After the Events of Jigsaw Creature
Creature sat in the front office of the Palace. The past few days were, for the most part, a blur. The new intel he had on the enemy disturbed him. He thought on the advice that the Mikado had given him to kill the people he cared about and to use them as tools. He had done it and now the images of Lukina’s busted face and bruised body showed up every time he shut his eyes, and it wasn't getting easier to deal with.
Pogo Pgoo stood across the table. “'Tis an expensive item. However, Pogo has the connectionsssss. This will link direct to your computer. You need no hard wiring, nor direct hook up to your arm. Simply remove.”
“Yeah yeah you, fat fuck. Where is it. I’m already embarrassed for fucking coming to you.” Creature said starting to get nervous.
Pogo, the portly Gartagen flashed a smile of platinum enameled teeth and reached into his robes. He next pulled out a very ornate wooden box and placed it on the table. “Please try it on. Pogo prefers his clients are pleased with the services Pogo provides.”
The door to the room swung open, squeaking loudly on its hinges, as Sidurra Gallve strode through the portal. She was still clad in the gold trimmed red and black uniform belonging to the heavy cavalry of the army of her native world, with the tall black shako tucked under her right arm. Spotting the two people occupying the room, she paused, looming over them by near on three feet over the tallest of them. Her long flowing glowing golden hair was now pulled back and neatly plated behind her neck and her large matching gold eyes rotated down to study the two for a moment.
"I'm interrupting," she said, stiffly, beginning to turn on a polished boot heel, "I will come back when you are not busy with a guest," she said, turning back to exit through the door she had just entered through.
Creature for once, had to look up to meet the gaze of somebody. "He isn't a guest. He is a fucking snake oil salesmen that I hired to bring me something. He just talks way too fucking much," Creature said standing Akimbo and shifting his one-eyed gaze between the titanic Sidurra and the stocky Pogo.
Pogo simply kept smiling, and bowed to Sidurra. "Pogo Pgoo. Peddler of wares is at your service. The lady is not intruding."
Creature squinted at Pogo. "He is still pissed off because his girlfriend came and had sex with me behind his back. She didn't even tell me so that's his fault. Anyway, what's up? I've been hearing your name A LOT. Plus you uh... came here."
Pogo's flamboyant smile soon vanished. He bowed and swaggered on out of the room, into the Palace's study for a little solitude after his ordeal.
Sidurra eyed the salesman with some level of disdain, though, she also eyed Creature with the same. "I was summoned here," she said. "You wanted to speak?" She asked, her gold eyes lingering uncomfortably on Pogo, silently transmitting her dislike of civilians sitting in on military meetings to the smaller alien man.
"Well, uh yeah," Creature said. "I heard you fucking saved the army. That little last-ditch charge. Everybody was talking about how you and your Calvary wiped out the enemy Calvary preventing them from slaughtering everything we had."
"I can't ignore that shit." Creature said stabbing a finger at Sidurra. "I dunno about your people. Don't know much about you. Other then you fight like a mad woman, and can fucking lead. Valériane is dead. Thaddeus is MIA. You're, uh, are all I've got. But before I go any further, I gotta ask, what do you need want, or hope to achieve by being a part of this army?"
The Kishargal woman raised an eyebrow. "I did nothing more than any competent officer would have done in my place," she responded, which was true, she had been, while a good officer and a tough fighter, nothing exceptional in the Royal Army back home, so she thought of herself.
"Well, those are in short supply, plus when that fucking Idiot arrested me, he damned near caused this entire theater to collapse, and the deaths of hundreds. If it wasn't for you, this entire province would be lost. You may not have stepped the fuck up, but everybody did step or get dragged back, and you single-handedly held the line. So that's the bullshit where the Lord of the province says what he thinks of you. Anyway, what is it you want from this?" Creature asked, tilting his head to the side and still looking up at the massive Kishargal woman. "I uh, don't really do conscription, so... I need to see where your head is. Reluctance is not a quality I want in this war."
Sidurra looked stiff and uncomfortable receiving praise from someone she did not know, let alone know if she trusted yet. But she pushed that discomfort aside and tensed, as if ready to spring or holding back some other strong emotion boiling up inside.
