31st of Dawn, 1849
Kjallo silently rounded the corner of a house, following the sound of rapid footsteps slowly going into the distance. Reaching for the roof, he pulled himself over the small home. It was dark, and the rain was strong, crackling on the rooftops of other houses and buildings. He stood up, looking over the small town. His target was only five houses ahead.
The Enforcer dashed forward, jumping from house to house, landing on the roofs and keeping his pace. His light footsteps landed on small puddles gathering on the clay tiles, sending the water everywhere. He took sharp breaths, moving swiftly towards the criminal.
Leaping into the city center, he hit the ground rolling and transitioned back into a sprint.
Kjallo followed the criminal back into the streets, as the man turned into a dark alley.
The Enforcer stayed on him.
The moment he turned the corner—half expecting it—he was met with a fist coming towards his face. He ducked down, only to see the man’s knee flying up toward him. Kjallo darted backwards, placing distance between them.
“Always you fuckers to ruin everything,” the man snarled. He looked in his forties, and everything about him was dirty, yellow teeth, filthy beard, and a greasy face.
Kjallo shrugged. “Just following orders.”
He swung. Kjallo slipped under his arm and threw his fist into the man’s stomach. The criminal hunched over, grabbing his gut. He came at Kjallo again, hurling punch after punch. The Enforcer evaded most, occasionally blocking, until swiftly grabbing the attacker’s extended arm and throwing him into the wall.
“Oh you…” the man laughed as he got up. He reached into his pants. “This is gonna be fun.” He pulled out a small item, clicked it, and a blade came out. “I didn’t wanna kill a lot of people after escaping, but you’re just unlucky.”
“That’s dirty,” Kjallo complained.
The criminal lunged at him, the knife rushing towards his face. He grabbed the knife and pinned it to his waist. Locking his arm around the man’s neck, Kjallo kneed him several times in the stomach. It was returned by a punch blocked by the shoulder. He let go of his grip on the man’s neck and hammered his face till blood was spurting out of the nose.
The criminal fell to the ground unconscious.
“Where’d all that energy go?” Kjallo mocked, reaching into his suit and pulling out a flare gun. He shot the blazing red signal into the sky.
It only took around thirty seconds for the patrols to get to the location.
“You know, I don’t think an Enforcer was necessary for this job.” Kjallo said, ruffling his soaked black hair.
“I agree,” one of them said, looking down at the beat up criminal. “Will you be staying in Tairos?”
“No, I’m being transferred with my commander to Evalor. And thank God, it’s too rainy down here.”
One of the patrols checked her watch. “Doesn’t the northbound train come in twelve minutes?”
“Dammit!” Kjallo cursed, running back towards the city center. “Nice meeting y’all!” he shouted behind him.
The older patrolmen looked at his partner. “Is he just going without anything? No bags?”
She shrugged her shoulders. “I guess.”
Kjallo hurried through the rain towards the station. I better make it in time.
The bar was closed for the night, yet a man sat inside, drinking a glass of whiskey with ice. His long black hair was messily tucked back, and his facial features thin and angular, almost unhealthily skinny.
The bells on the door jingled as another man entered the bar. Almost a polar opposite to that of his fellow, he was a tall man, around 200 centimeters, with a muscular build accentuated by his fairly tight leather armor.
“Drinking alone at night, huh? Oh how the mighty have fallen,” he said, taking a seat beside him.
“Eskir… how was the prison break?” the man asked tiredly.
“Disappointing, but also interesting. You were right, he was an Enforcer and had Tath, but whatever shady operations they’re doing in that pit of a prison took it away. I figured we’d have no use for him without his Tath, so I just let him go. Weird visiting it again.”
“I see,” he muttered.
“But, I got some news, your boy is being transferred north.”
“They'll probably be coming for you, him along. Introduce him to how you do things, his role is arguably the most important.”
