181 Taigen“s Doub
"Quick! This way!" Taigen shouted to the group of clanspeople that was following him.
Since finding himself on the flying city, he had found over 40 of the scattered Asurai clanspeople in the various hanging structures thanks to Eve and her fantastic tracking and mapping abilities. Now he was leading them through what looked to be some sort of ancient castle towards the entrance to the city proper above them.
The problem they had encountered was the mechanical puppets that were strewn about the various structures hanging under the city. It was impossible for a group this large to avoid attention, so before long they had attracted a large group of the machines that got bigger with every area they went through. Thankfully most of the machines were old and broken, slow enough that they could be outrun.
Taigen wanted to get everyone up into the city itself where he hoped to establish a defensible position. From there they could stay safe while sending out search parties to find the rest of his missing people. He was worried that the civilians would not last long without protection, and there was also the noble Kreppelin flagship that had been pulled up here as well. He didn't want to think about what would happen if the nobles and their men found his people before he could.
His group soon made it to the door and started to file through while the few warriors that were here did a headcount to make sure that nobody went missing. Taigen took a last look back down the slope they had climbed at the crowd of machines staggering and crawling their way towards them, looking like a horde of macabre undead. Then he stepped inside, helping the others close and bar the door behind them.
The group found themselves in an area where three hallways branched out to the left, right, and the center. From what Taigen could see on Eve's map display, it looked to be a circular structure that had a central hub from where the hallways spread out from like spokes on a wheel.
Taigen ordered the warriors with the group to head towards the center of the area they had entered into while he took one of the side hallways along the rim to look for more survivors. Part of the reason he did this was because he sensed something strange down the left hallway, and he wanted to investigate without having to worry about keeping his people safe. Once the the group headed towards the center of the area, he headed off, moving down the echoing metal halls as he carefully watched his surroundings.
Taigen was still a young man, barely 21 years old, yet he had to shoulder the incredible weight that came with being the leader of the remnants an entire clan when he had been 17 years old. Life for him and his clan had been a struggle to survive ever since their clan was decimated, and the burden of leadership was especially heavy for one as young as Taigen. They all carried their doubts and grief in one way or another, but Taigen did not have the luxury of revealing his to anyone. A leader had to be strong after all.
In truth, he had ordered the group he had been with moments ago to go on to the center without him because he needed some time to himself. When he was alone, he could allow himself to doubt, allow himself to wish he did not have to shoulder the burden of leading his clan. When alone he could allow the thoughts he kept bottled inside to come out, if only for a little while.
He did not think that he was fit to be a leader. He was too lacking in experience! So what if the Azure blade had chosen him as its wielder? Did that make him fit to lead the clan? Taigen didn't feel that way. His mind was plagued with doubts and uncertainties that he could never let his people see, especially Baiken, Ssaul, and Saigo. He did not want them to know how he felt.
But life often had a way of letting him know that people depended on him, counted on him, and this would always bring him back around. His clan looked to him for guidance, and they had all collectively decided that Taigen was the most fit to lead them in these dark times.
Taigen himself was reluctant, but when his people were threatened or in danger, there was nothing he would not do to protect them. So in the end he had been selected as the Asurai clan leader and the wielder of the Azure Blade. When his clan placed that much faith in him, despite his own doubts and misgivings, he would do what was necessary.
And now, in a flying city high above the land that had almost been the doom of his people, Taigen Asurai found himself needed once again. His uncertainties and fears were set aside when he encountered a scene that made fury boil in his blood!
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He had peeked around a wall and found a large group of survivors near one of the gates to the lower, hanging city. The problem was that these survivors were from Cornelius Rellen's flagship, and they were led by none other than the Barron and his subordinates.
The Barron's men had some of the Asurai bound and kneeling on the ground, and already one of the Asurai had been struck down, lying in a pool of his own blood while their captors laughed at the lamentations of his watching family and comrades.
The Barron had a bloody history with the Asurai. During the years after the war when they had been driven from their home, the Barron had been the Asurai clan's primary enemy, using his forces to whittle them down and keep them weak while he enjoyed the spoils and riches gained from the ruins of the Asurai clan.
He was the reason they had been driven to the canyon in the Bulwark and forced to stay there, the Wolves of Brumau at their back and the wasteland beasts to their front.
And now he was once again inflicting grief and pain onto Taigen's clan! All the damage he had already caused, and still he wanted more?!
Taigen would not let another one of his people die!