The Chongun looked frantically at the inferno surrounding him, the jeers of the invading soldiers ringing in his ears. The screams of the wounded and the grieving added a sickening punctuality to the hoarse laughter. Steeling his resolve, the Chongun gathered himself and dove at the leader of the enemy squad. Soaring through the sheet of flame, he slammed heavily into the commander, his pearl-white Honor Shield striking the coarse mercenary in the unprotected face.
The two fell to the ground, and lightning-like, the Chongun leapt up and whipped the commander's head off with his long-sword. He spun around just in time to block an overhead blow from one of the enraged mercenaries. The Chongun parried and danced back, his naked blade flickering in the firelight as he searched for an opening. His blade thrust forward, and then the firelight was illuminating crimson blood on the blade.
The Chongun whipped around to find that the rest of his "noble" opponents had chosen to flee the field. Slinging the blood on his blade in a crimson arc at his feet, the Chongun sighed in weariness, then looked around, his eyes mere slits as he attempted to peer through the haze of smoke covering the village. Suddenly he stood up straight, and began running towards a trio of elderly men, cowering under the cruel spear points of a number of mercenaries.
The Chongun's heart sank as he ran, for he knew that there was almost no way he could hope to defeat so many opponents, although skilled as he was. As he pounded over the rich ash on the village green, he realized he was not running alone. Other warriors, in heavy armor, were running beside him, focused on the captive men as well.
The Chongun's heart leapt, for he now saw how the villagers might be freed. He hastily barked out some orders, directing the men to sweep around the group and smash them, like a hammer upon an anvil. The men nodded and raced off. Soon, the men closed battle with the mercenaries. Light flashed off blades and armor, and hoarse battle cries erupted from the throats of both sides as the two forces met with a crash that rang over the village. The Chongun looked about to assess the battle, and realized that his men had carried the day. Not a single mercenary was to be seen. He turned back to the former captives and the strange soldiers formed up in front of him.
The most elderly of the three men stepped forward and bowed deeply. He said, "I thank you, noble Chongun, on behalf of my village, Masan, and on behalf of Kangyung and Onyang as well. You have helped us immensely, by helping us to defeat those miserable invaders. Unfortunately, their leader, that roguish blacksmith, Nagnag, was able to escape, but we do not hold that against you. I have something of a gift for you and your fellow Chonguns, however. These men, whom you see here," the old man's wave indicates the solemn soldiers who had aided the Chongun, "these men have asked that they might join with the Chongun path.
"They noted your valor and courage, and we have all heard of the honor of the Chonguns. They are seasoned warriors, and have much knowledge that is associated with warfare. I beg you, good Chongun, accept the service of these men, the Mar'yang, as a token of the gratitude of the people of Masan, Kangyung, and Onyang." The Chongun, overwhelmed by the kindness of these men, could only bow in gratitude.
After a moment, he found his voice. "I thank you, good Elders and Mar'yang alike, for this is truly an honor. Your men have fought with great skill and honor, and it will be a great pleasure to report this to my Elder, the noble Audi, with this formidable force behind me. Once again, I thank you." The Chongun bowed again, and marched off at the head of the column of Mar'yang.
Moons passed, and the knowledge of the Mar'yang proved to be invaluable. Their master smiths soon taught Chonguns how to produce new helms - the near-legendary War Helms. Their curling horns and extremely durable forging provided incredible protection against blows from the head. The armories shared the secret of the triple-layered Silver Gloves, which have proved to be excellent defense against even the most mighty of blows.
The soldiers themselves proved to be of great worth, for they have taught the Chonguns the importance of uniforms, and using the handsome fellow in the Chongun Circle as a model, the Chonguns may transform from a mismatching crew into a solid, orderly group. The Chongun Path is most appreciative of our new path members, and they may be seen safeguarding the kingdoms beside their Chongun comrades at any given time.
For now, the Mar'yangs have left their original villages. The few who survived the attack of mercenaries are now living in Vale villages, and the most skilled ones form the Chongun Troops. They are protected and help protect; the Alliance was then formed.
Authors: KoyaSoto, Vini