Agon is a savage continent, but I took solace in the fact that I had solid friends to fall back on. I had believed that the bonds holding our group together were dauntless. I never would have believed that given the right circumstances, Team Stormfront could implode in only thirty minutes. I never would have believed that we'd go from living comfortably in a lightly war torn city, surrounded by a legion of strong fighters, raking in gold and building up our armories... to entirely dissolving without any hope of reconciliation.
One misunderstanding and it all came crumbling down. The slow rot that had gone unnoticed at the heart of our fellowship was finally revealed, and it was too late.
After the massacre that had taken place during the siege, I was not in the best of moods. Dominion had won the day, in the end, but not without a heavy cost. The ordeal had left me weary of battle. It had done the opposite for Blarggy and, to my surprise, Publius as well.
They had been out on the front lines, far from where I was fighting to stay alive. Blarggy had always had a taste for combat, and now Pub had acquired it as well. Others told me that they fought like men possessed. After the siege, they wanted more war. Unfortunately, Dominion was not providing enough of it. Discontent quietly festered inside them.
Piratejim, Blarggy, and Publius continued to fight alongside Dominion whenever they could. Primarily, the war was at sea. Dominion had the finest navy in Agon, and they used it to secure the massive ocean stronghold in the south waters. Piratejim was living out his dream. By day he was blasting cannons at massive sea monsters, and by night he was leaping from ship to ship, slashing at the enemy and helping to secure Dominion naval dominance.
But this was not what Publius and Blarggy wanted. It wasn't the lack of people to fight, but the lack of prestige. Dominion allowed almost anyone willing to hold a sword to join them. Their ranks were full of the young and unbloodied. When they won battles, it was largely attributed to the number, rather than the skill, of their forces. And they didn't often go seeking out conflict.
Blarggy had more ties to the larger politics of Agon than the rest of us did. He remembered other clans, fiercer clans. He knew the names of revered warriors, and had met and fought with and against some of them. After a month with Dominion, that is the world he longed to return to. But when he brought this up to the rest of Team Stormfront, that is not the way he phrased it.
When a few of us were together, Blarggy proposed the idea of going north to join a new alliance. I was against leaving. I felt no need to seek out even more ruthless individuals to associate with, and I didn't feel my battle abilities were strong enough to get me into one of these other alliances. Pangalactic suggested we wait until Piratejim returned from mining, and we could all decide together. The conversation did not remain civil.
Blarggy planted his feet. "Well, I'm leaving today, with or without you guys. Pub's coming too."
Pangalactic started, "Hang on. Don't do anything yet! I don't even get why you want to leave."
But Blarggy's tone and threat to leave with Publius set off some bottled up resentment inside of me. "You always try to make yourself our dictator! We joined Dominion because of you! And now you want to leave? Again? Why should we even bother?"
"Dominion was good for us at the time, but not anymore. All the good fighters are in the north, not in this massive alliance. And you know, I've been around Agon a lot more than you have! Why shouldn't you listen to me? Either way, I seriously don't care whether or not you're coming. It's not like you'd make much difference anyway."
I boiled with rage. The idea of him taking Publius with him, one of my most trusted friends, and the insults, and the power grabs that no one else seemed to mind, I couldn't handle it. Even if Blarggy was often correct, the way he always talked down to all of us, talked down to me, couldn't stand. After a few choice curses to Blarggy, I pulled Publius aside.
In an angry whisper, I said, "Are you seriously leaving with Blarggy?"
"Yeah, of course I am! Don't you want to be elite, Signus?" He laughed. I wish I'd known then that he was just being sarcastic. But my mind wasn't in a rational place.
I shouted with Blarggy, trying to convince him, in the least effective way possible, that everything he wanted could be found with Dominion. He didn't need to ride north across Agon. But our bitter attitudes towards each other bubbled to the surface and took over. With each word out of my mouth, the rift between us grew, until finally Blarggy made his final decision.
"I'm leaving, and I'm taking my equipment out of the clan bank!" He stormed off to gather Publius and I stood there panicking. My distrust for Blarggy took over, and in my mind, I saw him emptying out the bank, leaving us with next to nothing, and riding off claiming that he had been the reason we even had any of those items to begin with. I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I sprinted down the streets of Tugri, knocking aside idle Dominion recruits, making a bee line for the bank. I ripped open the clan vault doors and began loading everything I could into cases and bags, tying them to my back. I was going to deposit all the loot into my personal account and keep it safe until Piratejim could return and talk Blarggy and Pub down. It was at that unfortunate moment that Blarggy walked around the corner with Pub.
"Signus!" Pub shouted. "What the shit do you think you're doing?"
Blarggy drew his sword, "he's robbing the clan vault!" The two of them descended on me, slashing with bright blades. I turned my back to the attacks, shoving as much of our wealth into my bank as I could, before slamming the door. I couldn't get all of it in before a broadsword point went through the back of my throat.
Death took me, and the agonizing process of returning to my body felt all the slower, knowing that Blarggy was making off with our hard earned wealth. And now Publius was likely against me too.
The supreme general seemed confused. "Wait, who even are you?"
"I'm a general of Team Stormfront, one of the clans in your alliance. I need your help, please!"
He made me slow down and give him more detail, but after a minute or so, I had him and a few Dominion members following me to the clan bank, where we found Publius and Blarggy sifting through my corpse.
Pub looked at the Dominion clan members with narrow eyes. "Signus...what is this?"
"I'm not going to let you steal from Team Stromfront. I've alerted Dominion, and they aren't going to let you leave the city."
Blarggy's eyes lit with fire. "You brought another clan into our business? And you think we're the ones robbing the bank?" He was quivering with rage. I stood straight and put a hand on my sword hilt. Then I looked at Pub. In his eyes I could tell that I'd well and truly lost him. By bringing in Dominion I'd broken some kind of trust between us that even theft and murder hadn't managed to dislodge.
"You idiot..." he whispered. "I wasn't going to leave, I was just fucking with you! But I sure as shit am leaving now. And neither you, nor Dominion are going to stop me."
Blarggy smiled triumphantly. "Good! We'll go north to-"
Pub spun. "I didn't say I was going with you! I don't want to be around any of you right now. This whole thing is mental, you're all mental. I don't care about anything in the vault. I'm going to leave, and none of you are going to follow me."
The Supreme General of Dominion talked to Blarggy and heard his side of events, gave me a withering look and stalked off. I heard him say "...waste of time..." to his recruits.
When Pangalactic returned with Piratejim and Llemon, they found a broken clan waiting for him. After some hours arguing, shouts of "vault robber" and other such accusations, I opened my bank and returned the goods back to the clan vault. Blarggy then took his share, and rode off.
The fissure of anger ran too deep for the remaining members of the clan to ignore. Llemon left not long after Blarggy, and then there was nothing left but for me, Omnigord, and Piratejim to go our seperate ways. With numb fury and disbelief in me, I rode west alone. I went to the land where I'd always be welcome.