Billtog! I challenge you... to a game of chess! That was just unexpected enough to be funny. Male rivalry is always a good thing to laugh at. We must prove ourselves dominant, no? I can see that you appear to be putting forth effort to get more done per chapter, yet have it still remain as detailed and enterttaining as ever. Anyway, thanks for providing an hour or so of reading and several aching days and hours awaiting the next chapter to come out. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Okay, truth time. I've been spending nearly every waking moment of my day playing Morrowind.
Here's the next chapter. Deathclaw767, thank you very much. I've been trying to add more depth to the story and characters, and definitely to add some more subtle humor. I'm glad someone noticed. I also really like the sculpt of Runa, and wasn't too pleased with her card (it's not terrible, she's just not the kind of warrior she looks like she should be), so I pretty much made up my own since she's such an under-appreciated figure. The same goes for Hatamoto Taro, though I'm still not sure if I'll add him (he was in this chapter originally, but I replaced him with Hajime).
__“I wish you luck, Sir Kaidara, though it is certain you will not win.”
__“We will see, Syvarris.”
__“When I win, I will take the lady Kitsuru for myself.”
__“Can I compete?” asked Kitsuru.
__“I don’t see why not,” answered Kaidara.
__“If you win, my lady, I shall shower you with love,” added Syvarris.
__“Actually, if I win, you’re not allowed to say anything for a week.”
__“I quite like that,” mused Kaidara.
__“You humans have a strange way of showing your love, but I accept, my lady.”
__Kaidara leaned over and whispered in her ear, “When our shift is almost up, let me know what your score is so I can let you win.”
__Kitsuru whispered back, careful not to let the elf hear, “I’m just going to lie about my score.”
__“Cunning. That’s why you’re the only one for me.” Kaidara kissed his love on the cheek. Kitsuru’s tough demeanor was broken by this act. She blushed and smiled sheepishly, consequently letting her defenses down. The two Earth warriors looked ahead to see an arrow flying straight toward Kitsuru’s head, but it was destroyed in mid-air by another arrow. Kaidara and Kitsuru looked over for the source of the arrow, their faces clearly showing shock.
__Syvarris, his typical arrogant expression amplified, simply nodded.
__“You don’t get any points for that,” said Kaidara.
__“Saving the lady’s life is worth all the points in the world, Sir Kaidara.”
__Kitsuru let fly three arrows in quick succession without removing her eyes from Syvarris. After a brief moment, she turned her head to confirm her kills. “Thirty points.”
__The elf strung and fired four arrows simultaneously. Without even looking, he said, “Forty points,” then winked slyly at Kitsuru.
__Kaemon Awa was fighting alongside the ground troops while his Imperium rested. His brother-in-law, Akimura Hajime, had arrived with the ashigaru, and Kaemon wanted a chance to speak with him.
__“I don’t think Rei will be happy to see you’ve grown wings, Awa,” he said in between sweeps of his naginata.
__“I’m sure she’ll be plenty pleased to see I’m not dead. The wings are another matter,” said Kaemon heartily.
__“But do you really think they can find a way to send us back? And do you think Einar can send you back now that you’re a kyrie…” Hajime trailed off, seeing the pained look on Kaemon’s face. “Sorry, I-“
__“Don’t worry about it. Worry instead, about that group of deathstalkers approaching.”
__“That’s what I like about you, Awa, always being practical.” And always worrying about everyone’s problems but your own, Hajime added silently.
__As the soulborgs came to engage Kaemon and Hajime, three arrows struck each one in succession.
__“Those are mine! I hit them first!”
__“Your human eyes deceive you, Kaidara, those points clearly belong to me.”
__Two Utgar kyrie plummeted to the ground, an arrow in both of their heads. “Well those points are mine.”
__“Ah, but three deathstalkers still count more than two kyrie.”
__“Friends of yours, Awa?” asked Hajime.
__“Those three are quite the company when they’re together.”
__“Quite efficient at killing the enemy.”
__“Yes, but once they run out of enemies to kill, they’ll turn on each other.”
__“Then we’d better hope Utgar sends his kyrie army sooner than we’d expected,” Hajime said dryly. In his moment of distraction, Hajime’s defenses were not ready for what came next. An icar –a small, wingless dragon- raked its claws down Hajime’s chest. His armor was ripped off and he only suffered shallow cuts, but he was thrown to the ground by force of it.
