World of Magi > The Men of Cohen and Jido
(Tagged: The Council of Abrazerei, )
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The Men of Cohen and Jido
By Mr. Tex
Selia Lensfellow, Commander of the Phoenix Brigade, never liked the sea much. The Jidorans and Merondans maintained the great navies of the Jidoran Federation, while the men of Cohen had always formed up the Federation's armies - or at least, the best of them. She found the constant rocking of the deck and the complete lack of land around them to be disorienting, to say the very least, and it made her feel a little sick.
But, she knew, she had to be here and she had to appear strong in doing so. Her hands were wrapped around the wooden railing at the edge of the ship; she was grateful for the gloves she wore, because they hid the whiteness in her knuckles from how hard she gripped the railing.
"Ah, Commander Lensfellow," she heard from behind her. She turned her head, and found General Larken approaching. He was a hero of Cohen - a man of stature and rank, who had proved himself in several foot engagements and had led the battle against the capital of the Figars. He was a bear of a man; tall, broad-shouldered, and muscled with a black beard peppered with grey. "How do you find our trip so far?"
"Pleasant, m'lord," she lied with a smile. "How long until we arrive?"
He laughed a deep, rumbling laugh. "Perhaps not so pleasant, then. I understand you, Commander, I do. I would rather have my feet on ground and fight my battles there," the General said. "Better than fighting like a coward on a deck, I say!" Selia could see the glares of the sailors nearby, and coughed once. The General just laughed all the more. "About two weeks, lass. You should best get used to it."
Selia smiled wanly. "Of course, m'lord. I did not mean to complain." She sighed, and leaned forward, resting on her forearms and looking out at the ocean. She considered, for a moment; few enough people were around, save for some sailors, and it seemed safe to be frank. "General Larken," she said, "I must ask. Why are we here? It is not our place - not on this boat, and not in Abrazerei. At least, not unless we are conquerors."
Larken shook his head and stepped up beside her, leaning outward and resting on the rail as well. "A fair question, Selia. We are not here for Abraxas - to the Deep Places with him. We need to serve as a reminder."
She raised an eyebrow. "A reminder?"
"The men of Cohen are not traders, nor are they sailors. Our boats only plowed the waters for fish and our merchants only brought what we needed for war," Larken said. His grey eyes looked off into the horizon, and his voice fell into a quiet rumble as he spoke. "In the old days, we took what we needed and left our enemies with our blades in them. We plundered with honor and we held our lands. But, traders have a way of rooting into our society. They bring goods we could not make or take for ourselves, and their money buys them protection."
She frowned at that, looking down at the water. She knew it to be true; it was a tradition in Cohen's academics to be brutally honest about their history. It was a sort of self-flagellation about their society. She nodded.
"Now, we've become like them, but we still hold the old way." He looked at her. "Trade sometimes has to be built on roads of bones and blood, and we make those roads for them. We are here to remind them of that," he said. "To remind them that the old way is what keeps them alive - and we will not be cut out, even if they see us as beneath them."
"I understand," she said - even if she doubted. In the end, Cohen had never fought wars against Jido and Soza that were in either of the three cities. Trade had seeped into Cohen, bringing goods with it that the city could slowly not ignore. She knew, even now, the rifles and the cannons they used were made with Jido's magitechnology. They were warriors leashed by technology. Cohen was only needed if the Federation was at war.
How could she accept that?
"We should have taken the Hyperion," Janos Valkun grumbled. He felt the flagship of the Jidoran contingent rocking with the waves. He had tried to do away with as many sailing ships as possible, but sailing had been the foundation of their mercantile empire; there were many older men who had no desire to get rid of the fleets of sailing ships. "We would have been there in two days."
"With half the men, and insulting half the council by doing it," Dalmen Ferino noted. He was the opposite of Valkun; Janos was shorter and thinner, with brown hair that had gone bald on the top. Dal was tall, broad of shoulder, and muscled. His golden hair was the same as it was when he was younger, and he was entirely too handsome. He cracked a smile at his old friend. "Easy, Jan. I know you've no love for sea travel, but it is necessary."
"To answer the summons of a monster who calls himself a god," Janos spat. He was in no mood for pleasantries, and he had to hide his sourness outside of his cabin.
"This does not happen often," Dalmen replied.
Janos frowned. The man was right, if understating as he tended to. He sighed and nodded his head. "Ever," he corrected. "And besides, whatever he has called us for, it may be what we have waited for." He looked out the one window he had in his cabin and saw the waves that their ship was cutting through. He crossed his arm. "A reason to-"
He saw Dal's eyes narrow. He raised a hand, and then walked to the door. As he approached, there was a knocking. Janos stood up from his seat; his friend had the gift of magic given to him, including spells that made him hear and see better than a man ought to be able to. The blonde-haired man opened the door. Behind it, one of the ship's officers stood. He blinked, in surprise. "Ah, we thought we should tell Lord Janos..."
Janos stood and nodded his head. "Speak."
"We have spotted some strange ships," he said. "Unlike others we have seen before. They are approaching us."
Delman looked at Valkun. Janos nodded his head, and the man stepped out of the room and walked away with the sailor. Janos frowned and walked to the door, then threw down the lock and bolts across it.