The Night Wars
Nakamura Asuka Eudahl
Paladin of the Sun Rider, guardian of the land, child of an outcast family, this tall red head hears the war is over, but has eyes in her own head and can see for herself the way things really stand.
Six foot two, eyes of blue, Asuka stands average for the women of her clan. Her dark red hair, and pale complexion (minus freckles) marks her a member of the Eudahls. Never one for formalities with an easy smile ready on her lips… one that reaches her eyes… she is well liked and easily trusted. More at home under the open sky than under roof, you will find her, more often than not, striding the hills and woods around her chosen home of Naru…. at dawn, look east… at sunset look west… but be quiet lest you disturb her devotions.
The winter had been long and hard, our lands under attack by dark magic users and their minions of demons and undead. Everyone was tired, weary to the bone and sick in the soul. Entire families destroyed, whole villages laid waste. The garrison at Naru, the small coastal town I have called home for the past twenty years, held it’s own, even sending out patrols to the outlying homesteads and crofters to help keep them in the fields, protected as they went about their vital work. The Lord Generals of the armies of Danvar called for soldiers, even conscripting two in ten and some of us went. The rest of us chose to stay and defend our own. I disappeared into the woods until the new made armies marched off to join in the defense of the Mon cities, but returned to take my place on the wall even before the dust from their passing had settled. I don’t owe the Mon anything. Their laws are only designed to make their lives simpler, and more luxurious. What do they care of the common people? Me, I have the skill and the knowledge and I definitely possess the will to care for and defend the real people. It is the farmer, the baker, the sempstress and all the others spending their days elbow deep in honest work who make this land the great nation that we are. They need people to watch over them while the self important, self proclaimed rulers go about taking care of their own interests.
The Sun Rider came to me at dawn, not surprising, really, considering the predictable and inevitable journey of Arnhine and his steeds across the sky every day. It makes dawn the perfect time for His arrival. I had just been relieved from my night watch on one of the outlying hills, but I was restless and chose to walk in the gray light for a time. My feet lead me up and away until I could walk forward no more. Seeing that I had come to a place where the hill beneath my feet dropped off into a cliff I sat, my feet dangling over the edge and settled in to listen to the quiet stirrings of the dawn around me, waiting for the sun to breach the horizon. The nights were quiet now, for the most part, and although spring was on it’s way, the hours of darkness were still cold enough to chill the bones. What I wanted, I realized, was the warmth of the sun on my face. A little touch of grace, perhaps, warm fingers to warm my heart before I sought out my breakfast and bed.
I closed my eyes and lifted my face as the light of the rising sun reached my perch, and as my cheeks began to warm from its light I became aware of someone sitting beside me. I sensed no malice, so I kept my peace, my eyes still closed, my face warming with the touch of the sun a smile rising to the surface with the joy of it. It was then that the man beside me began to talk. His voice was melodious and deep. Soft, but with a tenor that held command. I will not tell you what I saw when I did finally open my eyes, nor what He said to me on the hill that day, that is between me and Him. What I will tell you is that what I saw was wondrous and inspiring. His words opened a door in my heart that I had not realized was closed, lead me through it and taught me what it truly meant to be alive. The Sun Rider released me at dusk, with a gesture I swear to you, was a pat on the rump, like that of a father sending a favored child off to bed. The entire day I had sat on that cliff top, entranced in the glory that is His word, His action, His deeds. I returned to the garrison, begged a leave of absence, and embarked on a journey that took me into the hills where I found a monastery and chapel dedicated to the Sun Rider, just where He said it would be. Presenting myself to the holy men within I was ordained as a paladin of the All Father, the Sun Rider, Arnhine the Hammer of the World. After a time of learning and training they loaded my pack and set me back on my way almost mirroring the gesture of the pat on the rump I received from Our Father that day. So it was back to my home that I traveled, taking up my place in the garrison once again, enjoying the routine and the discipline and the sense of worth my simple job of guardian gave me.
Now it seems that most of the fighting is over. Although we still see things that go bump in the night, it looks as if life will head back towards normal. We will still be hungry, and there is a lot of rebuilding to do, but we are a strong people. We can do anything we set our minds to. I hear there is to be a new Celestial and that the Mon have many troubles and many worries, but I am happy here, defending the land and her people. May the Sun Rider keep them far away from us.