Chapter 8. The Exit

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Rufus Mandate Kollicus had been readying his troops. For ten years he had been a large player in the war between Enseen Republic and Leknee. He had been a soldier in the battle of Corney, a city that no longer exists anywhere but the history books.

He had been given 27000 men. Mostly infantry with over three thousand cavalry, though what he really needed were engineers and labours. The terrain was working far too well for the Orians who excelled at hit and run tactics and their enemy seeing them as weak due to their gender. What also worked in the females’ advantage was that the men wanted to capture and not immediately kill for enjoyment purposes, leaving them wide open to ambushes.

The general turned his head to the sound, not sure what he was expecting. He had enough time to open his mouth before two spears and five arrows pierced his body. What truly astonished the party who had found the body however, was that the general’s head was missing.

In the morning it would be discovered that the main water source had been be poisoned and the a large store house of food was taken. The history books would claim that it was the escaped Orians that were responsible. The guards were known to take the women out of their cages to relieve their stress, one idiot simply didn’t check that the shackles were secured, because the next day there was no trace of them.

***

Extract of a term paper.

Enseen’s fall in 872 BAS can be contributed by a number of factors including war, famine, and Tilly Green going back in time to give everyone herpes.

Enseen’s main exports were it’s luxury goods and pottery, which had lots of images of their gods and a lot of naked people for some reason. Seriously, I think they could have just saved time by inventing a stamp. The pictures aren’t that good.

The country never had any luck despite being way into democracy and having nearly everything. Like during the war between Enseen and Leknee when the Enseens were trying to conquer everything, they moved like 50,000 soldiers to the front and while Billy’s mum still had plenty soldiers and their horses to suck off, it left them open to a coupé.

The nerds are still debating it today but a big civil war happened in, Enseen, their capital city, which also just happened to be the name of the country for some reason. It’s confusing when you think about it because when you tell somebody that you are going to Enseen and they tell you, “Dude, you are in Enseen,” and like you’re like, “No dude, the other Enseen.” things get really messed up.

So, while Enseen was trying to take over Leknee, which a real shitty thing to do, all their spaghetti got poisoned and somebody set their city on fire. Some of the nerds think it was this guy who wanted to be the big king and started killing people and their families. They found all of their severed heads in his bath tub or something.

Also, there was talk about spooky supernatural stuff happening, with people locking themselves in rooms and their buddies finding them in the morning all cut up. Some real ninja stuff.

Also, all their wine got tossed in the river…

***

The silk had been died a deep crimson. The cloth had drank greedily of the blood of the Enseen senators and their country’s greatest generals.

Princess,” one of Keramídi’s guards went to one knee, “We sent our men into the city to dispose of their food stores and lather their ships with oil. Give the word and Enseen’s docks will burn like Gogil’s chariot.

Keramídi sucked in a breath at the thought of the misery that she was about to unleash. Enseen would burn.

She admired the treasure that had been placed at her finger tips. The room was hardly big enough for twenty people to fit inside. No decorations, no furniture, and only one door.

Keramídi placed her hand on Cyme’s shoulder. She had thought it a mistake to allow the Red Spear to return to the sorcerer, but she was never so glad to be wrong. The warrior had come to return more of Oria’s own, bought from the Thebes markets.

The princess had been pleased, but her ambitions escalated when Cyme, willing to go behind the sorcerer’s back and aid in Oria’s defence. Cyme, remaining as the door’s guide allowed Keramídi to teleport to her mother’s side.

The reunion was short, however, as Cyme warned her Queen that the sorcerer could discover her activities which he had not agreed upon. It became a race. First went the immediate thorns in the Queen’s side.

Twenty people at a time couldn’t do much. It could take hours to create a sizeable force to flank their enemies, but Cyme once again came to the rescue. She could remember how Frank had killed an entire slave came through the door.

Open. Kill. Close. Repeat. And while she did not have the sorcerer’s magical weapons, five women with bows and two women with ready spears could do a lot of damage.

Using surgical strikes, they had ruined the legion’s commanding structure, rescued their captured units, stolen their enemy’s food, and used poison in every cooking pot they could. Against 40,000 troops it was wasp stings at best. But it felt really good.

