Love & Duty 10: Despair

A few embers and sparks fly as she tosses another log into the small tent stove before returning slowly to her makeshift desk.

More of a controlled fall than the gentle easing she probably needs, Isabella is again in her chair. With her right hand she takes back up the small pouch filled with snow and places it on the bruise around her right eye. It is one of many but also the only that concerns her when it comes to presenting herself in front of the troops. It would not due for the soldiers to see just how injured and close to death she came.

Agonizingly, she lifts her left arm. Somewhere in her mind, sheknows she is lucky it was not broken and only sprained but it is proving a larger hinderance than any of the other injuries for her as she can only write for a few moments between breaks to rest.

The sound of ink dripping onto parchment can be heard between the cracklings of the fire. She has ruined dozens of letters so far by allowing this to happen. Yet, she is unable to stop it. All her mind goes to when she attempts to draft the orders is back to a few days ago……………

In what seems like an eternity in the moment, the beast, not man anymore, grabs Maria by her hair, lifting her body off the ground before cleaving through her neck with his axe. Maria’s lifeless body falls to the ground and the heretic carelessly tosses her severed head behind him into a pack of hounds.

As time feels to resume again, Isabella fires her pistol at a hound to her left that was mauling Luigi. She Scores a slicing cut across the face of another on her right while Bella kicks the final with her hooves from the group that had encircled them.

The leather of her gloves creaked as Isabella tightened her grip on the reins. She heard what sounded like Marco’s voice scream out in agony as she kicked her legs against Bella, urging her into a charge towards the heretic. Isabella screamed out in challenge at the beast. Who in turn, turned towards Isabella and readied himself. Taking a steady position with his axe at the ready.

Isabella’s focus hyper focused on her target. Though it mattered little, for the screaming had ended with Luigi’s death cry. The entire scouting party lay dead. Bodies being torn apart by the hounds and Kuarlites. As the two finally came into striking distance of each other they both struck out. Right as the heretic was at the climax of the arc of his swing, a dagger flew out of Isabella’s left hand sailing right at his axe. Simultaneously she attempted to make a low cut for his stomach. Wanting him to have a slow and long death from a gut wound. However, with a shift of his legs, he was able to correct the interrupted arc by instead using the blunt end of the axe to score a hit right to Isabella’s head. That was the last thing Isabella remembered prior to waking.

When she woke, still in the saddle, it was in a forest clearing as Bella grazed. Isabella was able to dislodge herself from her entanglement in the reins and unceremoniously feel to the ground with a grunt. Every muscle and bone in her body screamed in pain and she laid there for hours on the ground. As her mind continued to clear of the concussion and the events started coming back of earlier in the day, she began to openly wept.

Maria, Franco, Alfonzo, Luigi, Cosimo, Sisto, Leda, Severa, Turk and Ambra were all gone. Men and women that had served with her for years some even over a decade like Maria. She’d known Maria for over a decade. Back when she was only a marine and Isabella a fresh knight errant. All had been there with her during the skirmishes to bring House Zane to heel. She’d drank with them. She’d played dice poorly with them. She’d met their children in the cases of Luigi and Sisto while in port at Segrati.

Back in the present, Isabella continues to feel nothing, no emotions, as her mind continues in this looping of memories of the event. No energy to cry. Barely any to move to relieve herself even. It took her a full two hours the last time she finallywent. Maybe the valley had finally broken something in her, permanently this time.

Off to the side of the growing ink pool on the parchment lay two other parchments, completed. Both the same with only the addressee differing.


The south and thus the pass is no longer secure and presumed lost. Captain Maria and her unit of Spotters were slaughtered by a force of Kuarlites while patrolling the perimeter of Silbran. I spoke with Baronesse Drake before she fled for Regalia as her. There will be no additional aid from her house also they have fled the field to leave the valley to fend for itself.

The Orcs in the north continue to breed and solidify their position around both sides of the only river out of this valley. With the fall of the south, this river is the only means of obtaining the much needed supplies for the city and armies.

The Gothic’s continue to refuse to recognize use as equals nor offer recompense for our many losses.

Due to your valiant efforts we have the best picture or how this war may likely play out. And thus, I will be recalling all scouting parties back to Portofino with the spring thaw. I will waste no more of your lives scouting for threats for a people that care little for us. Many of you I have not seen in person in over a year and I thank you for your dedication and bravery in completing your assigned missions.

Once the entire army is assembled, we will take some time to enjoy the tavern in Portofino first before we discuss what must be done next. By then, I will have made one last trip to Stragosa to attend the Heidrich Court and see if this war can be saved from itself. Maybe now they will understand my desire to secure the waterway, mi

Harvesting the Past, We Flourish

Dana Isabela Scordato
Knight Commander die Seekers

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