Scars of WarAckar glanced nervously around, expecting to find Skrall hiding in the rocks nearby. He had expected to run into a patrol of them by now, however, there had been no sign of them so far, and no evidence that they had recently been there. Ackar had been ordered to rally some of the Glatorian troops from his fire tribe who weren't already out on missions or anything else, and go to a Skrall outpost in the northeastern part of the Bara Magna desert. They were to perform a recon mission, steal some equipment, weapons and sabotage other things in their outpost without allowing the Skrall to discover that the fire tribe was behind the mission. Ackar knew he shouldn't allow his suspicions to endanger his mission or troops. "Come on," he ordered, his commanding voice entwined with a sigh. He turned back toward the rocks ahead. It was not long before he turned his head back to face the area behind them, still searching for signs of Skrall, wary of an ambush. He noticed something a little ways to the left of the direction he and his troops had taken in order to reach the place they were currently at. "Halt!" he commanded, his voice slightly betraying his suspicion. His troops stopped, and turned to view the area he was interested in. What Ackar had noticed was a Skrall shield, sticking up out of the ground in an area that was not visible to them earlier due to the angle they had been at. The shield had slash marks through it and was dented and bent, a small chunk had been torn out of the outside edge, and some of the blades on the edge were dulled and ruined. The design on the shield was hardly recognizable. Ackar silently motioned for his eight troops to go out and move toward the place from either side, while he silently walked straight toward the spot. As Ackar approached the site, he noticed Skrall blades and armor lying about, a battered arm lying out at full length from behind a rock. Ackar wondered about how horrible it would be to have one’s arm chopped off. As Ackar attempted to determine what would have the ability to do such a thing to the Skrall while he was still approaching, he caught sight of a Skrall foot lying on the ground near a bush, he now also observed Skrall armor and weapons lying around, scorch marks from overripe Thornax fruit, and a battered and twisted blade sticking up from the other side of the small sand dune he was climbing up which separated him from the site. Ackar finally reached the top of the sand dune, and before him lay a sight that even a Rock Steed would have found revolting. He now observed that the blade which he had assumed was sticking up out of the ground, was, in truth, protruding from the marred, battered, and somewhat shredded body of a Skrall. He understood now that the arm stretched out was still connected to the devastated body of its Skrall owner. The foot, which was lying near a bush, obviously belonged to the hardly recognizable body of a Skrall, which was barely discernible from the bush in which it was buried. Ackar, out of the corners of his eyes, spied the two squads of his troops approaching, they, too, appeared shocked. Suddenly, Ackar realized that there was no sign of any armor belonging to any other tribe. Now Ackar was beyond suspicious, he knew something was up, Skrall just didn't die this way. That was a fact, they would have at least damaged their attackers enough for there to be signs that the enemy had been hurt. Ackar knew that even if the enemy had attacked from a distance, with bows and arrows or Thornax launchers, there would still be signs of the Skrall's enemy. Besides, Ackar rationalized, the scene laid out before him suggested that the enemy had attacked from close range. He peered at the area surrounding the site for footprints. It was not long before he found footprints, several sets of them, leading away from the battle site. The footprints were all Skrall's, Ackar knew that Skrall cared little for the corpses of their own kind, and he wondered if the footprints meant that remaining Skrall had gone after their enemy, however, he found only Skrall footprints, no others, which would indicate that no enemy of the Skrall had left, yet he saw no sign of any still here. Ackar considered whether or not to endanger the mission and his troops to find out what this all meant and what had gone on here. He made his decision. Ackar knew the importance of following orders, he also knew that the one who had given him orders-the Element Lord of Fire-was a power-hungry dictator. Besides that, he knew that to always follow orders to the letter was to not think for one's self, to be a mindless soldier, and, in some cases, to be the loser of the battle, or the loser of one’s life. There were always variables, and one could not always make orders which would successfully deal with each of those