So, we decided to try to sneak into the base and steal our horses back. Thanks to the guards’ lack of attention to detail, we were able to sneak in and steal more than our original horses back. We got a many extra as well. As it so happens, we stumbled upon a band of mercenaries looking for work. We made our way through several towns and cities, until we came across the final base in our way to Ken. We found ourselves needing a way across, but we didn’t have the papers required to get across the bridge and into Ken. A somewhat shady fellow approached Comte de Monet, offering him forged papers at the price of 1,000 gold. So, as midnight approached, we found ourselves at the appointed gate. Then, much to my lack of surprise, the fellow stepped out of the shadows and demanded that we give him all of the rest of our money. So, I stepped forward, and as his men came slinking out of the shadows, I immediately attacked one, killing him and cowing one next to him. The battle ensued. These men were deadly trained assassins, leaping from shadows, and raining death down from the roof tops. Three of our party, including Thorn, were struck down. Grievously wounded, but miraculously, not dead. Finally, we drove off the remaining few who didn’t fall upon our blades. Their leader swore his vengeance, then disappeared. Alarms rang out all across the base, our fight having raised the attention of the guards. Several heavily armored men, whom Swen referred to as Mecha Dragoons, lumbered out of the barracks’. They told us that our possessions were now theirs, and that our lives were forfeit. Our party leaped up on the backs of our horses and made for the gate, and the bridge that would carry us into Ken, and the safety of the garrison across the river. I stayed behind at the gate, to give my companions the chance to escape, for theses mechanized infantry were said to be fleeter of foot than a horse. As I stood in the gap, the sayings of the great Miyamoto Musashi came back to me: The way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win. I knew that my time had come to regain my honor. I knew that I was going to die. As I faced the oncoming warriors, one far faster and more dangerous looking leaped to the fore, challenging me in single combat. I knew one thing for certain: I was going to win. As he attacked, the speed and ferocity of his blows were nearly blinding. Then, once again, the words of Musashi came to me: If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you. I returned his blows with several lightning fast blows of my own, but I did not find weakness in his armor. I caught him off balance, however, as his next attacks were clumsy, even striking his own leg, hampering it. As Mushashi said: You win battles by knowing the enemy’s timing, and by using a timing that the enemy does not expect. I somersaulted my foe, landing several light cuts across his armored back. Again, I found no weakness. Again, I persevered. He turned, awkwardly striking at me. I batted his attacks away, gaining confidence and tempo. Now, I knew that I had him. I cut away at his left arm, and then his right, dancing between blows, parrying and dodging, never in the same place for more than a moment. I crippled this machine of war, and left it a smoking ruin. The man inside leaped from the back of it, and ran like a mad man for cover. Everyone gathered around ran for cover as well. So, I ran for the nearest Dragoon, and sliced into his belly. Then many soldiers, cavalry, and other mechanized infantry swarmed me. Too many blows to count rained down upon me, and I received wound after wound. As I finally received the crushing blow from the Dragoon, I knew that my life was over. My body was broken, and I would soon die. Yet, I felt something in that moment that I had not felt for a long, long time: Peace. As darkness clouded my vision, my final perception was that of a faraway booming, like a great cannon, and a flash of the brightest light, leading my way to the next life, a world without war, knowing only peace and tranquility.