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FanFic Title: Realm Eternal
Chapter 07: Precursor to War
Author: NBosega
Date Published: February 4th, 2015


- - -

『』= Info
《》= Attribute
『』= Skill
【】= Sub-Skill
〘〙= Status, Combat Arts & Magical Spells
〚〛= Internal Thoughts


- - -
Chapter 7

Precursor to War


- - -

Part 1: Rules of Engagement
Part 2: Preparation meets Opportunity
Part 3: Courage

- - -

Part 1: Rules of Engagement

Elrick had made a significant investment in equipment without adequately consulting his Executives, but given how Elrick had been acting the Executives of Starlight Spark weren’t too concerned; they reasoned that Elrick wouldn’t risk everything they’d Earned just to protect Vhon. They were right on the money; money being the operative word here.

The Elrick the Executives of Starlight Spark were seeing was different from the Quirky Guild Master they had known for years, and they wondered if this as perhaps the real Elrick or maybe the Result of a Confluence of Events. The consensus was that tragic circumstances with Elrick’s EX Elise, the Low sensitivity of the Immature High Elf and Elrick’s professional circumstances had combined to produce Elrick the Chairman & MD of Starlight Spark.

Elrick the Chairman & MD of Starlight Spark had proven to be reasonably Cold and Calculating; setting aside all emotional entanglements in order to have singular Focus on Achieving his Goals. And so the purchase of large amounts of expensive equipment in anticipation of a war with Demons that Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry couldn’t beat in Mêlée had to have an extremely profitable angle.

The Executives of Starlight Spark understood that before his fall from grace Elrick had been a Rising Star of the Corporate Financial Sector in both London and Johannesburg. Elrick would have been in line for an Extremely Lucrative Employment Contract complete with Share Options in about 3 years, but all that went up in smoke when his Love-Life Blew Up.

- - -

The General Dealer couldn’t buy the Level 1 Magic Armour and Military Grade Longbows in Vhon so he had to travel to the Vale Capital Valencia in order to purchase the desired equipment. This trip provided the General Dealer an opportunity to sell all the High Quality carcasses he had acquired from Starlight Spark at almost double the market price; double what he had paid for them.

Thanks to the dealings with Starlight Spark the General Dealer had been elevated in the business sector; A side effect that Elrick predicted. Thanks to the purchase order of Military equipment the General Dealer was now considered a serious businessman, and he could now get a lot of discounts on all other products he was buying for resale. However any further purchases would happen after the current security Crisis in Vhon.

The association with Starlight Spark had been very profitable for the General Dealer.

- - -

Once the General Dealer returned with the Equipment it was distributed to the members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry. As Elrick inspected the new equipment he was wearing he noticed that all eyes were on him and he knew that it was time for him to explain his tactics, but such explanations would have to wait until he was certain that the new equipment had the correct properties.

Once again he read the Item descriptions.

『Ding! 』

~ Ding! ~

『Level 1 Magic Armour』

Level 1 Magic Armour is the Basic Recommended Military Combat protective Equipment. The Level 1 Magic Armour draws Mana from the installed 1000 Mana Crystal and uses it to create a Psionic Barrier around the wearer at a cost of 1 Mana per minute thus shielding against anything that does not exceed the Defensive Capacity of the Psionic Barrier.

The Level 1 Magic Armour also adds 5 EXP to Strength, Agility and Endurance when the Boost System is Active. The Owner should take caution with the use of the Boost System as it consumes 5 Mana per minute and extended use of the Boost System could deplete the Level 1 Magic Armour’s Mana Crystal. Owner is advised to have adequate supplies of 1000 Mana Crystals at hand.

Installed Components:

  • 1000 Mana Crystal

Active Systems:


  • Shields
  • Boost System

.

