This is part three of our series on local heroes, where we highlight the extraordinary actions of everyday citizens of the federation. Tyri and Kiro came to our attention after they killed a rampaging fangspawn near Pora Elinu—no mean feat considering it was easily ten times their size. This reporter traveled to Poporia to meet these soldiers, and get a sense of their daily lives.
“Oh! An interview? How thrilling! Well, I'm Tyri and this ferrety fellow with the greatsword is Kiro. And you're with the Velika Guardian? Easily our second favorite paper.” After blurting all of that in a single breath, Tyri pauses to refill her lungs.
Kiro looks much like any other popori. A dark furred mask frames his eyes, which follow my movements. It's not entirely clear how he manages to move with that greatsword strapped to his back. I ask how long they've worked together.
“Seems like forever.” Kiro doesn't blurt like Tyri, but still talks faster than my quill can scribble. “Got paired up originally to fight a mercenary incursion. Stayed together because we fight well. I slash and slice, then leap out of the way in the nick of time.”
“Then I blast them!” Tyri laughs, wiggling her fingers at me. “Works every time. Nature prevails.”
“Nature prevails,” Kiro agrees.
As sorcerers and slayers are both known for inflicting massive casualties on the enemy, I asked about the differences in their styles and tactics, and whether that helped or hindered them in a battle.
“Definitely helps,” Tyri insists. “We're both fast on our feet, which means monsters run themselves ragged trying to hurt us.”
“We're at our best when we can clump our foes together.” Kiro snickers. “One on one fights are fine—for berserkers. We win by attrition.”
“The more the deadlier.” Tyri giggles.
What about staying alive? How do these soldiers live to fight another day?
“Don't get hit,” Tyri says. Her tone suggests that she thinks she's talking to a rather dim candle.
“Keep moving. Dodge, jump back, slow them down—whatever it takes, but don't get hit.” Kiro grabs a pawful of his jerkin. “This isn't good for stopping much. Let the berserkers and lancers stand their ground; our fights are mobile.”
“Slow of feet always gets beat.” Tyri nods.
While their fame came from killing a fangspawn, Poporia's not overrun with such aberrations, nor is it all pretty flowers and cuddly creatures. Castles full of vampir nobles and eerie witches peer over the valleys. Not everyone in the federation’s comfortable with either group. The Eldritch Academy enjoys a first-class reputation as a school of magic, but what if the witches turned against Poporia? What if the vampirs wanted to secede? Pora Elinu’s renowned for its beauty, not its defensibility. With that in mind, I ask what sort of dangers threaten Poporia on a daily basis.
“Unemployed mercenaries. They think they can take what they want from us, that our size means we're not a threat.” Kiro's greatsword appears in his hand and he slashes the air on either side of me before I can blink. “Not true. Nature's claws cut deep.”
“Sometimes it's creatures out of balance. Too many predators, not enough prey. If a sabertooth gets hungry, it's going to eat something.” Tyri points off in the distance. “Fimbrilisks are the worst though. They're cruel and cunning. Whenever they grow too bold, we muster a force to make sure they'll never grow old.”
And the fangspawns? “Tough, deadly fighters. They're not part of nature, so when they encroach, we kill them.” Kiro chuckles. “Of course, it’s better to fight smarter, not harder. I backed ours over a cliff edge. While it snarled and growled on its back, Tyri blasted it.”
I ask how the fangspawn finally died.
“Acute sword poisoning.” Kiro winks.
“Nature isn't always cuddly,” Tyri reminds me. “Predators and prey each have their place. Our job is to protect that balance.”
Their job as soldiers or as guardians of nature?
“Yes.” Tyri shrugs.
“There's a difference?” Kiro asks.
In my travels, I've found Poporia to be an intriguing mix of beauty and danger, but as I reflect upon these soldiers' thoughts, I admit they're right. Life and death, joy and sadness, hardship and triumph are all aspects of the dream. These soldiers, and the thousands like them, fight so that we might experience them in full.
I ask if they have any final thoughts.
Kiro's advice is pragmatic. “Don't be greedy.”
Tyri's eyes flash as she conjures up a ball of blue flame. “Nature never forgets.”