Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.
The thuds of the Orcha were loud on the pavement as they carried several wagons but they were soon drowned out by another noise.
Munch. Munch. Munch.
It was clear what the sound was. The Planters were all having a feast on the wagons they were on.
They snacked on bread, pies, and strips of meat as they rode.
“Come on Ned, you need something more to eat” Rico said with a slight muffle as he stuffed his face with a meat sandwich.
Edward was modest in his eating, having only a small bread roll. He was too immersed in his book to eat anything bigger. He was scribbling down his last encounter like a madman.
“I’m not that hungry anyways” Edward said quietly.
Rico didn’t believe a word he said.
“You sure? This smoked Kala is absolutely delectable” He said as he waved his sandwich in front of him. Edward looked up from his book and smiled at Rico. He took half of the sandwich and bit into it. Rico couldn’t help but chuckle.
As Edward finished the sandwich in silence he couldn’t help but look at Rico’s arm
“How’s the arm Rico” Edward said seriously
“All healed up and fine now. Turned out it was just a simple sprain so they gave me something for the pain” Rico said nonchalantly
“Listen, I should have told you more about what those guys were like. I left you in the dark against a possible adversary” Edward said slightly saddened
“Pff… Ned don't sweat it, I was dumb and I didn’t follow your orders properly. I deserved it” Rico said with a wave of his hand
Edward simply nodded his head, the rest of the ride was silent between the two. It lasted for an hour before they reached the first checkpoint into the capital of the Imperial held Atatin. The town of Eldesan. What was the shining jewel of Imperial power in occupied Atatin was now the center of a blossoming revolution that would surely spread across the whole of Atatin.
The convoy of carts stopped one by one as they came up to the checkpoint. It was a simple table on the side of the road surrounded by armed Planters just like the rest of the group. One of them came up to Edwards's cart with a short, squat gun slung on her back. A woman by the name of Maria, one of the original two hundred had helped set up the revolution that would sweep northern Atatin. Her red hair was tied up in a bun and she wore simple overalls.
“Nevta Edward, good to see you unscathed after visiting that bracker’s nest they call an estate,” she said with her hand on the sling of the gun
“Well I wouldn’t say it was completely eventless we got what we went for… and a little extra” Edward said as he pointed to the massive stockpile of books and food in several wagons behind him.
Maria simply snickered.
“Well, it definitely does sound like it was something. Wish I was there to see it” she said with a slight air of sadness. Edward simply shook his head.
“What you are doing here is important. You are the first line of defense to Eldesan and our first warning, you are needed here just as much as I’m needed out there.” He said with an air of confidence
“I suppose…” Maria said slowly.
Seeing the sadness in her, Edward sought to distract her for a moment
“I’ve also been meaning to ask, how is the pass system working?” He said to her,
“Oh yes! The pass system. We were able to implement the pass system into Eldesan. Now no one can get in or out of the town without us knowing about it!” She said, the sadness slowly rising out of her
“It took a bit of work since we couldn’t find any good stamps but Nevta Nicholas is good with a knife so he carved one out of a potato” she pointed to a man haggling with one of the carts for a basket of bread rolls.
Edward simply smiled.
“Good to see you are at least keeping busy… now if you can, please ready a pass for us” he said kindly
“Of course Nevta Edward” she said swiftly before walking to the table. She came back quickly with a paper with the letters RGA stamped on.
“The gate to the town is just a little bit ahead. It’ll be closed but they’ll open it once you show them the pass” Maria explained as she pointed to a large iron gate in the distance.
Eldesan. Capital of Northern Imperial-Controlled Atatin. It was a walled city of old. Its original stone walls and towers had been reinforced with concrete and steel to protect against any outside attack. What the Imperial soldiers never expected was an uprising inside the city. This surprise uprising that captured the Imperial City Hall and garrison armory in a flash were what led to the relatively bloodless revolution in Northern Atatin as Edwards Planters had cut off the head of the Imperial garrison to the whole of Northern Atatin.
Edwards' convoy of carts continued down its path to Eldesan as it reached the massive iron gate of the town. At its side, we’re two towers with several machine guns manned by Planters. At the foot of the gate, two extra machine gun nests flanked the two sides of the front of the gate. A simple plainclothes man with a rifle slung on his back approached the convoy.
“Pass?” He said as he held out his hand.
“Here you go and a little extra” Edward said as he gave the man the stamped piece of paper in one hand and a meat pie in the other. All the plainclothes man could do was smile.
“You’re a savior, Nevta Edward, you know that?” He said as he took the pass and pie
“Open the gates, Jedur! The auxiliary one!” He yelled to the tower.
Immediately two men opened a small opening at the foot of the gate just wide and tall enough for the convoy to pass through. The convoy started trundling again as it entered the busy streets of Eldesan. The revolutionary fervor of the city made all too apparent the moment they rode in. On almost every corner waved the black flag with the seven-pointed red star of the Atatshina, the people of Atatin. Banned for as long as anyone could remember, it was finally flying free for the first time. Edward couldn’t help but smile at the sight.
Many people were taking it further. With the threat of Imperial retribution gone for at least the moment, the people of Eldesan were determined to rid themselves of every visual vestige of the Empire. The crimson red flag with the Imperial sun was tossed down from buildings and burned. Statues of the original “liberator” of Atatin, the Emperor Moltonus, were heaved down from their pedestal and sent crashing down. Most importantly, however, were those who were rarely seen.
Surrounding the convoy of carts was a menagerie of different races and species, all cheering on the Planters. From half-elves, Tieflings, to dwarves did they show themself. Mixtum as they were often called by humans. No longer the second-class citizens they had been under Imperial rule.
