A story by: Saor & Erolyn

 


LIBER II: THE SF WARS

  - Chapter I: How it all started


         I have been in a thousand bloody fights before I lost the use of
my leg. I have killed and many times been on the verge of death. Yet of all
that I have seen, of all the killing pain and hatred. I shall always
remember my first one : the war against the SF Tribe.

         No one ever knew thier real name , no one could ever tell me what
those initials meant,we knew them only buy those aweful letters.

         As I have recounted in my previous parchment dear innocent
reader. This War was born the day we buried our dead comrades in the
marketplace, near Arcturus' Tomb. That was a sad night for our veterans
and a fearful night for those who, like me, were just learning the basics
of fighting. Who were those SF? What did they want? Gold and supplies
or were they just lusting after blood and pain: Perhaps they would come
to our castle, or another clan fortress. The roads did not feel safe
anymore, these questions were spoken of as we sat around the fire in the
courtyard of our donjon trying to take consolation from each others
company. Whilst in the high tower the council were meeting we thought
our thoughts like whispers lost in the wind. Up in the last room of the
tower we saw the flickering light, shuddering against the ominous thunder
shattering the dark night outside. Our four leaders accompanied with
Henry Hover, Quinibert, Ioio, and Soar discussed and debated for hours.

         At some moment during the night I fell into a restless slumber,
awoken only by a dreadful night terror, that left me covered in a cold
sweat. The soothing hand of Miss Adria our German fighter aroused me
fully to wakefulness. She leant close to me and said in her hard northern
accent,
         -"Arise, my dear Jacob - a decision has been reached."
         Around me all of our army was standing still, quiet in the dawn light.
I swear even some of our veterans weary eyed looked as though they had
been waiting all night long. The huge front door opened slowly and our
council members came out, not a single word was uttered. They
approached us mingling amidst the whole army, silently looking into the
faces of thier clan of fighters. Why did they say nothing, why did no one
ask what was said in the meeting. I was perplexed. Later I learned that
it was the way our clan was organised: the council was the voice of the
army, when the time for talking was finished, they returned to the army
where they belonged. Yet that first day I was worried and annoyed at
thier silence. Eventually the leaders came out of the tower, and spoke to
us. The decision was taken, as Adria had rightly said… We were going to
war.

         Have you been in a war, my dear reader? Have you seen young
soldiers raise thier arms, laugh and shout claiming victory and glory?
I have been there, I have done all those things ….. but I also saw the
sorrow inside the veterans eyes. They understood and knew that whilst
ready and willing for battle lives were lost forever on the battleground.
Those skilled old soldiers scarred from previous wars, knew perfectly
well that many of our young soldiers would be dead within a week.
         That burden is not easy to bare.
         The last trace of humanity in a warrior is that heavy sorrow hidden
behind thier eyes. When that trace disappears ….. all is lost.

         That morning our leaders left the Castle of Light, seperately in
four different directions. They travelled to visit some of our friendly
guilds in the distant islands. Some of those clans also lost members in the
marketplace killing. We begun training in the courtyard.

         I approached Quinibert as he was drinking a goblet of wine.
         -"My general" - I said - "I want to participate in this war, yet I
am barely able to hold a single fight, can you train me please"?
         He stared at me and smiled.
         -"You are too young Jacob, your still an apprentice and unranked,
not even a private - your courage honours you but I do not want to lose
my newest soldiers in the first strike of this war".
         -"Shall I wait inside the castle, as a dog hiding in a hole whilst
others fight for vengeance and glory" I declared.
         Quinibert looked at me saying:
         -"We do not fight for vengeance Jacob, it makes your head hot and
your vision blurred with red, it will end with you being killed. We do
not fight for glory, there is no glory in reaping lives, that young Jacob
makes us better than our enemies".
         -"Why do we fight then". I asked.
         -"Because …. We must - be patient" Quinibert replied.

         I left him disappointed, as I was young and knew nothing of life and
death. I leant my body against the walls of the merlon. As I stood there
watching the large forest before me with its empty roads I thought about
what Quinibert had told me.

         I did not know it yet but I was about to be trained soon. And not in
a nice way.

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