Posts Tagged ‘Books’

“General.”

Hasios stared at his men slowly gathering on the grassy plain below. They were congregating from three points, mainly by divisions. Archers, infantry and special units. He felt like a chess player about to unveil his master strategy to a novice.

“General.”

Standing atop this high hill, Hasios had never felt so free in his life. The breeze blew through his long, thick hair, and he raised his arms to his sides then let them drop. Gazing to the north at the far-off mountain range of Elikizm, he imagined being in the snows of the mountain known as Rek. Turning to the east where the elves of Nilar-Kepoto dwelled, he thought of walking through the forests. To the west where the dwarves of the high hills of Soahg plied their skills. All the time with Jilier.

Jilier.

Jilier! Hasios watched until he could look no more, then turned away as she fell. Jilier!

And finally to the southwest, where the self-proclaimed Baron Lord Olc waited with his army. But wait no more! Today was the day that Hasios struck back with a vengeful strike. No longer would Olc hide in the shadows, evading Hasios’ every attempt to bring him down! Today would be the day that—

“General!”

Interrupted from his reverie, Hasios turned to face Coron. “Yes?”

Jilier.

“The troops have all formed up. We’re just awaiting your orders.”

“Tell them…tell them to stay in the formation previously ordered. I will be there shortly.”

Coron saluted and went off to relay the order.

Jil—No! He would not let himself become distracted with wild thoughts! Hasios’ face buckled, tears coming to his eyes, only to let them go back to where they came from. Regaining his composure, he walked down to where his troops waited. Arriving at a stage, he slowly walked up the steps then turned to face his whole army.

“It doesn’t feel right to be standing up here with the rest of you down there. I am just a man, and I am no better than any of you. I’m just your leader.” So saying, Hasios leaped from the top of the stage (it wasn’t very high) and began walking amongst the fighters, talking as he went.

“When I began my campaign against Olc, I knew there were people who were disgruntled with him. Some thought taxes were too high, some wanted to keep the grain that they grew instead of having to give up half of it. Some just hated him because they could. I knew I would be able to put together a guerilla force of a hundred to two hundred men and make small strikes. Liberate a garrison here, free a farm there, all the while gathering more and more troops, until finally being vast enough to take down Olc.”

He stopped for a moment.

“But what I didn’t anticipate was the amount of sympathy I received from the people. From all over Old Cruinne people came, telling me of the cruel oppression from Olc and their desire for justice. And then the dragons came to me, explaining how they heard of Olc and his cruel ways and wanted to help in our fight for good. Then the elves came out from hiding and joined me, knowing it was the right thing to do, as did the centaurs.”

“Then last night I had some visitors. They were shorter than most, but they seemed like true warriors, fighters every one. They wished to join us in our fight. I immediately said yes. And if you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about the dwarves of the west.”

Silence. Then from the back, clapping. Then it was joined from the right, then the left, and soon the whole army was cheering their new allies. The dwarves walked out from their hiding place along with the elves and centaurs and took their stations. The dragons flapped overhead, their heavy wings sounding like many birds all flapping at once.

Hasios’ voice rang out.

“Thank you my friends. However, if you find that you cannot fight against Olc, you may stay behind. Are there any that wish to do so?”

No one moved. They had come this far. Why leave now when all they had worked for was at stake?

Hasios nodded, their grim task before them. “We march at dawn tomorrow. Be ready, all of you. This is not going to be easy. They outnumber us by many, and at last estimate, they had more than five hundred million troops ready for battle. However, with our troop strength of ten thousand, plus the one hundred thousand dwarf crusaders, fifty thousand elven archers and whirlers, we have less of a disadvantage. They outnumbered us fifty thousand to one. But we have shrunk that to three thousand one hundred and twenty-five to one!”

The task seemed impossible.

“I know that seemed like a lot of math.”

“But we also have the dragons.”

Breath came collectively out in a whoosh of air.

“We all have trained for this day. Strategies have been set. Reports have it that Olc’s troops are untrained except for his elite guard. He has not planned strategies as we have. That is our advantage. And we are also fighting for something else. Do you know what it is?”

The roar came like the ocean crashing on the shore.

“CRUINNE!”

Hasios, standing in front of them all, raised his arms for silence.

“And so it begins.”

