Crimsonflame Fiend Saron
The snow danced amidst the cold winds of winter. It was evening and the Tyro Mountains were dark and foreboding. Amidst the cold winds and falling snow, fifty knights marched on orderly.
“Your– Captain,” a knight in his forties spoke to a youth riding at the front, “How long will we get to rest after we return?”
“Well… A fortnight? You pulled a tooth out of the western front, I believe we all deserve some rest.”
“It’s all thanks to you, Captain,” the knight answered, his head lowered.
“You also played your part. I couldn’t have done it alone!” The youth smiled awkwardly.
“Let me send someone to Fort Kesta to notify them of our arrival,” the middle-aged man asked.
“No need. I said we’re only a normal squad of knights, Jast. Nothing special about us, I’m just the captain. Have you seen any squad of knights being welcomed at a fortress before?”
“So don’t say anything like that again. I know you’re doing it for my sake, but there are some precedents that can’t be set.”
Jast withdrew and spoke to the rest of the unit.
Everyone cheered when they heard about their impending break. Many started talking about the food they wanted to eat, the wine they wanted to drink, or the women they wanted to bed.
A single lone female sat atop her horse amongst them.
Having made their plans, the men started checking their pouches and planning their budgets.
A red and green robed youth suddenly appeared in front of the group, blocking their path. He stood about 1.7 meters tall, hardly what one would call imposing. His crimson hair, however, caught the eye immediately. His face was hidden beneath this fire, but evil glinted sinisterly from the shadow.
“Who are you? Have you come for us?” asked Jast.
“I have,” the youth nodded. He glanced at the young captain, “I’m here to kill you.”
Everyone’s gaze stiffened in odd expressions. Kill them? Just him? Did he escape from some isolated cave? He clearly could not know who was in this unit. He’d probably shit himself once he found out.
“Foolish child, do you not know who we are?!” snapped a young knight, charging forward, lance at the ready.
“Wait, Ratt, don’t be reckless!” cried the young captain, but the young knight was already on top of the boy.
The boy did nothing. He whispered in an ancient tongue for a moment and a fist-sized fireball shot at the knight out of nowhere.
“You want to stop me with such a puny ball?!” Ratt laughed and raised his shield.
A bright flash of light and heat blinded everyone.
The young knight instantly became ash. It flew out of the fire and mixed with the snow, becoming one and the same.
“Raaaaaaaaatt!” the captain cried.
The young magus licked his lips.
“Damnit! Kill that southern dog!”
The men’s eyes were bloodshot. Who else could the magus be but a dog from the south? He had to be put down.
“Stop!” the captain shouted.
Everyone froze mid-step.
The captain urged his horse a few paces forward and glared at the boy.
“Blood-colored hair and unnaturally destructive fire-aspect spells… Are you Stok’s crimsonflame fiend, Saron?”
“Hah, seems I have the right man. Few would recognize me so easily,” said the youth, revealing a harmless smile.
He was expecting that answer, but the young captain still shuddered.
“Captain!” Jast cried.
“You will take the rest of the unit onwards to the fort!”
“Understood!… Me? Leading? What about you, Captain?”
“I’ll hold him back.”
“No! I cannot abide by such an order!”
“Obey your orders! You know I don’t do anything I’m not confident in achieving. Leave now! I’ll regroup with you later! You’ll only be a burden if you stay. Don’t die in vain!”
“Yes, Sir!” Jast saluted after a moment of silence.
“Everyone, with me!” he yelled, before turning back to his captain, “I will send for reinforcements as soon as possible.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” the captain smiled, “I really die, you guys might be blamed, so I’ll make it through to keep you out of trouble.”
Jast didn’t linger. The group moved quickly but cautiously around the pair. Saron’s gaze made them chill, but he didn’t appear interested in their departure.
“Are you letting them go because I’m your target?” asked the captain as he lowered his lance.
“You are the wings. An eagle will fall to its death without its wings. I have no need to go after them.”
“Don’t make it sound like you’re being gracious,” the captain mocked, “You’re trying to save mana. Because you know you hope to have a better chance at winning.”
“Oh, really?” Saron smiled. “Then let me show you the gap between us…”
“Ah, resting after the mission is the best,” Kurdak sighed as he collapsed on the grassy ground in the camp and stretched lazily.
“Hey, I was the one who stole the intelligence! You two didn’t help at all! Why do you look like you’ve done all the work?” Leguna snapped.
“You only snuck in for a few sheets of paper. Don’t make it sound like you’re some kind of miracle worker. And I was the one who made our dinner last night, you know?”
“Yes!” Vera joined, “D’you know how tough it is to keep an eye on you? We almost died for a few minutes there.”
Leguna wanted to cry. The two bastards were beginning to sound like the same person. The two always stole his credit and made it sound like he was a little kid they had to look after, when in reality they were just there to carry the luggage. His mind was drawn back to Eirinn every time. She was the only one that took true care of him. SHe would have brushed the snow off his head when he returned and doted on him.
Aaaaagh! I want to feel her warmth again!
“Why is the brat smiling like a fool?” Kurdak asked, glancing uneasily at Leguna’s blissful expression.
Had they finally broken the boy?
“He must be thinking of Annie or Eirinn. What else do you men think about when you make such a face?” Vera answered, rolling her eyes.
Kurdak opened his mouth and was about to protest when a loud explosion rocked the nearby trees, sending snow plummeting to the ground.
“Did someone shoot a firework?” Leguna asked, staring at the colorful lights washing through the trees’ branches.
“No… It looks like a battle between magi. Want to go take a look?”
Vera, thanks to her great eyesight, could just make out two figures facing each other in the midst of the explosions.
“I should go,” Leguna said as he dusted the snow off his body and stood up, “They are pretty strong. I should go alone.”
“Do you have to?”
Kurdak was being stubborn and somewhat prideful. Sure the two were strong, but they couldn’t be enough to force the great Kurdak to retreat when he had his sidekick with him.
“I have a weird feeling about this. Stay low for a while,” Leguna insisted.
“Really… Fine. Lass, let’s go hump in the bush!”
“If you want to die then just say so!” Vera barked.