious! (looks impatiently to the rising sun.) So... what did you say, how many days this journey will take?
Syrana: 4 more at least... first, we are going to the Northern Lands though, to meet our allies.
Devon: (sighs loudly.) Very well... I need to find myself some activities here, if I don't wanna die from boredom. I hope, the days will pass quickly... I am quite eager to meet that army of yours! (goes under deck again.)
(After four days of sailing on the Northern ocean, the ship reaches the Northern Lands. It is icy and cold and already dawning. Small rowboats are send down on the water and those who are not sailors are getting out, into them.
Devon: (shakes a bit to the left and right side.) Finally, we arrive! Was about time... I was not even able to perform my duties as "first officer", as you proposed me to do. Darn, I feel horrible... (spits on the wooden ground the small rowboat he is standing inside. Then, he and some of his new guards are stepping out of the boat.) Aw... solid ground again.
Syrana: (jumps out of boat like the rest of the warriors, which have been with her - then some row men return with boats to the ship.) Welcome to Tyl-Kaou!
Devon: (looks around.) Tyl-Kaou... never heard of this before. Is this your new home now? Or did you originally cam from somewhere else?
Syrana: (smile.) This is our land. (spreads her arms like she was trying to grab and hug the landscape.) Now, let's go... horses are waiting for us not far from here.
Devon: (watches the incoming transport horses.) You did not exaggerate, when you told me about your weaponry and armoury on board of that horrible ship - yet very well armed, I must confess. (smiles at her.) Your warriors... this sea fleet and those strong horses - this could also be used as a great cavalry! Well, never mind... but I have one question, though: why did you had all those human scum aboard your ship?
Syrana: We keep them to do the dirty work... besides, they cook quite well. And in worse case, they can do as an additional dish! (chuckles.) Everybody should know his place. (watches at the appearing group of Reptilians, which lead few horses and wagons.)
(A probable leader of this other group shows up first and comes to them.)
Devon: I suppose, you trained that humans very well - not to speak in front of their masters! Admirable work, I can tell.
Syrana: Their throats have been cut in such place, that they are not able to give a sound anymore! Standard procedure... performed on pups, so they won't cry when in pain. Sadly, same thing is done to our kind in human lands. (sighs and puts hand in front of the upcoming Reptilian, who captures her hand and touches it with his forehead in a deep bow.)
Devon: (appears disgusted for a second. Talks more to himself.) Indeed, a very good procedure... in fact, why didn't I came up with such idea before... never mind. (walks towards the Reptilian leader and Syrana and places himself right next to her.)
Syrana: (speaks something to the leader also making a wave with her hand in Devon's direction and speaking his name, and then makes same move in leaders direction* This is Kalhai, leader of north caste...
Kalhai: (puts one hand in his fist and covers it with the other one at the height of his chest. Performs a slight bow in Devon's direction. Speaking something in foreign language.)
Devon: (tries to perform the same greeting gesture, though he has little success. Then, he just spreads his right arm and open hand away from his body and moves it back to his chest.) Greetings. I am here to represent the lands of AKTES, which will soon be under my control again! But for now, grand me the honour to represent my respect and gratitude to you and Syrana for your help. I might have died, if it wasn't for her!
Kalhai: (just spreads his toothy mouth in a smile, when Syrana translated Devon's speech. What came out to attention very fast, is that his front teeth and fangs are made of metal. His outfit is quite unusual, but definitely perfect for those quite cold conditions in this land. He speaks something.)
Syrana: (listens to Kalhai.) He is glad to see us all healthy and well after this long journey, and he gives thanks for words of respect.
Devon: So, where are we going now? You told me about your army... as far as I am concerned, your men look quite capable of surviving these horrible lands with success. (points at Kalhai's furry and obviously warm clothing. Bounds his own fur coat a little bit tighter.) This land can kill... no wonder, you have not been discovered by now. I am not used to this deadly cold... no Reptilian ever was. Well... (deep breath, which turned into thick clouds coming out of his nostrils.) let's ride!
Syrana: (speaks something to Kalhai and he just bows and goes away to his men, as all together are packing Syrana's supplies on the wagons.) You are really bathed in hot water! Arm yourself in patience... we are going already. (warriors are packing last things on wagons and a few higher in ranks are already sitting on the back of the horses. She goes to a group of remaining horses and swiftly gets on back of a grey spotted one. Even the horses have painted eyes.)
(After travelling through the darkness of the cold night of the Northern Lands, the small group finally arrives one of the village of Kalhai's tribe. Syrana is sleeping during the ride.)
Kalhai: (gives the signal for a stop. Then, he gets of his horse and walks to Syrana's transport and helps her getting of her horse, after she woke up.)
