"Take your first step and your mind will mobilize all it's forces to your aid if you will only but hear it's call. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is joined, all that is within and without you will come to your side."

Ex-Yayutsu Assassin.

Clydus didn't like it.

When commanders left their soldiers in the dark of ignorance it was usually due to morale problems. Whatever new knowledge they had would leave a drought of confidence in the lords that ruled them. He'd heard of this before, but being there, within the cobblestone courtyard and massive stone walls of the castle, left him feeling off balance.

He looked through the dirty blonde locks that fell over his eyes to the high spires of Castle Luce, the well placed blocks holding this keep together as it had since before even the clan wars. And though the flags would change, this castle was sturdy and strong; a sign of the need for impressive structures in these hectic times.

Clydus brought the wrapping tight around the man's arm, his face tightening against the pain.

"You'll be fine, just find the priest to heal you." The man nodded and made his way through the main entrance to Castle Luce's inner sanctums; through two massive red doors that were many times the size of a man. A sudden cold gust cut through the otherwise warm air as a reminder of the blue clouds that approached from the North. Clydus could see them through the opened main gate, past the short grass plains that bordered the nearby forest and even further back, mountains sat like monstrous, black teeth in the distance.

Like monstrous teeth. Turning his hands over he examined them like he had a thousand times before. Dark scales covered his middle two fingers leaving the remaining bare before traveling over his knuckles, palm and back up his forearm to end in small veins near his elbow. Pulling the loose sleeves of his uniform down he quickly sighed as his hazel eyes peered skyward. The rain had started already, a small drizzle that left pools of water amid the ocean of cobblestones in the entry courtyard to the castle. Clydus wondered how he had been pulled here for the will of the Emperor.

His consistent frown became a toothy grimace as the stink found him again. The army's uniform was a loose fitting jet cloth that included no actual armor. Instead the soldiers relied on a weightless, magical form of protection that was wove into each of the sleek cloth standards that draped over the chest and back. Crimson runes formed five signs and could block an equal amount of attacks. It was these that raised the stench that bothered Clydus, wrinkling his nose.

Lowering his head he saw the gatekeeper, walking the top of the walls of the parapets, put his lips to the horn and sound the alarm. They were under attack. Looking through the gate he could see men already crossing it's wooden lengths and Clydus then saw why the keeper hadn't sounded the alarm in time to get the gate up - the entire attacking force was emerging from a cloak of magic. It wasn't his uniform, it was the enemy that reeked of magic.

Looking up and at his sides he noticed there was only him, and the gatekeeper in the courtyard responsible for protecting the entryway of the castle. It started slowly at first before their momentum picked up; a hollow creaking. Whirling about he noticed the massive red doors to the castle were closing. Like an arrow shot from a ranger's bow, Clydus' feet spat cobblestone as he rushed the door. The blackness beyond became a sliver and then all was red, the way was shut. Slamming against it he called to the keepers beyond. Several times his cries rang out before he peered over his shoulder as men flooded into the courtyard.

Like metal on metal arrows sounded against the gatekeeper's magical protection before he could take cover, crawling to the emplacement that housed the murder hole; a gape in the castle's stone that would normally allow archers to halt the advancement of men into the courtyard. Slowly, very slowly Clydus raked his gaze over his shoulder, turning to face the sneers of the army.

His hands shook lightly from the forceful beating of his heart and stone crunched under his feet with the first step, then the second. Heavy shoulders slowed his creeping advance and men formed a crescent in front of him and at his sides. Pikes, swords, hammers and bows were all drawn back for the slaughter. A small whimper emitted from the gatekeeper as he huddled within his relative safety; he could've been useful.

Hot. His body was hot now as the rain began to pound and his breath showed on the cold air as he realized, belatedly, what he had become to his commanders; a martyr. That's when the weapons came down and carnage erupted. The gatekeeper watched behind scared hands and gasped at the sight; for what he saw was a massacre.