The frozen wind was flying through the pine forest in the Gates Kingdom, the snow on the branches of the trees, that reached high into the sky, slipped and fell on ground. Towards the middle of the misty forest three carriages, filled with soldiers from the Edessian Army, were riding along the muddy road. Cuddling inside to keep the cold from biting them.
They were pretty hard to miss, wearing those green bomber jackets with the emblem of a lion and a sword piercing the animal's head, on their backs, black bullet proof vest covered by a black long sleeve sweatshirt on top.
In the front carriage were five of the most skilled men in their division. Ludwig, tall and strong, was able to crush a man's head with a little squish of his gigantic hand. David, an average looking man, kept his hair tied up in a man bun and short trimmed beard, the engineer of the group. Varis, the captain of the Redheart division, one of the best strategists in the four kingdoms. Bear, his presence was filled with joy, somehow he was able to make everyone laugh just by being around them, nobody knew anything about his past except for his partner, who stood next to him. Scorch, a person with a very traumatic past, excelled in martial arts and mathematics, but he was also the fastest soldier in the division.
It's been fifteen years since the "accident" on the streets of Allenwall, where Scorch lost his sister and he has changed a lot since then, not only physically, but also mentally. He became an official member of the army at the age of fifteen, he kept growing taller, his muscles kept getting bigger, he grew a short full beard, but that childish expression never left his face, his eyes, hair, nose, lips they were all just the same as when he was an eight year old boy, but even now, nobody has seen his true face.
Varis: "Are you, girls, ready?" - Varis said in a sarcastic tone.
Ludwig: "Sure thing, cap!"
Bear: "Woooohooo let's get them!!"
David: "Yeah, let's rock!"
They were all cheering and laughing, ready to go there and get the job done, except for Scorch, he was staring at the forest around them, even though he couldn't see much because of the fog and thinking about something.
Bear: "Why so troubled, partner?"
Scorch: "Sorry, I was just double checking to see if everything is okay with the plan."
Bear: "Speaking of which… Captain, can you remind me what the plan was again?"
Varis: "Since we didn't have enough time to plan this out, we are going to have to work with what we have. We need to sneak inside the building from the side, by climbing up to a window with ropes, which should take us right at the overseer's office. Unfortunately, this is an assassination and rescue mission, so we need to kill the overseer in order to take over the fort. Right after we kill him, Scorch and Ludwig will head down to the basement and free all the hostages, while we take out as many enemies as possible. If things get ugly out there, I give you permission to do whatever you want with them. Understood?!"
"YES, SIR!" - They all agreed with their captain.
The horses that pulled the carriage, stopped moving and hid behind a giant rock right before the fort. They left footprints in the snow as they moved closer to the building, soon Rinwall revealed itself to their eyes. A giant fortress made completely out of stone, enemy soldiers scouting around it. The mission was important, since a lot of their comrades were taken prisoner by the Gates Army, plus if they took over the fortress it would serve as a checkpoint for later assaults on the Gates Kingdom, until the war is over.
The enemy soldier was just about to turn around the corner when someone grabbed him by the head and put him to sleep. They used the fog as cover to climb up the wall.
Towards the middle, the wind accelerated, the place Scorch attached his rope to crumbled, due to how old the fort was, his body was about to meet the ground, but somehow he managed to pull the dagger out of his pocket and stuck it in the wall, which was enough to break the fall.
Scorch: "Phew, that was close! Luckily no one noticed me." - Scorch said as a joke.
Bear, whispering: "Hey, dumbass! Take this, try not to cut yourself!" - Bear tossed his dagger to Scorch, so he can use it to climb the wall.
Scorch: "Just watch and learn, jackass…"
Scorch's speed drastically increased, he then began to climb like he was crawling on the ground, so fast indeed he reached the overseer's office window first and slowly opened it.
His presence casted a shadow upon the room, the overseer, who was in a hurry, noticed that. He turned around to see what was the cause of it, but in a matter of just one second, a dagger accelerated in the air at incredible speed and pierced his throat. The blood from his neck spreaded all over the floor and the walls, in his dying breath he reached out for something in his pocket, but he was too weak to finish it.
Scorch: "You can rest in peace now, friend."
William: "I hope… I hope you rot in hell, you bastard!" - His breath faded away.
The rest of the soldiers entered the room one by one through the window.
Varis: "Everyone spread out! Boys, it's your turn, head down to the basement and rescue your imprisoned comrades."
Ludwig: "Alright, blondie, try not to ruin your haircut, I don't wanna see you cry!"
Scorch: "Shut your big ass up and follow me!"
Their steps could barely be heard through the dark hallways, Scorch noticed a man standing on the platform between the floors, he got closer to him and used a tranquilizer to put him to sleep, then gently grabbed his body and tied him up. With their guns facing forward, they peeked around the corner, noticed the big heavy door to the basement, but no one was there to protect it, which was unusual.
Scorch: "Well I was expecting some resistance, but don't mind if I do… Now let's see…" - He pulled the door, but it was locked. "...Not good, I guess we need to find the key. Any ideas?"
Ludwig was supposed to respond to that question, but nothing. Silence. Then a sudden click of a gun, Scorch slowly shifted his body towards the direction of the click. A man kept Ludwig's unconscious body with his right arm, and with the left he pointed the gun towards Scorch's head.
Enemy Soldier: "Move and you are dead!"
Scorch: "You don't have to tell me, y'know. I mean you are pointing a gun towards me after all, I'm not stupid."
