Chapter 7 – Golden Blood

Part 1

Two weeks had past since they the battle against the Olympic army and in that time Daniel’s group had well and truly restocked. Even though the price of bullets was high following the battle, with hunting on a near daily basis, they were able to purchase what they needed without making a loss. It wasn’t as if they were busy every day; every few days they’d spend some time relaxing throughout the town. In addition, Loralei had spent a lot of that time working at a local clinic as a temporary worker, both for the money and the experience. With her work then and after the battle, it wasn’t surprising that she had accumulated a number of fans throughout the city.

Leah also developed a number of fans, though with a very different group. She had spent a lot of her time off training with the local orders and militia groups, and from there became popular with old warriors and young women. Her training with the militia mostly involved beating down large groups of people then telling them what they did wrong, but fights against soldiers from the orders weren’t always so lopsided. While lower level order members could be thrashed almost effortlessly, the elite amongst them were far more of a challenge. Against the leaders of the combat oriented orders, she was the one to get thrashed.

While the two enjoyed the limelight, Daniel mostly tried to remain hidden. While the city officially thanked him for helping to end the battle, there were a number of people that blamed him. With the heavy losses amongst the soldiers that fought beside Kat Anaon, there were a lot of people that blamed his escape; saying that the confusion added to the number of dead. They weren’t exactly wrong, but others could understand that it would have been stupid to wait around and be executed because someone wasn’t handling grief well. As such, he spent a lot of time outside of the city, hunting with Aria even on days when they were supposed to be taking a break. Despite the sheer volume of creatures killed in that time, they were all too low level and no one’s level managed to rise in that time.

Surprisingly, the first they heard about the city’s plan didn’t come from the council, but instead from one of Loralei’s fans. They were a soldier that she treated after the battle and who felt like they had their life saved by her, and as such when they were stationed outside the council room and overheard the plans, they reported them to her. As it turned out, the reason a response was taking so long wasn’t because of difficulty in sending a message, but because the capitals were handling the negotiations themselves. That made a lot of sense, agreements made at the highest level could be made far more quickly and the organizations’ leaders had far better access to communication methods.

Unfortunately for Daniel’s group however, those closest to the divine tended to follow their words fairly closely, and as such formed an alliance between the three pantheons, on the basis of a common threat. With the forces joined, it would be much harder to destroy the Southernmost Den, given that it was a powerhouse of potential Draconian soldiers. To make matters worse, the Celtic capital ruled that Daniel’s group was an unstable element with the potential to cause harm to the treaty. They weren’t wrong, though; Daniel had every intention of killing the Southernmost Den’s leaders, which would be very destabilizing in the local area.

After they received that warning, they only had a couple hours to leave Enoksen before word reached the guards that they were labeled as enemies of the state, and were to be hunted. Surprisingly, the Morrigan Order was placed in control of the hunt. The Morrigan Order was usually in charge of defence, so having them actively hunting would normally have been out of place. In that particular case, however, the reasoning was fairly obvious. After the battle, it was the combat order with the least number of casualties. Furthermore, the current acting leader, Anna Zeeb, had demonstrated active hostility towards their group. With Leah’s recent popularity amongst the orders, it made sense to use a commander whose hostility would prevent their judgment from being clouded.

Anna herself hadn’t been seen much during the time they were in town. There was rumours about town that she was busy with the temporary command position, that she lost someone in the battle and couldn’t focus, that she had a secret lover that she snuck out to meet. Whichever was correct didn’t matter much to Daniel, he was just glad that it meant that she hadn’t caused trouble for him while he wanted to lay low. He was even more thankful that it meant she wasn’t there to stop them from leaving town and escaping.

Because then spent most of the two weeks making trips out and making preparations, it didn’t take them long to pack, and they were able to leave with more than an hour’s head start. With the power behind their car, and because they traveled alone, it was unlikely that any large force would be able to catch them. On to of that, it was unlikely that the town’s most powerful members could be diverted to deal with them, as they would be key to the upcoming war. The difficulty was that Enoksen could easily communicate with their now partners, the Norse and Olympic Pantheons, and have them attacked in any towns they entered.

Idealy, they could head to a neutral territory while they waited for the war to weaken the Southernmost Den enough to be dealt with by their small group. However, as Draconian that solution didn’t sit entirely well with them. It would hardly be the glorious blood soaked revenge Daniel craved if the den was half-empty, with the best fighters deployed elsewhere. With a battle going on, only the really young, the critically injured and the youngest council member would be left in the den. The notion of a battle that could escalate into an all out world war was entirely too enticing for their battle hungry race. With the way the world’s population was still declining, it was entirely unlikely that there would be another chance to gauge themselves like that.

From a global population perspective, the area they were in was something of an anomaly. Multiple settlements within a couple days travel, all with growing populations, wasn’t something that appeared in many spots. Captured towers, dens and capitals were the foundations of towns, and they were each rare things. People powerful enough to capture towns didn’t usually have the patience to start a town. Dens were for Draconian only and would sooner destroy a whole mountain then see it taken by anyone else. Furthermore, there were a limited number of gods. There were anomalies to those rules, such as Dwarves setting up a vineyard in the middle of nowhere, but those were rare to the point of being nearly unheard of.

What was worse was that the number of gods wasn’t even a guaranteed thing. When the gods first returned, the Roman Pantheon and the Christian God both tried to take set their capital in some place called Rome. That caused a war with each other and resulted in the destruction of both sides. From what Daniel had heard, while the Christian God had many more followers, each individual follower seemed to have a different, unfocused, understanding of their god and didn’t even know the name of the god they followed. As such, most of their energy was wasted with very little of their worship making it to their god. On the other hand, the few followers of the Roman Pantheon knew exactly who they worshiped, and as the war went on, the number of followers grew. When both sides destroyed each other, and the city became a crater, followers of the dead gods migrated their faith to the surviving religions.

The same instinct that prevented Draconian from missing what was probably the last ever world war, was the same instinct that prevented Daniel from accomplishing his goal to an empty building. Even if after the den itself was destroyed, and the then den-less Draconian being obligated to kill themselves, it wouldn’t feel satisfying to end the grudge in such a cheap way. At the same time, Daniel knew that he still held some obligation towards Fallen Tower. While neither he nor Loralei would shed a tear if it was destroyed, there was still some vague feeling that it was probably better if his mate’s hometown wasn’t destroyed. As such, their ideal strategy was one where the Southernmost Den was crushed by them in battle but, overall, the Olympic-Celtic-Norse Alliance still won.

The easiest way to do that would be to destroy them while they were traveling between battles. If they were injured and tired they could be beaten. If they were still far from the next battle, then the alliance could still send someone else. The problem with that was that it would require Daniel’s group to be well informed about their movements, and be able to travel to intercept faster than they could currently. With their current status as fugitives, it would be hard for them to get both of those things and their options were very limited. Thankfully, there was a place that would definitely be kept up to date on the movements of every single Draconian on both sides; a place that wouldn’t take sides or help anyone out. It was a place that wouldn’t hesitate to sell them what they wanted to know and was curtain to stock vehicles fast enough to suit their needs. On top of that, he could personally guarantee their entrance, After all, with his current body it would be like returning home.

With that decided, they began to head north. Their destination; the Golden Den.



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