Friday, August 26, 2016

The Archives of Borom, Book 1: Xilos -- The Chronicles of Karyle, Ch. 1: "A Broken Campsite"

As an exercise of ongoing fiction for my Boromites from Beyond the Gates of Antares, I'm going to be publishing a series of short narratives here recounting the story of Karyle, an up-and-coming Overseer of Guild Bellicosum.

The entries for Book 1: Xilos will be, basically, a sort of "director's cut" of the battle reports posted in the Xilos Campaign run by Warlord Games.


A Broken Campsite

Karyle’s unit had been assigned by the Guildess to oversee the protection of a makeshift generator at one of the landing sites. They had been hired some time ago, leaving the asteroid belt they'd been mining for resources and traveling in the airy and unusual holds of the Arcadia, a space cruiser belonging to Vardo Pugnaran, until only recently.  Having secreted themselves alongside their Freeborn benefactors to the surface despite the Concord and Algoryn presence orbiting Xilos, the handful of Boromite Overseers such as Karyle were taking shifts at various control points on the  too-green world, their presence spread thin throughout the zone of control that had hastily been established.

The particular domari of this site had themselves had left on patrol on their Skyraiders, as they often did, and had told the Boromites little before their departure. In fact, they rarely spoke with the Boromites at all; the relations had been tense during the journey, and only their relative privacy from one another (with the sole exception of their daily assignments at the site) seemed to make it any better.  They'd been the lucky few to leave the ship, however, having been sent ahead to set up a forward contact point while the Arcadia remained on the fringes of the system.  The only briefing the Overseers had been given was that the Guild had been hired to accompany these Freeborn as muscle after an expensive tip had pointed the Freeborn mercenary company in the direction of Xilos. 

Karyle knew little of their mission, and he liked it that way.  Like many of children of Borom, simplicity was Karyle’s favored state of affairs.

Pacing the grounds surrounding the generator, Karyle heard the distant whine and the sharp sounds of air cracking, assuming it was the annoyingly carefree Freeborn skyraiders zooming back through the jungle toward the barren stretch of land they’d chosen as their site.  But as the whining grew louder and more distinct, with the air itself vibrating at the intensity, the alarm began to sound across the comm systems.

It wasn’t their Freeborn allies at all.

The Algoryn assault company’s capsules struck the ground around the immediate vicinity of the base with explosive force, the hail of their weapons' fire erupting from the pods immediately.  Operating with absolute focus, the bastards wasted no time; their momentum established, the Algoryn surged forward as Karyle’s forces came to attention. Looking across the chaotic scene to the most distant pod, Karyle spotted their leader, a noteworthy Algoryn assault commander named Kurar he had been briefed on while aboard the Arcadia as one the commanders likely to be found at Xilos.

Karyle's accompaniment consisted of only two small work gangs, the lavan trainer Leroy and his pack of lavamites, and two of the Guildess’s own sons, who had been practicing their skills with an X-Launcher and used their mother's influence to earn placement for the assignment. 

The boys could have earned the placement on their own, however, having been trained alongside the other Boromite youths and excelling in their studies on weapons of war.  They put their practice with the X-Launcher to work immediately, launching a direct hit onto the forward-most Algoryn squad, devastating it into inaction. 

Leroy and his lavamites were forced to sprint through the incoming fire to reach the generator, having been caught in the open field by the surprise assault.  During their rush they were struck by an overhead blast, turning a pair of Leroy's prized pets into smoldering heaps.  Howling with fury, Leroy called to the worker gang taking cover nearby for aid and surged with his lone remaining mite around the generator, meeting the Algoryn assault squad head on. 

The Worker Gang member bravely fights on with his Mass Compactor... but to no avail.

Rushing to meet the assault to the right side of the generator, Karyle and his bodyguards came around the side of the building quickly enough to witness the horror of an Algoryn assault squad at work; they saw Leroy's shattered remains on the ground, his lone lavamite fighting fiercely while the worker gang was cut down to shreds. Some distance behind him, the other work gang was simultaneously being blasted away by the enemy’s artillery, never having made it any closer to the generator than the landing pad.  Knowing that the day was lost, Karyle signaled the retreat icon to the young Boromite weaopn crew, ordering them to head for their lone shuttlecraft and escape. The stubborn Overseer himself loosed a roar of challenge at the silent Algoryn, barreling into combat with the enemy assault squads hoping to buy enough time for the boys to escape. 

The surgical precision of the Algoryn met the fury of the Boromites head-on, their vicious melee downing every warrior on both sides until only Karyle and the Algoryn assault squad leader remained.  Kurar, ever formal, stopped and watched the martial contest from a distance. The Algoryn commander knew the Boromites were finished, and had intercepted the transmissions of the Boromite leader; he would allow him the honor to finish his duel.

Karyle's duel with the Algoryn Assault Squad Leader, later to be known as Myrval.

The assault squad leader at last dealt a critical blow to Karyle, injuring him thoroughly enough to ensure he could no longer continue, though leaving him breathing. Glancing to his commander, the leader saw Kurar’s subtle nod, and stepped away leaving the Boromite broken upon the bloodied soil. Kurar signaled his weapon team, and watched without expression as the young Boromite weapon crew were shot down only a few steps away from the escape shuttle.  Only capable of watching in horror, Karyle could not even so much as yell to warn them.

Kurar walked patiently to Karyle’s side, silent as he watched his assault squads set charges on the generator and efficiently clear the field of their injured and dead.  Even their wounded were silent as they held their broken bodies together while being carried away.  Glancing down and seeing the Boromite’s remaining good eye open, though damp with resentful tears, Kurar spoke, “And now only you shall remain to speak of what happened here. You do not know that which you have stumbled upon, mercenary. Should we meet again… Know that the extent of my courtesy has been reached.” With that, Kurar signaled their homer drones, and began to walk from the field with his soldiers.

The Freeborn saw the explosion from a significant distance, on their return finding only the lone Boromite Overseer alive beneath a pile of debris.