He slept, deep but not dreamless. It had begun with the usual. First was Errol. He tended the stables, before he knew it, a stray flaming  arrow settled in the hay. A blaze erupted in a flash, leaving behind a body, roasted in armour so melted he had to be buried in it, his features were so scorched they only knew it to be him for the signet ring that had rolled out into the road, the rearing stallion.
                They had found Garrick dead in his books, amongst the blood spattered pages, he remembered the words better than his brother’s face.
                And they come,
                A southern wind-
                As the waters of the womb-
                Ready to retrieve their lot
                In blood and agony
                Till returned to their Gods
                The lung he had coughed up smeared the rest of the page and he was counted as one amongst many of the plague victims, only with the army to put to rest the dead.
                HE had witness Erric and Allun’s deaths, the first had been meant to take their Uncle’s place as Captain of the Royal Army, being the second son. All of them had been ranging across the southern section of the Mokasen Plains. Erric had heard tell of Barbaran activity, an oddity for them to be so far from home, especially behind Gelra’s Watch, the only time that might happen would be if they were siphoning an army behind their lines. They had to know what was coming, they certainly could not risk a surprise push, they had learnt that early on. Only they could go, Erric’s numbers had been too depleted before the reinforcements had arrived. Sure enough, their advance scouts reported a large gathering, but on the way there, a snowstorm caught them. Three weeks went by and they were down to eating their own horses. For them, they were eating childhood friends. The storm finally cleared and on their way back, a band of routers fired at them from afar. Twelve of twenty two went down first, before Erric’s soldiers could get to them and kill them. His brother had died, leaving him to take the men home. The Barbarans had beat them to Corrlan’s Pass nad had camps outside. Some had fled when reinforments came in the form of Captain Damyen’s men, he had later learned. In the ensuing battle, Allun was speared down.
                Now he stood alone. Blood, bodies, battle all seemed to dissipate into the snow of the fields of Isenic. No wind roared, no tree stirred nor winter animal could be found snuffling around for last minute food before winter truly came. Behind him, Corrlan’s Pass still stood, quiet and seemingly empty. To the north, the land spread into a forest, then beyond that, a solitary mountain that didn’t even have a name. To the east lay the Ice Crown, the throne of the Warchief of New Barbarus.
                This is new. He felt, rather than though, in a profound suddenness that threatened wakefulness. Back to my post- he surprised himself, thinking of it that way, he was still home wasn’t he? –Towards New Barbaras, or...

The End

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