It was another beautiful day in Iridine, I had not a care in the world. I had just turned 14 a week earlier and life was great, or at least I thought it was, many did not. Tension on the Cineran border was extremely High and looked as if they would invade us at anytime. The Cinerans had made a few assaults on outpost on the boarder but every time they were repelled, due to superior leadership and trained Legionaries, they were no match for our might. I didnt care about the Cinerans, I was in Iridine, the greatest city in Midlight and no Cineran could harm me there... or so I thought. I was returning home after a day spent on the Invex river fishing with my friends, when my Mother, Arianna, met me at the door as I came in. We walked into the common room of the house which was a fairly large room. A painting of Ereal dominated one of its walls while, on the others, miscellaneous items hung in view. My favorite was the Skull of an Esecarnus that my father had killed single handedly while traveling out in the field. Arianna put her hand on my shoulder and said to me, Arincar, dear, your father and I are going on a trip tomorrow, I want you to stay with Esephus till we return. I turned to her and she smiled widely, But mother you know I dont like uncle Esephus, hes mean, he never bathes, and all he lets me do is unload his ships that pull into the harbor, I would rather live in the gutter than stay with him. Now dear its only for a few days, you know your father has to make sure the Troops are doing OK out there, you wouldnt want the Cineran army marching right into Iridine would you she asked as me as my despair grew even more I understand that... But why cant I go with you, Im 14 now mother I can take care of my self, I wont get in the way and you have seen how well I can fight since father has started training me. Arianna looked at me the way only your mother could and immediately I new I was arguing for nothing, all right, I will stay with Esephus, but it doesnt mean I will like it. She smiled at me then turned and walked into the kitchen. I stood staring at the Esecarnus skull and thought to myself that, someday, I would be as great a Legionnaire as my Father. The next morning the sun came up early it seemed and I was out of bed in a flash, I didnt smell food as I usually did at this time and walked into the kitchen, all that was there was a note and a pouch laying beside it. Arincar we left early this morn for the outpost, I know you are responsible enough to take care of yourself so here is some money for you to get by until we return, I know your mother wanted you to stay with her brother but I know how much of a slave driver he can be, stay out of trouble and dont forget your training. Lazerious
It was like I had been set free of everything that ever bound me and I was finally my own man, I opened the pouch and counted out the pile of gold coins my father had left me... I couldnt believe what I saw, I had never in my life seen so much gold in one place except when a patricians servant would go to the market, all in all my father left to me a Talent in gold coins. My first impulse was to run out and buy up everything I had ever wanted, but then I realized my father was trusting me to use what he had given me wisely. So I tucked away the pouch grabbed my fishing pole and headed down to the Invex river to meet my friends.
The cart creaked under the weight of its heavy load, and the Oxen walked steadily forward, It had been 2 days since they had Left the city of Iridine and where nearing the Cineran boarder. The fort could be seen on the horizon as the Sun set behind them and they would be within its walls soon, Lazerious Scanned the surroundings as they rode ever so slowly forward then glanced back behind them and immediately drew the Oxen to a halt. Coming up behind was a pack of Highway bandits, Lazerious scanned the surroundings once again, quickly counting he saw only 6 bandits. Strapping on his shield on he then produced his gladius and jumped down from the cart. Arianna looked on amazed as she saw her husband face off with the six men. With lightning speed the gladius slashed down ripping through flesh and bone as it cleaved through one of the bandits shoulder and tore into his chest. With a quick maneuver he pulled the gladius from the dead man and reversed its arc kneeling as he spun around and catching another man with the gladius as it sliced through his armor and disemboweled him. The man slumped to ground in a pile of blood and the remaining men spread out to surround Lazerious. Rising to his feet Lazerious stood ready for the attack when one of the bandits cried out and fell to the ground dead. An arrow stuck out of his chest where it had pierced armor and heart. Lazerious glanced to the cart as Arianna stood knocking another arrow in her bow. The bandits stared at Arianna in amazement for a moment as they realized they had been beaten, In that moment Lazerious unleashed an attack. With a forceful jab He caught one man in the chest crushing his sternum as blood and bone fragments exploded from the impact. With an upward movement the gladius freed itself from the gaping wound and Lazerious spun it around with a reverse thrust catching the man behind him in the thigh dropping him to the ground. The last standing bandit charged at Lazerious in a desperate attempt to avenge his fallen brethren. With a strong thrust the bandit came at him only to fall short as an arrow whizzed through the air and found it home in the base of his skull. Lazerious rolled out of the way as the mans spear plunged into his friend ribs piercing his lungs. With an eerie silence Lazerious and Arianna stood and looked at the carnage they had created. With a large grin on her face Arianna beckoned Lazerious to the cart and they continued on their way to the outpost.
The sun shined brightly overhead, It had been a week since Arincars parents had left for the border and he was getting worried they had come across trouble. Then he remembered the Esecarnus skull and realized his father would take care of things as he always did. Standing in an alleyway he and his friends looked on as a group of constables beat down a thief caught trying to lift a citizens pouch. Someday I am going to be a constable his friend Chadorius said as they watched in awe. Then he saw them, a group of Legionaries marching down the middle of the street. Everyone made room as they passed and Arincar knew something was wrong. Taking off in a dead run he went back to his house. Much to his disappointment his parents had not yet arrived. He sat down counting the money he still had left when there came a knock on the door. Uneasily he stood a strode across the room unlatching the lock. Slowly he opened the door to find a Legionnaire standing in full armor.
