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Friday, 3 June 2011

One's Gambit

Published by Leroy Lim under on 10:16:00 pm
From a corner of the tent of the Dreadlord, cast in shadow, a hooded figure appeared.

The mysterious figure was about 6 feet tall. The Dreadlord turned cautiously, unsure if it's friend or foe.

"My friend...," he greeted. It sounded weary, strained.

The light from a nearby source revealed the face to the Dreadlord. It was a man. The hair was long and white yet the ageless face indicated nothing of his age. It was the ever-burning fiery eyes, however, that allowed the Dreadlord to identify him.

The Dreadlord felt uncomfortable at being called "friend" by that human. It has only been two years since the Dreadlord and his kind joined the Order. The Order had been in war with several formidable enemies with no signs of ending it. This human was one from high standing in the Council of the Order, as is the Dreadlord himself.

Yet, the notion of acknowledging another as "friend" brings certain implications. The Order is not as united as one would perceive. It was the common enemies that each tribe has that brought them together, initiated by the Human Alliance. The Dreadlord has no doubt that once the threat of the Abyss and the Phantoms were to be eliminated, the warmongering humans, as many rumours go about, would turn upon their once-allies. It was either foolishness, courtesy, part of a plot or perhaps an act of plead that this one would so carelessly throw.

Who could blame him, after all?

"I've given a man a key and a guiding bone. He should be arriving at the portal at this side anytime now." He said, lifting the hood.

The Dreadlord waited, unsure what the other is trying to say.

"...It would lead him to the Fort of Torres." He continued.

"You risk much..." The Dreadlord began.

"Perhaps, but there is merit in success."

The Dreadlord is astonished. "This is madness! The Fort of Torres cannot be taken down with a lone man! Were it possible, my men would had done so already! It is without doubt, the stronghold of the Phantoms!"

"Such is the strength of my kind. A man can achieve much when he puts his mind into it," he mused.

"So you would gladly grant one's passage to death by sending him to the doorsteps of Phantoms? The sacking of Torres is not one achieved by a thousand-strong pack, let alone a lone warrior." the Dreadlord snorted.

"Hence the reason why I had come."

The Dreadlord raised an eyebrow.

"It would benefit us greatly in the world should he succeed."

"Why did you not just send into the heart of the Fort to achieve your aims?"

"He is unprepared for what may come, the long road should prepare him sufficiently but he needs guidance."

"I have my own war with the Phantoms to handle, I do not have time to babysit soldiers who should be battling the Abyss instead. Besides, why are you throwing your man to aid in my war when the war with Abyssia is hardly near its conclusion?"

"Ah..." his expression somewhat hurt though the Dreadlord is unsure if it was genuine, "the Abyssia is no easy foe. The death of a demi-god in Hell was most unfortunate. Rest assured, I have vested interest in winning this war."

The Dreadlord winced at remembering that a demi-god had fallen in Hell. The overseer of the Dead was one of the first casualty in the war (despite it being 2 years since it occurred), Hell being the nearest to the Depths of the Abyss. For a demi-god to fall so quickly in the hands of their enemies, the Dreadlord is reminded of the fact that their foes are not to be underestimated.

Still, he had no doubt that the white-haired man would commit to the battle. Too much at stake and the Dreadlord would bet that the other's control in several realms would be shaken if this war were to be lost. This would not bode the other well.

The human sighed. "Had I the time, I would have also preferred to give him the experience of war under my guidance, but I don't."

With a wave, he conjured an image of an hourglass. "Time is running out for that man. When the sands of time falls fully, his kin shall die in the Fort of Torres."

The Dreadlord was pretty sure his uninvited guest was granting that man the opportunity to save his kin for another purpose. One that would serve Order's or his personal goal, no doubt.

With concealed resignation, the Dreadlord offered, "alright, I can't spare much though, my men are just as war-weary as yours..."

"That would be sufficient, I do not ask much, only to provide aid to save his life if the need arises." He interrupts and turns.

"A small party of 5?" the red-skinned general suggested.

"It is up to your jurisdiction," the man had put up his hood.

The hooded figure disappeared from the shadows, as quickly and quietly as his entrance was.

The Dreadlord frowned. The human did not seem to care much about the safety of the man he seemingly condemned to death. Was it confidence or a piece of information not revealed to him?

Grunting, he shouted out some commands to ensure that lone ranger lives to the doorstep of Death. He was interested how this would play out. 
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