"What I want," she said, after a moment of silence, "Is revenge upon those black army bastards," she spat. "To pay them back, a hundred-fold, for what they did to my people. To my friends," she hissed. "And I and those who are staying behind, will do so," her voice was stern, never raising from a quiet, calm, level, but over an underlying edge of intensity and rage that was just contained. "Preferably, with allies who have similar goals, but alone if we have too."
The half-elf knight slipped into the room as the slimy Gartagen left it. She watched the tall, exotically colored alien curiously. She was dressed in her Shadowmail and had her rifle slung over her shoulder, snow was still dusting her hair. She still had an ugly yellowing bruise around her right eye and on her lip but, it was healing. Her ears perked at the talk of revenge, it was all the Azalea Company was ever talking about since the battle.
Creature paused at that. He bowed slightly to Lukina. He watched as she crept in knowing that the bruises on her face were from him. He wanted to hold ice on her face and pull her chair out for her. But he knew Lukina would likely not desire any special treatment. She got enough of that from half the people in the city wanting to plow her. He then rasped back at Sidurra. "What are you willing to do for that? How far are you willing to go for that fucking revenge?"
"As far as I have too," Sidurre replied, "Until every one of those bastards lay slaughtered on the battlefield" she said.
"She has earned the right... She rallied her line and charged that Calvary when the infantry line broke and fled. She lost so many between these two battles. If you have a specific demand, you should speak it plainly," Lukina strode over to them. "When revenge and blood have been taken in kind, what will you do, Major?" She asked softly, dwarfed by the large Kishargal.
Creature turned to Lukina for a moment. "I don't impose my will on others. The Mikado does this in her own way. I don't. I offer, encourage. But I do not ever demand so I need to know where she is before I make my offer to her," he explained. He could see Lukina a little more clearly with that remark. She was not accustomed to his ideology. Dictators were the norm in this sector, so he was somewhat unsurprised by her statement.
"I going to Knight you. Name you Knight Commander of the Provincial forces. Your skill, stubbornness and quick thinking can't be ignored. Plus if I ever get taken away again or go missing, or just straight up run off... I know you will do something in the face of another enemy attack or problem. But I won't force it on you," Creature added.
Sidurra was surprised at this turn, raising both eyebrows as Creature finished. In her short time here she had acquainted herself with the command structure of this strange army of small people and knew exactly what had just been said to her. She could not help but question it, none the less.
"You want me to lead your army?" the Kishargal said, taken aback by the revelation.
"Fuck yea." Creature said. "Unless....Lukina, you have anybody else more fit for this?"
"No. Lady Starfall trained them but they did not stand their ground beside her. The Major is the best choice for this. She has the courage to hold, to charge into battle when all others are breaking," the half-elf ran her hand through her hair, smoothing away the snow.
"Eh. Kamilla did her part. Fucking enemy Calvary did theirs. Moral was fucked before that battle ever happened. But yeah, I agree, plus a Ten foot tall woman is going to be hard to fucking disobey," Creature added.
"That's not her fault. I do not blame her for the failed courage of the infantry. I just know that I stood beside a tentacle monster and a large wolf abomination while surrounded by enemy Calvary and the Major's Calvary split the difference between life and death for us," Lukina smiled gently up at Sidurra. "And I have not gotten a chance before now to thank you for that."
"I am," Sidurra paused, processing this all. "I am honored you think to bestow this honor upon me," she said, hesitantly. She was not sure how rash of a decision this was, she did not know these people, they did not know her. Everyone, save for those who had come with her to fight, were strangers, despite having just fought a bloody battle alongside these people. She was unsure they would trust a stranger like herself.
"Are you sure though, that you want to give someone who has so recently come among your ranks, to take charge of this entire force?" Sidurra asked, regaining her composure and asking what needed to be asked. "Would not your soldiers better follow the lead of one your own, someone they know and trust, rather than a stranger?"
