A bit of what’s been rattling around in Callindra’s brain during the downtime. Because a certain someone can’t bloody well stop writing.
If someone had asked me a year ago if I would be content to simply be a warrior, victorious on the battlefield I would have answered yes without hesitation. It was my goal to gain strength in any way and the simplest method I could imagine was fighting, defeating my enemies and using that experience to improve my mastery of combat. It was all I knew.
Things have changed so much in the last year though. I have lost two of my brothers. I have seen so much horror and devastation. It is hard for me to imagine attempting to continue down this path. I am so different now. The world is different. I don’t even know who I am anymore. What am I becoming?
Half of the time I wonder who the hell I think I’m fooling. Certainly not myself; every day I wait for the men to realize that I’m just a girl and laugh at my orders but, with the exception of Vyl, they don’t. Where do I go from here? I have made a vow not to allow my companions to waste their lives. Absent Gods I hope we will not all needlessly perish because of my youth and inexperience.
Holt confuses me; I can’t even look at him without my brains turning to mush these days. Admittedly it is worse when my monthlies have me in their thrall. Damn the moon and her ways. Why of all times does this have to happen now? I can’t focus on the mission at hand, let alone taking care of the myriad of stupid things a leader needs to keep at the forefront of her mind, when my body won’t behave itself.
Shadowsliver has been wonderful, working with me in my morning exercises through the inevitable cramps and somehow absorbing the worst of the pain. At times like this I can’t help but wish he was a person who could return the gentle caresses I give him after our practice sessions. I wouldn’t even turn down someone brushing my face with a rag soaked in metal polish. I love him for who he is though; my companion for life. At least in this union I am blessed beyond comprehension. I wonder if he will kill my first lover in his sleep. I guess that’s for the unfortunate man to find out himself.
Enough about that, I must turn my thoughts now to the upcoming conflict. We will need to take this thing by surprise. That breath weapon is dangerous enough, but the sheer physical mass of it presents another problem. I can only imagine the damage this beast could do with its claws, even if Tershan Fesrik’s account “At Peril to Thy Vitality” the only account of arcane knowledge about dragons I am aware of exaggerates the danger twofold.
We must be able to strike quickly and hard, then have distractions in place to cover our safe retreat. My hope is that I can provide one such distraction with a spell, that Holt can provide one with his thundering arrows and perhaps one of the others will have some kind of idea. Having three rounds to hopefully get close enough that our combined strength will allow for a killing blow without being hurt is essential to our success.
I am faster than the rest of them; a lot faster. I believe that if Shadowsliver and I get in close enough we can use a combination of magic and steel to put an end to the beast while Holt makes arrows rain down from afar. All this indecision and supposed leadership has put my teeth on edge. If I don’t get into the thick of the battle this time I will lose my god rotting mind.
How do I explain to Shadowsliver that I can’t strike as well with him? Absent Gods I don’t even know why myself, but I do understand that I need more power. If we are to survive this fight I have to deal some real damage and I can’t cut as deeply as I used to do with Brightfang. I have changed too much to be able to use a sword the way I used to; I certainly can’t blame the weapon. Or I won’t anyway, it’s not like either of us has had a choice about this. It has taken me nearly a year to re-learn how to wield my sword.
Well, I’ve fucking had it, I am not about to go through that again. Ever. Even if it was possible for me to take him off my wrist, which it isn’t; I have to believe that. He must have been teasing me when he mentioned that. It was just an idle threat to see how I would react. So we have to figure out how to work together. I guess I am really the problem here. It’s me. Even though I have been shutting this out, pushing it to the back of my mind and trying to avoid it I know it to be true now.
Cronos was right when he said I needed to fix my magic. The spells I have been using are different from the rest of the ones I know. They don’t require any physical offerings; just hand gestures and words. I will speak with Connor and ask him if he can provide me with what I need. Dredging up from distant memory I seem to recall that cat fur, or perhaps cat skin would meet the requirements of the spells I am thinking of.
I can get stronger and faster, even if only for a few minutes. It should be enough that I can take care of what I must. An effective leader can’t simply sit behind the line of engagement shouting commands; she needs to be commanding from the field. General Delanous himself said men don’t trust a leader who is afraid to put himself in danger in his War Journal and he is all I have to go on besides relying on criticism after the fact from Holt and maybe Vyl.
We should be able to get there without incident, although we may need to do something to assist Vyl in being silent and possibly Connor as well. I need Vyl up front with me when the real fighting starts, without his abilities and defensive strength we will surely fail.
I do worry about the ghostly shapes, but if The Stormraker is indeed in port we will have to run. Anything less that Captain Gale I can handle. We can handle. The sad reality is that we were lucky when we escaped last time and if we had known what it truly was we would have tried to run then too.
Well to be honest, I likely wouldn’t have run but that was the old me. I don’t feel I have to prove my combat prowess to these people any longer; not that running headlong into certain death without a shred of a plan impresses anyone. I have learned that lesson, though it took me nearly dying to do so.
There’s the bridge too, I think we might be able to use the bridge as a weapon. If only we had something to force it to collapse at a moment’s notice. Even so formidable a beast as that would be hurt by the timbers falling on it. I know how much a falling structure hurts all do god rotting well. I will bring this up with the others, perhaps someone has an idea.
Regardless of what our final plan is, we need to act quickly. From what little I know of dragons I am aware that they notice trespassers in their domains rapidly and deal with them with brutal efficiency. This is a true test of my ability to lead, the first real test. Are you watching me Glarian?
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