Agea’s Drake Hunt (Dweghom) vs. Campaign Albion (Hundred Kingdoms)
Artur opens his eyes. Above him, angry, dark clouds deliver a torrent of dust and water, the sedimentary seeping into the Wasteland. The drops are cold, harsh, chilling him to the bone. He kneels atop a deep altar made of steel and flesh, the pieces of those who paid the price for his honor. And paid until the last drop of blood so their King wouldn’t lie there with them.But a small part of him will forever rest here with their noble sacrifice.
Artur takes his favored poleaxe, removing the tip but keeping the blade, and begins to dull the edge by striking it upon the savannah earth. Deeper and wider, with progress made primarily due to the rain softening the soil, Artur prepares the burial for these young men and women – his peers, some even he recognizes from his time in the War College – who will never see their home again.
A deep voice grumbles at him. The Prince thinks it was a man, at first, until he turns to glance at the speaker – a Dweghom with brown hair and a relatively smooth complexion compared to the males he had met on occasion. ”It will be Remembered,” starts the female Elder, her eyes grim yet focused on the survivor before her as she speaks in an older dialect of the human tongue, “that a team of humans refused to remove themselves from the path of War. It will be Remembered that, for their insolence, many were slain, the rest scattered, and Aghm claimed from the weak in the form of rare ivory. One human lives to bear witness and Memory for the defeated.”
”Where is your Aghm, human?”
“…My weight is in the crest over my heart: the emblem of Albion Hold, shield of Clan Drakequill. I am a Thane.”
Her eyes ignite with blue flame for a moment at the mention of the word, before then scoffing.
“A Thane? Is that all that will be Remembered of you? Hah! Hiding behind trinkets and Clan – how little Aghm your name holds, that you should claim the strong title Thane yet shame yourself, manling!”
Artur grips his makeshift shovel and furiously glares at the Sorceress. ”What do I care about your Memories?! You want a name to ‘Remember’? Fine! Artur Drakequill!”
”A name that bears with it so little weight, it might as well be helium. But, at least, some Aghm is better than none. And so it will be Remembered, Artur Drakequill, the naive manling Thane.”
Artur clenches his teeth, pulling back his arm, and striking the earth once more. Unfortunately, in the time that he had taken to converse with his enemy, the hole had mostly been inundated with muddy water and more sedimentary.
At this point, his rage-fueled energy has expired, and the exhausted Prince sinks to his knees, head lowered, wallowing. After a moment, he feels a warmth somewhere behind him. He turns, wondering how there can be warmth while the rain had yet to relent its downpour, and cries out in dismay. The bodies are burning. Flesh and steel becoming ash by the second as a pyre of blue-white flames consume the bodies. The rain only causes the hungry fire-beast to hiss in annoyance, for nothing will stop it from its purpose while fuel is nearby to feed it.
Artur watches as the remains of the Drakenguard – heirlooms, banners, and all – are erased. For a moment, a dark thought entertained his mind: what if he brought their families to the Conclave, and held them accountable for their son or daughter’s cowardice in the expedition? Sixteen different families, all sued for the price of honor, would surely sustain Albion in her darkest hour…
”No!” Artur screams, pounding the muddy ground, ”No! No, Theos damn you! How could you think that way?! Your peers, your comrades, your friends? Is it really that much easier to make their families suffer, rather than tell them the truth?!”
The rain slowly ceases, and the fire dies without fuel. The Tempered Sorceress is long gone, taking with her a map to what would have been his next expedition to a rumored dragon’s cove by the southern coast.
The surviving troops will eventually regroup that night and find their Prince back at the camp securing the remaining loot – mostly salts, W’adrhun crafts, and a big, hidden chest full of cinnamon from a thieving soldier. When asked about the events that transpired, or the fate of the Drakengard, the usually serious young man was unusually quiet and uncharacteristically detached. All he would say was, “The expedition’s time has expired. Let’s go home”.
Something had changed in him. The court whispers that the Prince is now a King, having lost his naivety in the expedition. But those from the expedition claim something else, that Artur had faced down Death itself, and no longer feared. The truth is only know to the man himself, who no longer wore his crests openly, and would rather that everyone know him as Artur before his own lineage is said.
Thus starts the next chapter of Artur’s life as The Lion of Cammuravi, having tasted sweet victory and bitter defeat, in equal measure, in the alma mater of his career.