The mighty Beha'wan warrior's path into Ophidian starts here.
Volke, Justich System
The pouring rain brushes past the leaves on the trees surrounding a massive forest fortress. The main Beha’wan camp is full of activity as several Beha’wan guards watch the walls and borders while soldiers train inside. Drill exercises have doubled in the past few weeks as a war might be eminent. The massive Beha’wans train with weapons that seem primitive but are actually modified with a hint of modern-day technology. Armor is tested to withstand laser blasts--while they are worn by Beha’wan troops. A handful of Tigbar soldiers crawl, climb, and fight alongside the Beha’wans as their superiors exchange combat strategies.
Atop the highest trees lies the heart of the fortress. A grand cabin, surrounded by guards inside and out, rests between three trees. A Beha’wan general enters accompanied by two soldiers as a mysterious figure glides past him. The general stops and looks suspiciously at the cloaked individual, and only continues when his superior calls his name.
“Grogg, come here!”
Grogg, enters the room and drops to one knee and stands again before Chief and longtime friend Braghar. Grogg, thinking about the unknown visitor points to the mysterious figure, but before he can ask, Braghar cuts him off. “What have you to report.”
“I have returned from my mission with news from our allies and neighbors,” starts off Grogg. The Chief avoids eye contact and watches the mysterious figure walk past the guards on the ground. Grogg is confused with Braghar’s unusual lack of attention but after a pause continues.
“House Lok Breed and Ethral say they will join us in the fight. San Jupitor is still against us, those no good humans.” Grogg’s soldiers grunt and nod to each other. “On Solop Avagar, Kilflame and Tempora have not given me a straightforward response. I suspect their leaders are either cowards or have been corrupted.”
Braghar looks at Grogg with a flash of worry, but then strengthens his demeanor. “Continue.”
“Pol-tec has said no, Tigbar has not said yes, but will support us either way. And finally, Yorsa Pabas and Tempra Pabas. They’re also against us, but I was able to recruit some Paban hirelings willing to work for a reasonable price. If you allow me more time I can persuade the others or look for help outside the Justich–”
Braghar raises his arm and halts Grogg. He thinks for a moment. Then proceeds in a firm tone.
“General Grogg, this news you have given me does not satisfy me. How are we to fight a war with only three houses supporting us?”
The guards and Grogg’s soldiers watch on in curiosity. Everyone has been preparing for war but the Chief’s subtle question brings in some doubt into their minds. Grogg starts “We knew we wouldn’t get more than half the houses supporting us–”
“Don’t interrupt me!” Braghar slams his fists on a wooden table, almost shattering it. “I have been thinking about you and your campaign to rally against the Ophidians and I will not have you disrupting my army with these childish endeavors.”
Grogg, absolutely shocked at Braghar says, “But, Braghar, this was your–”
“SILENCE!” Braghar yells so loudly that the entire camp hears his beastly voice and stops what they are doing for a moment. Their superiors then tell them to continue.
“What insolence you show! You will stop your efforts on the war now. Gather your men and your belongings. I have signed you away as a tribute.”
Grogg says nothing, and tries to figure out what is going on. Braghar and he have been wanting to fight the Ophidians for the longest time. Now, the Chief makes it look like Grogg is the one who is trying to cause trouble. Grogg’s sense of honor prevents him from disobeying any kind of order, but he knows the Chief, his former friend, has been corrupted. Unfortunately, there is no way to prove it right now.
“I shall obey,” he says in a low voice.
The other Beha’wans eliminate any doubt or confusion from their expressions, and dare not speak up. Grogg’s honor is intact, but his life will be vulnerable in the Ophidians’ clutches. The chances of him returning are slim and everyone knows this. But, as Grogg leaves he turns back and looks at Braghar.
“I shall return, my old friend, and we shall celebrate.”
Braghar grunts at the veiled threat. For Grogg, only dark days lay ahead. Many dark days.