Sera trekked through the undergrowth of the whispering forest. Her squad had been tasked with marching from Summer Hold to Bell Village. They were supposed to capture the small village by any means necessary, and occupy it so that the MC could march their troops from the east peninsula through. It was a short journey, but everyone in the group was on edge.
“I hear that the Doomyrians use poison that causes your flesh to wither…” Barry said, his large build and heavy armour made sneaking through the forest nearly impossible. “Supposedly it’s made out of fermented doomgrapes and animal blood… But that can’t be true, right?” He asked nervously.
“Doubtful,” Tessa, their resident archer, remarked. “Doomgrapes have potent alcoholic properties when fermented, but they aren’t poisonous. And while animal blood might cause a bad infection, it won’t cause your flesh to wither before your very eyes.”
“Aye,” Kevin said as he spun a dagger in his hand. “And besides… It’s their rangers that yeh have 'ta worry about! I hear they-”
“Would you people shut up?” Sera asked. “We don’t want any attention drawn to us. The captain said that they didn’t know what we’d find at the village, so I’d rather keep us all healthy and uninjured for when we reach it. Besides, this might be a time of war, but bandits still roam this forest. Not to mention-”
“ENEMY AMBUSH!!!” Kevin shouted as he threw one of his daggers into the bushes, there was a yelp of pain as an Alelean soldier fell forward. Dead.
Sera drew her sword as another soldier charged forwards. She parried the solders first attack before swinging back. The attack grazed the ambusher’s cheek as they leaned back to avoid the swipe.
As she stepped forwards for another strike, Sera feinted to the left. The soldier took the bait, and suffered a deep slash to the chest as consequence.
‘This soldier was trained to be aggressive’ Sera thought to herself as she read his movements like an open book. The soldier tended to strike from the right side and didn’t seem to worry about trying to feint or hiding their intentions.
Sera used this information to predict their next move. As the soldier shifted their stance to the right, they displayed their intention to strike. Sera jumped back in response and skewered the unfortunate soul while they desperately tried to reset their stance. She finished the fight by pulling her sword out of their gut and swiping it across their throat, ending them.
As she centered herself, Sera observed the battlefield. Barry was busy trying to pull his massive axe out of a soldier’s corpse. Kevin was wiping blood of someone he backstabbed off of his dagger, and Tessa stood over an arrow-filled corpse.
“Any injuries?” Sera asked.
The group shook their heads.
“These soldiers…” Kevin muttered, “…They weren’t very well-trained, were they? I mean, this one let me sneak right up on 'em.”
“How do you do that?” Tessa asked him.
“Sneak up on people like that. You seem to just blend into the background sometimes.”
“Eh, it’s a gift, I suppose…” Kevin answered vaguely. “Anyways, these here troops were pretty green. So that leaves the question… Why would the Alaleans send trainees after us? If they even were trainees…”
“Maybe they… Nah, they wouldn’t…” Barry mumbled after he finally got his axe out of the soldiers neck. “They wouldn’t conscript civilians and send them into battle without training, would they?”
“No point dwelling on it now.” Sera said, changing the subject. “We need to keep moving. The creatures of the forest will smell the bodies. We’ll move another kilometer or so west, and set up camp.”
An hour or two later, the group of soldiers were sat around a camp. They began their routine of keeping watch and cleaning their gear.
“Why us?” Barry asked, breaking the silence of the camp.
“What do you mean?” Sera asked.
“Why were we chosen for this mission?” Barry explained. “I mean… Couldn’t the MC do this easily? The Silent Tower is super close to Bell Village, and they’d have an easy time with all their fancy magic. So why send a bunch of inexperienced grunts like us?”
Sera thought about this for a moment before replying. “I don’t know… It’s hard to tell with wizards sometimes. I’ve dueled them on occasion, they aren’t as easy to read as soldiers are. Be glad that there aren’t many wizards in Bell Village. Last I checked anyways… Say, wasn’t your little sister a wizard?”
Barry looked deep into the campfire. “Yeah… Earth magic. I think she’s being trained by someone named Aurielle Salore? I haven’t heard from her in awhile. I’m sure she’s fine though.”
“Aye, the lass is tougher than the earth she summons. I’m sure she’s be fine. Probably more worried about you, now that I think about it!” Kevin said with a grin. "Anyways, I’m gonna get some shut eye. You good for first watch, Barry?
“Yeah, I can stay up awhile. Goodnight.”