And

『Ding! 』

~ Ding! ~

『Level 1 Military Grade Longbows』

Military Grade Longbow:

  • Max Range = 15km
  • Recommended Armaments = Military Grade Longbow Arrows

Installed Components:

  • 1000 Mana Crystal

Active Systems:


  • Targeting System
  • Arrow Power Boost System
  • Arrow Guide System

Level 1 Military Grade Longbows is the Basic Recommended Military Combat Longbow. The Level 1 Military Grade Longbow draws Mana from the installed 1000 Mana Crystal and uses it to create a Psionic Targeting System at a cost of 1 Mana per minute thus allowing the user to Acquire and Designate Targets for Guided Runic Arrows. The Targeting System can also be used for standard Arrows.

Level 1 Military Grade Longbow also has an Arrow Power Boost System that adds EXP to Strength at a cost of 5 Mana per minute for every additional EXP added to Strength when Active. The Arrow Guide System that adds EXP to Dexterity at a cost of 5 Mana per minute for every additional EXP added to Dexterity when Active.

Owner is advised to have adequate supplies of 1000 Mana Crystals at hand.

.

Elrick : " Huh! Adequate supplies of 1000 Mana Crystals at hand?"

- - -

After making sure that things are as expected Elrick was now ready to unveil his Military Tactics. Elrick knew that the Executives of Starlight Spark were a little uneasy about spending nearly all their cash on equipment to combat a Vast and Terrifying Serpent-Men Army. However Elrick’s calm demeanour had served to assure them that everything would be fine.

Elrick was now ready to speak.

Elrick : " It’s time to lay down the Rules of Engagement!"

The Executives of Starlight Spark and Raid Group Captains gather around Elrick.

Elrick : " Situational Awareness! That is what’s going to determine the nature of our Engagements with our Serpent-Men Demon Adversary."

Bowden : " The Observation Attribute?"

Elrick : " The 《Observation》 Attribute would determine abilities in Scrutiny, Surveillance and Inspection. As Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry is dependent on Ranged Attacks Situational Awareness is critical; it enables First Look, First Shot. Unsurprisingly the large enemy Army also needs Situational Awareness, and that is why they sent Scouts ahead of the main Group. They need a constant assessment of Vhon’s War-Making capacity. And that makes them vulnerable to a Preamptive Attack! I suspect over the years of Combat the Demons have laid siege to Towns while the Humans coward inside Towns behind the safety of the Psionic Barriers. This pattern probably repeated itself hundreds of times; the Serpent-Men are likely to expect a repeat of other incidents in this regard."

Bowden : " You want to flip the script?"

Elrick : " It’s a great chance!"

Axil : " The risk is Significant!"

Elrick : "Indeed!"

Grinder : " Then why risk it?"

Elrick : " While the risk is Significant it is not beyond our ability to mitigate!"

Swordin : " What’s the plan?"

Elrick : " The first thing we must do is limit the Situational Awareness of the Serpent-Men!"

Bowden : " Are you saying we should defeat the Scouts before the Army arrives? Is that the mitigation? The Serpent-Men Scouts are formidable!”

Elrick : " Indeed; the Serpent-Men Scouts are formidable! In all likelihood their forces combined they are far beyond our ability to defeat; Hell even a group like the last one would be beyond us at close range. So we have to play to our strength. Force the enemy to make mistakes that turn the advantage in our favour."

Hammerin : " I take it you have a plan?”

Elrick : " The Serpent-Men enemy will probably stage from just outside the range of Vhon’s Military Grade Theatre Defence Artillery, and that means the Serpent-Men Scouts are far more valuable than they seem; they are the Eyes and Ears of the Serpent-Men Army. It is the tactical weak-point of the Serpent-Men Army!"

Bowden : " Oh shit!"

Axil : " What?"

Bowden : " I know why he wants to remove the Serpent-Men Scouts!"

Swordin : " Well?"

Bowden looks at Elrick with a bold smile.

Bowden : " You want to move them Forward don’t you?"

Grinder : " Move what Forward?"

Hammerin : " Vhon’s Military Grade Theatre Defence Artillery!”

Elrick : " It’s the only logical step!"

