Columns

... great tales of bravery, treaty announcements, marriages, events, statements of intent, stories, poems, song, rhyme, essays.... and any other announcements.
tekela
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2017 12:29 pm

Columns

Post by tekela » Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:43 pm

In my dreams, I fly.

I soar, unfettered and serene, laughing at gravity and at care. The clouds embrace me as a friend and the wind lazily tousles my hair. I lose myself in the sun and sky. And then, the noise. The strange humming, the flash of light, the insistent jangle of a piece of stone on the plains that shreds my peace, that drags me back to earth once more.


Awaking with a start, Tekela caught her breath and stared the ceiling of skylights above her. Already alert and awake, she listened to the soft patter of the rain on the glass and considered. She swung out of her hammock and padded out of the room, passing through the living room into a cluttered study.

She looked at the massive map on the wall. So many years of the Hailiene followed by the current mess that was the Corenne. She cut her teeth as a forerunner on the expeditionary missions, rising through the ranks rapidly, and becoming known through the ranks for both her strategic acumen and raw fighting ability. Her ability to transition from a scout to a frontline general was unparalleled, yet it did not carry much import for her these days. Most of the leaders and, yes, some friends that she had made during the Hailiene years and the start of the Corenne were gone. The mission, which ruled her life for so long, was murkier than ever and did not seem to matter as it once did.

Tekela considered the Aryth Ocean far below the deck of her aerie. There were no railings in sight and a misstep could lead to a battered corpse on the rocks far below. She looked back at her bungalow, put down her coffee on a small table, and allowed herself to fall backwards towards the blue embrace of the ocean.

She fell for an instant before turning in the air and flipping her legs downward. From above, a shadow passed by her and suddenly there was a saddle between her legs and the beat of huge wings lifted her into the air just before she hit the surf. Rising above the water, she flew towards Toman Head and the most important meeting of her life.

**

She held High Lady Suroth Sabelle Meldarath’s gaze. She had the right, she was Blood, if a much lower station than the High Lady.

“So you are requesting that I divert a task force of your scout regiment away from the Corenne to fight these...uh…beasts and...what did you call them?”

“Myrddraal, my lady.”

“Right, that. I think it might be wiser to focus on your duties, you are an Honored Der’morat’raken. If your focus is not on the Corenne, then the focus of our soldiers are not on the Corenne either.”

“With all due respect, my Lady, there will be nothing to return to or reclaim if the Shadowspawn hordes continue ranging further south. Our ancestors exterminated them from Seandar for a reason.”

Lady Tekela, you have your orders. You must lead these troops to pacify the Oathbreakers. That is your duty. Either make them swear the Oaths, or make sure they cannot continue breaking them.”

“But…”

“You have your orders.”

**

In my dreams, I am back on the endless plains.

Nothing but that stone column with its strange runes in sight, my raken dead, and I am disoriented, not sure exactly what had happened. Time blurs and years have passed. I am on a mount, but not a raken, fighting a horned man-beast swinging a blackened steel axe at me. I dispatch it quickly and the memory shifts once again.

In this world I found myself in,the Imperial Army never existed and the Shadow had blighted the world to where the nation of Andor would have stood, if it stood at all. After weeks of wandering, I found myself with men and women who knew movement was survival. Years passed and they looked past my rambling about a different world and recognized where I added value: fighting, surviving, and winning.


**

“Tekela, where are you?”

Tekela stopped staring off into space, glanced up, and grinned. Her friend and fellow Morat’raken, Baco stood on the street next to her make-shift table, where she sat in the sun and examined maps of the Corenne.

“In another world, Baco. What is happening?”

“We captured some Oathbreaker trying to steal one of our supply wagons.” He shifted uncomfortably.

“These new Imperial Army recruits are something else...they wanted to kill him immediately, no questions asked. These new directives about not having the capacity for prisoners are causing some interesting personalities to shift to the front.”

Lord Baco had been the one who had found her, naked and alone on the Almoth Plains, next to yet another stone column. He claimed she looked like hell because she had been missing for weeks. Tekela knew she was not insane and she also knew it had been a hell of a lot more than a few weeks. She had aged years because she had lived years elsewhere. She also knew how that would sound, so she kept quiet about it and sleep-walked through the events surrounding her return. The celebrations, the commendations, the careful questions, the tests, the return to duty.

“Anyways, I managed to convince them to give him to us for a round of questioning for intel and seeing if we can get him to swear the oaths and get him integrated into one of the labor camps or something. The man does not deserve death.”

Tekela shrugged. There was not much else she had to do this afternoon and did not feel particularly compelled to do as the High Lady Suroth had asked her to do with any real urgency.

She got up and sauntered with Baco towards the tent where the prisoner was being held and as she approached, she froze.

A voice roared from inside the tent. A voice that she knew. No way, she thought.

She walked into the tent with Baco, ignoring the two guards at the entrance, and looked at the form sitting tied up to a chair with a sack over his head. Baco walked over casually and ripped the sack off.

Tekela’s breath caught. She knew this man. His very existence here solidified a truth she had known, but was still grappling with, for she had fought alongside him for years, but not here. Not on this world. Not in this reality.

**

Weeks later, Tekela stood with her mount on the bluff high above the Aryth. Troubled, she had failed once again to drive home to the increasingly unhinged and myopic High Lady Suroth what awaited the whole world if the Darkness spread. Empires crumble and fall, but others rise. When the world fell, there would be no rising. She had seen it with her own eyes, punched with futility at the waves of shadow in a world beyond the brink.

Patting her raken, she adjusted her dark, unmarked cloak, murmuring, "Don't worry, we'll find a use for you in retirement, old friend."

As her scarred raken took flight and circled high above her, beginning his long flight to a location of her choosing, she turned to the north. She knew what she had to do. She did not look back.