"YOU BASTARD!! Look what you did to my hand!"
Needless to say, thanks to the oaf's loud bleating over his hand, the confrontation in the middle of the street was currently the center of attention. His broken hand would not get him any sympathy though. Brumau was a place where you had to know who you were messing with because nobody would help you if you tried to punch above your weight. Even the second armored man with the big sword was just watching as his partner clutched at his broken wrist. Zoey had been ready in case he tried to interfere, but it didn't seem like she needed to worry.
The loudmouth idiot however had clearly not learned his lesson. He pulled a dagger from somewhere with his only good hand and lunged at Max, murderous intent clear on his face. Zoey could only close her eyes in sympathy for the fool. Not a moment later there was the sound of a fist hitting flesh, and when Zoey opened her eyes, the oaf was sprawled on the ground, eyes glazed and spittle dribbling from his mouth. The sight made the crowd chuckle and laugh. It wasn't every day you got to see a grown man beat senseless by a boy less than half his size.
While the onlookers had their fun, both Max and Zoey were quite done with the distraction. They quietly extracted themselves from the scene and went on their way without a backwards glance.
Since evening was setting in again, the town was getting ready for another beast wave at the Bulwark. One worry that Zoey had was the tunnel that Max had been keeping defended by himself this whole year was now undefended. To solve that particular issue, Zoey used her reconnaissance drones to tip off one of the defense leaders via a note about the tunnel. As long as they knew it was there they could defend it.
For Zoey, the next goal was locating this Asurai clan and finding out why a Seer thought it important that she meet them. Luckily, she had a lead. Some of her drones had picked up snippets of information regarding the Asurai clan. Apparently they had been forced to defend a remote area of the Bulwark and were being denied reinforcements from Brumau. The information suggested that they did not have much time remaining, so if Zoey wanted to get any answers, she would have to hurry.
So that night Zoey, Viridi, and Max left Brumau and headed North. Their destination was two days travel away and they would be going on foot.
A new adventure lay ahead of them.
"WATCH THE LEFT!"
In a small canyon north of Brumau, a loud bellow cut through the chaos that filled the area. Shortly after, a fresh wave of beasts smashed into the left part of the thin line of defenders that desperately tried to hold their ground inside the canyon walls.
The line of defenders buckled and nearly broke, but stubborn determination and purpose flashed in their eyes as they retaliated. They shouted their battlecries and slashed the beasts down with furious desperation, each of them aware that they were the last line of defence for their families.
Beasts snarled, blood splattered, and bit by bit, the line of defenders regained the ground they lost.
"Lieutenant Azai, status report!" called out a young man standing on a higher vantage point as he surveyed the battle with hard blue eyes.
"Commander! 1st Squad has three injured!" came the prompt reply from the officer.
"Lieutenant Bassa?" asked the youthful commander as he continued to watch the scene.
"Sir, 2nd Squad has one injured and one casualty!" replied Lt. Bassa, his grimy, grizzled face showing anger and remorse.
The blue eyed commander was silent for a moment as he peered into the dark, dust-choked canyon trying to make sense of what he saw.
Finally he gave his orders, "Lieutenant Chozo, Lieutenant Datoi, get 3rd and 4th squad into position to reinforce... We will be needing you shortly. Azai and Bassa, get back to your squads."
""YES SIR"" came the resounding reply from the four officers before they dashed back to where their men were holding the line against the beasts.
The young, blue eyed commander let out an imperceptible sigh as he adjusted his helm and checked his katana. He knew just as his men did that they had no way out. They were stuck in this canyon while the wasteland beasts gnawed at their swords in front, and the Wolves of Brumau waited to devour them behind should they attempt to retreat.
But they could not back down, nor could they give up. If they did, the sacrifices that their comrades had made would be all for nought. Their families that were praying for them only a hundred meters behind the defensive line would be torn apart, and their blood would soak the ground, forgotten and unavenged.
So no matter how sharp the teeth that bit them, or the claws that reached for them, they would meet them with blades and fury. They were the warriors of the Asurai, and their honor did not allow retreat when their families were in danger.
As the young commander watched his men fight, a figure approached him from behind. The figure was huge, standing a half meter taller that the commander, and was clearly not human nor Vekt. A large, scaly hand came to rest on the commander's shoulder before a deep rumble of a voice spoke.
"Taigen, how does it look?"
The blue eyed commander, Taigen turned and gave a tired smile to the figure, then said, "Ah... Ssaul, things could be better... We have 4 injured and one dead with the worst still on the way. Losses we cannot afford."
The large figure of Ssaul gave a grunt of acknowledgement. They were all aware how little time they had left.
"You go to the center Taigen, I will take the right and General Saigo will hold the left. The big one is on the way."
Taigen sobered when he heard that. Ssaul had better sight in the dark than he had, so he knew it was not a bluff. The big one he had referred to was the largest wave of beasts they would face tonight. If they could maybe survive another day, maybe the gods would have mercy on them...
After the large figure of Ssaul stomped off to the right flank, Taigen made his way to the center of the defensive line. The last few beasts from the previous round were being finished off, so there was a moment for the men to catch their breath.
As the men looked up at him as he walked past, Taigen could see a spark of hope shining now that he had appeared. A tired cheer went up as the men welcomed Commander Taigen to the front, and on the left and right flank as General Saigo and Ssaul made their respective appearances.
Taigen stepped out in front of his men and with a brilliant flash of azure light, drew the katana at his side from its sheath.
A fresh roar went up from the men at his back as they beheld the mythical blade of their ancestors held aloft, shining with magnificent azure light in the darkness of the night.
As the next wave of beasts came swarming out of the canyon's gloom ahead of them, the warriors of the Asurai clan formed up and began the chant of war that had been passed down from generation to generation.
Louder and louder they chanted, their voices blending together and forming a nearly tangible force that shook the ground and drowned out the howls of the beasts that charged at them.
Then there was a roar and flash of azure light that claimed the first beast as Taigen led his warriors into battle with one last resounding, ground-shaking chant.