Bowden : " Will Lord Vhon agree to this?"

Elrick : " I’m not talking about moving all of them; just 3 Theatre Defence Artillery Batteries and 3 Heavy Machine Guns."

Grinder : " 3 of the 12 Theatre Defence Artillery Batteries and 3 of the 18 Heavy Machine Guns isn’t that bad!"

Elrick : " This only works if we catch them with their pants down, and that means removing the Serpent-Men Scouts."

Bowden : " How do we do that?"

Elrick : " We do the same thing we did at Twin Peaks; just on a larger scale! Use ourselves as bait to lure the enemy within Sight & Range of Vhon’s guns. First we have to cover the whole area around Vhon in smoke; force the Enemy Demons to move closer to fulfil their objectives. If we have to set fire to the whole area then that’s what we have to do! We take away their cover and force them out into the open."

Bowden : " What if they don’t take the bait?"

Elrick : " They can come closer or they can go further away; either way it achieves our objectives"

Bowden : " I see!"

Elrick : " Bowden; while I present my plans to the Lord and his military Heads as well as other Chiefs I want you to hire a few Local Scouts and Hunt in the nearby Forest; familiarize yourselves with the new equipment."

Bowden : " Isn’t that a bit Dangerous?"

Elrick : " Not if you stay close to Vhon’s barrier! Besides the Serpent-Men Scouts are on an Observation mission and thus unlikely to initiate hostilities; they don’t want to give away their positions. However in case they do attack fall back to within line of sight of Vhon’s Heavy Machine Guns. There is a forest out there that’s Empty for fear of the Serpent-Men!"

Axil : " This new equipment is Mana Intensive we could Deplete the Mana Crystals before the real Battle begins? The 1000 Mana Crystals cost 25 Silver Coins Each!"

Grinder : " Hardly Cheap!"

Elrick : " Fortunately Vhon’s Security forces have a over 5000 basic 1000 Mana Crystals in store and …"

Elrick is interrupted.

Hammerin : " And by joining Vhon’s defence militia we gain access to such Mana Crystals Supplies!”

Elrick : " That includes Arrows! The official Vhon security forces equip Level 2 Gear or higher so they don’t use the basic 1000 Mana Crystals anymore, and the Soldiers and Guards favour Machine Gun Rifles; so we have all the ammunition we need.”

Swordin : " So that’s why you bought this particular Equipment?"

Bowden : " Probably why you joined the Militia as well?"

Hammerin : " How did you come by this Information?”

Elrick : " People who Greedily try to hold on to every cent will never understand the true Value & Power of Money!"

Axil : " Which is?"

Elrick : " What it buys!"

Grinder : " In this case information!"

Elrick : " I paid some people some money, and they paid officials for some tactical information."

Swordin : " Based on this you could make informed decisions. I’ve always underestimated the value of information."

Elrick : " Money doesn’t just buy goods and information it buys influence!"

Axil : " And in so doing Buys Power!"

Elrick : " Exactly!"

It was now clear what needed to be done, and Elrick headed off to meet with the other leaders while Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry went hunting.

- - -

Part 2: Preparation meets Opportunity

Upon arrival at the Lord’s manor Erick realised that he wasn’t as early as he’d hoped, and that meant he had missed his chance to present his plan privately. All if not most of the other Clan Chiefs were already there and he would have to weave through yet another round of endless introductions and Noble Courtesies before the meeting begins.

While examining the setting he was ushered to Lord Vhon and his military Heads for greetings.

Lord Vhon : " Ah! Chief Elrick; May I present my nephew Norin Vhon."

Elrick places his Right hand on his chest and bows.

Elrick : " It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Sir Vhon"

Sir Vhon : " Likewise Chief Elrick!"

Lord Vhon : " Norin is a Knight of Vale and the Commander of Vhon’s Guards!"

Elrick nods as Lord Vhon turns to his left.

