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The Helmet of Eagle Talons Part 1
Author's note: Heavily inspired by Lord of the Rings, A Song of Fire and Ice, the Game of Thrones series, the Iliad, and ancient warfare in general.
Once upon a time, there lay a beautiful land that stand between two mighty empires. This land was called Azur. A land that many kings and generals named, "the Key to Supremacy". These statements could not be more truthful. This land lay between two powers and any power that controlled it would have tactical, political, and economic power over the other. Azur was a divided land. Individual realms each controlled by a warlord or some may call a king. Since this land was divided, it had no official army to stop the Western Empire known as Kastik Empire and the Eastern Empire known as the Rez Empire. These two Empires had waged many wars on each other and Azur has always been the center of the conflict. Over 100 years of warfare lead to millions of dead in glorious battle. Azur's warlords had their own armies, but they were dwarfed by the massive power of these two hegemonies. Many warlords chose sides in order to preserve their power, but there were instances were warlords refused to be the center of a war. The hard-headed warlord Hask of Darnia refused to create an alliance with the Kastik Empire. Him and his small band of a few hundred warriors stood up to tens of thousands of Kastik Imperial Legionaries. On the plains of Dawner, they fought the good fight and held off every assault. From that day, Hask maintained his independence. Many followed his example, but none succeeded. Both the Kastik and the Rez made quick examples of anyone who retaliated. There was Farka the Huntress, whose head was put on a spike on the Kastikian capital. But I am not here to lecture about history, I am here to tell you the greatest Legend of the Greatest hero to ever walk mortal ground. He was Ulysses
Night falls upon the town of Dandga and begins to set under the grassy knolls of Proximus Fields. The Yorld Province is the most southern province and was usually used as a forward base of operations for both the Kastik and the Rez. And with the 8th Kastikian-Rezian War in its first few weeks, the Kastikians and the Rezians had both captured parts of Yorld in an attempt to outflank the others armies. Lately, the warlord Proximus had been weary of these constant wars and declared he would remain neutral until provoked. Now, with two massive forces coming from both sides, his forces were in a full retreat and spread thin. But Dandga had remained relatively unaffected by the war. Outside a local tavern, a soldier in the Dandga Town Militia waits for his friends after a long day of training. Many call him Ulysses. A group approaches him with cheers and praises. His friends have arrived.
"All praise our local savior", they bellow jokingly.
"Oh, get your foolish asses in the tavern", Ulysses responds.
They enter the tavern with great enthusiasm. Many drinks later, they find themselves discussing the war and Ulysses volunteering for the militia.
"That damn Proximus is a fool. All he cares about is his power. All the warlords are now concerned since the United Empire Act was agreed upon", said Savo.
Many confused, intoxicated glances fell upon Savo.
"You're all a bunch of drunken fools. Am I the only one here who listens to our temple's announcements? Anyway, the Rezians and Kastikians agreed on a bill that says the Empires can claim any land they want once they have soldiers on it. Basically allows them to forget about dealing with the warlords. Damn disrespectful if you ask me".
"Your damn right it is! Our kingdom was formed on the idea that warlords should always maintain their power if foreigners invade", Asalin responded.
"You know this means that there will finally be a winner in this war", Ulysses added.
Many slurred agreements followed. Now they began to ask Ulysses why he joined the militia. Ulysses’ response was always the same, “I want to be able to protect my daughters and wife when the time comes".
All the sudden, a man burst through the tavern door. He began screaming, "Kastikian Cavalry pillaged caravans traveling on Proxe Trail!"
All patrons began loudly yelling in confusion. Proxe Trail was the main supply route into Dandga, they were officially cut off and had to possibly deal with deadly Kastikian Legionnaire Calvary, the best cavalry in the West. Ulysses quickly rushed out the tavern to report to his unit commander. The commander stood stiffly in front of the town gate. Ulysses saluted and prepared to take his orders.
