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FanFic Title: Age of Heroes
Chapter 41-50: ALL CHAPTER (41-50)
Author: keikoku
Date Published: March 30th, 2015


CHAPTER 41: THE BEGINNING OF THE END
ARIAL
1014 FALLMONTH
ROARING DRAGON CASTLE
My messenger informs me that West has come to answer my summons.
‘He has arrived my lord’
‘Let him wait at the grand hall’ I ordered my messenger nodded
‘As you wish, my lord’
I first wash my face. After the ball last week, the castle is still in a festive mood.
Helia and Kyle and Lisa is training the new recruit. I have also received the letter from Alderam.
He refused the truce forcing me to deal with him. I have already sent letters. We will battle. He is impervious it seems to reason, persisting in his error.
He did not know that what he did, and will continuing doing, will spell doom for this Kingdom and the subsequent tragedy that will befall this Kingdom and the humanity in whole.
Not to mention, he declared himself the King of Alan, making the very same move as Adrian but without the Church support.
At least not in Cori.
Vern Church give him the authority. A claimant to the throne.
He is…... what I would call a poisonous leader, harming anyone that came in contact with him.
A true leader set a trail for others to follow. There are many styles in leadership.
The forceful leadership, centralized power in one entity, whether it is a King or a great lord.
Then there is the participative leader, actively seeking approval from the other influential families, but that is highly ineffective in times of war.
It boosts supports and decrease malcontent but sacrifice power in doing so.
And then there is the free rein style mostly applies in the Principality of Freya.
They allowed much freedom to their subordinates but it also diminishes their power, eroded their unity and slow to response in times of great urgency.
In my timeline, that country was the fastest to fall other than the other Kingdoms. They are free, and freedom doomed them. They are divided. Unity is not their strong suit.
And Alderam? He belong in the poisonous style of leadership. Leaving his follower in a worse off condition than other type of leadership.
So, now I’m here in the castle preparing for an invasion to the North. No longer will he posion this land, and corrupt the people.
I have sent assurance that this war will be won by the next month. I have also sent many letters to all the lords in the East to join, and they all have promised their assistance.
The West has almost been pacified but they have been in battle for long so I asked them to fortify their defenses.
The East will take the sole control for the invasion.
From the beginning of the war, we did not deploy that many troops relying on other lords that swear fealty toward Adrian and my personal army.
But now, my troops well rested and trained in great detail, on the geography of the North, their fighting styles, the terrain, their weakness, and they can finally be deployed.
Now, however is the matter of West.
I dressed myself and began walking to the hall. The doorkeeper opens the door.
‘Announcing the Count of Acro, Regent of Arrandy’
My father after seeing me so accomplished in ruling the duchy has designated me Regent while he and mother take care of Aurora.
I have no complaint with it. I always wanted my father to live happily. Well, it is true what people say.
Once you lost the one you love, that visceral pain that sear your heart, you will never want to experience that pain again.
And I have lost my father once.
Never again.
At least not that way.
I understand that all people will die, but at least for my family, I don’t want them to die such a tragic death.
And now that I have a sister, my instinct to let my family live happily becomes more intense. Their happiness is as important to me as my life. I have lived in a world without them, and what I found out was this. Living in such a world was a hell in itself.
Their death changed me. That is the one thing I wouldn’t deny. It leaves a hole in my heart, where no companion or wine, or dreams could ever fill.
I don’t want them to leave me, at least not that soon. I want my father to live a long life, fulfilled and happy, leaving this world with a content smile, leaving the world a better place then when he is born.
That is what I wish for my parents.
Then a footsteps approached me
‘My lord’ West kneeled.
In the hall there is only me and West and the crier
‘Leave this room’ I order the crier
‘I oblige my lord’ he exited himself from the hall
‘My lord’ west said
‘What is the reason you ask for me?’
‘Cut it out West. We’re the only people here. Call me like you used to.’
‘Propriety must be maintained. I have sworn fealty.’ West answer.
‘To the King not to me.’
West seemed to be contemplating
‘That is true. But still, you are a rank of a higher station.’
‘Hmph. Still the same man you are. A stickler for rules. That is the only thing I least liked about you.’
West looked at me
‘I’m sorry to hear that my lord.’
And for a moment there is a brief silence between us, gauging each other.
‘Walk with me West’ I said
“As you wish, my lord”
And he followed
He is behind me then I ask him without turning my face to him
‘What are your intentions West?’
And West stopped walking. Me too. There is tension here. I can feel it.
‘I’m sorry my lord. What do you mean?’
‘Do not insult my intelligence West. Do you expect me to believe that you swear your fealty towards King Adrian without ulterior intention?’
‘I…believe in the King.’ He said stuttering
‘You hesitated’
‘Because the question is shocking’
‘Is it?’ I asked
‘It is!’ He insisted
Then I turned around and looked into his eyes. Staring fixedly to see signs of lying, a sweat, his eye pupil, I even look at his tone of speech
‘Truly, there are no plot between you and your father? Speak the truth.’
‘There is not’
I chuckled. There it is. He meant to lie to me. Well, I’m not easily lied.
‘There is fear in your eyes and a hint of nervousness, I can see it. You’re lying. Tell me the truth. I might forgive you for old time sake. Remember your honour’
First he looked at me, fighting an inner battle it seems. I could see his sweat.
Then West quickly kneeled.
‘I…..I….I have lied my lord.’ He said stuttering nervously, a bead of sweat drop. His breath are hard to take, suffocated, I presume from his confession
I knew it.
West , though he has fault, he treated his honour very importantly.
He would not lie if somehow it jeopardies his honour. It is one thing I like about him, and the one thing I hate about him.
‘You have? What’s the lie?’
Then West told me how his father concocted a plan to save his family and all the while I just listen
‘And that my lord is the God honest truth. That is the truth’
‘Why do you tell me?’ I asked though I have a nagging suspicion I already know.
‘The most important code of chivalry is truth my lord as you obviously know. ‘
There it is. His honour, his only pride. How can a man as cunning as Henry have such a son, that I will never know
‘True, yet I have never seen any Knight more honest than you. Is this another plot? To gain my trust only to stab me in the back with more hideous plot?’
‘You are too wary of people my lord. Sometimes you just have to have faith’
I smile a bitter smile
‘Faith, huh’
‘What will you do to me my lord, now you know the truth?’
‘What do you expect?’ I asked
‘Imprisoned’
‘For what if I may ask?’ I asked
‘For lying.’ He said puzzled
‘Did you now? I remember no lying.’
West looked at me and he understand
‘You already knew.’
‘I suspected, of course. It is not that hard to make such assumption considering your family really could be destroyed if Adrian forces win. But with this plot of yours, whoever wins, your family will exist, live and in time prosper again.’
‘Then why did you not te-‘
‘Because I believe in your honour. I knew you at the academy. We have our rivalry but I have always admired your honour and your devotion towards your family.
And I ask you here to know how deep that honour goes. From your story I’m convinced that you will not betray our forces. I need able men West. And you are able. Young, but like me able. However I do have a question for you’
‘Ask my lord’
‘Can you really do this? If I sent an invasion force to the North, certainly, no, I’m pretty sure inevitably you will meet your father in battle. What will you do then?’
West understand what I mean and his face turned livid.
‘Do you wish me to kill my own father?’
‘Do you want to?’ I asked
He chuckled a tired laugh
‘My lord, who want to kill their own father?’
‘Many I know of noble sons, who want to kill their own father but we’re talking about you. Will you do it? For honour?’
‘If only and only my father listens to no reason’ he said stoically
I laughed and this surprised West.
‘Then you are a better man than me. But honour is easy to say, hard to perform.
You can be as honorable as Alan when there is no obstacle to surmount, no deeds to perform, and we all do our duty when there is no cost to it.
How easy then, it seems, doesn’t it, West, to walk the path of honour. Yet, there will always come a day, mark my word, a day will come as it comes for me, and it will come to you, a day when you must choose.
Your words are winds. We are human, fragile creature fashioned to love and grieve, to long, to hate.
You said that now, honour and justice, you say, you believe in this conviction, but if you met your father in the battlefield seeing him again, the memory of his smile and warmth attack you, his love and longing to see his son whispers to your heart, what is honour then? How will it ever compare?
Honour is easy to say, hard to perform, West. Do not make promises about things you know not.”
‘Then what is it you want me to say?’
I sighed
‘I guess no answer would satisfy me. But I promise you this West. I have no desire of seeing your family crumble as much as you do’
‘You hold no hatred for past incidents?’
He asked, clearly the incident where his father exile us from the Dukedom.
‘I understand why your father do it. And I thank him’
‘For what?’
‘For making my family stronger. Without a foe, you grow complacent and no growth can be achieved. But there is another reason I ask you to come here.’
‘What is it then my lord?’
‘Persuade your father.’
‘Persuade him? To do what?’
‘Betray the betrayer. Your father is in the position to strike Alderam, to turn on him on the most crucial moment. To end this war in a swift manner’
‘My lord, this I could not do’ West said shaking his head.
‘Why not?’
‘His honour, my lord. What of his honour?’
I shake my head. He is stubborn
‘I said it to you before haven’t I, West? There comes a day where you have to make a choice. I’m giving your father a choice.
Love and peace, or honour and blood? Mistake me not, West, you chose the path of honor and I admire you for that. But not everyone is honourable’
‘I see you wrong, my lord’
‘How so?’
‘I think of you as an honorable man’
‘And what constitutes honour to you? Prolong this fight and risk involving the common folk, making the Kingdom coffers to run dry, land scorched by the battles between the Spear and Shield?
Is that constitutes honour to you? I admire your choice but just because I admire it doesn’t mean it is the right choice, West. And that is your problem. You are too headstrong and wallow in your own self-righteousness. You are fit to be a Knight but not a ruler’
‘And you are my lord?’
‘I’m not. I’m a savior’
‘Savior from what?’
‘From a threat bigger than this and I need to make this Kingdom prosperous and strong. And Alderam is the obstacle that needs to be cleared.
A poisonous snake that poison the lands, spitting his venom onto the people, razing and killing and pillaging and in the end he would bring this Kingdom to ash, like a tree burned from a great fire. The old rule, his rule and his outdated customs and thinking, must be crushed so a new and more beautiful world can be born.’
‘Is that your opinion my lord?’
‘Yes it is’
Then silence. He looked at me and for a moment both of us speak nothing.
‘My lord then I will return now and think of your wish, and then I will come again.’
‘It is not the end West’
‘My lord?’
‘I intend to let you lead 2 thousand men’
‘To where?’
‘The north’
‘My lord you mean….’
‘The Invasion is beginning. I will spare no more time or words from Alderam. He is stubborn and listen to no reason. I offer him a negotiation, but he refuses demanding his birthright.
Too prideful. Too arrogant. See no reason. There is no such man in history that is not swallow by the tides of time. And not to mention I have information, terrible news that one of the family in Vern, have helped him, who is right now is marching to Alderam to help him.
I have sent letters to the Emperor to try stop the noble families from extending their help but with his own rebellion of his rule, I doubt he can do much.’
‘But then..
‘You will ride in dawn. The troops are already prepared. I will join you later with all the host of my banner.
Helia and Lisa and Kyle will also be there. You are the vanguard. If you want money or supplies talk to my treasurer in the Council Tower. That is all.’
Then I exited the room. There are many things to do, strategy to form, people to message, lands to conquer.
This threat to this Kingdom will end.
Or this Kingdom, and all of humanity will perish
******************************************************************************
IN THE NORTH
1014 WHITEMONTH
The fatal battle has started and it started with Lord Summersill charge waiting for the arrival of the dragon to come.
Their charge and battle cry send a deafening cry through the soldier ears, raising their morale.
This war will end only in their victory.
The battlefield is an arena with sounds of clanging shields, and the sound of metal, and the smell of the rotting corpses left some with war-cry face, some looked terrified, but none that Lord Summersill looked have a peaceful look in their final moments
This is what war do to men.
Terrible things. Unspeakable things.
Lord Henry Summersill is situated in the West occupying Palais castle, bestowed by the King after the traitorous Lord Henry Palais support Alderam and return from his exile without permission
Compared to the East who relatively have no battles strike against them, the West always have threats.
From Zettel bandits to band of brigands and then when the war came, Lord Alderam.
He came into the banner of Adrian for he lost his close relative in the bloody feast and he want to be the one to bash Alderam head into a lump of meat to ease his anger
The fire that he employed last night to their enemies tent worked, but now the smoke obscured the enemy trenches in the distance, but when the cavalry charge them, they quickly slashed them, and blood flowed in the field like water in a rainy day.
SO sticky that even some of the horses find it hard to sprint.
All troops had smiles trailed across their lips, cantering on horseback, confident this will be an easy win, however their grin abandoned them as a company of the enemy emerged from the far mist, screaming and trampling with their cavalry, with such ferocity in their gaze, and their apparent neglect for any defense.
Kill,Kill, their eyes seems to say.
The cavalry clashed with each other.
Lord Sumersill did not expect this. His cavalry were caught unprepared by this sudden surge of attack.
Then the arrows flew towards them, spears and javelin, stone and knife, axe and stick. They are using everything from the surrounding relying on the smoke.
A spear whistles by Lord Summersill and instead pierces one of his Knights. He died instantly. Arrows rain like fire, hitting men and dirt alike, stuck on the ground, and men fell like tress, covering the sludgy ground in red.
Scream of confusion and fear can be heard. This sudden attack is so unexpected, so caught off guard, that the confusion spread.
The cry of painful agony can be heard, and felt. There are no other words to describe these feeling. These banners swear loyalty to Lord Summersill and many of them Lord Summersill personally knows.
‘Retreat! Retreat!’ Lord Summersil cries out.
There is no other way. Before they are decimated, and many more casualties mount they should retreat first.
Then suddenly Lord Sumersil hears the gongs, the drums of war being pounded. Even among the smoke, he could see. And he is smiling.
A banner has come to them and the banner itself inspires fear to their enemies, security to their allies. The dragon has come and they come with a vengeance.
Like hungry wolves the dragons troop tear through the cavalry line of the shield, while the cavalry charge ahead only to position themselves behind the enemy, effectively trapping them.
And in the lead is the dragon itself, with his black rubies armour.
‘CHARGE!’ he yelled and the cavalry follow him.
The reinforcement charged their enemies, with no mercy. They are trained, fast and mercilessly effective.
Every slash, the enemies died, their morale and spirit eroded, the ferocity in their eyes turns to fear.
The sounds of battle began again as the cold rain started, ¬making the field more hazy. Thunder boomed in the distance.
Yet the field is still painted red and in the rain, instead of slowing down the dragon banner presses their attack
The enemy leader then kneeled to the ground and shouted.
“I surrender to you might” the lord shouted “I surrender” begging for his life
And the young lord shouted back
“I have given you long enough time to surrender. Time after time, I waited. No longer. Justice will be done” he said while still slashing the enemy troops.
Some of the enemy troops began deserting the battlefield only to be routed by the dragon cavalry and decimated.
Then on horseback, the young lord sprint to the kneeling lord and with a slash of his sword, the enemy lord head flew high into the air.
Then he yells again. ‘Troops surrender and no harm will come of you’ his yell is so loud that the whole field could hear it. It only proves what people been talking about, he has a profound internal energy.
The enemies troop hearing this quickly threw their weapon and kneel for now their leadership has died, the chain of command crumbled.
The young lord is true to his reputation. Merciless towards his enemies, but graceful with his allies.
A scene of total devastation was left at the end of the battle. Bloods and limbs scattered the place. The heads were buried while the young lord came to lord Summersill tent to enjoy the comfort of his tent.
The enemies soldiers had been captured and the fight was over, however, the long and painful war was not.

