AOH – Chapter 102

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CHAPTER 102: BANTER

Arial enter the stronghold again and he could see that they have bigger settlement beyond the stronghold.

Instead of castle they have something resembling a longhouse. Their technology is…..backward compared to Arrandy or even Aetherland.

Their land is vast, that is true. But I don’t think they use it to cultivate wheat or corn of any produce. Arial thought to himself.

All were given by the Capital. In a way they are a simple minded creature. This is what amazes Arial.

In economy it seems they have no power whatsoever but in warfare their talents shine.

It is quite disconcerting. In the capital there are castles and palaces but here the king lived in a mound of hills with brick mud stronghold.

In terms of strength they maybe are better than average soldiers but if they rely on this to defend then surely it would crumble.

One attack from his siege weapon and some fire arrows or some fire attack combining Asteros fire and Arial reckon their stronghold would crumble.

Then Arial realize.

He gets it. He finally understands with a pure clarity the mindset of the Orcs.

The Orc rarely have been invaded. Mostly they attack and pillage and not the other way around.

They focused on attacking instead of defending.

It is confirmed when Arial look at their battle formations and arms. Sharp and high quality. They must have trade with the dwarves.

Their formation are neat and in discipline.

Then Arial consult Fera and Koer. They quickly kneel when I present the edict by King of Arakath and quickly supplied me with 6000 troop army as an aid forces under Koer.

Velamina and I will both control 3000 troops each.

Then quickly I am informed of what happened. In the south of the Orc land Clan Bor with E’rn,Ta’l and Ka’l is revolting and began marching north to Vor settlement.

The other small clan around the North and many of small clan around the South is involved in this rebellion.

In the South there are three stronghold connected with each other. Pass that and we can strike a decisive blow.

It is also the same for Bor. Pass Bor stronghold and the Vor can strike a decisive blow. In a way it is simple.

Capture the fortresses and march on and conquer the clans and their settlements and whoever wins the most clan on their side wins.

It is simple.

There is no negotiation. In human continent at least if we lose we can still negotiate something.

Here it is all or nothing. Maybe that is why rarely war ever broke out among the races. That night Arial return to the tent and sleep first.

Tomorrow I will engage in battle immediately, Arial thought before he goes to sleep. Even he doesn’t know why he is feeling like this.

Lately he felt that he is very aggressive. Always wanting to battle. He shrugged it off. Must be my own feeling.

Then he closes his eye.

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That week Arial regain many captured villages with Velamina and conquer one fortress called fortress Derwen and they began marching south the next week after that.

Vor began marching more to enemy territory after the initial success paved by Arial and Velamina.

Now their army is increased to 10 thousand Orc troops as testament of Koer Vor at his friend capability.

Reports are sent to the Capital of this joyous news.

Arial name in the Orc land spread and his brilliance in laying sieges and tactics gain him many fanfare in the land of Orcs and in the Capital of Arakath where they sing of a human that save the Orc with his ingenious tactic such as ‘picking the high ground to dam the river’ one tactic which drown an entire Orc settlement.

This news is also spread to the human traders of Asteros, Ariundus, Vorthy and Arrandians traders.

They all recognize the name. The Dragon of Arrandy. His name is famous now in both human continent and dark lands.

Many minstrel and performing troupe took his  story as inspiration for songs and plays most famously the Song of The Young Lord and the play that is sweeping the Capital Young Hero of Aetherland where it told the story of the Vermont family rise to power in the perspectives of the admirers of the House.

It also speak of how the young lord rally his people to fight a decisive battle with the greedy Duke Alderam who is the antagonist in that play while Arial is portrayed as a hero, honourable, just, kind and strong.

There is also some stories in some Elven Forest and dwarves taign and the vast plains of the Kobolds that a human manage to defeat a dragon.

Some laugh while many of the young kids began calling the human hero.

In a way Arial name is being spread all around the Anvali continent as a hero.

In the Orchish plains, one major clan has already surrendered, the Clan of Dore. And now they marches on

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THE PLAINS

In the morning they began their march south from Vor stronghold to lay siege to one of Bor stronghold called Serif.

And after a long week siege the Orc no longer could bear the insult hurled at them by Arial every day and they decided to step out of their stronghold and began engaging in battle with Arial troop.

‘BRING IT TO LARENAS ARIAL’ one shouted.

From the back of Arial troops, 10 strong Orc can be seen bringing something to Arial. Every troop gives way for this ten Orc as they present the item to Arial.

‘Here it is, Larenas Arial.’ Larenas means 10 thousand troops leader.

The item that the Orc brought is a huge glaive and despite its appearance it is heavier than a normal glaive as it is enchanted by Old Magic of the High Elf of the Dark Forest.

Arial could use the Enochian blade but he fears that if the sword activated again he would not know enemies or friends.

When fighting the dragon it might have been possible but if it’s only Orcs then this glaive is good enough.

It belongs to Gruk Vor and when he died it passed onto his son Koer and as thanks for the stellar performance that Arial has shown, Koer gifted this to Arial.

Koer is in the North pacifying the clan and making sure nobody is joining the rebellion.

Unlike humans who usually only join rebellion because of some honour or blood relations Orc joins when they believe their current leader is weak and his opponent is more stronger than their own leader.

Koer need to reassure his people that he is still strong.

‘CHARGE’ one voice filled the plains.

Arial look at his right side.

Velamina have entered the battle in the open plains already, while smiling; her blade is fast like thunder, sweeping her enemies with apparent ease.

