Halatir punched him in the mouth.
Halatir punched him in the mouth.
The guard grunted, and covered him mouth with his hand as he reeled in the momentary pain. His companion jumped to full alert, and unsheathed his sword. ‘‘To arms!’’ he yelled, and the guard on the balcony peered over with bow and arrow in hand.
‘‘Lay down your weapons, NOW!’’ he demanded. The inside of the barracks began seeing commotion as those within reacted to his call to arms, and were about to burst out at any moment.
Halatir carefully dropped his spear to the ground, catching it with one boot before it could cause a clatter on the ground. ”Now might I see your officer?” he said, mildly.
The two guards then unanimously tackled Halatir, throwing him on the ground, just as a number of other soldiers burst out, weapons in hand.
‘‘Whats happening?!’’ a soldier asked.
’‘This filthy wretch gone punched me in the gob!’’ the victim of Halatir’s sucker punch told them, ‘‘Put him up against the wall.’’ he said, and the others followed through. They pulled him upright and held him against the barracks wall, his sword and spear having been confiscated and taken inside, while two others were searching Halatir’s person for anything else as his hands and legs were held apart.
It was this moment, that Halatir realized that he did not fit in with the Niirai whatsoever.
He did not struggle, there being no point, but instead determined that the moment an opportunity arose, he would be gone. From Xia, and for good. He had a task to complete, and bumbling about in the middle of a civil war about which he cared not a wit was serving no purpose.
And it was in that moment, when Halatir would be taught a valuable lesson about respecting authority, when you yourself can’t prove nor wield your own. The guard he had punched came to him, his sword still drawn. ‘‘Time to teach you some manners, wretch.’’ he growled at him as Halatir widened his eyes in anticipation, but he could not react, not while being held down by so many. A sword swing later, his hitting hand was parted from his arm, making him an example for all to see what happens when you decide to punch a soldier on duty, his blood splattered across the wall.
Halatir had resolved that no matter what happened, he would not shout or scream. Later, he realized the audacity of that thought.
Halatir screamed. And then he lost consciousness.
When Halatir awoke, he was in a somewhat familiar bed, in a rather familiar room, with a very familiar young woman sat next to his bed, staring down at him, the light coming from behind her giving her an almost angelic aura.
He blinked twice, confused. ”Wha…Rhae?” He tried to push himself up with his right hand, and then remembered. He looked down at it.
The stump was clean, and bandaged. But his hand, his sword hand, was gone. Halatir stared at it silently for a moment, and then fell back into the pillow, the blood draining from his pale face. His complexion turned to almost ash.
‘‘When you said you were going to get yourself discharged…’’ Rhae started, looking down at his hand also, ‘’…this is not how i imagined it.’’ she told him, saddened.
”I…did not think so, either.” he replied, breathing very slowly. ”Though I suppose…it works just as well.” Then without pause, Halatir began to weep.
It was as if a dam had burst. He did not cry loudly, wailing in grief. He wept silently, tears making trails down his cold face. He wept for his father, his brother, his mother, his sisters, his village, the people he had known, the sheer pain of the events which had transpired since he’d been taken prisoner in Helegeron overwhelming him. He wept because he was far from home, in a land he did not understand or know. He wept for the mountains and cold winds of Helegeron, the great eagles that lived in the clefts of the peaks, the bears that he had hunted with his father and his warriors. And he wept for his skills, the one thing that had sustained him during his time in Xia. Halatir cried.
Rhae watched the young snow elf weep, this land has brought him nothing but pain and misery. When she found him caged in the harbour of Nigardheim, he was already in a sorry state. Now it seems, he was just as miserable, except in a different kind of cage. He belonged in his land, among his people, as was right. This made her wonder, however only for a moment, what kind of cage will she be locking herself away in when she returns to Helegeron, a land inhospitable to her, and just as Xia is to Halatir, utterly alien. It had already brought her sorrows twice, how many more times will she need to endure them? Maybe Que-Yu is not entirely wrong…
The door of the med house creaked open, and shut closed. Halatir’s lieutenant Jun-Li approached the pair. He was in a foul mood.
Halatir restrained himself instantly, and forced himself to salute as best he could, left handed. The movement was awkward. ”Sir.” he said quietly. ”The blame is mine.”
‘‘Indeed. I was told you were rather… forceful with trying to enter the barracks.’’ he said in a calm yet mocking tone, ‘‘Who told you to go to the barracks, Halatir? I said to get measured at the smith, and then rest so you would be able to fight in three days time when we move out. Damn it! Now look at yourself…’’ he pointed out as his expression turned to a cringe as he inspected the now not only beaten up, but also partially dismembered snow elf.
”The blame is mine. I misunderstood your orders, sir.” repeated Halatir. ”If you wish it, I shall fall upon my sword, and make an end.”
‘‘I care not what you decide to do next, and i have no authority over you any longer either. You’ve been discharged for attacking Sima’s own troops, and because you are no longer fit for battle.’’ he said, and simply dropped a formal looking letter, which Halatir did not know how to read, on to the bed. ‘‘Usually, when a soldier looses a limb and they get relieved of their duties, they receive compensations. But since your hand was not lost in battle, but was a punishment for assault, you get none. Usually, an assault on a soldier on duty is a punishable offence involving a fine and prison time, but your dismemberment will be considered street-justice by the troops, so you won’t get any of those either. I am sorry things turned out this way, if that means anything. Best of luck on your path.’’ he decreed, saluted, and marched back out the door.
Halatir looked back to Rhae. ”Well, that solves that problem.” he said laconically. ”Might I still accompany you north?”
‘‘What?!’’ was suddenly heard from around the corner, and Que-Yu, who was acting as Rhae’s assistant medic, leaned from around it. ‘‘This one is going with you? But he’s a proven savage!’’ he protested, ‘‘Didn’t you hear the other one, what he just said?’’
”Not if she does not wish it.” the wounded elf said wearily. ”I will find my home alone if necessary. Despite my words to the Lieutenant, there is something I must do.”
Despite her likeness for him, Rhae didn’t really know Halatir. She knew practically nothing about him, she doesn’t know what he was like before Nigardheim, and who knows what effect Xia had on him. By he looks of it, nothing positive. She was cautious of him, as he was unstable, and the Helcelene fierce outbursts of rage she even witnessed with Macil frightened her.
‘‘Halatir, i’m sorry…’’ she whispered.