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Game Session 4A - War Games

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Forthcoming the week of Thanksgiving.

Thanks to everyone for a thoroughly enjoyable game.

I wasn't really sure what to expect with this. I thought maybe it would be us doing hand to hand stuff. This was a pleasant surprise and invigorated an element of the game that is often unseen.

Well done! I may be borrowing this method of grand warfare in the future!!

01.02.2133 - Game Session 4A - Wargames

The following is an account of what what transpired at Session 4, edited and revised from River's perspective.

River sat aside Temmit on the top level of the battle wagon. The latch banged closed, it had quickly become warm inside as they departed for the site of the WarGame. Temmit simply fell into himself in quiet meditation, the close quarters with the other students not allowing River and he to talk in any great depth to what Temmit had psionically observed back at the Houses.

He worried for the younger children, as he knew first-hand what the twisted priests were capable of. All he, Kristen and Emma knew was that they were testing some new technology in this particular event.

There would be a lot of Whisper Members attending this one. By River’s unspoken calculations, thirty percent of the secret guild were age 15, and whether by coincendence or evil design, many of them had not yet attended their first required WarGame.

‘So most would be attending this one,’ he thought darkly.

Each of the 24 students, packed into 4-foot square spaces in the wagon was almost immediately feeling the heat and discomfort of what was to be a long ride. Many had already tossed outerwear of their uniforms onto the floor below and were making quiet deals with one another for leg and arm-stretching space. One girl even laid out across the laps of four boys, preferring the comfort over the lack of humility.

River was so glad Kristen was with the Deaconess contingent. As dangerous as this event was, she didn’t have to put up with these inhumane conditions. He worried about her, her and Emma. They both, despite their vow of secrecy to Whisper which included a promise to keep one’s head low, wanted to prove themselves at this event. Kristen was a Keeper of the Flame, not a position of safety by any means. And his girlfriend was the top candidate to be the bearer of the torch, not only here but for the military in three years.

He needed to find a way out for both of them before then…Torch Bearer was a position with a high mortality rate.

Lost in his thoughts, River worried about everyone save himself as the wagons charged across the countryside, weather and deep snow notwithstanding.

more to come...

The rear hatch blasted open and with it, a nice rush of cold air. The students snapped awake around him and gathered their things, most having cat-napped the entire way. Although River did observe some “funny business” between that loose girl across the boys laps, one of them having his hand up her shirt at one point.

“File out soldiers!” had been the command. River noted that it lacked bite though, almost as if their escorts knew how uncomfortable the ride was for them.

He nudged Temmit who he discovered was already awake, and crawled out the latch and into the pre-dusk sky.

The western expanse, River had been here a few times. There was hardly a place in the world he hadn’t been. He felt no connection to this place whatsoever, for it was one of the most desolate. Not a tree could be seen for miles.

The wagons and horses were on a muddy road that surrounded a large stable. Beyond and ahead was what looked to be a large mess or greeting hall, a cobblestone walkway from the muddy road led to it. Beyond the building was a large area that had been cleared of snow. From here he recognized the stacks and stacks of two-man tents waiting at the edge of the clearing. The clearing fairly protected from snow drift by 8-foot tall walls of granite stone.
Beyond the tent area was another large building, similar in construction to the first, the side with length showing two large warehouse-like sliding panels at its front.

To the South and to his right the war machines lay in wait; eight heavy mangonels and seven, 30-foot tall siege towers with their massive spotlights atop them. All lined up behind a barbed wire fence that looked to be 300 feet long.

Hundred of yards up a hill to the north, immensely tall poles with black curtains draped between them hiding tomorrow’s surprises from view. River knew that beyond them and down a hill was also a barracks that housed the military for the West. The same military that guarded the border, also trained a contingent to perform the WarGame for the school.
Most of the students were making a straight line rush for the restrooms in the Livery, he and Temmit waited in line for their turn.

“They have opened the Mess Hall for a special feast prior to tomorrow’s game. It isn’t highly unusual but it is a rare treat. At least we won’t be eating dry rations tonight,” he stated to Temmit who gave him a nod. River knew the boy’s superior mind well, and didn’t interrupt it, allowing him his observations.

As they waited to pee, he looked out for more Whisper members, and without surprise, found many. Shannon Auvryndyr was standing in the girls line looking very put upon. She was just as good looking as Kristen but an entirely different person. River expected the hot head to land herself in the prison mines long before her draft in the military. He smiled, as he knew that is probably the way she preferred it.

Lucien was there, ‘what was that kid’s last name again?’ he wondered. Good kid though, if not a bit quiet like himself. River had War Machines with him, and the kid really enjoyed tinkering with the mongerels. Yes, Lucien was going to have fun this weekend.
Harrison, River’s greatest hope but most worrisome ally in the Clergy, was ten boys behind him in line. Harrison was an introvert who had long ago befriended their future guild leader. And he knew that Emma and he were quickly becoming more than just cloth buddies. That was not what worried him though, for Emma could certainly use some compassion and love in her life. No, what worried him is that from the very beginning, almost 4 years ago when Tristan Banks had approached Harrison to make him a member of Whisper, he had been trouble. Not trouble in the sense that Harrison was ever bad to the guild or disloyal.