Enemy Soldier: "If I were you, I'd keep my mouth shut if you don't wanna lose it!"
Scorch: "And if I were you, I'd watch my back…"
Enemy Soldier: "What…"
The enemy soldier quickly turned around, someone pulled the trigger and the poor man received a bullet to the face.
Scorch: "I'm glad you came, partner…"
Bear: "Seriously, what were you going to do if I didn't come, you idiot?"
Scorch: "Guess I would've been dead… But I'm not, so thanks, jackass!"
Scorch took the key attached to the soldier's belt and unlocked the door with it. Inside, all ten of the hostages were tied up to three pillars with chains, their skin - pale, due to the low temperatures of the room, shivering. The odd thing however about the room was that there was some sort of box in the middle with ticking noises coming out of it.
Soldier 1: "No, no, no, no, you shouldn't be here! Get out as fast as possible!"
Scorch: "What are you talking about, we've come to rescue you!"
Soldier 2: "There's a time bomb Inside that box!"
Bear carefully opened the box, there was a timer inside and a bunch of dynamite, scheduled to hit zero after seven minutes.
Scorch: "It doesn't matter, we are not leaving without you!"
Soldier 3: "You fools! There's no way you can help us, you can't unlock these chains, nor can you break them. Leave!"
Scorch: "Is there really nothing we can do?"
Bear: "Scorch, they are right…"
Soldier 1: "You shouldn't have come here at all, take Ludwig and leave!"
Scorch: "I see, your sacrifice will be remembered. I will make sure this reaches out to your families…"
Soldier 4: "The army was our family, we had no one else…"
Soldier 3: "Instead, take our tags from the guard outside and place them beneath that big tree right in the center of Allenwall."
Bear: "Why there?"
Soldier 5: "This tree serves as a memorial to all of the dishonored soldiers. We believe that even those who die without honor can turn into something magnificent."
Bear: "Your days as protectors of our kingdom are over, we thank you for your services. May the lion watches over you…"
Scorch: "...So you can cut your enemies with his sword. And maybe your next life will be a little more beautiful."
Soldier 1: "Hurry up before you join us!"
Scorch walked out the doorway, took the tags from the guard and helped Bear carry Ludwig's unconscious body upstairs.
The sounds of guns firing roared throughout the hallways, filled with the corpses of the fallen soldiers, who were not just the enemies, but the friends too.
Scorch: "This is horrible!"
Bear: "We knew what we were signing up for when we joined the army. We've got another problem though, Varis and the rest probably don't know about the bomb in the basement, we need to evacuate them quickly!"
Right before they reached the main hall, Ludwig woke up, they gently placed him on the ground and gave him some water.
Ludwig: "What happened?"
Bear: "Nothing, you just took a nice beauty sleep, for you however, it has the opposite effect…"
Ludwig: "Give me a break! Seriously, what happened?!"
Scorch: "I will tell you the details later, for now you just need to know that there's a bomb in the basement and we need to get out quickly!"
Ludwig: "Ugh what does a man need to do in order to get some sleep in this job?!"
They reached the main hall, where the exit was located. The enemies were trying to run away because they knew what was going to happen In two minutes, but Varis and his comrades didn't even give them a chance, they shot down every person who stood in their way.
Bear: "QUIT SHOOTING!"
Varis: "Why? What are you talking about?"
Bear: "It was all a trap from the beginning, they planned to blow this entire building while we were in it!"
Varis: "...What about the soldiers!" - he said in a quiet monotone voice.
Scorch: "If we tried to help them, we all would've died…"
Varis: "(sigh) I see… EVERYONE, WE MUST EVACUATE QUICKLY!"
The men rushed through the exit, confused about what's happening, Varis decided not to tell them about the bomb because they would've paniced. Bear and Scorch waited until everyone was evacuated until they left too. Scorch went first, but all of the sudden someone grabbed Bear's leg as he was about to leave. The man who grabbed him had a broken leg, blood all over his face and his eye was missing.
The Man: "HELP ME, YOU CAN'T JUST LEAVE ME HERE TO DIE, I HAVE A FAMILY!"
Bear: "Were you responsible for the bomb in the basement and the abduction of those men?"
The Man: "...DOES IT MATTER NOW?!"
Bear: "Answer my question…"
The Man: "...Yes, I was the one who locked them up with those chains…" - the man bursted into tears.
Bear: "Did you care about THEIR families?!"
The Man: "...No, I did not!"
Bear: "In this world there's nothing you can do without any consequences, by choosing to kill those men in the most brutal way possible, you are showing me, that deep within you heart, you are nothing but a monster! Go to hell, you crazy son of a bitch!"
Bear lifted his leg up into the air and kicked the man as hard as possible in the face to free himself up from his grip. He crossed into the outside world, but he turned backwards to see the man once again. The man's face was filled with despair and anger.
The Man: "YOU BASTARDS!"
The timer on the bomb hit zero and the fort exploded in a raging inferno, the walls crumbled, the ground shaked from the explosion and everyone who was left inside was dead.
A hand reached out for Bear to help him get up.
Scorch: "You hanging in there, partner?"
Bear: "Of course I am!"
Varis: "Unfortunately, the mission was a failure, they knew we would come for our men, they lured us into a trap! Damn it! We need to retreat to Riverstone Valley. You three did a good job though, without you, we would've been dead."
"Every choice you make has consequences, when I killed that man I didn't realize what would come after me and how many people would die. I woke up the next day to the sound of rumbling in Riverstone Valley…"
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