Sunday, April 13, 2014

Legends of War: For the People

Iuna Fuories did not know what to do. He had been born in Atikus and raised as to be one of the three hundred Rod-Bearers: slaves with the task of protecting the citizens from themselves. All they had to do was capture the odd thief, debtor, runaway, and murderer, while also protecting the People's Council from any non-citizen. The Rod-Bearers had been preforming this task since the creation of Atikus, though Iuna had only witnessed twenty of those years. The Rod-Bearers existed only to keep the peace in Atikus.

They had never been trained to deal with this.

On the day of the People's Council met, a careless, bribed, drunken, or murdered gatekeeper had left the gate open for an invading army to. Iuna had barely been out of eyesight of Atikus, so he had no idea who these foreign men slaughtering their way through the streets were. Their clothes were of foreign designs, and many of their outfits seemed to be an amalgamation of crudely woven cloth and repaired armor pieces. Most of them had a strange laughing motif  adorning their armor, banners, and bodies, but their harsh tongue made it impossible for Iuna to be sure if they were just a far away city-state or a race other than pale skinned Stygians. What Iuna and the other Rod-Bearers did understand was that it was their duty to protect the citizens.

Clothed only in a simple identification robe, and armed with only a copper blunted rod, the Rod-Bearers set about the task of defending the people. Whenever they engaged the enemy, they were summarily slaughtered. While they did manage to knock out the occasional enemy, most of them failed to land a single blow before being overwelmed. Still, they managed to protect the citizens by drawing the raiders attention away. This allowed the People's Council to escape to their homes, while skirmishers and other auxiliaries began peppering the enemy.

Of all the Rod-Bearers, Iuna was making a decent enough account of himself, managing to knock out at least seven enemy soldiers, with the auxiliaries finishing them off. Following Iuna's resolve, the other Rod-Bearers also began to attract auxiliaries to their positions, and eventually, it was possible to discern where the battle lines were. Soon, lesser Hoplites began smashing into the combat, and the enemy's resolve began to falter. Iuna himself could not contain his feelings of excitement as the Hoplites began slaughtering the enemy, with their lesser weapons breaking against the Hoplites' superior armor. For an instant, Iuna locked eyes with one of the Hoplites, from house Turphine if he remembered correctly, and Iuna immediately swelled with pride.

A single blow shattered Iuna's pride.

All it took to fell the Hoplite was a single blow. There was no way he could have survived the blow either, as it very neatly parted him in half. Worse still, the attacker hadn't even acknowledged the existence of the shield, and this too was neatly severed. Stunned, the Hoplite desperately clung on to life as his attacker simply allowed him to fall. With an introduction as well pronounced as this, Iuna saw the Hoplite's assailant.

It was a monster.

It stood a good foot taller than any of its minions, and was clad in a full suit of plat armor painted by countless battlefields. Even with all the buildup, the original designs of the armor somehow seemed even more pronounced, with spikes adoring the joints; skulls the hands, feet, and helm; and the laughing face born proudly on its chest. In it's left had was a round shield bearing the stretched of some luckless victim, oddly free of scars, while the right hand spouted a large, rounded axe, with a continuous edge connecting the two sides. All it had to do to defeat the nearby soldiers was fix its gaze upon them. When Iuna had snapped tto his senses, he realized that he was alone with the monster.

True, the other combatants were still there, but most of the raiders were now chasing down the fleeing Stygians. Even if Iuna wanted to run away, the tide of raiders behind him would have made it impossible. But Iuna did not want to run away: he could not let this thing attack the citizens. He could not let other Hoplites meet the same fate. Without remorse, Iuna shifted his stance and prepared to lung.


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