Miira walked through the asura gate into the Black Citadel. She’d been visiting more frequently lately and the gate operator nodded to her in recognition. Most people had heard of her vanquishing Zhaitan and of her friendship with Destiny’s Edge. The charr in the Black Citadel needed hope in order to face new and unfamiliar threats. She felt that she had to live up to her name, Lightbringer. Most charr were happy to see her walking about in the city. It meant things weren’t as dire now.
Throughout her adventures she’d made new friends and she visited most of them when she was in town. But she always went to Torruhk first. She was excited to see him today. Things were still dire and they didn’t have a plan yet to fight Scarlet’s army, but today felt like a good day. She was only a day away from the battlefield and she was confident that the lines would hold out until she’d get back. Later that afternoon she’d have people to see and errands to run, but breakfast came first. She’d left Lion’s Arch early because she craved blueberry pancakes. In the field they’d usually eat whatever they could catch. To eat something sweet was a luxury.
The white furred charr entered the inn. The usual patrons waved, shouted and even whistled. Torruhk turned around behind the bar and grinned.
“Well, Ma’am. What can I do for you?” He said as she sat down.
“Blueberry pancakes. And a hot cocoa. I need something sweet.” She said.
“Gotcha.” He walked into the pantry to get all the ingredients and started cooking. His limp looked worse today.
Miira made some small talk and shared the latest news from Lion’s Arch with the patrons. These charr hadn’t left the capital for ages, but were curious about the modern world. When Scarlet first started causing trouble, they’d ask Miira to tell stories of her battles.
“Breakfast is served.” Torruhk shouted. The patrons took that as their cue to leave Miira and Torruhk alone.
“So, how’ve you been?” he asked. He leaned on the counter so that he’d be on eye level with her.
“Oh, you know…” she sighed and looked down at the pancakes, slicing off a bite.
“No, I don’t. I have no idea who or what you’re facing. I worry about you. I know I shouldn’t, but I do. Can’t help it.” The look in his eyes pierced through her skull. She could feel his agitation. He was right. Scarlet’s attacks were some of the worst she’d seen. She’d lost many of her friends, because of the Molten Alliance. The fire legion had worked together with the dredge and created something horrible. They’d even come close to the Black Citadel and it had been up to Miira and her friends to stop the threat. That had been when stories had started to spread and Torruhk started to worry.
“I’m sorry. You know how the battlefield can be. I don’t like saying it, and maybe it isn’t entirely true, but it does feel like war. The Toxic Alliance, the aether pirates. Scarlet’s army is united, we’re not. Rox is here as well. We’re talking with the higher-ups later.” Miira explained.
“That I’m unscathed is mostly due to the warband working together. Of course only Rox and I see it as a warband, but we all know we share a bond.” She felt a moment of pride talking about her friends. Torruhk looked confused.
“I’ll never feel that strong a bond with humans. Nor the asura, pesky little ones. I still value what we had, our group, before it fell apart.” Torruhk said with a pang of nostalgia in his voice.
“Tor, what we had, nothing beats that. But these people are my friends and I know that they have my back. I know they would do anything for me and I for them. I can trust them. That’s what a warband is. A family away from home.” Miira’s voice softened as she spoke. She took a sip of the hot cocoa and felt the warmth spread through her body. A smile appeared on her face.
Torruhk looked at her while she enjoyed his cooking. The frown disappeared from his face. “I can’t help but soften up when you smile like that. I’m glad that smile hasn’t disappeared.” He said with a grin.
“I know you’re worried and I’d give anything to have you on the battlefield with me. But it’s not a good idea. Your training was years ago and your injury makes you a liability. I don’t want to risk it. Especially because it’s you.” Miira explained.
“I could defend.”
“No, you couldn’t. You want to be at the front line, preferably in enemy camp. If I take you, even as a defender, you’ll be out there. That’s just who you are.”
“I hate it that you know me so well, Mi. I also feel flattered. You’re the most confusing woman I’ve met. Besides my mom. ”
“You’ve seen her lately?”
“Nah, she used to come for pancakes once a month. But she turned in a bitter old cat. Says I’m not worthy, that my father would be ashamed to find out that I was a cook instead of having died in battle.”
Miira shook her head. “That’s sad. Please don’t let her get you down. You’re the best damn cook there is in all of Ascalon and beyond. She should be proud.”
“I have to go. They’re expecting me.” She said while she got up. She didn’t want to go. Leaving Torruhk became harder every time. But it was her duty. She couldn’t abandon Tyria. This meeting was vital for uniting the powers of the charr with the others.
“Take care, Lightbringer. I hope to see you again soon.” Torruhk’s eyes betrayed his sadness. He gave her a bag with lunch. He always made sure she had enough. That was his way of taking care of her. There was nothing more he could do.
Miira paid and left the inn. She knew Torruhk didn’t want her money, but she insisted. She had earned it and it was no good to keep all the money for herself. Especially in times like these, money needed to change hands. That’s the only way other people could make a profit.
She headed to the crafting area to find the master blacksmith. Her enemies were getting stronger and she needed better armor to defend herself with. The master blacksmith would help her out. She didn’t know which materials to use, although she had plenty of everything.
When she reached the blacksmith, she asked for the recipes and handed over the gold. It was expensive though. But it was worth it. It wasn’t perfect. Attacks could still injure her, but it would be more difficult to land a lethal blow.
A few hours later Miira finished her armor and walked over to the vault to stash her old armor. She might need it in the future. She found a bench close to the vault to eat her lunch. She opened the bag and the smell of raspberry cookies found its way to her nose. Beneath the cookies were a few cinnamon buns and wraps made with grilled moa. Her new armor would soon be too small if she ate it all. She saved the cookies for the journey back to camp. Maybe she’d share them with her friends.
Miira finished her lunch and headed for the gladium quarter. The armies needed more power on the battlefront. Maybe some of the gladium could be persuaded to fight with them and regain some of their honor. Anyone was welcome to join, as long as they weren’t a liability. Even when they couldn’t fight, they could help out strengthening the fortifications or sorting out the facilities and logistics. Charr engineering and knowledge was needed. She hoped that some of them were willing to work together with asuran scientists to fuse their technologies. That might be their only hope against their new enemies.
Scarlet’s armies had spread throughout Tyria and they needed legions in the more remote locations. Their troops couldn’t react fast enough to reach new places under threat whenever Scarlet changed strategies. Miira did see a pattern. All recent attacks were getting closer to the cities, including Lion’s Arch. She feared the worst would come sooner than they could prepare for. At least she had her new armor to back her up.
A long afternoon passed. Miira had recruited a few more soldiers and proposed that they would form a warband. Afterwards she returned to Lion’s Arch for another meeting. On her way to the lionguard headquarters, she opened her backpack and took one of the cookies. Just as she bit down on it, she felt the earth tremble…