“Torruhk, wait for me. You shouldn’t do that.” The white cub chased her red-furred friend. He was using his sword and axe on an unsuspecting drake.
“Pah, he’s no match for me. I’ve killed a dozen before. Their meat is delicious if prepared well.” He said without stopping his attack.
Miira joined him and used her staff to make sure the drake would be dead before it could hurt her friend. The drake was already lashing out at Torruhk with its tail and tried to spray her with acid.
She noticed scratches on her friend’s side. She focused her energy into healing him and stopping the bleeding.
“Thanks, but I didn’t really need it.” Torruhk said.
“Idiot, you don’t even see what’s going on around you. That’s why our missions fail. You don’t listen and strategy isn’t even in your vocabulary.”Miira said as she punched his shoulder.
“That’s why I have you,” he stepped back from the drake and winked at her. “He jumped on the drake and stabbed his sword through its head.” Tonight we’re having drake barbeque. Let’s get this meat to the camp.”
“You should take care of your weapons. The blade of your sword isn’t sharp anymore. You could’ve killed it faster.” Miira said as she picked up the drake’s tail.
Torruhk picked up its head and threw it over his back so that he carried most of the body on his back and the front legs hung down over his shoulder. He would’ve started running back to camp if it hadn’t been for Miira tugging his tail to slow down. It’s something they had agreed on years ago. Torruhk was always in front of Miira. If she wanted something she would tug his tail, gently. He now knew what Miira wanted most of the time when she tugged. They were almost in sync.
Even within their warband, they were closer together than the others. Miira always felt it necessary to help out when someone was in trouble. Torruhk was said to have a gift for finding trouble. The other three minded their own business. They took care of themselves first, before looking at others. Miira didn’t think they were bad charr because of that. It was part of their culture to be able to save yourself first. Charr were eager, but should know their limits. Pride and arrogance can cost more than one life in war.
That’s what Miira told Torruhk daily, but he didn’t listen. One day he said, ‘If you’re so afraid of me dying, then you stop that threat.’ Miira did her best not to lose sight of him when they were outside of town. She often failed, but then the sounds of screaming, often of an enemy, would guide her to her friend.
They arrived at camp with the drake corpse. The others cheered at the sight, ready to prepare a feast.
“Torruhk, you’re the best!” said Malkov. “Other fahrars are jealous of our dinners. I know, I saw them looking.” His dark brown fur with ginger spots gave him enough camouflage as a ranger to successfully snipe enemies, but he never volunteered to kill an animal for dinner. The young charr took out his dagger to start skinning the drake. He saved some of the drake scales for decorating his armor later.
Sennen worked his expertise at the fire to roast the drake meat. “Sennen, stop it. You’re going to burn the whole camp down!” screamed Korina. She immediately started throwing sand towards the fire that was trying to expand to their tents.
Sennen looked up and shrugged. “What? I can’t help it fire likes me. When I call her, she grows to the size of her love for me. And don’t you love me more than the world?” he said casually.
“Freak.” Whispered Korina. “So stop calling her. And fire isn’t your lady, so stop treating it like your mate. You’re going to make the Searing look like something minor when you set all of Ascalon on fire.”
She was fed up with him. During their training, he’d set the training dummies ablaze and a few hours later, he’d sent up fireballs into the air. Korina wasn’t afraid of the fire itself, but of what it could do. Even as a necromancer, she didn’t like death. The permanence was terrifying. That’s why she wanted to mend whatever death could do. Animating the dead and restoring life made her fear death less. This mastery also gave her the opportunity to make death come quicker to the ones that deserved it.
“Primus Bayn!” Torruhk greeted their educator with a grin.
“Torruhk, I see you outdid yourself again. I must say, in all my years of training cubs, I’ve never eaten as well as when I started to train you cubs. I’m proud of you.” Bayn Razorclaw sat down next to the fire and started roasting a piece of drake leg.
Dinner passed without anything or anyone set on fire. There was still enough of the drake left for a good breakfast. Korina volunteered to look for moa eggs to go with drake bacon and Miira would gather herbs for seasoning. The others would pack up camp so they would be ready to leave. The primus would take them further into Ascalon for more challenging enemies.
“I think you’re almost ready for the final mission. The one that will earn the warband its name. I can’t tell you anything about the mission itself yet, but it’s going to be an exciting one. It’s the best one I’ve planned in years. But first I want to give you all some time to prepare. That’s why we’re heading to Agnos Gorge. You might even see your first ascalonian ghost.” Bayn grinned with excitement.
He had high hopes for these cubs. They were the best group he had seen in years. They displayed impeccable teamwork and strong individual skills. The only downside was their personalities. All five of them had strong personalities that often clashed. If they didn’t overcome that problem, their pride, they would fail the mission. Another year as an unnamed warband would be just as bad as being gladium.
They could earn their name and the honour of best warband of their year. This mission could make or break them. He needed them to finish this. To show everyone he wasn’t too old. As long as he could be a primus, he wouldn’t be a scrapper. He’d received a warning to control these cubs before they hurt someone. They thought he was inadequate, too old. His last group didn’t do well. They said it was his last chance. If these kids succeeded, he might still be given the honour to die in battle.
Bayn did his best to hide his insecurities, but Miira picked up on them. She saw concern in his eyes, but didn’t know why. Miira didn’t ask about it. It wouldn’t be wise with everyone around. She would ask him when they were alone. One mistake in the final mission could mean the end of her warband and she wanted to protect all of them. She had to know what was on Bayn’s mind.