Table of Contents: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forums/Post/244705039?page=0&sort=0&showBanned=0&path=1
[b]Chapter 7, Part 3[/b]
The rays of a young dawn shone upon Radegast's back, neglected. The Iron Lord gazed instead to the direction of his comrades' departure, his cold stare lending the early morning a feeling of perpetual twilight. Gheleon and his scouts had left hours ago. He had seen them off personally, and had stood here ever since in unmoving silence.
Now, Radegast awaited the imminent arrival of their courier. He knew not who among Gheleon's host would bear the news, but that did not matter; he knew their message. Felwinter was gone.
"Lord Radegast", a voice called from behind, shattering his spell of brooding, but failing to thaw his icy countenance. It was Timur. The scholar was seated upon a proud black stallion, his heavy robes of olive accentuated by a silver breastplate and bracers, each embellished with the carved faces of wolves. A purple medallion hung at his neck, imbued with Light. [i]He never wears that[/i], Radegast thought in alarm. [i]Not when we fight Warlords.[/i]
"We are leaving", Timur continued. "I suggest that you do the same. They are not coming back."
Radegast nodded in reply, but had no words to offer. Timur sensed that no answer would come, so he urged his horse onward and departed with no further comment. Fifteen others followed him, also on horseback. They headed northwest.
The Lord of Iron did not move; he only watched. He watched as Timur's host crested the horizon, their shimmering virid standard disappearing in the cold distance. Once they had gone, the Risen turned once more to the west.
Within the hour, Radegast was again greeted by the beat of hooves on flagstones, this time aided by the steady thrum of an engine. He did not turn. He heard a soft thump, then the creaking of fresh leather as one of the riders dismounted and approached. A hand lighted at his shoulder, and a familiar voice spoke. "Figured I'd find you here", Perun stated, a hint of sadness in her voice. "More scouts came back this morning. Say the Ambrosians are split into four armies, all set to converge on the Traveler."
Radegast did not react to this news.
"We can't wait forever, Radegast. Either he comes back or he doesn't. We have a war to win, with or without him."
The Lord of Iron finally responded, his voice quiet from lack of use. "If he succeeds, there may not be any war."
"There will be", Perun said with resigned surety. "Not all of his followers are weasels. Some of them actually believe his twisted prophecies."
Radegast kept silent, for he knew this to be true.
"Anyway, looks like the others went north, so we'll go south. What do they call that little city of theirs down there?"
"Auros", he responded, his voice dead.
"Yeah. We'll start with them", Perun said confidently. Then she turned and walked back to her horse. "We're going to Auros", she announced to her companions. "Gilead, lead the way."
Radegast did not turn to watch Perun's host until they had all passed. He didn't get a proper count, but their numbers were few-of that he was sure. He glimpsed the cloaked figure of Perun amid the band of riders, and the sleek form of a sparrow at its head, bearing the Iron Lords' standard. He turned away long before they reached the horizon.
Silimar arrived in Perun's wake, but said nothing upon gauging his leader's mood. His host was far larger than either that had preceded it, and none within it were borne by either beast or machine. Nevertheless, the ground shook beneath the thunder of their march, and Radegast stole a glance in interest.
The warriors were arranged into orderly columns, and each shared several common factors that lent them a fierce appearance: they were tall, heavily armored, and armed to the teeth. Some carried shields of bronze, with blades sheathed at their sides. Others had missile launchers or machine guns slung upon their backs, and various other arms scattered about their persons. The vast majority wore helmets, but some breathed fresh air into their lungs. They did this not because they had to-they didn't *have* to breathe at all-but because they wished to. Radegast met eyes with each of these, and each held his stare. That was when the full weight of their situation finally dawned upon him. Each of these men was prepared to die for their cause. In fact, it seemed that they *expected* to.
It was no use awaiting the arrival of war. This he had known since the start, but had willed into oblivion out of want for its falsity. No, war was upon them...whether he wanted it or not. The prelude had passed. His allies already tread upon the warpath
Now, Radegast resolved, it was time that he joined them.
[b]End of Chapter 7[/b]
[i]Tips, criticism, questions, etcetera are greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading my work.[/i]
[b]Lots of people will be dying in the next few chapters, so that should be fun. Stay tuned.[/b]