"You've bled and lost people beside us on the same field. You held while others ran. You charged overwhelming numbers. They might not know you but they know of you and what you have done. That speaks more clearly than anything else. A stranger rode onto that bloody field beside them. A stranger held the line," Lukina replied firmly.
"But I'll give you the truth of it. You are all we have at the moment, and we need you. I mean Lukina has the right of it. The province would have been lost if you weren't present. The only reason we are in this building having this fucking chat is because of you." Creature said pressing forward onto the table. "Fuck my soldiers. They ran way when they should have stood their ground. Plus, look at you. If they act crazy, you can just scare they holy shit out of them."
Sidurra was silent for a long, long moment, as she weighed the choice before her. There were ramifications if she accepted, or if she refused, responsibilities. She did know, though, that whatever military leadership was left here, was in bad shape and she sighed, and as she slowly came to the decision, whether she thought this was something she, a retired Major of Her Majesty's Royal Army, was ready for, or not, whether this was, in the end, a good idea, or not, she could already feel the weight of responsibility settling onto her shoulders, even if full realization of what was happening was still far from setting in.
Major Sidurra Gallve squared her shoulders, setting her shako down on the table, then drew her saber from its scabbard and turned the gleaming grey blade, so recently coated in the blood of her enemies, around, offering the hilt to Creature. "I will do my utmost to lead this army into battle and vanquish the enemy wherever we may encounter them."
Creature raised a brow at the gesture. He wasn't actually sure what to do, so he simply took the hilt of the large saber. "Oh man, that's a relief. I had no idea what I was going to do if you said no."
"Do you want the words for the knighting?" Lukina asked.
"Uhhh...yea. I think she fucking deserves a little pomp." Creature said nodding to Lukina. "A knight can make a knight. I'll just grant her a charter."
"You have her weapon," Lukina offered a gentle smile to both Creature and Sidurra. "Major Sidurra Gallve, please kneel."
The near ten-foot-tall cavalry officer knelt before them, her hands resting at her sides as she waited for the formality to be completed.
"Creature, repeat this: 'Do you swear, to serve me loyally, in peace and in war, to champion my causes, entrusting me with your life, your livelihood, and all that you are, as your sovereign, from now until the end of days, and the last star dying?" The half-elf knight spoke into the Gartagen Lord's mind.
Creature held Sidurra's sword, and spoke the words verbatim '"Do you swear, to serve me loyally, in peace and in war, to champion my causes, entrusting me with your life, your livelihood, and all that you are, as your sovereign, from now until the end of days, and the last star dying?"
"I swear," Sidurra said, gravely, her glowing gold eyes fixed on them as she spoke the words.
"In return for your service, I give you authority to act in my name, in the pursuit of my causes, to make use of those things which are granted to me and to my office, to carry my banner and fight in my name, to speak with my voice and to be my eyes and my ears in the world. I promise to heed your council, to honor your word, and to recognize your deeds. In so doing, I name you my Knight," Lukina continued in Creature's mind.
"In return for your service, I give you authority to act in my name, in the pursuit of my causes, to make use of those things which are granted to me and to my office, to carry my banner and fight in my name, to speak with my voice and to be my eyes and my ears in the world. I promise to heed your council, to honor your word, and to recognize your deeds. In so doing, I name you my Knight." Creature then tapped Sidurra on her right shoulder with the tip of her sword. He flipped the blade over in his hand and offered it to her.
"Rise and take your weapon," Lukina replied with a smile.
Sidurra stood, accepting her saber and returning it to her scabbard.
"Lukina, ready my issuance letter on this matter, please?" Creature said doing a good impression of Bhelith's tone of voice.
"Do you want the actual words or your own?" The Herald of the Chancellery asked as she moved toward the desk.
"Eh. You've seen me text, how the fuck is that even a question? Let's keep it pretty. If I get to writing, I'll be giving you a nose bleed with all my spelling errors. Also, she is now Knight General of the Lorani Province."
Lukina slid into the large chair behind the desk and pulled out the issuance satchel and began to scribe the charter. "I'll take me a few minutes to write this but then it'll need to be sent to the Offices of the Chancellery and the Order of the knights marshal..."