"Imperial soldiers are on the move; they've found us!" desperately shouted Ulster, a somewhat plain looking 18 young man with black hair, as he passed through the hidden town of Tirnanog and into the church. "Subjugation forces have left Ganeishire and are heading this way!" He cried this repeatedly, waving his arms the entire time.
His mad rush through the sacred halls came to a sudden stop when he suddenly found his twin sister, Larcei (a young woman with equally dark hair whose looks could only be described as Amazonian), barring his way. The look on her face was a mix between "disappointed" and "patronizing" and she did not simply let her expressions speak for her. "Are you seriously this freaked out Ulster? We knew that they'd find us eventually. Let 'em come! We can take them out in the sandy basin, then march on and take Ganeishire before they realize that their men are all dead. There we go, all our problems, all solved in one blow!"
Ulster was rather taken aback by his sister's bold proclamation. "Larcei, you're crazy! Shanan is still in the Yied, and Oifey, Delmund, and Lester are still out on their scouting mission! It's just you, me, and a handful of trainees! Do you really think that people like Tristan and Deimne are really going to accomplish much?! We are outclassed, and outmatched. Do you seriously expect us to be able to take them on?!" he cried.
"You're not scared are you Ulster?" asked Larcei, side-eying her twin "This is our big chance to show Shanan that we're not kids anymore, and you want to run?! No way in Hell! I'm so sick of running from those... those animals! Iv'e lost more than a dozen dear friends to them already! You know very well how they almost got me on a raid three years ago! Ugh, I was unbelievably lucky that Shanan arrived when he did that day!" said Larcei shuddering.
"Larcei, I know it was horrible, but..."
"I will never forget that look in Rebekah's eyes as that imperial general grabbed her and...! Men are such pigs! When they see a girl, they don't see a human being! All they see is an object that they can use to fulfill their most base and vile desires. I will never hand myself over to one of those...!" said Larcei, tearing up and literally shaking with rage.
"OK Larcei! I get the point, but..." said Ulster trying to figure out how to interject without setting her off more. Luckily for him, someone else did the job for him.
"It's ok, Ulster. I know that you're just holding back for my sake." said a voice from behind him. He turned around to see their friend, Prince Seliph, standing there. "I'm sure Shanan gave you strict orders to keep me out of danger. He must have, or else you would have been the first one out there. I know you have been itching for a fight for a long time now. Yes, you're cautious, but I know that you haven't come close to forgiving or forgetting what they tried to do to your sister."
In the meantime, Larcei's eyes widened in realization. "Oh! That... actually makes a lot of sense. I should have thought of that, but, um... I actually forgot that you were here." She said, cheeks flushed in embarrassment.
Seliph smirked, "Figures! Only you would be so focused on a fight that you would forget about the friend only a few few away from you." he said jokingly, but then getting serious again he said, "There's no need to hold back though. I can hold my own in a fight. Besides, if any of us should be out there, it should be me. I'm the most involved, and I'm the oldest! I'm 19 and and you two are 18. If you two aren't kids anymore, then I most certainly am not! I agree with Larcei... about fighting anyways. We can't turn our backs on the people of Tirnanog, not after they've done so much for us already!"
"Well in that case, I'll help too!" said a young, feminine voice from the back of the room. "If you're going to be fighting, then you are definitely going to need a healer!" said a slightly younger, slender, attractive redhead as she strode up to the other three.
"No Lana, you stay here. I'm not going to let you get yourself killed. Nuns and warfare DO NOT MIX!" Seliph said firmly, while shaking his head no.
Lana put her crossed her arms, and loudly proclaimed "You did NOT just say that! You did not give me the 'stay-in-the-kitchen-speech!' You know full well that I feel just as strongly about that sort of thing as Larcei does." she stated firmly "(except for the never will marry part. Seliph, please!)" she thought to herself. Shaking off the stray thought, she continued her rant "The imperial troops are getting crueler by the day! It's too dangerous to even be a girl anymore! I am not going to be left here, twiddling my thumbs while YOU get YOURSELF killed!"
"It's OK Seliph, let her go, I will." said a warm, feminine voice from the doorway. The children turned around to see Lana's mother, the lady Adean of Jungby, standing there with a sad smile on her face. "Better to see her go to war this way than having her being kidnapped and nearly... anyways, Lana, take this Warp staff, and this Restore staff with you. I'm sure that you will put them to good use, like I did about two decades ago."
"Mrs. Adean..." Seliph said weakly.
"I'm sure Lester will join you shortly and put your father's gear to good use. Of course he will, he is already so much like his father. Tough, brave, ready to put his life on the line for the sake off... OH MIDIR! Whatever happened to you? Why haven't you returned to me?" she said, finishing her sentence with a sob.
A moment later, a young girl with greenish hair and eyes, who seemed to be of about ten years of age appeared in the room and looked at the others. "Was mommy thinking about daddy again?"
Lana nodded "Yes, Midayle. She was. She realized that we have to go somewhere for a while now, and it brought back memories." She knelt down "Midayle... can you look after mommy after we are gone? Lester is going to have to join us once he sees what is going on. It's really bad, and really important."
"So you have to go huh, Lana?" asked Midayle. Lana nodded. "Ok, I get it, they can't heal themselves, so they need you around so they can come home to mommy. Take good care of them and come back as soon as you can!" exclaimed the little girl, running up to her sister and giving her a big hug and a kiss. Then she helped to escort her mother out of the room.
After standing around awkwardly for a moment, Seliph puffed loudly, looked at Lana, and muttered "From the mouth of babes." directly, he said "I'm sorry Lana, you're right. This is everyone's battle, stay behind me, and you should be safe. Alright then, let's get going." turning again he said, "Mrs. Adean, are you going to be alright?" he called before she had gone completely out of sight.
She sniffed loudly and nodded. She then muttered something about praying for their safe return, and left the room entirely, with Midayle pushing her along. So the aspiring warriors left, gathered their gear, and went to sortie. As they did this, Lana took Seliph to the side and said,
"I'm sorry if I got a little out of hand, sir."
"No, it's ok, I guess it is for the best. Midayle helped you make your point. Let's just go, ok? I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey."
Thus the new Crusaders' quest for justice began.