Close call


Drums beat the pace as we were getting close to the Konian border. Far in the clouds of Eternal Mountain laid a city of Konia, now in a war with Gratna. Zarian ambassadors tried to debate a peace treaty with the ruler of Konia, but without results. They wanted to end the war before Ildocians get involved. And Ildock responded. We marched for Konia. Out there in the tops covered with mist, snow and ice… The cold awaited us.

Stuck in the plain full of tall boulders peaking from the grass, we gave step in the icy Konian turf where death lurked at every hill side. Landscape appeared abandoned and barren with a few dead trees here and there – rock and white crust over them. An odd chill went through my spine, made my fingers flinch and hot steam flee the lips.

“Aees von suuur!” A command broke the beat of drums and the army have stopped.

Silence stilled our breaths as time passed in waiting. The drums ended their barrage and a flock of crows flew above us.

“A good sign.” I thought. “It is always good to see crows.” I said to myself gazing at the hostile grass around me.

A cavalry detachment broke off from the flanks and dispersed in a weak spacious line. They rode two miles front and back while General estimated the odds of a clash, pulled out the map and gave a command to steer back home.

It felt odd and ecstatic in the same time. I was happy for not going up there, getting my nerves split by the ghosts in the mist… However, the strange feeling pulled me to concern.

“Why leaving now? Is the treaty signed or not? Are we in war, or just taking the positions for the Konian attacks?” I pondered slowly picking up the pace with the army, but I turned my gaze over the shoulder.

Crows were flying in a circle, over-passing the ground like they were hunting. One of those black creatures gawked at me from above the huge rock by my side. The bird had blood oozing from its beak. I saw the movement on the pale hill we declined to take. The mountain and the steep edges behind us shivered with men peeking out, waving their spears as they move.

No arrow was loosened, no blade holstered out, no spear cracked. We were headed home. There will be no war today, yet it might be tomorrow. At least that is what the army was murmuring in the march.

Two days have passed when a friend told us a rumor he overheard from the cavalryman. He made sure we know from what we pulled away few days ago. Out there was a forest once. A luscious crowns of green shadowing the stationed Gratnian army that made their stand. Days before we arrived, Konian catapults flattened the forest and the arrows hurled setting Gratnian army to grass. The plain slowly emerged where platinum grass swallowed the corpses and cold rocks took rule, masking the atrocities.

Looking back at it, I was lucky enough to be alive. Maybe the smartest thing we did is not accepting to fight the Konia under their demands. Still, the command can change, and the Konia can lay a pursuit. Whatever happens, my face shall not see the Eternal Mountain, nor I will fight the Konians.

Dark Army Dronstad


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