Dark Energy

Of Armor and Bone: Chapter 27

“Mr. Bently…” The Arcanus paced around the table, her eyes locked on the soldier. He sat quietly, his arms folded and helmet removed. “I pray you can tell us how you remember the attack on the Tuleforian settlement at the base of the Sing mountains.”

“They fell to us with little resistance.” Bently boasted. In his peripheral vision, he could see Shiloh glaring at him.

“When did you encounter the mage, Zethurus?” Chalrstine asked.

“Our Captain, Mandabus, first encountered him. When we descended upon him, it had seemed Mandabus had been bested by the mage’s power.”

“How well did you know your Captain, Mr. Bently?” The Lady continued her line of questioning.

“Our lieutenant knew him much better.” The soldier shrugged. “When I was offered once again a position on the front, I knew him only for his reputation and our limited time on the battlefield.”

Shiloh huffed and called Bently’s attention over. “And then the man was presented with a suit of armor to allow his violent tendencies to be unleashed more effortlessly on our forces.”

Zethurus pushed at Shiloh’s stomach, urging for him to sit back down. The Arcanus slowly strolled up behind Bently, placing her hands on the shoulders of his suit of armor.

“While I cannot condone your war, I understand that empathy isn’t something you are expect to bring with you to the battlefield. With you, Mr. Bently, though… I sense a lot of thought is put into your every motion.” Charlstine said, her eyes closed in focus. “You may be a warrior at heart, but honor and mercy are things you won’t let yourself forget. You swing your sword for you country, and not simply to see others bleed. Should I make contact with your Captain, Mandabus, would his being tell the same story?”

Bently shrugged Charlstine’s hands off his shoulders. “The dark energy he was exposed to poisoned his heart.” He rebutted.

“Or could it be that his heart was like that from the beginning?” The Arcanus asked rhetorically.

“Chin, why do you have nothing to say?” Bently jabbed at the mage.

“I must agree with her.” Chin shrugged, quietly sucking on his pipe.

“Mr. Shiloh,” Charlstine turned to the Tuleforian men. “Seeing that we have determined that the crimes of your mage are not of magical nature, I shall allow you to return to your home so that he may be punished the way your superiors see fit.”

Zethurus released a slow breath and relaxed back in the chair. With a quick glance, he could see Bently glaring at him, his gauntlet forced into a ball.

“We of the Order shall continue our possession of Mandabus in order to determine the nature of his… status.” The Arcanus said plainly. “Mr. Chin and Mr. Bently, you shall be free to remain or leave. The people of Arkyan will accommodate you either way.”

Bently quickly pushed his chair back before marching up the stairs behind him to his room. “I shall leave you to make arrangements.” Charlstine delivered her final statement before marching to the back of the long room.

Shiloh grabbed at Zethurus’s arm for them to stand when Chin called out. “I beg you to stay for one moment longer if you wish to be aware of something important.”

Zethurus landed back down in the hard chair. Shiloh leaned forward against the table.

“Make it quick. I plan to have us back on the front before nightfall.”

“I’m telling you this because you’ve earned my respect as a warrior.” Chin huffed, spilling purple smoke from his nose. “The encampment you plan to return to is likely no longer held by your people.”

Shiloh banged loudly on the stone table. “What do you mean?”

“The General under whom I serve had planned an attack on the front as soon as the snow had let up. He is leading a squadron of elite guard with more enchanted armor on your settlement, likely as we speak.”

Shiloh grit his teeth and turned to Zethurus. “I will not lose more of our men like this.” He said, yanking the mage up from his seat.

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