"Valant Ulysses, at ease. We have the barrack guards on watch, they are somewhat rested and you look too drunk to be the slightest bit capable at unsheathing your weapon. Go home to your family, before I slit your throat for presenting yourself to me as a drunkard. For the love of the Gods, you're an officer, act like it".
"Yes, sir, sorry, sir"
Ulysses stumbled home and was greeted with silence. For it was late, his wife lay in bed and so did the children. He walked over to a rocking chair, slowly slid himself into the creaky chair, and began to doze off.
Ulysses woke to the sound of crackling and screaming. Despite waking up with a painful hangover, he sprung from his chair and sprinted to the basement. When he reached the basement, he slipped on his dark red clothing, then his chain mail, then his helmet with a beautiful black crest, and finally equipped his bow, quiver, and sword. As he made his way back upstairs, he nearly soiled himself, the kitchen and living room was a blaze. None the less, he ran through the flames and busted down his charred door.
No usual blinding sun greeted Ulysses, instead, huge clouds of black smoke. Ulysses coughed and choked on smoke uncontrollably. As he struggled to catch his breath, he was charged by a dark figure. This figure wielded a sword and swung it wildly as he advanced towards Ulysses. All in an instant, Ulysses's training kicked in. He unsheathed his sword, parried his attackers’ first swing, brought his arm back to its original position, and then made a wide arching motion. His sword cut his attackers head in half. Finally, Ulysses managed to stagger out of the smoke with his blood-covered sword. When Ulysses was able to regain his vision, he was stunned beyond belief. Kastikian Legionaries were torching Dandga. Every house, shop, and patch of grass was as bright as the night sky.
He desperately called out his wife's name, “Mary! Mary! Where are you?!"
But his cries were met by five Kastikians Valants. They surrounded him, as they did, Ulysses prepared himself to fight. The first one to attack him was the soldier directly behind him. Ulysses dodged this attack and drove his sword through the soldier's chest. There was no time to recover the sword, so he unsheathed a dagger and surprised a soldier to his right by quickly slitting his throat. He built off of this momentum and quickly killed two other Kastikians. But the last soldier knocked the dagger out of Ulysses's hand. It skidded across the bare dirt of Dandga. With no other weapon, Ulysses pulled an arrow from his quiver in a feeble attempt to defend himself. But the Kastikian snapped his arrow in half, kicked Ulysses in the chest. This blow knocked Ulysses unconscious.
Ulysses awoke slowly and it took him a long time of gathering himself to figure out he was in Dandga Temple. At first sight, the temple seemed nice. It was unharmed by looters or fire. But when Ulysses gazed at the ground, there were puddles of dark red blood. It filled the cracks and gaps of the temple floor and had even begun to gather at his knees. When Ulysses looked upward, he saw a portly, bearded man spinning a knife tip on his index finger looking past Ulysses, at the shrine of Isus. The man noticed Ulysses was awake and greeted him with a smile that reeked of evil. The man did not hesitate to speak with Ulysses.
"I see our trouble maker had awoken from his slumber"
"Who are you?!" demanded Ulysses
"Who am I? I am poverty, I am rape, and I am death. And I could not be more thrilled to meet you. But it is a great displeasure of mine not to know your name"
"My friends call me Ulysses, but you are to call me Valant", Ulysses stated with disgust.
"Very well, Valant. This is, after all, a military matter, so let us keep it formal. You see, Valant, you killed five of my best Valants. And I must say I am very impressed that militiaman such as yourself could do such a thing. So impressed, I'm about to make you an offer" said the bearded man with great enthusiasm.
Ulysses was now getting impatient, "Who are you?!"
"Haven't I already told you? Anyway, I'm prepared to offer you a spot as a Valant in the 12th Kastikian Legion!"
Ulysses's attention had been grabbed. The 12th was the most elite unit in the 1st Kastikian Army. His curiosity led him to ask more, "What is a Legionary such as yourself doing in a helpless town?"
"Very simple, we're here to get slaves or recruits and I am giving you a choice."
"I'd rather die with my family than be absorbed into your army of thief's and murderers!" Ulysses bellowed.
