Patchwork Warriors # 35

CHAPTER NINETEEN………

And the race is on!!

(Additions to Glossary:

Centrus Sea: Mediterranean

Foggea: Possibly what’s left of the isles off the western coast of the imperial mainland (where the English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Manx & Cornish used to hang out- See A True History of The Isles – A True History of These Isles-Introduction and Part 1… shameless plug!)

Scothia: Located on the far north-west of the empire. Rugged and bleak. Seems to be occupied by folk who are vaguely Scottish. Has a ‘past’

Slovosskia: The vast empire and constant rival to the east of The Oakhostian. They’re always in a state of hostilities of one intensity or another. Very dour and fatalistic rulers

 Tuskies: Elidian term for tuscatalian folk. )

Jerreli Silc did not know this place and in consequence had no idea if they had any sort of seaward defences. To the south and west some of the trading cities along the Centrus Sea had sufficient ordinance and their own warships to see off a small fleet and still not disturb a market day. Along the coasts to the north, both scothian and imperial warships plied a grim watch for slovosskian and foggean isle raiders. So this place could have anything lurking and he might not know until the first salvo started. He had taken the recent precaution of sending two boat loads of crew from each ship to land and raise hell and hopefully put any end to any ordinance lurking. He reasoned he couldn’t expect those tuskies to take on the whole town; they were a snatch and grab crew.

His musings stopped, far across the water came the sound of a bell, ringing frantically.

“Hear that!” he demanded to all about him.

Several said they did, a couple asked what it meant and were sharply told it was an alarm.

“Ferrrkit!!! We’ve been spotted! Brozgon! Signal to The Flighty Bird and The Weasel of the Waves to start the bombard. Bombardiers!! Get shifting!! Now! Now!.Brozgon signal the lazy rats to move their ships too, we don’t want to be targets!…Haul sail you lot!! We’ll go back and forth we will!!”

Whereas the manoeuvre commands would be subject to confusion, the crews of the ordinances needed no encouragement, they knew full well what these weapons could do and did not want to be on the receiving end of any.

 

Karlyn wanted to be ahead, there were sharp hammering smells to the fore; someone was doing something very seriously. She had the urge to run full speed, howling, ready with a fist full of combustibles to put an end to the source, but here she was playing drunks when the time for playing was over. Then she stopped, as if something had hit her in the chest.

“Hear that!”

          Across the landscape beyond normal perceptions; The Helmsman listened to the fading echoes of the two warnings; similar accents, consequential but differing reasons. He would take note

Meanwhile to her annoyance Karlyn saw the soldiers had beaten her to it. They had stopped their playing and had gone alert.

The word ‘ordinance’ sprung from their lips, each looking skywards, and as the far off whistle began to hurt the ears mouths began to count.

“Heading for the centre and far end of the town!” Erzns sharply motioned forwards “Shift closer, there’ll be raiders! We need to get under their comfort!”

“Comfort,” Beritt found that a peculiar concept; the gap betwixt an ordinance discharge and where it would land. She ducked and winced as the overhead screaming battered her senses, only to be introduced to far worse when the denotations roared and then shook the ground beneath her. She looked back over her shoulder; smoke, and flames flew upwards, buildings swayed, or were already gone, screams followed. Instinctively she clutched at her mediphsic. “Fifth Hell,” this was her observation and not oath. She was much glad of Erzns yelled order to keep up. Orders were good, you just obeyed them, no need to think. You had no need of choice to make, all the pain and suffering behind you was no longer your concern.

That was of no particular salve to her anguish at the screams

 

Norvan dropped to one knee, loaded crossbow aimed, the figure just rushed by without even noticing him, the trooper didn’t mind a fellow being panicked and running, who could say when it might happen? Trouble was he had been a thumping big fellow, who’d blocked Norvan’s sight of the fleeing lad, and there were a whole line of warehouses. He was spared any further reflections when the custodian thundered up and Norvan was able to pass the problem onto him.

The problem was held in abeyance when they heard the barrage.

“No coincidence trooper. This is a distraction for someone else to seek out the same target,”

Myrrek joined them; he was good at tracing and anticipating.

“Knew it. Knew it. Plan was going too smoothly. Now the midden-storm starts. What a scraithing!”

