Other Soldiers, Other Fates

[A story of Reiassan taking place at the same time as the Rin & Girey story]

The war had ended.

Hiron was sure of that much.

The war had ended, the papers had been signed, and the camps were packing up.

And the prisoners were being packed up, Hiron included, pushed and prodded and poked into a long line, chained ankle-to-ankle and wrist-to-wrist. Hiron didn’t bother fighting as the legionnaire came to add him to the line. What good was it, when the country he was fighting for was gone? At least it didn’t look like he was going to be killed.

“This one’s mine.” The hand that grabbed Hiron’s wrist was as hard and sword-calloused as his own; the voice had the rough gravelly-whisper sound that only throat injuries gave, and the uniform was field-worn but clean. The chin was strong but, strangely for the Calenyen, beardless. Hiron got that much in the first glance; the first listen also told him the soldier’s accent was, as his commander had said, “field not tent.”

“Tribune?” The legionnaire paused, shackles hanging over Hiron’s wrist. “They’re going up North.” At least, Hiron was pretty sure that’s what he said. The Calenyena language was tongue-twisting and throat-biting.

The clink of coins passing hands was unmistakable in any language, however. “This one’s mine,” the tribune repeated. “I’ll take him now.”

“Tribune.” The legionnaire gave Hiron a little push. “Here, you.” He used the field-Bitrani most of the Calenyena soldiers had picked up. “Go with her.”

/Her?/ Hiron took another look at the Tribune. They all had braids, they all wore the same uniforms. But that beardless chin… Hiron swallowed. The Tribune patted him on the shoulder. “You’re pretty,” she told him, in mangled field-Bitrani. “You’ll do just fine.”

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