The next day was an early one. The Linowans where restless, and very uninterested in the place we where at, so they packed up, and breakfast was eaten on the go, essentially.
We rowed on pretty hard. Well, when I say “we”, I mean everyone except me. My leg was still mostly useless, so Naia was taking me in a canoe. We stopped and the two other ships went to the rocky side, how ever our ship stopped at some very dark and aerie woods. And while Naia, and most of the other people I knew, went into the forrest to get some food, lasting food, as it where, I was left to my own devices. So I decided to do some fishing. And to my surprise, I caught a whole bunch of fish! So I cooked them by the fires, I figured that I’d repay Naia’s and the girls’ help, if only a little bit. Ten seemed interested in me, figuring that that couldn’t be good, I greeted her friendly. She looked hungry, so I offered her a fish. After a bit of convincing, she accepted the fish.
As that didn’t take very long, I took the time to speak to Warro. He didn’t look to be in the best mood. Then again, he never really looked to be in a good mood. I went over to speak to him, and he seemed to… Not find an easier way to get rid of me, so he gave me some rudimentary lessons in Riverspeak reading and writing. Mostly a few letters. He shooed me off, and told me to fit those letters into words that I knew. So I went back to my fire, and my fish, and started writing in the sand with a stick. This drew the attention of Ten, yet again. Who had had most of her fish stolen by Yin, which was not very nice. She seemed interested in what I was doing. I invited her over, with a few gentle words, and told her what I was doing, and what the signs meant. This made her really interested, she something akin with “Knowledge is power”, not that she would have power, but she could trade it, I suppose. We kept writing for some time, until Kara returned, with Naia in tow. She dragged her straight to Warro. I couldn’t hear the conversation, but it had something to do with something Naia had said. She punished Naia, by slapping her hard a few times. After this, Naia stumbled down the shore. I, of course, went down to her. Checked up on her, she sustained no lasting injury, a few scrapes. And Naia told me what had happened. Naia had made a off hand comment about Kara not deserving her sword. I tried to console her, and offered her some fish, and then she asked to be a lone for a bit, so I left her.
By now, people had started to come back from the gathering. Yin came back and started yelling at Ten. She called over the young people, and tried to have them beat Ten and ransack her. I tried to speak to Yin, to have it stopped, but she didn’t listen. Luckily, Dyvim showed up, for a second though I thought it was Korr, the way he handled the youngsters. Ten managed to slip away in the confusion. I offered everyone some fish to eat. Ten returned after a while, to clam down between me and Dyvim. She started talking to Dyvim. As there are few things that I don’t notice, I started a loud conversation with the other girls, in wanting to hear more about the raid on Lord Hong, as I was not present for it. Yin got up, to check on Naia. Telling me to go see to Hochi’s wound. Having seen it before, I didn’t see much point to it. But, Naia had mentioned that he’s a whiner, so I figured that if Hochi whined less, then Naia might be happier as well. So I went to him. Looked at the puss filled toe… I helped him clean it out, and bandage it. I also assured him that it would be fine. But to whine about a wound like that, even back then, I did not have high opinions of this man. If not for his pretty face, I would’ve given Naia more snipe comments about it, as you do. After that, he went over to Naia as well, hopefully whining less…
Naia and Yin had set up a camp for us in a clearing a bit in the forrest. Yin asked if I could teach a thing or two with using a sword, I said yes, and invited Naia in as well. It would be good to watch someone training with swords, for me as well. Or so I figured, at least. I leant my sword to Naia. And boy… Naia had a real talent for it! She wasn’t battle ready, I would say. But she did have the fines required for a sword, more then with an axe. My eyes weren’t as attuned back then for this sort of thing, but I could tell that given more time, she might’ve gotten to be a really good swordsman. Before going to bed, I asked Naia about my armor, as it was a bit too big. She began working on it, to resize it, to better fit my… Petiteness.
We woke up early, and Naia was eager, perhaps a bit too eager I thought, to train some more. Though, she had been so nice to me the past few days, that I saw little harm in lettering her train some more. And it amazed me time and time again, that she picks it up so easily. It reminded me of Rufus, someone who started training roughly the same time as myself. He was always very cocky about his sword skills. Rightly so, I’m sad to say. Unless I misremember, he was presumably on the front lines, and was the first to fight the blood apes, I suppose… Oh well… Naia! She did indeed have a talent for it. Kara and Dyvim appeared from the forrest, as Naia was giving back the sword to me. Kara asked where she got the sword, I spoke up, saying that it was mine, and that Naia was borrowing it. I also informed her of Naia’s natural talent. She didn’t seem to care. And pointed out something along the lines of “not having earnt it”. Dyvim defended myself and Naia a bit in this matter. She dragged her to Warro, yet again. With Dyvim still in tow. Yin went after, saying she would give her sword to Naia, as Yin was no very good with it, at all, she put too much force into it, she used it like she used an axe, well, like she does anything really. No thinking, just head on charge.
I started packing up the camp. After a bit we went out rowing again, this time Yin had taken over paddling the canoe, in exchange for giving Naia her sword. There where some rougher water up ahead, as Dyvim had read on a map, one day earlier. They became a bit too rough, and I tried to help Yin, but with my leg I wasn’t very useful. The boat tipped over! And I had to something that I had never tried before… I had to swim. And it was a lot easier then I thought it would be… Before swimming towards the boat, I checked to see if Yin was okey. I saw her face, and she yelled: “Can you swim?!”, I answered: “Apparently!”, which of course worried her. But I told her not to worry, and take care of the boat instead. I made it up on the boat, and Kara asked me very pointedly if it was Yin’s fault that the boat tipped. This seemed a bit odd to me, considering the currents here. So I answered that it had more to do with the waves then anything we did. I leaned over to Dyvim and informed of the great news, that I can actually swim! He seemed distressed at this, obviously.