"Then you might wish to turn head to the shrine of Isus", he remarked with a satisfied grin.
Ulysses turned his chained-up body towards the shrine and seen the most unbearable sight of his life. On the shrine, there lay a marble table, on that table was Mary, she was chained to the table. Next to the table, Ulysses two daughters lay tied up.
"It's amazing how foolish women can be, is it not? The second we dragged you in here, she called for you. Now her foolishness will be rightfully punished", said the bearded man.
Ulysses's anger now exploded. He shook his chains and attempted to stand up, but he tired himself out.
"Let them go or so help me, I'll--"
"You'll what? No, you are in no position to order me around. Hasda, please come over here and assist me will you?"
One of the guards walked over to the table and drew his sword. It glistened under the shrine's candlelight. And with one swing, Mary was dead. Her head slowly rolled off the table. A trail of blood followed. Ulysses passed out, his head falling in her blood. His head mixed with parts of hers.
Outside the charred town of Dandga, there is a wide, water-filled trench. This trench has been housing the dead inhabitants of Dandga for two hours. One body stands out among all of them all. He wears Dandga militia armor. No other militiamen have been left here. Their bodies are either stacked up in the town center or recent servants to the Kastikians. This lone body is Ulysses and he awakes face up next to dozens of bodies. He turns his head to the left; there lay his once beautiful wife Mary. He turns to the right; his two decapitated daughters are spread out amongst other townsfolk. Ulysses then looks straight up at the vulture-infested sky and screams. Even the Gods can hear his agony and so can Kastikian Legionaries. A whole unit jogs out of the town towards the trench. Ulysses can hear the fast marching
He quickly preforms a despicable action. He takes the dead body of a vagrant to the bank of the trench and hides under it. Motionless he lies as the Kastikians poke and prod through carcasses. Once they leave, he stands. In front of him, are his dead family, comrades, and memories. Behind him, lay the Thraken Mountain Range, a maze of passes, hills, and caves. Finally, to the East lay an open prairie where the sounds of battle can be heard. They drift in the wind. The clinking of shields and swords can be heard by the dead. Ulysses makes his way towards clinking. He now has only one intention; kill the portly Kastikian warlord. He moves with great haste towards Rezian-controlled territories, praying he can offer his blade there. But before he exits the trench completely, he finds his bow and quiver, his sword, and a helmet that was nt his. This helmet was the definition of beautiful. The helmet itself was hard as steel but it was covered in the softest of feathers and beautiful carvings. The front of the helmet popped out and formed an eagle, and on each chinstrap, eagle talons clutched, and at the top of the helmet there was a beautiful white crest that glimmered even though there was no sunlight. Ulysses placed it on his head and felt a warming sensation surround him. He felt at peace, as though he had the spirit of an eagle. As the green pastures become rare and the dead become frequent. Ulysses realizes his hike's end. Ulysses then begun to hear a voice that came from now earthly man, but from inside the helmet. Do not be alarmed mortal, for you have my blessing. I see the atrocities committed in my temple and I am appalled. The Gods have remained neutral in these wars for too long. It is time we act! But not all the Gods agree. They believe there is no pure warrior that would fight in their name. Prove them wrong Ulysses, smite in my name! For I am Isus! King of Gods, Patron of the Thraken Mountains, and bearer of the Holy Eagle, I command it! Be off mortal and slay in my name. The voice left and a hum soon followed. Ulysses collapsed on his knees and said, “Isus, I thank thee for the gifts of the Gods, but be warned mighty God. When I march to the sound of battle, it will be for my wife who I shall revenge! I do not march as your Holy Warrior or to forcefully convert. Isus, I fight for my wife and children and for the sake of fighting. Be warned King of Gods, I will not hesitate to strike you down with the same weapons you grant me O Lord!” He climbs a grassy knoll for a good while hesitantly, waiting for the Parton of the Thrakens to smite him down, but then he sees a sight as terrifying as the underworld. Below the knoll, there is an open field. Rezians and Kastikians both control half a cornfield and their soldiers are simply charging into one another in the center. Seeing the red banners leads Ulysses to the Rezian main camp. He travels along the sidelines, occasionally dodging arrows. Once at the camp, he jogs towards the general who is staring at maps in a panic.