Devon: (reaches Syrana's horse and watches her waking up. Then he takes a look around.) So... this is it? Your chieftain's village? A little bit small, if ya ask me...
Syrana: (rubs her eye) We are here already... must have fallen asleep... there are still few other villages around, we shall stay in this one for safety.
Devon: Well, alright then... tell me, where can we get some shelter now? I am beginning to feel a bit cold. (watches the sunrise. Takes a deep breath.) It seems, no matter how often the sun is shining in these lands... it is never getting any warmer, anyway! You are right... I am so used to warmer climates. My homeland is nearby the Dragonlands - not far away from an active volcano. But this ice... well, after all nobody is searching for us here, either.
Syrana: I am sorry, if this is a bit of torment for you. Thing about north clans is that almost nobody has enough courage to come here and mock on them... they are almost as dangerous as wild mountain clans. Very precious allies... rough, tough and very resistant!
Devon: Yes, I figured that out... you got to be tough here. Anyway, (talks fast.) I also need something to eat now! I am starving to my frozen bones my now... that dry meat we had and this other stuff... dunno what that was... but it was not quite my taste. (makes a disgusted face.)
Syrana: I suppose, you will be pleased with Norss (It is a slang name for the North Clans.) cooking... they are famous in preparing dishes from giant cave bears! Big and fat eating... (hides her, warped in sleeves, hands under armpits.)
Devon: (licks over his cold, scaly maw.) Hmm... that sounds very good, indeed. I could even eat one bear myself. (grins.) Well, what are we waiting for then? Let's go. I can see, you are quite cold as well... (watches at her hidden hands.) You are shaking, hm?
Syrana: A little, but not such things. I had tos tand in my life... (they are driving into a village, which definitely looks like it thrives from hunting, collecting and probably robbery. Villagers are working and already doing their duties. Some of them look after them, as they travel through centre where they make their stop in front of a bigger hut.)
(Warriors and wagons go further and Kalhai and those of higher rank stop there.)
Devon: (takes a look around the huts constructed of wood and straw. He soon recognizes, that he is catching the attention of some inhabitants. Though he doesn't like to be stared at, he tries to be patient and just looking serious and superior.) I see, you don't get much visitors here. These people are quite interested in my appearance... guess, they never saw someone like me here before. Good for them. (to Syrana again.) Tell me, where are your men capable of waging a war? So far, I can only see workers and children...
Syrana: Your appearance is a strange for them as theirs for you, and don't let their sight fool you, each of those women are able to brake a boar's neck with one arm, and all of males of Northern tribes are warriors - they just don't fight at the moment, they are just working and helping in their homes... (points with chin in some direction where group of youngsters are practising sword fighting, wearing almost nothing in those conditions, even some of villagers are wearing less during their work.)
Kalhai: (gets of the horse and gives some instructions to his men.)
Devon: (suddenly shakes and trembles by the sight of less clothed Reptilians.) Arwh... it freezes me just watching them! But that is a good sign, I see... they are all warriors? Perfect! And such tough ones will make a grand army - an army, which will bow before nobody and which will roam over human lands like a blizzard. (quite happy and proud of his own metaphor. Gets of his horse, too and watches around a few more times.) Now, let's eat something and then make plans to gather that army of mine!
Syrana: Even if have spend lots of time in North lands, this sight is still freezing me as well... (gets of the horse and uses Kalhai’s invitation gesture and enters the big hut. It is warmer there because of a great fireplace at the end of the room, which takes over whole back wall. A few females are looking over the big pieces of meat heating over the fire.)
Devon: (steps inside the warm hut and immediately walks towards the warm fireplace and the prey, which is roasting over the fire. He passes two big tables and a few barrels, which seem to function as seats. He places himself right before the fire and opens his fur coat a bit.) Aaaaaw... that feels good. I can feel my life essence returning to me... (ignores the snickering of some Reptilians around, who most definitely are amused about his intolerance for cold. Devon's jaw immediately fills with saliva, as he stares at the grilled bear meat - yet, he will not take something by himself, since he tries to be a good and patient guest.) Well... you think, we could... now eat a little bit??
(Almost like on Devon’s wish, meat is put on a big wooden plate carried by two females, and then they take it to the big table and placing it on the surface. Another female is carrying some big wooden bowls and cups made from human skulls.)
Devon: (licks over his maw with pleasure.) Aw!!! Yessssssh, that is great! Hmmmmm... (enjoys the smell of meat and starts eating like a starved one.)
Syrana: (she puts out her hands from the sleeves and like with some sort of effort, she takes off the gloves, which she had. Then she unties her coat and puts it next to her. She puts herself some meat on the plate before her and starts to eat as well. One of the females brings her something to drink in chalice made out of horn. Some females put a big barrel on the table and start to pour vine looking liquid into the skull cups. Kalhai eats with great hunger, as well.)