__“Twenty points!” declared Kaidara. An arrow sank into the icar’s eye, and it fell over dead.
__“That is not twenty points!”
__“It’s worth twenty, now both of you stop talking,” commanded Kitsuru. Both men listened.
__“I, for one, am glad they’re on our side,” said Hajime as a horde of the icars approached. “Twenty points each, now start shooting!” he yelled.
__Arrows rained down from the towers. Many icars fell, but there were too many. They reached the front line and began melee combat. The archers had to pick their shots carefully. Despite their best efforts, Kaemon, Hajime, and the group of samurai were pushed back.
__“I don’t get it. If they’re receiving a plethora of kyrie in a few days, why send so many of these guys in now?” asked Hajime.
__“Because this is just a fraction of their numbers,” answered Kaemon.
__The warriors were pushed back again and again. Many fell, but the icars fell in greater numbers. The dragons forced their enemies backwards until they literally had their backs against the towers.
__“Don’t let them into the camps!” yelled Kaemon.
__“What is it, Sir Kaidara? Are you trying to distract me?”
__“You lose a thousand points if you hit me.”
__Kaidara threw down his bow and drew his sword.
__“Kaidara, don’t!” Kitsuru was too late. Kaidara leaped off the tower and into the fray. Feeding of the demonic energies of Kaimera, the fierce samurai slashed maniacally through the enemy troops, not concerning himself in the least with defense. Syvarris and Kitsuru had his defense under control.
__“He’s going to beat us at this rate,” cursed Syvarris.
__“He’s going to die at this rate,” cursed Kitsuru.
__“I can’t fire my arrows fast enough to keep up!”
__“I can’t fire them fast enough to protect him…”
__Kaidara’s frenzied valor earned him a stab in his stomach. The sturdy warrior fell to the ground, dropping his katana and losing his bloodlust with it. “Kaidara,” he heard Kitsuru voice in his head. “I won’t let Kaidara die!” As an icar loomed over the samurai, prepared to give the killing blow, its raised claw exploded in a mess of blood and chunks of bone. “You will not hurt Kaidara.” Its legs all broke at the knee; its neck snapped. Three more icars stalked in to Kaidara, still on the ground. As they all began to struck, they were all sliced up by some psychic force. “Kaidara…” Kaidara felt odd. He looked at his hand to see it was fading away. His whole body was turning into dust, and the dust was reassembling into his body back on top of the tower. “I will not let you die.”
__Kaidara now lay on the floor of the wooden tower, still bleeding profusely from the gaping wound in his torso. He felt the pain being sucked away and the wound closing. Once it was completely gone, he rose quickly to his feet, about to thank Kitsuru, only to find that she had not healed the wound, only transferred it to herself.
__“Push them back, now!” commanded Kaemon Awa. With the icars’ numbers torn to shreds, the forces of good were easily able to push them back, slaying every last one of them.
__“My lady! Kaidara, what have you done to her?”
__“I… I don’t know.” Kaidara fell to his knees and held his beloved. “Go get a healer. NOW!” Syvarris ran off with all haste, leaving the battle to the foot soldiers.
__“She’ll be fine in a day or two,” said Kelda, several hours after the battle with the icars. “I don’t know where she got those powers, but it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. She seems to have some telekinetic link to Kaidara’s life force and anything that threatens it. Perhaps you should speak to Gattstyn about it.”
__“I will,” said Kaidara. Kelda left to go attend to other wounded soldiers. Kaidara brushed the face of his unconscious lover with his hand. “Why did you do that? You could have died.”
