On The Path To Home

Sir Zane sat next to the wounded soldier and passed him the wine skin.
"You really made a mess out of this didn't you?" He asked chuckling.

Tarmen grabbed the skin in silence, the same silence he had held for much of his recovery since his friend’s departure. He didn’t entertain the soldier’s jesting tone.
“That bad huh? Figured gettin’ the clansmen slaughtered would get you yellin’ since the Duke wanted to be sweet with Fang.”
He kept his eyes away from Zane’s, both out of his hatred of the man and a deeper guilt over the whole debacle.
Yeah, you could call it a mess.

The older Knight took a swing of the wine. "Hard decisions never please everyone." He said looking ahead. "We do the best we can with what we are given." He shrugged. "I don't judge..."

Letting the warm liquid dull some of his worries, Tarmen sighed in frustration.
“So what now? Already know I’m gettin’ carted back, so what reception should I be expectin’?”

Sir Zane shrugged. "Don't think there was much you could have done. If you all had stand with the Odonine in the open you would have likely all died." He said assessing the situation after the reports he received. "Didn't send you up here 'cause of your diplomatic skills, now did I?"

He ran his hands across his short beard. "As long as you are not expecting a shower of peaches when you arrive." He said laughing. "We have use for men like you. You have discovered a new enemy, their strengths and weaknesses." He said refering to the Neph-Kin. "That will also us to better plan for the future when you dig further mines. Plus the war has just started. We need men like you on the front lines..."

He closed his eyes on the news of open war. He didn’t want to think of the joyful slaughter being enforced by Fang hands, especially after feeling those hands nearly claim him.
He did have a tinge of guilt in thinking of his future plans. He had promised no secrets to Voah, but technically no lies were being told. He still planned to kill the Duke and this could prove to be his chance.
He did allow the slimmest crack of a grin as the wine softened his weakened nerves.
“Never was one for peaches, too sweet. Shower me with piss so I know its genuine.”
Mulling over the rest of Zane’s message, the crack straightened once more.
“Better as a scout or a skirmisher than a leader or soldier, your reports should show that. As for the mines, pretty sure my chance of that were shot when I told the clansmen to go die. Guessin’ I won’t know until I reach Ostiarium?”

The man shrugged again. "Like I said. You did the best you could in the circumstances. You were sent to protect the settlement." He looked around. "Settlement still here as far as I can tell. The Duke won't care that a few dozen Odonine were slaughtered." In times of war men die, the words they both knew went unspoken.
"As for the future... We'll see. Rest now. Convoy departs for Ostiarium in two days." He said and left Tarmen to his thoughts...

Left to his own mind again, Tarmen repeated the events of the last week as he had been since he had woken from near death. So much of it demanded attention that he had been lost in these thoughts, looking for his next direction.
His chat with Zane gave him that direction. He held firm to his denouncement of the Creed, but they had given him an objective that he agreed with more than ever.
With his return not being one of absolute disgrace, it would only be a matter of getting close to him. Maybe with his knowledge of the mines…
He hoped Voah would understand, at least in time, but no oath would stop his desire to free this land from the Empire.
All was as he perceived, so dictated by the gods themselves, he just had to focus on making it a reality.

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