Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Northern Lights

“Do you ever get nervous?” Rai’s eyes were the color of the coming storm and it took Monol back to a life he wanted to forget. He looked up from the crude battle plan he had drawn out for her and their small group. The potential of the group was immense and there was a time he would have spent years building and developing them to near godhood. Now, he had no more time. The war had started, whether anyone else saw it or not. Monol would subtly guide them all as much as he could but it was almost to the point that he would simply step back and wait. 

Monol smiled at the small group curiously watching him. “I haven’t been nervous in a long time, but yes, I certainly have felt that way in the past.” He moved the battle pieces they had picked to represent themselves. “If I were you, I would join the Druids here.” At the mention of the Druids, the group looked surprised. He placed the markers down outside the city gates near the tree line. It would be a few hours march to battle from there which would put them in the thick of it as reinforcements.

Aisline frowned. “We should join the mages…” She started to reach towards their pieces on the map.

Lunarin’s head snapped up to Monol, who was still smiling but in amusement. “The mages are not marching to war.”

The girls paled and Aisline’s hand faltered. Rai glanced at Aisline in worry. “Why?” She stood abruptly and her wooden chair rudely clattered on the ground behind her. “We should go now! They need to answer the call.”

Monol shook his head patiently. “They will not. Their leader…” He paused, choosing his words very carefully. “They will remain a neutral party unless attacked directly, which Dunne would never do. Who rules the kingdom is of no consequence to them, neither are the methods used for gaining that control. The mages will hopefully one day march to war, but this is not the time.”

Lunarin smiled and gently laid his hands over both Rai and Aisline’s. “At least we have two mages.” The girls did not recoil, but were not comforted at his words. It was clear they did not have much faith in each other or themselves to be able to dominate on the field and be a representative of their class. Aisline’s shoulders slumped and she stared blankly at the map. Rai clenched her jaw.

Normally quiet, their warrior friend Garren spoke up from the far corner of the room. He hadn’t been interested in battle planning. To him, it wasn’t complicated. His broadsword would find glory regardless of their decisions. Cowardice however, was hard to abide. “Who is this leader then, heh?” Monol stood a little straighter as he pulled back. “Aren’t they having the same issues as us? Aren’t they starving? Aren’t they affected by the plague?”

Monol thought for a moment, staring at his map, before answering quietly. “It depends on the college as to who leads. Dunne leads one. A human named Oligar leads another. The elven sect was obliterated. The others are minor positions of power that do not have the ability to respond without grievous consequences.” Monol stood and slid his chair under the table. “As far as their food and health conditions, I would be amazed if they were facing the same hardships you see here in the city.”

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