[RP Episode] The War of Eight Princes


#21

Battered, bloody and bruised, Halatir stumbled next to them. His white hair was covered in bloodstains, his cloak was ripped and torn, his armor was covered in more blood and slashed beyond belief, and he walked with a limp. Bandages adorned his arms and head, stained with blood.

Other than the half dozen wounds decorating his body, he was perfectly healthy.

Halatir collapsed onto a bench. He was too tired to speak anymore.


#22

They both took note.

‘‘Halatir!’’ exclaimed Liang, and walked over to him, ‘‘Are you okay?’’ he asked as Ayro stepped up behind him, inspecting Halatir’s sorry state from head to toe.


#23

“No, I am not.” Halatir gripped his leg with one hand. “I brought down the mountain side. Someone made it through, said he was looking for you lot, and attacked me. He had these on him.” Still grimacing, he pulled out the sheaf of papers and handed them to Liang. “Hello Ayro.”


#24

Ayro looked down on Halatir through narrowed eyes. ‘‘Hello Halatir. Living the dream I see.’’ he replied sarcastically while Liang took a look at those notes.

‘‘So… it has begun.’’ Liang sighed.
Ayro looked at Liang worryingly. ‘‘We have to reach Sima.’’ he told him, and Liang nodded.
’‘I’ve already sent two runners with the message. Both were returned to us in body bags with the message pinned to their forehead…’’


#25

”Did anyone else get hurt? You have some explaining to do.” said Halatir, tightening one of his bandages. ”What’s going on?”


#26

‘‘Have you not yet asked yourself why your outpost was attacked, and who these assassins are after?’’ Ayro asked Halatir.


#27

“I have done that, but before I could get my questions answered a fight would break out.” Halatir yanked on another strap. “I’ve killed over a score of elves and one griffin in the past two days. I consider myself lucky to still be asking questions.”


#28

Liang sighed.
Ayro frowned, ‘‘I told you, you had no idea what you were getting yourself in to.’’ he scolded him, ‘‘You should have stayed here.’’
’‘They are here for Ren.’’ Liang told him, ‘‘Or rather, Shu-Yiang, as is his real name. These mountains have always belonged to these monks, they have kept it safe by themselves, there never was any danger here to begin with, until our makeshift outpost was erected. It was meant as a perfect hiding position for Shu, among a group of good for nothing farm boys and outcasts wielding spears and kicking snow around. Now that he is of age, they are coming for him.’’


#29

“Why the hell does a warband of marauders wish to hunt down some youth?” asked Halatir, restraining himself from pouring forth an outburst upon Ayro. The violence and bloodshed that had occured at the outpost was far preferable to the quiet stillness and cucumber baths of the monastery, but Halatir doubted that Ayro would care to hear that.


#30

Liang’s eyebrows shot up, ‘‘You don’t know? Does the name not tell you?..’’
’‘Shu is one of the imperial princes.’’ Ayro told him bluntly.


#31

“A clanlord’s son? He doesn’t look it.” Halatir scoffed. “And why should anyone fear Ren? He has no warriors who follow him, and does not have the combative or leadership skills to convince soldiers to do so.” The Helcelen’s voice was blunt.


#32

‘‘Oh, he does. More than you know.’’ Liang replied, ‘‘Warlord Sima is pledged to protect and serve him. As for his combative and leadership skills, former general Huangfu-Shang, who you knew as your commander, was in hiding with him and was supposed to teach him both over the years they were there together. Shu is a capable warrior, but he sadly never got the chance to lead, as a logical opportunity for a promotion had never presented itself. At least not until Fan-Zhou’s death, but things escalated quickly after that.’’
’‘Which reminds me…’’ Ayro butted in, ‘‘Griffins usually don’t venture in to these mountains, they have far better places to go to, to live and hunt. This one was probably chased up here by our enemies to weaken your outpost before their attack…’’


#33

“Well what do you plan on doing about it?” Halatir asked again. “I blocked the path down, and slew the one pursuer who broke through. It will take “them” sometime to reach us here. Though I suppose they could send a few more griffins.”


#34

‘‘Watch your tone, boy.’’ Ayro growled.
’‘Oh, they’ve already reached us.’’ Liang explained, ‘‘They just can’t do anything to us now that they have. Because now, we outnumber them, but if we decided to strike out and take the fight to them, we would have to weaken our defences all around for the effort, and could very well walk in to a trap.’’


#35

“I’ll watch my own damn tone.” snapped Halatir. His wounds were inflaming his temper. “If you have the superior force, find them, attack them with a portion of your warriors to bait a trap, and then pounce.”


#36

‘‘I am sure Shu-Yiang would take your idea in to consideration, if he was here.’’ Liang told him.
’‘And if you showed some respect.’’ Ayro added.


#37

”Earn it.” Halatir said to Ayro.

”Ren was my commander at the time of the unit’s dissolution. I consider myself to still be under his command. What do you need?”


#38

‘‘Earn it?! EARN IT!?’’ Ayro yelled, and Liang’s eyes widened, ‘‘After all i did for you! I didn’t have to take you with me when i found you with Tao! I didn’t have to drag you across Xia and welcome you in to my home! And neither did i have to offer any of you sanctuary here when the prince fled, but i did anyway! And all of it is worth nothing to you?! Do your people really respect nothing and nobody except ‘‘he who’s fist is bigger than mine’’?! A little appreciation would go a long way, but no!’’
’‘Ayro! Calm down, we are all friends here!’’ Liang intervened.
’‘Like hell we are! I will not tolerate such insolence!’’ Ayro continued.

Charachter - Ayro 01


#39

Halatir shifted on the bench, and one of his bandages tore. Blood began seeping steadily down his arm and into the snow. Paying it no heed, he struggled to his feet.

”If you profess to follow Ren as your chieftain and this is a matter of who had done more for the other, I fought the rearguard action that allowed him to escape, killed the beast that nearly destroyed the unit protecting him, avenged the death of his general and have bled and fought and killed in his service because of the ways of my people.“ he growled, teeth clenched. His face contorted in anger and pain, he switched his gaze to Liang. ”If that is not enough, I will go, and may Olossë grant you the strength to cut your way out of the mountains.”

He took a step, his leg gave out, his eyes rolled back into his head, and Halatir lost consciousness.


#40

Liang rushed to his side to bind the wound. ‘‘I think you should tend to his injuries before ‘‘educating’’ him about our ways, Aryo.’’ he said. Ayro grinded his teeth for a moment, and then relaxed a bit, ‘‘I will have my people look after him.’’ he said with a sigh.

Ayro waved over three of his monks to take him inside and patch him up. His old armour was removed, his torn clothes thrown away, his open wounds stitched and bound together with fresh clean bindings, and he was provided with his own orange temple robe as temporary clothing.

When Halatir finally awoke, he was laying on a bed inside a dimly lit room. The roof, walls and ceiling were made of wooden planks and beams, the beams decoratively painted a lively red. There were a few tables around the room along the few beds which had candles atop them. One of the tables had a jug of water with a ladle. There was only one other person in this care room besides him, which was asleep.