The Purpose of War

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The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:36 pm

Dusk seemed to come quickly and more and more Kressara saw how disparate these 5 soldiers were to the rest that she had seen here in this place. There was still a light in their eyes. Hope and a will to do good things for the people that they cared about. If it hadn’t been for Gowen, she likely would have gone off alone to her death. He had a knack for leadership and a kind way about him that allowed people to be relaxed and to like him. He was handsome in his studded leather armor though he wore no hemet. His shield was round but had intentions on the quadrants so he could see and hold his spear into. It was an ancient style of fighting that few people knew these days. Ancient but effective. She had never seen any of these men fight and they had never seen her. Respect was one thing, she felt she had it from these men...trust now, that was another matter.

They all huddled in the trench they led out of their forward western picket line. Kressara was behind Gowen who was at the front...no, Yearly was there just ahead of him but almost seemed to blend into the dark dirt walls of the trench. As the sounds of attack resounded over them yearly moved aside several small stakes and a couple large pickets moved easily out of his way so he could squeeze past them. Gowen held up his hand to give Yearly some distance on them and then he helped Kressara through and followed behind her.

The sound of battle was loud. Weapons clanged, bows fired and men screamed as they died. Kressara had never been in a battle and that sound was far worse than anything her mind had imagined in her dreams. As Kressara moved through the trench Haradrim ran above them in the distance to close the gaps to defend their east picket wall. They spoke in an odd language and most wore red/brown shoofas on their heads and studded leather or black chainmail with gilded helms. In the trench before her as they moved she saw a man laying down in the trench, his throat spewing blood. His hands were at his throat as he tried to hold in his life’s blood. His eyes were filled with fear and horror.

There were more men who they passed, Yearly was quite effective at keeping the enemy from giving the alarm cry. Some were like the first while others didn’t move at all, their eyes already glazing and looked at nothing. As Kressara continued on she felt the rush of wind and the sound of boots hit the mud of their trench. When she looked back Wick held a Haradrim soldier and it was all he could do to hold his mouth as the soldier struggled. “Kill him!” Wick hissed under his breath but loud enough for her to hear.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:42 pm

Kressara spent the time before dusk looking over her weapons. Her sword's edge was still sharp and she tested her bow string to ensure it was taut enough. In her belt she had two long daggers and felt prepared to take on almost anything. Finally, dusk settled upon them and they headed towards the trench. The trench was narrow and they had to walk single file. Yearly was out in front, clearing the way. He seemed to blend into the trench walls and moved quickly, but quietly. Above her, Kressara could hear the horrific sounds of the battle. It was so loud she almost couldn't think. She could hear the sounds of shouting, swords clashing, and men screaming in agony. Kressara somehow managed to push these sounds aside and remained focused on the task at hand. She knew that above them the Haradrim lurked and if they were spotted they would be sitting ducks in the trench. They needed to ensure they were not spotted. Kressara didn't realize how lucky they were until she came across the body of a dying Haradrim in the trench. Clearly he had been a victim of Yearly and Kressara stepped over him to continue walking. However, the image of the look in his eyes would remain burned in Kressara's brain for the rest of her life. They passed more dead and dying Haradirm as they continued through the trench. Kressara was starting to believe that they were going to make it through the trench unnoticed when suddenly she heard someone jump down behind her. As she turned she saw Wick struggling to hold onto a Haradrim soldier. He had his hand clamped over his mouth to keep him from sounding the alarm to their presence, but she could see his grip was failing. Up until that very moment Kressara had never actually killed anyone. She knew that that was what she was being trained to do, but she had never gone through with the act. She was surprised then when she pulled out one of her long daggers and without any hesitation slit the Haradrim's throat. Some blood splattered on her face and she watched as Wick dropped the dying Haradirm to the trench floor. She said nothing, but then turned and started to walk again, knowing that they needed to keep moving. Later in her life Kressara would go on to kill many, but she would never thirst for blood. In fact, from that day forward Kressara would kill, but would hate every moment of it.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:32 am

Eventually they all caught up to yearly and he was turned toward them and held up his hand. A makeshift wooden ladder was there along with 2 more dead Haradrim that lay over 2 pools of blood that mixed with the dirt and mud. Gowen leaned in toward her. “This is where we leave the trench, be ready with your bow,” He said. Behind them she heard the others unlimbering their weapons and Wick tested his bow string. After Yearly was satisfied that he could move without being seen he crawled up the ladder.

