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"Get them out of here," Wester ordered the woman holding a sword in front of her home. "I'll take their attention."

The woman - Miss Velletia, he believed - nodded to him and shouted into her home. Four kids, looking scared nearly to death - but alive, thank the Source - came out and followed their mother as she headed towards the center of the clansground. "Thank you, High Officer!" Miss Velletia shouted before moving out of sight with her younglings. Morris would be glad his family made it out. Not everyone had retreated to the Temple in time. 

Wester put one of his bladed shields up and pulled his pistol out, facing the men who watched him warily. With good reason, too. Five of their fellow men lie dead by Wester's hands already.

This was a nightmare. When he had arrived, the clansground's walls were being broken through. The women had held out valiantly, upholding their duty as protectors of home admirably. The problem were these mysterious invaders. They used metal somehow. It had to be heresy. There was no other explanation. Could they be servants of the Abyss? 

Wester let the thoughts dry up in his mind, like drops of water in the desert, and focused on the men in front of him. They were cautious and watching intently. Just the fact that none rushed him told him leagues. All in all, they were quite well trained. He was jealous, being a trainer of men himself. But, as the High Officer of the Drakos-El, Wester was fury personified. 

It was a calm, cold fury. Not like the blazing chaotic anger that the heathens had. No, Wester was a man of the Source. He would get his vengeance so long as it was righteous. And this counted as righteous. Men that killed women and children deserved no mercy.

"Come!" Wester shouted. With Hecter and Garland gone to help the other areas, as well as his men spread out to do the same, Wester was alone. He had to play this smart. These men, if they did serve the Abyss, would have tricks up their sleeves.

The group, some twenty or so lancers with massive black shields, charged as one. 

Wester shot three bursts of fire , making them as large as he dared to. The bursts of fire was blocked effortlessly as the men melded their metal together to make a large singular one. But, Wester wasn't affected at all. He intended this. As the fires were dispersed, he had already changed out his pistol for his other shield and ran towards the metal mass. 

As the metal separated, Wester was kicking off of it and landing behind the men. He almost smiled as the men looked for him. The fire must have blocked their sight. Very good. 

His shields sliced two of the men's backs open. Screams pulled the other's attention, but Wester was already on them. Only two remained by the time they could fight back. Surprisingly, the two left didn't flinch. Instead, they attacked as one, using their shields and spears to make their charge hard to manage. They even looked to be watching for his pistol. 

Smart.

But Wester was smarted. 

Both men fell, arrows filling their back. 

"You made it," Wester said, watching a woman in full black leathers and a massive black cloak that seemed to fuse with the shadows. "You have my thanks, Mistress Nighthawk."

The woman nodded. "Of course, High Officer."

Wester put his shields away and searched the men for any sign of paperwork. There was plenty, but the language was too foreign. For now, Wester pocketed a parchment that looked important and stood up. His hair was slick with sweat, so he pushed it back and tied it up. The thick golden locks were easy to manage thanks to being damp. 

"What's the status of the clansground?"

"Fires run rampant on the outer parameter and wall, but we have secured the temple and have those gifted with the Way of Water dealing with the fires."

"And the enemy?"

"Last I saw, they were leaving." Nighthawk walked over to examine her arrow in one of the men's backs. It had sunk in far more than a normal one would, thanks to being gifted with the Way of Air. She was the captain of the Domestic Guard and an enemy Wester never wanted to fight. "They seemed to be testing us. Or underestimating us."

Wester frowned. "Let's be thankful to the Source that they are leaving period." He looked towards the temple in the distance. "How fair the Council?"

Nighthawk shook her head. Her skin was dark under the hood, but, as usual, he couldn't make out anything else about her face. "They were targeted first."

"Spy?"

"No, they were in their ceremonial robes." Ah, so it was prayer day. "The enemy must have assumed they were important. It didn't help that our men were quick to defend them."

Wester nodded. It was a loss, but he had more important things to do. He had a people to protect. As the laws dictated, he was now the High Warpriest. "Come, let us assess the damages and prepare."

"Prepare?"

Wester looked towards a corpse he hadn't seen before. It was a child. One he thought he recognized from a few prayer days back. "We are leaving the clansground and heading north. We cannot stay here, Mistress Nighthawk."

She nodded in agreement, then followed Wester towards the temple.

The End

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