Gather round, travelers, to hear a strange tale,
Of a brave young warrior.
A tale of the trials through which he’d prevail
Despite all his barriers.
Of dragons he faced in the valley
To corruption among courtiers.
If you’ve no place to be now, then listen
To me now and hear
The tales of Crux Nadir…
Bursts of light flashed through the falling snow. Dark maelstrom clouds hung tightly to the worldchunck, reluctant to let the forces of imagination gain any ground. Smoke clouded the atmosphere, quickly changing it to a hazy grey. A draught of wind ephemerally cleared the fog and revealed a brilliant line of Nexus Force volunteers outlined clearly against the snowy landscape.
A narrow river threaded its way through the scene, frozen over. Its surface swept bare of snow by the eddying winds. Each bank was lined by a deep drift -- the only barriers which the bare landscape offered against the veritable salvo of maelstrom and imagination. Two lines faced each other, blasters blazing. The farthest was a disjointed army of Maelstrom empathizers. Within twenty yards lay their mortal enemies, arrayed in Venture League uniforms.
The Nexus troopers lay in a furrow, which had been scraped into the snow behind the uneven drifts just hours before by the same hands that now frantically discharged their imagination blasters. Wreaths of water vapor mingled with billowing smoke as the hot bolts melted embrasures in the drift.
A uniformed figure hurried a brick behind the soldiers extended legs, hunched over to keep the mounded snow between his head and the enemy's line of sight. He was headed toward a knot of officers who crouched near the Nexus Force line's center.
For a moment, the feather in his hat peaked the top of the drift. A shower of Maelstrom bolts instantly sliced the air all around and he dived for cover, landing among the prone officers in a small avalanche of snow.
"Edge, you fool, are you trying to smash yourself?" demanded one of the prone figures.
"My apologies, Colonel." TwoEdge scrapped a layer of snow from his hat and grinned. He was young, probably about seventeen years old, but strong and well-built. His eyes sparkled. "It wouldn't make sense to end my own poor existence with so many Stromlings willing to relieve me of the duty."
The Colonel smiled slightly. "You're a droll lad, Edge. I trust there's a reason for your rather reckless entrance?"
"Yes, Sir." As TwoEdge finished dusting his upper body, some markings emerged signifying his rank as Lieutenant Colonel. "A courier just brought orders to advance and drive the Maelstrom Empathizers from the other bank, Sir."
"Advance? Very well. Our flanks are supported then?" the Colonel asked, slightly preoccupied.
"I don't think so, Sir."
The Colonel frowned. "That makes no sense. Why didn't you bring the courier to me?"
"I tried to but a Maelstrom bolt got in the way, er, Sir."
The Colonel's creases contracted further, they stood out on the otherwise smooth forehead -- brought by many woes, not many years.
"Very well. If General Whittier gave the order, he must have a plan."
The Lieutenant colonel scratched his head. “Actually, it was an order from General Palomar, sir.”
“Why in thunder is General Palomar giving orders?”
“The courier said that General Whittier was captured. “
“Which puts Palomar in a position to give us orders…”
The Colonel lay motionless, Whittier was a friend. If Palomar is in command—He shook his head. A Maelstrom bolt screamed through snow drift a few inches above him and tore the feather from Edge‘s hat.
"I'm afraid, Edge, that the Strommlings heard you and are attempting to relieve you of your 'poor existence' as you termed it."
"Very well then, my epitaph shall read that I was smashed forgotten by kith and kin on a lonely steppe in Crux Nadir, remembered only by my one dear friend in life."
The Colonel grunted. "Order a charge. I don’t agree with Palomar, but I can’t disobey."
The lieutenant Colonel stiffened. “We’ll be ducks in a barrel out there!”
Firing along the Nexus Force line ceased. Each man ready to sprint at a moment's notice. The enemy fire had slackened, they too were waiting.
"Charge!" The Colonel shouted as he mounded the snowdrift, Headed into battle.
Ah, I told you I'd comment here too :P TwoEdge is an interesting character since he's sort of an enigma. He appeared in a few Lab stories, but his history was never really well defined. Looking forward to seeing more of this!