variables. He motioned for his troops to come over to him. "Listen," Ackar began, "I am unsure of how to tell you, but I'll do my best to be clear, I am about to disobey orders," The troops were visibly surprised, they had not expected this, not from Ackar, not in this situation. “There is something very strange going on here," Ackar began, "and I intend to learn what it is, if you want a reason for my decision which will benefit our tribe, I have come up with one, it is this; whoever, or whatever, has the ability to do this to the Skrall, would be an invaluable assistance to our tribe, or an unbelievably dangerous foe. So what do you say?" The troops appeared hesitant for a moment, then, slowly at first, they each began to agree to his proposal. Ackar was pleased, and relieved, he was unsure of what would have happened had all his troops not agreed, he only hoped none of them were planning to turn him in for his decision. He quickly led his troops forward, following the plain and obvious trail of footprints. Ackar realized that the Skrall must have left here recently, if their footprints were showing up as well as they were in the rapidly shifting sands of the desert part of Spherus Magna. The trail of footprints led straight away from the site of... of whatever had happened, and did not turn where the Skrall border did a few kio away. Ackar traveled with his troops trailing behind for almost an hour, he was beginning to believe that he should have stuck to following the orders outlined for the mission. He had decided to go on a little farther before giving up, when he heard first one of his troops shouting, "What the-" and as he turned to find what was going on, heard one of his troops murmur in awe, "Great Beings, what is th-" then out of the corner of his eye he spied a quick blur of motion, too large to be a projectile, he barely managed to notice, and a metallic clang rang out, interrupting the speaker, who immediately let forth an unnatural screech of surprise and pain. Ackar drew and swung his sword, with almost impossible speed, toward the troop who had been interrupted, to his right and behind him, knowing that from the angle he was at, he would strike whatever had impacted his fellow Glatorian. When he struck the thing, on what appeared to be its back, it went sprawling into the sand, while his troop, recovering, struggled to return to his feet. Ackar quickly placed his Thornax launcher in the hand he was holding his sword with, holding both in his right hand as he reached down with his left hand, and grabbed his fellow Glatorian by the right arm, pulling him to his feet. The thing he struck was not something he recognized, but he had no time to wonder about what it was, he heard more sounds from behind him, his other troops being attacked, he assumed, and turned to find his troops doing battle with the, things. He watched as the troop closest to him was lunged at and knocked down, by, seemingly, sand. As he gazed on with confusion, he watched the “sand” shimmer and change into another of the silver things. Their color caused him to suspect them of being ice tribe, as the Ice tribe warriors used silver as their main armor color more often than any other tribe. They had spikes all over their armor, and large claws at the end of each arm. There were four of these unknown attackers. Although their color caused him to suspect them of being ice tribe, he was unsure of whether they were or not, he didn’t believe that the ice tribe had the ability to shapeshift that way, he could tell that they hadn’t just sprung out of the sand. All this flashed through Ackar’s mind in an instant, but he had no time to consider any of it more, for his legs were knocked out from under him, sending his weapons flying away from him, and almost before he hit the ground, one of the attackers landed on his chest, its feet close together as it crouched on him, its arms held high as it prepared to bring its wickedly sharp claws down on him. He used his arms to push himself over and begin a roll sideways, knocking the attacker off of his chest. His foe quickly returned to its feet after falling onto its side in the sand. Ackar used the momentum from his roll to launch himself to his feet, and stood in a battle stance facing his opponent. His opponent did not hesitate even a second before charging at him, claws slashing. Ackar dove to his left for his sword, grabbed it, and rolled onto his back, correctly anticipating that his attacker would jump on him. His foe landed directly on the point of the blade, which pierced through a weak part of its left chest armor and slid through its body, disabling some of its inner parts before penetrating the back of its armor and protruding from its back. Ackar began to breathe deeply, regretting that yet another life had been lost in this