Orwell's Point, Docks

Mills's arm darted and caught Titanna as she nearly tripped over the bobbing skiff when she tried to climb up the slippery steps of the harbor slip. The rest of Eagle Company were being ferried over by the river boats when they returned from across the Shard River.

"Be careful!" Mills warned as he gripped her restrained arms firmly. "It's slippery!"

Titanna blushed angrily and when she managed to stand on firm ground, she shrugged off Mills's helping hand. "I can walk by myself!" She proudly said and stormed off before Mills, much to the escorting Marines mirth.

"Damn, Sarge," One of the snickering Marines commented. "I think she's falling in love for you, Sarge!"

Mills rolled his eyes dramatically and flipped his middle finger at them, "You know what a viper is?"

The Marines grinned wildly, "Yeah, a poisonous snake, yes?"

"She most likely is the one stabbing me in my sleep or poisoning me in my meals if we were ever together!" Mills snorted.

The men laughed at Mills's reply, "But it will be worth it!"

Titanna gritted her teeth hard together when she heard the words of the barbarian soldiers behind her. "As if I would fall for a curt low bred barbarian who even cut his ears short!" she hissed under her breath.

"Alright, enough jokes," Mills grinned. "You are making our Princess here blush!"

Titanna paused in her steps and turned back and growled at Mills. She has never encountered such a maddening man before! All the men she met were either in awe, sweet talking, or fawning over her, while others were either fearful or even wanting her death.

This was the first time she met someone confusing, who treated her courteously and even more so, he treated her like a lady instead of an enemy who was they were trying to kill each other a few days ago!

Now he was joking and teasing her like an old friend which was something even her friends she had would never dare to do so!

"What?" Mills took a step back and held his arms over his chest protectively while his eyes widened largely. "You couldn't be really falling in love with me?"

"Arghh!" Titanna felt so frustrated by this person's words that she couldn't find anything to retort back. She stamped her hard leather boots on Mill's feet and stormed off in a fast pace with the Marine escorts laughing and running after her.

"Ow!" Mills wiggled his toes in his boots and frowned. "What did I do?"


"Oh, Drake!" Mills grinned as he entered the barracks. "You're back!"

"Hey man, just came back yesterday," Drake accepted a brotherly arm clasp from Mills. "It was pretty hairy for a while out there."

"Tell me about it!" Mills dumped his gear onto his bunk and sat down. "We all thought you guys have gone MIA out there!"

"We got lost out there," Drake told his adventure to Mills while some of the returned Eagle Company Marines also joined in the tale.

It was almost more than an hour when Drake and Mills caught each other up to the current state of affairs. "We were lucky that we managed to get picked up by a convoy of returning workers out there. If not, I don't know how long before we could be found!"

"Well, at least you get to see the bastard in the eye when you guys blew him to bits!" Mills growled. "I didn't even get my shot at one of them!"

"Didn't you caught a princess out there?" Drake grinned. "Heard you two are pretty sweet together!"

"Please!" Mills raised a palm to stop Drake's teasing. "Well, I... I mean she's pretty and well endowed to boot, but-"

"She's a viper?" Drake finished Mill's sentence. "Just tame her!"

"Oh, please... not you too!"


UNS Singapore, Prison Deck, Holding Cells Two

Tavor's fingerprint opened the hatch and he stepped into the clear armored glass holding cell. A young boy sat on the bed, the only furniture inside the mirrored walls of the cell, holding his head.

The lights in the cell were dimmed down but were enough for Tavor to observe the boy's features. He wore a magic suppression collar and was in an orange prison uniform that looked oversized in his skinny frame.

Tavor hit the lights button and the lights inside the cell glowed bright, and the boy jerked up and looked his cell in fright. "Who are you? Let me go! Let me out!"

Tavor hit the voice button on the panel, "You claim to be the prince of the Bluewood Empire? Is that the truth?"

"Yes!" The boy cried out almost in tears. "It's the truth! My father took on my identity and cast me out to die!"

"That sounds pretty far fetched..." Tavor replied. "Do you have any proof?"

"Proof?" The boy looked up at the mirrored ceiling where the strange distorted voice appeared to come from. "I have a ring that you took from me! It bears the signet of my lineage!"

Tavor muted the communication and checked his tablet, opening the file folder of the boy's information. He selected an image from the image folder and enlarged the image, focusing on the ring.

It looked like a normal silver ring except with a crest stamped on the flat top of it. Unable to verify anything or its authenticity, Tavor could only put it aside for now.

"Now, tell me again, how did your father take over your identity," Tavor asked again. "Start from the beginning."

The boy looked frustrated at the same questions over and over again. He sighed and sat back down and hugged his knees.

"As I said before, he..."


Orwell's Point, Marine Stronghold, CO's Office

"Sir!" The Marine sentry opened the door after knocking and showed the two guests in before closing the door and returning to his station.

Joseph continued his paperwork without looking up and just casually gestured to the two persons to take a seat.