CHAPTER 42: THE WAR COUNCIL
1014 WHITEMONTH
ARIAL
WAR TENT
‘I welcome you my lord’ Lord Henry Summersill bowed his head
‘Yes, enough with the pleasantries.’ I said
I need to cut his word short. We are in a war. Henry looked miffed but I have many things to care about.
Well, considering my age, he has every right, but he is not that stupid to voice his opinion so openly.
‘How are the men? ‘ I asked.
‘Tired but they will manage my lord.’ he answer
‘Good, tomorrow I will move to North Fort while your army will go to the Gorge Pass and help the Lord of Northcour.’
‘My lord?’ he said clearly puzzled by this order
‘Didn’t you hear me? ‘
‘But then who will help you?’
‘Look outside’ and then he looked and I could see his face change.
I know he couldn’t see very clearly before in the skirmish that is because it was not the main army.
It was only the cavalry. Now he could see. Mercenaries from Asteros, sellswords from Ariundus and my troops and my bannerman.
And not all the entirety of my army is here yet. The infantry and many of the archers is still marching here.
The cavalry and mounted division of course reached here first
For the first time since ever, the land of Alan will see a real war.
‘I understand my lord. But why this many?’
‘So Alderam might learn and serve as a warning to the other lords if they wish to rebel after the war ended. I wish to end this war and extinguish any intention from other lord to rebel.’
The lord nodded
King Adrian faced a number of challenges to his place on the throne because he was not the natural successor to his father.
Though his father was never a King and so was his ancestor for Alan did not want to over stage his brother accomplishment which is Knight Prince and King though it was awarded to Levitia posthumously, Alan remain a Duke in his first year and even though he rule in the Dukedom like a King yet he never declare it or ask anyone to crown him so.
As the Defender of the Realm from the Dark Lands no one dare invade unless they faced the anger of the Church.
But as his death, and years go by the Dukedom become separate with noble families with marriage ties to the descendant of Alan grew more powerful and given lands.
But Adrian was the first among the descendant of Alan to crown himself King and many it seems have warmed to the idea.
It would create a more centralized government and uniform laws. And many other policies can be implemented to create a strong country
Yet this war started because of a matter of inheritance.
The right of the lands of Arouen, which is held by Hadrian, the former Duke only to grant it to his son, his younger son, instead of the accepted laws which is the eldest son inherits all.
And all this all this battle is to keep Adrian at the throne. And to further my plan for repelling the first wave of the invasion from the Dark Lands
‘My lord will you rest for a while’ the lord of Summersill asked me.
‘Yes.’
I will rest here while my men pitch my tent. They have already started as I could hear the men are singing their working song outside
‘Is there anything else my lord?’
‘No. And you can move in the morning’
He nodded, perfectly understanding his army will have to move through the Gorge Pass while we distract Alderam forces to North Fort
‘Thank you my lord.’
The lord excuse himself from the tent.
‘Ser Kyle!’ I yelled.
And Kyle quickly enter
‘Lord Arial’
I looked around and order the messenger to call my war council.
‘My lord won’t you rest’ Kyle said
‘No delaying. We need to take the lands of the North as fast as we can.’
‘You should not force yourself’
‘I’m not’
‘You look like you are. Baggy eyes, pale complexion, rou-‘
‘My complexion is always pale.’
‘Then the baggy eyes?’
‘Maybe I can’t sleep hearing you nagging me so much. If not you, it will be Lisa. If not Lisa, then it would be Helia.’
‘We are all worried’ Kyle said
‘There is no need for concern. When you are still protecting my parents in Seren I was already in the thick of the war. This is normal’
‘War?’
‘No. The pressure. The men need their leader strong, and to their eyes I need to appear invincible.’
‘Share the burden then’
I chuckled a bit
‘I would have…if I have anyone I trust in my court.’
‘Then how about me?’
‘You are too naïve’
‘Am not’
I sighed and I looked at Kyle face as I impart him the wisdom that I learned about the noble’s politics.
‘In the game of politics, they do not use swords and shield, or spears and pike, or a longbow and throwing knife.
Their swords are words, their shield are information, their spears and pikes are slanders.That is not your place, nor would it be me that would be responsible sending you to such a world.’
Kyle looked at me and then the curtain is opened. It looks like Kyle is about to say something but he stopped himself.
‘My lord’ my war council each one entering the tent.
The table is also prepared for us.
I signaled Kyle to talk about it later. For now the Council takes precedence
‘The map’ I said I gestured to West
West approached me and hand it to me. I lay it on the table.
‘Look. Where will we strike?’ I ask
‘Where did you decide my lord?’
‘North Fort. Lord Henry will assist the Northcour’
Some of the lords nodded, some held their tongue scrutinizing the map
‘Hmm, I also agree but how about separating our forces. One should attack North Fort while one of us attack Penrose.’ Said Lord Paris
‘Can we do that?’ Lisa said and every face turned to Lisa. Many of them looked uncomfortable, and avoided Lisa like a plague
‘My lord’ Ser Hugh said his voice seemed displeased
‘This is not well for a girl to meddle in the work of a man’
Lisa looked at him and snorted.
‘Got something to say ugly head. Let’s take it outside and let see who is the girl here!’ Lisa said ferociously
‘I am Knight Sister of Order of Knight of Alan. Better than you retard’
Some of the Lords just shakes their heads looking at Lisa behaviour. Though Ser Hugh looks like he is hurt by the barrage of words that Lisa uttered
‘My lady, I did not wis-‘ Ser Hugh tries to calm Lisa
‘Oh, shut up!’ Lisa said her eyes were feral like she want to kill the Knight right there.
Kyle also looked to Ser Hugh, and I could see anger is rising from Kyle, and that is not easy. Kyle is hard to anger but once you anger him there is a hell to pay
‘It is true what Ser Hugh said my lord. I never understand why you chose a girl to follow in our expedition’ said Lord Eustace a minor lord that also follow the expedition
In the Knight Academy there is no discrimination between gender only strength. Here however, outside, in the real world, discrimination and prejudice are all existent.
‘I am here’ Helia said trying to defend Lisa
‘You are different my lady. ‘ the lord said in unison
‘How so?’ Helia asked
The lord exchange glances with each other, each one dare not offend, the daughter of a new High Lord and my betrothed.
‘You just are’ Lord Tuchet said diplomatically. I chuckled a bit.
But as their lord I need to stop them before somehow, this argument turn to enmity
‘Enough!’ And the bickering stopped.
‘Do you doubt my choice?’ I said, my tone threatening
Some of the lord shrinked back looking at each other.
Then Lord Paris spoke
‘My lord we did not ask this to anger you, only to advise you but to bring a lady,’ and he looked at Helia, ‘a lady of questionable birth to join our expedition is a little, you know….’
‘Oh do I now? Are you also insulting my family, Lord Paris?’
And quickly his face turn pale.
He finally realized it. Saying that Lisa comes from a questionable birth is like saying that I too came from of questionable birth
‘No.No,No my lord I mean no such thing’
‘Then it’s better to keep your mouth shut don’t it?’
‘I will hear no more word about this. All I care is whether you can fight in battle. A woman or a man, I care not of these things. If she proved useless in battle I will remove her from the battlefield but the same apply to you.’
‘Do I make myself clear!’
‘Yes my lord’ they all said in unison
I turned to the map. There are still grumbling but they know better to pursue this topic in front of me again. And I know Lisa is strong, both physically and mentally
‘Now, Lord Paris idea is brilliant.
Considering our massive number we can do that. Then when I manage to gain the North Fort you will gain Penrose and then our concentrated attack will be on the Dented Shield.
Me from front, Lord Paris from the right side and if Lord Henry Summersill manage to attack and destroy the Shield forces in North Court then Lord of Northcour and Lord of Summersill can attack from the left side.
They may call from some help from the Stallford and the Mercia but if we take Dented Shield then it is a s good as we won the war.’ I summarize the battle plan and the best scenario I could think of.
Then we all talked about the provision and supplies and suggestion from the lords and we all agree to march tomorrow at dawn.
I also began informing Lord Summersill on the plan.
The rest of the southron lords will stay and consolidate our power bases on the South with the Three Bothers guarding the home of the Althea family considering they followed me to battle.
The East forces and West forces will take the North that is what has been decided.
I also sent a letter to the King reporting the battles and the situation.
West looked a little sullen.
No wonder.
The duchy of Palais belongs to his family before but now it belongs to Lord Henry Summersill.
I will not claim to understand his bitterness, but I sympathize.
All the lords, the knights, the military leader has exit the tent.
Only one remains.
‘Dear, are you not tired’ Helia looked at me, her eyes shows that she is worried about me
‘I’m fine.’ I realized we are alone in this tent
‘Do not tarry in this tent too long. People will gossip, Helia.’
‘Let them’ she said her tone challenging. Everyone knows we are betrothed’ she said
‘Well, betrothed yes. Married, not.’
‘Do you not plan to marry me?’
‘I do’
‘Then what is the harm?’
‘You know that better than I do’ I said
‘Words are sometimes sharper than swords.’ I continued
‘Yes but words couldn’t kill like sword.’ Helia said, confident. But I know better. Words have certain power and hold over the hearts of man.
I smiled.
‘That is naïve Helia. Words kill Helia. More than you know.’
‘Fine, maybe you are right, but my brave and strong prince will not let that happen would he?’ She said and she approached me and stroke my face, tracing her hand around my lips
‘Don’t do that’ I said, not that I hate it but I’m a little embarrassed
‘Do what?’ she asked innocently
‘Do this’
‘I love your lips you know that?’ Helia said suddenly
‘No, I didn’t.’
And then with a glint of mischievousness in her eyes she kissed me.
But it was too fast for me and short
‘What’s that for?’ I said
‘For you to come for more.’
And with a giggle she exited herself from the tent.
I smile.
I don’t know if bringing her to the battlefield like she requested is right.
I looked back at the table.
Outside I could hear my troops sharing their battle stories. On the Kingdom there is only one family who have a standing army and that is mine.
I never trusted the words of lords or their fealty.
Trust but verify. And my new policy works smoothly.
Offering them stabile pays and training works wonders.
Peasant son, poor men and poor women, all flock to the offer.
League of unextraordinary men turned to battle ready troops. And thankfully the lords answer the call.
With the mercenaries ad the sell swords thrown in the amount of the troops right now reached 80 thousand the largest army ever raised in the history of the land of Alan.
There will be no words exchange anymore.
Alderam has chosen his fate.
And I have a score to settle.
The Bloody Feast is still seared in my mind. People who have families, good man, good people died in such tragic way.
I will bring my vengeance and the vengeance of their family, the grieved widow, the mourning daughters and I will wroth it upon Alderam.
Then and then I can begin forming amiable relations with other countries to prepare what’s to come.
Sometimes on nights like this I wonder whether anything I do, change anything. That the course of time has steered slightly from the tragedy that looms ahead.
I don’t know and probably I will never know.
And with all the uneasiness in my heart, and the promise of a better tomorrow, I brace for the night and what will come tomorrow.
*****************************************************************************
ZHANG LIAO BAO
Finally I found it.
The secret passage in the Imperial place.
This is thanks to the Blood Brotherhood.
For hiding him he gave me this map saying he find it when he was sneaking around the Imperial Library. He doesn’t know to read, so it is no use to him.
And he said he owe me.
He said if I ever wander the martial art world and in danger, I can mention his name. He said he is very famous in the martial art world.
Whether that is true I don’t know. But I know this, this map, is something important
It takes me about a month to really pinpoint the location. It is the abandoned alley near the Palace of Eternal harmony.
It is the 13th brick from the right of the alley 15 down and the moment I push it the ground beneath them give way and I fell here.
That is what I remember yesterday. Today I came again.
I could see many books.
Yesterday I only marvel at the chamber but today I will read what it contains. There are many poetry books and history books.
I like history but reading about it always makes me fell asleep. Then one book caught my attention
Alexander Repentance
The first emperor diary. I open it
Dedicated to my fair and beautiful wife, Leliana.
She who have left me, after knowing the truth of her lover. Here I dedicate my regret and repentance. If you found this, I hope you forgive me Leliana. I was young and rash, stupid and oblivious.
This poem is for you.
The vast sky belongs to me,
So is the bountiful land
The great empire is mine,
Yet I cannot have you,
Say not that love is without reserve,
Say not that love is without limit,
Why dwell on love, hate and enmity?
Prosperity only blossom for one brief moment
The past is gone,
Dissipating in the wind,
Blowing them all to oblivion
How much love, hate, enmity remains unsolved, untangled?
Aging with white hair,
Here pining for your forgiveness,
Only my longing for you will never die,
With my betrayal, I sever the precious relationship
No reminiscing of the old past can bring either both of you back,
High on my towers,
I look upon the clear blue sky with teary eyes,
Let the bright moon and the pain illuminate my path to a new world.
Leliana.
It’s the First Empress.
What did she know?
Lover?
Who is?
Levitia is dead during that time and he is the only one known to be her lover.
Too complicated.
I closed the book and something fell from the slits of the book. I crouched down to see it. Treading on the Wind Technique.
I open the book.
In it was an instruction to learn the technique. This must be one of Alexander technique. From what I know Alexander himself is an accomplished martial artist but of course when he is compared to Levitia people forget.
It is like comparing a tiger and a cat.
If Levitia is known as to be the strongest than Alexander was known to be very fast which is why he is known as Yellow Thunder because of his blonde hair and fast technique.
I was about to store it back then my memories flashed to the event when I was captured. I never liked practicing martial art, because it is brutal and always used to kill people.
But this technique?
I looked again and read it.
It is for escaping. A perfect fit for my personality. I like running away.
Why not?
So I spend my days learning that technique, and juggle it with my responsibilities to the noble lords, as is my responsibilities as a scribe.
And days passed.