war. Ackar glanced at the fighting around him, and realized that he should help his warriors. Curious, though, Ackar thought, that he-or she-didn’t cry out, or even speak at all, even once. Ackar knew, though, that there would be time to study these strange new foes and contemplate their strange behavior later. Suddenly, the eyes of his enemy, which he had thought dead, snapped open. Ackar was startled, and it raised its clawed hands to bring them down upon his face. Its left arm only raised about halfway up, though, then halted abruptly. When its arm stopped, Ackar felt his blade twist in his hand, and heard metal scraping on metal. That was when Ackar realized that the thing wasn’t alive, of course, that explained everything, no blood, no speaking or crying out in pain, it wasn’t dead after being stabbed through, the arm had stopped halfway up because his sword had wedged into some of its internal workings, and now it was going to kill him. The thing turned its head to look at its arm, and although it was a robot, it seemed almost confused. Ackar made use of the delay and punched the thing in the face while grabbing its right arm with his left hand. The robots head whirled to face him, and Ackar saw in its eyes only blackness, with an occasional flicker of light. Ackar had only a moment to see its eyes, because it brought its left arm down on his right shoulder, at one of the only few angles still available to it with that arm, knocking his arm back to the ground. He grunted as it struck his shoulder, then tightened his grip on its arm. It pulled its arm as far back as Ackar’s reach would allow, and Ackar began to try to pull it back toward him with all his strength, trying to stop the robot from freeing its arm. Suddenly, the robots arm shot down towards him like lightning, all he saw was a flash then gave a gurgling gasp as he felt the dual claws pierce his upper chest and neck. The Creature withdrew its claws from his body, and Ackar immediately grabbed at his own neck, gasping for breath. The robot, noticing the movement, instantly slashed his face, and he managed to restrain a cry of pain, though he dropped his sword. As soon as Ackar dropped his sword, the robot turned away and leaped at one of his Glatorian ten feet away. Amazingly, the thing cleared the distance, and knocked the fighter over into the sand. Ackar was confused about the things’ strange behavior, but he wasn’t about to complain. He remained still for a moment, to ensure that it was gone, staring straight up into the bright, hot sky, and thinking, It won’t be long until this isn’t just an act. Ackar gave quick, gurgling gasps and held his neck wound closed while pulling himself away from the fighting with his right arm. One of his troops, a fighter called Perditus, who was not very skilled at hand to hand fighting as he was training to use vehicles in battle, rushed over to him. “Fighting these things is worse than getting cornered by a pack of Iron Wolves in a blizzard!” he exclaimed, panting. Ackar didn’t even try to reply, and Perditus noticed his wounds. “No…. you…. Here! Have these.” Hurriedly, Perditus pulled some bandages from the pack he wore on his back, and handed them to Ackar. Ackar applied some of the smaller ones to his face and also bandaged his chest, but continued to hold his neck. Ackar managed to rasp out, “Neck… too bad… bandage, useless.” Perditus reached into his pack again, and retrieved some tools. “Let go,” Perditus ordered, “I may not have been trained as a medic, but I know a bit about Glatorian anatomy.” Upon finishing, Perditus glanced around to ensure that they were still relatively safe, only three Glatorian remained standing, and only the robot Ackar had fought appeared to have been downed, which left three still fighting. Perditus decided not to break this news to Ackar, and turned back to him, waiting for an answer. Ackar hesitated for a moment, then released his neck. Perditus could see that the damage was bad, and that Ackar would be out of the war for at least a month, maybe two, but for Ackar’s sake, he tried not to show it. He leaned down toward Ackar and moved some of the organic tissue under the armor with one of his tools, one shaped rather like a small metal stick, with the end bent diagonally. Ackar winced but did not cry out, besides, it would have been painful and difficult to do so. Perditus finished, then smeared some adhesive onto a small metal plate he had retrieved from his pack, and pushed it gently onto Ackar’s neck. He held it there for a second, then let go of it, and wrapped a bandage around Ackars neck. “I moved some of the internal parts of your neck so that you won’t die, but the damage is bad enough that in about one day, the parts I moved will have been pushed back and you will be dying again, at which time you will have