While some nearby humans turned up their noses to the display, all of the Planters on the carts clapped and cheered and gave away food to the crowd. Many had friends, family, and even spouses that were Mixtum. The convoy slowed to crawl as it waded through the crowd.
Finally, after half an hour of relentless cheering, the convoy reached their destination. The Imperial City Hall of Eldesan. What was once the seat of Imperial power over all of Northern Atatin was now the gathering place of the revolution. The core cadre of Planters had set up their base of operations here. Here at its steps they gathered the city's populace and proclaimed who they were and what they would do. Here was the birthplace of it all.
“Alright people! I want everything gathered from the carts and transferred to the main hall.” Edward said to everyone behind him. Like clockwork, everyone began to pick up their fair share of books, tomes, and scrolls and began to walk inside the City Hall.
Edward grabbed a couple of books and began to walk to the entrance of the City Hall. To say it was massive was an understatement. It was nearly monolithic as it stood over all the other buildings. Its architecture was classical and ornately carved with various stone pillars. If anything represented Imperial power in Atatin, it was the City Hall.
As he walked through the entrance, he saw many of his Planters be taken aback by the magnificence of the Main Hall. It made Wizner's estate look like a small shack. Almost everything was completely marbled from the ceiling to the floor. Glass chandeliers hung from the ceiling as they glittered from the light. On the walls were paintings of the various Imperial governors of Northern Atatin stretching back to when it was conquered by the Empire five hundred years ago.
At the far end of the hall stood an ornately decorated wooden chair with plush velvet cushions embedded into it. Above it stood the seal of the Empire. A crowned Wyvern looking forward, a fireball in one hand, a bundle of wheat in the other. All with a golden sun shining rays of light down upon it.
“Really people! I told you I wanted this room cleared!” Yelled a voice from the side of the hall. Out of an open door way from the side came a woman with almost purple skin and black hair with short, crooked horns coming out of her head. She wore a ragged soldier's uniform and had a bolt action rifle slung on her back. Behind her were several others just like her walking to the paintings with step ladders to take them down.
Tieflings. Of all the Mixtum downtrodden within the Empire, they by far had it worst. They hadn’t always looked the way they had. Originally humans had supported a demon lord who had waged a war against the gods and lost horrifically. They were cursed to become a form of demon themselves. Generations upon generations had passed as they were rejected from home to home. The only place willing to accept them was Atatin. Among its variety of Mixtums and accepting humans they finally found themselves safe.
Edward came up to the woman with the stack of books weighing him down and called to her
“Hey! You know the place where we put all the books?” He asked simply. She turned around and looked at him before pointing to the room she came from.
Edward walked into the room, his strength slowly being drained from having to carry such a heavy load of books and saw humans and Mixtum working to organize everything that had been ransacked and taken from the City Hall into something usable. Golden trinkets and scepters lined with jewels were placed neatly on a table in one corner as several stacks of books as tall as a person were tucked away in the other.
Edward navigated around the workers and placed his books down, adding another stack to the book pile. He looked around at all the work everyone had done and smiled. This was what the revolution was all about! Everyone works toward the common goal of tearing down the shell of the old world and establishing the new one.
It almost made him not feel the tap on his shoulder from the Tiefling.
“Like what you see?” She said with a smile.
“Yeah. It’s good to know a lot of people's work paid off. Still got a lot more but it’s something” He said with a smile as well
“You know, I never caught your name.” He said, turning to her.
“Akrit. Akrit Tanou. And I know who you are, Edward Nestin” she said as she leaned against a wall, moving her rifle to her side. Edward chuckled.
“Who doesn’t know around here?” He said with his arms crossed, moving his chest holster to the side.
“How are the people of Eldesan taking the Revolution?” He said in a smaller tone of voice.
“Like any other people who have been tossed around all their life. Passionately” She said as she took a small cigarette from a pouch in the uniform. She twisted her fingers in her other hand and said a few words in a hushed voice. A small flame lit in her palm and she brought it up to the cigarette in her mouth.
Edward simply chuckled as Akrit twisted her fingers again in a pattern and the flame went out.
“What’s so funny?” She asked with a puzzled look on her face while she smoked. Edward sighed as a smile got on his face.
“I guess it’s just the thought that… we’ve made it this far!” He tossed his hands up to indicate everything around him
“I gotta be honest, there were days while I rotted in the dungeons that I would live and die without seeing this moment. That others after me would live and die before it happened” He said as his smile slightly dropped. Akrit smiled as well as she took a draw from her cigarette before blowing out the smoke.
“Haven’t we all, Edward. Haven’t we all?” She put the cigarette back in her mouth as Edward looked around at everyone.
“I’ve noticed almost everyone here is armed. I assume the redistribution of the armory has been going well?” He said.
“Know the half-elf who organized it. Goes by Alxrion but most just call him Alex.” she replied.
“Good, take me to him”
“Real stash we got during the initial uprising. Be happy those guardsmen turned on their officers and gave us the key” Alex said as he, Edward, and Akrit walked through one of the alleys away from the cheering crowds.
It was several minutes before they came to the guarded steel doors of what looked like an old Wyvern hangar. The two halfling guards were both armed with squat submachine guns. They both opened the sliding hangar doors when Alex waved at them.
The inside was packed to the brim with rows and rows of guns. Boxes of guns. Shelves of guns. Display pieces of guns. Edward grinned ear to ear. He looked at each row and tried to remember what each model was. Harrow Mk.24 semi-automatic pistols. Darmody M98/30 bolt action rifles. Papashi PS-33 submachine guns.
Edward could simply only smile at the number of weapons he saw
“What do you think?” Alex said.
“What do I think?!” Edward nearly yelled. He pulled a pump-action shotgun from the rack and pumped it to make sure it was empty
“I think we can get some work done with these”