CHAPTER 43: A DREAM
1014 WHITEMONTH
ARIAL
IN THE VICINITY OF NORTH FORT
We have reached North Fort.
The winter strike hard but the cold does not burn. Not like in the land of Eternal Winter
Snow has fallen yesterday and the wind rages.
My troops make camp not too far from the Fort.
Their troops did try to sally an assault on us but they are easily crushed so now they take protection on their fort, trying to hold out waiting for reinforcement.
I would like to see the look on their face when they realize that reinforcement won’t come for them.
Sending reinforcement here means they can’t send reinforcement to North Court which Alderam is fighting now.
And they still have not decided whether to split their reinforcement to three or two.
One in North Court, one in Penrose and one in North Fort.
Three pronged attack.
An ambitious move but an easy decision because I have full control of the West, South and East.
Only one I need to conquer.
The North
Will they save only one or try to save all of them, only to risk losing all three?
This is a great dilemma.
Thankfully it is not my dilemma to worry about.
We are creating the siege equipment now. The hammering and the nailing is being done right now.
The assault ladders, the ballista, the battering ram, the catapult, some even make mangonel, a catapult that used twisted rope as the source of power to launch projectiles.
The projectile would be in a bucket at the end of the throw arm mostly because we have a lot of people to work, and onager, from the Asteros sellswords, who uses it in their war back home, a catapult that used twisted rope to power the launching of projectiles.
Differing from the Mangonel in that the end of the throw arm would have a rope and sling. In this sling would be the projectile.
This is all not only to attack and siege the fort but also for the preparation to siege Dented Shield.
If my calculations are correct then I believe that when Alderam found out he is being encircled he will retreat to the safety of his castle, and we will greet him with such a force that he has no choice but to choose surrender.
Kyle and his men are building a siege tower while Lisa and Helia, being the only girl in the expedition is making the trebuchet with their banner man.
I could hear him barking orders, telling the troops to hurry up with the construction
Lisa is a noble, but she is Knight first.
And her father is a low lords that is why the other lords dare belittle her, but the most important reason she is belittle is her gender.
That is all.
But I’ve seen many things in my timeline.
They are the weaker sex.
That is what uneducated men will say, men who have never seen the ferocity of a woman determination or ever felt in love with such a domineering soul that they make their own assumption by hearsay, and old thinking, never once, entertain the idea, that woman are so much more than just weak lady or some maiden that needs to be saved.
To call a woman the weaker sex is libel, slander and misperception.
An injustice done towards their genders. An injustice since time immemorial
If by strength is meant by brute strength, then, indeed, woman is less brute than man.
But even then, that is not entirely true. Raynis prove that.
If on the man side we have the Mad Emperor than in the woman side there is Rayniss the Mad Queen in Renasia.
Her story is sung as a reminder but while Charles is blamed for insanity, Rayniss was blamed by the other rest of the continent merely because of her gender.
The Bloodthirsty, insane woman they call her.
Never elect woman to become your leader they warn.
If by man referring to woman as the weaker sex, in intellectual prowess then that is also a libel.
For if we have George the Wise in the man side, then we have Rhaessa in the woman side.
George is wise but so is Rhaessa, bringing her country, peace and wealth, strengthening her country military, creating and maintaining amiable relations with other countries and in her rule, they have excess in her Kingdom.
Who will dare say woman is stupid?
Who will dare say woman cannot be wise?
But if by strength is meant moral power, and love, and good things, then woman, though, embarrassing to admit, woman is immeasurably man superior.
Has she not greater intuition, is she not more self-sacrificing, has she not greater power of endurance of this unfair world, has she not greater courage to protect what they love?
Without woman, man could not be.
Who but woman, can soothe the heart not quite the companion of man can do, and who can, I dare, make a more effective appeal to the heart than woman?
There isn’t one.
But changing a long held belief is hard.
So ingrained in their belief and the custom, it would take hundreds if not thousands of years before men can forget their pride….and prejudice.
Something…and I know this in my heart, when I returned back through time, with some knowledge, of what?
I don’t know.
But somehow when I return my world view change.
I see the world in different light. I too once believe the same about woman,
They are the weaker sex, the cursed sex.
They are weak.
For that is what I was taught and what I suspect the noble son are taught, what men were taught by the church, by their ancestors or acquaintance.
A culture, a custom, a long held believe.
I have, and always before, in practice, though not in principle believe that.
Something returned with me that day I travel through time.
Some glimmer of memories, something in my heart tugging this sensation that there is fundamentally something wrong about this world.
Whether it be my view on slavery, or the treatment of woman, this is something I felt and believe are cause worth fighting for.
That it is wrong. But that it is.
A tugging.
And I can choose whether to close my eyes or act.
But none shall take importance than my noble work of preventing, and if that failed fighting the invasion.
There is something rotten at the root of our world, and it stink to high heaven.
The situation required not just a new King or new laws, but, an extreme measure, an uprooting of the old order, the customs, the long held believe, the introduction of a new kind of society, a new kind of world, where things…..are better, kinder.
But that is only possible through bloodshed and war.
In this time of savage era, that is the only thing can be done.
And if that is the only way, then someone must do it.
If that is the way to go, then I must go.
To create that new path…someday.
If we survive what is coming.
******************************************************************************
Men screamed in pain clutching their grievous wounds as bows twang sending death into my army.
‘Keep on moving’ Kyle said ordering the troops to push the siege tower while the troops in North Fort has sent 1000 troops to held us back.
The siege weapons sent flying stones to fort wall and each time the stone reached the fort a sound of explosion can be heard and the world shakes.
But still, the castle walls stood high, tall and proud, defiant in our rigorous assault.
The siege towers lumbers on slowly at snail pace.
Lisa went ahead and intercept the force of the enemies with her cavalry division, slashing the enemies and I suspect she want to prove herself to the other lords.
After she ask permission, I consented.
Now she is bringing hell to the enemy force.
The other lords look in awe, most of all Ser Hugh who is slack jaw.
I understand why the noble sir, was so adamantly resisting Lisa to take on the battlefield, and I hear this through the grapevine, but it seems the Ser, has a fondness for Lisa.
He is merely worried that Lisa would be hurt.
Of course the other lords see Lisa presence as an insult.
Lisa, who is hot tempered, and easily provoked, and so oblivious to the kind sir feelings, of course view the Ser as someone who belittles her.
I was on the back watching.
I will not enter the battle this time.
I am gauging the troops experience, their strength and weakness.
But I still supervise them and if somehow the enemies force reached here then I will enter but that is unlikely.
Lisa can handle the small punitive troops that the commander of the fort sends. And I don’t understand why people would enclose themselves in a Fort.
It only makes thing easier.
I now where they are and I have also the means to destroy the Fort.
If it was me, I would gamble and attack with my remaining forces and maybe I could very well escape and plan another plan.
A fortress is a military mistake in a way.
A symbol of isolation.
An easy targets for the enemies.
Designed to defend, fortresses actually cut you off from help and you lose your maneuverability.
They may appear impregnable , but once you retire to a fortress everyone knows where you are, and a siege does not have to succeed to turn the fort into a prison.
With small and confined spaces, a fortress are prone to plague and contagious disease.
In a strategic sense, the isolation of a fortress provides no protection, and actually creates more problem that it solves.
Enclosing myself in Fort? Sacrificing my maneuverability and flexibility?
Inconceivable.
The fortress.
High up on the hill, the citadel becomes a symbol of all that should not be done.
Isolation.
Cut off from communication and information, the citadel will fall with ease.
Fort is meant to delay while the reinforcement came. But face with an army who have a lot of supplies, fort are merely a standing stone.
Ser West is in charge of the sieging division this time.
“Fire” I heard he yelled.
And the catapults unleashed waves of stones, bringing death and pain burning stone, destroying some structures in the high fort and burning the archers in the arrow slits and the men stationed at the top.
Their scream of agony can be heard to here.
Catapults and trebuchets, onager and mangonel and a variety of other siege weapons fired from all sides of the battlefield assaulting the fort and it was like thunder strikes the Fort.
Fires everywhere and the sound of the crash can make a person heart fell.
The winter cold can be felt no longer.
The heat and the smell of charred corpse fill the battlefield.
Lisa is almost done routing the assault force and she returned back letting her troops to contain the rest of the enemies.
‘How did I do?’ she said a little blood decorate her white cheek. She smiled
‘Good, though that was a little overkill.’
‘I need to do such thing to gain the approval of the other lords, or their incessant nagging and disapproval will be all I hear during this expedition.’
I nodded.
‘If you’re fine with it, the it’s fine for me.’ And I turn back my view to the battle that is raging in front of me.
Then West quickly bring his horse forward and orders the man to bring the battering rams and with incredible force they ram the fort front door.
“AGAIN” West yelled
“You traitor to the North!” the commander yelled from high on the tower to West.
West expression was blank.
I know this would be hard for him but West endures.
For what?
I know the answer.
Honour.
Honour without a fault.
Then suddenly oil ran down the fort wall.
‘OH GODI!’ I said
‘What Lord Arial!’ Lisa said shocked that I yelled
I yelled to the troops who I could see battering the fort door not knowing what awaits them. I yelled using my internal energy to amplify my words
‘RUN!’
West realizes it and also orders the same thing.
The troops also realized.
They ran in anguish. Some slips and then the fire came for them.
Fire stones and burning arrows were shot to the oil that drips to the bottom of the walls and the fire danced and licked the body of my armies.
Their screams and shrill were signs of great unspeakable pain.
The flame rolling creating smoke from the bodies of man.
Those who tripped get swallowed by the unrelenting fires.
AN inferno happened and we could see some of the troops the fire all over him, and he drop to the ground, only screaming, so painful that it brings fear to my troops.
I could see it in their eyes.
The heat was oppressive even from this far.
It seems the commander of the North Fort is not totally incapable.
The wind only makes the fire more ravaging, and smoke are raining down on us.
The fort door is fine.
They must coated it with something before the siege begun.
They have planned this all along.
‘Do we retreat my lord?’ some of the lords asked
‘We press on. The end of the war will come after we defeated and occupy this fort and marched to Dented Shield. The road to peace is so close now and you expect me to retreat?’
‘Then we press on,’ says the lord.
It was chaos, with the screaming and the people running from the fire but still our siege division is safe because they are far.
West is heading back, safe from the archers arrows.
The troops who were on fire screamed until they turn to charred corpse and rest on the ground.
The battle continued.
************************************************************************
HENRY PALAIS
The news of the dragon attack has finally been relayed to me.
Arial the Dragon has brought his claws to the North, bringing fear and fire to the North, vowing to conquer it in this expedition.
But that is not what is in my mind right now.
The letter in my hand.
I have read it.
It seems Arial is asking my cooperation. To end this war in a swift manner, betray Lord Alderam.
Should I?
Should I not?
What should I do?
This is a dilemma.
Betrays him and branded a turn cloak or resist and I may very well be executed by the dragon forces when they win the war.
By now, there is no doubt that the dragon will win.
Even with this rumoured help from Vern, it might not stop the dragon advance. They are committed to win this war.
But…there is the matter of my relative in the captivity of Alderam.
The young lord already knows.
It seems my son has already told him about our arrangement.
That stupid, honourable son of mine.
But no matter, how stupid my decision seems to be, I have made my choice.
I threw the letter in the fireplace and I watch as the flame lick and swallow the letter turning it into ash.
*****************************************************************************
ZHANG LIAO BAO
After learning the Treading on the Wind technique I practiced it every day.
My body also felt a little lighter and my fatigue rarely sets in
It energizes the body and make my mind more clear.
The technique is remarkable.
At night I practice in the palace ground, yet I was never spotted by anyone, moving stealthily like a cat.
In the morning I do my job.
Nowadays in the Forbidden City the talk of the war in the Kingdom of Alan, is the hot gossip among the officials and the nobles.
You see when I discovered the hidden passage it was not only that chamber I found. It seems the passage is connected to all the Palace in the Forbidden City.
So at night I prowled in the secret passage hearing the plots crafted behind the Emperors back, information that might benefit me some day, with no one realizing anything, while I heard them from the secret passage, peeking on them in a secret hole.
And I also found the creator of the passage though mostly it is conjecture. I intend to find out more about Leliana so I went to the Hall of Literature to find some information.
It seems Leliana did disappear. The Empress that Disappeared, her name is known among the royal families.
After her birth of Justinian, she disappeared, no one know where she run to, and why the Emperor never search for her.
Whatever happens it was, or seems to be, the Emperor fault or he will not wrote that poem to her, hoping she forgive him.
And it seems, though unverified, that this passage is her creation to run from the Forbidden City when she is under heavy guard.
Then there is the matter of the Kingdom of Alan.
In Alan, it seems House of Verman sent some troops to aid Alderam.
From what I heard the other nobles is very dissatisfied.
Many believe the new King with the help of the House of Vermont, who from my information said a very influential family in Kingdom of Alan, who even coronate the King on his throne will win the war.
So, the other noble try not to offend the winning side which seems to lean to the new King. And this disobedience by the Verman family may cause an amiable alliance.
While in the palace, rebellion is brewing, and plots and factions are formed.
With the growing power of House Austen in the border and the threats of the rebellion by the Blood Brotherhood, the Emperor is in tight spot right now.
Emperor of these days, has only one job. Not to take more lands, or conquest of the other nation but their one and sole purpose is to keep the peace.
Imperial power has long diminished and in decline the moment the other Kingdoms regains their independence.
Now the world power is the rising Kingdom of Alan with it’s trade and bountiful harvest and the land of the Sun, Renasia.
After learning the technique I searched again, the chamber and I found another manual.
Devil Absorbing Technique. It is a dark technique of martial art. It sucks someone internal energy.
If their internal energy is weak, I will have an easier time and gain an increase in my own internal energy.
But if someone stronger than me, resist my absorption technique and stronger than me, then I might suffer side effects.
So, you need to have a keen eye on choosing your enemies.
But it’s also dangerous.
From what I understand if I want to learn this technique, I need to find a white Scorpion from Cori which there is a lot of White Scorpion, an opal black Lizard, the Seven Colored Bats, the Silver Fox in Vorthy, and the Red Serpent of Renasia and take their venom and mix them in one of the container I found in this chamber, which by my guess, belongs to the first emperor and then added Devil Rot poison into the venom and drink it.
After that I must reverse the flow of my internal energy for 2 weeks every night without even one day missing to do it or I run the risk the internal energy exploded inside me, crippling me for life.
Then only a month later I can begin practicing the technique.
At first I didn’t want to learn it, but realizing this technique can also be useful to complement my Treading on the Wind technique I sought to learn this.
For any normal man….to search for all these poisonous animal is hard and almost impossible but this is the Forbidden City.
Everything is here.
I know where the Emperor hides all this animal.
And with my lightness skill I can go in there undetected.
And so begin my days of learning another technique.
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 44: BATTLE OF BERTH
BERTH
ARIAL
1014 WHITEMONTH
We have conquered the North Fort and we executed who does not surrender.
We stationed some wounded men and healer to heal them while the other moved again.
Many suffer burns but we make sure that the one responsible pay dearly for what they did to my troops.
Their families will be compensated.
The reinforcement also will arrive in a few days. Many advise me to wait for them to come to bolster our rank, replenishes our men.
But I disagree.
We can conquer Revan quite easily.
Now we move to Berth a city just near Revan. It is a bitterly cold windy day with white snow on the ground.
The cold is biting but we marches on. The army this time is under my command, Lord Paris, Lord Henry, Ser West, Ser Kyle, Knight Lisa, but not Helia.
I worry about her.
After all in battle nothing is certain. I, with great persuasion, appealed to her heart, to find it the courage, not to fight but to stay, for me.
For my own peace of heart.
It is selfish but I fear I would lose her, and the knowledge that I was that send her to her death would be unbearable for me to bear.
With 30 thousand strong is drawned up on heathland of a ridge between the villages around the city.
The archers are ready all in the front ready to release their arrows and wreak rains of arrow piercing enemies armour.
There is also a small rearguard behind me, lead by Kyle if the need to retreat arises.
Ser West, south of the ridge, ranged the archers, to prepare themselves. The city must have received the notice. There are many troops waiting for us, looking at us, ready to take us on.
This city does not have walls. Most cities doesn’t. Only big city have walls.
The battlefield was narrow and small, with the river Argan which meandered closely around surrounded around the city and there is also the plateau on the right side of my army.
It was anything but spacious I assure you.
Some lords speculate that the Shield force hid a force within the woods to ambush us, but this is probably a rumour but better safe than sorry, so I already sent a scout yesterday and there is no such thing awaits us.
The shield forces has already wait us. The battle began midafternoon, and the Shield forces release their volleys of arrows indicating the start of the battle.
I yelled to my troops, “USE YOUR SHIELD” The experienced one quickly put it over their body saving them from the volleys.
Those who are not got arrows stuck on their bodies, some on their feet, some meet death on the first volley
Then I shouted again.
‘TORTOISE FORMATION.’
I trained my troops with this. I got this from my dream again which helped me to strengthen the defense of my force.
And they all moved in formation while the Shield forces looks in amazements.
Even though their arrows were added by the strong winds to find their mark with my forces, it didn’t have much luck.
After we conquered North Fort I realize the weakness of our army. Strong attack, worse defense.
Thankfully, my mind get this dream and I trained them before we attack here.
Instead of moving backwards we advanced with a steady pace, not too fast but not too slow either.
I, on the other hand use mostly my palm attack to deflect the arrows from ever reaching me.
‘Give me the spear’ I said to one of my Knights
He throws it to me.
I take it and using my internal strength to add power to my throw, I throw with such a force it was like something exploded when I throw the spear and it pierces one of the enemies Knight, pierces his heart and instead of stuck in that dead Knight chest, the spear tear his way around the man heart and then pierces the Knight behind him and the Knight behind him and the Knight before him and before they knew it 10 of their Knights have a hole in their hearts.
This of course shocked the enemy’s troops.
This attack meant to demoralize them.
I yelled ‘SURRENDER! YOU WILL BE SPARED IF YOU SURRENDER NOW!’
‘NEVER!’ the commander yelled defiantly
Fine if that is how you want to play this.
‘LET US MOVE!’ I yelled.
After seeing the archers were ordered forward to retrieve the spent arrows.
With greater speed we move to the enemy commander.
And finally the clash.
It was intense.
Especially in that restricted arena of battle, the battle became swords with swords, hand to hand, axe to axe, hammer to hammer, knife to knife and I even jump from my horse and enter the melee battle.
I cut down through the troops using any weapons I could find in the battlefield. Using Lion Bite it is not that hard to wrestle weapons from the enemies.
‘Yahh!’ one troops run to me with a hammer.
I got a bladed weapon from one of the troops I just killed so I delivered him a blow to his head and his head exploded.
Blood rain on me.
My armor and the black rubies turn red.
Beside me one of my Knights from behind, he swung a blade towards a man skull, carving a down-to up trajectory through the air.
The blow open a large horizontal gash into the back of the enemy head, like a slit in the windowsill with blood spurting out from the gash and the man scream. And the blood splashed to my Knights while his hands are trembling, either from excitement or fear.
War is hell, that is what I know.
I experienced it before. But this war is needed, because the war that will come on the destined day, is a lot brutal, more bloody, and more saddening.
‘Duck’ I said to the Knight and he duck quickly while with a slash I decapitate the man head. And then he nodded and we resume the battle. I see it in his eyes.
Fear and uncertainty.
It looks a lot like my eyes before.
This time I grab a big hammer from some of the enemies Knights which has a very big build and I use the very same hammer he use to smash my troops head, to crush his head.
I saw someone trying to overwhelm Kyle, so I jumped with the big hammer, and I strike a blow to his head and his head smashed like a pumpkin in summertime.
Then I defend Kyle who fell from his horse
‘Thanks for the assistance Arial
‘Anytime’ I said
Then Kyle rushed to help her sister while I handle this side.
One troops tried to pierce me with his sword.
I performed Lion Bite, and take it away from him and with the very same sword I attack him, the sword arced towards him.
This one blow is powerful enough to bisect his face, opening a crevice that ran from his left eye to his right jaw.
It cut deep.
The sword reached to the back of his throat. And the looks on his face was regret. Then we press on.
There are many battles that we employed against each other, week, with us sometimes retreating and then in the morning we resume our battle.
This one would probably the bloodiest battle ever fought over the course of the war between the Shields and the Spear.
But I believe this clash, this bloody battle, will be a turning point in this war.
After many skirmishes, and battles many of the lords here has scores to settle, many of whom, who has a seething hatred towards Alderam stems from his action orchestrating the Bloody Feast.
Why is this battle so bloody?
In previous encounters with those who swear fealty to Alderam, efforts had been made to spare rank nobles and soldiers.
But here in the North?
Vengeance and hatred run deep.
The lords are calling for blood of the North to pay for what they did to their relatives, great friend on the Bloody Feast.
Orders went out from the other lords to their banner man, that no quarter will be given. This is to be winner takes all, a brutal fight to the death. Today has been two weeks since our last encounter and every day we battle.
Today, we once again press on to attack.
But today is the most intense because it seems victory is so close, I could almost feel it in my hands.
Then from the woods, sound of yelling and roaring can be heard.
The reinforcement have arrived right on schedule and quickly they joined the battle.
They flung into the Shield left flank.
Gradually, slowly but surely, the Shield line gave away until the line broke and the troops running for their lives fled towards the river and hundreds if not thousands were drowned, some were shot by arrows.
I too was once again in my horse and right now hacking away the remaining troops.
The other lords were also in battle, hatred in their eyes, decapitating and amputating the enemy troops with their slash and their relentless assault.
The violence is shocking.
The enemies, tired and disoriented, make quite the easy enemies, and the lords have quite the time to indulge in their revenge.
And then I reached the river at the end of the battle, with corpses, mound of corpses fill the city front, and I could see limbs, legs, hands, brain matter fill the battlefield like some cattle meat that was dropped from a large carriage.
Their pathway to run to the river only to be drowned or shot to death is known as the Bloody Trail.
The river Argan was red with blood, like a red sea. And the corpse floated around the rivers, the smell revolting and rotten.
So ended, probably the longest and bloodiest battles fought on Alan soil.
Many of the nobles and the Knights of the North is killed while Lord Wiltsred were captured and executed.
The ground was covered with dead and dying man.
The air was hot and stifling. The sun shone down without pity on the wounded soldiers lying in the blood and dust.
And now I set my eyes to Dented Shield. And Alderam, the one who claimed himself as the King, a king I say, a King of paper crown.
I return to my tent and ask the scribe to write me a letter to the King.
In it, I ask for a choice from the King.
Do we let his brother live, imprisoned until his death, exile to another country or let me kill him, when I broke the castle?
After all, even though there is bad blood among them, they are still brothers.
Win the castle, we will win the war, then I can begin the plan to strengthen this Kingdom unity and defense from any invasion.
And now I wait the King decision
******************************************************************************
ZHANG LIAO BAO
Today, I once again reverse the flow of my internal energy.
The two weeks’ time almost at it’s end.
But today, I move around the passage hearing whispered words again.
Today I peek around the noble Claudio, one of the son of an influential noble in the capital, who have invited a Knight Master, Orval Valais to his residence.
They seems to spoke in hushed tones, with only one candle can be seen flickering. A secret plot probably.
I try to hear what they were talking about
‘The boy?’
‘He is fine, Claudio.’
‘You’re sure?’
‘Off all the Blood, he seems to have the most resemblance to Him.’
‘The One Blessed By Light?’
‘Yes, Claudio’
‘Who would have thought!’ The lord seems beside himself
‘And the secret?’ Claudio asked
‘It remains safe.’
I looked at both of the men.
In their fingers were ring with the same design.
A seven pointed star.
And in their shirt is a badge with the design of an arrow, with rose slithering around the arrows.
‘Life is filled with secret’ the Knight spoke
‘And those who will bury the light’ Claudio spoke
And the men sit in the chair looking at each other.
‘If this is true-‘
‘It is’
‘If this is true, then maybe…’
‘Not yet, Claudio.’
‘How about the rest of our brothers?’
‘They are all still maintaining their duty.’
And Claudio sighed.
‘Finally, one day, the secret can be revealed to the world. The tales of treachery and betrayal and the true history that the mass population is shielded from.
We have been very careful, and for a thousand year we have waited. Our brothers are all over the continent.
Our secret remains safe, obscured from the uninitiated mind and the persecution of the Church yet we survive.’
‘A guardian, protector of the Secret of the Blood.’ The Knight Master said
‘Yes indeed.’
‘We are the Enlightened Ones, those who know the real story. And if your claims are true then without a doubt the time to reveal the secret is not long.
As long as we guarded the secret the chance for us to once rise and finally our oath of honor will be fulfilled.’ Claudio said his heart swelled with pride.
He has already risen from his chair, apparently very in joy in listening to his brother report.
But their conversation only makes me more confused.
What are they talking about? They do not seem to be the Blood Brotherhood considering both of them are Caelum not Eastian.
I hear them again.
‘Do we have brothers in Alan?’
The Knight Master shakes his head.
‘Only me. We didn’t expect that the child will grow to be an important person. After all we try so hard to make their life invisible to the eyes of the Church.’
‘Yet, destiny intervenes.’ Claudio said happy
Then he continued
‘When I heard the circumstances of their family, I too thought we should wait but now with the child rise and become a very influential person, a strong enough child, then maybe, just maybe, we can tell the world finally, how cruel the church has lied to the world.
Blinding ignorance and false faith.’ Claudio said, with vehemence and tone of anger in his voice
The Knight Master sighed.
‘Your hate of the Church is showing, dear brother.’
‘You may have a softer heart about the Church, Orval but my hatred are within reason.’
‘This is not the sin of this day church’ the Knight Master said
Claudio smiles a wicked smile
‘Like I said, you have a softer heart for the church. I do not. They have hunted our brothers through the centuries, subjugated women, burned non-believers and intolerant of nonbelievers.
The Child of Light, believed in the right to worship any god or goddesses and respect each other believes.’
‘It was a long time ago. Now, do our brothers hunted, force to live in poverty?’
I peeked at them, my curiosity of what they were talking about lost in translation. They are speaking about something which I do not understand.
‘That is only because we hide so deep into the darkness, shrouded ourselves in secrecy, speaking in symbols and codes. How can they hunt what they believe has disappeared?’
The Knight seems frustrated with Claudio
‘Brother…the church now, is not the same church a thousand years ago.
They promote peace. Harry the Confessor advised the Church during his reign to be tolerant and there is even a time during the reign of George the Wise that the church was forbidden from such savagery.
That church is no longer. And the truth of the Pillars and the great Spear is, and I maintain my faith, is a secret not to be shared with the whole world.
‘To each his own then’
‘To each his own brother.”
Then the tension between them disappeared.
‘So how long will you be here?’
‘Until the war is over and as long as you permit me.’
‘You know my doors are open for you, my brother.’ Claudio said, his arm welcoming
Then they ask each other wellbeing while I left the passage, feeling, that I just heard something important but yet, I understand nothing.
I returned to bed that night with a nagging feeling. Maybe tomorrow I will check the Hall of Literature to understand what they were talking about.
Pillars?
Great Spear?
And I need to think on how to raise my standing here in the Forbidden City.
From what I hear the Princess Ariana has already return to Arakath but from some reliable information from the inner chamber of the Emperor, there are some news that said the Emperor fell in love with the Princess, even though he has already have an Empress.
But of course he dare not do anything because well, that might mean war.
I juggle with the Enochian knife while laying on my bed.