a little less than an hour to live.” Perditus explained, “However, you have a day before that happens, and until then, while it may hurt, your neck should remain in survivable condition.” “Great.” Ackar croaked. Perditus then glanced around at what was left while helping Ackar to his feet. “They’re… robots.” Ackar gasped out. Perditus did not question him, he trusted Ackar, even if sometimes he wasn’t sure how he knew things. One of the three Glatorian he had noticed earlier had been killed, while none of the three robots he had watched appeared to have been stopped, and were now pursuing the other two Glatorian, who were fleeing toward himself and Ackar. Perditus worried that his efforts to save Ackar would be pointless, and that they would all die. One of the troops had no weapons, apparently believing that he stood a better chance of surviving if he ran instead of fought. The other soldier, however, still held a Thornax launcher; he fired it now, back at his wordless pursuers, then threw it at them, apparently having no more ammunition. Strangely, indeed, one of the strangest and most unusual things Perditus had ever seen, or ever would see was that, immediately after the Glatorian released his weapon, the things stopped, just stopped short, and began wandering about, walking off into the distance. Perditus, Ackar, and the other two Glatorian stared after them in bewilderment. “Well,” Began Ackar, “I suppose there is no end of surprise, and death, as long as this war plagues us.” Perditus nodded in agreement. Ackar turned and began trudging toward Vulcanus. Ackar stumbled and fell. Perditus helped him to his knees. “I can make it,” Ackar rasped out. “No,” Perditus ordered, “Don’t push yourself too hard, we won’t let you,” Perditus finished, glancing at both of the other Glatorian, who nodded in approval. “But I-“ “No,” interjected Perditus, cutting off Ackar. Ackar sighed, nodding. Ackar knew he was in no position to argue, and besides, Perditus was right. Ackar lay back in the sand, falling deep into sleep. Perditus took charge. “Alright,” He began, “We can’t go towards Skrall territory, he wouldn’t survive, none of us would. The Skrall would be glad we came, they would be grateful for such an easy chance to kill some of their foes, and especially Ackar, one of the Fire Tribe’s best field commanders.” “Then what do we do?” inquired one of the other Glatorian. “Well,” Perditus thought a moment before continuing, “The Skrall might follow the footsteps away from the site where we found the Skrall bodies, which would lead them here, so we can’t stay here. Hmmm, well, we’ll have to stay the night out here, that’s for sure, we’ll never make it back to the village in time, so I suggest we get as far as we can toward Vulcanus as possible before dark.” “What about him?” questioned one of the Glatorian, gesturing toward Ackar. “We’ll take turns carrying him,” answered Perditus, “two of us will carry him at a time.” The other two troops nodded their assent, then they both picked up Ackar and began following Perditus through the desert. Perditus led them towards the Fire Tribe village for hours, staying kios away from the Skrall borderline. Darkness began to envelop the desert, and Perditus began to help carry Ackar, giving one of the Glatorian a break. Suddenly, the sand around them erupted, this time, however, it wasn’t the sand that lunged at them, but the beings hidden beneath it. Six Sand Tribe warriors flung themselves at the group, and Perditus barked out, “Set down Ackar!” The Glatorian helping carry Ackar obeyed, and Perditus and the other two Glatorian formed a defensive triangle around Ackar’s sleeping form. The Sand Tribe warriors began slowly walking around the triangle. Perditus knew that they couldn’t survive this fight; they had no weapons, and were hopelessly outnumbered. He knew that their only chance of survival was to outwit their foes. Perditus raised his hands in surrender, and when the other Fire Tribe Glatorian glanced at him quizzically, he motioned for them to do the same. Slowly, both the other Glatorian raised their hands in surrender. “Halt!” one of the Sand Tribe warriors, obviously the leader, shouted. His troops immediately stopped walking around Perditus and the other Fire Tribe Glatorian, and stood, weapons ready, surrounding them. The Sand Tribe warrior who seemed to be the commander strode over to Perditus, assuming, because he had ordered other Fire tribe warriors to surrender, that he was their commander. “Are you the commander of these Glatorian?” he questioned Perditus. “No, he is,” Perditus replied, gesturing to the sleeping Ackar. “He needs medical attention within the next 19 hours.” The Sand Tribe commander answered, “That could be true, or it could not, we don’t like this war any more than you or anyone else, but I