He wasn’t sure how it happened. One moment he was just walking along and the next he was face down in the dirt buried under a pile of dead leaves.
He had been heading north from Kodok province circling around the temple. He walked past the marketplace and noticed how empty it was. Next he passed
Moku’s stand and remembered his first encounter with him. Continuing on, he crossed into Lukva Province and found himself in the only remaining copse of live trees left in the province. Most of the rest had been burned out or excavated to make room for Kevutian buildings and installations. He was glad to be in the woods after spending a great deal of time avoiding other Kevutians. Mostly he just told him he had been separated from his squad and was trying to find them. There were plenty of soldiers in the area, much more than usual, making it easy to blend in. Fortunately, no one seemed to recognize him.
He headed for the fields north of the temple when he felt a weight hit his back. Panicked, he pushed himself up from the ground and started swinging the shock wand he managed to obtain on his trek around the temple. Most Kevutian soldiers were quite skilled with their staff: swirling and spinning them in such a way that anyone unfortunate enough to be near one in motion would certainly suffer broken bones and a damaged ego. He tried to imitate that motion, but only succeeded in beaning himself on the side of his head. He held his head and looked up. There was no one there in front of him. In the very next instant all he saw was a whoosh of green as a leafy branch from the tree above smacked him hard
on the face knocking him flat on his back. His face stung like he had just been smacked by a dozen angry grandmothers at once. He took a moment to open his eyes and when he did, he expected to see green leaves and sky, but, instead, saw a face looming over him.
Yea, it’s him,” Omin said, staring down at Erut.
“You sure?” came a voice in the trees.
Erut recognized it as Avin’s.
Yea, I’m sure.”
“How did you ever make it out of Basic Training?” Avin asked Erut.
“Basic Training is a joke, nowadays,” Erut scratched out. “No one fails unless they hit an officer or say disparaging remarks about the SM.”
“The Supreme Magnate,” said Erut.
“Good guess,” Avin quipped to Omin.