In the morning the warband was visited by their ethereal foes again. Miira took charge of her group again, while the Bane warband manned their usual posts. She adjusted her plans from the night before based on her observations of that battle. And it worked, with the ghost’s morale breaking earlier than the previous attack.
Afterwards, Primus Bayn decided that the cubs should take on one of the smaller tasks of the Bane warband. Grawl were converging on a nearby statue of the human god Balthazar. Although in their usual unintentionally hilarious way, they called him Badazar.
“Pff, really? Badazar? Are they that stupid? Besides, why would you even worship anything?” laughed Malkov.
“I doubt that what the grawl do is actually worshipping. They believe in something though, and that can be a powerful thing.” Miira said.
“Jeez, look who’s acting all grown up. Talking smart.” Sennen mocked her.
“No, she’s right. I once heard of the norn who joined Jormag, the svanir. Jormag gives them his power, because they believe in him.” Torruhk.
“But he’s a damned dragon. Balthazar is not. He doesn’t even exist.” Sennen raised his voice.
“No, the human gods left Tyria, at least that’s what the humans say. I hope we killed them when we took back Ascalon. Maybe we can find some time to join the Bane warband and go to the crypt. The statue of the goddess Dwayna is in there. Maybe her ghost will be as well.” Primus Bayn explained. He’d heard rumors about a non-hostile ghost appearing there. One who resembled the statue.
“Why did their gods leave? And how? Did they die?” Korina shivered at the thought of death. If even gods couldn’t avoid death, how could she?
“That I don’t know, little one. I’d bet if you asked someone from the Durmand Priory, they would know. Maybe you should visit them someday.” Primus Bayn said.
“For now we have to focus on the grawl and their ‘ritual’.” Miira brought them back to the present. “They’re gathering around this statue of Balthazar, god or not, and we have to stop them. Who knows what happens when they complete this ritual.”
Primus Bayn nodded. He was proud of her willingness to lead, but it also put him in second place. He knew that it wasn’t his warband. He would have to leave them soon. But seeing them growing up so fast, he felt sad. He’d never found a mate, so he saw his fahrars as his children. Even though he knew that he would never have spent as much time with his own cub as he did with the fahrars. It was strange. The love he felt for the cubs would never be the same as the love of a parent for their cub.
Primus Bayn looked at Miira as she talked about possible strategies. She questioned everyone about what they knew about the grawl and how they fought. None of them had fought grawl before. The only thing they knew anything about was the area surrounding the statue. They borrowed a map from Marin and made notes on it.
Sennen cut off one side of the valley with fire. Malkov attacked from atop the cliffside, sniping them from above. Korina instilled fear in the grawl. Miira and Torruhk attacked the grawl head on. Only moments after they’d started their assault, the grawl had either fled or were dead. One of the grawl screamed “We’ll be back!” as he skipped away. Malkov had an arrow ready to fire, but Miira stopped him. The grawl’s retreat was all they needed.
The cubs came back to the camp excited. They’d fought new enemies today and won. Sennen, Malkov and Torruhk were making fun of the grawl and their lack of intelligence.
“Tor.” Miira only had to say his name and Torruhk knew what to do. He jumped into a salute and said “Yes, Miss!” before running off.
“Where’s he going?” asked Korina.
“Taking care of dinner.” Miira answered.
Malkov’s eyes opened with surprise. “I want to go too. Maybe I can shoot my own boar.” He grabbed his bow from his shoulder and ran after Torruhk.
“I bet they’ll be fighting to kill the biggest boar.” Korina laughed.
“Boys will be boys.” Giggled Miira.
Sennen lagged behind the rest of the group, the way he usually did . He was in deep thought and didn’t see Korina standing in front of him. He bumped his head against the Quaggan backpack she always carried around with her. “Ouch. What do you keep in that thing? Jeez.”
“Maybe if you just paid attention, you wouldn’t bump into me.” Korina snapped back.
“Aren’t you becoming too old for Quaggan stuff?” Sennen rubbed his snout.
“Why don’t you go play with Miss Hotness instead of bugging me?” Korina cherished her backpack, because it was the last thing her mother had given her. It helped her deal with her anxieties.
Miira let the two fight it out and reported back to Primus Bayn. They evaluated the mission together. At the end Primus Bayn asked “Why did you let the grawl live? Why not let Malkov kill him?”
“Because I don’t kill for sport. The grawl don’t have any idea what they’re doing. Killing something for its lack of intelligence is wrong. If it was the right thing to do, Tyria would be a lot less crowded.” Miira had a serious look in her eyes. She held on to her values firmly, even if others thought her weak because of it.
“Miira, I admire your sense of justice, but sometimes you should show less mercy to your enemies. Not everyone has a good heart and stupidity can be very dangerous. I’m not saying you acted wrong in this case, but think about it. You might be dealing with dragons and dragon minions later. You have to be careful with the calls you make. Sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.” Primus Bayn said, trying to prepare her for the evil that lurked beyond the outskirts of the Black Citadel. The fight against his branded brothers still haunted his dreams regularly.
Miira nodded. He did have a point. But she was certain that she’d made the right choice this time.