After a hearty breakfast, Kasmira, Anthony, Amberline, and Mac walked towards the peasant village. Mac left them just before they got into town. Kasmira felt really nervous and stopped moving. It took Amberline and Anthony a moment to realize this and went back for her. She whimpered, “I don’t think I can do this!”
Amberline dismissed that thought, “You’re a little worried, that’s normal.”
Kasmira went on, “No, I just don’t think I can take the harsh criticism or the teasing. I’ve been through too much.”
“What is this this predicting?” Anthony said, “Just watch me and Amberline and jump in whenever you’re ready.” Kasmira slowly moved her feet, which felt so heavy at the moment. Anthony and Amberline linked arms with her and escorted her into town.
The village itself had a very pleasant charm despite the lack of money or exqusite materials. The wooden shops had houses on the top floor, except for the farm houses, which had a small acre for plants or animals. The shops themselves sold cheap goods such as coarse linen or feed for animals. People were bustling in the streets running errands, buying goods, or taking animals down to the well. The rich may not have favored living in such quarters, but Kasmira found it wonderful.
Anthony, Amberline, and Kasmira saw a man struggling to control his goat, who resented pulling a cart. The contents of the man’s cart spilled, and they helped him pick it up. “Thank you,” the man mumbled.
Amberline commented, “You seem upset.”
The man muttered, “I’m tired. Lots of chores.”
“If I may say so,” Anthony remarked, “You seem to be worried about more than your tasks.”
He responded, “Well, not that it’s anyone’s business but my own, I sometimes regret choosing to be a petty farmer over a Blood Warrior.”
“Surely you don’t agree with their principles!” Amberline commented.
“Of course not!” he replied, “which is why I didn’t go. Now look at what my supposed nobleness has brought me! My crops are dying and my wife is threatening to leave if things don’t improve. So, all this hard work feels so meaningless.”
Anthony piped in, “Perhaps you could work for a more worthy cause.”
Amberline added, “I heard tell of a group that-”
The man stopped her. “Now, don’t you start giving me that codswollop about the Rebellion. You got Angelo the sailor so wound up that he joined. He was going to create a navy to use against the king. The Blood Warriors found out, and now he’s dead! His wife died from grief, and they made his two small children into Blood Warriors. Well, it was either that or the orphanage. So, what’s there to be gained by fighting the Blood Warriors?”
A passing woman expanded onto that, “King Davidson has hundreds of warriors, and even if our whole village volunteered to help the Rebels, we would still be outnumbered. And have you any idea the fate of the losing side? We don’t stand a chance!”
Someone else piped in, “How do we even know we can trust you? You could be Blood Warriors trying to lure us into treason! We all know how ill the king thinks of us. He can treat us like vermin, but we won’t die trying to do the impossible!” A small crowd had gathered and all started making accusations to Amberline and Anthony, who seemed unsure what to do. Kasmira knew she had to do something.
Kasmira stood on a cart and addressed the crowd, “Please! Please everyone! Please, just hear me out for a moment.” They grew quiet but stared at Kasmira defiantly. Kasmira tried to ignore this and went on, “No one is asking you to fight.” There were mutterings of disagreement. “No, I mean that. We would never force you to do anything that you don’t want to do, which is the exact opposite of the Blood Warriors’ tactics. One day, we may fight-but we would rather it not come to that. The key to resistance is not weapons but knowledge. King Davidson seized his power using trickery, and now he is intending to secure it using terror. And it’s working. Everyone is scared of being killed, getting tortured, being forced out of their homes, losing everything they hold dear…Tell me, how many of you already lost someone special to an I.W.T.S, dungeon, or execution?” Most people raised their hands. “How many of you are witches or wizards that are trying to avoid capture?” A few people bravely admitted it. “Do you believe all the rumors they say about us?”
One woman timidly said, “Well, a lot of us are criminals with horrible tempers. Just look at Garlord! And he’s only gone because of a power struggle with a Blood Warrior.”
Kasmira frowned at the mention of her family, but she told the woman, “That’s one wizard to many Blood Warriors who are out there doing more evil than Garlord did.”
A man objected, “But it’s true that if we use our powers, we could become power hungry! That’s why they don’t let us use them.”
Kasmira countered, “King Davidson is the one who’s power hungry! We all know that we wouldn’t use our powers to do evil. Like you, sir.” She pointed to the man who they helped with his cart. “Wouldn’t your crops grow better with just a pinch of magic?”
He mumbled, “Well, sure, but they wouldn’t like it if my crops suddenly harvested what they were supposed to.”
“Do you hear that?” Kasmira told everyone, “He’s afraid of being punished for doing what he’s supposed to! Now, King Davidson likes to convince people that we’re all greedy, amoral, demonic beings, but we all know in our hearts that it’s not true!” She formed a fist over her heart. “We know we’re good people, and do you need proof? The proof is in the fact that we truly care about people. He can take away our homes, our occupations, our loved ones, but he can never take away our good hearts!” She raised her fist in the air, and those watching did the same. Kasmira concluded with, “So, you don’t have to fight physically, but you can rebel against cruel tyranny by prospering. Use your gifts to help your crops, livestock, linen, or even yourselves! And if you do choose to fight, come find us!” The crowd vehemently agreed.
Before anything else could occur, they heard a siren sound. Everyone scattered and went about their business as if they never stopped. Anthony and Amberline grabbed Kasmira and high-tailed it out of there.
As they ran out, Amberline answered Kasmira’s inevitable question, “That was the Blood Warrior siren. They suspect foul play.”
Anthony assured her, “Don’t worry; there’s no way they can tell who instigated the actions without a few reliable witnesses, which they don’t consider peasants to be, unfortunately.”
Kasmira remarked, “Well, it still went better than I thought.”
“That was some speech!” Amberline complimented.
Anthony added, “Yes, you should be a politician!”
“Mac said that too,” Kasmira noted. “I still don’t see it.”
Anthony told her, “You will.”