The canoes where pulled up on the boats. And in a bit we saw the reason for the heavy currents, the fork in the river, dangerous waters indeed! Salvage possibilities had been discovered near the fork. Barrels stuck against rocks, and the likes. Dyvim and Yin volunteered for the swimming. Dyvim is apparently a really good swimmer, as it turns out! Seemingly even better then Yin, at least! They returned around the same time, though. Kara checked what was inside, and showed it to Warro, who was really happy about this, showing it off to Harkon. It was apparently whiskey.
Shortly after I stopped some deforestation. The boats went into silent mode. We knew, thanks to the map, that there was a town nearby, and further down, a marketplace. We stopped before the town. And scouts where sent out, in order to find out more about the town. Thracia and the others where discussing whether or not to attack. The day past, I was feeling better today, so I was training alongside the others, and I cannot tell how good that felt! Naia was improving, especially now when Harkon had joined in.
The scouts returned later, and one of them alongside Harkon, went to speak to the leaders. As I understood it, Ron went to on a spirit journey.
I, and the girls, where sitting around a fire talking about… What girls talk about, really. Naia, was as usual, very sniping with her innuendoes, which I had started to pick up on, and giggling profusely when ever something about Dyvim or Yin was said… Peaceful, but in anticipation, is how would describe our mood. Everyone knew, that if we where to attack this town, there may be casualties. I went to speak to Thracia, regarding an idea I had about maybe picking off the archers on the wall, with our own archers. But seeing as we had no archers that where trained for that sort of things, it was a moot point.
I heard a rumor that Dyvim had some sort of dice involved game with Kara, but I thought little of it.
Either way, we went to bed, having strong expectations for the following day.
Ron had come back with the message that the gods demanded that we attack. They wanted blood and sacrifices. This meant of course, that in a few hours, we would attack. My leg had gotten better today, I could walk around with next to no pain, and I could train properly again. I geared up, and to see Harkon and Dyvim, We had been placed as the second force to charge, Naia had been placed as the first strike team, the shock troopers, to put it blunt. This seemed odd to me. Sure she was talented, but her inexperience would put herself, and most crucially, her teammates with great risk. Naia was scared, I gave her a few words of encouragement, but told her to speak to Warro.
We lined up, and where told the best shields would face town, as we passed it by, to protect from the arrows, of course.
We set out, Yin as a forward scout, first on the lines. Naia as a shock troopers, with the first wave. And us, on the second wave. We row hard for a few seconds, and then let us float towards the shores. The arrows flies towards us, but at this distance it’d be hard to hit anything. There’s a few that bounce off our shields. Naia with only slight hesitation set off, ones we pass the town, and get in close enough. We leap in shortly after, the water was deeper then anticipated. I had to walk on the bottom, with only my shield above water, until I reach the surface, must have looked funny, at least. Ones we reach the shore, we legionnaires did what we do best… We formed up. Only 3 strong, but strong none the less. We walked towards the town, slower then the Linowans. We got there, and Harkon guided us through a path. A soldier appeared, alongside a scholar. I was the first to react, my spear barely missing. He counter attacks, and hits, but it bounced off my armor. Together, though, we made quick work of the two of them. We continue along, and spear some fleeing peasants on the way. When we reached path, where Naia and one of the shock troopers where fighting 3 soldiers. We ended up behind them. How ever, one of them managed to stab Naia in the head, as we appeared. Anger boiled up inside me, but I was able to stay in formation. For if I left formation, more would die, or so we are all trained, at least. The other Linowan managed to injure one of them. Harkon made quick work of an other, and I stabbed with all my strength, letting our a, “For Naia!”, as I poured everything I had into the launch, and killed the guard. We went about a bit more, but found no more resistance. We went back to see if there anything to loot… Myself, I was not in the mood for pillaging, but I tailed my captain, of course.
We where then set in charge of the prisoners. A woman, a child and a man. The woman cursed us, called us traitors, among other things. I was on the verge of what I could take without doing something, when Dyvim knocked her out. Myself and Harkon thanked him, for widely different reason, I think.
The sacrificing and burial was to commence. So Korr came over and picked up the child, and one by one, threw the people onto the fire. I couldn’t even bare to look. It was easy to forget, as we had gotten so close to them, but at the end of the day… They are savage barbarians. As they threw in the dead Linowans, I saluted Naia. Harkon poked me. I know why, but I couldn’t help it. She was my friend, she had sacrificed so much for me, and I tried to repay it, but… Well, as the Linowans said it: “You fought well, sister.”.
We left shortly after, there was silence on the boats, and we went to a shore to set camp. I stayed on the boat, close to Harkon and Warro. I couldn’t believe it, I mean we’re trained for this sort of thing. But, I just participated in a slaughter of an entire village. One of my friends had died. I could not have been more down. Then Warro offered me some whiskey. At first I wasn’t in the mood to humor the old men, as they clearly where expected me to chug on the whiskey. But, it felt natural to do so. It wasn’t tasty, and it didn’t help with the pain. But it did allow me to forget if only for a little bit, and I laughed, and I cried… But I don’t remember anything I said more then that, I’m embarrassed to admit. Well, my petite size is not really built to withstand such substances, I suppose. We drank ourselves to sleep, myself much sooner then my two companions, I reckon…