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[Flynn] : Wake
Lord Commander Flynn painfully, and with much effort, opened his eyes. Foggy blue filled and overwhelmed his vision as dark slivers turned and wheeled through the field of color. He blinked several times, and the blackbirds came into focus. Hoping to cast the dust from around his eyes he raised a gloved hand to his face. More sand and dust shifted from the back of his fingers onto his face and he sputtered as he jolted upright. More ruddy powder fell from his chestnut hair as he rapidly scanned an arc around him. Through the haze of a strange storm to the east the Sun looked withered and blue. In all directions around him and for nearly as far as he could see, the irregular mounds cast disquieting shadows as they began to twitch and stir. Panic traced his nerves like a staccato thunderclap. He awkwardly sprang to his feet and nearly capsized in his haste. He threw his arms out behind him and the ground stopped shifting beneath him as his equilibrium held fast. Roughly three meters before him, an imposing older man rose to his feet with an air of intentional, measured pace. He looked bitterly upset. The other soldiers among the legions began to find their footing as well, rising up from the dry soil. Peering over his shoulder Flynn noted the members of the legion, his legion, shaking the fine tan accumulation of the desert from their dark blue armored coats and worn carbines. He returned his attention to the man rising before him. "He isn't armed." Flynn internally noted before his memories started rushing back into a frightening shape. "Maldrake..." the Lord Commander named him outloud. It didn't matter that he was unarmed. The striking form of the man stretched one gauntlet toward Flynn, his finger in a violent accusatory gesture. Now upright, the older man seemed to tower over him. With a slow groan, the man before him began to speak, "I don't know..." he began, "I don't know what you did..." Flynn desperately tried to remember what had happened; remember what had left them all prone under a layer of fine sand. "Flynn!" the name parted his lips and escaped from between his teeth like a curse. A commotion rose to Flynn's left. In one motion he raised a finger before Maldrake and turned his attention to the sounds of struggle and grunting. Down the line at a short distance Brickolas Culverin raised his sidearm against one of the soldiers clad in dark purple and black. The slender solder swatted the pistol away with his rapier just as the ignition of the firearm reverberated across the battlefield, spattering them both with spraying sand as the heavy projectile ruptured a small swell of the soil. "Hold!" Flynn roared, "Hold your fire, both of you!" Hatred flashed across Maldrake's face as he surged forward. "You don't order my force, Flynn." his eyes were wild like a thunderstorm in a narrow valley. "You couldn't possibly," he spat. Despite Maldrake's fury, Flynn's attention was caught by a hand on his shoulder. "Lord Commander," the officer began, then indicated far to the west with his left hand. "Messengers. Both flags." It was the familiar form of Vincent, but with an unusual concern taking hold of his expression. Flynn turned back to sergeant Culverin and the lithe Byzantine soldier who were now grappling for control of the rapier. "I said to Hold!" he roared again. Brickolas disengaged from his opponent with a slight shove, and the other soldier sneered as he backed away. He sheathed the thin blade. "At Attention!" Vincent intoned loudly, and the Seventh Legion came to attention just as the two messengers on horseback came to an abrupt stop between the two Commanders. The messengers' uniforms were clean and well kept; almost new. The horses looked well rested. The messengers from both empires dismounted and delivered the news.
[Walpole] : Sleep
Lafcadio Walpole sat in his seat at the table, as still as he could manage. His palms were lying on the tops of his legs; both his favorite jacket and trousers recently cleaned and richly pressed. He kept his eyes near the center of the table, tracing the fine lines and nodes of the woven mesh tablecloth across the nearly hexine pattern. In the stillness he held his breath and at that moment he believed himself to be the richest man alive. The singing started, softly at first, from somewhere behind him and to his left. His eyes didn't leave the tablecloth; didn't look around the parlour walls washed clean in white that cast the sunlight around the room like a dancing carousel. The singing swelled closer and Lady Walpole came into the room holding a tray, and upon it was a thick cake and a blade like a mirror. His gaze traced the patterns in the cloth faster now, and unable to bear even his own inhibition he looked to her. Her face was cheery and blush; her brown eyes full of light and love. A instinctual smile spread across his face, and embarrassed by her overwhelming gesture his eyes returned to the cloth upon the table. As her song came around the bend toward the close, he continued to trace the patterns in the weave. He felt a fullness in his heart like he might burst. --- - --- An irresistible shroud of drowsiness fell upon him and he sank helpless to the table; his eyelids closed with a slow singular motion as his thoughts drained into oblivion.