The army have stopped at the border with Talia, where we elected the unit commanders, and the Caldron Master ordered that the half of our rations need to be held back as a reserve. From now on, the army would get only one hot meal and eat whatever we found in the fields.
The chain of command was reinstituted, the scouts were sent to look for the roaming enemy parties, the leather belts were tightened and then we entered the domain of Talia. Our leader wasn’t interested to be courted while enemy grasped better position in the Kingdom of Talia so we begun our march toward the Gorgoth borders.
After a few more weeks, the tension raised along with the number of scouts that started returning more frequently. I was elected to be a holy sword bearer and changed shifts with another guy, so one of us was awake all of the time. Whatever happened, one of us needed to be around our leader in case there is a clash.
On one morning, the scouts returned with a message that confused our leader. Even he himself saw what is going on in the realm of Talia, but he subscribed that to the incompetence of Talian Lords. But now, he witnessed the sour truth. No peasant was mobilized to fend their motherland, no food was stockpiled to withstand the war climate, no Talian held a weapon, only grudge for the Gorgothians.
Nanur was summoned to the King’s tent for a brief chat. He gapped the cloth and strided in with pride, his chin high and robes covered with gold, a royal sigil on his chest. Our leader had worried expression on his face. He held his hands to the back and made circles, absently looking at his feet. He cleared his throat and looked at Nanur.
“You’ve hired us to defend your county, yet no Talian appeared to provide us aid. What sort of a man doesn’t want to protect himself? They plow the fields, praise the bountiful harvest, yet they despise the Gorgot. Why is that?” The leader asked and stopped to hear the answer.
“You’ve agreed to push the invaders out of our land. That is your job.” Nanur replied, almost breaking a giggle.
“Gorgothians are a mountain tribes, people that adore forests, bathe in the cold creeks of their lands. They are not a war like crowd. Why did they migrated here?” The leader insisted on getting an answer, but Nanur addressed him with a smirk and a nod.
“I would like to remind you of your oath Kalatrian. You could lose face if your break your word. The problem is rather simple. Expel the Gorgothians out of the realm of Talia and receive a payment. Anything more than that, you could bring a shame to the Kalatrians, never to be cleansed again.” Nanur said, now aggravated with this conversation.
“Don’t you lecture me about losing face Talian. You depend on your fortune, your might and luck. We searched for Gorgothian warrior, and instead of a soldier, we’ve captured a woman, terribly ill and weak. She told us why did they abandoned their mounds in the mountain. Your resources are running low and that is unacceptable to the standards of Talian Lords. Gorgothians didn’t wanted to leave their forests, and let you cut them down for your riches, so you plagued their lands by throwing infected carcases on the cliffs of Grothdar, poured poison in their creeks, fed bears with human flesh, making them run in frenzy, killing the villagers.” The King ran up to Nanur’s face, shouting.
“You gave an oath to me! You’ve swore to defend us!” Nanur shouted.
“I gave an oath to all that I will protect the weak. I will not defile my army by killing Gorgothian women and children, Talian!” The Kind added and turned away. “The war is off. No bad blood was spilled and my oath is invalid without blood touching the sacred ground of war.” He said half-quiet and was about to step away, when Nanur yelled.
“Then be damned for breaking your word! Among Talians, you will be known a faceless man!” The words stroke our King into anger, but he took a minute to calm down.
With a swift move of his hand, he grasped the holy swords, pulled it out in a circle and slit the Nanur’s throat. The head fell and rolled out from the tent, where blood splattered against the ground.
“I proclaim the war against Talia! They are out of luck now! For the glory of our Goddess, for the blood oath, for the vengeance of the fallen, for the darkness that will consume us all, for Kalasia, to war!” The King growled pointing the sword at the top of his tent, letting the Nanur’s blood to slide down the blade to the pommel.
And some faceless stories.