Agea’s Drake Hunt (Dweghom) vs. Campaign Albion (Hundred Kingdoms)
Artur opens his eyes. Above him, soft, white clouds, laden with water from the southwestern sea, float slowly over the Wasteland. They promise rain, and shelter from the oppressive heat surrounding him. He’s kneeling before a small altar made of stone, praying before it, refocusing the imperfect man. The same man that had given in to his inner demons.
It’s been a month since he had captured the rival sovereign of the nomadic hill-tribe. And what a profitable month it has been. Just the first week saw the initial investment repaid, from the travel to the supplies, and even the third-party sponsors of the expedition. The Mint was paid with the second week’s tributes, and the third and fourth week were almost all directly sent to Albion. Some of the men were sent back to make sure the money was filling the coffers correctly, and Gravin was assigned to lead the changers in this endeavor.
It’s all going surprisingly well. Maybe he can finally relax for once…
A loud crash shakes him from his ennui. The Prince stands quickly, rushing out of his personal tent, one that was fashioned in the way of the W’adrhun (but fit for a human, rather than their prodigious bulk). The crash comes again. Before him is a decently sized clay prison. It was originally made of wood and tied together by dried fibers with an open ceiling above, but taking compassion for the sweating Queen the Prince had ordered his men to put plaster over the wood, and even form a makeshift roof. For his efforts, Artur was met with silence. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, this sudden vitriol against her prison.
“Stop! Cease and desist!” Artur shouts, drawing his side-blade, and eyeing the growing bulge of a soon-to-be hole on the side of the prison. “I had thought that we reached an understanding, that you would be a compliant prisoner of war until your ransom was paid, Matriarch! Are you turning back on your word? Are you turning back on your honor?!”
“Peace, please! Peace!” Artur feels a strong pull on his desert scarf around his neck, the motion nearly choking him, but spinning him around well enough until he faced a W’adrhun girl whose height reaches his chin. She has bright, brown eyes, similar to that of the Queen, but where the Matriarch would merely gaze at you with a presence that simply deserved respect, this girl’s eyes were ones that gleamed with curiosity first and regal steel second. Apparently, she was only nine-years old.
“Can you not hear it, Chief Drakequill?” the nameless girl whispers in fear, her hands cupping the sides of the Prince’s head, her fingers pulling on his ears as if trying to open them further. “That rhythm, that awful rhythm… of War’s Disciples?” Her lips purse and her face scrunches as she tries to imitate whatever sound she heard, without using the strange but sometimes beautiful intonations that come from deep within their throats. Her sound, instead, comes from the stomach.
…It beats. Like a heart, it beats. But at a rhythm which quickens the blood, incites action. Artur once asked his mentor if he had ever lost a battle. Colonel Ector nodded slowly, then, and uttered only one word, the same that echoed with the maddening rhythm.
And then, the sound doesn’t just come from the W’adrhun girl. The sandy ground holds a beat, and it seems to grow ever stronger. Artur shouts for his men to ready themselves, everyone scrambling to equip for the coming battle beneath the roiling storm-clouds, heralding terrible omens as streaks of fury and light ripple between heaven and earth.
The Dweghom crest the dunes. Their purpose, an enigma for now… but perhaps seeking to settle a Memory with his prisoner. Or with his lineage for some forgotten slight.
In the chaos, the Prince places a dagger to the girl’s palm. He looks into her eyes, saying, “Go! Take your Queen! We’ll meet the foe here. Tell her to pay the price of honor… when we meet again.”