__“No one will ever take Kaidara way from me,” the voice in his head said.
Ooooh. Icars. Is there a much better way to describe them than small, wingless dragons? I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of discription. I also have one question. Though I've not quite been thinking or remembering entirely correctly for about a week or so (cause unknown), I don't recall reading about this 'Rei' Hajime spoke of. Has this person been mentioned earier and I just forgot, or will his/her personage be explained in the next chapter? Though there is slightly less actual battle detail in here, that is to be expected. Constant gore-fests get redundant after a while. One last thing. As I was reading the part when Kaidara and Syvarris were arguing over the points of an Icar, I could see Gimli in Lord of the Rings saying, "That still only counts as one!" All in all, this was another exciting chapter that I am sure all your readers, including myself, thank you for.
Oh, I see. Now it's all starting to make more sense. Thanks for filling in the gaps. I haven't seen Underworld: Evolution, but I can look up some pictures. Anyway, thanks for clearing those few things up for me.
__When one of his scouts reported a disturbance up ahead, Vinelle had decided to send his entire force ahead of the giants to make sure whatever the disturbance was would not be a problem.
__“I feel as though I should know you. You seem a worthy adversary.”
__“I am called Night Stag. Ninja, spy, warrior, and servant of Lord Utgar. Who might you be?”
__“Vinelle is my name, elf ranger trained in the arts of ninjutsu. I serve both Lord Einar and Lord Ullar.”
__“All of your companions are dead.”
__“But so are yours. So much for your ambush. The giants will march on.”
__“We are not so arrogant as to send out a handful of ninja to eliminate a large force of giants.”
__“Then you’re just going for a stroll in the forest?”
__“Or you’re the first wave of an ambush.”
__“That’s more likely.”
__“Hypothetically, would these plans be foiled, assuming they may have existed?”
__“If the plan were to completely obliterate the giants, yes. But I think that if there were a separate force to back up mine, they might cripple your giants a bit. This is all hypothetical, of course.”
__“Of course. So… should we fight or not?”
__“That is a good question. While I certainly can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t, I can’t think of one why we should either.”
__“It would be fun, at least.”
__“Perhaps,” said Night Stag as he pulled off his forest cloak. Vinelle did the same.
__“I hardly feel it would be appropriate if we both just walked off. That would be rude.”
__“You have a point, elf. I believe we shall fight.” Night Stag’s movements were sudden. Faster than Vinelle could blink, the Utgar warrior had a sword at his throat. Luckily, Vinelle had a sword at his opponent’s throat as well.
__“I see this won’t be a quick battle.”
__“This is Valhalla, after all.”
__Both warriors stepped back slowly, then quickly struck again, their swords colliding in a fury of sound. Branches fell where they got in the way. Birds scattered, fleeing the trees and making further noise. They both fought equally, but Vinelle had the element of surprise. When the two separated, Night Stag was faced with a series of pursuing attacks orchestrated from afar. Vinelle’s chained swords struck out at him, always taking a different path, always a different class of attack. However, at this range, Vinelle could only use one of his swords, so Night Stag only need one as well. He carefully sheathed one blade, and inconspicuously withdrew three kunai from the holster on his right shoulder. When Vinelle’s next attack came in, Night Stag stepped past it and slid his sword inside the links of the chain, preventing the elf from further attacks. At the same time he threw each projectile in quick succession. The first went for his head, the next for his left arm, and the third was aimed at his throat. Vinelle recognized this attack pattern and knew he wouldn’t be able to avoid all three. He opted to take the hit in his arm. Night Stag embedded his sword in a tree, securing Vinelle’s weapon entirely, then charged while drawing his other blade. More to buy time than attack, the elf hurled his kodachi at the advancing foe, giving him a chance to extract his blow gun and darts. He jumped diagonally backwards, firing two poisonous darts and hoping he landed on the branch he was aiming for. The Utgar ninja held up his sword to deflect the darts, and threw a hatchet. Vinelle was surprised at the ninja’s ability to conceal so many weapons, but not so much at his aim. The hatchet missed him completely. Vinelle was a bit confused, but decided to take what he could get. He prepared to land on the branch only to find it wasn’t there. His back slammed against the trunk of the tree. Night Stag was there, thrusting his sword at Vinelle’s heart. Vinelle had dropped his blow gun on impact, but managed to draw his knife. He dug it into the tree and heaved himself upwards. The dexterous elf caught the blow gun with his foot and brought it up to his mouth while loading it with his right hand, left hand grasping a tree branch. The dart grazed Night Stag’s neck.
