Vendetta Chapter 2
By Jonathan Priest
The fire burned with the intensity of madness. Heat and streaming smoke poured throughout the town as those villagers still alive fought to escape the carnage. Swords clashed against armor. Spears deflected by sheilds. Arrows found their marks in soft flesh. And caught in the middle were the innocent inhabitants of this now desolate town known as Kalekka.
A solitary man in black stalked solemny through the destruction. Everywhere he turned, he was faced with men fighting, hoping beyond hope to destroy one another. Yet the ground was littered with the bodies of the peasants who were meant to be protected, not butchered.
A terrified woman ran from a burning house, persued by an emperial soldier. This man in black watched as the woman tripped on the uneven ground, the soldier still in chase. Having fallen to the ground, the woman could only stare at her wouldbe murderer, fear painting her face in a mask of terrified realization. The soldier stood boldly over this fallen woman, and raised his sword. This man in black armor had seen enough. In an instant, he stood before the soldier, his own sword in hand. With a motion a quick as lightning and as powerful as the thunder that follows, the man in black drew his sword upward, cutting the soldiers weapon in half, then, in the same blinding reflex, brought his sword down, cutting the would be killer open. A frief, gurggled scream is all the soldier could muster before his lifeless body colapsed to the ground.
With the attacking soldier disposed of, the man in black armor turned his attention to the terrified woman.
"You have nothing to fear from me." the man said, yet foolishly realized there was little hope he could offer in this dismal setting. Lowering an armored glove, the woman's new found protector offered his assistance. Cautiously, and with great reservation, the woman accepted the hand, and allowed the warrior in black to aid her to her feet.
"You must leave. Now!" replied the savior.
However, before any sign of recognition could melt away the woman's shock of her near death, a new warrior appeared. His armor as black as the first man's, yet his face twisted in carnal pleasure at the sight of misery he had unleashed. His blond hair matted to his face, and his eyes were expressionless, save the glitter of bloodlust that filled his thirsty soul.
Glaring at this new hero, for but the briefest of moments, this new warrior, maddened with the lifeless gore that littered the ground, turned to the paniced woman. Quickly clutching the hilt of his sword, Yuber drew his weapon. A blinding spark of silver glared in the afternoon sun, shining off the liberated sword. Following a steady path of motion, the glare of silver followed the sword, slicing through the cowering woman.
Her lips parted as a scream of unparalled agony echoed through the battle hardened song of the village.
Pesmerga's body jerked with fevered rememberance, the woman's scream still echoing in his ears. He dispised sleep, and even more hated the dreams that tormented his soul.
He looked about him, the image of the burnt village, Kalekka, a vague memory, replaced by a stagnet forest. The chilled evening air had stiffened his body, but the pain was welcomed, for his knew he was awake. No one suffered pain in their dreams, except maybe him.
He painfully stood, his face wet with a combination of dew and sweat. It had been only two days prior, yet seemed an eternity since Pesmerga had learned Yuber had returned to Kalekka. He had no understanding of how Yuber had avoided his search, but it no longer mattered, the time was drawing near when Pesmerga would end this.
There was little less than an hour till dawn, but Pesmerga chose to leave early. In his travels, he had gained almost a sixth sense when danger approached. He knew, as he did now. He was being followed. It really didn't matter by who, Yuber was all that remained, the rest of the world drifted into non-existence. Pesmerga wondered, as he often did, what the real world was like. Surviving without fear of death. Truly being happy. Nothing frightened this man, except that. The knowledge that his life would all but cease after he killed Yuber. What would he do?
A sudden flash of white brought Pesmerga's mind to the present. Standing in his path was a great white stallion, the symbol of the Toran Royal Calvary.
"Sir, I have been ordered to detain you." Spoke the rider, sitting astride the great mount.
A hint of amusement played across Pesmerga's lips as he sized up this unworthy messenger. "No." Pesmerga whispered. "I don't believe you will. Now, move from my path, lest I move you myself."
The mounted messenger raised his arm, and was joined by six new soldiers, each, their weapon ready.
"Raising arms against the Presidential emmissary is grounds for execution." Stated the first horseman, more assuredly courageous than before.
"And who will extract the punishment? You?" Pesmerga inquired.
"No!" A new voice filled the surrounding woods, the voice of an emotionally strong woman. "I will!"
Following the source of the voice, Pesmerga stared into the eyes of a strong and beautiful black mare. Sitting atop the warhorse, was a woman Pesmerga remembered only briefly, yet could sense the power in her.
"That's General Valeria, if you don't mind." she rebuked. Pesmerga had no doube he could best these first horsemen, but Valeria was another matter. They fought together, three years prior in the War of Liberation. Though Pesmerga never fought by her side, he saw her strength and skill from a distance. He respected that strength.
"For what reason do you detain me, Valeria!"
Valeria sighed in disgust at Pesmerga's informal address. "Perhaps a battle scene, about two days march back, of four butchered men. They were wearing the insignia of the Scarlett Moon Empire. One of my scouts reported a fifth man, fleeing. I chose to act on this, for certain current diplomatic reasons, and found you, in the middle of thise woods."
Yes, you found me, and you can lose me as easily. I must not be detained!!!" Pesmerga spoke, his voice rising with emotion, as it so rarely does for this man. Yet the insistence of his words were not as meaningful as the insistence of his hand, which moved noticably toward the hilt of his sword.
Valeria smiled, watching Pesmerga's sword. Then, with the same amused expression playing over her face, her eyes shifted to the trees. Pesmerga angerly followed her gaze, and watched as four archers stepped from the leafy camoflauge, their wieght supported by the thick tree branches. Each archer's bow was drawn,their arrows pointed at Pesmerga.
"Perhaps you didn't understand." Valeria continued. "You WILL lay down your arms and accompany me."
Pesmerga snarled, his lips curling under his helmet. Quickly drawing his sword, startling the soldiers which stood behind him, Pesmerga threw his weapon to the ground.
"And where would you take me?"
"We are going to Gregminister. I must report to President Lepant."
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