The March of The Vanguard

Marius woke to the dulled sound of birds as they flew overhead, seagulls no doubt, as they circled the island keep. He glanced over to find that Jade hadn’t woken him when she rose, no doubt off to her study or perhaps shadow sparring before she took to training recruits. Perhaps she knew that he needed the rest or was simply doting over him in her own small way as she often did, at least as often as he allowed it. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and splashed his face with cool water then rose and began to pull on his armor.

The faded and well worn cobblestones of Serpent’s Hold clicked beneath his plate-mail greaves as he moved through the streets towards the keep. The citizens busied themselves with their numerous tasks if only to escape the pressing reality that not so far away in Trinsic and all around the realm evil was pressing in. Trinsic was the most obvious sign, and certainly the more ominous, but recent battles in Narrow Haven to the south had proven that evil was not confining itself to the continent of Britannia. He passed Jade, leading a troop of recruits out to the training grounds, and she offered her usual smile at his passing but immediately resumed the solemn face she often wore for the recruits. He settled into a sturdy wooden chair in the meeting hall and unfurled a map of the lone islands. He began marking recent things he’d discovered, ruins, a pirate cove, several orc camps near principle, or Mythendale as the natives called it. As his eyes fell to the village of Narrow Haven he found himself wondering at the whereabouts of the seer.

Not so many nights ago, in the Sunset Tavern, he’d stormed out on him. In afterthought, and with Jade’s council, he knew now that hadn’t been so wise. Troubled as he was there was no denying what the man said but truly what could they do? They were still little more than a few seasoned veterans nursing recruits with little real mettle and lofty dreams born of a wealth of inexperience. It is true that a select few had soldiered in Britannia, but most were natives to the island looking to be free of its confining walls. Ironic given that their island location, and the sturdy walls, offered them some measure of security from the horrors that lay beyond those walls. Britannia and Calormen were absent rulers and even now they clung together out of a sense of normalcy and convenience rather than a genuine and common bond. The Lone Islands had always been a sprawling quagmire of cities looking inwards and never ascribed to anything remotely resembling a common cause. Who, or what, could he align them with that would put them to best use if not the seer and those he traveled with? When he’d pledged his blade to the Lycauem, at the end of it, he’d done little more than run important errands. Even if Lucius’ motives were genuine it had not been a fitting use of his talents. Striking out on his own again, absent his oldest comrades, hadn’t been an easy task and yet it had been entirely necessary. Make no mistake Marius did not earnestly believe that he alone could shape or save the realms. Still, his prowess in battle and immense knowledge of the monsters that walked it wasn’t meant to be confined to the purposes of a solidary group of magisters and scholars who only told half of what they knew and were never forthright with their end intent.

Always dancing on a knife’s edge and playing with forces they did not truly understand while claiming to have more wisdom than any other who walked the face of the realms. Arrogance. For all he had done, for all he had said, for as much as he tried Marius’ patience and drove him mad with his riddles the seer had never been any of those things. He did not like it, and would not prefer it, but lacking a better ‘patron’ for the time being perhaps it would be best if the Vanguard threw their shoulders behind him until they knew more of the threat they faced. When, and if, they learned what they needed to know Marius would be able to make better decisions for his newly formed Vanguard.


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