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Chapter 7: The Capricious Spirits
The Capricious Spirits
As if walking straight to the fires of hell, the Clan marched to the land of the Horsemen. Many moons had risen and set since the armies of the Spiralhorns had felt such impending doom. The question was inevitable, “With so much despair, was it wise to invade the lands of the mightiest army in the world?” The question was fair, the answer was not. For you see once the order of engagement is charted by the gods, no army nor their position in the cosmos can defer their portion of it. The decision had been made long ago…..regardless of the perils, this day, the Clan would march upon the Horsemen.
The Clan pled with the spirits of battle to show them mercy. And mercy was a scarce commodity….the Great General had already fallen. General Vittion had little time to prepare his new charges for battle, many troops were still wounded from the Raptor invasion. How could our fate be any worse?
But as the Clan marched into the land, the gods seemed to guide their feet as they immediately struck deep into the hearts of the Horsemen. The Clan dealt blows that no other foe had delivered to these equine soldiers. The heavens had opened up and smiled on the Clan. Finally, night had turned to day and order would once again be restored to this proud band of Spiralhorns.
But the gods are capricious spirits. As a storm will allow the sun to shine for a moment only to close it in crushing darkness, the gods turned on the Clan in a single moment. As the Clan pushed to deliver the death blow to the Horsemen, a bolt from above struck down the Captain. He was the cornerstone to this army. He, who lead from the front line had been taken from the battle. With the Clan in disarray, the mighty Horsemen sent wave after wave upon the Clan who could do little but retreat. With all the strength they could muster, the Spiralhorns crawled home, broken and defeated.
Nearly an entire moon cycle had passed since the Clan last tasted the sweet wine of victory. The defeat of the Mythos now seemed an eternity ago. The heroes of recent days now lay battered. The truth was obvious. No invasion would be made by these Spiralhorns. All effort must be focused on defense of the homeland. The questions mounted, the answers fled. No one even had the strength to look for answers. In times like this, logic, reason, & strategy give way to rumor and speculation. Some declared the time for resistance to be ended. The army must now fall at the feet of any foe and beg for mercy. Others saw this as the time to give over the day of battle to the youth. Let them gain their stripes by fire. And still others looked inward to lay convictions upon the fallen General and his Captain. No one voice would steer morale to a proper height……unless the spirits themselves spoke. As the Clan approached the great Archway over the homeland, a great voice from above spoke……….
“You have been granted time to heal. Your journeys shall be no more until the passing of three holy days. However, you must still mount a defense. You will first be attacked by the Cleric Army of the South. Then you will be attacked by the soldiers of the Panthera Onca. If you survive these two attacks, you will be given a short time of peace.” As if forgetting their own mortality, the Clan shouted back to the spirits, “What of our future? Where does our fate lie?”
The spirits answered, “Your period of darkness is not yet complete. Others among you will fall. Your numbers will become more restless and down-trodden. However, for those that remain true, a better day will come. Your Captain will return after the time of rest. His guard will see transition as new blood rejuvenates their ranks. Many young ones will mature to become seasoned warriors prepared for any battle that war may bring. While one of great stature will fall, another unknown soldier will rise in power. For those that remain true, the bright and shining glory of past days will be reborn.” Again, the Clan shouted to the spirits, “What of our General?”
To this question…….the spirits did not answer.
The Clan finished their journey home and passed beneath the Great Archway with the words of the spirit ringing in their ears, and the silence with regards to the fate of the General heavy on their hearts. The task at hand was to defend the homeland against a well-known rival…….the Cleric Army.
In a time when the great spirits change the fate of man on a whim, nothing is certain.
"Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod
Re: Chapter 7: The Capricious Spirits
Good stuff HU....Avenger would be proud ....the book of the spiralhorns continues to evolve.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]