Ulysses states without warning, "Fair general, I am here to offer you my vassalage!"
He turns and almost shouts, “If you are a drunken fool, then leave this place. For you not know the hells you will enter!"
"On the contrary, I do. I come from Dandga. The 12th Kastikian Legion has burned that now vile place. Good sir, unsheathe me as a weapon and you will witness the full extent of a man's anger on that battlefield"
"You wear the robes of militiaman. What rank do you hold, stranger?"
"Valant be my rank, sir"
"Valant Alexcan was recently killed and his unit is slowly being surrounded. Assist us in winning this patch of grass and you will have my thanks"
"If you think I come forth to fight for this dirt, you are mistaken. Unsheathe me as a weapon, good sir. Isus has blessed my arm this day!"
"Very well, sir, take your blessed arm to my enemies and slay these scoundrels"
Ulysses did not spare anytime. As he charged, he picked up barbed arrows for his lonely bow and charged into the bloody dirt. As Ulysses made haste towards the field, he found himself on a quaint hill in a forest adjacent to the battlefield. He began to step towards the sounds of clattering blades and bashing shields, but then he began to hear muffled whispers. He turned towards the whispers, his bow drawn. As the battle became more distant, the whispers became a conversation. He wandered upon an abandoned temple covered in vines. In front of that temple, 50 Kastikian Elite Legionaries stood in a protective circle around a Kastikian General and a man in a black robe. Ulysses made his way around the tree line where he lay invisible. He made his way on top of the temple where he could hear the two men of importance.
The general stated, "Good Priest, surely the church must have our side. We fight this new war as a crusade to bring the word of Isus to this wretched land!"
The Priest said, "General, the church did have your side. But my associates have reported terrible atrocities committed by your men. Isus cannot support that"
"I assure you, Holy One, no Kastikian has ever slain a citizen"
In that moment, Ulysses became overwhelmed with an uncontrollable rage. His family was slaughtered by Kastikian soldiers in a temple of Isus. In that moment, he stood and spoke.
"You General, Isus teaches us honesty and to punish those who aren't. I believe you and every Kastikian is overdue for theirs." Ulysses drew his bow once again, 3 arrows ready. He released the 3 arrows. They spread out in all directions, killing 3 men. Before they even fell, he sheathed his bow, unsheathed his sword and dropped unto the bare dirt. 47 men now charged Ulysses. It was a glorious spectacle. He parried numerous attacks, countered, and killed all the men besides the general. The trembling leader of men was surrounded by the spilt skulls, torn flesh, and shredded armor of his old minions.
Covered in dirt and blood, the general begged, "Please...don't. I...I never hurt a citizen".
"No, but you serve a corrupt nation that condones it. Therefore, you are guilty of rape and massacre."
Ulysses drew his sword and stepped on the man’s neck. The sword was plunged into his chest with enough power to pierce the other side of the world.
Ulysses turned to the Priest and bowed elegantly. Then he continued to run fast to the sound of clattering swords and bashing shields. Ulysses appeared from the tree line. It only took him a few minutes to find the surrounded Rezian Guards in the cornfield. Ulysses sheathed his weapon and charged with the speed of a messenger. He avoided all Kastikians to compensate for his tardiness. Whatever stalk of sweet corn remained was trampled by his speed. Ulysses pushed through the Kastikians charging the Rezians without killing a man. He finally made it to the Rezian in command and went to him to offer him another sword arm.
"O weary sir! Come hither and listen. For I offer you my sword! Already drenched in blood, it yearns for more! Unleash me gentle sir and see my wrath. Today, Kastikian women shall be widows and children orphans!"
