Another novel by Nacho. For more about this story, visit Nacho's blog at:
A Call to War
The frozen winds swirled about the messenger. Winter set its fury upon the slinking form. The messenger was wrapped in a fur cloak, trying desperately to hurry through the blowing snow-drifts. Finally, it reached the black door nearly buried under the ever-accumulating snow. It slipped inside, relieved to arrive at its destination. After brushing the snow off its cloak and shaking the last chill off its body, the messenger proceeded down the torch lit stone tunnel and then entered into the barracks. A roaring fire bellowed in the middle of the room, casting strange shadows on the walls, its smoke rising up a small, round exit-hole in the ceiling. The dim light played on scaled faces and dark eyes. Strewn about the room, soldiers quietly whispered about the newly arrived messenger or pretended not to notice. Some slept, wrapped in the thin fur cloaks. None seemed ready for war...much less an invasion. Axes and bows rested on hangars along the stone walls, while their owners sipped on watered-down stew and bet on the news the messenger carried. The reptilian face searched the room quickly, sweeping back and forth. Its forked tongue tasted the air. The warchief turned from his seat next to the fire and rose to greet the messenger. "What news from Csii?" the deep raspy voice demanded. The thick lizard-like snout wrinkled in anticipation and the dark eyes gazed at the visitor relentlessly. The warchief stood an impressive four feet taller than the other reptilian warriors and his looping steel armor was covered in parts by a giant fur cloak woven from a Sanyx hide. He carried a giant halberd, an axe-spear, at his side, and he fingered it as the messenger began to speak. "The Council, led by the Chosen, declared war on the Ashtonian Empire...you are to march south to the Plains of Raida within the week. There our battalions will merge and the Chosen themselves will lead our assault on the Empire. General Halin will take control of our ground troops and General Kalin will lead our airborne and archer divisions." The Masok bowed slightly, but the warchief's eyes showed no sign of change. A short, eerie silence enveloped the barracks. The warcheif opened his mouth and let the silence linger. His tongue flickered into the air, tasting the tension present. Then a raspy sigh broke the silence and the giant Masok warrior turned to face his troops. "You heard him....TO WAR!!!" he bellowed, raising his halberd high in the stuffy air. The soldiers were instantly transformed. They immediately stood and echoed his cry. "TO WAR!!!" they yelled. The messenger disappeared back outside into the raging blizzard, journeying back to Csii, as raging battle cries emerged from the underground fortress.
BJ Vadis' Comment: "Hmm.. Escollion. What a great name. Sounds fresh."
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