__“Superb!” said the ninja. “What sort of chemical did you use?”
__“Poison from the siki flower. You only got enough of it to put you to sleep; it was supposed to kill you.”
__“A shame.” Night Stag produced a vial from his tunic and smashed it against the tree. Fumes quickly spread around both warriors. “I guess we’re both going to sleep then.”
__“Well done.” Vinelle lost his grip and fell to the forest floor, Night Stag unconscious beside him.
__Runa was preparing for her rest when Kaziriel entered her tent.
__“My lady, is there anything I should tell the troops?”
__“Tell them we make contact at around noon tomorrow. And to get plenty of sleep; no games tonight.”
__“Of course, my lady. Is there anything else you need?”
__“No, Kaziriel, that will be all.”
__“Rest well, Lady Runa.” Kaziriel stepped out to address the kyrie.
__“So has he always been like this, or do you think he’s getting jealous?” asked Suyomonji.
__“The fool’s been in love with me since he met me.”
__“That would explain a lot.”
__“He is a good fighter, and he always performs his duties well. I just wish he didn’t have this particular interest in me, it’s grinding at my nerves.”
__“Yes, love is for the weak,” concurred Suyomonji. “Kaidara had the chance to kill you, but he did not.”
__“I suppose my death would have been worth a lot of honor.”
__“We think that things are better this way. Right, Ikaru?”
__“Of course. Lady Runa is more ambitious, and she listens to what we have to say. Her glory will be eternal.”
__“Do you think that if I were to destroy Lord Einar, with my own two hands, that Kaidara would come over to our side?”
__“If he has any sense left, he will,” answered Suyomonji without hesitation.
__Runa grinned wickedly. Suyomonji had chosen to use the word ‘will,’ not ‘would.’ She had become absolutely enthralled with her new blade, even going out of the way to test it out on some orcs before the battle with the giants. Orcs were worth nothing to her anyway. For every one that died, there were a thousand more to replace it. The hundred that she slaughtered by herself were worth the experience, and of course the delight she felt.
__“Tomorrow shall be fun,” she said with a smile on her face.
__“Night Stag hasn’t sent us any messages. This does not bode well, my lady.”
__“No it does not. We’re dealing with more than we thought, and Night Stag’s group is most likely all dead.”
__“This means more killing for us, Runa,” said Suyomonji.
__“May I advise that we cripple them quickly and retreat, my lady?”
__“No, you may not. I will not run away from such inferior creatures.”
__“But Lady Runa, all that matters is that they do not make it to Lyrius before the kyrie arrive. We mustn’t risk your life in order to dispose troops that will not even be fighting.”
__“Don’t listen to him, Runa. He is afraid of our power.”
__“Do not question me, Kaziriel. Do you suggest that I am stupid?”
__“No, my lady, it’s just that… the sword…”
__“You think I am so weak-minded that a sword controls my decisions?”
__“No, my lady, I think that the sword is too strong for anyone to handle!”
__“The human Kaidara could handle it. I am not weaker than he. You would be wise to hold your tongue, Kaziriel.”
__Kaziriel sighed in resignation. “Yes, my lady.”
__“Then take to the skies.”
__“That sure was exciting, right, Syvarris?”
__“Both of us nearly died. There were icars everywhere! That was intense, wasn’t it, Syvarris?”
__The elf said nothing.
__“Oh, so you’re not talking to us?”
__“You think you’re too good for us, Syvarris?” teased Kaidara.
__“You know I can’t talk because I lost the game!” shouted Syvarris.
__“We made him talk again!” cheered Kitsuru.
__“You know the rules, elf-boy. You talk and we cut a lock of your hair.”
__The elf ranger hung his head in shame. Kitsuru pulled out a tanto and sliced off a piece of his hair. At this point, the hair in front of his ears was all cut down to his scalp.
