Chapter I: In The Mountains Of Carrana Oct 18, 2017 20:40:51 GMT
Post by ashenmoon on Oct 18, 2017 20:40:51 GMT
This is the common thread for the Carrana battle. There will be faction-specific threads created for updates. After 3 turns, I will copy the contents of the faction-threads into this thread, so that everything can be enjoyed in context. You can post intros here, too.
turn 0: day 1, noon
turn 0: day 1, noon
A WIND ROSE up the mountains of Carrana.
It came from the southwest, hot and heavy. It crashed into the high valleys, sending a hundred reaching fingers up the rocky slopes, across snow yet glistening on the high peaks. The noise and din of marble quarries far below wafted to the ears of two long-bearded mountain-men, tending a flock of goats above the scraggly treeline.
Slowly, they squinted into the sun. It faded behind an ochre miasma blanketing the heavens.
Heavy, desultory raindrops splashed against their foreheads.
“Red,” said one of them, gazing into his palm after wiping his brow.
“Like blood,” agreed the other.
Marconi Escula had a little over two weeks left of his military career. Polano Rovere had barely served even that. Both agreed that they had spent too much time guarding the Vanozza Fastness.
“Stairs. If I have to climb one more set of stairs today…”
“Stairs are nothing. Try long patrol. Try sleeping on rocks for two weeks, out there in the badlands with nothing but your blanket and pistol between you and the Apano. Or Wiche. Or Payee. Spirit-worshiping savages…”
They fell quiet while they gingerly navigated past a crumbled section of the wall they were patrolling. Somewhere far ahead, Vanozza nestled in a valley: the walls extended across the entire mountain range. What remained of the walls, anyway.
“You’d think they’d sic the Inquisitors on the tribes, rid us of the pests,” Marconi continued. “But oh no, it’s the Inner Crusade instead. Purge your own house before cleaning up your neighbour’s mess, I guess.”
Polano spun around.
“Quiet, you! What if someone heard?”
Marconi glanced at the young man, then gestured indistinctly towards their surroundings. An endless landscape of dry, brown hills, broken rock and crazed angles extended to the horizon to either side.
“Who would ever come out here?”
Everything belongs in its proper place. Even if all seems to be desolation or chaos. Especially then.
It was not that spirits were superior to people. Every Malverean knew he was on equal metaphysical standing with every other living creature. The only true virtue is to be true to the position which you are assigned. If you are born a slave, you remain a slave.
A lot of Malvereans were slaves, General Boriates Douvanes reflected as he watched the dusty slave-legions rattle by. Or there simply were a lot of slaves in the world, of one kind or another.
“It is settled, then,” the Mark concluded. A giant hawk’s head peered down at Boriates from atop tall, lean, black, jewelry-encrusted shoulders. The seraph cocked its head, just so.
“My lord,” Boriates began again, summoning his patience. “We have been on the road for over a month. I understand the Hunter wishes to keep his plans safe. If Republican terrorists can reach into the depths of the Imperial Palace, all are suspect. But, surely you see - we can serve our lord better, if we knew his plans? The entire second and fourth Republican armies are lodged south of Arrento. Their fleet is yet in Miledi. Sabria lies as a virgin to the north: all these targets, my lord, are within our grasp once we are past the mountains.”
Silence stretched. Boriates’ horse struggled up the rough road winding into the mountains.
“My lord, where are we going-”
“It is not yet time,” the Mark replied. “Besides, it does not matter. We have arrived.”
Up ahead, a sprawl of fortifications stretched across their path. The long-awaited first stop on a journey just begun, its destination unknown.
Boriates took a deep breath.