can’t just allow you to leave on your word alone.” “So what are you going to do with us?” Perditus inquired nervously. “Hmmm,” the Sand Tribe commander contemplated the situation for a moment, then continued “we will escort you to our camp, it is nearby, there, your friend can be looked over by our medic, and you will be our captives. I think that while you are enjoying our hospitality, you can repay us with information, whether you like it or not.” Perditus glared at the commander, however, he didn’t object, he was in no position to make requests, but he had no intention of betraying his tribe, whether this Sand Tribe commander liked it or not. “You two!” the Sand Tribe commander shouted, pointing at two of his warriors, “you walk behind us, keep an eye on our prisoners. And you!” he called, this time gesturing to one of his remaining Glatorian, “you walk on the right of the prisoners, while you!” he ordered, gesturing to yet another Sand Tribe warrior, “walk on the prisoners left. And you,” he pointed toward his only remaining troop, “will have the privilege of accompanying me in leading the prisoners.” Perditus could already tell that this commander was very self confident, thought a lot of himself, and was making sure that everyone knew who was in charge. Perditus imagined that it was likely that the Elemental Lord of sand and this Sand Tribe commander would have leadership issues, they probably already had. “Oh, pardon my manners,” the Sand Tribe warrior began, turning to face Perditus as his troops moved into position, “I’m already taking you captive and I haven’t even introduced myself, my name’s Kabrua, now move it!” Perditus and one of the other Fire Tribe Glatorian lifted Ackar and began to walk forward, following the remaining Fire Tribe warrior. A few minutes later, Ackar stirred, and Perditus quietly warned him not move, as that would let the Sand Tribe troops know that he was awake. Ackar waited silently for a minute, turning his eyes to check the situation. After a few minutes, Ackar whispered to Perditus, “Tell the Glatorian holding my feet to launch me up and over you on my signal.” Perditus nodded, then whispered to the Glatorian ahead of him, “I want you to carry Ackar’s feet now, and, on his signal, throw him up and over me.” The warrior’s eyes widened, but he didn’t question Perditus. The troop stepped back to take the other Glatorian’s place holding Ackar’s feet. Ackar then quietly questioned Perditus, “What are you doing?” Perditus responded in a whisper,“I thought this would be less suspicious.” Ackar waited silently for a moment, then shouted in a voice cracked because of his wound, “Now!” The warrior holding his feet then launched him up and forward, he spun in the air and landed on the face of the Sand Tribe Glatorian accompanying Kabrura in the lead, just as he was turning around. The Sand Tribe warrior he had landed on was knocked unconscious, and Ackar snatched his weapons, a Thornax Launcher and a sword. Kabrura, however, was not so easily downed, as Ackar grabbed the fallen troop’s weapons, he swung his blade at Ackar, catching him in the chest and sending him stumbling backward. Perditus and the other Fire Tribe warriors acted instantly, catching the Sand Tribe troops off guard. Perditus tackled the Glatorian on the left side of the group, while the Glatorian who had thrown Ackar attacked the one on the right. The remaining Fire Tribe Glatorian fought hard to defend against the Sand Tribe warriors in the rear, but couldn’t hold out for long. Perditus had knocked the Glatorian he had tackled to the ground, and they now struggled in the sand. Perditus grappled for the Glatorian’s hatchet, both he and his foe knew that they were at too close range to even try to use the Thornax Launcher, neither of them would be able to get in a good shot, and even if they could, they would hurt themselves as well, being so close. Perditus had broken the Thornax Launcher, however, not wanting his enemy to try to stand and get some distance then take a shot. Perditus pulled at the hatchet, and the Glatorian kicked him in the chest. Perditus had the wind knocked out of him, lost his grip on the hatchet, and the warrior drew back for the strike. