Hello, Benjamin From Brother’s Campfire Here!
Gather ‘Round and I will spin you a tale!
Hrani, cold, wet, and empty-handed, had to do what he could until a longboat came by.
He would have to be careful; his people had raided this coast before and his head would be a fine addition to a city gate.
Walking inland, and on the lookout for a bit to eat, he could hear marching.
He froze, ears and eyes attuned to danger.
Crows circled above, a sure sign of death to Hrani.
In great numbers, they cawed, descending in a wooded area near a stream.
Curious, and in need of supplies, Hrani made his way towards them and found
The crows had landed to feast, indiscriminately consuming the barely living and the dead.
He had stumbled upon death, the reality of war.
Hrani had seen it before, and it wasn’t something you got used to.
In hostile territory, self preservation and the immediate need for supplies surpassed noble humanity.
Looking amongst the dead, Hrani procured a sword of fair quality and tested it for balance.
Cutting through clothing, Hrani looted the remains of the soldiers on the battlefield;
He worked hard, finding a few coins, some colorful rocks that were possibly low grade gemstones, and a few rings and necklaces. Perhaps he could pay his way out of a problem or two on his journey to safety.
He wasn’t the only one.
Organized by large businesses and nobles, professional looters were already on site with wheeled carts to collect clothing, boots, metal for scrap, teeth for dentures, and entire bodies for bonemeal. With the backing of a local lord, looters were aggressive. It was time to cut ties with this place and move on.
Nearing a bridge, Hrani saw a warrior, a very tall and slim man in bloodstained armor, leaning on a guardrail.
The stranger beckoned him near.
“I AM ISHAAN.” He declared proudly.
“My enemies lay before me and I go to my people.”
Hrani’s eyes were fixated on the ornate sword Ishaan held. It looked to be of the Vijayapuran style and was far better than what he scrounged up. This man had the look of royalty.
Ishaan’s eyes were intense, sparkling as if they were on fire, defiant in death.
“Look before you,”
The bodies of my enemies are strewn about on the bridge.”
“ Long have I desired for a moment such as this.”
He paused, looking at Hrani with curiosity.
“You have come to strip me of my armor and take my sword.”
Uncomfortable, Hrani denied the accusation.
Shifting a little, Ishaan secured a clasp on his gauntlet with his right hand.
“What is your name, that I may know who I slay with my last breath?”
Hrani was taken aback and lifted his hands from his waistband and into the air. Ishaan was looking to die epicly, and it was no wise thing to challenge such.
“I will not fight you, good sir.”
“Today, I meet General Chandra and my brethren and will need my weapons no more.”
Hrani heard the hoofbeats of horses and spun around, placing his hand on the grip of his sword.
The looters were coming to run him off and he would not be able to take the sword unless he wrenched it away from the dying man.
A warrior himself, he could not bear to do so for respect.
Ishaan chuckled. “You fear death, I embrace it.”
Hrani was incredulous.
“I am motivated to live, as is any sane person, but I respect your courage, friend. “
Ishaan whispered faintly.
“Promise me one thing.”
“My possessions are under a pine tree down the road from here. There is a book that must go to Jeptha…”
With great effort, Ishaan adjusted himself upright.
Somehow, balanced by his armor, he died standing up.
With death, respect diminished.
Hurriedly, he tried to wrench the sword from Ishaan’s hand, but could not. His gauntlet had a complicated lock designed to affix it in place in literal death grip.
The riders quickly approached and they would surely take what he had collected already.
Hrani fled with what he could, and made camp for the evening.
At morning’s light, he promptly returned to the battlefield site to find it devoid of anything useful, so with a knack for finding things, Hrani located Ishaan’s belongings.
The book was leather-bound and ornately decorated. He flipped through the pages and looked at the illustrations, for the language was foreign to him.
The drawings recounted strange peoples and creatures, a beautiful sketch of a dragon, a kraken, and a map of La Longi. Hopefully, the book would yield him a few coins. Jeptha, whoever he was, could eat a rotten otter.