__“Shouldn’t you be resting, my lady?” asked Syvarris.
__“You’re right. I’m going back to bed. Kaidara, you cut his hair.” Kitsuru handed the tanto to Kaidara.
__“You’ll be bald at this rate. We’ll just have to find something else to cut after that.”
__“What is going on here?” demanded Krythias, the elf in charge of the Nacaros Nine.
__“It’s complicated,” answered Kaidara. “Syvarris, why don’t you tell them?”
__After a few moments of silence, Krythias spoke again. “Well?”
__“Tell them. Your fans are inquiring about you, Syvarris.”
__“Hold on there, human-“
__“Every time I talk he gets to cut a lock of my hair because I lost a bet,” Syvarris said very quickly. More hair fell to the ground.
__“What game are you playing at, Kaidara?” Though the tension had eased between the samurai and Syvarris, those loyal to Syvarris were still angry with Kaidara after their conflict.
__“You heard him. He lost a bet.”
__“Kitsuru and I killed more enemies than he did.”
__“More points of enemies. I killed more of them.” More hair fell to the ground.
__“So he’s not allowed to talk?”
__“That’s absurd. I demand you stop this at once.”
__“I’ll show you!” Krythias drew a slender sword.
__“Stop! We had a fair bet. I lost.” More hair fell to the ground.
__“He will not disgrace you like this, Sir Syvarris.”
__“You will not disgrace me by making me go back on my word.” More hair fell to the ground.
__“This will not pass, Kaidara.” Krythias walked off.
__Syvarris reached up and felt his head. “Did you have to cut it all off from one side?” More hair fell to the ground.
__“You’re finally awake. You got more of that poison than I thought.”
__Night Stag rose to a sitting position and absorbed his surroundings. He found that he was in the forest. Standing next to him was the elf, Vinelle.
__“I had the poison from your dart and some of the gas from my potion.” Night Stag looked upwards, straining to see the sky through the forest canopy. It was almost noon.
__“Expecting anyone?” Vinelle had not missed Night Stag’s musings.
__“Why did you wait for me to wake?” asked Night Stag to change the subject.
__“We’re both lost in the woods. It didn’t feel right to leave you behind.”
__“You know where the giants are going, don’t you?”
__“I know their destination, but not how they intend to get there.” Vinelle saw that his act of mercy had broken down Night Stag’s air of confidence, or perhaps just his guard.
__“Now we look for some kind of civilization.”
__“And after that, elf?”
__“Let us focus on the present. You can plot my demise while we search.”
__Night Stag had lost his sense of direction due to the poison. He knew not where he was in relation to where Runa would engage the giants. However, he chose to keep that information to himself.
__“If my knowledge of Valhalla’s geography is as good as I think it is, we must be somewhere near the city of Gelst. From there, I’m sure we can get directions to whatever place we might be headed.”
__“But do you know which direction we should walk?”
__“I haven’t the slightest idea. We’ll have to walk outwards in a spiral motion until we find some hint of it.”
__“I suppose that’s better than nothing,” conceded Night Stag.
__“They are below. Any signs of Night Stag?”
__“Are there any signs of the master of stealth and concealment, Lady Runa?”
__“I wasn’t asking you, Kaziriel. Perhaps it would be in your best interest to not speak until I address you directly.”
__“Yes, my lady.”
__“I sense nothing but the wildlife. And the giants of course,” spoke Suyomonji.
__“I guess that means the enemy doesn’t have anyone hiding either though.” Runa turned her head to address the entire company. “Attack!” Runa, Kaziriel, and the ten kyrie known as The Rippers descended upon the unsuspecting giants.