Lord Vhon : " And this Noble Gentleman to my left is Sir Jove Valding; Knight of Vale holding the Rank of Lieutenant Colonel and is the Commander of Vale’s garrison in Vhon!"

Again Elrick places his Right hand on his chest and bows.

Elrick : " It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Sir Valding.”

Sir Valding : " Good to meet you Chief Elrick!"

The mood relaxes but Elrick can sense that the two knights are not entirely pleased to have to exchange pleasantries with one officially not of their Social Rank.

Sir Vhon : " What’s it like Chief Elrick?"

Elrick : " What?"

Sir Vhon : " The body of a High Elf!"

Sir Valding : " It’s incredibly puzzling that people can just wear the body of a being so well regarded and Noble!"

Elrick : " Speaking Honestly; it’s more than a little Disconcerting!"

Lord Vhon : " How so?"

Elrick : " Compared to my true body it has some unexpected properties."

Lord Vhon : " Does that mean you Regret choosing the High Elves of Light?"

Elrick : " We don’t actually get to choose the type of Elf; just the Elf as a Race."

Lord Vhon : " Then it’s Fate!"

Elrick : " Your Lordship is correct in that regard!"

Lord Vhon : " Which on did you desire?"

Elrick : " Dark Elf!"

Lord Vhon : " Aha! You sought power!"

Elrick : " Yes your Lordship! I did not want to be weak in such an unforgiving world."

Lord Vhon : " Though it was not your heart’s desire the High Elves of Light are Extremely Well Regarded and by that measure wield tremendous influence; which is also a type of power!"

Elrick : " I’m beginning to understand that you’re Lordship."

The Lord continued to tell Elrick stories of High Elves healing the sick and abandoned, and to Elrick the High Elves began to sound more and more like Clergy.

- - -

Elrick laid out his plans before a War Council organized by Lord Marques Vhon. Until this point the Lord Vhon and his military Heads had simply assumed that they would come up with a Defence Plan and freely use the Clan Chiefs as needed; for that matter the other Clan Chiefs were prepared to go along with whatever Battle Plan Lord Vhon and his military Heads came up with.

As Elrick had predicted Lord Vhon and his military Heads were initially opposed to even listening to his Battle Plan let alone consider it as the main Battle Plan. However Elrick didn’t give them the option of refusing to listen to his plan because even though they would not let him present his plan he pointed out so many holes in the Defence Plan being presented by Lord Vhon and his military Heads that they had no choice but to ask “What would you do?”

Thus in Answering their question Elrick Presented his Battle Plan. Elrick expected a lot of resistance to his Battle Plan from other users since his contribution would far exceed theirs, but his decision to forgo any recognition from Vale Kingdom and the possible recommendation for Knighthood had served to pacify their resistance; in their eyes he would do all the work and they would gain all the rewards.

Clever Tactical Manoeuvring on the part of Elrick had practically guaranteed that the other User Clan Chiefs would support him when the time came, and his actions to save the Local Hunters at the Battle of Twin Peaks bought him the respect of the local Clan Chiefs. Elrick had already outmanoeuvred Lord Vhon and his military Heads before the War Council even began.

Elrick had no qualms about expending that much political capital since his analysis indicated that it would be lost regardless, and instead he wanted to exchange it for something tangible; like Gold. Though like all Clan Chiefs he had received a system notice about preserving Clans after Open Beta for a modest fee of 10 Gold Coins Elrick didn’t value the relationship with Lord Vhon and his military Heads beyond Open Beta.

To Elrick it was more important to reap the Benefits of Open Beta while preserving the Reputation of Starlight Spark than worrying about whether some Town lord felt Slighted. In Elrick’s mind if the Town of Vhon survived through the efforts of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry Lord Vhon and his military Heads would forgive him for any Slight.

Fortunately Lord Vhon who’s Town was in a precarious situation recognized the validity of Elrick’s point of view and would not let his pride risk the potential survival of his fiefdom; much to the dismay of his military Heads. However once cooler heads prevailed the Vhon military Heads realized that Elrick’s Plan significantly reduce the risk to lives of their men, and that they welcomed wholeheartedly.

