|Min of the Mark
Author: Do Play With Fire PM
In the event of an invasion, a group of teens are ripped from their homes and forced to stand and fight against one of the most formidable opponents, an empire that is yet to lose a war.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Suspense - Chapters: 28 - Words: 44,435 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-26-12 - Published: 07-12-12 - id: 3041295
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I finished the first part of this story. This story is going to be divided into three parts, and I am going to finish each part before I start publishing it, so the time between new chapters will be a bit erratic. Feel free to drop a review, because I like them. Doesn't everybody.
Part One: Streak
Min sat in one of the many evergreen trees overlooking the snow covered Hashad Mountains that circled almost the entire perimeter of the kingdom of Gardlens. She was hunting, and she had been on the hunt for over a week, but the game she had caught had not been enough satisfy the needs of her family and village, Kond, which was directly above the highest point in the Útorien Pass through the mountains.
Finally Min saw an indentation in the snow. She had only been in the tree for a couple of minutes, and she had been scanning the skies for a possible bird to shoot down with her bow and arrow, therefore noticing the print before had not been possible. She sprang from her branch on the tree with her tangle of curly waist length fiery red hair streaming behind her and her golden eyes gleaming. She knelt down in the snow and examined the print. The print was clearly the print of a hoofed animal. Min could distinguish that even with the slight dusting of snow on top of it. She smiled and gave the God a silent prayer of thanks, for only one animal in the Hashad Mountains could make a print of that size.
The Snow Deer had finally returned from the southern end of the mountains, which was where they stayed for the winter, to the northern end of the mountains, which was where they stayed for the summer. Their return meant that spring had finally come back to the Hashads after a long cold winter. There would be many celebrations, and there would also be a greater surplus of food. Despite these happy times that came with spring, the return of the Snow Deer also brought caution. The Útorien Pass would thaw leaving Gardlens exposed to an invasion from the Enthönien Empire, which surrounded over half of Gardlens' borders. Guards would be posted, and the Mark, the people of the Hashad Mountains, would undergo a strict training regime, so that in the event of an invasion, they could keep the army out until reinforcements from the valley arrived.
News of the Snow Deer's return would bring great honor to Min, but coming back with the first Snow Deer of the season would bring back even more. Min made up her mind to track the Snow Deer. She would not return to Kond until she had one. She straightened up the assortment of white furs that she wore from the skins of Snow Deer and Snow Leopards and began to run.
She ran through the mountains lightly, her feet barely leaving any prints in the hard packed snow. The tracks of one Snow Deer grew into the tracks of a herd of Snow Deer. This brought more excitement to Min because a herd of Snow Deer ran more slowly than a lone one. If she continued the back breaking pace that she was running at, overtaking the herd could happen in a couple of hours.
She ran up and down the mountain slopes, and the landscape rarely changed. She was still below the tree line, but the trees were all a thin evergreen. There were also some rock outcroppings, and they were often coated in ice. The slopes were steep, but Min only stopped to put snow in her mouth to keep her hydrated. She was becoming hungry and exhausted, but she had to keep running because she was too deep in the mountains to give up. Eventually her route went mainly downhill, descending towards the lower parts of the Útorien Pass. Suddenly, she was running on the edge of a cliff that overlooked the pass, and Min could not believe what she saw.
There was a gigantic Enthönien army camp, and due to the occasional puddle and spots of mud, Min could see that it was above freezing down there. The pass was thawing. The Snow Deer had returned late, and the Snow Deer were the only way for the Mark to know of spring because temperatures rose earlier in the lower elevations of the pass than they did in Kond.
Min pulled her white hood over her fiery hair so that she would be camouflaged. She then set to work climbing down the cliff into the pass. No one would notice Min as she climbed in. Her white furs blended into the snow and rocks of the cliffs perfectly, and she was careful not to let any loose snow and ice fall from the cliff into the army below.
Min made it into the bottom, and saw that many of the tents were currently abandoned because the soldiers that they sheltered had congregated into the center of the camp for a meeting. Min followed them careful to not be seen. She wanted to know what the meeting was about even though she knew only on phrase of the Enthönien language.
An Enthönien general stood in the camp and began to rally his troops. He barked orders at them, and shouted many phrases to prepare his troops for the oncoming war. Min did not understand any of it, but what she did understand was that the Enthöniens were excited for the oncoming invasion. They were very eager to add Gardlens to their empire; because once Gardlens was conquered the world could be conquered.
The name Gardlens, had originated from the name The Guard Lands, which over time had been shortened to The Gardlens, and then finally to simply Gardlens. Gardlens had originally been called The Guard Lands because Gardlens guarded many nations south of it from the Enthöniens to the north. The Hashad Mountains were almost impenetrable, and the people were all born fighters, especially the Mark, and especially the Mark in Kond. Once Gardlens was conquered, the Enthöniens could take the ships from their navy or spill over the southwest part of the mountains, which was littered with passes into Elswa, the kingdom south of Gardlens.
Then the general shouted the only Enthönien phrase Min knew, "Veni Vidi Vici!" I came. I saw. I conquered. It was the war cry of the empire. The Enthöniens, in their blunt arrogance, said that they had conquered a land before the land was conquered because the Enthönien Empire was yet to loose a war. They had far more soldiers than any other nation dared hope.
In response the whole army echoed, "VENI VIDI VICI!" It was now final. The Enthöniens were going to conquer Gardlens.
At that moment, Min's eyes fell on a mound of countless dead Snow Deer. No wonder the Snow Deer had returned late. The empire had been killing them to keep them from returning to the Mark so the Enthönien soldiers could ride through the Útorien pass unchallenged and unchecked. A mass killing of Snow Deer was an atrocity that could not be ignored. Then a living Snow Deer appeared in the camp, and the general's eyes fell on Min.