Chapter 10:

The Woodland Scramble

Tales Of The Chosen "Heroes"

Kuran, Oskar and the rest had been walking through the forest for a couple of hours now, the sun while still lighting land was beginning to reach its end cycle. So far, the venture through the forest had been relatively quiet. Though they were still a distance away from the area that the chaos worshippers had attacked.Bookmark here

Blake took this time to strike up a conversation with Kuran.Bookmark here

“So, are you from Ping Su?” He asked the man with ornate armour.Bookmark here

“No, I’m not from Pīng Sǔ. I’m from Shi.”Bookmark here

“Oh sorry. It’s just there was someone I know from Ping Su who mentioned that armour you’re in.” Blake apologised.Bookmark here

“That’s normal, the armour is common in both countries. But I came from Shi.” Kuran replied casually. Then after a moment asked, “Is this person Pīng Sǔ still with you?”Bookmark here

Charron spoke up, “Actually he’s one of the people we’re looking for.”Bookmark here

“I see.”Bookmark here

Kuran then stopped in place, “Do you smell that?”Bookmark here

Blake asked, “What?”Bookmark here

“Smoke.” Charron replied.Bookmark here

With that everyone stopped walking and went on alert. Kuran looked around trying to discern a source of the fire. Then Charron moved past him.Bookmark here

“This way.” He whispered.Bookmark here

Charron led the three others following a seemingly invisible trail towards the source of the smoke. Kuran wanted to ask how, though as of the moment he doubted it was appropriate.Bookmark here

After a few minutes of navigating, they stopped before a small clearing. Crouched low on the long grass and hugging the large trees in front of them they peered into the clearing.Bookmark here

In front of them laid four different rudimentary tents, flaps closed. All seemingly recently built in a hurry, in the middle of these tents laid two campfires. The sides of each tent laid a pile of bags and crates. The inhabitants of this base camp were all littered about, a couple of them sitting next to the fires, others moving bags around, entering tents.Bookmark here

Each and everyone of the campers had strange symbols tattooed onto their arms and faces. With strange patterns molded onto their equipment.Bookmark here

“We’ve found a camp it seems. Good nose Charron.” Oskar whispered.Bookmark here

“Thanks.”Bookmark here

Oskar turned his attention towards Kuran, “Well, as the leader what is your plan? Do we fight or leave it?”Bookmark here

Kuran pondered for a moment before speaking, “Circle a single tent. We take out who we can, if it gets too chaotic, we retreat back into the woods and mark this location.”Bookmark here

“You here that gentleman?” Oskar asked.Bookmark here

Blake nodded in understanding, while Charron seemingly distracted with something paused before nodding as well.Bookmark here

“Then lead the way sir.” Oskar said.Bookmark here

Kuran then lead the group forward, sneaking around to reach the back of one of the tents. The tent thick hide walls made it impossible for them to peer through it.Bookmark here

Carefully studying it Kuran noticed that the back of the tent wall was not properly pegged down and they could lift to open and enter.Bookmark here

“We sneak in, take out those in the tent silently then sneak right out.” Kuran said.Bookmark here

Kuran taking the lead crept through into the tent first. Entering he saw one chaos worshipper sleeping and another with his back turned, digging through a satchel. Oskar and the other two approached had entered behind him.Bookmark here

Charron approached the sleeping chaos worshippers and swiftly sliced his knife through the sleeping victim.Bookmark here

Blake then crept towards the man with his back turned, still transfixed on the contents inside his satchel. Suddenly Blake’s foot kicked a metal cup.Bookmark here

Clang!Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper turned his head in confusion, staring at the intruders in surprise.Bookmark here

Blake and the worshipper stared at one another in silence for a stagnant moment. Before the chaos worshipper whipped his head forward, attempting to run out of the tent and yell.Bookmark here

Blake leapt forward and embedded his knife into the back of the enemy opponent. However, the force of his strike sent the chaos worshipper flying forward and out of the tent.Bookmark here

With a thud the chaos worshipper’s body slammed straight through the tent opening and onto the soft dirt.Bookmark here

Another chaos worshipper who had been relaxing outside the tent looked down at the body that had just emerged from his tent. Looking up he saw Blake standing there, knife in hand.Bookmark here

After a moment of silence, the chaos worshipper roared in a tongue that none of the group could understand. However, it was painfully clear that his yell had alerted everyone in the camp of the intruders.Bookmark here

The chaos worshipper began to pull his blade out when Kuran quickly interjected himself. In one swift motion Kuran pulled out his sword from his sheath and gave a heaving one-armed slice across the chest, felling his opponent.Bookmark here