The sounds of battle were still loud in the air but it was coming from behind them now. Yearly crawled like a snake in the mud, 2 Haradrim who held bows were looking in the other direction. Once Kressara rose high enough onto the ladder to see him, she saw him looking at her and held 2 fingers up to his eyes then pointed ahead of him. After one more rung she saw the two men and all it would take for them to see them is a small turn of their heads. After they were dispatched, their small band ran across the muddy landscape in a Northwesterly direction.

As they jogged Kressara noticed a shift in the landscape. The ground seemed to become less muddy and more rocky. Small rocks and shale took place of dirt and she had to judge each footfall lest she land wrong and sprained her ankles. Even so her ankles hurt, the ground was uneven here and often Yearly called a halt and signalled them all to get down. Haradrim patrols were all over the place and they could run into one at any time and it only took a single arrow to kill any of them.

After several hours Gowen signalled that they rest and eat. Yearly padded back to them as they hunkered down between a couple of rock formations. Looking at them now Kressara would never guess these were the same men. Their coverings were filthy and sweat, mixed with grime covered their arms and faces. However it hadn’t diminished their demeanor it seemed. They still smiled and joked with one another as if they were still in the encampment. Gowen handed her a small parcel wrapped in some kind of waxy parchment.

“Smoked fish, try it,” he said as he sat down next to her. He balanced his shield and spear against a rock, his right knee bent as he leaned up against it. “Well that was easy,” He said softly. “Though Yearly is one of the best scouts I’ve ever seen,” He complimented.

“Sure, if he’s looking for women ya mean,” Forgus said in his deep voice. He was trying to be quiet and it all came out as a low rumble. The others chuckled and yearly quirked an eyebrow. “He’s a poet and has a way with words,” Wick said with a grin as he chewed a dried date. “What’s the word...swoon? Tell us Kressara, what does it mean when a woman swoons?” he asked.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:19 am

Kressara wiped the dead Haradrim's blood from her face and followed Yearly and Gowen down the trench. Suddenly, she spotted a makeshift ladder and she nodded when Gowen told her that they would now be leaving the trench. This was one of the more dangerous parts of their plan and Kressara readied her bow. She didn't know what awaited them at the top of the ladder, but she felt surprisingly calm. She waited for Yearly to go up the ladder first and she saw him peek over the edge. He then began to crawl in the mud and Kressara quietly began to ascend the ladder next. She slowly looked over the edge of the trench and spotted Yearly and the two Haradrim. Thankfully, they were looking in the other direction, but all they would have to do is turn. She nodded to Yearly and aimed her bow. She fired her first arrow and before the second one even knew what had happened she hit him in the back of the head. She then walked over and yanked out her arrows and slipped them back into her quiver.

The ground was uneven and rough and Kressara had to place her feet carefully or risk spraining or breaking an ankle or even her leg. Thankfully, her eyesight was enhanced due to her grandmother's pure elven blood and she could see much easier in the dark than the men. She took up a place behind Yearly and helped to guide the others in where it was safe to put their feet.

After several hours Gowen gave the signal for them to rest and eat. Kressara wanted to keep going, but she knew that they all needed a short rest and she did feel hungry. She accepted the brown parcel containing the smoked fish. She had never had smoked fish before, but it smelled good and she took a small bite. She glanced over at Yearly when Gowen mentioned him being one of the best scouts he had ever seen and she nodded in agreement. She knew that it was mostly due to him that they were alive and had made it this far. She however, couldn't help but smile when Forgus pointed out that it was only when he was looking for women. She shook her head and laughed a little when Wick asked her what the word "swoon" meant.

