posted by SweetHoneyBunny
Trudging along behind his group, Talow scuffed his worn boots against the packed trail leading away from his home. He had been given a uniform, a flame gun and a sharp looking sword of his own; including a brief crash test on how to use them. He was at the back of the line, followed only by the line of prisoners taken captive by the troops.
“I am so sorry, I didn't expect them to do that.” Talow said to one man at the front of the captive line. He was referring to earlier in the day when the prisoners had asked to stop and rest, they had been greeted with the captain of the troop ordering they to be whipped. Two of the higher ranked soldiers had taken their belts and beaten their flesh until it was bruised, Talow had watched on as the people he had known all his life were hit while he was treated like one of their own.
The whole group walked on in silence, sometimes veering from the path to hack a new way through the trees with their swords. Talow continued to watch the ground as the terrain became more treacherous. Vines snaked down from above while roots tripped them on the path. The sun could be seen peeking through the leaves high above, indicating it was almost noon. The soldiers stopped in a small clearing, man-made and already trampled with hundreds of boots. As men brought out tins of food, most stolen from Talow's home, the prisoners were lead behind the treeline and tied up to a sturdy tree; one of the lower ranks gave them a bit of water but nothing more. Talow stood awkwardly not nothing what he should be doing when a boy about his age handed him an armful of canteens.
“Go fill these with water from the creek over there.” He pointed a free hand towards a cluster of bushes where the faint gurgle of water could be heard. “And don't dally, we have look-outs scattered around here and they'll know if someone is taking off.” He sneered at Talow before turning back to the main group. Taking the canteens, being careful not to drop any, Talow pushes his way through the bushes.
When he got to the stream his arms were covered in scratches from the thorns hidden between the twigs on the bushes he had walked through. On his knees, Talow ran the cool water over his arms to stop the stinging after he proceeded to fill the canteens. The water wasn't the cleanest he had seen but it was defiantly not the worst. A green slime clung to the banks of the creek and he couldn't see the bottom. The water was cold but it was an off-putting colour that made Talow want to retch. He finished his job and was tightening the lid to the last canteen when he heard rustling. It didn't sound like it was coming from the direction of the camp or from where the prisoners were kept not to far away. Talow stood and drew his sword, hoping he would know how to use it when the time came. He was backed up to the creek, water lapping at his heels when he was taken down. Talow tumbled into the slow moving water, spitting it out when it got into his mouth, it tasted oily. Brushing soaked hair from his face Talow looked up to see his attacker. An old rifle was held in his hands, pointed at Talow's chest. Looking down the barrel at him, finger on the trigger was a boy not much older then Talow but defiantly taller. He had short hair that curled in just below his ears and dark eyes that didn't move from his target. Talow dropped his sword and put his hands up, hoping the guy wasn't going to shoot.
“Get up.” His attacker smacked him in the chin with the rifle. Not acting soon enough, Talow received another.
“I said get up! What are you deaf or something?” Talow stood, dripping slimy water.
“Don't shoot, don't shoot. What do you want? Food, weapons? I don't have any money but you can have what I've got.” The boy looked at him without lowering the gun.
“Who do you serve? UFS?” Talow nodded and glanced at his arm where the brand was printed under his sleeve.
“Good, then I won't have any problem doing this.” The boy aimed his gun at Talow, getting ready to shoot when another bullet ricocheted off the rifle. Talow was just as confused as he was. Both looked in the direction from where the shot had come from.
“Couldn't even trust you to get water without getting your head blown off.” Four UFS soldiers came into view, each carrying a slender gun and wearing green, these were probably the look-outs he had been told about. Talow's attacker dropped his rifle, and turned towards the soldiers offering surrender.
“Alright, take me away to where ever you guys keep your assassins.” He rolled his eyes and smiled at Talow as he was lead away. As they left, Talow picked up the canteens he had dropped, slinging them over his shoulders.
“Let me help you with those.” A boy maybe three years older then Talow stepped out from where the others had just disappeared. He picked up some of the canteens and took some from Talow.
“You're the new recruit? Huh, he don't usually pick up random farm boys. Must have seen something in you.” They walked back to the camp together. “I'm Luca by the way, lieutenant of battalion V35.” Luca had a silver badge pinned to his grey uniform indicating his rank. They lead the canteens next to a pile of tins. Talow turned to Luca who was watching a group of boys seated in one corner of the clearing.
“Don't worry, recruits usually aren’t attack by deranged Bellators. You're just a special case.” Luca laughed and Talow couldn't help but join him. “How about you come join us for now, it's not like you're doing anything else.” Luca lead Talow over the group he had been watching. “Alright boys, this is the recruit and I've invited him to join us for the remainder of our rest period.” He started to introduce Talow to the group, each one of them waving or saying a low greeting as they were listed. “This is Nico, Fredrick, Cyle, Henry, Victor, Red, and Jose. Walter, Ben and Phil aren't here but other then them this is battalion V35.” Luca sat beside one of the boys, the names of which Talow was already forgetting. He sat next to one of the smaller boys listening to them talk about what they were expecting HQ to be like when they got back.
A few hours passed as Talow got to know more of the boys from battalion V35 but soon the entire troop was on the move again, trying to reach Nindell before the sun set and pitched them into darkness.