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The Liberation of Cruinne

Back and forth. Back and forth. Traveling the same steps over and over again. Through the camp. Into his tent. Around the table. Past the pillow and blanket serving as a mattress. Back out into the camp. Around the guards. Outside the furthest night patrol. And back into the camp. Around and around Hasios Politon went, too nervous to sleep. The army of Baron Lord Olc was massing just across the river to the southwest of his camp. Hasios was unsure of almost everything. How many fighters the enemy had, what types of fighters the enemy had, their placement, their strategy, and how they were going about their plans. Waiting for the latest information from his advance scouts could take a few hours, a few days, even a week. Unless…yes, there they were, flying in.

Hasios flew towards his incoming scouts, and then dismounted his gryphon just as his scouts were dismounting theirs. “1st Scouts! Report!”

“General! They well out number us. At least 50,000 to 1. There is no way we would ever defeat them.”

Hasios clapped him on the back. “Don’t worry. I have the situation well under control.”

He turned to his second-in-command, Lieutenant General Coron Farscope. “Coron, we must prepare for an attack in the morning.”

Coron shook his head. “General, that’s madness! Our losses would be staggering, and our army might even be completely destroyed. Have you-?”

“No, Coron, I have not gone insane. I simply have a few ideas and plans which I have not talked about even to you, Sidefuo, or anyone else. Now if you will excuse me, I have one plan to implement before the coming battle. Tell the troops to gather in the central circle at sunset tonight.”

“But you had that closed off—“

“It will be reopened by sunset. Now do what I tell you.

Coron, mouth agape, watched his commander walk off, head bowed. He shook his head to clear his senses, and turned to the lead scout. “Well, we might as well do what he says. Tell everyone to be ready.”

*

Hasios walked around, observing the preparations he had made. Excellent. Everything was in place and perfect. Seeing the confused troops all milling about the circle, with a few stragglers still coming in, he decided that it was time to spring his trap. He pulled the lever, lit the match, and watched as his work came into fruition. The torch went up, lighting another torch close by, which in turn lit another, and so on, until finally it split, went around the camp, encircled and finally came together. The flames rushed up the tall stake until they ignited a huge ball of grass, weeds, twigs, and other miscellaneous combustible items found in your local backyard.

Then it hit the explosives set inside the ball.

The troops gasped as rockets made their way into the sky, exploding and creating pictures, symbols, and most importantly

“Cruinne,” breathed Coron. He glanced at Hasios who had made his way next to him. “You got a map of Cruinne?”

“And the flag. And a picture of King Verne. I figured the troops needed to…remember. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

Hasios went up the stairs located near a conveniently located stage, and began to speak to his men.

“Friends, Cruinnians, countrymen—You know what? That one’s been used before.”

The troops laughed. Hasios smiled.

“We’ve been through this war together. We’ve lost many friends, myself included. Dariel, Gulan, Werv.”

He paused.

“Jilier.”

He moved on.

“But I’m sure they would not want us to stop now. They would want to continue fighting, to finish the enemy off! Why? Because we know we can! Because we will!”

Hasios let the fierce words settle on his men’s ears.

“Now if I still have your attention, I have some surprises in store for you tonight.”

He snapped his fingers, and 15 dragons rose from outside the camp, where they had been lying in wait for this exact moment.

Coron found himself babbling orders almost immediately. “Delma! Stop those dragons. Throw all we’ve got at ‘em. I’ll handle the traitor.”

“You’re accusing me of treason, Coron? I’m ashamed. I thought I taught you better than that. These dragons are not against us, and neither am I. Rather, they are on our side.”

Coron stared blankly, unable to comprehend this contradicting fact.

“Coron, Coron, Coron, as unbelievable as it might seem, these dragons are on the forces of good. They’re working for us. As are these.”

Centaurs sprang out all around, surrounding the infantry.

“Those are our previously unknown cavalry. And these…”

Elven archers, whirlers, and Elite Guards came walking out.

“…our good allies. Oh and King Eaion, thank you for coming.”

“Th-That’s the Elven King!” shouted Coron.

“Friend Coron, I beg you not to shout in the presence of royalty. It displeases them, and it is completely rude. Now for the feast!”

The greatest cooks in the Kingdom of Cruinne came out flanked by tables of the best food eaten in months by the army.

They feasted long into the night, with their joyous merriment ringing far and wide.

Across the river though, things were different…