Looking back at Blake with annoyance, who gave a half-hearted apology. But before their conversation could go any further the rest of the chaos worshippers began to converge on them.Bookmark here

The chaos worshippers drew various weapons and began to charge toward them.Bookmark here

“We should retreat.” Kuran said as over eighteen chaos worshippers now stood in front of the tent.Bookmark here

“Maybe not.” Charron replied.Bookmark here

Kuran glanced at Charron in confusion before a sudden plume of flame blew onto the chaos worshippers standing before them.Bookmark here

The sounds of battle cries were quickly replaced with screams of terror and pain. The air was filled with the smell of ash and burning flesh.Bookmark here

A third of the worshippers had been struck by this fire and began to run in terror, colliding in with other or falling onto the ground trying to get away from the pain.Bookmark here

Kuran looked for the source of this flame and found a lady with robes of a magic user, with hair just a fiery as the flame spell she casted.Bookmark here

Kuran however wasn’t the only one to spot this newcomer, one of the chaos worshippers that had avoided the fiery attack pointed towards her and yelled something. Then three of the worshippers charged towards her.Bookmark here

But before they could reach her three more figures erupted through the bushes. It was the armoured blonde lady and the dirty haired swordstaff user from earlier. Along with them it was another man armed with two cutlasses, he had pale violet skin, curly shoulder length lavender hair, blood red eyes and a prehensile tail.Bookmark here

That man was a half-fae, some say that they look that way through the pacts they’ve made with demons. As of right now as long as this man was on Kuran’s side he didn’t really care.Bookmark here

The three chaos worshippers were intercepted by the three newcomers and were quickly cut down.Bookmark here

“Lovely of you to provide a distraction!” The half-fae said with a smile, “And miss Aura, impressive as always.”Bookmark here

“Less talking, more fighting.” The swordstaff user said as he ran into the group of chaos worshippers remaining.Bookmark here

“Finally, I hated all this sneaking around!” Blake exclaimed as he charged past Kuran.Bookmark here

Kuran shared a look with Oskar, who simply shrugged and said, “Well, it never was his strong suit. Let’s go.” As he and Charron ran in.Bookmark here

Well, this is going to be a lot more simple. Kuran thought as he readied his own blade and moved forward to join the rest the mad brawl.Bookmark here

He was first met by a chaos worshipper armed with a massive rusty battle axe. A wild telegraphed swing came from the chaos worshipper in which Kuran easily side stepped and struck back. A massive gash across his opponent’s chest ended their mini duel.Bookmark here

Before his opponent even fell to the ground however, Kuran was looking for another opponent. He saw Charron with a strange hand axe over power an opponent. Blake and Oskar, swords out, fighting side by side.Bookmark here

The swordstaff and the half-fae user fighting smoothly and with expertise as they danced around their opponents. The swordstaff user fought with an aura of confidence and aggression. While the half-fae moved more elegantly and with feeling of whimsy as he almost played with his opponents.Bookmark here

Though what surprised Kuran the most was the way the armoured woman fought. Armed with a longsword that’s blade was wider then average and a large teardrop shield she slammed into her opponents, she fought far more aggressively than anyone else. Kuran was honestly glad that they were on his side.Bookmark here

The red-haired caster stood in the background of the fight, occasionally shooting out a spell at any that came near her or when one of them tried to outflank her allies.Bookmark here

Kuran then focused in on another chaos worshipper who was approaching Oskar and Blake from behind. With a quick yell, “Hey!”, the chaos worshipper was made aware of Kuran’s presence and charged towards Kuran.Bookmark here

Kuran this time quickly parried the blows that the chaos worshipper attempted to land and then struck him down. Then turned to find his next opponent as Oskar moved past him and gave a quick thanks.Bookmark here

***Bookmark here

Less then thirty seconds later the fight was over. With all the chaos worshippers either dead or incapacitated.Bookmark here

Oskar simply stood there and cleaned his blade before asking, “So how did you find us?”Bookmark here

“Find you?” The sword staff user scoffed, “We didn’t find you. We’ve been tracking this camp the entire time.”Bookmark here

“Though I must say it we were quite fortunate to have you assist us.” The half-fae said, offering a hand to Oskar. “Aron Black’s the name. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.”Bookmark here

“Oskar Leo, pleasures all mine.” Oskar accepted his handshake and indicated to Blake and Oskar who gave their own greeting.Bookmark here

“Kūran Unmei.” Kuran said following them.Bookmark here

“The soldiers will be here in a few minutes to retrieve the supplies. Who’s going to stay and brief them?” The red-haired magic user asked.Bookmark here

“I can stay I’m done for the day.” The swordstaff user said.Bookmark here

“Oh, that’s disappointing. I was hoping for you to stay with the party.” Aron said giving a small pout.Bookmark here