Elrick had somehow wormed his way to the centre, and his Battle Plan was now Vhon’s Defence Plan. Now the fortunes of thousands of inhabitants of Vhon rested on the quality of Elrick’s planning.

- - -

Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry returned to Vhon after the day’s hunting, and the hunting had been very successful; pleasing the Executives of Starlight Spark. The fact that they had no competition in the forests around Vhon gave them the best opportunity to hunt the best prey, and the fact that they were wearing Level 1 Military Gear meant that each Raid Group could hunt in a different location in relative safety.

Elrick had foreseen this circumstance, and the fact that Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry could gain over 70 Gold Coins from a single day of hunting was within his calculations. However Elrick recognized that training was the Goal, and he remembered that the fruitful hunting of the day was a Fortunate coincidence of when Preparation Meets Opportunity.

- - -
Part 3: Courage

With the members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry joined by 2 Raid Groups from the Town Guards and 12 Scouts from the Hunters Clan the first phase of Vhon’s Defence Plan could begin. Thus at first light the group of 293 men set out to perform what would be a critical mission in the Area around Vhon; they could not afford to fail in this first task.

Despite the tension in the air Elrick seemed as calm as ever, but Bowden knew that deep down Elrick must be troubled.

Bowden spoke privately to Elrick.

Bowden : " How are you handling the Pressure?"

Elrick : " If it wasn’t for this body I would be shitting my pants!"

Bowden : " Hahahaha! Is it really that bad?"

Elrick : " With the locals watching I have to put on this façade of a Cool and Calm Clan Chief; is exhausting!"

Bowden : " I’ll bet! But the body of the High Elf helps?"

Elrick : " I wouldn’t be able to do this without it!"

Bowden : " So it’s not cursed after all!"

Elrick : " Oh it’s Definitely Cursed! But some curses have a level of usefulness."

Bowden : " And they’ve certainly been useful to you!"

Elrick : " However if we encounter a Demon Strike-Force I will in all likelihood be amongst the first to die."

Bowden : " Is that what worries you?"

Elrick : " I’m basically useless in Combat, and I’ve made sure that members of Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry understand that my death in combat isn’t disastrous, but the Locals may react to my death in an unpredictable way; I hate unquantifiable intangibles!"

Bowden : " You’ll just have to stay at the back where it’s safe."

Elrick : " That’s the other problem; I can’t look like a coward in-front of the locals."

Bowden : " Sucks to be you! Hahahaha!"

Laughing out loud Bowden draws everyone’s attention; much to Elrick’s displeasure.

- - -

When the entire force is a kilometre outside the Barrier the Starlight Spark Force starts deploying Smoke Grenades releasing black smoke that concealed the entire group. Once concealed they began to dig holes measuring half a metre deep, and in the holes they placed Runic Mines. The Runic Mines placed in the holes could be remotely detonated so they were safe to handle.

Moving methodically they covered a 4km wide area around Vhon starting a kilometre from Vhon’s Barrier with mines. The black smoke concealed their activities from the Serpent-Men Scouts. Though the Serpent-Men Scouts undoubtedly knew that something was going on they could not risk coming into range of Vhon’s defensive instillations.

In the forest the Starlight Spark Force also deployed an unreasonable amount of Runic Mines that had been disguised to look like Ordinary Rocks. The forest around Vhon were covered with Runic Mines that when remotely activated would generate Runic Fire; essentially setting the entire area around Vhon alight with a fire that even rain could not quench.

The 1km area just outside the barrier had already been covered with small Runic Mines disguised as rocks; this was standard practise. Explosions immediately outside the barrier had to be small to avoid seismic damage to the Towns, so it was standard practise to use small Runic Mines disguised as rocks. What Elrick had done was simply to expand on that concept.

