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The Battle of Corwyn Field

Jepeth

Journeyman
Governor
About.

Twenty.

Years.

Ago.

The fields outside of Skara Brae were burning. Flying spells had caught the grasses on fire and it spread in every direction igniting the surrounding buildings and trees. Ever since the Split everything green here had faded. What remained was dry, dead, and very combustible. Adding to the cacophony was air thick with smoke and screams. The howls and cries of the living and the undead clashed and the shouts of those trying to organize the resistance were barely understandable.

At the edge of the largest field on a pile of his victims and crew was an undead abomination. Meat hung from his bones haphazardly and the stench of his rot was enough to over-power the smoke in the air.

Above him stood a woman. Her face was grim and focused. The pink-tinged robe she wore was singed and her left arm bleed freely. In her right hand she pointed a large red cutlass down at the abomination who tried to squirm away from its sharp point.

“It's over, Bloodeye” she said in a thick Skara Braen accent.

The monster cackled.

“I been cut down before,” it gargled. “It didn’t take then and it shant be taking now!”

“Ye didn’t face us before,” she replied. The people, her people, standing aside her cheered.

“Yer abandoned,” it laughed. “Set adrift in this realm o’horrors! Hide in yer fantasy there or die here, it makes no difference. Ye’ll never find peace. None of ye will!”

The monster cackled and spit. Black ooze dripped from its bone teeth.

“And I will,” it began “come ba--!”

The woman slashed the sword laterally and the monster’s skull-head came off.

All around the remaining undead fell over, limp. The woman looked around her burning fields and then west towards the island of Skara Brae. Smoke rose from it in the distance.

“Bury this thing,” she said to a bleeding young man near her. “He doesn’t get to touch the sea again.”

She looked down at the red cutlass in her hand.

“Get this away from here,” she said to another.

“Forever.”


***

It was night and Threepwood and Tejnik were alone deep in the Spiritwood. At Jepeth’s orders Tejnik opened a moongate and drug Threepwood through right before the King’s Personal Guard showed up. Neither men knew what happened to Jepeth after.

They sat around a magically created campfire. Tejnik had conjured the flame expertly and Threepwood had noticed that its light only seemed to extend outward a few feet. Move too far away from it and it produced no visible light or heat. Threepwood had always found this mage a bit of a bootlicker and very annoying but he had to recognize his deep magical talent.

“And then what happened?” asked Tejnik.

“That be about it,” replied Threepwood. “She cut off Martin Bloodeye’s head with his own sword and the attack ended.”

“How do you know all this?” asked Tejnik.

“I,” began Threepwood. He looked down at the fire uncomfortably.

Tejnik noticed Threepwood’s usual bravado missing in the story he was telling.

“I was there,” said Threepwood. “At his end.”

Tejnik raised an eyebrow.

“You must have been,” Tejnik did some quick math in his head. “Twelve?”

The pirate nodded. “Jepeth and his Ma and Da had already fled to the new lands,” said Threepwood. “Most people in ‘Brae had by then. There weren’t enough of us left to defend the Corwyn fields.”

“No one in the Felucca realm came to aid?” asked Tejnik.

Threepwood snorted and shook his head.

“No one cared,” he replied with an edge in his voice. “Everyone followed that bloody King to his fantasy realm and left the rest of us to rot.”

He reached down with a stick and poked the magically created fire.

“We lost two-thirds ‘o the remaining ‘Braens that day,” said Threepwood quietly. “The Corwyn farming community pulled back to the island and in a few years dwindled to no one.”

“She asked me to bury the Bloodeye,” continued Threepwood. “I put him in the ground me-self.”

“That was a lot for a young man to experience,” said Tejnik with compassion in his voice.

Threepwood shrugged. “That was a bit of a year if ye remember,” he replied. “The Split, the Factions, Jou’nar.”

Threepwood instinctively shivered at that name.

“It’s no wonder the record of the attack was damaged,” said Tejnik. “The scroll Jepeth and I examined mentioned Bloodeye was probably tossed around for months during all the strife.”

“Ye should have just came to me first,” said Threepwood.

Tejnik smiled. “It’s not like you were volunteering your services to your cousin,” he said.

“It don’t matter,” said Threepwood. “If the damn Mages and the King will just get out of our way we ‘Braens will put him back in the ground again.”

“This situation is different” began Tejnik. “A living person has bonded himself to an undead. It goes way beyond regular Magery or even the normal forms of Necromancy.”

“It’s that damned comet,” said Threepwood.

“Maybe,” replied Tejnik. “But the warning the Wisp gave Jepeth suggests there’s some greater danger happening.”

Threepwood raised an eyebrow.

“What warning?” he asked.

Tejnik opened his mouth to reply but then closed it. He remembered his promise to Jepeth.

Threepwood stared at Tejnik.

“Flunky,” said Threepwood with a hard edge in his voice. “What dangerous warning did some bloody flyin’ lantern give my cousin?”

Tejnik looked away from Threepwood’s gaze down at the campfire. It was a brilliant orange flame.

“It spoke of a sacrifice,” replied Tejnik.
 
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