- Edith |
- Johanna |
- Marcus and Llane |
- Isabel |
- Alecta |
- Athena |
- Virion and Johanna |
- Moira |
Marcus and Llane
Marcus and Llane - Deplorable Friendship
“So, you will not help me rescue my family, Marcus?” A Llane who had matured past the stubbornness of youth stood before the gates of Everlast, staring incredulously at a much bigger Marcus. Outside the rampart, the signs of a brutal battle between humans and dragons from the night prior were still fresh.
“Llane, my brother,” Marcus patted Llane on the shoulder. “If it was only myself, I would go. If the dragons did not menace, I would go. Unfortunately, neither “if” applies. I am the Chief Commander of Everlast first, your brother second. I must not neglect my duties. I am sorry.”
“Very well, Marcus, today is the day I meet the real you! Without you, I can defeat the dragons and save my family just the same!” With those words, Llane stormed off, a man on a mission.
Watching Llane leave in furious resignation, then fixating a vigilant gaze past the gate for dragons that may strike at any time, Marcus felt a knot in his throat before finally managing a gulp, his shifting arms finally came to a rest as well.
Llane roared inside with every step, bellowing at Marcus’s betrayal, at his choosing glory over his own kin, over and over and over again. Hatred and contempt for the man ran rampant through Llane’s heart.
In his rage, Llane forgot how he left Everlast behind and how he arrived at Natasha’s dwelling. A close friend to both him and Marcus for many years, Llane had carried a torch for the mistress of witchcraft.
The Llane whom Natasha met had lost all previous springs in his steps and vigor in his effervescence, replaced only by a cloud of daze.
“Natasha, I have given so much to the empire, yet why does the empire refuse to lift a finger for my family? I have given so much to Marcus, even at the near-cost of my life, yet he remained unmoved by my homestead’s plight? Does he value fighting for the nobles over fighting for a brother? At this moment, any thought of the capital nauseates me, and its people disgust me. Only your shelter offers me a modicum of salvation.”
“I must be going, Natasha. Even if Marcus was unwilling to help, even if I shall be alone, I must return home.”
Llane dragged his weapons back to his garrison. As he packed, he spotted the fully armed soldiers who stood watch by the gate, who followed him, their “Chief”, without hesitation. He saw in them loyalty, and especially hope to bolster his homeland without assistance from Marcus. The only thing he did not see was Marcus, departing a mere quarter-hour ago in search for Mikaela, while wishing Llane well in silence.
Llane led his troop out of Everlast.
Alas, he was too late. Nearly half of the tranquil, peaceful town fell to the ravaging dragons, including Llane’s parents.
From the traces of magic that still lingered, plus survivors’ accounts, Llane pieced together the tragedy.
Morrigan, Shade of the Red Dragons, had masterminded the atrocity. She and her dragons plundered the town and commenced a massacre. It was destined for oblivion had it not been for the unexpected, timely intervention of Mikaela. Even then, fate chose not to spare Llane’s parents.
Loathing welled in Llane.
Loathing the dragons for destroying his home, killing his mother and father.
Loathing Marcus for his heartlessness, whose aid would have certainly changed the outcome.
Loathing himself for lacking the foresight to build a troop to call his own sooner, one that could have confronted the culprits in time.
Kneeling before his parents’ graves, Llane uttered the vow that would affect his entire life.
“I, Llane, your son, shall dedicate the rest of my life to seek not glory, but the eradication of any and all dragons in order for your souls to rest in peace. As well, I shall neither forgive nor forget any and all disloyal, heartless, so-called ‘brothers’.”
Llane formed a mercenary legion with his soldiers and began fulfilling his oath. Given his extreme prejudice, a great majority of the legion’s bounties involved dragons. He haggled not over payout, as long as it was sufficient to sustain his men. He cared not about distance, as long as he could relish in the joy of slaying dragons.
Wherever there was a wandering dragon, he was there. He decided to forget much from the past, both old acquaintances and past events, retaining solely the betrayal he felt, and a grudge.
And the name Marcus, which had been carved deep into his heart.
Llane despised the name, but when the first word out of him upon being startled awake by nightmares was always “Marcus!”, he despised himself. The torment lasted until the day of the clash between Morrigan and Mikaela.
“Do you envy my allure, Mikaela, and wish to compete with me for Virion’s affection? Is that why you opposed me so, ever since that worthless remote village?”
“All of you diabolical dragons be damned! Commander Marcus of Everlast sent me to curtail your incursion, but I was nevertheless a step behind! As I failed to fulfill his request to which I agreed, I shall atone by condemning you and your ilk straight to hell!”
On the ground, Llane’s mind went blank, not even realizing when the battle ended.
The fray was near conclusion when he came to. In his dying breath, one of his soldiers mumbled, “Don’t blame the Commander, sir. It was he who came to us with the request first…”
A bowstring could never be taut again once lax, that is the present Llane. All these years of persistent determination would not allow him to forsake the vow he swore before his dead parents, despite his heart having launched countless attempts to forgive Marcus… Like when he received news from Natasha that Everlast was under siege by Morrigan-led dragons, but saving Marcus was not reason enough to convince himself to go.
“I will never forgive you! I am here only for Natasha and slaying more dragons to avenge my parents!”