"How should I know? I've spent the last two years doing almost nothing else besides training. I've never swooned before."

She looked at Yearly and smiled. "So, you're a poet? I would like to hear one of your poems."

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:48 pm

The others chuckled at her words and yearly blushed and furled his brow and looked at them. “What? Poetry is how I express myself, and it ‘has’ made women swoon,” Yearly insisted. “For your information Forgus, to ‘swoon’ is to faint from extreme emotion,” he said in a scholarly fashion. “You uncouth louts!” He chided and Gowen stifled his mirth. “Well...what good is that?” Wick asked and scratched his head in thought. “That just means more work for you, havin ta carry err in all,” He said looking puzzled. Yearly sighed and shook his head and Gowen shared a joyous look with Kressara.

“Well, let me put it to you another way Forgus...Havan has made Kressara here swoon after him and she has come all this way for him,” he said and chuckled again when Kressara blushed profusely. Forgus’s eyebrows rose as did Wick’s in amazement and curiosity. “Then I guess I best learn how ta write poetry!” Forgus said and all of them broke out in muffled laughter. Forgus looked moderately offended by their laughter but Gowen slapped his shoulder in reverence.

“Oh, don’t you worry Forgus, there’s a woman out there waiting to meet you,” he said. “Yeah, and if ya pay err enough, she’ll likely do more then jus talk to ya too,” Wick said and Forgus scowled back at him. “Now now, gentlemen,” gowen said trying not to chuckle. “Finish up, we have work to do yet this day,” Gowen said and they all hastened their eating. Rikel collected all of their refuse and put it into his pack as they started out again.

This time yearly took Kressara up to step with him and he began to show her what it was to be the forward eyes of a group. He told her what to look for and how to teach her mind to recognize certain smells. She had learned much from her grandmother and mother in this regard but had never put it all into practice like this. Yearly’s mentoring was invaluable and the tenseness of the situation had only made things make more sense to her.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:18 pm

Kressara smiled and was able to relax around the guys. She could tell that each of them was a good man at heart and she admired them even more for following her out here and helping her to find Havan and his men and save them. They were risking their lives, but at that moment none of them seemed concerned about that. Her mind drifted to Havan and she hoped that he was alright. She loved him and she knew that he loved her. He had encouraged her throughout her training and had waited for her for two years. She felt he deserved better than her, but had never been able to convince him of that. She needed him to be alive... to feel his arms around her once more. They were strong, comforting arms and he made her feel that she could do anything she wanted. He had never once doubted her and had defended her against those that believed that women should not fight. She needed to find him.

After they were finished eating they cleaned up before heading out once more. Kressara was happy to walk up front with Yearly and she listened as he explained what she needed to look out for. She remained on high alert, watching and listening for anything that might be a threat to them.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:25 pm

Another hour passed that the small group passed undetected. They came across Haradrim soldiers but they managed to avoid them. On the rocky terrain they came across several dead Haradrim and Gondorian soldiers. It was a grisly scene with crows, insects and other creatures feasting on the corpses. Yearly called a halt as he bent down to turn over one of the men. It took a moment for him to recognize him but he did. As the others came up Gowen stepped forward.

“Yearly?” He asked and purposefully did not looked at Kressara. They all knew that these men had to be from his unit and Yearly nodded. “This is Nafe Lundgren and that’s Aralin Odel,” He said as he took off his helmet and wiped the sweat from his brow.

When Kressara looked at Gowen expectantly Gowen winced. “These men were part of Havan’s unit,” he said. “There are tracks that lead away from here though. There’s tracks everywhere but I still think we should turn East,” he suggested. “Toward the Haradrim Road?” Gowen said. “We should bury them,” Rikil said as he said a silent prayer for the dead. “We can not Rikil, I’m sorry,” Gowen said and clasped him on the shoulder. “Lead on Yearly,” Gowen said and looked at Kressara.


