The Second Reflexion
“They came upon is in packs of seven, and chastened our numbers by a third.” I read aloud to the sage. She nodded, her ancient head tired, but still alive. How was it that she had aged so much, and I so little? I must look the same to her now as I did when we met, when she was a young maiden. We are friends now, her husband a long time leader of the militia, and she his tactician.
“A third. Can you imagine losing a third of us, Warden?”
“Very well, continue.”
As I spoke, she seemed to mouth the words, as if she had already memorized what my mother had written a century ago. “Their attack seems chaotic, but it is not. We have developed geometric models that accurately outline their formations and orientations. The Statilogian works even as I write this to find a model for frequency of raids, and perhaps for some data that may be of use in battle.” I paused and said, “The entry ends here.”
“And there’s a gap of six months.”
I checked the next date. I was familiar with my mother’s writings, but the Sages, an order which she had instituted, clearly knew them better. She was right, the gap was six months.
“Her personal journal is less well kept than her sagely writings.” The woman said.
I nodded. My mother was a prolific writer in many areas of Natural Philosophy, although she preferred the fields which she called “the Purest of all Sciences.” These Pure Sciences were two in number and in name they were Mathematics and Arkane Theology.
“An accounting of strife. The aftermath of the battle was thus: Hemorrhage and stopping. Our people recovered, but were never the same. Is this quest forever tainted? Are the Sol to be extinct so soon after declaring ourselves as separate from the Lussa?
“And who am I? What is this? The way of the woman has left me, no more does it flow. I have been taken by them. Am I forever corrupted? What is to come of the child?”
“Was that you?” Came the voice of a young man. The Medilogian, my personal doctor. He, being nineteen, is fully trained, having studied four years with the Medics and four with the Sages.
“Jeahn,” I said, “Welcome. No, this was not me, this was…the twins”
The Sage nodded, “Two nations are in your womb, And two peoples shall be separated from inside you; And the one people will be stronger than the other people; And the elder shall serve the younger, it was written.”
“She spent a lot of time studying those texts, but so far none of it has come to pass.”
Jeahn the Medilogian inhaled sharply. “It does not apply to every set of twins on this earth.”
I looked at him. “And furthermore, she gave birth to a male and a female. Hardly warring twins.”
“Not yet,” said the Sage.
“Not ever, I assume.” I said.
“Sir, they march upon us.” Said the Medi.
I stood; I had to. “What? No…” I passed through the sheets and out of the tent. The other two followed me out, and we looked up the hill and into the wood. Like any true leader, my tent was on the most dangerous edge of the town. “I do not see.”
“One scout is returned. Bleeding.”
I knew this was no time to be questioning or considering. “Rally the army.” The Medi and the Sage moved to issue the command down the chain.
We had been sedentary for over a year, and few had gone forward in the direction of the Riley. The Sage had suggested we send scouts their way to investigate. She wanted to send twelve, as it was written, but I sent only three.
Now I watched the second one pull himself out of the forest. Pull. Grasping the trees and hauling himself out of the wood, hobbling on one leg. The only remaining leg he had. The other, a ragged bleeding stump, apparently torn from the middle of the thigh.
“Heaven’s hands…” I ran to him, pulling off the belt of my jacket as I went.
I lifted him up, being rather tall, and moved him into the village clearing, putting him down on the grass and pulling up what was left of his right pant leg. This was the leg of persistence; he still had the leg of victory. Was this a sign? He had already pulled his own belt tight around the wound, but it was not enough to stop the blood oozing slowly out. I removed it and quickly wrapped mine around, pulling it to the right length. I dragged him into the office tent and laid him on the old carpet, and then found my wodka, poured it on the leg. He didn’t scream, he was a strong man.
“And the third?”
Somehow, he spoke clearly. Though, he was delimbed not detongued, so it should have been no surprise.
“We are moving out the army.”
“It is too late. Look at the skyline.”
I left the tent and peered above the trees. Smoke rose in black and grey plumes from the forest in the distance. What did it mean? I turned around to ask, but the man had become unconscious.
I had to get him a proper medic, and I had to find the other scout. And I had to do it fast.