Table of Contents: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/244705039?page=0&sort=0&showBanned=0&path=1
[b]Chapter 5, Part 2[/b]
"So...what are you doing?"
Roak awoke with a start, jolting upright in search for the cause of his wakening. He sat in a cell of rock and boughs, which acted as the foundations and bars of the cage respectively. There was no commotion from beyond his prison, and the camp's leader still had yet to post a guard of any sort. Nothing had changed. Roak lay down to resume his nap.
"What? Aren't you gonna break out?" a voice called from nearby, irritation and disappointment evident in its tone. Roak rose again and reevaluated his surroundings. There, watching him from the shadows, stood one of the refugees. He stepped forward. The boy's face was worryingly pale, and his ill-fitting clothes were in shambles, but his eyes shone with a strange confidence and vibrance.
"Are you deaf?" he questioned with annoyance.
Roak stood dumbly for a spell before answering. "What do you want, kid? Can't you see that they've locked me up?"
"Oh, bullshit. I saw what was left of those Scavengers. I know what you can do. You could get out if you wanted to...so why are you still here?"
"Have you ever heard of this thing called a [i]nap[/i]?" Roak inquired, growing agitated.
"Yeah, I have. I just took one myself", the boy responded.
"Well isn't that just [i]fantastic[/i]? And did I wake [i]you[/i] up in the middle of [i]your[/i] nap?"
"That's what I thought", Roak interjected sourly. "So how about you return the favor and leave me be, pal?"
His face downcast, the youth stood silent for some time before replying. "You're a real disappointment, you know that? I thought you'd be cool, but you're a jerk...just like the rest of them. I don't know what I expected from a [i]Warlord[/i] anyway; you're all the same." Having said his part, the refugee turned and began to walk away, ever so slowly, sticking to the shadows as best he could.
"Why?" Roak asked quietly, not expecting the inquiry to be acknowledged.
Turning back to face the cell, the boy raised his eyebrows in question.
Noting the cue to elaborate, Roak obliged. "Why do you want me to break out?"
"Because", the refugee replied, lifting his arm to Roak's face. The oversized sleeve fell away to reveal a bloody stump. "You saved my life."
Moving with all of the speed and stealth that they could muster, Roak and his new companion made for the cave's entrance. As the entire camp lay between them and escape, confrontation was inevitable. Knowing this, Roak sought to make that confrontation as brief and one-sided as possible.
Singling out the leader and his cronies, the Risen ghosted through the clusters of refugees in silence. This silence, while impressive, was nonetheless incapable of fully masking his presence, and he was soon spotted. Locking eyes with his discoverer-a boy of fourteen or so-Roak slowly raised his hand into the air. In it materialized a dagger of intimidating proportions, which the Warlord raised to his lips-or at least the corresponding portion of his helmet. Seeing this, the boy's eyes widened in fright, and his mouth fell agape slightly. He dared not move; he dared not blink; he dared not even breathe.
Roak lowered the knife, but held his stare. After several tense moments of fear and confusion, the message was finally received, and the boy's mouth snapped shut. Roak nodded slightly and continued on his way. Once he was within earshot of his target, he slowed to a near standstill. The leader sat amongst a small circle of his companions, listening to the one nearest him.
"...say we kill the Wolf...what then? Where do we go? If we go home, we die. If we stay here, we die. If we go east [i]without him[/i], we die. If we can't do any of those things, and we can't go [i]with[/i] the Wolf, what [i]can[/i] we do?"
"What can we do? What can [i]we[/i] do? [i]We[/i] can't do anything, brother. [i]I[/i] can make the decisions, and [i]you[/i] can listen to them. That is all. Do you understand?"
The other sat in silence for a moment before answering, his voice a whisper. "Yeah, Hardy, but I just don't see-"
Hardy, finding the response entirely inadequate, elected to cut short its pitiful existence. "I [i]said[/i] do. you. [i]understand[/i]?" he questioned, his irritation lending emphasis to each word. A tense silence fell upon the camp, broken only by the distant roar of a coming storm.
"No", the response came after a brief pause.
"[i]What?[/i]" the tyrant shouted, nearly deafened with indignation. Hardy was, in fact, so desensitized by his fury that he failed to recognize several things. Most notedly among these were the tone, pitch, and origin of the response to which he now replied.