Night had set in and stars filled the sky. Aera and Invex hung low and the cart moved ever forward. From the walls of the fort voices could be heard ordering to open the gates. Slowly they passed the gates and a few Legionnaires were there to Greet Lazerious and his wife. A large Fire burned in the center of the court yard and groups of soldiers sat near warming themselves and telling stories. Sentries paced the walls keeping an eye on the horizon for possible threats. Lazerious walked the perimeter of the fort stopping to talk to the soldiers, while Arianna, with the help of a few servants unloaded the supplies they carried there in the cart. As night moved on Lazerious retired to his quarters and settled down for a nice rest before his inspection started in the morning. In the courtyard things were quiet as only a few sentries stayed patrolling the walls. The fire had grown low and was near exhausting itself when from atop the wall a sentry yelled out Cineran Attack. The sounds of battle horns Filled the night and within minutes the forts 100 Legionnaires stood fully armed and ready for combat. Lazerious Ordered the gates open and alone walked out to face the Cineran Army. Standing face to face with Lazerious a Cineran officer presented himself I am Captain Olarin, surrender you post and I shall spare your lives and you will have the pleasure to work as slaves in our mines. Lazerious had never in his life feared any man or anything. I am sorry Captain you are on Iridinian soil, I have no intentions on surrendering anything to you or your country. but you must not understand, how do you expect you small compliment of troop to triumph over my army... 2000 against 100 seems hardly a match. Olarin boasted and let out a loud laugh. Do not underestimate your enemy Olarin, you may be disappointed. With that Lazerious turned and returned through the gates. Close the gates, Archers to the walls , Ready the catapult, Ignite the moat on my command. Lazerious barked out the orders and proceeded to climb up to the battlements. Standing shoulder to shoulder 2000 Cineran Soldiers marched forward Shields raised weapons readied. Olarin Sat to one side mounted on a heavy war horse laughing as his troops neared the walls. Lazerious raised one arm let it fall as he yelled out, Archers, fire at will. A barrage of arrows flew through the air in a high arc falling into the enemy ranks. Soldiers fell as the arrows bypassed their shields and assaulted them from above. The first ranks of the Cineran formation slowed to a halt as they reached the moat and slowly waded through it. Upon the wall a single archer knocked an flaming arrow. It flew through the air and plunged harmlessly past the enemy and into the moat, With in seconds A wall of flame leapt from the water. A chorus of screams rang out from the enemy ranks as the stench of burning oil and flesh filled the cool air. Turning to the courtyard Lazerious yelled down, Fire the Catapult with a loud crack the catapult launched over the wall a shower of stones large enough to crush bones. Halted buy the wall Of fire, the Stones plowed down the enemy as they watched in horror as thier friend lay screaming in pain from the suddeness of the counterstrike delt by the defending troops. Many lay dead and Dieing as they retreated from the flames to regroup, and still the catapult launched the bonebreaking rock into the enemy force. Orlain from atop his mount called out to his troops to fall back out of range of archer and catapult alike. The first wave was repelled but Lazerious knew they would be back to try again. The air was still and the Night grew Silent except for the sound from the burning oil. Iridine stood ready for the next wave of attackers. From out of the darkness a light jumped to life and flew through the air at great speed, A ball of White and blue flames scortched through the night and slammed into the wall of the fort, Catching it a flame. Lazerious looked in amazement just like the Cineran scum to bring in a battle Mage, curse them all. Quickly servants and Legionnaires gathered water to put out the flame when another fireball flew into the fort, exploding as it hit the ground sending up a spray of dirt and red hot rock. A few leggionairs fell to the ground as they were hit with the seering heat from the blast. Lazerious ordered everyone to shelter and a few to stay to extinguish the flames. Under the cover of night two scouts climed the far wall and took to the shadows in hopes to flank the mage before any real dammage was done, the flames spread quickly, unaturally and soon the it couldnt be contained. Seeing this Lazerious sent everyone to help with the fire and as they reached the Battlements again they noticed the enemy had returned. at once the Cinerans charged across the field to the wall of flame and quickly shoveled dirt onto the flames within minutes the flames were out and a second group of Cineran troops layed down three or four hastily cut trees across the still hot oil. They came on in force to the fort gats and proceded to use one of the trees as a battering ram. Lazerious knew they would break though. He ordered the troops to box in the opening and cut off the advancement into the court yard while a few stayed on the walls fireing arrows into the The gates Broke free and the clash of metal on metal filled the fort. the Cineran soldiers were cut down as the poured through the gates but there were too many to hold off. Soon the tide of battle turned against them and the were forced back allowing more of the invaders through the splintered gates. Lazerious looked back over his shoulder for what he knew would be his last chance to see Arianna. She stood with bow in hand launching arrows into the oncoming hoard of soldiers and with a brief pause blew him a kiss. With that he turned and at the top of his lungs cried out over the sounds of battle, For Iridine. as he led the remainder of the Legionnaires into the fray. The sun broke over the eastern Horizon and the fort lay still. The oil filled moat flickered and the last flames died out. The Northern wall of the fort layin chared chuncks of wood and ash. Across the field and into the courtyard, the bodies of the fallen lay silent and still. The remainder of the Cineran army encamped just outside the southern walls. Two figures walked through the fort staring in disbelief. Captain Olarin surveyed his surroundings and wondered how, 100 soldiers had cut his army almost in half, Orlain looked to his Sergeant and asked you are sure the count was acurate?. Yes Captain, I am as shocked as you, Cinera will not be happy at our losses here. Orlain nodded and looked down at Lazeriouss crumpled corpse I admire your courage and your leadership, Who would have thought.. Scanning the field once more then returning his gaze to Lazerious and whispered under his breath eight hundred and seventy three.... never underestimate your enemy... I shall not forget.
The Soldier sat a large chest down on the floor of the common room just to the side of the door.I am truly sorry Arincar, Your father was a brave man and a Great soldier. Tears streamed down Arincars face after hearing the retelling of events of his parents death. Without a word he closed the door on the soldier, sat down and cried till he fell asleep.