- - -

Phase 2 of Elrick required more than a Little Courage. First the Starlight Spark Force with the aid of other Clans deployed Smoke Grenades all over Vhon and that effectively covered all of Vhon in black smoke. The reason for covering Vhon in black smoke was to conceal the movement of Artillery emplacement positions. Ultimately this was the ace in the hole in favour of Elrick’s plans.

Rather than move the 3 Theatre Defence Artillery Batteries and 3 Heavy Machine Guns Lord Vhon decided to spend the 550 Gold Coins on a single 50km Range Military Grade Medium Artillery to fulfil Elrick’s Requirements. Even though the Military Grade Medium Artillery has the range to hit the Serpent-Men Army encampment a single Artillery Battery could not provide the saturation power necessary to force the Serpent-Men’s withdrawal.

In the End Lord Vhon agreed to move 1 Theatre Defence Artillery Battery and 2 Heavy Machine Guns. And so while the Artillery emplacements were being repositioned the User Clans would have to provide a diversion. This is where a Little Courage became necessary because not everyone was keen to pick a fight with the Serpent-Men Scouts.

Elrick theorized that the Serpent-Men Scouts would not fight when pushed by the Force of User Clans numbering over 1700 supported by over 1900 Local Hunters. This was a show of force meant to intimidate the Serpent-Men Scouts into pulling back to at least 10km from Vhon; placing them more than half way between Vhon and the Serpent-Men Army Encampment.

The Serpent-Men Army was Encamped 25.67km from Vhon, and Arial Recognisance had revealed that they had settled in behind a mountain and were preparing themselves for a long drawn-out siege. Vhon mages were using Bird familiars for Arial Recognisance and because of this they could keep careful watch of the main Serpent-Men Army.

The Serpent-Men Scouts were a lot harder to track, and after the encounter with Starlight Spark’s First Ranger Cavalry the Serpent-Men Scouts were more cautious; moving their camps on a daily basis and always choosing hidden locations. To locate the Serpent-Men Scouts the Vhon mages deployed Dog, Fox, Rodent and Insect familiars to search all nearby hidden locations.

Gaining an animal familiar is high level Psionic Magic, and fortunately Psionic Magic isn’t a Serpent-Men forte. Being a violent species the Demons would not invest precious resources such as the skills of a Psionic Mage in generating familiars of small animals. The Demons preferred Familiars that could be used in combat like Demon Wolves, Demon Bears and others.

And so the 3600 force set off from Vhon in groups of 900 on a search and destroy mission. Using dogs to track the scent of the Serpent-Men they were able to push the Serpent-Men Scouts from their position to over 11km from Vhon. As the Vhon militia moved they placed Runic Detectors equipped with Spell wards that are keyed to Demons.

No rational thinking creature would needlessly rush to their deaths, and so just as Elrick predicted the Serpent-Men Scouts didn’t put up any kind of resistance to being pushed out of Vhon’s range. Elrick However found the lack of resistance from the Serpent-Men Scouts troubling; they seemed far too compliant in Elrick’s opinion. This wasn’t characteristic behaviour from members of the Demon Race.

- - -

When the force returned to Vhon they celebrated the successful mission, and while the men & women went to pubs and taverns the Leaders met ad the lord’s manor. Elrick and Bowden were at the War Council to go over the finer details of the Defence plans.

Elrick’s quietness solicits an enquiry from Lord Vhon.

Lord Vhon : " You don’t seem like a man pleased with his work? Everything has gone as planned; you should be relieved?"

Elrick : " Everything has gone as planned? My Lord; that’s the problem!"

Lord Vhon : " Oh! You expected problems?"

Elrick : " Yes your Lordship! There should have been countermeasures from the Serpent-Men Scouts. They should have circled back but they haven’t!"

Lord Vhon : " Why is that a problem?"

Elrick : " Because it may mean that I’ve overestimated the importance of the Serpent-Men Scouts!"

Sir Valding : " What are you saying? Everything we’ve done so far has been aimed at blinding the Serpent-Men army by removing their Scouts! We have hidden an Artillery 10km from Vhon at your urging?"

