The Southern Syndicate, Part 1

The eyes in the room stared at Luk in dismay.  The hopes of peace burned in his men along with the candle wicks around the table.  The dancing and flickering of the flames was the only life in the war room.  Commander Luk’s elite sentinels were silenced by the breaking news: they, and the rest of the Obsidian Army, were ordered to march south to war.  So they slumped back in their marble chairs, waiting for their commander to break the tension.

But Luk was just as stunned as they.  General Arrys was a newlywed.  When news of the uprising in the south by monsters of the sea first emerged, it was assumed that his desires were to spend time with his wife and to let the battalions south of the River Droon handle the issue.

General Anon from the Sentries of the Sea dispatched a messenger to request the assistance of the Obsidians, however, so Arrys hardly had a choice himself.  “Deal with it now, rather than later,” he reasoned to Luk alone.  “While we have the soldiers.”  So he gave Luk the responsibility of briefing his army on battle and marching preparations.  The news was ill received.

“What do the reports describe?” asked Kert, Second Colonel under Commander Luk.

“Monsters,” he replied, “Slimy beasts with virulent, jellylike hair that can puncture you with its stingers, thick scales as hard as diamonds, and a disgusting, salivary phlegm that will instantly corrode your flesh.”

“And how do you battle such a creature?” asked First Colonel Laureth.

“Anon’s scouts have reported weaknesses at the ankles and wrists.  If the limbs are amputated, the blood loss should be significant enough to cause rapid death.” Luk cleared his throat.  “To make matters worse, these monsters come with the gift of intelligence.  They’ve already estalished beachheads along the coast and their numbers grow by the day.”  Luk observed his colonels dart their eyes around the room at each other in silent understanding.  Time was critical to the success of the mission.  “Our objective is to eliminate all threats, exterminate every one of these creatures, or to die trying, which ever comes first.”  He folded his hands together and lay his face between his knuckles, his elbows on the table.  After a few moments of thought, lowered his hands.  “Report to each of your units.  Tell them to start packing their preserves.  We leave at dawn.”

All of Luk’s colonels bowed their heads respectfully and quietly exited the war room.  Luk remained behind, drumming his fingertips on the tabletop.  He quietly watched the nearest candle’s flame dance in dissarray as he exhaled, the improbability of the task at hand weighing on his conscience.