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Chapter 1
Urth Novrin

Urth walked the dirt road, knowing where it lead him, and knowing also, where this trail of life that he had chosen would lead him as well. He knew that this path he would take would bring benefits, and hardships; good times and painful memories. But he had nothing to lose, no warm fireplace to sit in front of with a family, in case he even began to think of turning right back to where he came from.
Urth was born a bastard, and had become an orphan at the young age of five, after his mother died giving birth, and after his stepfather was slain in an honorable fight for his king. He had been raised by his older sister Courtney, and his eldest brother John. He had had another brother at one time; Deryc was his name, but he had run away, and was never seen again. And now his sister and brother were gone, to a different land, under different rulers.
Urth remained loyal to the land that lie in the borders, which held Tesmial, as did his father through battle. Urth had actually known his father, for a very brief amount of time. But those thoughts and moments that he had clenched in the hands of memory, he cherished more than life itself; for without them, life was meaningless in a way.
Urth’s downcast eyes glanced upward at the sound of horses’ hooves; a wagon was being pulled by a team of them. He watched the man come closer, sitting upon the driver’s bench, looking noble himself, although no more than a mere peasant trying to make a day’s pay.
“Good day to ya sir,” the driver said, tipping his hat to him.
Urth gave him a nod, and showed a few teeth, which perhaps was a smile, or maybe a thought of speaking, and then retreating the sound of his voice to leave the gap in his lips. Without thinking further, Urth continued his march. He was sure that to the driver, he looked like a mere peasant, himself. With his dust-enshrouded clothes, an old cracked and faded leather pack, and then an off-colored blanket, rolled up and tied to the pack.
Soon enough, Urth would change his appearance. His beard trimmed, his hair washed, and without mud matted into it. His red eyes would go back to white and he would certainly smell a lot better. For he was joining the army of the king of Tesmial, following in his stepfather’s footsteps-for he had been like a real father to him. And in the army, he would have to look a lot more presentable than he did now. A regiment was currently twenty men short and he had thought it over, and had finally decided on it. He just hoped he wasn’t too late on the beckoning call, and that his hastiness on the decision wouldn’t lead him into a ditch.
War was in progress though, with the bordering land, Larsh, and he knew that the chances were better than not, that his regiment would be commanded to leave for the battlegrounds.
The war had been going on for three years now, and over so simple a thing as to the border situation between the two. Larsh had been stating that the borders were to Tesmial’s advantage, giving them a lot more room than what had been agreed on two hundred years ago, at the end of another war-the Trench War. No one had any predictions as to how long this war would last. At the beginning, the Tesmians were saying that it would be one battle, and Larsh would go back to their homes, realizing their armies would be stomped out like a small fire. But that small fire leaped out from under the boot of the cocky army of Tesmia, and had ignited a forest. Battle after battle brought no resolve, and so the fighting continued onward.
Taryth Road, and the land surrounding it were desolate, and dead. Nothing grew, no lush green lawns, no beautiful pines (or any other tree for that matter). There existed no towns from Marson to Laroin. The fields of Laroin were where the regiment was camping and training. Only fifteen minutes distance away, Urth began to quicken his step.
He could see the banner of the king raised high into the air, a half a mile away. Nothing blocked his view, since everything was flat. Urth squinted his beady, mouse-like eyes, trying to get a glimpse of Laroin, but he saw nothing but the flags. Urth was a well-built man, with light red hair, that was thick and wavy, running evenly cut around his head, the ends touching his eyebrows. He was the serious one the family, as far as he knew. Living under the title, Novrin, son of Adria, daughter of Samuel. And when he came to this part of the lineage, he would always have to add, ‘And yes, the same Samual Novrin that was offered the throne of Dissmale, but refused to go; sending the land into civil war.’
His name, ever since was cursed in a sort of way, and honor would be nice to have resting on the title. Urth would put it there; he knew he would. But he didn’t know how he would do it yet.
“Excuse me sir.”
Urth looked up, and managed to let a greeting pass between his cracked lips, and up his dry and dusty mouth and throat.
“Off to join the army?”
Urth nodded.
“Well, you look like shite, good luck convincing them that you’d be a good soldier. You may want to clean up. There’s an inn in town, cheap as can get, but you can get a bath there, with soap an’ all.”
“Thank you,” Urth said.
“My pleasure.”
The man smiled, and Urth walked on, into the old town of nothingness. Urth trudged onward, down the street, and stopped outside of an unstable wooden building. The sign hanging above the door simply read, ‘town inn.’
“Clever enough,” He mumbled to himself.
Urth walked up the wooden steps and through the open doorway, into the common room, which looked no different than what he had seen all day. A desolate and dead room, with not but four tables, and three chairs. The were marks on the floor where not as much dust had fallen, showing that their at a time, existed more tables and chairs.
Urth meant for it to be a shout, but it came out to be nothing more than a wheeze. He took a deep breath and wet his lips. He saved up as much saliva as he could, and then swallowed hoping maybe it would bring some life to his pipes again. He inhaled, and called again. This time it did come out, fairly loud; loud enough so that if anyone were in the inn, they would hear it.
Urth waited…nothing though. He turned to leave, but stopped when he did hear footsteps. Although they were rather muffled from the inch-thick layer of dust, that almost served as if it were carpet.
“Wait! What did you need?”
Urth turned, to see an attractive young woman standing akimbo, and panting as if she had sprinted, (which she probably had).
“Well, a room if that’s at all possible, seeing how crowded it is here. And maybe a bath, I heard you guys had some basins?”
She nodded.
“It’s cost you a silver piece for the night, and a bath comes with that.”
Urth nodded. He pulled the coin from a pouch at his waist and handed it to her. It was a hard thing to let his last silver penny go.
“So what brings you to Laroin?”
“The army.”
“They brought you?”
“No, I want to join.”
“Why? Why would you join now? By doing that, you knowingly endanger yourself. You know that you’ll immediately be sent away to the East Hills, of the border.”
Urth thought for a moment, and then he smiled.
“I do it for honor.”

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The following comments are for "The King's Flag"
by ArturHawking

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