Red Steps on a Broken RoadEdit"So What you’re saying Salem, is that I need more arrows?” Sira shook her head, one hand held to her forehead as if in pain though only at the young boundsmen’s naivety than actually anything physical. “No Arman” the grizzled boundsmen rubbed his forehead in frustration, “More arrows does not belie your lack of ability to hit that which you are aiming at whilst moving” Salem cocked one eye brow up at Sira, a gesture of assistance from a friend who simply lent up against the stump of metal next to their camp fire. “But if I’m watching the shot fall, how am I supposed to keep a track of my feet as well?” Arman put his bow down from where he was practicing at the entrance to a dark side alley, a target light set at one end of the debris littered alley for him to practice his aim. “You don’t, you check you path of movement to the next cover, then move as you fire so you don’t have to keep track of your feet whilst you’re eye watches the fall of drop” Salem rolled his eyes “Didn’t your families elder’s ever teach you about the nomad’s step whilst on the path?” Arman looked down for a moment, his young features showing clearly in the fire light. “No” He scratched the side of his face as he looked at the two older boundsmen, “My brother did most of the bounds steps, I kept an eye on the fire light for the path” Arman’s shoulders slumped slightly as he spoke. Sira sighed, The last voice had been drawn finally back together for the first time in two generations be the decree of the Elders. The Lost were to march to war once more, the great path to be walked once more into the darkness in order that once more the lost may save themselves from the edge of oblivion. The new Vas-shah had been elected only a few short weeks ago from the Maah-Maah Family and now every family that could was sending those able to fight under the banner of the last voice, her own brothers were even now walking the paths amongst the other families to draw those that had missed the cry to war. She cracked her neck and stood up straight, “Its not his fault Salem, the few elder boundsmen that have any kind of experience of a march this size are in the care of the nomad these days” She subconsciously thumbed the pendant of her families symbol at the thought. Salem rubbed his chin; sighing as he got up and placed a hand on the young Arman’s shoulder “She’s right” He patted Arman’s shoulder “Let me show you something my mother taught me when still a young one”. Sira stood and watched for a minute as the old jaded Arash family Boundsmen taught the young redfoot, the youngster watching with evident interest and nervousness. She turned around, picking up her old venerable rifle and headed back into the main camp, family tents and fires spread around every side street corner and overhang shadow way she could see. Only into her nineteenth year and considered by those that knew her as one of the more cynical boundsmen that walked the nomad’s path, Sira cared little for what some of the newer families thought of her, her own family and the opinions of her brothers and mother were those that carried weight with her as she walked through her life. She paused for a moment as she passed a band of young boundsmen laughing and chatting around a fire set into a metal barrel, all wore different family symbols. Some a pendant or necklace, others a head scarf or waist sash, she wondered what the darkness would bring and if that frail humanity would last as she wondered on. A cry from her right caught her attention as a trio of Boundsmen came running past, two blood soaked comrades slung on a stretcher, one being carried on the back of another as the lead runner screamed for a binder. “What happened?” A taciturn Tradesmen elbowed his way through the small band of lost warriors; His face masked by a red veil, a pack being ripped open already to reveal bandages and salves of a healer. “Swarmer pack” One of the Boundsmen got out between breaths “They came out of the pipes and the walls” Another gibbered as he visibly shook, terrified by what he’d seen. “You, get this to the Vas-shah now, before we’re all going to need a binder” The Taciturn Tradesmen ordered Sira, without a backwards glance at the dying man, she began to run...
Army & Territory SituationEdit
The First few weeks of the Lost’s greatest muster of military force in two generations goes surprisingly quietly, those families bound to the cries of their elders and the elders of the Lost send what arms and warbands of Boundsmen they can as the Last Voice begins the reform in Refuge. Great piles of weapons, armour and ammo are collected together and placed in the great tents run by the refuge family, names being checked and crossed off as family boundsmen return to the guards lands of the Lost and make themselves ready for war. By Month’s end a host of 3000 abled and ready Boundsmen and Tradesmen stand ready to follow the new Vas-Shah into the darkness of the ruins, Boyed by the news from the dome that through the efforts of the Maah-Maah Family & Red Veil Family that a source of food has been secured from under the nose of the other cultures. Some report with a grin that the Peoples dared not show their face amongst the Lost, whilst other more learned Families also notice the lack of their oldest friends, The Cellborn. Others still notice the whispers of some sort of theft form the Cellborn by the Lost during their time in the dome and potential plans to sell if back to the cellborn rather than gift it. Those Elders present at the refuge keep quiet to the Vas-shah but a number of the First family, those of the Great Nomad’s direct Blood growl at the insult to the old accords.
The Last voice marches south wards at the behest of a wide skirmishing screen of fresh and eager boundsmen, ready to prove themselves as numerus warbands of Tradesmen and Grizzled Families follow behind in a great migration of force pushing into the great metal ruins of the industrial areas that mark the boundary of the Refuge lands. Towering pillars of dilapidated metal piping, vines of sparking and worn cables twisting there way around metal struts and across the floors of wide open barns, great slabs of metal sitting eerily silent amongst the background hum of electricity and drip of oil. Broad tunnels and over head gantries lend the Last voice a good speed of pace as they advance through the first third of the territory. The boundsmen on the look out for any potential sign of danger ever present in the ruins beyond the lands of the Lost, shortly into the second month they find it, or to be more precise it finds them. The first sign of trouble is the loss of communications with a set of scout bands to the west of the Lost’s advance, larger warbands are sent to investigate the scouts disappearance until they themselves find themselves being attacked from every angle, mutants pouring from every direction in a series of running ambushes and attacks. Initially caught off guard by the mutants, the Last voice attempts to push through using force to engage the mutants head on in a series of running skirmish battles, however every time the army attempts to pin a swarm in place to start taking it apart another attacks form the rear before disappearing. The next month dissolves into a series of ambush and clearance, the Last voices pace of advance cut to almost nothing as any warband caught out of sight of another soon goes missing, only blood stains and tattered rags left in their wake with the odd mutant corpse testament to their passing. Casualties continue to rise as the weeks pass by until eventually the army finds itself stuck in a series of positions from where it can maintain some form of counter to the mutants tactics. Exact figures are rough at best but even the most optimistic of the elders amongst the force say around 300 Lost shall never breath again, whilst a body count of slain mutants put their tally at closer to 350.
So the Last Voice has engaged and unidentified Mutant swarm as they advance south, caught initially unawares the army has held its own but is now stuck in a defensive formation within the Industrial territory with points being even with the mutant swarm for those warriors lost. Roughly a third of the territory has been conquered however the other two thirds are firmly infested with mutant swarms, if the swarm had not been present the army would have likely rolled over the territory without issue.