“I will. Now then," Eskir said, getting up. "I'm sorry our conversation was this brief, but I'll be heading back up north, I’m ready to begin my part." He took Aluger’s drink. “I’ll be taking this. Looks like it's finally beginning. You'll need to clean yourself up soon.”
“Eskir,” Aluger said. “There’s a large chance we won’t see each other again for a long time, so remember everything I told you.”
Eskir walked out the door, and Aluger sunk back into his seat. Almost, he thought to himself.
Evalor was enormous, standing as the second biggest city in Valdora, right behind Aeges, the capital. Being the closest city to the border of Hjofgard, it was where the army mostly lay. The buildings weren’t too tall, most of them looking like large blocks made of brick and wood with rectangular windows.
Cara stood by the entrance of the massive building, leaning on one of the many stone pillars. She held two folders in her hand. “About time,” she said, with a look of irritation.
“I got lost.” Kjallo laughed, walking with her towards the entrance.
“Here,” Cara said, giving him a folder, and keeping one for herself. “Read this, you missed the briefing.”
“Briefing?” Kjallo asked.
“Oh wait, is it for that guy?”
“Yes. That guy. I’ll introduce you to who we’ll be working with on this little arrest.”
“Alright.” They entered the building, and Kjallo read as he walked. “Eskir Aland?”
“Yeah, that’s the name we’ve gotten, we’ve been building a profile on this guy for some time now. He's a Jyld that was a prisoner in Behrad until he escaped, probably the only person to have done that, until now. He’s most likely the person that broke the guy you arrested yesterday out.”
“Why would he go through infiltrating Behrad to let some bum free?”
Cara raised her eyebrows. “That guy wasn’t a bum, he used to be an Enforcer until committing mutiny.”
“He didn’t have Tath though.”
“Really? That doesn’t make sense.”
“Is that why you sent me to take care of him?”
“That was the idea.”
“But if this Eskir guy broke into Behrad, why are we going up north to deal with him when he’s down south?”
“Someone sighted him here, so here we are.”
“What else do we know about him?”
“It’s all in the folder, but for now we need to meet our team.” She opened the door ahead of them into a small room with two other people inside. It had two couches in perpendicular placement, and was overlooking the street through the windows.
“Kjallo, meet Stalhir, and Alya.”
“Nice to meet you guys,” Kjallo said, shaking their hands.
“Likewise,” they echoed.
“Now, I wish we all had time to get to know each other, but we have to get going.” Cara said. “Our ride is waiting for us.”
“Going on another trip so soon,” Kjallo griped.
Cara grabbed his shoulder. “You’re the most inexperienced Enforcer out of us. If you show you can’t handle the mission and hinder us, we’ll have to transfer you again. If you don’t want that to happen I recommend you take this seriously.”
“Fine.” Kjallo sighed.
“Don’t get on him like that,” Stalhir said, he patted Kjallo on the back. He had blue eyes and a comforting smile, with dark hair. “How old are you?”
“Wow, that’s young for First Legion. Anyway, you’re gonna do fine, stick to the plan and it should go smoothly.”
“He’s overconfident enough,” Cara cut in. “Better we don’t say everything is going to be easy.”
Kjallo smirked at Cara, and she let out a sigh.
“So where are we going?” Kjallo asked.
“We’re staying in the city, just heading down to the slums where he was sighted,” Alya said. She had short hair, brushed upwards with hazel eyes.
Cara opened the door out. “Let’s go.”
The slums were almost a completely different city, being on the southern tip of Evalor and leaking out of the walls. The houses were messily put together pieces of wood planks and the air was filled with smoke from fires for those who had nowhere to be inside.
“My horses won’t be able to take us any further, so I’m afraid you’ll have to get off here,” the driver told them.
They got out of the carriage and stepped into the mucky streets.
“This way,” Cara gestured, leading the way.
They followed her down the path.
“What’s with this place?” Kjallo asked.
“Evalor’s the closest city to Hjofgard, so a lot of people who lived there originally come here because they can’t live in a war field. So the Valdora Dominion opened up a refugee center in Evalor for them to come. We’re walking through it right now,” Cara answered.