Since the discovery of the passage, I have known a lot of information.
Who fucks who?
Who kills who?
Who plot against who?
Who have an affair?
This and more, embarrassing secret, dangerous secret.
All precious information. All can save me if I’m in a pinch.
But how to use it to increase my standing?
Opps, the knife fell into the side of the bed and the plank under the bed is scratched the wooden plank behind it were slice to two so easily that it surprise me.
Haah, I forget how dangerous this knife is.
Extremely sharp and, very rare.
I look Enochian steel in the library and found out it is highly rare and only belongs to certain people, many who were heroes….and villains.
Maybe I will use the secret of Lord Rakaia to gain a better job position instead of a scribe.
I know of his secret affair with Lady Ingrid, daughter of Lord Doug.
And I know him to be a spineless man.I smiled to myself.
Having a plan make it somehow my future more secured.
******************************************************************************
CHAPTER 45:LET A NEW WORLD BE BORNE
ROCKSTILL
KING ADRIAN
THE CROWN KING OF ALAN
IN HIS CHAMBER
Winter has come.
My least favorite season.
It cuts through my skin and make me feel highly uncomfortable. The letter in my hand, I still hold tightly, deciding or is it hesitating?
The wind blows again and I shivered slightly.
Cold, but not the colds that burns, or winters that never stop.
At least I have to thank God for that.
Snow has collected themselves around the vicinity of the castle when I went for my walk yesterday.
The cold is bearable and even in the comfort of this large castle and the warmth provided by the fireplace, the cold can be felt.
Imagine the troops and soldier who went to the North.
How cold it would be for them?
How horrendous their experience will be?
Oh, how I loathed the winters that comes
I rub my hands together to create warmth. Frosted air force my lungs. I think I’m going to caught a cold.
Since little my body is not that good with the cold. I’m not weak, but I’m not that strong either, which is why when I went out the castle my Knights accompany me.
I’m here on my chamber waiting for the arrival of Silas, my trusted advisor who never fail to give me wise counsel and practical solutions.
But tonight, it is not about policy.
This time it’s personal.
After discussing about the war with my minister in the morning, here at night I summon Silas to the castle to advise me on a matter I deemed as important.
For the past month, the young lord of the Vermont’s have sent me the military report with precise details of what happens, when it happened and what we can gain, what we gain, what we lost and expenses.
The young lord have already said in his last letters that the previous campaign in the South may prove to weaken his family economic hold in the East so now, the armies used joint support of gold from both the Crown and the Vermonts.
With peace settled in the South, the tax collector can resume their job.
It is true what Silas said.
The Vermont’s are loyal.
In one of his letter, the young lord praise me, saying that he is pleased that I was not moved by the slander the people in the Court has imposed on his family and swear he will protect this Kingdom and become my sword and shield.
Though to be honest, I’m quite worry about his military endeavors and his strengthening of military.
An army trained and maintained under one house, loyal only to him, as the sole authority of that House.
Aries, by now, have given all the matters of decision in military matters to his son, who have proved to be very capable of leading men to battle, while his father and his mother supervise the economic side.
A standing army, ready to be called upon in moment’s notice.
If this works then he do not even have to wait for his banner man to come to him.
Not to mention many unlanded sons, who are Knights, with their young blood, who have nowhere else to release their passion in fighting instead of returning to their family home, instead join the army of the dragons.
Though they do have to start from the lowest, it is worth it. With having a pay and their meal taken care of, they readily accept the offer and swear their loyalty to the House.
Suspicious but I decide to have faith
Sometimes I have to take that leap of faith first.
Then the attendants in fronts announce the arrival of Silas.
Quickly I response
‘Enter Silas’
‘Thank you, my liege.’
I was standing welcoming him with open arms.
‘Please sit down Silas and close the door.’
He sits down and his eyes leered to the open envelope.
‘A problem? Bad news?’ He said clearly seeing that I am troubled with something
‘How do you know?’
He smiled a knowing smile. I hate it when he does that. The fact that he can see through me with one glance, his blue eyes scanning me and then he spoke with confidence.
‘Considering you summoned me, with great urgency, to come to the castle, undetected, guarded by elite Knights, I doubt it is good news. After all good news are shared, bad news are whispered.’
I smile bitterly.
Like always. And his words are true. Good news is always shared, but bad news? They are whispers, sometimes not even spoken, fearing the God above misinterprets it a prayer.
‘Wise as always’
He chuckled, though he does looks pleased
‘I do try to be, my liege or I doubt I will be in your grace any longer’
“Well, that is true” I said
“As so”
“Here, please read this”
I handed the letter to him.
The envelope was already opened and he can clearly see the wax seal. A dragon sitting in a mountain.
He looked at me, a glance that seems to say ‘the dragon?’
‘Lord Arial?’ He asked
I nodded.
His face turned serious, undoubtedly believing that this is some secret report or a secret plot or something along that line.
He read it.
I already memorized the letter contents.
From: Lord Arial, Count of Acro, and Regent of Arrandy
To: King Adrian Alan, the First King of Alan, First of His Name, Protector of the Kingdom of Alan.
My troops have gained victory in Berth and we executed Lord Wiltshred.
We are planning to move to Dented Shield to take the castle under your name.
However I need your permission my King of one important charge.
If I met your brother should I let him live?
Or will you exile him?
Or will you let me wroth the vengeance of those who perished in the Bloody Feast. I await your answer in Berth while my men recuperate and prepares our attack to the last bastion of the North.
Sincerely,
Your loyal subject
Arial.
‘So what do you think?’
He put down the letter and sigh a relieved sigh.
‘What do you want my liege?’
I rolled my eyes at him.
‘Why do you always answer my question with another question?’
Silas chuckled a little.
‘Maybe because I want to hear your opinion?’ He said
‘Give me my option Silas.’
He sighed
‘Fine, then I will give you my unreserved opinion.’
‘That is what I expect of you’
“Though I must warn you, truth are not easy, always hard to swallow, sometimes very painful, and most of the time it is never comforting’ he warned
Like always he is dramatic in his behaviour or his speech.
Which might be the reason people are attracted to him, either in my court or the common folk.
Then Silas take a breath before laying my options.
‘For the first option, which you let your brother lives. I will tell you what it might lead to.If you let your brother lives, it would be unwise to say the least.’
‘Why?’
He held up his hand
‘Wait until I’m finished, my liege’
‘Fine’
HE continued
‘If you decided to spare him, out of a misguided sense of brotherhood or familial ties, please do remember, that this man you called your brother, was and still, desires your death, your blood on his hammer, and trust me, if it is him, making this choice, he would not hesitate to choose, to smash your head with his hammer, bathe in your blood, seat on your throne and wear your crown’
‘Still, he is my brother’ I said, though what he said to me make me fearful.
‘Such naivety, my liege will spell doom for you.’
‘You said to trust the good in people’
‘Yes, I did. My liege, contrary to the popular belief, trust does not also means you have to be stupid. In your brother’s mind, there is no you, my liege.’
‘Maybe he does think of me’
Silas nodded
‘If he is thinking, even a shred of familial love, or affection towards his younger brother, he will not crafted such a horrible plan in the Bloody feast.
It is only through your luck and perseverance that you escaped from the onslaught. Kill that man, my liege’
‘What man?’
‘The man that still believes that your family can be saved. It’s not broken my liege, your family. It has melted away, lost in the darkness of the Oblivion, the very moment your brother hardened his heart to kill you and all those lords’
I sighed.
I know what Silas is saying. I know his words rang with truths.
But I still….hope.
Hope that my brother could remember.
That we are a family. We used to be brothers.
That father in High Heaven will weep seeing his sons fighting against each other to the death.
Yet Silas words speaks reason
I could not deny his arguments for it is true.
But still to kill, that of my own blood?
To give the order myself?
I may not be branded Kinslayer, but I might as well have.
‘How about we exile him?’ I asked Silas hoping that he would tell me it’s possible.
That I can prevent giving the order to kill my own brother.
‘HAHAHA’ Silas laugh.
A hearty laugh, he even slapped his hand to his thigh, finding my suggestion to be terribly funny, it seems, and he looked at me suddenly with such intense eyes
‘Do you wish to kill yourself my liege? Why not drink poisoned wine or jumped from the tallest tower in this castle?’ he said
And his word shocked me
‘Kill myself?’
‘Certainly. It is plain obvious to me, that you wish to end your life or perhaps the world has no pleasure to give you anymore?’ He asked his smile crooked as ever
‘The world still has pleasures for me to discover. And I never meant to kill myself, and I refused adamantly, to your suggestion, of drinking poisoned wine, or jumping from the castle tower.
I meant to exile him, to a faraway land, where he will be of no danger to anyone else’
Silas shakes his head
‘To exile him, means to kill yourself.’
‘How so?’
‘Imagine my liege. Many of the lords under you right now, followed your banner, fight for you, risk their life for you some because of honour, others because of vengeance.
Their friends, families die in the Feast, and they want to settle that blood debt.
Imagine how they will response when they find out the killer of their family, and their friends, is safe and well in a distant lands far from their reaches. What do you think they would feel? Would they still fight for you? Risk their life for you? Raise their banner for you?
Even though they spoke the words, know this, words are winds.
Then….they will direct their hatred towards you and they will come by the thousand to unseat you from the throne.’
‘Are you sure?’
He nodded
“Nothing is certain, my liege. Only probability’
The he spoke again
‘Not to mention there is the matter of the throne. As long as your brother is alive, he can claim as one of the claimant of the throne.
Will you suffer that?
What if Dostov decided that they can do more for Alderam or suddenly the Emperor of Vern find you to be the most unprofitable partner to expand his influence to the rest of the Continent?
Will they not, then throw their support to your brother? What will you do then?’
I sighed, hard and deep
‘Then from the beginning, I have only one choice’ I said finally realizing the point Silas is making
Silas nodded
‘Yes, my liege. And I think you know it the moment you read the letter.’
It is hard to admit but Silas is right.
The moment I read the letters I already know what my orders should be but I hesitated, because he is my brother, my only family, that of my own blood, my older brother.
Silas looked at my face and he too must have realized what I’ve been feeling.
He nodded in understanding. This game is cruel, like it meant to be. Who would even want to be King, if this is the life I have to expect?
Or am I not strong enough for this heavy crown or the dangerous throne.
Then Silas speak.
‘You were….afraid. He is your family, Your last living relative, blood brothers. You want assurance, confirmation. You continue to doubt your decision, my liege and that is unbecoming of a great King.’
I show him a tired smile
‘In the fairy tale, the old tales, and poems, the Kings live like Gods, serve by a hundred maids, feast and song fill their court, people love him, the nobles obey him, the ultimate authority and power, from the earth to the sky above.
Yet, I sit on the throne every day, yet I felt such dread and fear every time I sit on the throne and when I wear the golden crown and administer my court
Will this be my last day? I asked myself
Are there people plotting against me today? I asked myself again
Will the nobles hear my orders? Fear takes a hold of me, when I sit in that throne and wear the golden crown
Why is my life not happy like the fairy tale of old?’
‘My liege,that is why it is called a fairy tale, old tales, and poems.’
I looked at him, waiting for his words, comforting words, consoling words.
‘Heed my words, my liege. There is never a King who underestimates the power of the throne and ended up well. You should fear the throne. Your words affect lives.
It is like a sword is hanged on the ceiling, with a thin thread that can fall anytime, and you, my liege is under it’
I looked at him.
A wise advisor and apparently he never even spare me from the truth, not a consoling word, or comforting words. He laid the truth for me and it strikes my heart with uneasiness.
‘Sometimes I wish you lie to me Silas. Your words fear me.’
‘Lies my liege?’ and he chuckled again.
‘Do you rather trade the truth for beautiful lies?’
‘Maybe. Is it so bad?’
‘To be strong truth is the only path. Truth or lies? Which is heavier? Which one took the most strength to carry around? Which one,my liege?’
‘The truth obviously’
‘And there lies your answer’
‘Isn’t there any other way? Phrase your truth in a more beautiful way, in a way that would not make me uneasy.’
Silas shakes his head
‘You wish to become a strong King. I wished there was an easier way but there isn’t my liege. Pain drives us, teaches us, motivates us and sometimes saves us. For without pain, there can be no great pleasure.
Without great sadness, there can be no great happiness. Without sorrowful misery there can be no true beauty.
And pain mostly and usually came from the truth, like it always is. Lies are fundamentally different. Lies are beautiful. We cannot, but not be tempted.
We love them for it tells us what we want to hear, a song in our ear, their siren calls captivated us mind and soul, if we believed in it.
The nature of lies as it has always been, is to please, to soothe, to comfort. Truth, on the other hand, are painful, and have no regard to anyone comfort.
It can shatter worlds or build a new one. Great and extraordinary courage is needed to hear the truth while lies require nothing big or small.’
He said, clearly passionate.
‘How heavy will the truth I have to bear then, Silas? I’m the King. So does my burden heavy? Or light? A burden of a large rock or a burden of a mountain?’ I said, depress.
He was right, like he always is.
Truths are hard, hard to hear, hard to listen.
‘Heavier or not, the truth is yours now, as the King and protector, truth will guide you path, though thorny, it will, someday, if you believe and persevere, one day, the truth you will hear, will be good news, untainted by lies.
‘Then, my orders?’ I said my eyes glancing to the letter with the dragon seal.
‘Let the dragons wroth their flames and sunk it’s claws to your brother. Let the lords have their vengeance. Let them end this war so you may rule.
Victory is but a step away my liege. Give your order, send the letters, and let a new world be borne.’
‘So it shall be’ I said
And I sit down at the table while Silas looked at me as I called the servants to bring me paper and began writing in the letter.
And I end my letter with “ Let a new world be borne”
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 46:HER SIDE
OUTSIDE, FAR FROM DENTED SHIELD
WAR CAMP
LISA
He still looks brave and commanding. That is my thought of him, looking at him during the battle, slashing and defending his army from the assault of the enemies.
Even now, when he was just finished repelling the enemy troop’s assault send by Alderam he is still energetic, already planning the next move while still waiting on the King letters.
He can just went and attack Dented Shield if he wanted but that would show disrespect. Now I returned to my tent and start replenishing my parched throat
I also washed myself from the blood of the Shield forces
In this past few weeks the attitude by the nobles and Knights have changed for the better. They seem a bit more accepting towards me.
It is weird that a woman needs to prove her mettle more than a man to be accepted. Such is the way of the world, Helia once told me.
Arial on the other hand always say to me, It doesn’t have to be like that. A new world can emerge, a better world, a kinder world. He is always like that.
A visionary
‘Hey’
Someone greets me in my camp
I turned around and look
‘Hey, West’
He smile at me, a smile like he knows something.
His blond hair blown by the winter wind. And I must admit this, he may not look like Arial but to deny his good looks would be a lie.
And he proves to be a very capable Knight, calm and collected and above all honourable. Not that I didn’t know this, considering I did go to the Academy with him.
But his face is full of smiles now compared when he is at the battlefield where most of his interaction is more of yelling, grunt, screaming and at times expressionless.
Well, war does thing to men.
This brief respite from the battle is intended to rest our body and replenishes our mind. But, I imagine the pressure it will have on Arial.
How do he do this, never stopping, the responsibilities he bears, that he seems reluctant to give up, not to his closest friends or his own fiancé.
He is determined to bear it himself.
‘Hey’ West calls out to me again
‘Wandering?’ He asked
‘A little bit’
‘Why do you come here West?
‘Just checking up on you’ and he smiles
A smile like he knows some secret
And then he chuckled. He came here for another reason
‘Alright, tell me, now the real reason why you come here I know it’s not because we’re best friends because even in the academy we’re not that close. We’re more like enemies. The 4 Greats and the 4 Lions’
‘What makes you think like that? During even our time in the academy, I never treat you like an enemy. My lady, I am hurt to be accused in such manner.’ He said mocking me with his hurt expression while grinning at me
I chuckled slightly
‘I’m no lady and I don’t think you are hurt’
‘Yes you are a lady and true I am not hurt. More like pricked, really. Still to have such an opinion of me just shows your prejudice towards me during our time in the Academy is not amiable.’
I sighed
‘Fine. Will you tell me why you’re doing here Ser West?’
Then without invitation or asking anything he sits down in one of the chair in my tent
‘Can I ask you one thing?’
‘Please ask?’
‘You like Arial, aren’t you?’ he said and his smile turns to a grin.
‘Pardon?’
‘You like him, aren’t you? A one sided love from the looks of it. Just your heart. A one sided love with your friends bethrothed’
I am shocked of course.
So shocked that I drop my glass
He chuckled
This is a side of West I never knew. Is he blackmailing me? I don’t think anyone knew this West
My face becomes livid while West just grins at me.
‘That is enough. Your livid expression just answers my question.’ He said smiling a satisfied look, like he got what he came for.
Then he leaves the tent whistling a tune.
‘What? Hey! Wait!’
What do I do! What do I do!
******************************************************************************
‘What is it today?’ I asked, entering his tent.
Like the day before and the day before. From what he said, a month is our agreement. I’m at his beck and call.
‘Help me find a map. Look around the boxes and if it’s not there around the supply package. I seem to misplaced it’
With a grumble, I spread around his tent searching for the map, all the while complaining.
Yesterday the intelligence division has given us the map for this terrain. And unfortunately I was assigned together with this man, again, per his request.
For some reason he likes to do work with me. Some people have even whispered that West is trying to court me.
But I know better.
Per our agreement he would not tell Arial, of my feelings, but in exchange I must follow his order.
He promise never to do anything that would compromise my honor.
Seems good right?
But still it is still torturous. He treats me like a maid. Fetch his water; fetch his map bringing me everywhere, whenever he wanted. I still don’t know what his endgame is.
I never understand what is on his mind.
But feelings for me?
I laughed to myself. He and me?
We’ll make the worst pair.
And from what I know and heard, he came from one of the oldest family of nobility in the Kingdom while I am a daughter of an upstart lord.
The difference in status is high. SO I know he is just found this to be fun.
I searched around his box and found it slit around the crevice of the box, hidden from plain sight
‘Here it is’
‘Bring it here.’
I handed the map to him.
Then he laid the map at the table and studied it
I was about to leave when he said slowly but can clearly be heard
‘Where do you think you are going?’
I looked at him and sighed
‘Again.I have to wait again?’
He handed me a book
A Lady Etiquette And Nobles Behavior
“Read this while waiting”
‘Fine!’
This time it’s this.
Every time I waited on him, he would give me a book about something, mostly about the nobility and manners and then I have to wait on him until he is done.
I open the book and sit on the chair. An hour later he is still looking at the map, though this time he is marking something
I felt something weird.
I looked at him
Wait, did he just glance at me?
I shake my head.
Impossible
Then he rises from his chair.
‘It’s alright now. I have to meet someone’ and he rushed out the tent
‘Wait, wait Why so sudd-‘
And he already got out
Once again without a clear cut answer he ran. How many weeks before this war is over?
I was left in the tent with the books on my left hand, flustered and embarrassed.
I threw the book on the ground
What Lion!
He is more like a weasel, cunning.
I heard Arial, Helia and even my brother praise his honour, all saying good things but if they knew the real West I don’t think they will utter a word of praise.
To be fair, he never did let me do anything dangerous but still, I felt like he is out to embarrass me holding into my secret.
And I have no choice but to follow. I picked back the book up. He surely is going to test me. He did that with last week book.
And because I fail, he hinted to my brother that I am in love with Arial. Thankfully, my brother brain is a dull rock and he doesn’t get it, but I was afraid all the same and that mischievous smile of his.
‘A’ah’ I yelled in the tent
‘I’VE NEVER MEET SOMEONE LIKE YOU WEST! IF NOT BECAUSE YOU KNOW MY SECRET I WOULD STRIKE YOU WITH MY SWORD’
‘Humph’ I shrugged
I will endure this.
Then I go to his table and write him a note.
Most of it is curse words, while I alleviate my stress with him. Then seeing that he still did not return I use my knapsack and push everything into my knapsack
If he found all this curse words written to him, would he get angry?
Crazy?
Hehehehe, I chuckled
******************************************************************************
HELIA TENT
I am resting in Helia tent while Helia tell me about Arial stubbornness of not sharing. Not surprising. Since Arial was a child, he rarely shares anything about his feeling.
My brother and I know better than to ask him, so we only follow his lead most of the times.
Helia feels that Arial is hiding something from her, but she is not sure if it’s that just her worries talking or soemthng else.
But she talk about it with me.
I know sometimes Arial can be frustrating. Maybe because of his forceful personality makes him a great lord and a military commander but sometimes a normal person might not understand his ways.
If he were born and his father did not become a High Lord, if he join an army for example, his vision and his way might not be accepted by the nobles, and at best he can be their infantry but not higher.
But because he is the son of a High Lord, he can use his influence coupled with his tactical brilliance and his own mobility to move as he wanted in the battlefield, unhindered with his strength. Helia is also talking about her wedding plans.
She is anticipating the wedding in two year.
‘May I come in my lady?’
A voice greeted us from outside
I looked at Helia.
‘Did you make arrangement with Arial?’
Helia shakes her head
‘No’
‘Who is it?’ Helia yelled
‘It’s West Palais my lady’
‘Oh?’ Helia looked at me
‘West?’ And Helia smiles a naughty smile
‘He comes here to see you, right?’
‘No, wait!’
‘I heard the rumours. Is it true then?’ Helia said, her eyes brightened.
‘Enter, Ser West’ Helia said inviting him to come inside
‘No! Why did you do that!’ I said almost yelling at her
West enter and his face looked…..angry
Helia leave the tent while flashing me her most polite smile which I know is just her way of saying “you got caught”
She must be rushing to Arial tent, telling him this news. The one thing I don’t want her to do.
‘Did you see my notes?’ I said. Maybe I left my notes and he saw it and become angry. It is a harmless joke.
‘Did you take my book?’
‘Book? What book?’
‘A book is something that you either write something in it or something you read. A book’
‘I know what a book is’
‘Then why ask?’
‘Are you saying that you came here, angry as hell, because of books?’
Nobles and their weird priority
‘Is it that important?’
‘TO ME IT’S IMPORTANT’
Then he scanned around the tent and his eyes narrowed to my knapsack
I followed his eyes
‘Are you-You are suspecting me of thievery?’
My heart is in anger. To be called a thief. And by this man!
I took the knapsack
‘Here look at it!’ as I dumped all the contents of the knapsack at onto the ground.
Then, there is some necklace, some roasted beef, and then the notes and then with a thump a book fell, a small book that can fit a pocket.
I looked at the book, transfixed while West looked at me his expression was one of boredness.
‘Hmm’ he said
‘That….how…why…is that here?’ I said stuttering
‘I did’nt….do that on purpose’ I said, my anger doused with cold water
West on the other hand, looked amused by this situation
‘Wait, I’ll explain it to you. Just wait outside while I settle this mess,’ I said while sloppily, thrashing back the stuff into the knapsack and West went outside.
Then I went outside, expecting to see West but he has already disappeared.
Beside the tent is a note stick on the tent curtain, I’ll meet you tomorrow, cute little thief
******************************************************************************IN THE NEARBY CITY
NORTH PLATE
RESTAURANTS
‘When will this be over?’
I said while drinking the wine. With Arial decides to occupy the cities many of the Knight was given a place to stay around the city
Tonight West ask me to follow him to eat a restaurant.
‘You do know that you have to pay for this meal right?’ he said gesturing to his meal, one of the expensive sirloin steaks in this restaurant
I rolled my eyes
‘Why do you look at me like that?’
‘Can I ask you something?’
‘Ask away’
‘Why do you do this? Is it because our rivalry when we are at school or is it something else? Do you hate me because I’m a woman in the troops? Is that it?
He looked at me while I spoke of this
And then he laughed
‘Is that your opinion of me my lady? Forgive me if my act looked disrespectful, it is not my intent---alright I admit it.
It is my intention but not for any of the accusation you have laid on me, that is for sure. What governed my behavior is not that of wanting to settle old score or because of your gender. It is something else entirely
This is the only way I could think to meet you. You are, surprisingly hard to reach, prone to your temper, and hardly accept invitation.’
‘What do you mean?’ I said suddenly my anger turns to curiosity
‘You see, my lady, I fell for you at first sight’
Suddenly my curiosity turns to anger again
I know he tries to court Helia during our time in the Academy.
Love at first sight.
That is a lie. But what is weirder, is that I’m angry at him for that.
‘You jest, West, like you always do.’ Spending many weeks with him, I could not help but think he is jesting with me.
West is still smiling
‘Then, what if I tell you my lady, that every time I see you, I couldn’t help but fall for you’
He said it, but I could only believe he is jesting, with that grin of his.
‘Hey!’ I said almost yelling
‘Why do you like Lord Arial?’ he suddenly said and I got tongue tied.
There is a silence between us while he waits for me to answer his question
I looked at him and answer him
‘I do not know why you want to know, or why I even have to explain it to you but here it is. Actually, Ser West, I’ve never actually know why I fell in love with him. Maybe it’s because I am familiar with him.
Maybe it was because he has these qualities about him or maybe I like the way I am when I’m with him. The feeling I’m a part of something important.
Since he was little, and I saw this Ser West, he has vision himself as someone important, marked himself, I daresay and since that day, I could not help but want to follow him, and maybe that is why.
Or maybe…none of that. And since then, when I met him, my love increases and increase and so does the pain but maybe I’m addicted to the pain by now.
Now even if I don’t see him in the morning, I will dream of him in the night.’
‘Hah’he sighed
‘Then it seems you have a difficult decision. Either bury your feeling, find someone else or cheat with your friend fiancé’
‘Ser West, my love is my affairs to settle. It matches my attitude and I’m used to it.’
‘Even though it’s painful?’
‘A pain that I have learned to live with’
Then West just looked at me, his eyes…was it pity, sympathy or was it an understanding
‘And this is a request for my brothers and even my friend believed you to be an honorable person.Please keep this secret for me.’
He looked at me again, his expression unreadable
‘Thanks for the wine and the steak’ he said and he rise from his chair.
And he went out of the restaurant and I could hear the galloping of the horse. He must have ride to the main camp outside the city.
I was left confused.
Is this the end?
Do I not have to do his bidding anymore?
CHAPTER 47: HIS SIDE
The first time I met her was at the academy.
I was sent to learn about chivalry, even though I was poised to rule but stories of knights and their chivalric quest has always captivated me so with my father permission I went to the Academy, determine to learn and make new friends for life in the castle can be a bit stifling.
And ruling can be a burden, a heavy burden, a burden I knew that one day I have to take up, and rule the family as its head.
But for now, I like to become a Knight
The first day I arrived I search for Helia. Not because there is love but because it is the right thing to do.
I was too young to felt love nor that we have developed any feelings to each other.
It was because father and I know he meant it in the pure, noblest intention to unite our Houses of Zephyr and Palais.
But that doesn’t mean I have to like the arrangement but still, propriety and honour must be upheld.
She is my betrothed, at least that I what my father told me. And as such, even though I felt no love for her, honour compels me to treats her like the lady she is.
In the first banquet that night I invite her to seat with us. Harald was there, Arago and Reval but she didn’t look pleased. It was more like being with me annoys her.
I heard the stories of course, how she ran from her home, protesting the marriage, and I can sympathize with her feelings which is why I invite her but it seems only to incense her more.
The banquet itself is not that big, mostly because not that many students arrive here yet. Then after a few minutes, Harald began talking about some rude comments about the common folk but I held my tongue for he is my lord.
But that doesn’t mean I like it.
But Helia seems disgusted with it and instead she went to another table. She held out her hand to some boy with a white hair accompanied by a girl and a boy.
I looked at them. And something attracts me. Not the boy beside the white hair boy, neither the white hair boy itself, nor it was Helia.
But what attracts me was the girl.
Her blonde hair glistened like gold, her blue eyes bewitching. For the first time in my life, my heart beats so fast.
What is this? I asked myself.
Then there is some speech by Knight Master Orval, yet my eyes always glance to her direction.
Instead of watching over Helia, I found myself staring at the girl who always positions herself around the white hair boy. I was Chosen to Golden Lions while the girl was chosen to Fierce Dragons, so is Helia.
I learn that her name is Lisa Lethe. I shakes my head when I know and realize that things would never work with us.
Not that it can.
I’m betrothed.
To court someone else, not to mention her family background, though it did not bother me, it will damage my family name and I couldn’t do that to my father honour, my family honour.
So I did nothing. And it was the hardest things to do.
Days passed.
I learned from the other recruits that Lisa and even Helia has gone in a hard difficulty quest. Harald was furious, saying they are showing off. And surely they die from the attempt.
