Gussar was observing the endless desert of Ma'Ash sitting on top of his truck as his personal slave Camar drove the war truck followed by the entire Gorgans.
His mind was at ease now that he knew Orman had calculated everything he made him sure that they have stocked enough water and food to last the attack on the Iron fort.
Gussar laid on his back and gazed at the crystal clear sky shining stars blinking and the full moon lighting up the whole desert in its silver light.
Truck was moving fast and the flat empty lands of Ma'Ash desert were of great help to speed up their marching and it was the very same reason that they were growing exhausted for there was no tree or even a rock to protect them from the sun at daylight.
The nights of Ma'Ash opposed its days by how cold and windy it would get but Gussar just like all the Gorgans welcomed its cold more than the burning sun of its days. They moved in nights when their cars wouldn't heat up and camped for sleep in days.
As they got closer to the Ironfort he heard some rumors of water shortage and soon there won't be enough food for all the people.
Of course, the first victims would be the slaves but Gorgans as cruel as they were to their enemies many of them relied heavily on them as slaves, and their skills some of them were even more valuable than the high raiders, and without enough slaves, Gorgans would become paralyzed for the daily tasks.
Gussar grew worried and questioned Ormans' calculations, at last, he convinced Gussar that numbers won't lie and once again he made fool of Gussar.
Gussar took his children away so he would take his reputation away.
Orman planed everything since the beginning of their march on Ma'Ash and soon thousands would have to pay the price for his purposeful miss calculation which would end up to more hatred toward Gussar.
Yorkka however found out fast enough to warn Gussar about the shortage of the supplies and called for a private meeting without telling Orman.
"That bastard" Gussar shouted and smacked his fist on the metallic plan table.
"Why on earth would he do this now?" he asked
Yorkka remained quiet but Koy had an opinion; "He saw an opportunity and he used it, now that he is sure that he can be backed up by most of the people"
"Yeah people are still mad at you for forcing them to leave their children at the Papertower" Yorkka added
"Orman knows that I would find out and I would make him pay so tell me why he is not feared for his life? What's his game?" Gussar needed to understand all the perspectives under these dire situations before making any hasty decision.
"I think whatever we do will just end up backfiring" Yorkka said
"Yeah even if we kill him we are just going to make our people and the slaves angrier," Koy said
"Slaves? What do they have to do with his plan?" Gussar became even more confused.
"Boss name one of your slaves beside Camar" Koy said
Gussar tried but no name came up so he waited for Koy to show his point.
"I don't know mine either and I bet Yorkka doesn't too"
"I don't own any slaves" Yorkka said
"See, my point is we don't care about them at all they are either alive and working or dead, while Orman respects them he cares for them he even remembers their names he simply plays nice"
"It's true I saw him once even dining with them treat them like family, I thought he was doing it from kindness and well, now we know why" Yorkka said
"I need to win this battle and find people water and food so I can buy myself some time to think what should I do with this traitor" Gussar looked bitter and cold
"You united all of us and showed strength while likes of him
were scavenging the rubles for a piece of stale bread in the midlands "Yorkka said
"That’s right boss he is playing dirty and trying to mess with your name but doesn't worry when we captured Ironfort, we will make him pay with his blood"
"Leave me" Gussar ordered them, his High raider's warm words weren't going to water the thirsty or feed the hungry. As always he felt lonely and this time there was nothing he could do but to watch Orman ruining all he had worked for.
_ _ _
Just a week away from Ironfort people felt the shortage of water and if Gussar didn't do anything many would die and chaos would destroy Gorgans before they reach Ironfort.
Orman waited in his personal truck to see how things would play out while Gussar got on top of his war truck picked his microphone to give his orders.
Gorgans gathered around his truck, as far as the eye could see crowed circled around him from slaves to raiders, all ear
Everyone had a different opinion but their fate was in Gussars' hands.
Huge speakers were placed in every corner so all can hear him clearly, Yorkka and Koy stood beside him as his high raiders but Orman was absent.
Knowing what was about to happen thousands of their raiders were on guard to stop any outrage by any means.
Even the darkness of the night couldn't hide Gorgans panicked faces of an uncertain tomorrow, their nightmare was coming true they were again prey to hunger and thirst just like they were before in the Midlands.
