"There are only two corsair ships and three of us. We outnumber them."
The redhead grinned at Koss' optimistic joke. With a growl, she raised her spear high, the squeaky-clean point glistening in the sun.
"Then let's prove that to those damnable pirates!" She shouted, rushing down the hillside headlong into the burning village.
Hours later, the battle was over. Dusk was settling in. The village of Chahbek was still smouldering, but the once-raging fires were dying out. The embers cast an eerie glow over the corpses strewn about. Through the smoke, a young woman could be seen walking steadily in the dim light. Her white armor was tattered and dirty, her face smeared with blood and soot, and the spear was dripping in gore... the handle broken off and splintered.
She ran her fingers through her fiery curls and pulled a busted crate up to the campfire where the rest of the group was situated. A monk was fluttering from soldier to soldier, healing and praying where necessary, bandaging those who did not need immediate care.
Kara cleared her throat, jutting out her chin stubbornly and ripping a strip of cloth from her skirt for a makeshift bandage. As she wound the cloth around her spearhand, she smiled at her fellow heroes and spoke proudly:
"We've won an important battle. I know we did not expect to fight today, and we lost many of our friends. Some of them may rise tomorrow, some will rest forever beyond the Mists. But they fought well and died well, protecting the people of Istan. Citizens who could not have fought for themselves. There is no greater glory than the victory that protects those who keep our homes warm with love and laughter. Tonight, we will arrive in Kamadan and we will know we have done well by our people. We have a few hours journey ahead. Get some rest, drink some water. You have done everything asked of you and more."
She stood, smiling once again at the warriors. Their spirits appeared lifted and their heads held higher. As she turned away, she heard one of them tell an old, worn-out joke about the stench of the corsairs. The rest of the men groaned and laughed. She'd done her job. Not only had they slain every last sack of scum that dared threaten her people, but she had helped ease the pain of battle. Kara walked toward the pavilion which housed the severely wounded. She knelt beside each straw bed, touching the hands and faces of those writhing in pain. In their delirium, she seemed an angel of the battlefield- her Paragon Crest shining like a halo, her shimmering golden eyes lined in kohl and seeming to glow against her brown skin. Even though her white raiment was torn, it seemed all the more likely that she was sent from the Gods.
An angel of the battlefield. It was her crystalline voice which had directed them and kept them alert in the midst of chaos. It was her healing touch that comforted them now.
Alone in her own tent, Kara wiped her spear and inspected the damage. Useless. She could have the blade removed to another shaft, but it was old anyway. Perhaps she could find a new weapon in Kamadan.
It had been too long since she'd returned to that city. She could still hear the buzz of the crowds on market day. The voice of her dearest "friend" calling out to her.
"Kara! Kara Jassik! I'm going to find you, Kara!"
She turned to her sleeping mat, pulling off her dirty armor and placing it aside. It wasn't white any longer. She would need to get that cleaned and patched. So expensive to repair such things.
"Karaaaaaaa! Come out, come out wherever you are!"
She crawled under the blankets, pulling them up around her neck and laying flat on her back. An hour or two of sleep would do wonders for her tired and bruised limbs.
"You know I'll find you. You can't hide forever, Kara!"
No... but I can try, Neinet. I can certainly try.