Official account of the upcoming Pandemonium Series. Gain exclusive access to the first few chapters of the first installment.
“So, what have we got today lads?”
Odhiin, looked on at them pensively, readying himself and the group with his stature, poise and gaze. He breathed in slowly, and then perched on a rock, and started overlooking the main route into the village.
The wind rustled the crispy leaves gently, their green orangey hue providing a warm yet morbid scenery. The gang lay perched on the hill top, watching a pack of soldiers wandering steadily towards their home village. It wasn’t the first time, and it wasn’t going to be the last. Thalir knew very well the truth of that statement, but it no longer scared him. A few months ago, he used to dread when he would hear the village bells, the hurried bustling of feet, the fearful whispers. “Taxes” and “conscription'' spread like wildfire, and even in this five hundred person village where everybody would know each other by name, everyone instantly became a stranger worried about his own life.The coming of the soldiers came with the promise of having something, or someone, being forcibly taken.
That is why Thalir and his friends had joined the Vanguard. A group of around twenty youngsters, who no longer wanted to feel that fear. They refused to sit idly and continue to be stolen from, to feed the greed of the capitol. With a deep breath, Thalir watched on as the company of lightly armoured me began to enter the wooden barricade that separated the village from the wilderness. Even though he was away from the frantic chaos of the bustling villagers, his heart still pounded as if he was amongst them. He tried to brush it aside, and certainly showed that he did, but he wondered if that fear would ever truly go away. It’s bad enough seeing people you see every day begin to be dragged away, screaming and thrashing their limbs, but when it's someone that you’ve known all your life…
“They have a slightly larger group, but nothing that we haven’t faced before. This group seems to be a bit slower, a few of them keep on stopping every so often and going into the forest, and then reappearing some moments later. They seem pretty young, probably nervous new recruits” said Valeria, interrupting Thalir’s reminiscences. He blinked repeatedly, trying to repeat in his head what Valeria just reported. It didn’t seem like anything special, so he continued to gaze upon the group. They definitely do seem like a young bunch, he thought, wondering if Ivor would be there.
Some rustling from behind broke his train of thought again. Calibo emerged from some of the trees behind and took his place at the helm besides Odhiin. He grabbed his shoulder and patted him roughly before stepping leftwards and staring down on the village entrance. His brief playfullness disappeared, and he started running his fingers through his newly grown beard.
Odhiin smirked, and the sly grin rested on his face, unreadable as ever. He looked to his right at Valeria and nodded briefly. Instantly, she turned and darted neck down the trees quickly disappearing from view. Calibo stood with his arms crossed and his chest puffed, breathing slowly and deeply.
"Same old, don't mess it up and let's get it done," he said, in his hushed demeanour.
Two hooded figures, Orin and Camilla, stood up and started to turn around, ready to head to a similar direction as Valeria but Odhiin lifted his hand. Thalir could have sworn that time seemed to stop, that the wind appeared to blow slower, and that the denizens of the forest quietened to listen to what Odhiin had to say.
The silence was deafening
Only Calibo dared to cut through it.
“What do you mean, ‘No?’”
Odhiin didn't move. No deep breath, no gaze, no flinch. No nothing. He responded to Calibo:
“Not this time. It won't work.”
Calibo huffed with annoyance before responding: “It's worked every other time, and it’s going to work again.” He turned back to Orin, and ordered: “Get on with it.”
Orin stood still, his eyes glancing back and forth between Calibo and Odhiin. His head turned to Camilla's worried expression. She appeared to be ready to speak up when Odhiin turned his head and said:
“They’ve been trying to step up the game during last month’s raids, and I fear that somehow that’s going to play against us today.” He glanced at Thalir, before continuing: “Some of our fellow Vanguardsmen have noticed things recently”.
Calibo snorted, glancing at Thalir himself befor approaching Odhiin: “Brother, we’ve got measures in place for every situation. We have a system that works. Don;t forget whatwe discussed last time.”
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