And then we met them at the Hall where Harald approach Arial, a man that seems to be entirely calm and for some reason I felt he is hiding his true nature.
“Don’t you think that’s just showing off?” Harald said his tone sarcastic to Arial while sitting beside him
I shut my mouth but I too felt furious but not at Arial.
To Harald.
This is unhonourable and unbecoming of a noble to wish harm to other fellow nobles and not to mention to a fellow Knight.
Arago,Reval the lackeys of Harald just laugh and snickers and Avil who is giggling with no signs of stopping.
Kyle and Lisa just looks down and does not dare say anything.
And my heart burns. Looking at Lisa like that oddly make me want to shred Harald right there and then.
Arial pushed Harald of the seat and he crashed to the Purple Fairy table.
He was shocked of course.
His lackeys laugh quieted.
Arago brow just creases slightly and his expression was like he saw something amusing.
I could not help but smiles slightly
And then Arial challenged him but Harald did not even dare to do anything. So the matter just concluded.
Then Helia , Lisa and the companion of Arial all went to solve the quest.
I prayed for all of them to come home save while Harald is betting on how they will die. But they return. And they return with glory
Killing many notorious criminals, saving innocent lives, in one night they became Under Marshall and the hero of the Academy.
Harald was frustrated while I was in joy seeing they all came back safe. There is nothing like a good ending to a quest.
I want it to that kind of adventure, a chivalric quest of my own.
And there is also the matter with Helia. She obviously is not in love with me but father insist that I try to court her.
So, I try but she did not respond.
But the fault is not hers alone. How can I court her with all the attention she deserves when my own heart pines for another?
So day’s turns to weeks, weeks turns to month, months turned to years.
And then my feeling was buried so deep, so cleverly hidden there is not even a hint that could make anyone realize how much my love grows for the cute little girl named Lisa.
I stared at her longingly.
Pretending I don’t know my own feeling.
Pretending it’s not true.
Pretending I didn’t see her.
Pretending that seeing her everyday lessen my love for her.
I long for her. For her embrace.
And since, I’m unable to say that three little words, every time she turn her back and leave I can only look at her longingly.
Pretending, denying love makes a man heart hard in the inside, his heart stopped beating, and the beauty of the world never truly opens, his life never truly complete my mother once said.
I admire not only her beauty but her fire, her burning passion for good her strength to fight evil.
I would not deny that she is cunning, but she always do the right thing and her bravery and courage of standing up what she believes tantalize me.
In the poem of Levitia and Leliana, aren’t the brave and the virtuous princess kill the dragon without Levitia help?
She was like that to me.
The young, beautiful virtuous princess covered in mud, yet so beautiful like a diamond. I also notice she has quite the temper.
That only makes her more…..complex. A challenge. And who would not like a challenge. Only cowards.
I also notice she always hang out with Helia, Arial and her brothers.
All good companion, strong companion, so my one sided love, my unrequited love, though I am worried about her, doing many dangerous quest I can pu my heart at ease because the choice of her companions.
Of course I’m not the only one who likes her but when her father becomes a part of the nobility many marriage proposals came for her yet she rejected every one. No one knows why. And she is hard to approach. She is finally known as the 4 Greats while me and Harald and our companion is dubbed the 4 Lions. I always choose Helia to fight me, because I could not bear to hurt her.
Years passed and still I can never muster the courage to tell her my feelings. The chance never came.
And then the war began
*****************************************************************************
A few years later finally I’m stationed in the very same unit with Lisa.
And my love blooms again, like it never before and this time it’s different.
I no longer have to worry about my heart for I’m no longer betrothed and my House is not the one that would care for background right now.
I no longer have the chains that bind me before chain me again. But still my shyness is hard to overcome. But I know something must change, now that I’m given this chance.
Today is the war council after the battle helping Lord Summersill.
‘My lord’ Ser Hugh said his voice seemed displeased
‘This is not well for a girl to meddle in the work of a man’
Lisa looked at him and snorted.
‘Got something to say ugly head. Let’s take it outside and let see who is the girl here!’ Lisa said ferociously ‘I am Knight Sister of Order of Knight of Alan. Better than you retard’
Some of the Lords just shake their heads looking at Lisa behaviour. Though Ser Hugh looks like he is hurt by the barrage of words that Lisa uttered. That is not the way for a lady to speak or to get their point across. By behaving like that it will only reinforce the opinion of the lords.
I of course understand the point that Lisa is trying to make.
I see her battles and her fights before so there is no problem with her capability.
But lashing out verbal attack won’t give her any recognition. I learn that in the court of my father.
Sometimes beautifully crafted words are more persuasive than words that came from an angry hearts.
‘My lady, I did not wis-‘ Ser Hugh tries to calm Lisa. I think this Ser Hugh has a crush on Lisa.
‘Oh, shut up!’ Lisa said her eyes were feral like she want to kill the Knight right there. That fire in her eyes. She is still the same. And to meet her gain, is a God given chance.
Then another lord raise the same concern. I could not interfere because I’m not yet a part of te main army though Arial promise me in the next battle if I do my job right,I will be promoted to the main army.
Then HElia tries to defend Lisa
‘Enough!’ And the bickering stopped. Arial seems like he couldn’t take it anymore.
‘Do you doubt my choice?’ he said, histone threatening
Some of the lord shrinked back looking at each other.
Then Lord Paris spoke
‘My lord we did not ask this to anger you, only to advise you but to bring a lady,’ and he looked at Helia, ‘a lady of questionable birth to join our expedition is a little, you know….’
‘Oh do I now? Are you also insulting my family, Lord Paris?’
Ingenious. I looked at Arial.
‘No.No,No my lord I mean no such thing’
‘Then it’s better to keep your mouth shut don’t it?I will hear no more word about this. All I care is whether you can fight in battle. A woman or a man, I care not of these things. If she proved useless in battle I will remove her from the battlefield but the same apply to you.Do I make myself clear!’
‘Yes my lord’ they all said in unison and me too.
******************************************************************************
The battle of North fort was long and arduous but we made it and now I finally understand why Lisa rejects all the wedding proposals.
It seems she has already have someone in her heart. I could not help but notice how worried she is about Lord Arial, or how she looked at him, or the way she says his name.
In all probability she likes him. I could see it during the attack. While my eyes darted at her, her eyes only watch Lord Arial back, watching it with the same face and expression I have when I longed for her.
And then I wished and for the first time I see a chance. So, she doesn’t like me…That’s alright. That is because she doesn’t know me yet.
I enter her tent. I could see she is drinking from the goblet. She must be thirsty
‘Hey’
She turned around and look
‘Hey, West’
Seeing her, and for the first time in a long time, having the courage to do something about my feeling, make me smile all of a sudden. Though I know what I’m about to do, is not quite honourable.
The winter wind passes by me. She looks like her mind is wandering. What is she thinking about? Arial?
‘Hey. Wandering?’ I asked
‘A little bit’ she reply
‘Why do you come here West?’
‘Just checking up on you’ and he smiles
‘Alright, tell me, now the real reason why you come here I know it’s not because we’re best friends because even in the academy we’re not that close. We’re more like enemies. The 4 Greats and the 4 Lions’
I was shocked to hear this. While it’s true in the Academy we are not close, but I never once thought of her as an enemy.
‘What makes you think like that? During even our time in the academy, I never treat you like an enemy. My lady, I am hurt to be accused in such manner.’ And I grin a little. At least she remember me
I chuckled slightly
‘I’m no lady and I don’t think you are hurt’
‘Yes you are a lady and true I am not hurt. More like pricked, really. Still to have such an opinion of me just shows your prejudice towards me during our time in the Academy is not amiable.’
‘Fine. Will you tell me why you’re doing here Ser West?’
Then I sit down in of the chair in her tent
‘Can I ask you one thing?’
‘Please ask?’
‘You like Arial, aren’t you?’
‘Pardon?’she asked though her face turned pale.
‘You like him, aren’t you? A one sided love from the looks of it. Just your heart. A one sided love with your friends betrothed’
She was so shocked that she dropped her glass.
‘That is enough. Your livid expression just answers my question.’ I leaves the tent feeling satisfied while whistling a tune.
At least now I can meet her under the pretext of her secret.
Cowardly?
Yes, but not many people can be brave when faced with love. Death is undoubtedly easier. Love on the other hand is more, if not, more terrifying than death
‘What? Hey! Wait!’
She yelled but still I go
******************************************************************************
‘What is it today?’ she asked, entering my tent.
‘Help me find a map. Look around the boxes and if it’s not there around the supply package. I seem to misplaced it’
With a grumble, she spread around my tent searching for the map, all the while complaining. She looks cute like that. I also heard the rumours around the camp that I’m trying to court her. Well, they are not wrong.
‘Here it is’ she yelled showing me the map
‘Bring it here.’
She handed the map to me.
Then I laid the map at the table and studied it
She was about to leave. No. That can’t do. I still want her to be here.
‘Where do you think you are going?’ I said
‘Again.I have to wait again?’
I handed her a book.A Lady Etiquette And Nobles Behavior
“Read this while waiting” I said
‘Fine!’
Before and even now, the most mesmerizing thing about her, is this. How does she look this beautiful even when she’s angry?
It’s not that I want her to be my maid. It’s more like I want her to be close to me. Every day, even in this time of war, my heart blooms with happiness.
This is the longest we talk, ever. And this book that every day I give her to read, serve to enrich her dealings with the other nobles.
I know the opposition of the nobles about her presence in the camp. I hope by reading this, she learn the art of persuasion and compromising.
Maybe the way I do it, may be misconstrued as ordering her around but right now I don’t care.
She opens the book and read intently.
I chuckled a bit.
In the beginning she hates it but this time she looks more accepting the idea. Even her behaviour is more graceful these days.
I couldn’t help but stare at her, the way her hair fall from her shoulders, or the way her lips puckered up when she encountered some difficult words.
For the first time, I think someone reading a book looks sensuous.
She looked back at me and I quickly lower my gaze.
Hope she didn’t caught that.
Then I noticed some blind spot for our army.I need to tell Lord Henry this.
‘It’s alright now. I have to meet someone’ I said t her.Today our time is short but later I will bring her to a restaurant. Maybe a week later.
‘Wait, wait Why so sudd-‘
‘A’AHHHHH’ For some reason I could hear a yell from my tent. I chuckled to myself. She must feel a little frustrated.
A few hours later I returned and I was about to rest when I realized my diaries is missing.
Oh God!
First I searched the tent but it yields no results. In it I wrote poem for Lisa.
Then I remember the last person in this tent is Lisa. I even see some notes on the grounds. Probably, and I was hoping so, that Lisa accidentally took it.
I quickly rushed to her tent but some soldiers say that she is in Helia tent. I quickly rush there.
******************************************************************************
HELIA TENT
‘May I come in my lady?’ I greet from outside the tent
‘Who is it?’ Helia it seems.
‘It’s West Palais my lady’
‘Enter, Ser West’ Helia said inviting me to come inside
I enter looking nervous. Hope she didn’t see it yet
Helia leave the tent
‘Did you see my notes?’ Lisa said.
‘Did you take my book?’ I asked
‘Book? What book?’
‘A book is something that you either write something in it or something you read. A book’
‘I know what a book is’
‘Then why ask?’
‘Are you saying that you came here, angry as hell, because of books?’
Well, not the book. The content is important
‘Is it that important?’
‘TO ME IT’S IMPORTANT’
Then Ie scanned around the tent and my eyes narrowed to my knapsack
‘Are you-You are suspecting me of thievery?’ Lisa said to me angry
She took the knapsack
‘Here look at it!’ as she dumped all the contents of the knapsack at onto the ground.
Then, there is some necklace, some roasted beef, and then the notes and then with a thump a book fell, a small book that can fit a pocket.
I looked at her
‘Hmm’ I said
‘That….how…why…is that here?’ she said stuttering
‘I did’nt….do that on purpose’ she said, flustered
‘Wait, I’ll explain it to you. Just wait outside while I settle this mess,’ she said while sloppily, thrashing back the stuff into the knapsack and I went outside.
Maybe we should meet tomorrow seeing the other troops leer and gaze. I left her a note and with a smile I left the tent.
******************************************************************************IN THE NEARBY CITY
NORTH PLATE
RESTAURANTS
‘When will this be over?’
‘You do know that you have to pay for this meal right?’ I said gesturing to my meal, one of the expensive sirloin steaks in this restaurant
She rolled her eyes
‘Why do you look at me like that?’ I said seeing her rolled her eyes. Then she ask me.
‘Can I ask you something?’
‘Ask away’
‘Why do you do this? Is it because our rivalry when we are at school or is it something else? Do you hate me because I’m a woman in the troops? Is that it?
I laughed
‘Is that your opinion of me my lady? Forgive me if my act looked disrespectful, it is not my intent---alright I admit it.
It is my intention but not for any of the accusation you have laid on me, that is for sure. What governed my behavior is not that of wanting to settle old score or because of your gender. It is something else entirely’
This needs to honest
‘This is the only way I could think to meet you. You are, surprisingly hard to reach, prone to your temper, and hardly accept invitation.’
‘What do you mean?’ she said
‘You see, my lady, I fell for you at first sight’ I hope she understand
Suddenly her face shows anger
‘You jest, West, like you always do.’
I smile a bitter smile. A jest huh?
‘Then, what if I tell you my lady, that every time I see you, I couldn’t help but fall for you’
‘Hey!’ she said almost yelling
‘Why do you like Lord Arial?’ I suddenly ask curious what did he have that I don’t have
There is a silence between us while I waits for her to answer my question
‘I do not know why you want to know, or why I even have to explain it to you but here it is. Actually, Ser West, I’ve never actually know why I fell in love with him. Maybe it’s because I am familiar with him. Maybe it was because he has these qualities about him or maybe I like the way I am when I’m with him. The feeling I’m a part of something important. Since he was little, and I saw this Ser West, he has vision himself as someone important, marked himself, I daresay and since that day, I could not help but want to follow him, and maybe that is why. Or maybe…none of that. And since then, when I met him, my love increases and increase and so does the pain but maybe I’m addicted to the pain by now. Now even if I don’t see him in the morning, I will dream of him in the night.’
‘Hah’I sighed. Such passionate love but like me she too share the same weakness. She lacks courage like me.
She dreams of great love but she’s too afraid. Like me. Eerily similar like me.
An advice need to be given
‘Then it seems you have a difficult decision. Either bury your feeling, find someone else or cheat with your friend fiancé’
‘Ser West, my love is my affairs to settle. It matches my attitude and I’m used to it.’
Stubborn. I smile a little. One of her qualities that make me fall for her.
‘Even though it’s painful?’
‘A pain that I have learned to live with’ she said defiantly
‘And this is a request, for my brother and even my friend believed you to be an honorable person. Please keep this secret for me.’
I looked at her. I can say it. And I look at her again but the words did not come out
I can’t, I….too lack in courage.
Someday, someday, when I conquer my fear, I will tell all, but not now. Now I need to tend my pain. It’s not easy to sit and listen calm when the woman you love reveal her love to another person.
‘Thanks for the wine and the steak’ I said
The pain is unbearable and almost suffocates me.
She doesn’t like me?
What do I do? How can I make her fell in love with me?
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 48: JOSEPHITE REBELLION
HARALD ALAN
DOSTOV
HOUSE OF ANCONA
LANNOVER
1014 LIGHTMONTH
I’m here in Dostov with my mother.
My father sent me here when the dragon forces break ground in the North. More like hidden us here, far from the reaches of the dragon.
Arial.
My rival in school and now he is marching to the North to fight my father. Who would have thought that we have such bad blood?
And to think he is the one leading the army.
My heart is furious but my father ask me to protect mother so here we are in Dostov in the House of Ancona territory
We are living near Lake Canter one of the largest lake in the continent.
While my father is trying to repelling the attacks by the dragon forces in Alan, here in Dostov they are a civil war brewing for many years and this year it has broken out.
Unrest everywhere, plots spoken in hush tones, and alliance created and broken. No matter where we go, it seems there would be no peaceful life for us.
And here?
A rebellion
The Josephite Rebellion.
They are the supporters of King Joseph III of Dostov.
King Joseph I ruled Dostov from 870 to 890 from the ruling House of Sable but because he was a Vern Lucelian he was replaced by House Quinn.
Those who continued to support the exiled King Joseph I and his heir became known as Josephites
The House Quinn began creating their own dynasty vowing their dynasty would last.
While the deposed King vowed to return and take back his throne.
The Josephites were opposed by Terrisemites or Terrisite, people of Anglais who supported the Cori Lucelian cause and would not tolerate a Vern Lucellian Kingdom.
There are many battles fought but this year the battles flared up again.
Joseph II once led an army to Dostov from Bardent but it was quickly quelled. And many Loths died that days which make the most of Josephite suppporters.
And House Ancona for better or worse is a supporter of the Josephite cause. Though before our support is secret.
Even my mother didn’t know.
If not for recent event, then my mother would never have known. This must be grandfather plan when he decided to back my father to become the sole power in Alan.
To help him restore the line of Kings under House Sable.
The glorious revolution began. I am a native of Alan, the race of Caelum but in Dostov there are many races.
There are the Anglais, the Raxons, the Loths and many and many more. Those who intermarried with other native inhabitants whose blood is not pure Caelum.
To my eyes the complex web of religious and political loyalties which underpinned Josephitism can seem alien and unsympathetic.
Which is why I’m reading the book right now, because it matters to my mother side that I know of their history and what at stake here.
The whole movement might be said to span the decade from the deposition of Joseph I
A Lucellian faith but his faith was of Vern doctrine, Joseph I decided that by promoting edicts of religious tolerance, he would be able to surreptitiously re-establish Lucellian Orthodox as the official faith of Dostov.
This notion produced near-hysteria in Joseph’s Lucellian Liberate subjects - who had been taught to abhor this doctrine of faith.
When a son was born to the King and Queen, Dostov Liberate were faced with the prospect of never waking up from their worst nightmare: an Orthodox Lucellian dynasty.
They turned to Joseph friends Lucellian Liberate William of Quinn.
In 890 AF he led a successful invasion of Dostov. Joseph I panicked and fled. Many of the nobles declared for William.
And so begins the sporadic battle which was thought to be crushed by Terries Quinn during his reign in 1002AF.
Then I heard the door creaked
‘Son’
‘Mother’ I said
‘Still reading?’
‘Yes. I need to gain some knowledge if we are to live here.’
‘Do you think your father will be safe?’ my mother asked
‘Surely, my father will beat the dragons.’ I said confidently
‘He didn’t seem so sure son’
Then my mother leaves the room once again to talk with grandmother I presume.
These days they are always talking. I maintained my manner in the castle befitting the behaviour of a High Lord.
I know how it started but how does it reemerge?
I set the book aside and look at the outside.
The reigning King
The new King from House of Quiin Terris Quinn, is characterized by government tactlessness and economic disasters.
With Renasia on the south began expanding their powers and the bad relations with Bardent because of the strict religion code that forbid a Lucelian to trade with people of other religions and our souring relationship with Tuca, there is no trade partners that is truly willing to negotiate with us.
And not to mention the threats that Seren posed.
There is always fighting around the borders.
Thus to the die-hard believers in the hereditary right of Joseph were added to the dissatisfied lot.
Josephitism became a pull for almost anyone with a grudge against the government.
The Union of 1010 then produced what was for many Loths the grudge to end all grudges.
The Union was something that gives a lot of freedom to traders and religious freedom and lifting certain banning from the church of Liberate
The ink was hardly dry on the treaty before it was being widely denounced, and the lands were ripe for sedition.
The Bardenian, who were at war with Dostov a few years before, suddenly saw an advantage to be gained here.
They would land the new heir, Joseph III 'The Pretender' in his ancestral kingdom and start a rebellion.
It was an excellent opportunity to unite much of the nation, even many Anglais and Raxons, on the Josephite side against the Union.
Why am I so concerned about this?
Because a month ago the King, he sacked my grandfather George, duke of Lannover because of his insistence on helping my father gain the throne of Alan.
And a few weeks after that my grandfather retaliates by raising the standard of House Hannover, on one side he put the banner of his house, House Ancona, a lion biting a deer while on the other is the twin Lions banner the symbol of Josephite banners.
Thousands have heard.
Thousands have flocked.
Thousand have come with spear and sword, offering fealty to the cause.
And right now my grandfather is trying to take the west of Dostov and he gained many successes.
And sooner or later, I too will be in battle here, helping my grandfather.
But there is one mistake.
He did this without even bothering to warn the Josephite court. And I also heard disturbing news that came from Vangua.
Their young King is in hiding after an assassination attempt is uncovered. Right now no one knows where King Edward of House Merovich is hiding.
He is still not married at his age, and right now the only heir to the throne.
Why am I worried?
Because Vangua is a major player in the Continent now that Vern is in decline and Renasia and Alan begin baring it’s fang
Soon if not sooner, the entire west of Dostov will be my grandfather. This is something that the crown should be worried about.
I have already prepared myself training every day.
My father is on Alan fighting the Dragons and Spears while here we fight against the Crown.
If we fail in both endeavors, who would know what will happen to my family.
But if we won?
Now… that is something I would like to happen.
This was not a phenomenon of a backward rural people rising for archaic notions of loyalty to the deposed king.
There was strong support for the Josephite cause in the trading burghs of south of Dostov, as well as in the highlands in the North.
The Patriotic Loths and disgruntled Dostov
From the reports it seems Duke of Argyl did try to advise the King regarding my grandfather sacking from his title warning that Beyond the Lands of the Fire the rebel have thousands spears to ten at least against the crown.
My grandfather did try to take the land around the East but repelled by Lord Argyll which seized vital ground around Virling, but he was heavily outnumbered.
Then at the battle of Serifland, when all seemed lost, my grandfather lost his nerve and suddenly withdrew.
The belated landing of the Pretender couldn't retrieve things, and the leaders of the rising fled. Now rested and our morale replenish my grandfather tries again.
The moments has passed and now the exiled House of Sable now became no more than useful pawns in foreign hands.
And that would be our family. I have planned this by myself. Grandfather has a strict believe in the divine Right of the King but I don’t.
If what Arial do is any indication, the divine Right to rule came from your own strength.
And like the Vermont’s backing of the family of Adrian I too will do the same thing here in Dostov.
We might not have money but we have a just cause, which many of the nobles lord flock to and an army that at least can help the Josephites wins while the others join.
The Northern and Eastern Dostov had settled and won under the Terris regime, which is unloved, but did not move to outright revolt.
They need a little push.
And now word came from Bardent that Joseph III has put together his own tiny invasion force with the help of Tuca and Bardent to land in Dostov.
The Prince came with an army, aye, he did, but not with supplies and money.
It is up to the western noble houses to aid him when he came from the East from Bardent and South from Tuca.
One is led by a military soldier from Tuca while from Bardent the army will be led by the King himself.
The king has sent letters to my grandfathers, guaranteeing that even if the uprising failed, that my grandfather will be highly rewarded.
Words are winds my father said.
Give them steel and let see which is more powerful.
Swords or words?
And the rebellion is beginning and even though my father stuill struggle North of Alan, Ican do nothing but pray to the Light above.
*****************************************************************************
1014 WHITEMONTH
A week have passed.
The rebellion is a remarkable success.
The South nobles have joined our cause and yesterday the Execution in Crown Hills happened.
The noble lords that swear fealty to the crown was executed in the Crown Hills in the manner of beheading and quartering.
Their body scattered among the hills as an insult.
Many of the Crown forces was too late in responding after all they are divided and withdrawn to the invasion force from Tuca and Bardent both belong to King Joseph.
Not to mention, the reluctance of the general population to martyr themselves for Terris, allowed Joseph to occupy Cumberland quite easily.
And then he marched to Gowrie and meets his forces from Tuca, unite and occupy Gowrie to virtually unopposed.
To whip popular support he sent a letter to the Grand Papnoticon in Vern to assert his claim as the rightful King of Dostov.
Lord Colt tries to take him on, in an attack to reclaim Cumberland, a surprise attack but thankfully because of the extensive spy network from Bardent they were the one being surprised by the Josephite attack at dawn and torn apart in the span of not more than 15 minutes.
The Jospehite army now possessed Cumberland, Lannover, and Gowrie.
There is nothing else stopping Joseph to march to Queens and take back the castle that once belongs to his ancestor.
My grandfather beg and after my insistence even though many other lords thinks that Joseph should march straight to Queens
I see the dangers posed by their suggestion.
Is this a wise decision?
Not if it is based on unfounded rumors.
Lord Eddard assured the King that Bardent forces would join him, and that massive Tuca military aid would be forthcoming.
Promises are words. And words are wind.
And thankfully the King listens. SO now we wait.
*****************************************************************************
ZHANG LIAO BAO.
I have leave the Imperial city. Though it is certainly not by choice that is for sure.
The palace guards and their troops are all looking for me. All were ordered to capture me if they found me.
Thankfully, Prince Articon Alfred hides me for a while during their first search. I’m indebted to him for his hospitality
Prince Articon Alfred is one of the great people in the Church of Vern, and because I once help him with one formula of magic that seems to be about some runic writing, he felt that he is indebted to me.
I know of his talent in magic in a world where magic are rare and the bloodline diminished every decade.
Though he thinks I was the one who solve the problem but the truth is it was Alexander journal that help him.
There are many theories in there, about many of most, Levitia theory which Alexander studies. Some he has found the solution to, some are just scribbles.
I, on the other hand did not even understand it very much
I just take the credit. And thank the ancestors, I did. If not I doubt the Prince Articon will help me, hiding me, even though he might be implicated.
But even his protection will wear thin.
SO right now, I’m disguising myself to get out of the Imperial city guarded and patrolled by thousands of troops belonging to the Emperor.
It is all my bad luck.
How unfortunate I was.
My plan was to rack up some achievement in the Imperial city and then return to my home, with splendor and wealth.
What a pity! A pity!
But I did not regret it. All for the sake of beauty. And I remembered her face again and her pleas, and I know I might die doing what she ask of me, but I will die a content man.
I, Zhang Liao Bao do not have many redeeming qualities but save for one. I could not let a beautiful woman cry and leave them alone.
I’m right now in an inn just outside the Forbidden City.
I even see my poster in the city wall so I use some disguise technique I learned during my years in the pleasure house.
And not only that, they even paint my face to be very ugly. An injustice to my reputation. This handsome face of mine, this perfect beauty…and they dare disrespect me such!
Still, I might die if I fight them, and truthfully I hate it to be such a mess.
Usually, someone with my rank would not be hunted this much.
But I know one secret, a secret that might spell doom for the Empire. And it all is coming back to me.
A FEW DAYS BEFORE
Who is that?
I asked myself, hearing a very sorrowful music being played, the melody is sad, the voice are tantalizing
My journey through the passage leads me to a hidden lake in the palace.
I thought no one is here, because I used to stop by here and played around the Lake because the water is clear and refreshing and not to mention, it is beautiful and it has been a very long time since I visited here.
The sound of the Qing can be heard. The tempo is slow and invite sorrow in one hearts.
The lake was blooming with lotus flower and I can see behind a plateau there is someone who is playing it.
It is still beautiful and mesmerizing just like the last time I see it. And now for it to fill with such a sorrowful music.
How beautiful the scenery becomes, how the most dull and still place turns to…an everlasting moments.
The veil hides the face. The song, this song is usually played in pleasure house but it is not a happy song.
Leliana Sorrow.
Her song when she have married Alexander the Diligent, song that many palace maid heard a year before she disappeared.
One of the palace maids, Claire Moor then sing it and from her song it is called Leliana Sorrow. The theme seems to be about Levitia, her lover, who she sang to come back to her.
Don’t you miss me?
Here I am waiting for you
My hands are cold waiting for your return
My heart is suffocated with longing
Just looking the distance by myself.
The beautiful sunset
The sorrowful moonlight
None hold the same beauty
Even if in the end my hands are trembling in the cold
But it is only you that I think about
The person that I long so hard that I’m going insane
The words that I want to hear
The words that I want you to say
I love
I love you
Where are you
The person who have engraved memory here in my heart
The person that I long so hard that I’m going insane
The words that I want to hear
The words that I want you to say
I love
I love you
Where are you
The person who have engraved memory here in my heart