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Ackar stumbled back and tripped over Perditus, the Sand Tribe troop had only a moment to glance upward at Ackar before Ackar landed on him, knocking the hatchet from his hand. Perditus grabbed the hatchet. Ackar stood, and the soldier he had fallen on turned to look up only to find the handle of the hatchet flying down toward his face before a sharp pain and then only blackness. The Glatorian who had thrown Ackar was struggling to face his combatant. He had charged his opponent, however, the warrior he had attacked had great reflexes, and he was now on the losing end of a debate with frighteningly sharp axe blade. He ducked under another swing of the axe, hearing it whistle through the air as it passed over him. He came up then, trying to give his foe a strong uppercut, only to receive a knee in the stomach, an elbow to the face, then a punch that sent him sprawling in the sand. After landing hard in the sand, he opened his eyes to find the double-bladed axe streaking down toward him. He tried to scramble out of the way, but he was out of breath and weak, the axe blade sliced through his armor, digging into his left thigh, and he let out a cry of pain. The Glatorian lay stretched out on the ground, as the Sand Tribe warrior raised his axe for the final blow. Ackar turned to find Kabrura running toward the Fire Tribe troop who was taking on two other fighters, and was just about to go and help, when he noticed one of his fellow soldiers laying on the ground, an axe cut on his leg, with his opponent raising an axe over him. Ackar sprung forward, arms outstretched, ready to tackle the Sand Tribe warrior. He shouted, “Stop!” as he sprinted forward. The Sand Tribe Glatorian heard Ackar’s shout, but didn’t even glance up, he swung down with all his might, as the troop he swung his axe at cried out for mercy. The axe blade crashed into the Fire Tribe warrior’s chest with a “Clang!” then a sickening “Crunch!” and the warrior’s cries died along with him. Ackar crashed into the Sand Tribe warrior, but not very effectively, he seemed to have lost speed. Ackar had just witnessed the death of one of the soldiers under his command, the war had not been going on for long, and he was unused to the death of his troops. He was especially unused to trying to save his warriors, and failing. He blamed himself for the death of that Glatorian, he had been too slow, and now the death of that troop was on him. He stopped for a moment, too late to save the warrior, then, suddenly, he was knocked back to reality, and onto the ground, by the fist of the Sand Tribe Glatorian he had attacked.Perditus, meanwhile, had watched Ackar leap forward and had wanted to follow, but knew that the Fire Tribe warrior Kabrua was advancing on needed help. He struggled to his feet and charged after Kabrua. As he neared the Sand Tribe Commander, he raised his weapon. Suddenly, Kabrua, hearing Perditus, spun around and gave him a slash to the face with his sword. Perditus’s feet kept running forward even after he had been sliced in the face, and he fell onto his back. He was gasping for breath, his face was torn up, his metal armor fragmented, even shredded in some areas. Kabrua towered over him, holding his sword at the ready. Perditus, his left hand on his face, blocking his left eye, struggled to his feet. Kabrua laughed, and kneed him in the chin, knocking him back to the ground. Kabrua raised his sword to stab it into Perditus. Perditus realized that, although he usually preferred to fight honorably, his life was on the line, and honor wasn’t worth his life. He flung sand up into the face of his enemy, while scrambling to stand. But, unfortunately, Kabrua was used to such tricks, and brought the blade down without hesitation. Perditus felt an immense pain shoot through his right thigh, and cried out. He could no longer feel his leg. He dropped to the ground in a heap, pinned down by Kabrua’s blade, which had pierced straight through his leg and stabbed into the ground. The world began to darken, and Perditus turned to look at Kabrua as everything began to spin. He managed to find him standing, chuckling, just before the world went black. Ackar found himself in a very difficult situation, he was going to die. After being knocked to the ground, he had managed to trip his opponent, and now they both lay on the ground. His disadvantage was that his opponent was holding an axe, and he wasn’t. He quickly scrambled back, away from the Sand Tribe warrior, and his foe stood to his feet and followed. Ackar, noticing the Sand tribe Glatorian coming, leaped to his feet and stood ready. His enemy swung his axe horizontally, and Ackar ducked, then punched his opponent in the stomach, followed by a swift right-handed uppercut to the Glatorian’s jaw. His adversary was knocked to the ground and Ackar took advantage of the chance, seizing the axe while his enemy fell. Ackar moved like lightning, swinging the axe as his enemy hit the ground, and knocking him unconscious with a strong smack with the eye of the axe. He spun around, surveying the battle. Perditus had apparently just been knocked to the ground by the brutal Kabrua, and the other Fire Glatorian was being beaten by the remaining two Sand Tribe troops. Ackar made the quick decision that Perditus’ need was the least urgent, and rushed toward the other Fire Tribe Glatorian. He tackled one of the Sand