Rain struck the roof of the makeshift tent surrounding the soldiers with a deafening roar. Some of the men made mild curses about this 'swampland' weather.
"Bannerwoman Fuujin, Ma'am, tell me why we're out here in this swamp fighting?"
Fuujin turned around to face the one who spoke up and the addressee winced, realizing his mistake. Fuujin's one green eye seemed to peer into the depths of his soul, her other eye having been lost years ago now covered by a black patch. Hair prematurely silver draped her shoulders and the long sleeved coat of the Defenders of the Stone did little to hide a body that had been trained since youth. She offered the soldier a fang toothed smile, unnerving him.
"Would you stand by if your son decided to take an acre of your land and call it his own?" The four soldiers uttered a 'No Ma'am'. "Neither will the High Lords of Tear. Mayene belongs to us and it doesn't matter if it was a swampland or a desert. We fight to keep what is rightfully ours." The four men nodded with smiles, an air of excitement filling up the tent.
Fuujin turned away, leaving the soldier's to their little chattering, it'd be pointless to tell them to be silent, the rain deafening all else. She drew a silver spyless to her eye bringing the northern gate of Mayene into view. As if on cue the gate began to open and a group of men were led out by an Officer dressed in the colors of the Winged Guard. She watched as the gate closed behind them and they marched northwards up the Mayene road.
She stood up and put her spyglass away, her men taking their cue to stand ready. She mounted her Tairen stallion as her men got on their own horses. Leaving the nest, the Defenders kept to the woods moving to cut off the Winged Guards.
Her men were well trained and she didn't need to repeat their orders or tell them to be silent. She couldn't have picked a better band of men. She suddenly drew her horse's reins in, bringing it to a sudden halt. Up ahead the road was visible and the patrol they were hoping to intercept was up ahead. She raised a hand into the air, making a fist, and the five of them pushed their horses to a canter.
They came up immediately behind the patrol and Fuujin wasted no time in attacking the officer in charge. She drew her wavy-bladed flamberge, Pandemona. The Winged Guards turned to meet their opponents just in time, the Officer immediately drawing his sword to meet Fuujin's. Their opponents shouted out battle cries while her own Defenders remained silent, focusing on the battle at hand.
Pandemona whistled through the air striking the Officer's blade with startling force. Fuujin continued to bare down on the her opponent, each strike of her blade hitting with the force of a landslide. Another strike caused her opponent to wince and a smile drew across her face. Low Wind Rising brought her blade across the Officer's chest. Blood seeped through the Officer's clothing as his hand moved to clutch his chest. Wasting no time she brought her blade down again with The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain, and with a quick twist of her wrist The River Undercuts the Bank split the man's neck open.
He fell from his blood covered horse into the mud. "Filthy rebel." She muttered and quickly turned to survey the situation. One of her men was face first in the mud while another Winged Guard sat impaled to a tree by a thinly shafted spear. She moved to help her men, but the sound of hoof-beats gave her pause. Turning around she saw a group of men heading their way. Held above them was a banner baring a Golden Hawk in flight.
'More? There shouldn't be another patrol out here...'
"For the First and Mayene!" She heard the approaching enemies shout and the Winged Guards present returned the call.
"Retreat!" Fuujin yelled, harrying her men back into the woods. She heard what must have been the Officer of the new patrol shout to 'Not let them get away' and battle-cries chased the four Defenders through the swampland. She knew she needed to find herself a more advantageous position if she was going to get them out alive. Up ahead a small village came into view and a plan formulated in her mind. She drew her horse into a gallop and her men followed.
Fuujin and the soldier Triyn crouched between two shops while Dayar and Daam were in the alleyway opposite of them. Each of them held spears with black and gold tassels. They heard the approaching soldiers well before they saw them. Reaching the well in the center of the village the seven man patrol came to a stop.
"They're somewhere in this village. Search every house as they may be holding some citizens hostage. Search every alley, every crack, these rats will be found." The men split into three groups of two while the Officer stayed waiting for any news.
Fuujin rapped her spear against the wall of the shop and charged out from her hiding spot, Triyn right behind. She held her spear at chest right and before the Winged Guard could react she ran the spear through his chest. The other man soon found Triyn's spear through his own. Across the street Dayar and Daam's ambush was successful. "Help them finish off the rest of 'em, this one's mine." She said as she crossed the road to meet the officer, drawing her blade.
Heron Wading in the Bushes, the feint was easily blocked. Reaching up to grab her sword with both hands she brought it down with Striking the Spark. She rained her blade down on the man's broadsword, repeatedly striking with much force without letting up. Swiftly she kicked the man in the groin. The moment she gained was all she needed as her sword came down and struck his head.
A cry came from nearby and she saw one of the Winged Guards go down. Wrenching her blade from the man's skull she approached her three men and the one opponent left standing, backed up against a wall. As soon as she neared him she swung at her. Effortlessly parrying his blow she disarmed him.
"Don't worry. I'm not going to kill you." She sheathed Pandemona. "Tie him up."
A few minutes later the man was tied to the well in the center, his comrades having been dropped down the well.
She knelt in front of the struggling man. "I want you to deliver a message to your superiors, can you do that?" He replied by spitting in her face. Without hesitation she drew a clear, curved dagger from her coat-sleeve an placed it in his eye. She waited until his cries quieted down before speaking. "I want you to tell them that this will continue until they give up their rebellion. Everyday that goes by guarantees the death of another rebel." With a twisted smile she blinded his only good eye and placed her dagger back in her coat-sleeve.
She left the blinded man crying in agony, cursing Tear and the Defenders off the Stone. With a smirk she led her three soldiers back to their horses. The battle over her mind turned to the Defender who died. "You three. Go find Roy and see to it that he gets a proper burial. We'll drink to him tonight, on me of course." The men gave a solemn 'Huzzah.'
As she crossed the Drowned Lands towards Tear her mind began to think of the letter she was to write:
To the family of the Defender of the Stone Roy,
I, Fuujin Oaks, regret to inform you...
Hours later the Star in Tear was filled with the sound of laughter as Defenders gathered to hear Daam recount their story and of Bannerwoman Fuujin's 'heroism'. She herself sat in the corner at a lone table, her mug of ale left untouched. The fireplace's light danced in her eye and the sound of laughter echoed in her ear. No one thought to bother her...