And I stepped on a twig.
‘Who’s there’ she said her voice alarmed but her hands still plays the Qing.
How did she hear me?
I already got out from the passage and hiding behind the bush but I never thought she would realize me
‘To what do I owe the pleasure, what wise counsel you have to come such late at night. If it’s you George, your offer does not appeal to me.’ she said not once looking back at me.
I approached
‘I wouldn’t dare to give wise counsels.’
And she stopped playing.
‘You’re not him.’
Still she didn’t turn back.
I open the veil and I could see her back.
And this time she turned to look at me
I was speechless, my heart beats faster, my hands are sweating of nervousness and my eyes couldn’t help but to look at her like I was compelled to.
She had the most beautiful pair of eyes that blue like the lake of Deities in the Mountains along the North, her skin was white like the first snow that falls, and her hair is black in the most beautiful way.
‘Who are you?’ she asked.
I…I…I…I’m Zzhang Liao Bao, my lady’ I said stuttering
Then I try to regain my composure and I recite back the components of the poems.
‘Even if in the end my hands are trembling in the cold
But it is only you that I think about
The person that I long so hard that I’m going insane
The words that I want to hear
The words that I want you to say’
‘Leliana Sorrow. So sorrowful, so beautiful’ I said complimenting on her song. She smiles and it was like the plateau brightened like the sun rises.
‘Lord Zhang is young and knowledgeable, there is not that many who knows this song’
She said and gestured me to sit down. I sit down but my eyes couldn’t help but to stare at her face. She blushed, her cheek reddening to stared so intensely
Looking at her face I could guessed who she is
‘Could it be….you are lady Ariana Devonhurst?’
She nodded and she said
‘This woman, Ariana has a favor to ask’
The moment she said she has a favor I was kneeling to give her what she wants. And at this moment I remembered what Prince Articon told me.
“You hate power because it makes you enemies, you like money but not to the point of insanity, but women. That is your fatal flaw, Sir Zhang.” He once warned me that the only weakness I have is beautiful woman.
‘Tell me of your predicament, O lady. If I can’t help you, I give my life to you as a wager’
She kneeled.
‘Lord Zhang is chivalrous. How can I repay such kindness?’
‘How could I decline? I said.
‘You are angels from heaven, fairy from the fabled lands, Goddess of Beauty reincarnated, I should be the one grateful that I could meet such beauty’ I was saying this without even a hint of pretense because she is truly, of all the girls and woman I have ever met working in the pleasure house and even the Princess in the Palace, they hold no candle to the beauty that is in front of me.
How lucky, how fortunate those who will make her, their wife.
How happy and in joy will be their life, even just watching her makes me calm and happier.
‘Lord Zhang, I do not deserve this praise from you’ she said exasperated seeing me.
But this is natural for me.
Is it not a virtue to kneel before beauty?
And I could saw that tears are formed I her eyes.
‘Don’t…don’t cry’ I said trying to console her. I got up
‘See, I stopped kneeling’
She looked at me and she said
‘I’m grateful for your assistance. Lord Zhang is an observant person. To know and recognize me.’
‘O my lady. If I could not recognize you, then that surely means I have gone blind. How could I not recognized the beauty in front of me, the number one beauty of the world, Ariana of House Devonhurst’
‘My lord flatters me’ she said humbly.
OH how divine, the way she talks, the way she acts.
If you are not the number one beauty, who could be her!
Then she said
‘Lord Zhang if you could help me to speak to my betrothed in the Land Beyond the Sea?’
‘Lord Azrael, the Demon King?’
‘Yes. Tell him that I am imprisoned here, in Vern by this licentious Emperor, that force me to love her, who came here every day, asking me to love him, refusing to let me go home to my beloved. Do this kind deed for me, and I offer you anything you want’
‘Do not insult me so, beautiful lady. I desire none but your gratitude and the hopes that you remember me.’
She chuckled. I too smile.
‘Why did he imprisoned you here, my lady?’ I said curious
She sighed.
‘I never did any evil, never lead the Emperor to believe that I’m I love with him, neither did I seduce him, or spoke promises of love. Woman shouldn’t mind the country affairs, yet man can’t help but be full of tenderness.
I came here to help ease my would be husband burdens, but the Emperor mistakes that I am his gift. Oh, how arrogant the Emperor.
Beautiful woman are the source of trouble like the story of Igrayne, only now I can relate. My father warns me of my beauty yet I dismiss it but now here I am, imprisoned here in a land I know nothing about with no allies, seeking help from anyone that would listen.’
‘That is wrong my lady’ I said couldn’t bear to see she’s blaming herself
‘If not for the greediness of men and people who couldn’t appreciate beauty, beauties will not cause harm only enhance the beauty in the world. Beauties are not easily held, for they induce inferiority in the hearts of inferior men’
She looked at me and she smiles a bit
‘Thank you for your wise counsel, Lord Zhang’ Then she handed me a letter.
‘This is a letter detailing my injustice I have received in Vern. Can you do it for me?’
I nodded.
Then suddenly someone yells, intruders, intruders
She looked at me nervously
‘Run’ she said
‘Run.’
So quickly I ran back to the passage hidden by one thick bush and quickly I press one of the bricks in the path and the passage opened but my face have already been recognized by one of the guards when they try to capture me.
Thankfully my lightness skill is magnificent and I escaped their grasp.
So now here I am, running from the Imperial troops and begins my journey to the dark lands.
If I promise with any other men only to search for some treasures or some hidden gold or secret weapons I will not risk my life. But a beautiful woman ask me of this.
The most beautiful woman of the world. How could I decline. So I begin my journey
******************************************************************************

