THE WAY GOES SOUTH
Blizzards and snow. The cold winter roams over the Northern Lands with an icy breath. Syrana and her men, with Devon as one of their new leading ally, are on their way south to reach the more warm lands of KHALDOR. The rest of the Norss clans are staying in their place for one more winter, until even they will start travelling south over the sea.
After four weeks, they have already passed Miro and Paeth - smaller regions of the great land. On their journey, Devon has many chances to get to know his new allies, their culture and way of living. He was able to meet Syrana’s warriors a few times before, but this was only occasional. Now, he will have to travel, live and fight together with them…
Devon: (on his horse, slowly riding next to Syrana. Passes her a bag made of leather. It contains water.) You want a drink? I didn’t saw you drinking for quite some time…
Syrana: Thank you. (takes the bag from him and drinks.) Aaah, I am so glad that we are way farer from the north...
Devon: You can say this again! (grins and rubs his arms.) In fact, I almost got used to your climate up there but... well, I am more used to warmer lands as you know.
Syrana: I know... I am from warm lands as well... I miss them.
Devon: (takes to water bag, which she gives him back and takes a long drink himself.) Hmmmm... we will soon reach warmer regions, I can feel it. (watches the drinking bag.) If we really enter warmer lands, we shall watch our water supplies more carefully... is there a way to refill our reserve?
Syrana: Yes, there is a river nearby, we are going to travel with it to land of Meru, it is where clans are meeting...
Devon: That sounds promising. But... (scratches his chin like every time his is somehow worried.) I would like to know... where exactly are we heading, after reaching Meru? If my orientation is working properly, we will soon reach deeper into the lands of KHALDOR… a ruthless land of outlaws, where I have never been before…
Syrana: You sound like being worried about it... those lands are not as wild as you might heard... not anymore at least.
Devon: Well... I will have to believe you. I can only tell you, what I have heard and read... but soon, I might be able to make my own opinion about it. (closes his eyes.) There is only one thing, which cannot leave my mind...
Syrana: What is it?
Devon: I am... still not quite sure about this part of RULUS but... (thinks hard and waves with his hand to the western mountains.) I guess, somewhere behind this wall of stone could be my homeland... CHRON. (sighs.) It was a long time, since I have been there...
Syrana: Perhaps... those names which you mention say nothing to me.
Devon: You are right... (turns his head from looking west.) It is nothing, anyway... my homelands are controlled by a queen called Valeris right now. She is a traitor, as well... allied with humans... (shakes his head.) Okay, never mind. It's best not to think about this right now!
Syrana: (pats his forearm.) Yes, think of what you can gain here... and all traitors can wait.
Devon: (takes her hand and lets it rest on his arm. He used to really enjoy her touch.) Yes... they shall wait for us! (smiles at her.) And with our arrival, they will regret they day they've been born!
Syrana: Indeed... like I told you before, revenge is a cold served dish!
Devon: One more taste, we have in common. Awww... one more thing... (is twitching with his eyes and moving with one hand over the his face and eyes.) I hope, when we reach that river I can wash that colour off my face again. Even after all this weeks, it's kinda tickling me... what is that paint good for, anyway?
Syrana: To keep you away from malice and bad luck spirits... I know you don't believe in it, but this keeps people around more comfortable, that you are not allowing ghosts to mess up with you.
Devon: Aw... alright... (seems not to be very sure about this, after all.) Good, we don't want to have our men uncomfortable, do we? (grins.) Will we keep that for the whole journey? Even in battle?
Syrana: It would be good if you fit yourself... it is not that bad and it suits you - makes you look more intimidating.
Devon: (smiles wide and is obviously pleased.) Yes, you think so? Alright then... (rubs the outlines of his eyes.) But it's still itching sometimes... well, I have survived worse things.
Syrana: You will get used to it. Besides… like I told, you will have to fit, so my people would feel comfortable with you.
Devon: Good. Well, at least I already feel comfortable with your furry fashion... that coat made of the hide from that... sort of bear, or what was it? It's very warm and nice.
