Unacceptable Losses
Summary: WARNING! There will be tears. I won't spoil it
Date: 07/12/2013
Related: None

March 4th, 3014 — Southeastern Drake Mountains

There was no warning, just sudden hellfire and screams. A mining settlement in the southeast of the Drakes went ablaze as a swarm of hostiles attacked, over taking the small group of soldiers there. The Ways-less village produced no survivors, including women and children, and the carnage was unlike anything seen in the mountains in a very long time. The small army of the cybernetic warriors didn't push much farther, however, as they moved through the machinery and chaos with a meticulous seeming devotion.

Six hours later response finally came from Spikka, it wasn't a delay from being ready, it was a delay from simply not knowing. Over a hundred soldiers and a large group of knights were sent to do what they could to reclaim the settlement. They gated to the nearest city, two hours hard ride to the northwest. At the head of this group, Lady Sir Agnes Saimhann urged them to ride faster than seemingly possible. This was the last anyone heard for a while.

The battle of Deepinghollow, nestled in an ancient cooled over lava pool, raged for hours and hours. The havenites fighting a shoot and scoot style combat typical of that region. Wave after wave of skirmishes raged through the streets of the mining settlement, dozens of hostiles slain and several soldiers of the house down. The leader of the repelling forces charged into the fray, not wantonly but courageously, her sword held in both hands as a shining beacon to rally the embattled Inner Worlders. It was her voice on the comms, her battlecry as she swung her blade and cut down enemy after enemy that held the Saimhann lines for hours.

As night began to fall, a call for help was routed to the Drakholt. The house's warriors were being overwhelmed despite everything and reinforcements were needed. With his wife on the field, Jarek was the first to suit up and head off to find Attop in the stables. Taking with him three score archers, three dozen men at arms, and a dozen knights the heir of the Drakes charged through the Ways and across the rough terrain at full force to find his beloved.

The Havenite lines were holding, things seemed to be in their favor even. Lady Sir Agnes' words rallying broken spirits and her first aid knowledge allowing her to patch up the lighter wounds to get men and women back into the fight. Tireless, armor dented or cut in places and otherwise scratched to hell and back, the Bear embodied the epitome of knighthood in her efforts to push back the hostiles. The moon rose in the cloudless sky and by its light Agnes fought and toiled to strike back at her foe. Her soldiers, men and women she'd spent a lot of time getting to know in the months prior to her marriage into the house, kept their end up by embracing their leader's unyielding strength and using to fuel their own spirits. Help would be there soon, she kept telling them and her conviction brokered no argument on that. Her husband would come, and she knew it.

As dawn broke over Deepinghollow, the reinforcements did too. The sight before them is one seen in holovids and paintings, everyone was dead. Not just one side, both killed the other in their final acts in this life. Bodies of Havenite and Hostile strewn across the battlefield, fallen together in heaps of crumpled armor and cybernetics. Here and there a hardlight shield flickers off and on, crossbows dry firing then recharging only to dry fire again. The smoldering crackle of embers and flames tints the hollow quiet of the scene before the rescuers as they ride slowly through the carnage. Jarek's voice cut on over the comm, "Is there anyone out there? I repeat, is anyone alive? This is Sir Jarek Saimhann please respond." comm static. comm static. Then, a crackle and a weak voice…

"J-jar-ek." The Bear's strained vocal chords whispering through her damaged communicator, the indicator light blinking on Jarek's HUD for her position. He's off of Attop and sprinting down the slope towards his wife and beloved future mother of his children, one potentially already cooking inside her. He struggles to search for her, a pile of hostile corpses burying her body with cybernetics and gore. One of the mechanical limbs moves, clutching his arm, and he forcefully tears it apart with his empty hands. Adrenaline pulsing through his veins the knight fairly lifts an elite off of Agnes and tosses it a very short distance away.

When he finally gets to her, she's broken. His wife, torn apart and shattered on the ground before him. Helmet retracting so he can look at her, look into her eyes. Arm going under her to lift her up and pull her to him. It doesn't take a surgeon to know she's not going to make it, and Jarek's tears begin to well in his eyes. The broken lady knight looks at her husband and frowns slightly, voice cracked and fragile making her words incomprehensible.

"No, don't try to speak Agnes… you'll be fine. Y-you'll be f-fine…" Jarek chokes slightly as he looks at her face, one eyes swollen shut from the blood welling from a gash over her brow. He raises a hand to her cheek and the gauntlet plates retract as well so that his thumb touches skin to skin. He holds her there, working his throat to keep his emotions held back. Rocking slightly with her in his arms, shushing her softly and whispering that a medic will be there any moment to get her patched up. One question comes from the spent knight, and to that Jarek replies with a half escaped sob.
"They are, all of them. You killed the hostiles my love, you won. Now save your strength for the medic." Jarek reassures before turning his head and both command projecting and emotionally screaming, "WHERE'S THE FUCKING MEDIC!" Grip beginning to white knuckle on her arm as he tries to remain calm in front her while she passes away.

Five minutes tick by in that eternity of helpless waiting and watching before the medic shows up. Jarek's rocking back and forth whispering softly that it will be okay, the medic is coming. She just needs to hang on a little longer, he'll be here soon. He keeps stroking her hair or her arm, singing softly one of the songs she'd taught him after she'd sung it to calm him during that hellish trek to Kar Mordune from Cape Amran.
"My lord, Sir Jarek?" The field medic and knight of the house, a good friend to both nobles and one of the men who'd stood guard at their wedding, breaks the never ending moment. Their heir looks up at them, tears streaming down his face as the realization haunts the background of his despair fueled denial.

"My lord, she's…" He tries to break it as gently as possible, which is always going to be a train crashing through the front door. Jarek stops talking and looks down at the now pale pallor of his wife. He swallows several times, working his mouth and throat and taking long shuddering breaths. He leans down and kisses both of her eyes then her lips, lingering there for as long as he can. Then, with a mighty effort he lays her down and stands up. Tears in his eyes slowly dry and his face becomes impassible, there's a worried look on the faces of his subordinates, friends and fellow soldiers. An axe, clutched in the hands of one of her killers, is lofted and there's a strangled scream of fury as the young lord whips it around and hurls it into a wall.

After that, after the bodies of the Havenites were collected along with their possesions, Jarek gave the order to burn the hostile remains. His men looked at him aghast, but he gave the order sharply only once more before his hand went to his sword. Men, with worried glances to each other now, worked fast to pile up the carcasses and ignite them into make shift pyres. With that, the young lord turns on his steed and rides off to write his report to his father.

TO: Erek@Drakholt
FROM: Jarek@Drakholt
SUBJECT: Unacceptable Losses

There was a delay in getting to Deepinghollow, a rock slide forced us to go back and take a longer route around the other side of the mountain. We did not arrive until morning's break. When we did get there, both sides were lost. My wife, Agnes, was killed in battle. She sent several hostiles to hell before she went down. The rest of her men did the same, their bravery and heroism deserves a tale to be told at the next gathering of our people.
I ask, father, that I not be removed from service for the time being. Without Agnes, there is no one to lead the soldiery on a day by day when house duties require you. I wish to continue my roll as Knight Lieutenant of the house and lead our troops. I have included the proposal for several missions that I'd like you to look over.
There is no time to grieve, there is no time for memorial. My only request, is that marriage be put off for now for me. I understand my duty as heir, and I will keep to it if that is your wish but I do not think now is the right time to worry about this. Our house has survived and will continue to survive.


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