Harrison always was and still is an antagonist to his future girlfriends father. And it was possible that the High Priest knew it too. Fresenius had assigned Harrison to that crazy Zedd out in Lakeshore in lieu of allowing the teacher-praised student his allotment of time in the central church.

And there was Marcus, who just made it to the end of the line. He watched as he saw Jena pass him in line while giving the chameleon a knowing smile.

‘Interesting note to talk to Temmit about,’ he thought.

Xavier abruptly jumped in line in front of Temmit who said nothing at the rude behavior. They had learned long ago not to fan the flame of Xavier’s odd sense of humor.

A senior didn’t have this understanding though.

“Hey man, what gives?!”

Xavier’s sense of humor evaporated from his eyes as he stared past River and at the older but slightly shorter kid.

The senior looked away, suddenly very aware of the danger.

River almost laughed as he said to his big friend, “man, you are such a bad ass,”

...still more coming...

River had never been in the Mess Hall before, and upon passing through the massive dark-forest pine double doors, was a bit surprised to find that there were no other interior rooms within this grand hall. From exterior wall to exterior wall it was one large 50’ by 30’ eating area.

An enormous 5 foot by ten foot granite stone fireplace stood in the middle of the Hall, it was the first thing that caught his eye. It’s gray-stone pillar chimney shooting straight up to a lofty ceiling created by massive beams of the same Safe-Haven wood. It appeared that the very section of the Safe-Haven forest which he understood had been in that very spot centuries ago was used to construct this one building. The dark color of the pine could be seen everywhere between column after column of granite stone.

The room was filled with long dark-forest pine tables reaching from the door to the doors across the hall. A raised platform, a stage, was at left-center of the left hand wall. Long enough and deep enough to have a 10 foot long table against the wall with seating enough for 5.

Within these seats currently sat the mate-heads River had expected. High Priest Fresenius, a man that River all too often saw across a dark-pine desk in his office at the Church, was at the table’s center. To his left and right, members or representative members of the Council of Five. Cyric was not in attendance, but instead his lackey Richard was there, ‘with his long-nose into everything’, River thought. The ancient prude Mindera apparently couldn’t make it, and sent along some novice girl who foolishly was wearing her mining guild tabard. Mark Jamerson, Master of Commernce and x-lawyer sat to Fresenius left, ’probably stroking him under the table, the brown noser,’ River thought wickedly. And last but not least was Trydarion Myst, who was assigned both the post of Council Member and Outer-Rim Defense Minister after his predecessor Leroy charged into an outer-rim breech without backup.

All five of them sat with arms and elbows off the table and scanned around the grand hall as the students entered. None of them appeared to have plates in front of them and may have already eaten, only steaming coffee steel cups visible.

A Judge in full uniform stood in front of the stage at its right-hand corner. His massive form fully dressed in his gold-inlaid black plate mail armor. He stood rigid like a statue while his black metal gauntlets grasped the hilt of his two-handed sword with its business end planted firmly in the wood before him. The only way one could tell the suit wasn’t empty was because the winged helm moved slowly right and left. River wasn’t sure which one it was, but knew that it wasn’t of the original three, who were more and more being pushed out of the Order by Fresenius.

Behind the Judge was a stairwell that dropped quickly into the floor.

As classmates filed in and sat at the wooden benches at the long tables they began to relax a bit despite the presence of the High Priest and his guests who merely watched on.

The room filled quickly and soon was a buzz with students glad to be free of the warm wagons, and with a lot of unspent energy to still use. No one had been offered lunch while on route, so the distinct smell of roasted turkey that emanated through the floor boards below and the stairwell soon had everyone very anxious for a feast.

And a feast it was.

Suddenly, from the stairwell below came dozens of young men and women with trays and trays of food. Each tray held a half-dozen full course meals on steel plates, one for each student. The feast consisted of roasted thigh and breast of chicken, a baked potato and a cup of vegetable soup with a big slice of honey bread.

River smiled as Temmit asked for hot water from one of the servers.

“Desperate enough for coffee that you brought that instant concoction?” he asked him. Temmit nodded.

The students, who were relaxed enough to simply talk and joke in front of the important men, were now so incredibly surprised at the feast, they were cheering and laughing very loudly. River waited for a ball to drop that never came.

The Priest made no move to stop anyone or try to regain the composure of the students. All enjoyed the feast as if they were back in their common rooms in the school district.

A hand went buy as the students enjoyed the good meal and then continued on with a bit of frivolity, expending some of the pent up energy as they did so.

Finally, one of the pair of guards at the tent area end of the Hall let in a soldier who came to the front of the Hall, at the stage, to make an announcement. As students of a strict school, you knew your brief interlude of normalcy was over.

“Attention!” the soldier yelled.

Almost as one the students rose at attention, they were after all, in a military school.

“Briefing will now begin. At ease.”

...the hard part (for me), Emma's speech coming up next...


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