CHAPTER 49: THE SPEECH
1015 SEEDMONTH
ARIAL
We have arrived near Dented Shield. And we have begins battle a week ago. The sieging has begun showing progress.
Sooner or later Alderam will open his castle gate and rush out with his army and then the battle will be decided.
Lord Paris will also be arriving in about 2 more days. Letters has been given to me telling of his victory in Penrose. I have sent a letter to tell him not to rush and recuperate his soldiers so that when he came he will come with a strong and rested soldier.
Lord Henry Summersill has also managed to help the Northcour family but they could not leave the region yet, because there are still some remnants of Shield forces there.
Henry argued that if he were to leave Shield forces may come back and reclaim the region so he would stay there while we have to attack here.
It is alright.
I think with our might we will conquer the castle and peace can finally came on Alan soil, our efforts rewarded and we can finally move to more important task.
Helia is sent to patrol with her father to the South now that Lord Paris will joined us. Many advise me against it but I could not let the South left undefended and the Three Brothers that guarded the ancestral home of Althea must also return.
I already sent my love to Helia yesterday and I heard the most interesting news from her. It seems West is trying to court Lisa.
Whether that is true or not, I don’t know since Lisa didn’t say anything.
So does West.
But I realize after Helia told me, that West always direct his gaze to Lisa when she is not looking. But the reason I sent her father and Helia to the South is because I heard that Vangua is short of a King right now.
The noble King, Edward Merovich has been rumoured to disappear.
Some say that it’s because he is hiding from assassins but it can also be that their King is planning an attack on Alan soil, taking advantage now that we are engaged in a civil matters between ourselves.
I have no proof but better exercise caution then to regret later.
I have also received from my spymaster who I sent to inquire about what is happening in Renasia and the Dark Lands.
Azrael the crown Prince of the Dark Lands, have become King with his father abdication.
That is not odd considering that in my original timeline, he did take the throne after her father abdication but what odd is what happens in Renasia.
The reason I sent my spymaster to Renasia is because I know that Renasia will be the last standing Kingdom in the Human Continent, and so I have a vested interest in that Kingdom.
But something odd happened in Renasia. The young Princess was offered the thrones by his father and the nobles all agreed.
That is the same like in my timeline. But what different in this timeline she rejected. That did not happen before.
Before, in my original timeline, if my memory serves me right, she jumped at the opportunity of becoming Queen and led a massive reform on the military.
From what I heard from my spymaster, the princess wants to learn many more. The motivation is unknown.
Though my spymaster heard a rumour that she was lost for a few months before her father offer her the crown.
History is slightly changing. Whether it is bad or it is good, I am not quite certain.
Tomorrow I think Alderam will bring out his army to fight us in the open field so tonight I instructed the soldiers to construct a stage for me to give a speech before we ride into battle tomorrow.
‘My lord may I enter?’
West voice.‘Enter’
‘My lord’ he kneeled
‘Is the stage ready?’ I asked
‘Yes my lord. You may address the troops now.I looked at him. He has a sullen face.
‘Ser west?’
‘Yes my lord’
‘Why so gaunt?’
‘Oh, I’m sorry my lord. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things.’
‘What things?’
He smiles a bitter smile
‘Matters of the heart my lord’
‘Ah, is that so?’
‘Yes my lord.’
‘Then pardon me for touching on such matters’
‘It is fine my lord considering you are’ and he said something under his breath. A whisper
‘What?’
‘Oh, nothing my lord. Please my lord they are waiting outside’
‘Ah, yes.’
Then I went outside.Thousands of my troops already standing in uniform position waiting for me. The camp was in total silent as they saw me.
I only hear whispers. Ssh, stop talking, the young lord is here
Some whispers the dragon from the east.Slowly I climb the staircase. The stage was constructed high so that everyone can see me. They are all waiting.
I already begin focusing my internal energy to my throat to address all the troops, so that everyone will hear.
The moment I have reached the top, the whispers stopped, their stares turn to me, waiting, watching and anticipating what will I say.
Will I tell them to win? Will I tell them what we have gained? Will I tell them what we have lost and fan their hatred and vengeance?
I intend to do a bit more. To consolidate this newly built Kingdom with words. I learned in my exile how powerful words are and the effects it has on people.
Ehem, ehem I coughed a little before I begin my speech.
Then I begin.
‘My fellow countrymen.’ I said and the troops take notice, because I called them countrymen.
Many of the troops under the other lords and Knights also seem shocked with the phrasing of my words. Countrymen. We have always identified ourselves under the troops of some noble houses.
‘We are now in the edge of a new dawn.’
And I could see that they can hear. The lords that came also watch me and they too begins to hear. And listen
‘Before, we are all separate, fighting against each other. Separated by many rules, by many lords, small or large. But tomorrow, a battle will take place here. A battle that is so much more important than vengeance or to settle old score. A battle that will lead us to somewhere new. A better tomorrow, a better future.It is a chance for us to begin anew. A Kingdom that is united is a strong Kingdom. And a strong Kingdom means a strong citizens, and prosperous citizen.’ I say this to the lords, so that their hearts after this battle will not waver, their hearts will stay true.
‘And we are it’s citizens. And what is the essential of a good citizen?’ I ask them
‘ No man, can be a good citizen who is not a good husbands or father, who is not honest with his dealing with other men, who is not faithful to his friends, and fearful in the presence of foes that determined to crush this new union brought forth by the ideals of a new peace and prosperity.
This battle will show the other nations our strength and our will to become an independent nation and they will tremble and fear us for our liberty and no longer will our nation plagued with outside interference, whether it is from Vern, or Vangua or Dostov!
THEY WILL NOT MAKE US BEND OUR KNEES, NOR WILL WE LOWER OUR HEADS TO THEIR KINGS AND EMPERORS. AND WHO WILL PROTECT THIS NEW KINGDOM? WE WILL!’
I want to fan love towards the country. Nationalism. The reason the Empire falls is also because of this. Many of the ruling elite is from Caelum race, my race but instead of striving for racial harmony, the Empire did not change its stance.
This is why even though the Empire unified the land once upon a time, it was doomed to fail, not to mention because of the lack of education in many part of the Empire many people only obey the words of the Emperors and racial sentiments form and then they all secede.
But even now, the Caelum race is still the ruling elite. I have already sent letters to Silas to address this issue. Surely he is now discussing it with the King.
Of course there is no full scale war because of a race but that mostly because the Dark Lands come to invade.
But if I manage to succeed repelling the Invasion only to see it plagues by internal conflict and destroy ourselves from within?
I would also not let that happens. After this I might even ask some of the other race to migrate here to familiar Alan with cultural and racial diversity.
In Alan, it is unique in it is dominated by Caelum race while other nations have many race but predominant race in the Alan soil is Caelum.
I yelled and the troops cheered to for this is the first time they hear such speech. Most speech is always about some noble’s honour or stories about vengeance or some gold or what they gained.
I’m trying to instill something in them. Loyalty to the land itself and the Crown who governed them.I continued with my speech
‘Our citizens brave and strong they are, blood of the Caelum, must be willing and able to take arms for the defense of our great Kingdom, a protector each one of them, an avenger when need to be, a shield that can shelter the Kingdom, a sword that can be used to execute her enemies.
Our citizens must be a citizen of great fighters and great scholars, else knowledge will come to naught and its virtue ineffective, and no delicacy, no love for appreciation of beauty in art or literature, no capacity for human ingenuity can possibly atone for lack of these virtues.
Every man, must devote a reasonable share of his time to do his duty to their Kingdom. No man, I reiterate, NO MAN, has a right to shirk his duties, in this Kingdom.
Whatever plea of pleasure may not be heard, and while such shirking may be pardoned in those of the common folks for everyday they struggle to get by, but it is entirely unpardonable in those among whom it is most common.
A young man who shirks his duty to the Kingdom in time of peace is as being only one degree worse than the man who shirk it’s duties during the time of war.’
And my words captivated them, ensnare them as they wait for my next word.
‘And like I said, WE ARE AT AN EDGE. WILL WE WIN TOMORROW?’ I said
‘Yes’ they cheered
I shake my head.
‘I do not know the answer to that question’ and the crowds cheer quieted
‘It depends on all of us. To open that new path, a new path where our country is strong. I want you to dream this with me.
A new world, strong and prosperous free from foreign interference, free to rule among ourselves, under one King, a King we have chosen not only for its virtues but also for he was and still is the most eligible and qualified person for the throne. My father, the Kingmaker chose King Adrian to be my liege lord and King of this Kingdom, for he embodied a new world virtue, where we can live peacefully, strong and united.
I may fight his battle but I may not dare to sit his throne or eyes his crown. That is his burden to bear and I have my burden to bear and you! All of you have a burden to bear.
But tomorrow, our fight will decide if a new world will be borne, or will we stay in this savage world, where people are killed in the most joyous occasion, in a funeral or a feast, where civility is replaced by acts of savagery.
IS THAT THE WORLD WE WILL LIVE TOMORROW?
Or will we live in a new world and its uncertain possibilities and its vague future that it offers us? But also with the promise of great hope!Fight with me tomorrow. Raise your swords.
Sharpened your spears, tend to your wounds and tomorrow, together we will create that world and trust me, WE WILL PREVAIL!”
And I hold my left hand in my heart while my right hands were set to my back they seeing this gesture also followed me.
‘Our Lives and Heart we offer to the King’ I said. And they repeat what I said and the cheer came, even when I was going down the podium. The clapping and the whistling.
‘A great speech my lord’ Lord Paris complimented, congratulating me when I reached down the podium.
‘Congratulations my lord’ some of the other lords congratulate me.
‘Congratulations my lord.’
Thank you, thank you I said to them
And tomorrow the war and the battle begins and I swear it that by the evening the blood of Alderam will bathe my armor for he will perish in my hand, their faithful followers will be slaughtered, imprisoned chase out of this country never to return unless they kneel.
This is my determination. No longer will such bloody occurrence like the battle of Beth happen again.Bodies filling the field, the scream and yelling, the blood and the smell.
Tomorrow I will end this fast. Merciless but fast.
*****************************************************************************