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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Mar 02, 2018 8:53 pm

Kressara felt a wave of dread come over her as the group came upon the dead soldiers. They clearly had been dead for several days and the bodies were starting to decay and there was a strong odor emanating from the bodies. Insects had swarmed the body and buzzards flew over head. Kressara feared looking at the bodies, hoping that one of them wasn’t Havan. She held her breath as she waited for Gowen to identify the bodies. To her relief Havan wasn’t among the dead, but she felt sadness for those two dead Gondorian soldiers. However, she knew that there was still a possibility that Havan was dead. But she clung to hope...she had to. She glanced at Rikil when he asked about burying the bodies. She knew there wasn’t time, but understood his reasoning. “We can inform their families upon our return,” she told him gently. “We can at least give them closure. But for now we must continue on.”

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Sat Mar 03, 2018 9:52 am

And so they did continue…

The dusty, rocky landscape seemed washed out in color. The ground was a pale brown and gray as well as the rocks that protruded up from the ground here and there and peppered the landscape. They eventually came across more men. More Dead Haradrim and more dead Gondorian soldiers. More men that had been part of Havan’s team. Apparently they had been attacking enemy scouts and patrols here but of Havan there was no sign.

Hours passed as they traveled In an Easterly direction and Yearly seemed to be following tracks though if they were Haradrim or Of their own men he could not say. Gowen noticed more and more Kressara’s urgency. He spoke little to her now as each time anyone did she only asked if they could move faster. Yearly kept their pace and cited that there were patrols everywhere. Eventually the sun began to dip low in the sky and Kressara knew they’d have to camp soon which meant arriving in time for the second attack to aid them was unlikely. As they came around a shelf of shale rock she almost ran into Yearly. As she did Haradrim soldiers pointed at her and she heard the sound of fighting behind them.

“For Gondor!” She heard Forgus shout as he plies his heavy hammer and crushed a Haradrim soldiers skull. Wick’s bow began to fire and Rikil hunkered down between the rocks. Gowen has rushed up to her and Yearly and ran past them to engage two soldiers that had ran toward them. With his shield and spear he stopped their advance and they attacked but there were archers behind them knocking arrows.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:06 am

For Kressara they couldn't move fast enough. Her urgency was plain for all to see and her smiles had faded into a grim, determined expression. She barely spoke to anyone anymore and as the sun began to get low in the sky she began to become frustrated. She knew that every moment they lost in resting was another moment that those men did not have the help they needed. She scanned the area constantly for any sign of Havan, but there was none to be seen. They came across more dead Haradrim and Gondorian soldiers, but by now Kressara was numb to them and would just step over their bodies if they were in her way. She wanted to move faster and was about to ask Yearly if they could do so when she nearly ran into him as she came around a shelf of shale rock. Looking up, she saw a group of Haradrim soldiers facing them and behind them she could hear the sound of fighting. Kressara's eyes narrowed as she prepared herself for her first real fight against the enemy. Kressara was too close to use her bow and arrows and so she pulled out her sword instead and then began to fight. Anyone watching her would have been in awe. She moved unlike a man or a woman, but like some divine being. Every movement was both graceful and deadly and the strength she possessed was incredible. She moved with the agility of a cat and seemed to sense every strike that was going to be used against her. Rarely was she on the defensive and within moments she had taken down half of the Haradrim soldiers herself.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:33 pm

Gowen didn’t think, he reacted. He stepped forward quickly and blocked an arrow meant for Yearly’s heart but then noticed movement next to him. Kressara was just there, a long, thin blade gleamed in the dim light and flashed out in front of his vision as more Haradrim ran toward them while other bows were raised. He wanted to call out to her but his voice was cut short when he saw one of them shift to take aim at her. Her movement drew him with her as she attacked he raised and shifted his shield to protect her. An arrow bounced off of his shield as he held it aloft in front of Kressara, she parried and then reposted a slash meant for Gowen’s throat. The way she moved...the control, the preciseness of her attack. He had never seen anything like that. He wasn’t certain if he could have trusted her with his life, they had never fought together but out of necessity that had been tested. She trusted him to keep arrows from her and he counted on her to keep blades from slicing into him. Gowen also used his spear to great effect now that they began to focus upon her and recognize her as the real threat. Too late though. In the span of moments 6 soldiers were down and as they ran toward the archers Wick shot arrows into them from behind their advance.

