Episode 5: Warlord Rorkai

Elden Dena stood up from the wicker bed. She took one last look at Noshee, then stepped over to an oval door on the floor. Dena reached down, opened it, pulled her wings in, and fell through. Noshee heard her wings snap open as she softened her landing in the room below. A much needed quiet moment strolled by.

“Noshee, family of Saberhand,” a voice called. “May I come in?”

Not feeling like talking to anyone, Noshee dragged himself off the bed and said, “Please do.”

Once he’d climbed through the opened door, Noshee recognized him. Unlike a lot of warriors, he only bore the necessary tattoos. On his left inner forearm was a broadsword tattoo. Along the edge of the blade were the words To Serve Genai. On his right shoulder, above an articulate armband tattoo that grasped his arm sat a crest of an eagle in a circular frame. This was the mark of the Warlord. He was the new Legion commander of the province of Genai.

“Finally woke up,” Rorkai said. “They were worried wolf venom may have taken your soul.” He tapped his knuckles to Noshee’s linen-wrapped chest.

Wincing, Noshee forced a smile. “Warlord Rorkai. I hope death won’t take me for many more days.” His mind veered off to his baby daughter and wife.

Noshee knuckled Rorkai’s broad chest clothed in tight purple silk vest. Shoulders bulged out but dwarfed by his long arms. Purple silk pants, laces tied neatly up the sides, hugged his long muscular legs. Rorkai’s long hair tied to a plait. A heavy musty smell reeked from his wings.

“Elden Dena tells me you deny the charge. You want to risk death?”

Noshee proceeded to tell Rorkai what happened. Told him that he saw at least four Genaian soldiers who may have kidnapped—killed—a cub. And they attacked once they spotted him following.

“We spent generations earning the wolf packs’ respect. Why would I jeopardize that?” Rorkai scratched his head. "I sent my warriors to find you, not hurt you."

Noshee strolled over to the window. He was five floors up of a ten-floor infirmary that clutched to one of massive trees in the canopy of Nashoba Forest. “Then who attacked me?”

“I’m sorry but that burden lays on you to find out.” Rorkai leaned against the windowsill. The Core, the capital of Genai province, was in the far distance. Thousands of Hartons flew in and out of the Core. “If your Warlord wasn’t my mentor and close friend, you’d be dueling the families of the dead researchers.”

“Is that your flock?” Noshee nodded toward a dozen female Hartons circling the sky.

Rorkai smiled at them. “But that shouldn’t be a problem for the son of Master Saberhand.”

Noshee gritted his teeth. But it wasn’t against the nausea from the strong herbs in the linen wrap. “I need your permission to venture Genai and find out what happened.”

The flock circling above began to wave and call for the Warlord. “I’ll inform the Eldens and have it written. You have three days.”

"Three days?"

Rorkai left through the window, which was a bit rude, and joined his female friends.

Only three days? The province of Genai was the second largest to Noshee’s home province of Destiny. He’d need help getting around. And it was evident none of the eight Eldens or Rorkai would assist him. There was only one person who would help. Haiwee. But he’d promised his wife he’d never talk to her again.

Choose your poison: With only three days, should Noshee break his promise to his wife and ask Haiwee's help to guide him around the province of Genai?

80% of the readers chose not to break the promise.