“Nah, this is the second camp I cleared, and I’ve got stuff to do back in the city.” He said while finding a clean stool to sit on.Bookmark here

“Such a shame.”Bookmark here

“Your loss, more action for us then.” The blonde armoured woman said. She then looked over to Kuran, “What about you?”Bookmark here

“We’re actually looking for some travellers that have been attacked by the chaos worshippers.” Kuran explained.Bookmark here

“Oh, I’ve found a few.” The swordstaff user said.Bookmark here

“You have?” Blake asked, suddenly very interested.Bookmark here

“Yeah, a half dozen or so, people who were moving here for jobs. Escorted them to the soldiers.”Bookmark here

“Ah.” Blake could be seen visibly deflating.Bookmark here

“I’m guessing they weren’t who you were looking for?”Bookmark here

“No, uh. A few people from our group. They at the back of the trail. Trying to find them.” Blake mumbled.Bookmark here

“The back of the trail? You sure they could make it to the city?” The armoured woman asked. “Quite the ways away. Plus, all those chaos to avoid.”Bookmark here

“You would be surprised what our friends are capable of.” Oskar said.Bookmark here

“They sound like some interesting people.” Aron said. “Would you mind us joining you? We are still looking for more camps and their leader. We probably will be going the same direction either way.”Bookmark here

“Of course, any help is appreciated.” Oskar replied.Bookmark here

The sun had set and by now was replaced by the pale shine of the full moon. Kuran sat in front of a fire, cleaning his sword. Oskar and Aron sat around the fire as well conversing.Bookmark here

“So, I’m assuming that the people you are looking for are rather capable?” Aron asked.Bookmark here

“Why yes. Well, I suppose Sara would be too busy trying to care for young Michael, but Lawrence and Shawn can handle themselves rather well.”Bookmark here

“A child? I would imagine that might make things more difficult.”Bookmark here

“Perhaps, but the people around him are more than capable.”Bookmark here

“I wouldn’t mind meeting these people then. You’ve mentioned that you came from Nobelia? Awfully cold place, even compared to Acrary. Not mention the people in charge tend not to be the most amicable.” Aron said changing the subject.Bookmark here

“No, they certainly are not, part of the reason why we decided to leave the place.” Oskar replied as he stoked the fire.Bookmark here

“Shame that this happened upon arriving here.” Aron mused.Bookmark here

“Well, it always could be worst.”Bookmark here

“True, true.” Aron said, looking over to Kuran. “I must say, that is some beautiful armor.”Bookmark here

Kuran raised his head over towards Aron. “Hmm?”Bookmark here

“Oh sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you. It’s just that armour is just so mesmerizing to look at. You carry it so well.” Aron complimented.Bookmark here

“Thank you, it was a gift.” Kuran said after a pause. “So, you mentioned finding the leader?”Bookmark here

“Yes, well you know our little sorcerer?”Bookmark here

“The red-haired woman?”Bookmark here

“Yes, well, she apparently has a knack for tracking chaos worshippers, using some sort of magic to find some source. That source she claims come from the leader and their caster.” Aron explained causally.Bookmark here

“She can track them down?”Bookmark here

“Well, she says that it isn’t completely accurate. But it is what we are using.” Aron explained.Bookmark here

“A very valuable asset then. Though not sure how safe all that fire is with all this greenery.” Oskar said indicating towards the forest around them.Bookmark here

“Well, according to her, the fire spells she cast are both controlled and brief enough that unless she directly aims at the trees themselves a fire shouldn’t start. And from what she’s said we are likely to catch up to these gentlemen tomorrow. Once we deal with the leaders, the rest are finished.” Aron said as he stretched. “Well, I’m going to need my rest for tomorrow. So, goodnight.”Bookmark here

“Rest well.” Oskar said before speaking to Kuran, “So, I assume you are hunting going to try and locate the boss?”Bookmark here

“Yes, what about you?”Bookmark here

“Well, we’ll still follow you, at least for a while. Who knows? They might lead us to our friends.” Oskar said.Bookmark here

“Why would your friends wind up with the chaos chief?” Kuran asked tilting his head curiously.Bookmark here

“Unfortunately, trouble tends to find us. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if they get themselves involved with this.” Oskar said, giving a small chuckle.Bookmark here

Getting up from were he sat Oskar headed of into a tent, “Well, I shall leave first watch up to you.”Bookmark here

Kuran nodded his reply and returned his focused back on maintaining his weapon. A chaos leader and a man from Pīng Sǔ. If all goes well, tomorrow will be interesting for sure.Bookmark here

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