"No. He doesn't understand", the voice restated, entirely unperturbed by the force of Hardy's reaction.
The boy scanned his surroundings, slowly processing the reality of his situation. The camp was still, and silence reigned. All eyes were wide with fear, but they did not look to their leader. Rather, they stared at the figure who stood above him. Horror gripped the tyrant, and his anger quickly dissipated as he too saw what the others feared.
Sensing that the boy would not take kindly to his usurpation, Roak sought to make use of his adversary's current stupor. Acting with haste, the Risen snatched Hardy's rifle from its place at his side and hefted it in hand. Emerging from his daze, the tyrant opened his mouth to protest. His efforts were soon halted by the sound of metal on stone, however, and he stared disbelievingly at the twisted wreck of his weapon, which lay against the hollow's nearest wall.
That was my father's rifle...", Hardy said absently, his disbelief slowly morphing into anger. His judgement once again clouded by rage, the tyrant's frustrations began to boil, and he made no attempt to stifle them. "You're going to pay for that, you bastard! I'll kill you! I'll kill you, you son of a-"
"Bite your tongue!", Roak hissed, clasping his hand over the boy's mouth in a flash of motion. Hardy, after overcoming the initial shock of the development, began to yell into his adversary's hand. The Warlord, his eyes fixed on the cave's entrance, simply raised a hand to silence him. Hardy, both confused and intrigued, grudgingly complied.
The gathered refugees, driven more by fear than interest, followed their leader's example and remained quiet. The Wolf released his captive and-treading lightly so as to preserve the silence-cautiously approached the entrance. There he stood for a short spell, his head cocked to one side and his body still. He was listening for something, of that the refugees were sure, but they knew not what; they heard only the roll of thunder.
"What is it? More rain?" a voice called from the camp, which Roak recognized as belonging to the one-handed boy. The rumbling grew closer-more distinct. Rather than respond, the Warlord stepped away from the opening and flattened against the stone wall. Just as he did so, a trio of horsemen galloped through the rock-strewn clearing outside, banners fluttering behind them. The refugees caught their breath, receding further into the shadows, and waited. Roak visibly relaxed.
Over a minute passed, and the hoofbeats grew distant. Yet as the sounds of the horsemen quieted, they were replaced by different sounds...and these drew nearer. These new sounds were not distinct and rhythmic, as the others had been. Rather, they were slurred and homogenized in order to create a constant, unsettling rumble, such as that of thunder. For this reason, Roak was incapable of identifying the individual voices within this chorus. That is, until they were almost upon him.
Thanks to his motion tracker, Roak managed to push himself back against the wall just as a Sparrow skimmed by mere yards away, quickly followed by nearly a dozen others. Each left a trail of light in its wake before speeding away, engine humming, at a pace that promised to overcome the earlier vanguard of riders within minutes.
Learning from his near-discovery, the Wolf fought the urge to peer outside again once the Sparrows had passed. This decision-as soon became apparent-was an exceedingly wise one, for the bulk of the force had yet to arrive. And oh, what a force it was.
Roak retreated from the entrance in anticipation of what was to come. The sounds the host's approach underwent a constant crescendo, slowly building from a distant call to a very present shout within minutes. Engines screamed; hooves battered the earth; banners struggled against the growing winds. Roak heard none of this. In its stead, he heard but a single voice-a whisper at first, but now a deafening roar. It spoke not in words, for it was neither man nor beast. It was the voice of a purpose-a collective understanding-, and it said only this: [i]"To victory, or to death."[/i]
No longer, Roak realized, was war approaching. It was upon them, and it could very well spell their end. Yet he found himself in a uniquely powerful position. He stood behind enemy lines...and he had an army of his own.
[i]Now to inform the troops.[/i]
[b]End of Chapter 5[/b]
[i]Tips, criticism, questions, etcetera are greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading my work.
I apologize for the lengthy absence. I haven't done much writing in recent months, and I doubt I'll manage to pick up the pace any time soon. I'll do my best, assuming that I still have any semblance of an audience. I hope that you enjoyed what little was here[/i]
Link to Chapter 6, Part 1: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/247926477?sort=0&page=0
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