Chapter 2 (35th of Ros in the year 6199)

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Alone, man is weak

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Alone, man is weak. A frail being unable to stand up against the rigors of this world. Like a single grain of sand, such things will wash him away into the abyss. But compile that man together with another, then another, and yet another? Soon you will have a great beach. And while the waves may shift the sand, the beach remains after each assault upon it.

Jurul Garan - Priest of the Greater Goddess

Jurul Garan - Priest of the Greater Goddess

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"You betrayed us." The tip of Kilan's slim dagger burying itself into the tabletop acted as the only necessary punctuation for his opinion.

The stone hard glare of smug complacency plastered across Gwen Havarston's face was the only reaction he received. She sat there, arms folded, believing she'd earn a level of de facto respect solely because of having walked upon this world for almost sixty years. Kilan would be more than willing to knock her down a peg or two on behalf of Miss Crenst. And he wished with every tense fiber of his being she'd give the word.

Daphney met her elder rebel's demeanor with an equal amount of her own seriousness, trying to measure up to the woman. "He's right." The cleric leaned forward, but only slightly. "Lots of people died because you didn't uphold your word."

"My word?" Laughter accompanied the response as the older woman rebuffed the verbal assault hurled at her. "I promised you assistance."

"You promised us soldiers," Daphney countered.

The leader of this rebel faction sought to clarify her position. "I explicitly stated that none of the men or women under my command would participate in a suicide mission. And that's what Ishenvol was fated to become from the beginning."

Kilan stepped back into the fray, retrieving his blade. "Hindsight. Bloody hindsight. That's what your using to justify your inaction."

"No. It was obvious from the very moment I received the message of your request. It was too much to bite off at once." There was a shake of her head as Gwen defended her course of action. "What we needed to do is string together a series of modest victories. Show people that the Rebellion stood a chance. Pick our targets. Use our strengths to our advantage. And I agree that it needed to be something grander than meaningless raids on supply houses and remote barracks. But you wanted to make a grand statement. Gather an army so large the Empire had no choice but to know we meant business. And it was a slaughter. Do you know why?"

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