The commander simply nodded and Ulysses was off. He charged into the charging Kastikians with a few band of warriors who would not be called cowards. This band of worn-out men charged valiantly with Ulysses. All wore the traditional Rezian red clothe underneath their scratched and beaten steel armor. This clothe flapped rapidly in the winds that also guided Kastikian barbed arrows. One man who bore numerous dents in his armor and flesh roared. One could easily be fooled a lion was on the field. The screamer did look the part. His long golden hair that acted as his mane draped his armored shoulders. That which followed was a bloody mess. Ranks of Kastikians came upon Ulysses and ranks if Kastikians fell upon Ulysses. Those fools who dared charged him would be blocked, parried, and then killed with an unstoppable thrust. Those would did not charge and were focused with his other warriors, had their throats slit by Ulysses’ dagger. Not an honorable death, but it would suffice for Kastik dogs. By the end of it, no battered Kastikian retreated; they all lie dead upon the bare and blood-soaked cornfield that once sustained men of the prairie. Ulysses drudged back to the commander’s tent, a small limp accompanied him. Once there, he saluted the weary general.
"Fair Valant, you have done me a great service. Almighty Isus was with you this day. Please noble sire, sit and tell me your story"
"Very well, sir."
"You may call me Sir Wolf. I am Sir Wolf of Grafada"
"Well, Sir Wolf of Grafada, I came from Dandga. A peaceful village now burnt to ruins and ruled by drunkards. I was a valant in the militia there because of my military experience in the 7th Great War. Last night I stumbled home drunk and woke up to an inferno. My wife and daughters were killed by a mad Kastikian Cavalry general. I should be dead too, but Isus shall not have it until I kill the thief among thieves"
"What did this man look like?"
"Fat and bearded like a lonely whore"
"I know the man well. Valant, do you know the history between the Rezian and Kastikian rivalry?"
"I, sir, am only in the middle of it, yet I know as much as a beggar"
"You see, Valant, before there was Kastikians and Rezians, there where nasty creatures called Cavias. The Cavia are the worst thing to rule the world. Worse than the dragons, even. In fact, the Cavia enslaved and flew dragons into battle as if they were meager horses. The Cavia is basically a skeleton, but with an intact brain, pieces of flesh still attached, and they are nearly invincible. These nasty buggers ruled over man and forced slavery upon us. Man said enough and revolted in an era known as the Cavia Exodus. They were wiped out to extinction. After that, the leader of the revolt, General Tulok, formed the nation of Rez. After this kingdom was formed, another general named Kastik wanted power, so he became a separatist and formed his own Kingdom, making Azur a buffer zone. That's where the portly man, known as General Jakox, and I met. We were both eager cavalrymen fighting in the First Rezian-Kastikian War. But he then was paid off and joined the Kastikians. Poor, heartless bastard."
"I have always been a fan of history after I got home from the 7th Great War. But I most know more of Jakox. You say you knew him well?"
"Better than my own mother", the General stated with the most serious look a man could possess, a look that tears into the depths of another man’s soul.
"Can you tell me where he went?” asked Ulysses, trying to avoid eye contact with Wolf.
"What unit is he commanding?” the General asked now with a look of boredom.
"The 12th Kastikian Legionaries, the most elite unit the Kastikians have". The unit name alone gave Ulysses images of his wife’s bloody head and horrible assumptions of what happened to his daughters.
Sir Wolf stood up and went to his desk of maps. It only took him a few minutes to say, "So that is the bastard I've been chasing?"
"Excuse me Sir Wolf?"
"You said he lead a raid?"
"Then there's no doubt, he's my target. Valant, we need to control this territory and Jakox's raids are preventing us. I was sent to find his army and destroy it. But I kept running into hordes of Kastikians. My scouts know right where he's heading to wreak more havoc. Valant, I hope you have a coat, because we're going to Wintaron, the Winter Province"
Act II-Marching to Wintaron
On a frosted dirt road, an army of 10,000 men march northward to the province of Wintaron. They are battered and bloodied from days of ad infintium battle. In the center of the column, the leader of the army and a tired valant in blood-soaked armor speak of important matters.
