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Wolves Amongst Wolves

From Dark Age Redemption

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Portcross 2019/11/30
It was a dismal day for Portcross. A final uprising of branded and a defection of Steel Wardens to Andal in order to follow the inexplicable path of the traitor Giles Bratak cost many lives.
Story Type: Major Story
Related Stories: Story:A Surge of Branded

The detainee by the Royal Guard waited for the Captain's interrogation. Sentinel Somner noted that the ferry between Portcross' channels had been at normal operation until that morning. They had caught a man in Warden garb, who failed to pass a verbal check. At this, they waited for Captain Merlion Malte and friends.

Paula of the King's guard updates the Captain on the ferry's operations.

The man in captivity revealed a bright orange sash, mocking the interview with news: "Prepare for the demonstration." He claimed that he was once a simple man who had become a soldier for 'power.' At that, the chanting of Portcross Major was heard to all at the docks, "Po-wer. Po-wer. Po-wer." Guardsman Paula reported that no Wardens could be seen across the channel.

And so all went and immediately engaged the branded who refused to drop their weapons. The slaughter moved into Portcross Major as screams bleated from he temple. Wardens formed along its perimeter, giving their old Commander a brief pause. "Kaine! ...We will not follow a dying God!"

The false Wardens were struck down as panicked non hostiles ran throughout the street to find hiding. Inside the temple, nearly all had been slaughtered and thrown into the pool. Bodies floated at the top, their blood coloring the water red. Many expressed their horror at this find, and Portcross' skirmish subsided to tears and wailing by those that survived it.

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"Giles was a loyal customer. Why would any do this in his name?" The barkeeper had avoided her own death by hiding behind the counter. She quivered and nearly feinted after giving a message left by her once trusted patron: "See you at the border."

Many helped usher the survivors of the massacre into the temple, locking them inside in case any remaining killers were still in hiding outside. Ser Merlion and Ser Kaine made a quick check to the south, before turning back to head to the North, regrouping with the rest of their company.

With Kaine was Samuel Reinhardt and one of the Caeruleus siblings. They walked down the empty paths that were once patrolled by Wardens. They crossed the outpost, receiving warning that a troop had passed through earlier, threatening their lives if confronted. The three continued at a brisk walk until they saw a purple cloak along the path.

They sprinted the final leg, finding Giles Bratak who stood at the ready with a company of Steel Wardens and Andalian soldiers. Shackled to his left, was a beaten and bruised Michal Hull- the King's squire.

The Captain immediately put his sword aside, imploring Giles to trade Michal for himself.

"Oh Kaine, you're going to hate me for this. It had to be this way. I'm sorry, but Michal just wouldn't leave me alone." He spoke of a vision he saw of fire, power, and death. His last comment told of something with the Portcross Temple and how it could not longer remain. Giles then gave the signal for his soldiers to strike in response to the increasing number of Federation bodies who were showing up to the scene.

He took his flamberge and impaled Michal Hull through the gut. "See you in Andal," he retorted and walked off as his soldiers closed the gap. Michal had her last words as she died in Kaine's arms, while the Federation struck down the devotees to Giles' gruesome path.

Questions remain in light of Giles' "demonstration." Why the temple of Portcross, and what could he have possibly said or done to convince the Steel Wardens of Portcross to turn away from the good men that bred their calling and defect to the north? How would Captain Malte handle the loss of guards in the south? Ser Kaine Stone handled Michal's body, taking it to the church for burial preparation.