And grumbling.

“There will be a party of raiders soon troopers. They will provide cover for those more adept,”

“Makes sense your Diligence. Me and Myrekk will go ahead and scout the perimeter,”

The troopers loped off, Myrekk voicing an opinion that just because Norvan had been hanging abut with a custodian he didn’t have the right to make damn fool orders.

Meradat crouched, mulling through the possible approaches of the true opposition and its likely composition when Karlyn dashed up with the wide-eyed excited of a young hound on its first hunt.

“I can tell! I can tell!”

Meradat was obliged to reach out with one hand to her collar to restrain her further progress; the remainder LifeGuard troopers arrived a more composed solemn group.

“Your tildelte seems to have a trace upon the problem Your Diligence,” Erzns was all tight lipped diplomacy; Meradat appraised him as to Norvan and Myrekk’s actions, to which he nodded his approval, “Fair enough. Then we had better stay here tight and see what happens, the lads will be back when the numbers get too heavy and advanced,”

“A solid strategy on an ordinary battlefield sergeant, but where the Stommigheid is involved caution may not be an option,” Meradat concluded distracted by Karlyn’s wriggling

“Look I’m not a blimpin’ hound! Now let go of me collar!! There’s someone there!” Karlyn jabbed a finger towards a specific building “An’ you just said yerself your custodianship we can’t wait! We gotta go and get them! Now!!”

“They may be someone who is very alone and frightened,”

Having said that Beritt at once shrunk into her coat, hoping no one had heard her; she wasn’t feeling heroic. She was a medician, she cleaned upwards. But Erzns being Erzns had heard her

He absently massaged a two-day stubble before addressing Meradat.

“The medician has a recent recorded affinity with folk taken with Astatheia Your Diligence. If there is someone in there who is volatile, she might well be the best one in there,”

This time, irrespective of how she felt Beritt kept her mouth tightly shut. Karlyn was more for expressing loud vocal empathy with Erzns.

“Yeh! Blondie’s just the one to be nice an’ kind an ease ‘em out!! Let’s not be arse-squeaking about the place!! Let me and her get in there and find out what’s what!!”

Meradat had been carefully sifting sense and judgement out of the situation. Action was required and in this instance it was reasonable to consider the two young women liable to be useful, but however in the final analysis, also expendable indications of the amount of danger being faced.

“Very well,” and he made swift right handed gestures across the tops of their heads “Be about the Lord God’s bidding,”

“C’mon! C’mon!!” yapped Karlyn and once released sprinted across the road to the warehouses, Beritt barely keeping up; despairing when the girl did not stop at the first wall to gauge direction, but kept the frantic pace down a small alley. Although Beritt knew the light was from fires of destruction, she was grateful in that the illumination kept the elidian pest in view. This faint comfort was dashed when out of the corner of her left eye she saw a small group of loudly gleeful armed men rushing past. So now she was not only running towards some Stommigheid wielding unknown but also the teeth of pirate raid.

 

The sound of the pirate’s bombardment had pulled Trelli out of her island of misery and to the window. This new circumstance freezing all thoughts and even instinctive panic. As the first detonation took place, all her mind could come up with was that there would be no Sale Day tomorrow.

 

Mietitore’s progress along the dock had been steady, he had not wished to blunder into a group of ravening pirates who took his crew for townsfolk and then waste time slaughtering the fools, nor did he want his crew to be the ones who found out the town had some surprise defence. At this juncture he could make out the warehouses, so merging in with the latest tide of raiders his crew crossed the road into the area.

His new problem was that the sapphire light was dancing back and forth from one gem to another of the inner four. Bereft of dependable direction he swore with all the passion and vehemence of a true son of Tuscatalia and invoked curses upon the Jordisk who had made this device; this cleared his head. At least he only had four possible directions to go, and all of them forwards.

It was a start.

 

Trelli didn’t really want to look down at her hands, the colours either dispirited, angered or frightened her.

But the colours were now pulsing and there was a flash of the sort of colour in those fancy sapphire rings ladies wore

Oh Good Lord God, help this thy poor wayward daughter!

Patchwork Warriors # 34

The Patchwork Warriors: A Glossary.

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