Ulysses started of the conversation, "Sir Wolf, do you believe that Jakox is really in Wintaron?"
"I do, valant, and so do my finest scouts. But let us not talk of that now. I will be killing my oldest and dearest friend for the Empire. I must ponder that. So valant, I think it odd I've marched and fought with you for days yet I do not know your name"
"Ah yes. What a splendid name. You know that is a holy name in the Rezian Empire. You would be greeted by every beggar, whore, and drunk in Riverhead"
"Why is that, sir?"
"Ulysses the Great is revered as a hero among common folk. He led slaves and vagrants to rebel against their corrupt puppet masters in a grand era of change known as the Freedom Age. He made the building blocks for Rezian government. Anyone could be what they wanted, unlike the dictatorships of Kastik. By Isus, I started out as a lonely drunkard and now I command thousands of men."
Before Ulysses could reply, the General asked him one more question, “I heard you mention your service in the 7th Great War. I am truly sorry I did not inquire sooner. Tell me about it. Your Lord commands it.”
Ulysses stared at his horse’s snow-white mane. As he tried to remember what kind of soldier he was and some good war stories for the General, he began to hear swords clashing, men screaming, and blood spurting. He finally exited the battle and said to the General, “Sir, a decade of meade has taken in-important details from me. But I can still tell you a good story.”
The General smiled, “Then be out with it, Valant, before we freeze to death in this godforsaken cold.”
Ulysses now looked forward. Towards the 5,000 tired bannermen. “It was during the Great Siege of Acintosh were I killed my first man”
The General simply nodded and gave Ulysses the history that he already knew and witnessed. How Proximus allied with the Rezian Empire and how he sent his soldiers to deal with the Akars of the Yariu Desert. The fierce desert warriors allied themselves with the Kastikians and were just south of Proximus’s controlled territories in Havenhall. The General had lectured Ulysses on the path to the great city of Acintosh, a bloody trail that Ulysses had already walked, but never fought on.
Ulysses then continued with his story. “I had always remained a reservist. It was nice. I sought no glory for my wife’s sake and I got no glory, even after my first kill. By the time I was called to battle, the walls had been breached after hours of bloody fighting and our commander said he needed all reserves to make one last push. I charged with my brethren of Havenhall. Men would later thump their chests and say what a brave charge it was. It was not brave or anything to remark in song. All around me, inexperienced men cried, s***, and even wounded themselves. I made it to past the broken wall and dead streets with a few hundred of my brethren surrounding me. We charged to the sand-covered castle of Acintosh. There, a few hundred Royal Akar Guard counter-charged us. Their swords so perfectly curved it was awe-inspiring. A big, hefty man came at me wildly. I went under him and sliced his belly open. I had always thought Akars were savages and were made of material lesser than mine. I was wrong. I realized that day all men are equal. I felt so strongly about this in that moment, I bent down on my knees and leaned over the hefty Akarian. All I said to him was “forgive me” and all I did was gather his intestines and shoved them back into his belly all while the battle raged around me.”
The General, his lingering staff, and Ulysses fell silent and continued to march through the valleys of snow for a good two hours. Ulysses eventually broke the silence.
"Sir Wolf, we are on good terms, are we not?"
"Of course, Ulysses. Speak your mind"
"Well, sir. I could see you as a drunk"
A chuckle escaped the general's mouth and bounced off the White Mountains so that every man in the column could hear Wolf's calming bellow.
The general then abruptly stopped his horse and commanded the column stop.
With a concerned face, Ulysses asked, "Sir, what is wrong?"
"I am about to enter the White Valley. A wretched place for an army to march, but it is the only way to kill my friend"
Ulysses had never been in such a position, so he said the one thing that would get the army moving again, "For the Empire. Down with the Separatists. In the dark, our sword's glimmer moves us forward."
"The chant of the Empire." The general looked down at a banner-carrier and his only possession besides armor. He studied the black eagle closely.