Seeing the power of the door, Keramídi’s thought bigger. Directing Cyme she had travelled to the heart of Enseen, but there was a problem. Cyme had to imagine her victim’s faces, she needed to know where to go.

Hours passed. They jumped from point to point, trying to find the heart of Enseen. The country folk were happy enough to give directions, some not so happy, which was what made knives so useful.

Eventually they found it, and Oria showed the Enseens what they thought when wise men voted on the burning of towns and slavery of their people. Again it became a task to find the most powerful people in one of the largest cities of the civilised world. A task Keramídi felt confident in.

Then time ran out.

There was that nerve raking sound of a door handle turning, only this time it wasn’t Cyme who was doing it. Fifteen women turned their head to see a door appear on the opposite side of the room, and watched as Frank entered.

What’s taking you so long?” Frank said as he poked his head through.

Thinking that their enemy had learned the secret of their magic, the women in the room reacted the only way knew how. Before Cyme could tell them to rethink their decision, two Orian’s let loose their arrows.

The world broke.

The women froze, their bodies becoming as still as still. While they couldn’t move or so much as twitch, they were conscious of what was happening, and what was happening frightened them.

I kind of expected this.” Frank said as he looked up at the two arrows that were hanging in mid-air mere centimetres away from his heart. “Good girls, go for centre of mass. Not a sure kill like the head but less chance to miss. I like that.”

Frank plucked the arrows out of the air and placed them carefully on the floor, avoiding the guards he moved to Keramídi who had a spear in her hand, her expression had a bit of a smile to it. She had known who was going to walk through that door and was hopeful at the outcome.

Didn’t you say that you never wanted me to come to Oria again?” Frank asked the princess. His eyes drifted to Cyme and he smiled politely. “I suppose I should respect a royal decree, shouldn’t I? So how about this? Seeing that I can’t go near your territory, I’ll just drop all of you off at the last place that you went to.”

He opened the door, showing the docks of Enseen, “Ooh, nice place you picked. Funny, I don’t remember Oria having a sea. Well, I guess my memory is bad.” Gripping the princesses arm he threw her out into the enemy city.

Getting the use of her body back, the princess growled and moved to get back inside the Abstract and show the sorcerer what it was like to get beaten up by a determined woman, only to come into contact with an invisible wall. “Let me inside,” Keramídi shouted as she bashed on the wall.

Frank turned back to her with his finger to his lips, “Shhhh. You don’t want to draw attention to yourself. It doesn’t look like a friendly neighbourhood.” Lifting the women up like they were nothing, Frank began to free himself of his troublesome stowaways.

He came to one woman and smelt the tip of her spear which she was aiming at the door that Frank had entered, “That’s a lovely polish you’re using. What is that, Blood of your Enemies? You know, a person might get the idea that you were taking advantage of his generosity to commit murder. Not me though. No, I like to think the best of people.”

He picked her up as easily as a child would a piece of wood and unceremoniously threw the woman into the arms of her princess.

You can’t leave us here.” Keramídi hissed.

Sure I can.” Frank said, throwing another well-armed woman out on the street. “I have shown you people only kindness, fairness, and I have not done anything to deserve getting an arrow in my heart.”

They were killing my people,”

And instead of asking for my help, you chose to shove a spy on me. Fuck you, fuck your war, and have a nice walk home.”

After cleaning out the warriors and throwing them their weapons back, he came to Cyme. The sorcerer liked her this way, not talking, not moving, staring at him in horror. “I’m going to make you a promise. In the future, when I see somebody from Oria in a cage, chained up, I’m going to leave her there and save the person next to them.”

He moved to his lover’s ear and whispered, “I’m going to tell you a secret. I’ve seen the future of this universe, Cyme. Oria doesn’t last. All of Leknee is going to push your people over a barrel and they are going to take turns. And the reason that they do this has nothing to do with you doing the gender swap. It is because your people are idiots. Your princess over there has been taking bribes, she didn’t protect Oria, she was covering her tracks.”

Instead of tossing her out to the mercies of Enseen, Frank positioned Cyme to the door and performed a flying back kick on the vulnerable Orian.

Cyme sailed back, landing in the arms of the women who she had helped. She moaned in pain at the place where Frank had kicked her, but before she could fire off a promise to see him dead, the door to the Abstract closed.

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