Vladek sighed. Life in the enchanted blue sphere, or '!@#% bubble', as Vladek knew it, was quite boring, to say the least. His loyal soldiers had attempted to hire a mage who could free him, but with their source of income encased in magic atop a rickety tower in the middle of Morcia, all the skilled mages were out of their price range. Without anything else to do, his men had signed themselves into a year of indentured servitude to one of his cousins, with the assurance that the finest mage possible would be hired for them at the end. Unfortunately, Vladek knew none of this, and spent his days dreaming of the finer points of ripping anyone who so much as mentioned the words 'baby blue' in his presence limb from limb. Still, even the best pastimes got old after eight months , and Vladek was tired of it all. His only hope, though he knew it not, was the loyalty of his men.
Most of whom were now lying dead in an obscure mountian pass on the border of Orkosan.
Miles away, Reeve struggled through the footlands of those same moutnians. The thin desert soil held only scraggly cactus, and the wounded, though endowed with their fill of salvaged rations, moaned in tortured agony as they quickly dehydrated. Vladmir's domain was mostly desert, where he made his living by collecting the strange, dark liquid that oozed from the sand and was in high demand as fuel. Reeve now led his men towards one of the refining stations set up near the collection points, where sweaty workers dragged enormous sieves through masses of oil to seperate the thickest sludge from the lighter material, both of which could be sold seperately at greater profit. More to the point, the station was sure to hold food and water, and perhaps even trained dromedaries to hasten their journey to the grasslands in the east. Vladmir's main fortress was located there, as was Vladmir, who would need an explanation as to why Reeve was returning with less than a third of the men he set out leading.
At the moment, Reeve was wracking his brain for an explanation of exactly that. Why had he been so surprised at the sudden cunning shown by the Knights? The ones he had fought were by no means especially knowledgeable warriors. He had lost his men solely because of the sheer numbers that had surprised them. He had plundered and destroyed all the farms in the outlying regions, which was why he had considered it abandoned in the first place, so such a large band of men couldn't have been there for long. They were evidently waiting just for them, in precisely the right place, at exactly the right time. How? The only option he could think of was that a traitor had infiltrated Vladmir's circle of lieutenants, and was somehow communicating with Morcia. The Knights he had fought wore the gold livery of the King, not provincial red, meaning that this was a scheme not limited to Orkosan. Why would the King be interested specifically in Vladmir? There were plenty of other raiding parties that would be easier to ambush, yet it was usually rare for any raider to be killed by the Knights.
Reeve's thoughts were interrupted by a loud, nasal howl. It seemed one of the dromedarian beasts had escaped from its pen at the refinery, and was trotting in their direction, persued by frantic handlers. Reeve rolled his eyes and sprinted to head off the beast, his thoughts of threachery left forgotten in the gently swirling sand.
Vladek gazed forlornly out of the enchanted sphere. If he ever escaped, there would be Megablocks to pay in Morcia many times over. With that contented thought, he curled into a ball, closed his eyes, and slept.
Last edited by HeartOfDarkness
on Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.