He then looked up, "Forward, lads. Into the white hell we march"
Snow-capped mountains and a blistering wind surround and devastate Wolf's army. They march. They have not fought for days. Their blades have stayed sheathed for so long, many are frozen in such a position. Yet the column moves forward without question. After weeks without fighting a single battle, many men crave violence. It keeps them warm. As they march, a flicker appears. An inn lives in the hollow place. Wolf and Ulysses make haste to the inn to scout the area for Kastikians. When they reach the base of the stairs that lead to a tavern, they hear cheers and bellowing. Wolf and Ulysses began to tread up the icy stairs. When they reach the tavern door, Wolf signals for Ulysses to kick down the door.
He obeys his frosted commander. When Ulysses kicks the door open, a burst of hot wind from newly sparked fires escapes. Ulysses makes a pleasured sigh. But when he looks closely into the tavern, he makes out 3 shadowy figures. All bear Kastikian blue. Ulysses first draws his bow, pulls back the string. The arrow is ready. He releases and knocks the first blue-bearer out if his seat and on the unforgiving tavern floor. The other two quickly pick up their weapons and charge Ulysses in a drunken haste. Ulysses unsheathes his sword and braces for the first enemy's' charge. The drunken soldier does not see the steel and the newly polished sword is again bathed in enemy blood. Ulysses pulls the sword out of the dead man’s chest quickly and then dodges the other man's first three un-coordinated swipes. Ulysses uses his amazing footwork to pivot behind the man. Ulysses grabs the blue-bearer's mouth and slits the meade guzzling throat.
"Come in my Lord. The drunken occupiers lay dead upon this vomit strewn floor". Ulysses then looks to the bar wench who owns the establishment. He then says sweetly, “No offense my Lady”
Before the barkeep was able to respond, the tavern was filled with thawing warriors who desired nothing but liquor, bread, and warmth. 50 soldiers came in at a time and wasted their pay on all pleasures affordable and in reach. The only 2 who never left were Ulysses and Wolf. Both drank their fill and then some. Wolf then began to vigorously tap Ulysses’ shoulder as he shared vile war stories and jokes with the golden-haired lad who assisted him in the cornfield battle. His birth name was Vim, but he insisted that his companions call him the Lion. As Ulysses’ could no longer pretend to not notice the drunken general’s taps, he turned his head to Wolf’s. A giddy face welcomed him. Wolf then spoke, his words slurred, “Ulysses, look past my neck and you will reward me with all of Azur’s riches.” Ulysses looks past the general’s neck. It was now out of focus and the wall came into focus. At first, Ulysses’ drunken vision deceived him and he saw only a wooden wall, but his intoxicated eyes began to settle and what he saw shook every bone in his body, made his heart beat erratically, and turned his face numb from smiling. A gorgeous woman leaned on the wall. One hand was to her side, while the other was occupied with a cup of ale. Ulysses left that rotten table to venture to the sweetest wall. But it was not easy; apparently his eyes were not the only thing affected by a few cups of strong Gakan meade. He found solace and relaxation in leaning against the wall next to the nameless woman. When he turned his head towards her, her chest was not the first thing he noticed, but her armor. It was made of feathers and what appeared to be reptilian scales. It looked as though it was light, which is good armor for moving quietly. On the left side of waist, there was a sheathed dagger made of Akarian steel. The dagger was slightly curved and from what Ulysses knew of Akarian steel, it must have been light. Ulysses could not see what other weapon she had sheathed. He tried, but eventually gave up. That’s when his attention was brought to the woman’s chest. Mental compliments were given to her breasts as well as a silver necklace that bore a dragon, after that; he moved his attention to her face. Ulysses almost blacked out there when he looked upon this woman’s face. He had definitely pissed himself, but he did not care. Her hair was as brown as the trees in the Thraken forest and her eyes were so blue, he was almost certain he could swim in them. Ulysses then began to open his mouth, “Hello”.
The woman looked at Ulysses. She smiled and replied, “Hello”
This reply made Ulysses smile. “What happens to be your name?”
To be continued in Part Two...