The ex slave turned leader Mattew turned to his companion and gestured him to sit down on the chairs before the work desk.

Finally, after a short while, Joseph signed off on the reports and kept the documents in a file and observed both his visitors.

Mattew, as usual, had the snake oil salesman's smile on his face, but seeing the sweat forming on his forehead, Joseph knew he was nervous and afraid. On the other hand, his companion had an eagle eye look and a hint of aristocratic bearing.

The man had a fierce looking pair of eyes that observed Joseph openly. A pair of bushy eyebrows topped his grey eyes and his once full cheeks looked gaunt most likely due to lack of proper meals when he was a slave.

Joseph could see thin white scars marring the man's suntanned face and his exposed hands, most likely due to his fierce nature and defiance that his previous masters had inflicted upon him. He gauged the man to be roughly twenty, twenty five summers old.

"So what can I help you with?" Joseph finally broke the silence and asked directly.

"M- my Lord," Mattew cleared his throat and smiled weakly, "My friend here, Gavin of... Blackvale, wishes to serve under you as a warrior."

Joseph gave a raised eyebrow at the man called Gavin, noting that his build if properly recovered, this man most likely was a Knight or high ranked soldier of some fallen kingdom or nation.

"My Lord," The man's brassy voice said. "I am a good fighter, very good in fact. I can wield a sword and shield, broadsword, dagger, spear, halbert, bow, and crossbow all equally well."

"I am also proficient in mounted warfare and can use the lance fairly well," He stated proudly. "As well as unarmed fighting, I know some brawling moves too! And I am also a 2nd Circle Mage."

Joseph nodded in appreciation, knowing that learning any one of these skills will require a lot of dedication of time and effort, most likely since he has started training since a child.

"How a man of your skills end up in this state?" Joseph asked curiously.

"I... used to serve as a Knight Captain of a two hundred man troop," Gavin replied hesitatingly. "But we lost and I was taken prisoner... and the... King I served, was executed."

"With no one to pay ransom for my release," Gavin sighed. "I was sold as a slave."

"I see," Joseph replied and shook his head sadly. "But I do not need anyone with cold steel skills."

"Cold steel skills?" Gavin cocked his head to the side at the unfamiliar phrase. "I can teach too, I used to train and drill my men myself."

Joseph smiled, "The problem is not with your skills, I am sure many nobles or even armies would love to have your skills and ability."

"Than what is the issue here?" Gavin's eyes seemed to burn as he felt angry and humiliated that this Lord did not desire his services. "Is it because I was a slave before?"

"No, no," Joseph waved his protests away. "In my army, we do things differently. Skills like swordsmanship or archery are secondary."

"What?" Gavin looked like he was about to explode as he half rosed from his seat. "Sir, are you joking with me? What kind of army looks down on swordsmanship or archery? Are you trying to insult me?"

Joseph suddenly laughed as he recalled his own reaction before he joined the UN Marines Corps which made Gavin more pissed off, thinking that he was being looked down on.

He rosed fully and turned away in a huff, storming towards the door when Joseph said, "Sit down."

Gavin paused and turned, seeing Joseph seated calmly with a smile on his face, studying him intently, making him wonder if this was some kind of test. He meekly returned and sat down with an embarrassed look.

"If you really wish to join my forces," Joseph's smile disappeared as he spoke seriously. "You have to swear allegiance and pledge to protect the interests of the United Nations."

Gavin nodded solemnly, "A Knight does not break his bond easily!"

"Good," Joseph nodded. "But you will have to retrain everything and the environment will be strange at first. But you will get used to it."

"No problems, My Lord!" Gavin declared proudly. "I can take any training!"

"Good, then I hope to see you graduate from Boot Camp," Joseph smiled.

"Boot Camp?" Gavin looked confused, "Boots have camps?"

"HAHAHHAA!" Joseph laughed as he thought the same last time. "You will find out when the time comes! Hahahahaha!"

Gavin scratched his head in confusion but he stood up and walked next to Joseph before going down on one knee, bowing. "You are my Lord and Master now! Lord Joseph, I greet you and with all my-"

"Get up," Joseph grinned. "You don't swear your fealty to me."

"I- Huh?" Gavin looked even more confused at Joseph's words. "But..."

"Just get up," Joseph replied.

"T- Thank you, my Lord," Gavin stood up with an expression of confusion. "My Lord, I- I have a request..."

"Tell me," Joseph gestured him to sit down again.

"I know there are some people who are willing to serve under your name too," Gavin replied. "Most of them are my comrades and brother in arms that I known since becoming a slave here."

"Really?" Joseph was surprised and pleased at the same time. Recruiting immigrants over to Haven was not given the go ahead due to the differences in culture, mentality, and dissent. But if people were recruited directly into the military, that was another story as disciplines and order could be instilled into the recruits unless they rebel which under military law, it will be a serious offense, but still fully controllable, unlike new civilian immigrants.

"How many people wish to sign up?" Joseph asked without showing his excitement.

"I think about a thousand or so?"

A note from neo Koh

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