Tribe Glatorian from behind, knocking him to the ground. He began to sit upright on the Glatorian, but received a strong bash in the face from the shield that the other Sand Tribe warrior held. He was knocked to the ground, but the Fire Tribe Soldier, regardless of his wounds, leapt into the legs of the Sand Tribe Troop who had hit him, knocking him down. Ackar sat back up, and the Glatorian he had tackled leaped toward him, sword at the ready. Ackar saw what he had to do, as his enemy flew through the air. He didn’t want to, but he wasn’t going to let himself be killed. As his enemy flew toward him, Ackar waited a split second until his foe was so close he wouldn’t have time to react, then, he flung his foot out like lighting, turning his head away at the same time. He heard the clang of his foot impacting the fighters’ face, the snap of the warriors’ neck, and the thud of his carcass falling to the ground. Ackar then turned to the left, toward the other Sand Tribe soldier, not looking toward the body of the warrior he had just killed. The soldier he had turned towards had an expression of rage on his face, because one of his fellow soldiers had just been killed, Ackar guessed. The Sand Tribe warrior kicked the weak and wounded Fire Tribe troop away, then stood, and advanced on Ackar. Ackar scrambled up, but it was too late, the warrior stood over him, hatchet in his left hand, shield in his right. He glared at Ackar for a moment, as Ackar waited for him to make the first move, then slammed the bottom of his shield into the ground so hard it dug in, while at the same time falling into a crouch behind the shield and swinging his hatchet down toward Ackar. Ackar, surprised by this move, scrambled awkwardly away, and was caught in the left arm by the hatchet. He cried out, and grabbed the hatchet with his right hand. He pulled the weapon, but his enemy was stronger, as he discovered when he was roughly jerked face first into the shield. He pushed himself away from the shield, but his foe ripped the shield out of the ground and kicked Ackar in the face. Ackar scrambled back, struggling back to his feet. As he stood, he saw the blur of the hatchet flying toward his neck, there was no time to move, but an object already in motion suddenly appeared in front of his neck, and the hatchet hit it. Ackar heard the object emit a cry, and watched as the object, to fast a moment ago to recognize, fell to the ground. It was the Fire Tribe warrior, he had sacrificed himself for Ackar. The hatchet protruded from the right side of his head, and Ackar stood for a moment, realizing what had just happened. Ackar then realized that the fight wasn’t over, and decided to ensure that the warrior hadn’t died in vain. The Sand Tribe soldier was also standing in shock at what had happened, about three feet from Ackar. He kicked the warrior in the left side of the head, knocking him to the ground. Ackar lunged toward him, but he raised his shield, and Ackar went sliding off of it, over the Sand Tribe troop and onto the ground. He stood and spun around, as his combatant did the same. They circled each other, then Ackar, near the fallen Fire Tribe Glatorian, pulled the hatchet out of his helmet, which it was still embedded in. His foes’ eyes narrowed at this action, and Ackar readied himself. His enemy charged forward, shield ready. Ackar dropped to the ground as his enemy was about to impact him, tripping him, then he leaped to his feet, and jumped and landed on the back of his enemy, knocking the wind out of him. As he drew back the knife, about to knock his foe unconscious with the handle, the warrior rolled over, and he was knocked to the ground. He landed roughly in the hot sand. His enemy smacked him with the shield, and he was momentarily stunned as his enemy reached for the hatchet. He recovered as the knife was snatched from his hand, and brought his left leg around, delivering a strong kick to the back of his combatants’ head. The Sand Tribe warrior was knocked unconscious, and fell to the ground. Ackar breathed heavily, then, remembering Perditus, grabbed the hatchet and shield. He stood to his feet, turning back toward Kabrua and Perditus. Perditus was lying on the ground, seemingly unconscious, and Kabrua was surveying the outcome of the battle. Ackar knew that Kabrua would win if they fought. Kabrua was visibly stronger, and Ackar had become tired and wounded from fighting, while Kabrua appeared to have been effected very little by the battle, and Ackar wondered if he had even fought anyone besides Perditus. Kabrua spotted him and grinned, standing ready for the impending battle. Ackar groaned inwardly. He wasn’t ready for this, he knew he would lose, he had to find an advantage. He quickly scanned the area, trying to find something that would give him an overwhelming