After the last man fell Yearly, Forgus and Rikil rejoined them though Forgus had an arrow in his shoulder. She saw him grit his teeth as he snapped it off. “Go!” Yearly said urgently. “More are coming, we must get east of the road!” He added. And so they ran, away from the road. They passed several bodies, more Haradrim but also 2 more Gondorian soldiers. Kressara saw movement up in the rocks just Northeast of the road. Her gaze drew more eyes and both Gowen and Wick shifted to regard the new threat defensively.

-----------

“Don’t you die on me you flaming milk drinker!” Havan said as he desperately tried to stem the flow of blood from Cassian’s neck. He had taken an arrow and blood poured from his mouth. Havan had taken one too in the side and another in the leg. They had made it to the road but it was swarming with Haradrim and they had forced them up the slope. They had made their last stand where Havan crouched over Cassian who coughed and spurted blood onto Havan’s coat. Havan was covered in sweaty grime and blood almost head to toe and he and Cassian were the last. “Tell my Tyliana...I love her,” He said as his eyes blinked close. “No! Don’t you…” he began but then heard the sound of fighting. Havan was little more than a fair archer but he picked up Cassian’s bow anyway. He would not go down without taking a few more of them! He was no easy meat! He thought angrily and then stepped bravely from the rocks and took aim at those that ran by below. He drew fletching to cheek...

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Mon Mar 05, 2018 1:27 pm

Kressara glanced over at Gowen as the fought side by side, each of them protecting the other as they continued to fight and kill Haradrim soldier. As the last one fell she looked around them at the bodies. They were all either dead or dying. Adrenaline flowed through Kressara and she felt as if she could have fought ten more. She silently thanked her grandparents for their training. She knew that without it she would have died today. She looked over as Yearly, Forgus, and Rikil rushed over to them and she saw that Forgus had an arrow in his shoulder. However, they were all otherwise alright. She wanted to keep moving and at Yearly's command that they continue on she began to run with the others off the road. Suddenly, movement caught her eye in the rocks just northeast of the road. She began to draw an arrow, but then she stopped. It was Havan! She could see he had an arrow nocked and wanted to yell out to him, but she knew it would draw attention to their location. Instead she quickly began to whistle a birds call that they would use together. It was a call and response they would use to signal that the coast was clear when they wanted to spend some time together away from prying eyes. She whistled it loud enough for him to hear and prayed he would realize it was her.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:15 am

With fire in his eyes and fear in his heart Havan aimed his arrow toward Kressara’s heart. He didn’t see a young woman, the woman he loved more than life itself. He saw a Haradrim soldier trying to kill him. The high shrill sound caught his ear suddenly but he had to strike true. He had to take one out at least and his hands shook with the effort of holding the string back. He had lost alot of blood and sweat dripped down from his forehead and stung his eyes. He loosed and the arrow whistled past Kressara’s ear and plunged into the ground beside her. Having no arrows left on his person he threw the bow itself and shifted to get behind a larger rock to his right.

Were they trying to confuse him? He knew that sound but his mind didn’t trust his senses. It was all a trick! The Haradrim were crafty and he wanted them to come up there to try and flush him out. “Come and get me you sons of a goat’s backside!” He yelled in a dry, cracked voice. Yearly and Gowen shared a look of deep concern knowing knowing now that they wouldn’t find any other survivors. Wick and Forgus took up defensive positions behind them and Gowen looked to Kressara.