“Our country tried its best to give them a life inside,” Stalhir cut in. “They didn’t know it would turn out like this.”
Kjallo looked around. "They must've tried real hard.”
Stalhir opened his mouth to say something, but was cut off. “This is the place,” Cara said, pointing to the building ahead of them. They were at the end of the road.
“Not an awfully conspicuous place to hide,” Stalhir noted.
“You can say that again,” Kjallo agreed. “So are we just gonna head in?”
“I think Alya’s the only one who sees the glaring issue,” Cara said.
“We’re being watched.” Alya looked around.
“I guess the people are surprised to see four Enforcers walking into their home,” Kjallo said.
“Or maybe they’re angry,” a voice sounded from inside the building. “That a group of Enforcers are meddling in things they don’t understand.”
A man stepped out from the building. Short blond hair accompanied by a strong build.
“He fits the description,” Alya noted, keeping her eye on the man. “That’s him.”
“I’m glad I’m such a celebrity,” Eskir said, sizing the four up.
“Stay back,” Stalhir said. “He’s a big guy.”
Eskir fixed his eyes on Kjallo. “So you’re the boy Aluger always talks about.”
A cold breeze came, blowing Kjallo’s hair over his gray eyes.
A rush of emotions hit him, flooding through him at once. Four years, he had almost given up, but this was the first time he got a single lead.
“Did you just say Aluger?” Kjallo demanded.
Eskir smiled. “Did I stutter?”
“Where is he?”
“Why would I—”
“Where is he!?” Kjallo shouted over him.
“Shouting won’t help, so why don’t you come over here and make me tell you.”
“Who’s Aluger?” Stalhir asked, turning to Cara.
“Long story,” Cara said. “Kjallo, stay back, if he knows Aluger the—”
“I’m going now!” Kjallo dashed towards Eskir.
“No!” Cara shouted.
The boy threw his fist into the man’s face, only to be caught. “You know,” Eskir said. “If you’re gonna punch someone, don’t do it right in front of them.”
Kjallo felt his gravity shift as Eskir spun him into the ground. His back slammed into the mucky dirt. He gasped for breath. Eskir kicked him forward. He rolled and rolled until he felt his back hit a building. “C’mon, Enforcer, get up! Don’t tell me this is all the military’s best legion can do?”
“You bastard! I’ll show you what I can do,” Kjallo spat, stretching his hands outward. Scarlet lightning began forming on his finger tips. Then it shot forward, decimating the ground below it and heading straight towards Eskir.
“So you’re a conjurer,” Eskir noted aloud, dodging the attack at an incredible speed. “Can you guess what I am?”
In an instant he was before Kjallo, grabbing him by the neck. “You’re strong for a fifteen year old, I have to say.” Kjallo felt Eskir’s fist hammer into his skull, sending him back into a building.
His ears were ringing, and his head was throbbing. He forced himself back up, blood trailing down his forehead.
“That’s enough!” he heard someone scream through his daze. It was a muffled, female voice.
“Cara?” he muttered, regaining his eyesight, only to find Alya lifted into the air, Eskir’s hand clutching onto her throat. He looked over to Stalhir and Cara, the two standing away, in shock.
“This is what happens if any of you interfere.”
Kjallo watched, helpless, as the man placed his hand in her mouth and ripped her jaw out. Is that what was going to happen to him? Was he going to die without finding out? Was he going to end up like her?
“Alya!” Stalhir screamed. Cara held him back, whispering into his ear words Kjallo couldn’t make out.
“Oh, don’t worry Kjallo. I won’t kill you. Not yet at least. Aluger’s use for you is yet to come.”
“Wh-what are you talking about?” Kjallo muttered, pulling his hands out in a fighting stance.
“You are yet to play your part.” Eskir threw the limp body down, and came at him, sending a final fist into his face.
Everything went to black.