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The choice between life and death
Wed Jun 14, 2006 10:31 (XFF:

The leather straps of his armor were starting to chafe his neck, luckily they were leather so they would not sink when leaving the relative safety of the boat. Sweat trickled down the long black braids down his neck, feeling like rivers about to break and overflow. Jonas looked to his squad again. Most looked as nervous as he felt.

Ingmar, a young Shienaran, was fingering his sword. Jonas could feel he was holding the One Power, though not much of it. Poyl, a Murandian Trainee, was playing some sort of game with a few strings and a dagger. He was winning it but his smile and that of his fellow trainees Woanil, Edab and Saraid looked too fake to even think they were enjoying themselves. Nior was standing by watching while he adjusted the grip in his spear every few seconds.

Jonas stared out to the coast again. He was not one to show much of his emotions, but now that his grip in the Void was unstable he felt like the sea inside. Fear and panic crashed like waves through his skull. And all that for a lot of youngsters he didn’t even really know. Never had he felt as old as now, his forty odd something years seemed to be hanging on his shoulders now, chafing his neck the same way his armor did. How he longed for the Void now, Jonas realized that this was not a good thing, but to be without emotion made him strong. Maybe he could keep them alive, but he would need to keep his head cool for that. His head wasn’t cool now.

The beach came closer and closer. His squad, along with about a thousand other men, were to take the beach. The tacticians expected little resistance, Jonas never put much faith into men that thought out how other were to die. After that they would track north and meet up with the inland army, attacking the Seanchan in the flank.

It all sounded very reassuring to know he and his men were to disembark a hundred feet of shore loaded with enough equipment and rations to get them through three days of combat and marching. Jonas hoped it was not deep or slippery enough to drown anyone around here. Being a Borderlander had its merits, knowledge of the sea was not one of them. From behind him a voice stated bellowing.

‘Get ready to disembark.’

One grunt from him got his men’s attention and they lined up at the board. Jonas took position in the centre. ‘Channelers get ready to defend you other squad members.’ His voice was a low grunt, but it got their attention. The sound of water seemed closer now. The board flapped down and the first men jumped into the water. Almost immediately Jonas felt cold water seep into his boats. How he hated the sea. ‘Keep a lookout for Seanchan on the beach.’ His grunt turned to a bellow now as he tried to get his voice over the sound of water, which was now al around them. ‘Get moving. I want to be dry before the sun hits noon, and keep those bowstrings dry Poyl’

They rushed forward. The water slowed them down, but the steady footing and the cold gave Jonas enough focus the set his mind firmly in the Void. The flow of Power rushed into him, searing his bones with both freezing cold and burning heat. His vision become sharper along with the rest of his senses. Almost immediately he saw them, Seanchan archers readying their bows. ‘Soldiers, grab the One Power and start weaving shield of Air above out heads.’ Without looking Jonas started weaving Concealment about the squad.

I have to keep them alive…….

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