The Mountain Wars part one
The military gives one many things, the primary being a deep hatred of snow. Unfortunately for me I am stationed at Takana in the border mountains and here snow is a regular occurrence. So I silently trudge across the wall again the musket, another thing I had grown to dislike, growing heavy in my quickly numbing hands. The wall I walk spans the width of a minor pass serving as one of the few "safe" ways over the mountains and across the border. There are similar walls and gate systems in all of the passes, they protect us from our hostile neighbor, Isthara. We, the Elkrains, are the only nation in the North Isles that have yet to be part of their so called empire, and they don't like that. I come to the next post tower on the wall, a brief break from the now driving snow. The guard who's there doesn't seem to care that I'm here and continues to shiver in the corner. I can't see his face through the pale green cloth mask he wears but I'm almost certain I don't know him. After a few minutes I continue across the wall to the small fortification on the other side, my steps are slow and heavy in the calf deep snow. Finally I reach the small gate set into the side of the hill. To either side is a banner, that of the Elkrain Empire on the left and that of the imperial dragon riders on the right. I hold on to the door to steady myself because the sides of the wall are not railed an it's a long way down. I can't hear anything over the wind now; the storm is starting to pick up. A few seconds of numbly fumbling with the latch and the door swings open.
I hurry across the small court yard, past the tiny chapel and under the large arch that leads into the caves. The caves serve as the dragons' warren and there is an underground spring deeper inside. It's a huge convenience and the reason I wanted duty here.
The temperature inside is noticeably higher but it's still cold. After a few twists in the path the corridor opens up into a large cavern. I walk quickly through the chamber, ignoring the people I saw although it isn't really them creating the problem. I pass into the warren, the spring isn't far but that's when I hear him. I turn slowly to see, just as I expected, my dragon Ezeret. I call him 'my dragon' but he seems to think that I belong to him. I'm even a little bit older than he is, but he's determined to play my father. And to worsen the situation, general Xendrake is with him.
"Where were you this morning?" Xendrake says. Ezeret is giving me the disapproval eyes; he knows exactly where I was. I decide it would be best not to lie here so I try to put it as simply and nicely as possible.
"The... er... Base of the wall..." I say, "Sir..." Five years and I still couldn't get that right.
"Why" he said simply.
"I wasn't really-" I began
"Well since you like being down there that will be your post until further notice, gate keeper" Xendrake said handing me a small pouch, "Here's a meeting stone, you know the spell, and the gate key." I don't try to sway him I simply take the bag from him and stand. "You start in one hour, don't mess it up." And then he walked away.
Takana wall is one hundred sixty-two feet of grey stone. On white snow. Under a grey sky. The view gets old quite fast. On top of that the wind that comes through the pass bounces off the wall for a second pass through my bones. I'm wearing one of the wool masks they issue to those who must work out doors in this but it barley helps. The worst part is that Ezeret is watching me from the top of the bluff. Him being bright blue, it's easy to see him laughing at me. I'm about to pass out from the cold when I smell smoke.