Devon: Hmmm... (cannot talk, since his mouth is full of food. Takes a cup and empties the containing drink with one swallow. After this, he watches the cup with some delight in his eyes.) You know... it's quite nice to drink of the heads of your enemies! (laughs.) Great vine... okay, what are your plans for the next days? I suppose, ya want me train or lead some of your men, right?
(As they sit and eat, Kalhai talks with Syrana from time to time and it kinda makes the impression from tone as they speak, that she does not like him very much.)
Syrana: (puts horn down when she finished drinking) You really want so quickly to jump from one war into another? Besides we must teach you the language, if you want to lead them
Devon: (stops eating and looks a few moments at Syrana.) Damn, you are right! What good are my orders, if your people cannot follow them - regarding to my insufficient knowledge of your language. I have caught some of your words by now but… yes, it is not sufficient enough to lead an army. (looks on his plate.) Well, I suppose this war will have to wait a little bit longer, than I thought... I shall learn your language first. But I am sure, it'll be worth the effort. How many men capable of fighting do you have? Overall...?
Syrana: Overall for now... about 2500 of foot troops, few hundreds of mounts of few types light and heavy… (lowers her voice.) also supporting power of Fieras’ clan.
Kalhai: (snorts when hears the name Fieras, which encountered raw eye sight of Syrana.)
Devon: (scratching his chin.) This sounds well, so far... if they all are as tough as the ones I saw by now, I have no doubts that this will be the greatest and most powerful Reptilian army in the history of RULUS!! (his eyes catches Kalhai and rests on him for some moments - then, Devon looks at Syrana again, while putting another piece of meat in his mouth.) Hmm... why... well, maybe this is not my concern but... what is this Fieras about? Who is that...? (secretly watches Kalhai's reaction on this question.)
Kalhai: (takes care of his food.)
Syrana: Part of them come from Northern Lands. Also I have support of few southern castes, they have a different way of fighting, but I suppose they won't disappoint you... and that clan is one of the few neutrals, who officially serve nobody... they are trained in specifically ways of fighting and defence. Their skills are used mostly for ambushes and assassination... less honourable for Norss, who prefer open fight and dieing in full light...
Devon: I understand. But in that war will be no "honour" or "glory" - only our victory over man counts! Our mere survival is put on the test in these days... and if you can get the - let me call them mercenaries - from Fieras, this will only increase our potential victory. Even if some might not like him...
Kalhai: (he finished his eating with impressive belch, nothing unusual since such sounds come from around from time to time.)
Syrana: They are not exactly mercenaries... they serve some of the clans for personal adjustments mostly, of course they don't refuse good payment as well.
Devon: I understand. Well, you must know... (speaks a little bit slower.) even I did some - rather unusual - "fighting procedures" in the GREAT WAR against the humans. Most of my clan didn't think very highly of me... I used magic and some experimental potions to create new warriors for my people. You might know those creatures called Ichiak? I used their and Reptilian blood, to create the ultimate warrior... an "Ultra Reptilian"! (sighs.) Unfortunately, those beings had some... flaws. But after all... I am open for any kind of warriors, you can offer.
Syrana: I guess, I didn't hear about them... and magic is really rare here, don't speak about your magical abilities loud here - spies can be everywhere! At least don't speak about it now. When this war becomes really open, fame about it can lower the morale of the opponents.
(A few new Reptilians are coming into the hall, screaming some sort of greeting to Kalhai and starting feasting.)
Kalhai: (screams something to them as well, and starts to talk with one of the higher ones.)
Devon: Hmmmmm... now it's getting quite full here. (tries to move a bit closer to Syrana, in order to make some space for others. He might now have to do this, but it is just a reflex, since he doesn't enjoy so much company around himself.) I am still surprised, from where all your people are coming... since I didn't saw so many people outside, when we arrived. Okay... (thinks and shakes his head.) right, it was early in the morning! (can only smile about his stupid thoughts. He watches the female servants again - he seems to be quite attracted to them.)
Syrana: I told you, you didn't saw everything...
Kalhai: (gets another skull of the wine and looks over it at Dev like examining him precisely.)
Devon: (smiles back at the females and pumps some additional air into his chest to look even more fearsome and handsome. Suddenly, a loud burp is leaving his stomach.) Oowwll... sorry! (his blue scale colour seems to turn purple from shame. Looks around and tries to keep the upper hand by looking seriously - without much effort.) Well, Syrana... (takes a deep, yet cautious breath again.) would you mind, if we'd go out for a while? It is... I need to take a walk.
(It seems, that he males are treating this accident as a friendly gesture. Almost like one movement, they are rising their cups high and looking at Devon. then they chugging from their skull cups and the females are looking quite satisfied with their work.)