advantage over Kabrua. He suddenly spotted a loaded Thornax launcher near where Perditus had been fighting before he battled Kabrua. He realized, disappointedly, that the Thornax launcher was broken. Kabrua relaxed his stance, and Ackar focused his attention on him, wondering what he was doing. Kabrua turned around, bent over, and lifted Perditus’ unconscious form off the ground, and held him up, with his sword pressed to his neck. Ackar realized that Kabrua wasn’t even going to fight, he was just going to force him to surrender by threatening Perditus. Kabrua shouted, “I’ve heard about you, Ackar, a rising general, constantly improving your skills, well, improve them now! Drop your weapons, or your friend will die!” Ackar sighed, and dropped his weapons in resignation. Kabrua smiled, and called, “Now go and rouse the surviving Sand Tribe warriors.” Ackar turned toward the closest living Sand Tribe soldier, unconscious in the sand, and began walking toward him. As he began tapping lightly on the Glatorian, he glanced over at Kabrua, and noticed Perditus’s eyes light up, as he regained consciousness. Ackar hid the emotion of hope and excitement that exploded within him as he turned back to the Glatorian he was awakening. Ackar began tapping the sand behind the soldier, hoping Kabrua wouldn’t notice his treachery, until it was too late.Perditus awoke with cold, sharp steel pressed against his throat. He didn’t move for a minute, trying to understand what was going on and why he was no longer on the ground. “Hurry up” he heard Kabrua shout from right above his head. He realized he would have to act fast if he was going to get out of this situation. He lifted his arms and threw Kabrua over his shoulder, and as Kabrua flew over him, he snatched the sword from his hand. Kabrua landed in the sand, winded, and before he could react, Perditus had brought down the pommel of the sword down on his forehead, knocking him unconscious. Ackar rushed over to him, calling, “Yes! Now let’s get out of here, before they wake up!” Perditus nodded, and they ran away, in the direction of Vulcanus. A few hours later, Perditus and Ackar, who had begun so enthusiastically on their journey back to Vulcanus, were struggling just to remain on their feet. Ackar stopped walking, and collapsed into the sand. Perditus collapsed next to him, wheezing, “We- we can’t stop now, we don’t have far to go.” “I know,” Ackar responded between gasps, “reach into my pack, I brought an extra Thornax in case we ran into trouble and our troops needed more ammunition. Perditus pulled out the Thornax, then asked, “What do I do with it?” Ackar replied, “You still have Kabrua’s sword, right?” “Yeah.”“Throw the Thornax into the sky as high as you can, then, throw the sword up and hit it, setting it off, which should signal a Fire Tribe patrol.”Perditus, too weary to respond, readied himself, then threw the Thornax into the air, he quickly threw the sword up after it. Unfortunately, he missed the Thornax, and he scrambled to catch it before it impacted the ground, as that would probably set it off. He remembered just in time to dodge the sword, and stepped out of the way as it stabbed into the ground. He tried once more, and this time it worked, and he collapsed on the ground, unconscious. Ackar managed to retain consciousness long enough to see a Fire Tribe patrol come hurrying over moments later, then he fell into the black pit of unconsciousness. Days later, Ackar and Perditus were sitting outside a military hospital in Vulcanus, their wounds bandaged. Ackar had learned much from his experience, disobeying orders was only to done to save a life, and, unfortuneatly, his actions had not been done to save any lives, and had eventually led to the loss of some. Ackar would always remember this experience, and applied to himself from then on, which made him a better warrior, leader, and being overall. “These are some pretty serious wounds,” Perditus remarked, “The scars of war everyone who survives will bear.”“No,” Ackar replied, staring off into the distance. Ackar had learned much from his experience, disobeying orders should only be done to save a life, and, unfortuneatly, his actions had not been done to save any lives, and had eventually led to the loss of some. Ackar would always remember this experience, and applied it to himself from then on, which made him a better warrior, leader, and being overall. Perditus turned and looked at him quizzically.“No, Perditus, these will heal, even if they leave marks. The true scars of war, are the memories.” ____________________________________________________________________________________Did you enjoy it? What were the good things about it and the bad? How could it be improved? Feedback is appreciated, and thank you for reading.
Edited by Jowm, Jan 13 2012 - 04:34 AM.