(Disclaimer: These scenes are not fully edited. They may make reference to events that no longer happened. These are for your viewing pleasure. Though most all happened in the background of the actual book.Such ‘real’ scenes will be noted as such.)
These scenes all pretty much happened in the background of the book. They were only excluded for time reasons. The book was getting too long with all this added detail.
Arylana lay on her back inside the tent. Her eyes lost in the canvas above her. Her mind was spinning. So much had happened. It was all a blur. When they’d at last found the camp, everyone was ecstatic. They’d been, almost literally, shoved into the general’s tent. The current general’s name was Mercutio. When he was told who they were he looked as if his birthday had come early.
He invited them in at once and had them sit down. Then began the longest briefing Arylana could have imagined. It seemed a lot had happened from the last time they’d been up to date on what was happening in the world.
When they’d left the king wasn’t for or against Heklis, only trying to keep his power. Now it seemed he was working for Heklis. He was still in power, but used his power to serve Heklis’s ends. His guards were his eyes and ears. The people were terrified of them. They gave out brutal and outrageous punishments.
The nation was starving. Anyone who wasn’t in one of the upper classes were poor and starving. Food was almost impossible to come by. Steeling food was a common crime. On the first offence was punished by thirty whip lashings, second a hundred whippings and four months to ten years in prison and the third death. If you were in the upper class and committed such an offence you just paid a heavy fine and went home. However if you couldn’t pay the fine, you were punished.
Taxes were high, so high no one could pay them, but the upper classes were exempt from these taxes. If you didn’t pay you had to sell one of your family members in to slavery or be killed. There were more women than men left because they were killed if they tried to defend themselves. The body count was high. At last count the general reported that at least five thousand had been killed in the last two years alone.
“Not including those who have died fighting for their freedoms,” General Mercutio said, “These are just executions and those beaten to death for displeasing a guard or one of the upper class.”
The resistance was suffering to. Their numbers were small but not because they couldn’t convince people to help them, they were just being picked off so easily.
“We don’t even risk open battle anymore.” Gen. Mercutio said. “All the battles for the last year or so have been only in defense when they attack us. We’ve tried to recover so we can rescue those who need it. We used to free whole prisons. Now if we did that we’d all be dead in a few months. We’re powerless and they know it. We need help of someone who can show us how to regroup and use what we have to get us back on our feet. Something to convince people, we can come together and fight again. We haven’t had anyone join us for a year, because they’re all afraid that we can’t protect anyone.”
“That’s why you want us.” Roxorim said.
The general nodded, “So much as a rumor that you’re on our side gathers men to us. We have a village that says they will join once they have assurance we have a Custod with us and we didn’t contact them, they contacted us. They’d heard a rumor you were alive and at once swore, if they knew this was true, they’d help. Several more villages followed; with your help we might be able to rebuild this army.” He nodded at Margorim. “We might have a real chance of starting to win this war again.”
Margorim looked at the young general. He was between Roxorim and Arylana’s age. He had deep shadows under his eyes, but an earnest glint in his eyes. This was a man born for this task, but unable to do it without the means. He really did care and was desperate for help. Arylana had a feeling that if he was told the only way to win this was to give up his post he’d do it in a heartbeat. Might even slit his own throat if he was sure it would save the people.
They agreed to help him. The general looked as if a large weight had been lifted off his young shoulders. He’d stood up at once and offered a hand.
“Thank the Father for your earnestness.” He smiled. “Come, I’ll show you our camp.”
It was small, almost piteous. There were a total of two thousand men, and this was the main army. The general said they had smaller gatherings in different places throughout the country, the largest of these being about six hundred men. Their whole resistances, all together, were only six thousand.
Six thousand, against the strongest army in the world, at least a hundred thousand strong, it didn’t seem possible. That would mean if both armies had all their men fighting in one battle it would be fifteen to one. Arylana knew that at one time the resistance was at least five times the size it was now. Not as large as the main army, but large enough to manage to be a threat. Now they were a joke.
The tents were small and shabby. They were a perfect match for the grass they stood on. You’d have to be close enough for the army to see you in order for you to know they were there. It was impressive. They were perfectly hidden. Would explain how they’d survived so long.
“How to do block against Heklis’s magic?” Margorim asked.
“Oh that’s not hard. We have a whole division of enchanters.” The general said. “You can meet their commander once we reach them. They are around the edges. They use magic to change the tents’ color so they blend in wherever we are.”
“How large is this group?” Margorim asked.
“We have only a twenty five left.” The general said. “We had almost three hundred, but most of them were killed in the last attack. We started with nearly a thousand.”