"It doesn't matter who I blame for the shortage of food and water it is true, and what is happened is what happened. We are again alone by ourselves and as always glory and victory require sacrifice" there was no sign of mercy or empathy in Gussar's voice and his face looked abuse and emotionless.
"My orders are simple and clear" he spoke clearly and with strength
"We leave the old and the weak behind in desert so the young and the strong survive"
Many were shocked and didn't know how to take the orders crowed chattered, some burst into rage and tried to resist against Gussars' orders but whoever showed even the slightest act of violence got shot down at sight.
they had to obey, it wasn't a choice it was an order and his raiders made it perfectly clear for the crowd if they resist they will die.
Gussar put down the microphone to walk back inside his personal truck.
He didn't look at people at all, the people who were shouting and cursing him
And things far worst but after a few fallen bodies, they just relied on the use of words and didn't dare to take any action against him.
Hira awaited him, she was the only one who could perhaps company him through this night and calm him down by her beauty and her gentle words.
Hira pours down some mead for Gussar as he was laying on the bed rubbing his rough face with the palms of his dry hand full of calluses.
However tough and unshakable he looked outside the decision he made broke him crushed him and open the oldest wound of which Gussar hideaway for years.
"I did all this so my people never feel the hunger or the thirst again and here I am ruining their lives with my word killing them and forcing them to sacrifice more and for what" Gussar's voice tone changed it was shaken and sorrowful was chocking him making every word painful for him to spit out.
"You are their leader my love and as always you carry the heaviest weight but you must know that you are the only man who can do this" Hira said and gave Gussar the golden goblet of mead.
Gussar drank the whole mead at once and got up to get his hands on the whole jug and started drinking it in one gulp and quickly after finishing it he searched for more.
Hira understood how sad Gussar was, she too, was familiar with making hard decisions.
"It wasn't you who did this it was…"
"Orman, the fucking man who I trusted my whole life the very damn person who saved my life and can't walk properly because of it" Gussar's emotions were getting twisted he didn't know even how to feel, drinks could at least make this night bearable.
"You never told me that before" Hira was surprised but slightly glad that he trusts her enough to her about his past.
"Oh, I didn't? well, I was very young and was about to get killed by the hands of the people who the world knows as the mighty Gorgans" hiccups cut through his words and alcohol was making him talk softly as if the lost child inside him was now finally opening up to someone.
"Yeah, can you believe it? the fucking Gorgans wanted to cut me into pieces and eat me ha… these god damn ungrateful bastards"
Gulp gulp… Gussar drank more and continued
"If they could just see how hard am I trying. Anyway, Orman defended me killed the whoresons who wanted to eat me but one of them broke his knee cap and since then…"
Gussar paused and swallowed the rest of his words and locked his eyes on the bottom of the golden jug, of how dark it was even with all the lights in his room.
Hira kept quiet she never saw this side of him but what she knew was that he needed a listener this night more than anything, she gently rubbed his naked masculine shoulder as she sat beside her in the bed.
"what are you thinking about my love" she said
"do you think there is pure darkness after we die?"
He said still staring at the bottom of the jug as if he has found something valuable.
"I think there can be light and there can be darkness depends on what we do my dear"
"Yeah? Well then I'm sure mine is the darkness, I mean where am I supposed to go with the things I had to do to survive"
"God will forgive you, he understands"
"which one Loharn of east or Rimmodos of the west because they surely have different standards, heh" he said ungratefully
"I have no answer for that but hey…" Hira got on top of Gussar and pushed him down on his back, her dark skin shined in the golden light of the room she naked her upper body and put Gussars' hand on her breasts.
"I know I'll follow you wherever you go or doesn’t matter if it's dark scary and cold or it is purely full of light and beautiful you are the only thing that matters to me" she started kissing him hard and passionately she wanted to sleep and skip this night quicker.
The sound of people who were crying and shouting outside could
be heard from every part of the camp, some were saying goodbyes to their old mothers and fathers some to their slaves who were close just as family members, some preferred a bullet and the quicker death, some suicided in silence but one thing was sure, they followed the orders of the man who was too drunk to hear their cries.