August 20, Present Day
Sierr, Union of Euraniah
13:45 SSST (Sierr Section Subtracted Time)
The Lone Isle of Sierr is an arid, dusty island with low grasses and barren mountains running up its entire length. It is also the only island under the command of Euranian sovereignty. It was here where it just so happened that Gabe became stranded.
The man who had touched Gabe on the shoulder was the Governor of the Lone Isle of Sierr.
“Are you the king?” He asked.
“Yes,” Gabe said. “I am.”
“You shouldn’t be here. They will kill you. Both of the cities here are occupied by the Union of Amconasia, and they are actively looking for Euranians. You need to get away.”
Gabe rented a horse at the city just north of the beach. The proprietor told him he could return it to his colleague at the north city, and guaranteed that the horse would be able to carry Gabe all the way to the north of the mountainous island. He also said not to worry about the renting fee for the horse, but Gabe insisted.
“Don’t go on the plains,” said the Governor. “The mountains are a lot rougher, but the Amconasions won’t go up there because they’re afraid of the wolves. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them, but you should probably take a bow and plenty of arrows, and buy a sword.”
“I have a sword,” Gabe said. “Let me see your selection of bows.”
The armoury had a beautiful selection of bows, some made of beautifully finished wood, and others of steel with various lever systems. They did not have an AnchorSpring, which was the most powerful spring-loaded lever action bow on the planet, and which was supplied to all of Euraniah’s Armouries, but Gabe purchased a Premium Class V with six quivvers of universal spongehead arrows. He also bought enough supplies to last 8 days, even though his trip should take about half of that time.
Day after Day the King rode on, up the foot of the mountain range and along its spine, with the plains below him, and the blue ocean barely visible on either side. This was the constant view as he rode north along the ridge of the mountain range, up and down it’s peaks and swells, always heading north, and always sleeping to the song of the wolves.
August 25, Present Day
Summre Citie, Euraniah
“Men,” Lieutenant Kintre was addressing the Euranian Knights, who were assembled on the green lawn in front of Lionheart Castle. “I am confident in you all. Your king is depending on you
“You will be flown to the beach where the Seritoniah’s locator shows her to be. You will have supplies for the twelve days it will take to comb the entire island between the twelve of you. You will also receive the very finest quality of weapons and navigation equipment.
“You are all young, but you all have the training that the King knew you needed, the training and skills to be the best in the world.”
Grasping the reins of their horses in their left hands, the knights gave the royal salute with their right hand, then rode off of the lawn and down to the airfield. The horses were loaded onto the cargo bay of a helicopter and carried off while the knights followed in another.
Sierr, Union of Euraniah
Both helicopters were safely able to land on the beach without being hindered by the debris strewn everywhere. The Serintoniah had been battered by the waves so that it was now largely disassembled, and lying here and there on the sand.
The storm was still raging from the sea, and the waves were fairly massive, so the knights had to unload rapidly so that the constant battering did not disable the helicopter engines. Within five minutes, the choppers were taking off again, and the Euranian Knights mounted their horses and began to gallop northward. They stopped in the town and discovered that Gabe had been there. The armoury salesman told them that he was heading north to the airport, but that he had left five days ago and would probably be nearly there by now. They immediately set about going after him.
For five hours, the knights rode along the eastern plain toward the further end of the mountains, hoping that their good time across the plain would allow them to catch up to the king.
Jordan, the leader of the knights under Gabe, led the column up into the mountain before he called a halt. This was not for food or a rest, but for the horses. These men believed strongly in keeping their horses well-tended. To them, a strong horse is more important than oneself. A strong horse can carry a dying man into civilization, but a starving horse will leave a strong man to die in the wilderness.
Sierr, Union of Euraniah
The wolves sang a melancholy song tonight, its notes rising to the half-obscured moon with the sorrow of the world on its wings. Gabe’s fire tried to cast a half-cheery glow, but the sadness in that canine melody cast a doleful blanket over its dancing light.
Most nights, the wolves sounded happy, like somewhere in those mountains they were playing an upbeat game of Marco-Polo or Follow the Leader. Tonight, however, they seemed downcast, like they shared Gabe’s own lonely mood, the way he had felt for five days.
August 30, 2020
Gabe’s Camp, at the north end of the mountains,
Sierr, Union of Euraniah
Gabe started up suddenly. The wolves’ song had silenced, and Gabe heard a noise from the thicket south of his bivouac. He quickly slung a quiver over his shoulder and took his bow from its place.
He could hear many sets of footsteps, and they came closer, all together, like a group of people all together. Gabe backed into a tree at the same time as an arrow slammed into its trunk.
In an instant, Gabe ducked down to the ground and poured water over his fire. In the next, he pulled the arrow from the tree and measured it against his own. It was only a bit long, telling Gabe that it had been fired from an AnchorSpring bow. This meant, with very little doubt, that a Euranian had fired the shot.
Gabe carefully took a vial of anesthetic from his first-aid kit and rubbed it on the sponge-head of one of his own arrows. He then stepped behind the tree and watched for the men to invade his camp.
Five men suddenly burst into the clearing, the leader carrying the AnchorSpring bow which Gabe instantly recognized. He let fly his own arrow, causing the man to clutch at his shoulder and drop the bow, shocked to see his own blood on his fingers. As he slumped to the ground, he signalled his cohorts to attack. It was at that moment that Gabe thought he recognized the man from somewhere, but couldn’t place a finger on it.
Gabe lit a small stick of dynamite and threw it on the ground before ducking behind the tree. As the assailants neared him, the stick blew up, causing the tree to rock violently and driving the attackers to the ground and out of their senses.
Grabbing his ropes and medical kit, he tied up and bandaged each of the men. As they regained consciousness, he told them where he had left a sharpened stick which they could use to cut their bonds if one of them could get to it.
North Sierr AMC
King Jared stormed into the ostentatious throne room which was a signature of all AMCs. The tall columns and exquisitely gilded walls shone in protest to the daylight which penetrated through the door into the usually darkened room. The arrogant young ruler bounded up the stairs to the throne and set himself there.
“I can’t believe my ears!” he raged, “That impertinent little boy from the land of nowhere on my land. Where did you find him?”
“At the airfield, sir. He was climbing into an airplane.”
“I knew it!” King Jared bellowed. “Trying to sabotage our equipment. Bring him in!”
Two men dragged Gabe into the room from a hall somewhere off to the side. His hands were chained together and he showed signs of having been beaten by the guards. His face however, still had the expression of undaunted resolve that seemed to be so baked into it that not even this brutal treatment could steal from him.