“His mind is bent with the rage of war Kressara. He’ll attack us if we try and bring him down. You’re his only hope,” He said softly.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 06, 2018 7:31 am

Kressara managed to step out of the way before Havan's arrow hit her, but it just barely missed her. She glanced down at the arrow, now plunged into the ground and realized just how close she had come to being killed by the man she loved. She could tell he was delirious and alone. Her heart broke for him and she knew she needed to reach him somehow. Her mind quickly began to think and she suddenly knew what to do. She had never sung before anyone but Havan before, but now was not the time to be self-conscious. She began to sing a song that Havan had made up for her and that only they knew. She dug deep down into her soul and sang like she never had before. When she saw him look around the rock at her she continued to sing but slowly began to move up towards him. She motioned for the others to stay where they were as she continued to sing and climbed up towards the man she loved.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:15 pm

In the distance Haradrim soldiers pointed in their direction and began running toward them. “You get him, we’ll handle them,” Gowen said and smiled as he left her. It was altogether odd to hear her singing right then. Odd and also quite beautiful.

Havan drew out his dagger, it was all he had left. He spoke a silent, desperate prayer and said goodbye to the Kressara, the love of his life. His only love of his life. He was on his back hunkered down in among the rocks. In among the dead that lay all around him. Dead Haradrim and Gondorians. He clutched the dagger with both hands and then he heard it. A voice that seem to piece through the don of men yelling and the clash of steel on steel below. It was a clear, beautiful voice, one that he knew he knew well. It wasn’t often Kressara had sang for him but she had and he could never forget that voice. That lovely, beautiful voice! As she stepped up onto the plateau one of the bodies on the ground shifted to sit up. Havan’s eyes looked at her and he knew it couldn’t be a dream. It just couldn’t!

“Are you real?” He asked in a dry, croak. He was covered in dirt and sweat and blood and barely even looked like the same man. He was thin from lack of food and his lips were beyond dry and chapped from the unforgiving sun and lack of water. Tears streamed down his face as he lifted up to balance on his hip on one arm.


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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:24 pm

Kressara continued to sing, her voice rising about all else. It was the voice of a woman who loved him and always would...it was the voice of the woman who had risked death to come for him...to bring him home. As she stepped up onto the plateau and looked down at Havan she sang the last few words for him alone. The sun shone behind her, causing her to look ethereal. She felt a few tears come to her eyes as she looked at him. She had found him and she would never let him go. She slowly knelt down beside him and reached out and gently touched his cheek as the tears slipped down her cheeks.

"Yes...I'm real. I...I was so scared you were dead."

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:48 am

Havan looked down at the body next to him. It was Cassian and his eyes were glazed over and he stared blankly up into the sky. Blood covered his neck and chest. “I thought I was dead when I saw you,” Havan said. Dark patches of fresh blood were on his leggings and on his jerkin. The rest of the blood was either dried or just drying or mixed with dirt, dust and soot. He had a pain, distant look in his eyes. The look of a man who had seen his own death and had given part of his own humanity to survive. He felt her hand on his chin and she tilted his gaze up to look at her. The glow that seemed to wreath her lit up his eyes and, as if he had just come out of a stupor, he blinked and cognizance snapped back into his eyes.

With a snarl he grabbed her coat and pulled her toward him and kissed her. His lips were rough and dry and he tasted like dust and salty sweat and the smells that came to her nose were not at all pleasant. Kressara heard her companions fighting below but from where she was she couldn't see them directly.

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 07, 2018 8:03 am

Looking over Havan, she could see that he needed to get out of here quickly and back to the city. He needed medical attention, food, and rest. But he was alive. Everything else could be worked through together. She felt him grab her coat and pull her towards him and she closed her eyes as their lips met. The smell of blood, dirt, and sweat filled her nose, but she didn't care. She had her Havan again. Suddenly, she could hear the sounds of the others fighting below and she knew she needed to help them and then they needed to get out of this place. She pulled back and looked into his eyes with a little smile.

"Do you remember asking me to marry you a year ago and I asked you to wait a little longer? Ask me again when we get back to the city."

She then kissed him again and stood up. She readied her bow and drew out an arrow. She used a large boulder as a shield and took aim at the Haradirm below. She then began to fire...

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Re: The Purpose of War

Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:05 pm

ooc: new thread

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