Lord Vhon : " Are you saying it may have been unnecessary?"

Elrick : " No! Lordship; everything we’ve done is necessary regardless of their tactics. What worries me is what their eventual battle plan will be? Why are they waiting to launch their attack?"

Sir Valding : " You could drive yourself crazy trying to decipher what goes on in the mind of a demon!"

Elrick : " Are there no other methods other than to breach the barrier?"

Sir Vhon : " None that is known to us!"

Elrick : " Their Runic Penetrators can’t breach the barrier?"

Sir Vhon : " Not this Barrier!"

Sir Valding : " The Psionic Barrier has 2 layers; the first layer is the screener and the second is the Reactive Wall. The first layer triggers the penetration Runic Sigils and the Reactive Wall blocks what comes through. This is the Magical Technology of the Continentals after All!"

Elrick : " What about Chemical Weapons? Or even Biological Weapons?"

Sir Vhon : " The screener would pick them up and the Reactive Wall would enact necessary countermeasures!"

Elrick : " What about Runic Fire Artillery rounds?"

Sir Valding : " The screener would pick them up and the Reactive Wall would stop them and they’d bounce off giving the Machine guns the opportunity to destroy them!"

Elrick : " Something doesn’t Add Up!"

Lord Vhon : " What are you looking for?"

Elrick : " Something that explains why the Serpent-Men Scouts would pull back."

Bowden : " Is it possible that they are expecting Heavy Fire support in the form of Dragon-Fire?"

Sir Vhon : " We haven’t detected Wyverns within a thousand kilometre range!"

Sir Valding : " The clock is ticking; the countdown has begun! We attack first!"

Lord Vhon : " This is your plan Chief Elrick!"

Sir Vhon : " If it works it will change how Vale deals with future Demon Attacks!"

Elrick : " I’m worried that I’m thinking conventionally rather than laterally! That because of it I’m missing something crucial. The Demons are aware that you have Arial Recognisance?"

Lord Vhon : " There is nothing conventional about your thinking; it is the definition of lateral thinking."

Sir Vhon : " And yes they know that we maintain Arial Recognisance!"

Sir Valding : " However they make extensive use of Shadow Magic; so we don’t know what they brought with them!"

Elrick : " So the question is what did they bring with them that can defeat a Town with a Psionic Barrier?"

Bowden : " How would you do it? How would you defeat a Town with a Psionic Barrier?"

Elrick : " The simplest option would be to Drop a mountain on the Town using Shadow Magic to drain my 10000 strong army of their Mana in order to power the Psionic levitation."

Everyone is surprised by how quickly Elrick came up with an effective way to defeat a Town’s defences.

Sir Vhon : " Ah!"

Sir Valding : " Huh!"

Elrick : " The other options involve poisoning the water sources, infecting the local wildlife with infectious diseases and digging underneath the Town and placing a massive amount of explosives thus creating a seismic event. There are a number of other options but they are all essentially Scorched Earth policies."

Lord Vhon : " You can be very dangerous if you need to be?"

Elrick : " Lordship; I have found that people can do horrible things under the right circumstances."

Bowden : " I take it you’ve covered all the avenues you can think of in your plans?"

Elrick : " Yes; but I still get the feeling I’m missing something."

Sir Vhon : " There’s nothing to be done about that now!"

Sir Valding : " The attack begins in 5 hours! All we can do now is prepare as best we can."

Elrick : " I suppose we have to trust that we have done enough to mitigate against all possible risks."

Lord Vhon : " You’ve done exemplary work Chief Elrick!"

Elrick : " Thank you your Lordship!"

Elrick still had a nagging suspicion that he had missed one crucial detail, but he understood that this was not the time to go looking under rocks for answers. At his urging the Vhon Security Forces had planed to launch a surprise ranged attack on the Serpent-Men Army Encampment; a decisive first move.

- - -

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