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A Spring To Action

by Kelson Hayes 8 months ago in Fantasy
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The Northern Wars


Winter 1E78

"Alright, you all know the plan. Mathias will accompany us from a distance whilst Robin and I make our move to depart from here to my contact in France. Once we're through the checkpoint and on our way, Mathias will give the signal. If anyone has any questions regarding the plan or their roles, this is the final chance to voice any concerns. Once we depart from this house, the plan is in motion and there is to be no deterrence- however slight. Is that understood?" Edwin spoke up. He'd returned to Calais a couple days previously from his northern travels, having spent the time gathering and preparing the imperial insurrectionists for what was soon to pass.

"Though I speak for myself, I'm sure I voice the sentiments of the collective when I say that we've all been impatiently waiting for this moment to arrive that we can finally set our plans in motion. You will find no qualms here, friend." Claude replied with firm finality in his tone, seeking no response or approval from his fellows though they unanimously vocalised their agreement with his words.

"Well, I truly hope this stagnant season of speech has finally given way to a spring of action, but we shall see soon enough..." Stefaan, made the comment rather sardonically under his breath, getting up from the sofa where he'd been seated, stroking his grizzly beard thoughtfully throughout the entirety their planning mostly in silence. The rest of the group opted to ignore the snide remark as they gathered themselves up to leave.

With nothing more to say, the conspirators departed from the house incrementally rather than suspiciously leaving all at once. They each had their own paths they would follow, though Edwin and Robin travelled together as a pair, followed by Mathias. Mathias was the last to leave, locking his neighbour's door behind himself as he sought the pair in the streets to tail from afar. Robin and Edwin made their way through the town towards its outskirts where the military checkpoint served as a border between the Calais' high street and the highway that ran southwest towards the city of France. Winter had only just begun to set in the town, and though the weather was fair the traffic in the streets was significantly lower than normal, even for that time of year. This was predominantly due to the tensions between Ahglor and the Imperial Kingdom of Legion. Robin and Edwin took advantage of this fact, choosing to look on the bright side of it as they travelled together.

"Well, at least the border check won't take so long." Edwin said lightheartedly as they briskly walked along.

"So how do these checkpoints work anyhow?" Robin inquired casually without breaking pace.

"What do you mean? Didn't you pay for a tourist visa?" Edwin was incredulous.

“A what?” Robin was equally perplexed and confused by his the growing look of terror in his anxious friend's face.

“Ongelofelijk! How did you get past the checkpoint? This is bad!” Edwin exclaimed frantically as he stumbled, faltering in his stride.

“I snuck through- what's wrong? What happened to no deterrence?” Robin turned his head to glance at Edwin without slowing or stopping.

“Putain- you don't understand; this changes everything!” Edwin rebutted as he withdrew his tobacco pouch from his pocket, fumbling for the papers to roll himself a smoke.

“What are you doing? It’s too early to give the signal-” Robin hissed, grabbing Edwin by the wrist even as he put the cigarette between his lips.

“Don’t you get it? The plan's fucked!” Edwin irritably snapped back as he struck the match and watched Mathias from the corner of his eye as the imperial bewilderedly turned in his course and rushed towards the city centre a brisk pace.

“So what do we do now?” Robin's face was blank.

“We keep going and hope this deviation doesn’t prove devastating. All hope isn’t lost yet, my friend. Come- lets make haste!” Edwin grabbed Robin by the shoulder as their returned to their own task at hand, making their way through the sparsely populated street towards the outer limits of town. Calais' military checkpoint loomed on the horizon and they spotted the silver-plated mail of the guards glinting in the light of the midday sun as they drew nearer. The line at the border wasn't very long at all, only being comprised of three other citizens waiting to state their business to the four guards that manned the position.

“Fire! Fire!” someone called out frantically from behind, though Robin and Edwin continued to walk without paying any mind or slowing to turn and look like their fellows in the street.

Two of the guards ahead abandoned their post to charge past the pair of Ahglorians, ignoring them as they ran past in their haste. Everyone's attention was turning towards the heart of the town centre where the imperial church had begun to smoke, blazing from within where fires licked at the wooden beams that held it together. Robin glanced quickly over his right shoulder to see the wispy smoke that was beginning to thicken and darken in the sky behind where the town’s chapel rested in the north end of Calais’ town centre. In the midst of the unfolding crisis townsfolk started taking to the streets, gathering towards the chapel in shock and horror as imperial soldiers rushed to contain it. Though the majority of Calais’ citizens were racing towards their chapel, Robin and Edwin continued on their way- taking a mental note that Mathias had fulfilled his end of the plan.

Shouts started to rise up behind as townsfolk called out and their clamour was met in kind- all according to the plan. Robin and Edwin broke into a sprint even as the two remaining border guards made the move to aid their fellows in the town centre, diverting their attention to the running Ahglorians as they diverted their course to intercept the fleeing northerners. The shouts in the town centre turned to sounds of skirmish as the insurrectionists accused King Delaunay and the imperial war of angering the gods whilst the imperial soldiers fought to maintain law and order. The quarrel quickly turned violent however, simultaneously with Robin and Edwin's clash with the guards before them.

Unsheathing a hunting blade from his waist Robin slipped it into the unsuspecting gut of the first imperial soldier whilst Edwin slid beneath the second, grabbing the second soldier's bow where it was slung over his shoulder and using it to strangle him where they stood in the street. Robin stabbed the struggling troop to assist his friend in the kill before the pair returned to their plight. With no one guarding the border checkpoint, they passed through without difficulty; though escaping the city had been easy enough, they would find the main roads under watch as well. To combat this, they walked through the countryside not far from it, but far enough that they were out of the sight of fellow pedestrians and patrols.


About the author

Kelson Hayes

Kelson Hayes is a British-American author and philosopher, born on 19 October 1994 in Bedford, England. His books include Can You Hear The Awful Singing, The Art of Not Thinking, and The Aerbon Series.

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