CHAPTER 50: THE MEROVICH KING
THE HIDING KING
EDWARD MEROVICH
The forest is everywhere, the greens leaves greets us as we begun entering this forest, all looking their back, glancing left and right seeing if anyone suspicious follow us.
‘Is there anyone?’ I asked
‘No my lord’ one of the Knights answered.
The trees sheltered us, even from the sun.
And hides our enemies, I mused.
There are some bugs flying, some humming in melodious melody, cricket sounds can be hear, almost like they are celebrating the new year that dawn.
Or are they laughing at me?
I shake my head.
Better not entertain such thoughts.
The leaves are all green and it brought me calmness and a sense of serenity, even in my state, chased and threatened by enemies, that I, myself have made, too naïve and too inexperienced to know that kindness is sometimes a double edge weapon.
I look up.
The leaves almost glow from the beautiful ray of sunlight shining upon them, twinkling like little stars at night.
The harshness of courts intrigues and plots can be forgotten for a while, and I even pretend to myself that I’m here in a vacation, accompanied by lords and Knights came to see my land, only harshly to be reminded of my destination.
‘The air is fresh my lord don’t you think?’
‘Yes Duke Oudinot. It is.’
He hummed a tune.
Yesterday it rained heavily, hiding our tracks and movements and probably why the air is so fresh here and the water from yesterday rainfall seeps from the trail in front of me over my shoes with each step
Looking at the forest, I realized how wrong my assumption was when I believed that I was supreme, unchallenged in my throne.
How arrogant I was!
How delusional my illusions!
Had I seen through the illusion through the arrogance and pride, I may not be here, running away, a coward King.
All the trees in this forest is tightly knit.
If only the nobles are like this.
If only my Kingdom is like this. Unity was the solution.
Yet it is the one thing my Kingdom does not have.
Big and vast my Kingdom, yet divisive, separated with different race, dispute over lands and many others.
Green leaves, yellow leaves, red leaves, rainbow of rich colors, variety of every kind.
Just like my Kingdom.
Many races, yet unlike this forest they learn not to compromise or learn to understand each other.
If my Kingdom is like this forest it would endure many years.
‘My lord we will make camp here.’
Thank you Ser Tourres.’
‘As you will my lord.’
My entourage stopped here in the middle of forest.
We will rest here tonight, now that evening is approaching
Ser Tourres and lord Oudinot has crafted this modest tent for me while I hide from those who wish me harm.
We are heading to the Kingdom of Alan, seeking protection and asylum.
Who would have thought a King, a Vanguan King would seek a protection with one of it’s bitter enemies?
No one
And that is the point.
We are hiding, hopefully by one of the strongest nobles in the new Kingdom.
After careful consideration we have chosen to ask the help of House of Vermont’s, the dragon banner in Alan.
Known for their wealth and their young lord who is by all accounts of investigation, he is the one ruling the duchy, able in battle, clever in his dealings with noble lords and inspires loyalty.
We did not send letters to their family for fearing our letters intercepted, our plan botched by those who attempt to take my life.
To be King, a Caelum race, in a land fills with other races. It is a hard task indeed for Vangua has many races.
There is the Anglais, Raxons, Roth, Visiroths, Franks and Gaul and many others.
But this problem started a long ago.
This all started from my father.
The young Prince Robert was murdered by a member of the household of my father Nigel Merovich.
My father was not involved but no one was directly punished, so rumours grew that it is my father that orchestrates the murder of the young prince.
The young Prince was a devout of the Vern Lucelian Orthdox and his reputations among the lord approached to even of a saint, at least in the minds of the Anglais-Raxons lords.
In line of the succession my father was crowned King just a month after the murder.
My father reign began under a cloud of suspicion which never ever fully lifted from the minds of the lords.
In 970 Cori attacked.
My father trying to prevent a full scale war with Cori offer payments, and also some lands near the borders incurring the wrath and derision of the other lords.
This makes my father very paranoid and started to have bouts of insanity.
But nothing, I could say get through to him.
When my father decided all Darnes, race that is from Cori should be killed for the insolence that Cori showed him to satisfy the anger of the other race in the Kingdom, it marks a fateful mistake.
Cori comes with the Grand Articon of Church of Cori permission.
The King Rhodesues march to Vangua and occupy many lands.
The lords surrendered but his victory is short lived.
In 975 he died because of a disease and my father who was hiding in some remote village in Vangua, return to reclaim the throne, march and fight off the invaders army.
To make sure nothing like the invasion happen again, my father who now, a widower after my mother died during her escape from the palace, married a Cori royalty dealing and creating an alliance with the Cori Kingdom.
Emma of House Flavian and the lords came with great urgency declaring my father the sole King of Vangua and for a time peace settled in Vangua, our military reforms can be done with two families that is linked with each other, promising stabilities and ease our worries that attack from Cori will ever happen again.
It is also thanks to my stepmother Emma, who threw her support for my father.
And then my father died under suspicious circumstance and me Edward Merovich become the new, young King of this Kingdom.
My face is misshapen, I have a crunched back, so even now, I have no wife.
But I’m thankful to the lords who have stand by me and declare for me at the coronation.
But my assassinations started because of a minor scuffle.
It all started when Duke of Arleans who wants some lands around Bonito which belonged to some other lords. I grant the lands to Duke of Bastogne, a Caelum like me.
They raise an army to oppose me. And I raised mine. And I won. They were exiled from the Kingdom wandering in other lands.
For a short time I was supreme and unchallenged, but alas my period of glory was short lived.
They return this time under the pretense that they have reformed so I pardon them and give them some lands.
The next few years they expanded their influence and they even betrothed one of their daughters Emilia Orleans to son Alderam Alan, Duke and pretender to the throne before the event of the Bloody Feast, surely to ensure their power not only here but in foreign lands.
Of course, now from what I hear their plan backfired.
A noble house in Alan, who have both money and strength emerged as one of the major players in the Continent, declare the Dukedom a new Kingdom, getting the approval of the Grand Papnoticon in Vern.
Then, finally now they have enough power they try to unseat me from my throne, sending assassins.
If not for the Duke of Palouse I would have died, drinking poisoned wine.
The curtain is open.
‘My lord, is there anything else you might need?’
I was shocked by the sudden greeting
‘Declare yourself before you come in’
He got flustered.
‘Forgive me my lord. I was too worried about your condition and so rushed that I forget.’
I sighed.
It is understandable.
‘I’m fine. How many days before we reach Alan?’
‘In two weeks my lord.’ I nodded.
‘Thank you Ser Lidney’
‘It is my honor’
Then after ensuring that I don’t need anything else, he excuse himself.
I once again in the tent, thinking now, about the House of Vermont.
Arial the Dragon people call him.
From the reports given to me his reputation almost likes a great hero reputation.
He never lost a battle, whether in the battlefield or a personal battle, he is generous, loved by the people a Knight Brother of Order of Alan and many other achievements.
I hope he would welcome us.
A strong family like that, is hard to fathom their intention.
******************************************************************************
MIKAEL DEVONHURST
After a few weeks searching around this are finally I have some progress.
The disk is fund in one of the village near the city of Acro in an abandoned village where many of its inhabitants migrate to the prospering village and cities of the Vermont’s.
I was excavating an area among the abandoned wells.
Why?
Because according to my research Alan and Levitia scattered about 15 disk here in Alan,20 in Vern,10 in Vangua,5 in Seren that from my research reveals something more interesting.
Seren has the Sharp Mountain created by the first Generation but it also serves as tomb for the Radiants Rulers.
In the wells after much digging I also found a skeleton guarding the disk.
The skeleton seems to have a ring in his finger in the design of seven pointed stars.
And in his decaying shirts is a badge with the design of an arrow, with rose slithering around the arrows.
‘What is this?’ I said examining it.
I hired a few of the people in the cities to help me with the excavation.
It also help that when I meet the Lady Julia she approved of me, excavating around her sons land and acts as my patron.
The family of Vermont’s it seems maintains a kind reputation among the common folk and the high nobles by being the patron of art and knowledge.
I have to ask for permission if not I might even get captured and my identity revealed.
‘What is that my lord?’ the common folk, the workers that I hire asked pointing his fingers to the corpse ring.
I shake my head.
‘Don’t know but surely it is something of great importance. Bring the skeleton into the tent.’ They quickly moved the skeletons to the tent.
I need to try to examine the bone.
I never care much about medicine and it’s study but it does not mean that I’m ignorant of its principle.
‘And this circle disk?’ they said
‘Well, brought it too.’
I could see the scribbles glowing in the suns like an illuminated words, inviting anyone to decipher it’s mysteries.
But for now this skeleton begs my attention.
I returned to my tent and begun examining the skeletons.
This is a formal burial, probably for this S1. I name this skeleton S1 to make my work easier.
Formal burial often include grave goods such as food and weaponry and decoration.
The bones have some short sword beside his hip, and the ring and necklace, might show that he belongs to some organization.
I check the eye.
The shape of the eye socket indicates the skeleton is male. I also checks signs of sickness.
There is no bubbly texture to the bones, no increased porosity I mused.
I looked at the skeleton hip.
Nodules are formed there. May indicate the constant use of load bearing strap for carrying wood or water.
I gestured to one of the workers who can write to approach me.
‘Record everything I say.’
He take a notebook and a quill and begun writing my observation of the skeleton.
‘Subject S1.He is tall.’ And the workers write it.
The length of his thigh bone enables me to calculate the height of a person to whom it belonged, because one medical journal I found written in Demon Language translated from an ancient manuscript of the Lost Generation, who in turns translated from the First Generation.
The First generation does not left many of their writing behinds but their language is understand by the Lost Generation.
One could say, humanity evolved language comes from the Pure Tongue, the language spoken by the First Generation.
Many thousand years ago, states that the relationships between the lengths of leg and arm bones and overall height are more or less constant for humans.
Multiplying the length of the femur by 2.6 and adding 65cm will give the height of a human of either sex.
Then after finished examining the bones I turned to the disk.
The disk was carved which showed a King?
He wears no crown but it shows him people kneel before him while the King showed his hand into the air and one spear seems to fall from the sky.
Linguistic is not my profession but there are words that I can read thanks to a dictionary that compile some of the known words of the Pure Tongue
I can read Praesident.
No, no…President of Unified Land.
AETHRO CAEPRET…
No, Wrong again. The words are a little different but I can read this.
President of Unified Land, Aero Carlingian and his Cabinet.
President?
What’s that?
Another term for King?
And who is this Aero?
Then it hits me while I looked at the spear in the background.
Could it be?
Could this be the First Generation Wrath?
I quickly hold the disk, trying to read the other scribbles yet I could not understand it.
My eyes brightened, my hearts beats faster as I looked at the disk with renewed hope and the promise it holds for knowledge and our understanding of the world.
Aero Carlingian!
Is he the one who orders the Spear of Doom to rain upon the Xenos Empire turning it to a desert?
Who is he?
Is there more?
I could not help but be excited.
I am overjoyed.
I always believed that finding the Disk would reveal more about Levitia secret or what he learned from the Three Wise Men of the Sea but now maybe what he learn is the history of the First Generation.
What stopped him when he crossed the Bridge of the Blessed Lands?
Why does he persecute anyone who knows of Lost Generation?
So many questions that needs to be answered and maybe his Disk holds all the answers.
I gestured the workers leader to come to my tent.
‘Tell your men that we need to bar off this site from other visitor so that the site is not disturbed.’
‘What if the Lady came?’
I sighed
‘If the lady came who am I to stop her.’
The leader nodded.
I need to send the lady a letter detailing my miraculous discovery.
This may changes everything.
******************************************************************************
Here it is. So, how is it? Good? And the Merovich King?
He is important? Or is he not? Thanks for reading and please like always give your thoughts and opinion as we are have reached chapter 50.
I hope to know your thoughts about the growth of Arial world, and the increasing complexity of his world, caused some intentional some unintentionally changed the course of someone future and paths and destiny.
What is your general feeling now that you and me both have reached the 50th chapter and the story isn’t even beginning yet?And next chapter. A shocking development. The battle begins but someone is spear? Will the character that is spear saved? Or will he die?

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Comments (4)

  1. Ultrabenosaurus
    April 6th, 2015 at 08:16:52 PM

    Oh how I am loving this story. And there was so much! All my free time this weekend has been spent devouring your words and I have finally caught up. I know not your intentions, but from how I see the story from absorbing it all in a short amount of time I feel this "iteration" should also lead to the fall of humanity. The first wave may be less successful, but the ripples of Arial’s actions have created too much discord in international politics – and I also feel it is ripe for Helia’s death in b

  2. Ultrabenosaurus
    April 6th, 2015 at 08:17:39 PM

    …for Helia’s death in battle. Arial will surely abandon humanity and aim to achieve a "perfect" play by using the runes again.

    (damn this crappy commenting system!)

  3. Reduan
    April 7th, 2015 at 06:04:58 PM

    The half point down is only my personal preference. I prefer story telling from the MC view. But I like this story very much – read it all day too. Thank you again for your work keikoku.

  4. Mikhail
    April 11th, 2015 at 06:18:42 PM

    Love your world building, I missed that in many others fanfics.
    Keep the good work!



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