__“Share with me your power, Suyomonji.” Runa took in the souls of the two samurai and headed straight for the giant that looked like he was in charge.
__“Janna! Utgar’s troops are upon us!” called a giant.
__“Enemies above! Prepare yourselves!” The giants dropped their gear and readied their weapons. Some had hammers or clubs. Others, swords. Janna himself kept his sword sheathed in favor of his gauntlets. He needed a more manageable weapon for a foe of this size and speed. Runa deftly dodged his blows, circling around the large warrior. She gave him shallow cuts here and there, simply teasing him.
__A fist clipped her left wing and she temporarily lost control. In that instant, she regained her composure and wrestled control away from Suyomonji.
__“Rippers, cripple and retreat!”
__“Za, To, Ji!” they shouted, a Hangiriest kyrie war cry which had no definite translation into Standard Valhallian because the lost kyrie language of Hangir was far too complex. Linguists likened it to mean “kill what you can,” which reflected the practicality of the Hangir.
__Runa stopped toying with Janna. She immediately cut off the fist that had hit her. The stout warrior did not relent his attacks and Runa was forced to retreat with her eleven troops. The giants had been given numerous wounds, many of which would not close because of the serrated weapons used, and were certainly delayed for at least a few days.
Okay, I promise I'm trying really, really hard to write some kind of thing to put out this weekend. I have so much schoolwork right now that even when I do have time to write, I can't think of a darn thing. Something will be released, even if it's only a few sentences.
Sentences are your friend. School is your enemy. If you do not make the sentences for school, you shall perish in a flurry of state-accused lawsuits.
Okay, maybe not. Anyway, I hope you find a cure for your writer's block and come out with more of this awesome story!
__“Hru rak! Rak tah na!”
__“Rak tah na!”
__“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
__“Let me explain Vinelle,” spoke Night Stag. “I’m not expert in Hangir, but I believe he wants you to drop your weapons, as evidenced by the fact that he has a spear to your throat, but isn’t killing you.”
__The two warriors had wandered into an encampment of the supposedly extinct Hangiriest tribe. Six kyrie had quickly surrounded them.
__“I suppose that makes sense.” Vinelle dropped his swords, still in their sheathes, and opened his cloak. A Hangir stepped forward to strip him of his knife, poisons, darts, and blowgun. “What do you suppose they’ll do with us?”
__“Haven’t you learned your Valhallian history? The Hangir aren’t executioners. They’re probably just threatened that we wandered into their camp.”
__Vinelle and Night Stag were both blindfolded and led to a hut in a dark corner of the forest.
__“Ziri ti. Ala tu,” spoke a gentle voice. The blindfolds came off.
__A beautiful female kyrie with light blue eyes, raven hair, and skin the color of the moon sat in a chair before them.
__“Do you speak Valhallian?” she asked.
__“Yes,” said Vinelle. He made eye contact with Night Stag, silently conveying to him, “Let me do all the talking.”
__“I see you’ve happened upon our humble forest. What can my people do for you?”
__“We were actually looking for Gelst.”
__“Gelst? Why that’s 50 kilometers north of here… and you’re heading south. How about you tell me the truth?”
__“The truth is we’ve been stranded by our comrades. We have no map or compass and a very poor sense of direction. If we were spies, you wouldn’t have caught us so easily.”
__“There is logic in your words, elf. What say you, human?”
__“We only wish to return to civilization, my lady,” spoke Night Stag in a low voice.
__“But what a fine tale you’d have. The Hangiriest tribe has not died out. Foreigners would be flocking in here by the dozens to try to learn or ways, or perhaps just gawk.”
