Perpetual War

Chapter Four - Competition

In these trying times where the magical realm is difficult to grasp, only the strongest and fittest have been given the gifts to access that plane of existence. In the magical trinkets that each esper carries is a gift from their respective nation. Derdainia was the first to structure itself in this new world order, focusing their attention on a select few individuals instead of spreading their limited supply of artifacts among the masses. This system has been refined further through the three main divisions of espers that stand within the ranks of Derdainia. The Domovoy who bring their intellect, the Vukodlak with their strength, and the Gamayun with their precision. There are other units that support these main three, but the true gem is within those that stay close to their Father. The Besomar, a class of espers that even few Derdainians know exist. And at the heart of the Besomar is the Azhdaya.

-Ondel Huvez of House Zelterion, Espers of Coronam

***

The shadows of a pair of fish swimming through the river went on for a ways before they vanished from view. The clean, clear water of the river flowed with a gentle serenity that filled the clearing with peace. A white owl hooted from its perch high up in the trees. Fireflies dotted the air as they buzzed around searching for food in the growing darkness. The final rays of sunlight were quickly being replaced by the first moon’s silvery rays that pierced the gaps between the thick clouds.

The bed of grass she lay in by the river’s edge felt cool to the touch. Natalia felt her stomach grumble in hunger which caused her to frown. She reached for the nearby pack for another ration bar and came up empty. “Great…” She sighed and rolled back over to rest up against Revu who was curled up. “We both ate all the food I had. I suppose we should go back to the camp for an actual meal.” Her eyes looked to the stars past the branches and clouds. Time seems to have gone by so fast…

She reached a hand into her pocket where the envelope with the mission details still sat. “So, me and Orsolya alone on the Union side.” She mumbled and began to brush Revu’s feathers. “It’s a shame that we have to split up to support different lacespauts before we can go off on our own.” She snuggled up closer to Revu. And I have to face the trenches for the first time alone.

“Don’t you think you’ve been out here long enough?”

Natalia looked up to see Orsolya standing on an incline leading down to the riverside. A pack was slung over her shoulder and her free hand was on her bony hip. “Halcyon Gojsa!” Natalia exclaimed and shot to her feet with a fist over her right breast.

“I thought I told you to call me Orsolya.” Orsolya waved her hand, “Now then, why are you out here anyways?”

“Well it really is nice out here.” She lowered her hand, still unsure what to do in the presence of the older woman. “It’s quiet and peaceful.” She mumbled.

“I can see that.” Orsolya made her way down the dirt path towards the bed of grass. Night flowers bloomed on the edge; their dark blue petals seemed to glisten with every passing ray of silver moonlight that made its way past the thick branches. She stopped a few feet away from the huddled form of Natalia. A nervous smile crossed her lips at the golden glare of Revu. “You’ve been out here for so long, I figured you might have gotten hungry.” Orsolya lowered herself to the grass with cross legs, the pack set before her.

“You brought food?” Natalia replied, squeezing her stomach as it tried to grumble in protest. The smell of soup tickled at her nose.

Revu inched her head closer to Orsolya, eying the pack with curiosity.

“Yes, plenty to eat, so you’ll have the energy needed to beat Vakhno.” Orsolya loosened the string at the top of the pack. “It’s starting to get late and we still need to travel out to the meeting spot.” She emptied the contents of the pack onto the grass. “Now sit up and eat, else it’ll get cold.”

Natalia felt her mouth water at smell of the soup coming from the pair of canisters set out on the grass. “Wow, you brought so much!”

Orsolya nodded her head. “Of course. I can’t have our newest gamayun starving on the job.”

Natalia began to step forward before pausing. She gently bowed her head. “I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? For what?”

She looked back at Revu who still sat in the same spot looking on with curiosity, “I’m sorry for lashing out at you. Not everyone understands my bond with Revu and it’s wrong for me to expect them too. It’s just, finding out she wouldn’t be with me this next mission…”

“There’s no need to apologize, I see now the close relationship you both have. I’m honestly envious of you two. I’ve seen others make bonds with all sorts of other animals. All I got was bitten by a dog I was trying to pet.” Orsolya settled down on the ground.

“Well it was still wrong of me to act out, as you are my superior.”

She brushed her black hair back and met Natalia’s light blue eyes. “We’re both gamayun and esper. I’d say we’re equal enough.” A smile crossed her lips, “Now are you going to sit down and eat or continue yapping on about the past?”

“Yes!” Natalia eagerly sat down opposite of Orsolya. She began to reach for the cannister laid out for her before she heard a low chirp.



CardForge

#1720 in Fantasy
#107 in Epic fantasy
#107 in Action & Adventures
#20 in Military

Story about: dieselpunk, esper, war

Edited: 25.09.2020

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