Syrana: (chuckles a little.) I thought, you maybe wanted a rest, but if you want to walk... why not.
Kalhai: (speaks something to her as she stood up, which was taken with a slight disgust face expression, but this could also be only a dancing shadow.)
Devon: Thank you... after food, I need to walk a bit. (stands up himself and joins Syrana, as they leave the hut. Outside, he smells the fresh air again. What he doesn't reveal, is that he is a little bit claustrophobic in foreign places.) Awww... yes, needed that.
Syrana: Stick with me then, they know me here so they won't be mocking you. (tights her coat and puts furry gloves on.)
(More Reptilians are outside - doing their duties. Some of them are walking into the dining hall direction, and even if they might know Syrana here, they look after them with interest and examining Devon.)
Devon: (tights his own coat. And concentrates on Syrana again.) No, they don't mock me... it has nothing to do with them. It is just me... guess, (thinks.) I have not been in such... great company for quite a time. All the past months, I was behind my own desk - inventing strategic plans and getting nervous from my human allies... they really didn't do any good! Okay... they've been nice "cannon fodder" for my enemies... and they served me well in that purpose. (that thought warms Devon's heart again.) But that was all at the front... I guess, well... I really could settle down here myself. It is... quite peaceful and far away from any concerns... (drifts in thoughts.)
Syrana: (puts on the hood as they walk into a more sunny area.) Some more water will flow before you start thinking seriously about strategy, you have few things to learn about those lands… the geography for example... our language... and, we must craft you a weapon. (she looks like plotting something.)
Devon: (lifts his head.) A weapon? Hmmmmm... sounds great. I have lost my own sword in the fight against that menace Xevon... (tries not to think about Xevon.) In fact, only thing which is left is that green Cyronite Crystal. (grabs into his bag attached to his belt and recovers a small, half piece of green crystal which is shaped like an eye.) See... (shows her the crystal.) this is Cyronite - even this small piece of crystal can channel my magical powers and enhance them. Unfortunately, I split that thing and gave the other half to my son... Derek... (lost in thoughts again. This memory is torturing him.)
Syrana: (smirks while looking at the crystal.) I know a place, where they will craft you a most suitable sword. I suppose, they can put this gem into it as well... I never saw a green one by the way. (spots his concern and decides not to drag the subject.)
Devon: (hides the gem again.) Yes, that'd be most perfect... I suppose, the road to victory will be hard and long this time. But after the last battle, I am willing to take some time and new chances. And I am sure, that on your side I will prevail this time! (without noticing it himself, Devon moves closer to Syrana - his arm is already touching her shoulder.) I am... (tries to find words, since he is not good in making compliments.) most grateful... that you rescued me. I... I will try to... to lead you and your people to the victory and freedom you deserve!
Syrana: Thank you... I know you will not disappoint me. (turns head at him with a happy smirk.) After all, it was promised to me that I will find a great leader...
Devon: (smiles at her, as well. For the first time, this is not an evil and macabre smile, but an admiring one. He places his arm around her shoulder.) Well, and who promised you that?
Devon: (he already figured out, that she is kinda superstitious - like her men.) Well, of course... (doesn't want to go deeper into her or his religious beliefs.) Maybe that is why I survived that battle... and all those battles before. Maybe, I was even meant to get here... (somehow, he enjoys the image of being chosen.)
Syrana: I know people with which you could talk about destiny for decades and they won't get bored... (enjoys his heavy arm on her shoulder.)
Devon: I hope, your gods will lead us to our rightful victory - so will our god. The powerful THORAL himself wiped out all enemies and gave peace to the Reptilians. He will guide us, as well - I know!! (without the straight intention, he starts to smoothen Syrana's neck by scratching it softly. It will take him some time until he figures out, what he is doing.)
Syrana: I am sure they will all be pleased... Akba always appreciates human blood. (smirks.)
Devon: They all do... (looks into Syrana's eyes and recognizes some affection, as well. He moves his face closer to hers, so he can feel her warm breath hitting his chin. He can already smell her... she smells unlike any other woman, he was together with. Without a word, he is stroking and rubbing her shoulder and arm a little bit more confident.)
Syrana: Devon, what are you doing? (looks on side like she was trying to see if somebody's watching.)
Devon: (quickly moves his arm away from her and hides it under his coat again.) Eerrh... nothing. Sorry. I didn't intend to bother you... I mean... (watches around himself.) Well, it became cold again. And I am tired... I guess, I should take some sleep. The next days will be hard...
Syrana: (tilts her head and looks at him for moment, maybe even with some disappointment but it is hard to tell.) Come on, I take you to our camp next to a village, you will take some rest.
(Both are going away from this camp and reaching the other one. Soon, they enter different huts and get some sleep.)