Legion of the Sands
Part Four – He Lives In The Past
Accompanied by the weary, dust shrouded soldiers of the Legion, Nhaqosa and his band of former gladiators and slaves found themselves marching back through the city and its empty streets. The storm on the horizon grew closer, a wall of dust and sand that clawed high into the air, threatening to swamp them like an oncoming tidal wave.
“I am concerned, Kwaza.” Abasan spoke quietly with Nhaqosa as they walked, keeping his voice low so that only the minotaur could hear him.
“About this Vasra Fal. Why are he and his men here?”
“They took an oath, he says.”
“An oath to whom exactly?” Abasan asked. “The Emperor is dead, the Empire has fallen and Hafrata is no more. How then can an oath still hold?”
“An oath can not be so readily forsaken or forgotten if the ones who took it hold true. There are few, though, who would hold to it in such circumstances as this. It speaks much for these men.”
“I am not sure that he is still all there?”
“In what way?” Nhaqosa asked, looking down at Abasan.
Abasan responded with a brief shake of his head. “It is just a feeling I get, one I can’t rightly explain, that he is not truly aware of where he is any more. He lives in the past still.”
“If he survived the Red Day then perhaps it is to be expected.”
“There are very few who did so, and even of those that did make it out alive, not many could be said to have survived. Not up here at least,” Abasan added, tapping at the side of his head.
“Every man has his limits, Abasan. The Red Day broke an Empire at the height of its power. That is more than enough to break any man.”
Vasra Fal and his soldiers at last reached a barracks complex situated on the western side of Hafrata, a walled compound overlooking the dried out river bed. A boat rested on its side on the river bed, still tied up to the docks near the barracks.
Only just in time did they arrived, for the first winds of the storm began to sweep across the city, driving before it particles of sand. They hurried inside one of the long buildings inside the compound, a place large enough for a full Legion of soldiers, and not merely a company. Outside, it began to grow dark as the sand storm enveloped the sun.
Once inside, each of Nhaqosa’s band were shown to rooms where they could leave their possessions, and where they would spend the night. The Legion Men, divested of arms and amour, began to congregate in the large mess hall that was at the centre of the compound, joined by Nhaqosa and his band.
Vasra Fal motioned for Nhaqosa to join him at a small table away from where the rest where seated. Before him was a simple meal of bread and water, dried meat, cheese and figs.
“It is not much,” Vasra Fal said by way of apology.
“It is more than I would expect to find in the middle of a desert.”
“A desert,” Vasra Fal repeated, a faint, faraway tone to his voice. His eyes part glazed as he stared off into nothing.
“You have a source of water?”
“There is a well, but it is best to wait until after the storm dies down to use it. It is for the best that we found you when we did. It is not safe out in the city during the long nights.”
“In what way?” Nhsqosa asked.
Vasra Fal picked up a piece of cheese, crumbling it between his fingers as he pulled it apart. “Come dusk there are attacks, by the desert men and the monsters they are in league with. Not tonight though, for which we have the storm to thank. We can rest easy tonight. In the morning my men and I will set out to confront them and destroy their threat.”
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