__“If you let us go, we won’t tell anyone.”
__“You humans are terrible liars. I need a sign of faith, or you’re never leaving.”
__“What must we do?” asked Vinelle.
__“You must be initiated into the tribe.”
__“Shouldn’t the giants have arrived by now?” spoke Sergeant Alexander.
__“Something must have gone astray.”
__Kaemon looked to Kaidara.
__“He just spoke.”
__“He’s allowed to talk during these meetings. All of his hair is gone anyway.”
__“Convenient. Yes, Syvarris, something has happened to them. I don’t suspect they’ve gotten lost.”
__“The absence of fifty giants might be a detriment,” spoke Kaidara.
__“Sonlen,” began Kaemon, “how fare Nilfheim and Charos?”
__“They shall be ready for battle by tomorrow morning, I promise to you.”
__“There’s no need to rush. We have two days of recuperation before the kyrie force arrives. Kaidara, you will be on the ground. Akimura is injured, so you will lead his squadron. Can you do this?”
__“Don’t get out of control with that sword.”
__“A man is not his sword.” Kaidara smirked venomously at Sergeant Alexander, but Drake did not catch the meaning of Kaidara’s subtle message.
__“Not anymore, anyway. You know, since you lost the one that made you faster, stronger, and more aware than any warrior,” said Syvarris coldly.
__“Both of you knock it off before this gets out of hand,” commanded Kaemon. “So, Kaidara, you are in charge of Akimura’s group. You’re in Shift Four. We will be running 4-hour shifts to make sure everyone has time to rest.”
__“Do we have enough troops for six rotations?”
__“With the newly-arrived ashigaru, knights, and kyrie, yes. It’s going to be tight, but we should be fine. When one shift takes the field, the next will be on full alert, of course. We absolutely cannot have anyone break through, and we might have to deal with another surge of icars.”
__“How is Lady Kitsuru?” asked Syvarris.
__“She’s well enough to fight,” answered Kaidara.
__“Her new… power may prove to be most useful.”
__“I don’t know much about psychic powers,” began Sonlen, “but I’m fairly certain she can only use hers to Sir Kaidara’s aid, at least at this point in time.”
__“Kaidara is no stranger to danger. If we put him in a very vulnerable position-“
__“Enough of this,” said Kaemon. “Can we go through one serious meeting without you two bickering about this and that?”
__“He may be right.” All eyes were on Kaidara. “If I go out there with no regard to defense, I will be able to fell a lot of foes. Anyone who tries to harm me is open to Kitsuru’s attacks.”
__Kaemon thought for a moment. “We shall have to… practice this maneuver. Speak to Kitsuru about it. You’ll do it in modest amounts for these two days. If it proves effective, we will utilize it to a fuller extent in the battle to come.” Kaemon made a few adjustments on his parchment, moving Larathiel’s group to Shift Four with Kaidara.
__“My lady, there is a scouting group of mounted knights just ahead.”
__“We shall have to detour around them,” spoke Runa.
__“No! We must slaughter them. Jandar’s troops are weak.”
__“What news is more alarming, a scouting group finding nothing, or a scouting group not returning? Well, Suyomonji?”
__“Why worry about such things? We kill them now, and then kill all of our foes when we get to Lyrius.”
__“We shall not do that.” “Everyone! We need to detour to the west to avoid Jandar’s eyes.”
__“It will be so easy, and so much fun.”
__“You shall not speak out on this matter anymore, Suyomonji.”
__“Enough! Contradict me again and I’ll shall cast you into the deepest waters in all of Valhalla.”
__“This one is stubborn, Suyomonji,” said Ikaru privately.
__“She is not as easy to control, but she is far more aggressive than Kaidara.”
__“You’d rather be here than in Kaidara’s hands?”
__“Does it no longer matter to you what we kill, as long as we kill?”
__“You know of the tension between the kyrie clans, Ikaru. It’s only a matter of time before the other clans note Runa’s rising power and attack her.”
__“What about Kaziriel? Should we tell Runa that he is plotting against her?”
__“Now is not the time. Besides, we will not let that rat interfere with her.”
All of Chapter 26 is up now. I had two big tests this week, and have just felt awful in general for the past couple of weeks. Next week should be better. I'm planning on writing the next chapter tonight and tomorrow morning.