Syrana: Thank Norss for that one. Very soon, you aren’t going to need it anymore.
Devon: Well, it'll work as good blanket in any case... (hears something and lifts his head.) I guess, that warrior over there has found something… have we reached that river by now?
Warrior: (makes gestures, which are already clear to Devon.)
Devon: As far as I know... he is talking about a camp somewhere here... a human camp. Correct me, if I am wrong. (looks at Syrana again.)
Syrana: Yes. You learn pretty fast... (gets off her horse.)
Devon: Shall we attack them? The time is right and we still got the surprise effect on our side. There is no sign, that we have been discovered so far.
Syrana: (smirks.) Maybe, we should check on it first. Humans here are made from other clay as well...
Devon: Awww… very good! Finally, we get something to do here. (jumps off his horse as well. He unpacks a standard Norss issue sword, which previously belonged to Kalhai.) Okay, I shall take two scouts and sneak on that camp. You agree?
Syrana: Let's see what you have. (pats his cheek in playful way.)
Devon: (smiles happily and gives her a fast kiss. Then he calls for two scouts, which are appearing soon.) We will be back very soon!
(Devon and the two Reptilian scouts are walking fast and secure over the dry land causing almost no noise. The closer they get to the camp, the lower they start to crouch on the ground. A scout gives the sign to be absolutely calm now and using only sign language. The three Reptilians are crouching along a wall of bushes and hiding behind a flat construction of rocks and trees. They are quite close to the human camp right now. Devon is counting the visible humans. They look very strong and unusual tall, compared to the humans he got to know. The camp is not very large, a fire is burning in the centre of it. The people are dressed in furry clothing with leather and metal parts.)
Devon: (makes a gesture for retreat. Quiet and fast they return to Syrana and the remaining troops.) Alright... (breathes a little bit faster, since he had no real action in the past weeks.) It is a human camp, indeed. There are something like 40 men and a few horses. They have some wagons and carriages... I am not sure, if they are trained warriors or just passing nomads.
Syrana: (asks something one of the warriors.) Warriors from the north, probably returning from robbery escapade.
Devon: Well... (touches Kalhai's sword.) I have no doubt, that they are no match for us! Even if there are a little bit more human warriors... we are never that outnumbered. I think, we should attack them! I am tired of fighting my own kind... (watches at the sword again.) and after all, they might have some useful goods we can take.
Syrana: Ahuh... surely my warriors may use some exercise, as well. Go and lead General!
Devon: As you wish! (with glancing eyes, he jumps on his horse again and gives the sign for attack. First, he rides at the very beginning of his small army. Then, the other warriors are gathering around and behind him. The complete shape of the riding troops is like a triangle - with Devon at the tip of it. He raises his sword and cries out in both his language and the Norss tongue.) To battle!!
(As Devon and his warriors appear near the camp, their arrival is been recognized with fear and alarm. They’re quickly catching their weapons - ready for the fight! As Devon leads his warriors, Syrana walks slowly after their passing and stops to observe the battle from a distance. Devon enters the camp as the first one. His horse jumps over a small fence made of wooden bars, which are supposed to dry food or clothing on the air. He gives out a war cry and splits his troops. One wing is riding deeper inside the camp, the other one is taking the back of it. Soon, the fight is burning high; Devon is being attacked by two human warriors, who are directly coming towards him. He turns his horse around and makes a swift strike with his sword - cutting the heads of his enemies off. When he was dealing with those two, some other human strikes his horse right in the muffle - making poor animal to loose balance. Devon's horse falls on it's side, almost smashing it's rider. The General rolls quickly to one side and jumps on his feet - ready enough, to encounter the unfortunate human warrior. That warrior seems to be kinda surprised, seeing a monster of this size - but he is not showing fear just rushes and crosses the blades with Devon. Very fast and agile, Devon blocks the attacks of his enemy. This human is surely far away from being as skilled as Kalhai has been! The Reptilian mountain of muscles cuts his opponent's sword in two pieces and punches him so hard in the face, that he falls a few steps away. The human warrior quickly gets on his feet and grabs first thing, which falls in his hands - it happens to be a bardiche of some dead Reptilian. Devon smiles; getting such a tough human opponent for the first time in many months. The human cries out and makes a run on Devon, who jumps to the air and over his attacking enemy. He wants to kill the man from behind, but that one turns himself with surprisingly fast agility. Devon has to block the bardiche again and again; he simply cannot reach that human.
