The news came so fast that it didn’t seem possible. The Empires’ Army, Defeated? Never before throughout its’ entire existence has it happened. It was thought that the Empire was to be invisible, but now as the news comes back from the east; it sends a chilling effect straight through the body. To late was the news received.
Three Days Earlier
My name is Drayc (Dray-k); my father was a farmer by trade on the tropical coast of Emaria, southern part of the empire. The Empire had us relocated to help expand its crop production for its army’s conquest in the east. Due to the fact that I was born into a family of farmers, I was as well drafted to be one. My father’s farming methods allowed him to be placed as the head of the farming corps; to lead the mass production of food for the ever growing empire.
On the day of the Third Harvest an emissary from the council of elders, those who rule the Empire during the Emperors’ absences, gave my father new orders to be relocated to the eastern front to establish a new rotation of crops as the army further progressed East. The idea was that the empire couldn’t risk the army running out of supplies faster than they could get it to them.
My father selected my cousins, brothers, and I to accompany him through the narrow pass to the new farming grounds. I was delighted by the news and more than willing to go. I had a yearning in my gut to see the new lands of conquest that the scribes would describe to all of us during town assemblies. For once I felt like an assignment given to us was a dream come true, but i would soon find out that things don’t always go as planned.
On our journey we stopped at a large snow covered village just before the Pass, it was here our lives would be changed forever. I rocked myself off my horse’s saddle and pull on the reins up to a post and strapped it down. I looked over my shoulder at the others.
“So, why is it this is the only village for three days down the pass?”
My brother Eury, was first to respond “The name explains it Drayc, Narrow. There is not enough room to have a smooth passing and towns; so they made Snowfordge and Riverrun. Last stop here to the first stop there.”
I nodded my head in agreement to his understanding.
“Drayc go fill up our wet sacks at the well and then tend to the horses,” Father continued “I’ll see what supplies I can get for the continuation of our journey through the pass. Darv, go with your brother to fetch the water. The rest of you come help me with supplies.”
Darv was my youngest brother and the most talkative person I know so I gave him the task of carrying all the wet sacks to distract his mouth from wounding my ears. The well was at the very edge of the other side of the village. It stopped some twenty meters before the Pass. As soon as we began filling the wet sacks that speedy mouth of Darv’s cracked open and bombarded me with questions.
“So are you excited to travel to the new land? He said periodically looking up at me with energy I have yet to discover the source of.
“Yes.” I said bluntly.
“What do you think it’s like over there? Wondrous? Exciting or barbaric like the scribes back home would tell us?”
“I’m not so sure of that. All I know is that it’s more land and mud for us farmers to crop.”
“Ant that the truth,” Darv responded. At this point I tuned his voice out of my head and when doing that something in the corner of my eye caught my attention, it was a red flag. I turned over looking my brother, down the pass where a man wearing tagged leather strapped metal plated armor and holding the red imperial flag. The man was struggling as he ran breathlessly up the pass though the thick in touched snow. I placed the wet sack I was holding down and walked a few paces past my brother in the direction of the new comer. His voice continued to distract my ears. “Darv shut up!” I had my back to him as he went quickly quiet.
The man coming from the Pass slipped and fell on his face losing his grip on the flag pole as he did. The pole slammed violently into the ground with a muffled thud into the thick snow. My brother at this time decided to walk up next to me to see what I was focused on. As his eyes followed the direction of mine he noticed a man pulling himself up off the ground with a the pole he pathetically brought back to it’s vertical position. They followed the pole to the top as he raised it. The flag bore the Empires insignia. “That’s one of the Emperors Imperial Bodyguards…” Darv’s voice sounded shocked as connected the dots and recognized the uniforms the bodyguards wore to distinguish themselves from the rest of the military.
“What?” I asked quickly to find out why he said it the way he did.
“There are about 60 Emperors Personal Bodyguards, said to be the best trained fighters in the Empire. Hand selected by the Emperor himself. They are never to leave his side when outside the Palace.” He sounded nervous. “This one here, doesn’t look to be in good shape.”
The Imperial stopped when he saw us and was leaning on the flag pole for support. He called out to us weakly, “Help,” before he dropped back to his knees still struggling to maintain his grasp on the pole, either for support or to keep the flag raised out of honor. I turned immediately to Darv, “Go get father and a nurse, quickly!” and Darv ran back into the village. I ran towards the Imperial who was now laying on his back, knees bent over his feet.
“Here let me help you,” I straingtend his legs out. I looked at his face to be met with an expression so cold it made me forget my train of thought. A few long minutes later a hand grabbed my shoulder and my father appeared next to me. Kneeling down overing over the man
“What happened to him? Where did he come from?” He asked inspecting the man’s face. I was still alittle shook from the cold impression burned into my eyes but finally managed to gather my thoughts.
“From the pass, and I don’t even know yet,” I answered him worriedly, then my father made it much worse.
“Oh god,” My father said to himself holding in his breath. “This is an Imperial Bodyguard.” He slowly looked up at my face with fear then back down to the man. “What happened?” HE asked him.
There was a short pause that dragged out as the man seemed to be catching his breathe.
“They chased us, up the pass,” He breathed heavily as a nurse came running to us and inspecting the man’s body for wounds.
“Who chased you,” my father urged him on.
“The Rebels,” He breathed for more air, the man was clearly exhausted beyond reasoning.
“How did the rebels get so close to the Imperial Body guard, where was the rest of the army?” My father pressed him to answer faster.
“Ambushed,” Breathe, “Everyone was killed,” he let out a hiss of air as his eyes went skywards.
A feeling that is far from being able to be described fully encroached my being, worse case of fear ever noted. The defeat of an Imperial army was nothing far from being world ending news. I looked up to my father, “Is that even possible?” Fear even showed in my voice.
My father’s eyes widened to the extent his eyes were almost out of his sockets, and the nurse had exposed a wound and was cleaning, but froze when she heard what the Imperial said. She looked up at me and my father who were in just as much shock as we were. My brother who was standing with the mass of people who crowded around us asked what the Imperial just said.
My father was about to get back up when the Imperial mumbled for him to wait. “Emperor! Save the Emperor!,” Breathe, “He and the other surviving Imperials are trapped just down the pass,” Breathe “GO!” Breathe “Go now!” as he finished this his eyes closed but the nurse quickly reassured us he just fell asleep. “Do not speak of this to anyone,” he whispered to me and the nurse; we both nodded in agreement.
My father quickly stood up, “Do you have any centuries stationed here?” He asked out loud to everyone.
The nurse stood up to answer him, “No we never have needed any, but we have a weapons storage outside the village hub.” My father and I quickly ran to the hub and back with as many weapons as we could carry. We passed them out amongst the village men.
“What are these for?” A villager asked. “Why do we need weapons?” By this point everyone was tuned in the conversation awaiting the answer.
‘The Emperor needs our help!” He yelled at them all as he moved to mount his horse and everyone followed listening to him. “That there is an Imperial Bodyguard. Our Emperor is just a few hundred meters down the pass surrounded and in need of our help.”
“How do you expect farmers and simple peasants to help him?” Someone hollered out.
“Leave that thinking alone for now, we are going to save our emperor or it will be the death of us regardless.” My father spoke as the rest of the family mounted the horses.
“We ride now to save our Emperor,” I spoke,” He who would die for us is he who we now will go fight for.” As finishing this we started off down the Pass and following closely behind were dozens of other armed villagers on horses. I just hope we would make it to them in time.