Continued from here part 5
Many years ago, Marshal's Academy at the Capitol.
A young Victor stood before a group of new recruits doing an amount of push ups that bordered on abuse. As they counted off The then High General Magnus along with his brother and second in command Marcus approached. Victor turned and gave a nod, "Morning Marcus."
Magnus rolled his eyes a bit, "No greeting for a superior?"
He glared to his father, "Morning, you rat bastard."
Magnus had a slight grin, "Better."
Marcus cleared his throat, "We have business."
Victor sighed then patted his underling Reeves on the shoulder, "If they loose count, make them start over."
Victor turned and followed them. He entered a room where two nervous looking boys sat. One was a ten year old Gunnar and twelve year old Harris. Victor looked them over, "Bit young for service."
Magnus nodded, "These boys need someone to take care of them."
Victor gritted his teeth, "I'm already raising one son for you...."
Magnus cut him off, "They're war orphans, they have no place else to go and I don't want them in the orphanage."
Victor growled, "Fine, under one condition."
The boys stood out on a field as Victor stood behind them. Magnus and Marcus watched from a distance as Victor called, "Vargas, get your ass out here."
An eight year old Vargas wandered out, "What?!"
Victor tossed his little brother a wooden sword then handed one to each of the boys, "If one of you manages to land a hit on him, you both can stay."
Gunnar looked hesitant, "You want us to beat up a little kid?"
"You don't need to beat him up, just hit him once."
Harris didn't question as he ran headlong at the boy. He was caught by a foot to the chest as Vargas leapt up. He then landed behind Harris and slammed the wooden sword across the back of his knees. Gunnar ran up and attempted to catch him off guard but took a knee to the gut for his trouble before Vargas brought the hilt of his weapon down on his head.
Gunnar got angry and began wildly swinging his blade as Vargas easily dodged. As he backed up he suddenly stopped as he felt the point of Harris's sword poking his back. Victor caught Gunnar's hand as his blade nearly crashed down on Vargas' head, "Your buddy already got a kill shot. You're good."
He then looked to Vargas, "You still ain't watching your back boy."
Marcus noticed the faint grin on Magnus' face, "Careful, they might find out you give a damn."
Magnus noted the sarcastic tone as he turned to his brother, "Their hate'll make them hard and strong. They'll need that."
"If you say so, still sounds like a terrible idea though."
He nodded, "Has to be done. You'll understand when its time."
The Present, The Capitol
Gunnar still fumed in his chamber as Marcus spoke, "I sent out riders to confirm it, if Victor is dead they'll bring him back to be buried with honors. I have to ask, would it be wise to tell Vargas. We want him to stay for a bit."
Gunnar glared, "The Wrath showed me an image of a Reaper, a Tiger and a Dragon marching on the Capitol. If he knows they're coming he'll wait, trust me on that."
Marcus sighed, "You say the vision showed a dragon striking down a bear, you know what that could mean?"
Gunnar silently nodded.
Belial stood next to an angry Paimon, "You should have let me kill them."
Belial rolled his eyes, "You still on that?"
Harris seemed a bit sullen before noticing many men marching toward them. He yelled to Belial, "We have company."
Several men broke away from the large group and approached Belial. One called Erick stepped forward, "Rumor has it, one of you managed to take down Victor the Bear."
Belial nodded and pointed to Harris, "The blood still stains his blade."
Erick gave him a nod, "His brother killed our leader, I figure that means we owe you for the small measure of vengeance."
Belial grinned, "We aim to exterminate the marshals, if you march with us you may consider your debt paid."
Alana watched as she hid in a nearby tree. She sighed as she muttered to herself, "This doesn't bode well."
Vargas nervously boarded Uri's machine as he began to wind it, "I don't think a full wind will be necessary this time."
Uri shrugged as he stopped at a quarter wind, "If you say so."
The machine then launched down the hill as Hana, Angus and Vargas clutched the sides of their seats.
A couple minutes later they found themselves speeding toward the city gates as a royal guardsman raised a hand to stop them. Uri's eyes went wide as he kicked the break lever. The guard barely managed to dive out of the way. The machine screeched to a halt as Uri began to apologize profusely. Vargas stepped down and the guard gave a hateful look, "You can never arrive like a normal person, can you?"
The guard then glared up to the gate keeper, "Its just Vargas."
A massive stone wall lowered into a cut in the ground as several locks sprang loudly. Uri watched as several massive wooden planks slid away as the main gate opened, "Marvelous, but still nothing compared to my machinery."
As they entered a woman armed with a rapier, Sarah stood before them. She looked on Vargas, "The High General needs to see you immediately."
"Can't I get lunch first."
She gave him a blank look, "No."
Angus and Hana's eyes went wide as they saw the city for the first time. Angus turned to Vargas, "Meet you later, gonna go waste some money."
Vargas then tossed a small purse of coins to Hana, "Go get yourself some cloths that fit, grab a bite or something."
A man with Sarah called named Oleg leered at Hana, "Allow me to escort you, mi'lady."
Vargas gave a fake grin and a nod as he pulled Sarah over, "Tag along, and tell Oleg if he lays a hand on that girl, I'll remove it from his body."
She chuckled a bit, "Will do."
He then looked to Uri, who was already happily boasting about his machine to whoever would listen. he shrugged and headed toward the Marshal's Headquarters.
A mile from the Capitol riders came upon Clive carrying the Big Bear to deliver to Vargas. After a quick exchange of words Clive agreed to carry out the confirmation as they proceeded in their task to retrieve the body.
Vargas had become sidetracked on his way to the headquarters but eventually made his way there. As he arrived an aide ushered him into Gunnar's quarters. He looked around the room, "This is quite a few steps up from the crap holes Victor raised us in."
Gunnar had a stern look as Vargas noticed the Big Bear sitting on the desk. "Is Victor here?"
Gunnar shook his head, "We need to talk."
Clive nervously entered the room as anger started to form in Vargas, "Why the hell is the Bear here without Victor?"
Gunnar motioned for Clive to sit down, "We're both about to find out."
Clive sat and told his story. Vargas and Gunnar listened intently to every word the nervous young marshal uttered until he'd finished. Gunnar sat back, "So he died fighting?"
Clive nodded. Suddenly Vargas stood and flipped the desk sending it crashing through a window. Clive looked frightened as Vargas turned and kicked open the door nearly taking it off the hinges as Gunnar ordered, "Vargas, stop."
Vargas gripped the hilt of the Coyote, "This can't go unanswered."
Gunnar stood, "It won't. His killer is marching here. Aside from that he's with the man who wields the Reaper's Arm. We both want Harris to pay but I also need to protect this city. With you here we can do both."
Vargas took a breath, "I brought a man with me, find him and bring him to the city's engineers. Perhaps he can help with defense, if he refuses just stroke his ego a bit."
Gunnar sighed, "Can I trust you to keep your head on straight? You know him as well as I, one mistake, one second of hesitation and he will kill you."
Vargas gave a nod, "I know."
Angus sat at a small table outside a restaurant. The waitress commented, "The marshals seem on edge today."
Angus nodded, "Fight's coming."
She looked down to him, "You know something?"
"Nothing specific, I just feel it in my gut. If you'd been in as many fights as me, you'd see the signs too."
The Changeling had been vibrating in his pocket off and on since they'd entered the city. He knew something bad was coming.
Several royal engineers approached Uri. One spoke up, "Sir, we were told you were a man of great skill and we'd like to have your aid."
Uri smiled, "Well of course you would, a man of my genius is rare indeed."
One of the men rolled his eyes, "That was easy."
(To be continued)