The fight around is in full fire and very loud. Mostly human scrams, but there are also Reptilian hisses and cries as well.
Devon is finally able to free himself; as the warrior wanted to stab him, he rushes on his back and kicks against the knees of his opponent. The man falls, and with Devon jumping on him, he has no more chance of survival. Devon digs his sword deep inside of the man's chest.
In the meantime, some humans have found large spears, which they use to attack the other Reptilian riders. Suddenly, a few horses are running inside a trap - right behind a wagon, some humans are hiding with their wooden spears. Quickly, they get out of their hiding place and lift their spears into the air. Some Reptilian riders cannot control their horses, which are being pinched by the spears. Four horses fall down, crushing two Reptilian warriors. The remaining ones are getting off their animals now - knowing, that close combat will be more successful in this situation. They use their weapons but also claws and fangs to rip the human warriors apart. The bloody battle seems to take an eternity, though it’s only a few moments.
Now, Devon gives a signal to gather his troops again. Both wings are coming together very fast, leaving their back quite unprotected. With all his warriors together again, he secures the centre of the camp - leaving nobody alive!
In the same time, a human warrior who seems to be one of the tallest - most likely a leader - was successful in sneaking up to Syrana’s watching position. He gets his he axe and runs towards Syrana. She moves her eyes at the human, but stands in place with no emotion on her face. For a few seconds, the man is distracted - used to see fear by his appearing size and body build. He screams and waves his axe through the air - trying to cut Syrana in half. She smirks and when axe is about to reach her, she makes a swing on one leg and turns her body. She arches her back in a way, that the axe flies close underneath her spinal - but in same time she was able to look at warrior's surprised face. When she made a swirl, her body was low - prepared for a returning swing of the axe, which flies over her head, and when it passed she quickly hits the man under his chin with open hand and sends him flying on the ground. The man coughs and spits blood and teeth out of his mouth. In complete rage, he just tries to make a new run on Syrana, but she strafes elegantly to one side - kicking him in his waist at the same time. Once again, the man finds himself on the ground. Slowly, he gets up and makes another attempt to fight her. This time, he walks more slowly at her and watches her arms for possible attack. With a strong cry, he attacks and his fists are flying right at Syrana. She evades his hit by moving slightly on one side and when he is still in haste, she hits him with her elbow in the face - then tips him over by doing a swing with her leg. Then she gets out a sai dagger and stabs it into his eye. Without any sound or move, the man falls inside like shattered glass. He is already dead before he hits the ground. Syrana cleans her dagger using that warrior's clothing and hides it safely again.
In the far distance some screams of Devon can be heard... victory is near and the battle is almost over.
Devon and his warriors defeated even the last man standing. Nobody is left alive. The human camp has been taken.)
Devon: (closes to Syrana, who is still standing at her watching position.) We won! Like I said. Your men fought brilliantly... we only have 1 dead and a few minor injuries. I suppose, we really surprised them. (cleans his sword with a piece of cloth.) And this is an excellent weapon, as well... (recognizes the dead human warrior at Syrana's feet.) Gods! What happened here?
Syrana: Hehehehe! It was only a small camp, but I surely think that bone moving what was you and my men need... (looks under her feet.) I guess, he had an accident of some sort... (steps over it.)
Devon: (watches her with confusion and some disbelief.) Accident...? Hm... that is a huge human, ya know that? You are fortunate, that he didn't had the chance to attack you - I would not have liked to fight this one!
