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At What Cost Victory
The Orc King's sword flashed at his head once again, and Aeric ducked it, swinging his own mighty blade with all his remaining strength. A large gash opened across the orc's side, but it barely seemed to notice. Aeric swallowed hard; he was not going to win this fight.
A sharp pain slashing across his midsection told him that the Orc King's blade had once again torn right though his armor. As his blood splattered on the ground, Aeric fell. His sword tumbled from his quickly numbing fingers, and he hit the muddy earth with a wet smack.
A few seconds latter, he felt his opponets sword slide through his body, pinning him to the ground. Everything fadded and his vision turned white. The pain was a distent memory, and the world seemed to float away.
He'd been here before. It wasn't someplace he'd wanted to come back to for quite some time, but he knew he didn't have control over that now.
I'm sorry Veridian. So sorry. I was going to ask you to... well... it doesn't matter now, does it? I'm dead again, and this time, I'll probobly stay that way. I hope the other's can beat off the orcs... I hope we win. I have faith in them. I know they can do it.
Goodbye, Veridian. I'll see you on the other side.


"Aeric?" the voice was familure, and it lured him awake slowly, "Aeric can you hear me?" a hand lightly slapped his face, "Come on, big guy, I know the spell worked."
Aeric reached up and grabbed the hand in a chrushing grip, "I'm awake Raen. You can stop slapping me."
"Welcome back." Raen stepped away from him as Aeric sat up, looking about the medical tent he was in. Roven lay on a cot not too far away, Kahlil working magics of his own over the mighty Saytr.
"What happened?"
"You died." Raen rolled his eyes, "Again."
"You brought me back?"
"You weren't dead that long." Raen patted him on the shoulder, "Now rest easy for a second while I heal the rest of your wounds. You're still bleeding."
"No..." Aeric got up off the cot he was on, "Tend to the other wounded... how is the battle going?"
"It's over... we won." Raen smiled, "What's left of the orcs have retreated into the mountians."
Aeric let out a held breath and smiled for the first time since he had come back to life, "Where's Veridian?"
"She should be on her way here. We sent runners to her scout unit almost fifteen minutes ago."
"I need to talk to Gailen. No, Raen," Aeric waved his friend off again as the cleric came at him with another healing spell, "I'll be fine. The bleeding has all stopped."
"Okay then, but you come back here in a few days so I can see to you then. You're still hurt, even if you are alive."
"Right, right." Aeric grinned, "Just like old times, eh?"
Raen grinned right back, "Just like old times."
Aeric gathered what was left of his cloak around him as he stepped out of the tent into the light drizzle that still fell over the camp. People were running all over the place, bringing medical suplies to the tents, or delivering messages to their commanders. The large warrior had gone no more then ten yards before he heard a shout.
"Aeric!" Veridian shoved aside a runner and sprinted towards him, flinging herself bodily into his arms as she made it up to his massive form, "They told me you had been killed!" she was almost hysterical, and close to tears.
"Well, I was dead for a little while, but Raen fixed me right up, just like he used to."
"Don't joke about it like that!" Veridian smacked his arm, "You died AGAIN?"
"Twice isn't that much." Aeric shrugged, "We need to see Gailen."
"Always thinking about work, aren't you?" she sighed and hugged him again, "I don't want you to die anymore, okay?"
Aeric snorted out a brief laugh, "I'll do my best."
"What do we need to see Gailen about?" she asked as they set off towards the command tent.
"We need to get orders. This place is a mess, and we need to start figuring out what our losses were. If the orcs reorginize in the mountians and attack again, we're sunk." he glanced at her sideways, "And if things are all okay, and we know the orcs aren't coming back... I want to ask to be decommisioned."
Veridian stopped and gaped at him, "Excuse me? Lord Aeric, mercenary commander and unstoppable warrior wants to quit the army?"
"I'm too old for this anymore, Green. I want to get out while I'm still alive... two chances at life was great, and now I've got another. I don't think I can ask for a fourth after this one."
"What are you going to do with yourself?" she smiled hugely.
"I'm going home, to Dhoesone. Maybe I'll start up a small farm." he looked at her meaningfully, "Get married, have a family..."
"Any particular girl in mind?" he eyes twinkled at him.
"I think I might have a lead on a good one. I'll know for sure if you say yes."
"Of course I'll go with you. Aesia knows someone has to take care of you!"
"Oh, that's rich. I cook better then you, I've been doing your laundry for the past four years, and I at least know how to clean SOMETHING, even if it is just a sword."
"I can do housework, Lord Aeric, you nobal bastard."
"We'll see LADY Veridian, you stuck up bitch of a nobalwoman."
Veridian stood on her tiptoes and he leaned down and kissed her, "Let's go see Gailen now. I'm sure we still have some work to do around here before he'll let us go." she poked him in the ribs and he winced.
"Soon, Green." he pulled her close to him, "Soon we'll have a REAL home."
She hugged him tightly and thought about that for a moment, "Home." she whispered softly.
As runners dashed past, and healers toted suplies around, the two of them stood silent, content in each other's arms as the light rain fell.

From the journal of Sir Aeric Of Dhoesone

Contributor: Jacob McDonald