Syrana: And why not? He is no bigger then Kalhai is he? (tilts her head playfully.)
Devon: (like always when she moves like that, Devon is completely bewitched. He turns and smiles.) Right, he is not. He was surely not even half as strong as Kalhai was... never mind. (goes away from the corps.) I can tell you, that little fight surely woke my spirits and those of your men. It was great!
Syrana: I am glad to hear...and I enjoyed watching it. Shall we see what treasures we just obtained?
Devon: Very well! Come with me. (takes her hand and walks over the camp.) Watch out... many corps around. (steps over some humans.) Yuck, what soft scum!! Though you were right... they have fought better than any others.
Syrana: Raw climate shapes toughest meat... (walks over the corpses and gives congratulations to warriors which they pass.)
Devon: Well, you might be right. (looks around and suddenly, something catches his attention.) Hey, what's inside that wagon over there? Let's see...
Syrana: Sure... (follows him to the wagon and stays on the wooden plank above the ground to see it better. Warriors already checked some wagons, and they found food rations, fabrics, furs, jewellery, weapons and all kinds of stuff.)
Devon: Food! (gazes happily and smells the food.) Hmm... but this looks like fruits of some sort. I've never seen these kinda fruits. (wants to taste one.) You know these? Well, the humans didn't kill me... so won't this stuff here. (bites with pleasure in the round, brown vegetable. His face changes suddenly... he spits out and gasps.) Arrghh!! Yuck! This is... horrible! Eeeeew... (throws it away.) And they had one wagon full of these balls...
Syrana: (chuckles.) Yeah, raw they are disgusting...
Devon: What do ya mean with "raw"?
Syrana: Simple... (takes vegetable in her hand.) They are raw now... but put into dust under the fire and they turn into delicacy. No wonder they stole them from some villagers. This food is very energetic and filling.
Devon: (speaks fast.) Aw... right, of course! I thought so, you know? Just wanted... to make you laugh. Well, maybe you can make some of those later... I'd like to taste this well done.
Syrana: Sure. (throws vegetable back to the wagon and a spot of blood is seen on her elbow, this one with which she smashed warrior's face.) It is as simple as eating it...
Devon: (spots the blood.) Hey, what is that? Are you hurt, after all? Show me...
Syrana: Where? (looks at herself seeing nothing.)
Devon: Well, I must've been wrong... (turns and steps off the wagon.) Fortunately, we have some additional horses for the wagons now. Wait a second... (goes to the other two wagons and returns soon.) Alright, we have enough men and animals to carry all those goods. Personally, I'd really like to keep those things... can we effort to take these with us?
Syrana: Of course... what is wrong in robbing the robbers?
Devon: (laughs.) Nothing... but I didn't know, if we can effort to carry all those things. Since I don't know, how far our travel will be. And with those carriage, we are a target to other robbers, as well!
Syrana: Well, definitely some of those goods are useless to us on the south like plods and furs, but weapons and additional and new rations won’t definitely spoil anything.
Devon: Very well, I agree. (spots the wagon with the brown vegetables.) Indeed... if this food is as good as you claim, we will be almost invincible. (lays one arm on her shoulder and grins.) Good, I suppose we surely had a good day this day... we shall now gather our men and carry on. Or shall we make a rest first?
Syrana: Well...most reasonable would be go away from here until smell of blood bring carrion eaters and other lovers of free corpse dining... we shall make our stop few kilometres from here...
Devon: (nods.) A wise decision. (he whistles and waves with his hand in the air. Giving the signal to gather.) Okay, let's move on!
(After a few minutes, warriors took most valuable things and packs them on the mounts. Then they start to get away from the fighting place and return to their previous place of stop to get all the horses and men together. As they gather, Devon rides next to Syrana like before. Both leaders are riding close to the top of the army - then some warriors follow, next the wagons and some warriors at the tail of the troops. Devon sits high and proud on his horse and breathes the air with pleasure. The small army takes off and rides south again.)