While Arial is fond of slashing his enemies Velamina prefer stabbing with pinpoint accuracy to the vital organs of her enemies.

“I must hurry then” he said smiling and anticipating the battle that is about to unfold.

Arial effortlessly grab the glaive and swing it.

The Orc is not surprised anymore. Even Koer could not lift it and even Gruk Vor the previous king only let it sit on his throne room.

What took ten Orc to even lift; he could take it in one hand. This is why his troops are loyal to him.

‘Strength like him is hard to find in this vast world’ some Orc Ratarai once said when they saw his strength

Arial find that Orc always give their loyalty to the strong. Odd, but useful for him. He tightened his grip on the glaive.

If this is his army before entering battle he usually would prepares some rousing speech before entering battle but Arial learn from experience that Orc do not need such encouragement.

They enjoy the battle as they enjoy their feast, rowdy and messy.

Not to mention their belief might also be a part of why they are always eager to enter battle.

Any honorable warrior that died honorable death in battlefield will join The Great Horned Warrior on his feast table as their belief dictates.

And living among the Orc this couple of month even made Arial love fighting, one that he did not expect.

He looks at his troop and they all have this fierce look on their eye. They are ready. They are impatient for me to enter the battle.

I guess it’s time.

‘CHARGE’ he yelled and that is enough for his army to start entering the battle that is already underway.

Most of the orcs used axes, and big maces. Arial could see on the right side of the battlefield Velamina deftly handled a couple of Orcs, dodging their attacks.

That is to be expected Arial smile.

If she can dodge dragon fire and its tail how slow these Orc strike seem to her eyes? Arial mused even as one Orc is yelling with two axes nearing Arial.

Arial with an expression of boredness, swing his glaive and the Orc was cut to two at the spot.

The huge and heavy glaive can be said as lethal weapon capable of slicing any Orc to two.

‘Keep pushing’ Arial ordered already dismount his horse. He wants to take a little time killing this Orc army.

Even the weeks of sieging is mostly because of Arial wanting to understand the geography around the area and making sure there is no ambush forces around the area or reinforcement coming from the South.

That is why he delays in breaking the fortress.

Because they have never been invaded before their knowledge in sieging is limited. In an open battle Orc is a fearsome killing machine.

In castle, Arial imagined, they would be nothing but sitting ducks.

If this is a human continent he would siege them with fire stone and they will all die screaming and burning inside the fortress but Arial does not want such scorched earth tactics here.

He is trying to win the favour of the Dark lands not make them view him as evil incarnate. And the enemy here is weak, Arial remarked to himself.

Even without resorting to such mean he can still win.

Arial did not even have to slide or dodge.

With each step he take, he swing at the right and left and each step about 5 soul reach The Great Hall, all died with one swift judgment of his glaive.

Then Arial yelled, his voice sounded like a dragon, every Orc near him bled in their ears and nose while some are thrown back by his voice alone.

‘CHIEF LEADER OF SERIF, SHOW YOURSELF. MY STRENGTH AGAINST YOURS! VICTOR TAKES ALL! NOT ANOTHER ORC WILL DIE. WHAT SAY YOU!’

The battlefield froze. This is a declaration of one on one.

In human continent such declaration is usually ignored but in the Orc land and kobold such declaration is still practiced and dishonor will arrive on those who fear and declines the challenge.

While King usually can decline a chief usually will not, not if they have pride in their hearts. Then from the enemy side, a path is formed as a mounted Orc approached Arial.

Then the Orc dismount from his horse and remove his helmet.

‘My name is Sor from the clan of Bor. I accept your challenge Hero Arial for you are a warrior of great renown on the Orc plains.’ he said.

‘Let us begin then’ Arial said. The Orc nodded.

Then the Orc dashed forward with his axe but Arial deflected it with his glaive and sparks is produced.

The troops encircled both of their battles. The reason Arial issue the challenge is because he needs to conserve his troop’s strength and he could replenish his ranks after this battle.

10 thousand troops is a good number but Arial knew the real battle does not lie here. It lies on Fort Boeran, the great stronghold of clan Bor further south.

He and his troop have seen hell and back as they march south, experience that Koer no doubt see around his way north.

How the Bor clan kill children, burning settlement, leaving corpses and killing anyone who is under the protection of the clan Vor.

That fills Arial with a burning anger. He sees the face of a mother Orc mourning her sons and daughters, of how a brother loses his sister, of a young child who loses their parents and that strike at Arial heart.

He swears that he will find Bor and kill that Orc by his own hands.

Both of them jumped from each other and look at each other after they first clashed. From the first clash you could learn the enemy strength.

Arial look amused while the Orc look amazed with a Arial.

‘It is true what minstrel and bards tell and sang about you. You are a formidable human. Fighting you may grant me passage to the Great Feast’ the Orc said.

‘It is fine by me then. Come here and let me stab you easily so you could join the feast faster’ and Arial laughed and his troop follow suit

‘Eat with your horned God as I eat on the world below and feast with my troops.’ The Orc face turns to red.

‘YAHH!’ the Orc attack again but Arial deflected it again, and each time the glaive collided with the axe, there is ringing and sparks.

Arial is calm like he is tutoring the big Orc, deflecting his attack with the most little possible movements.

While the Orcs is forced to move back each time they collide. Glaive is heavy and wider and most of the time the Orc nearly enter death door.

But what incenses the orc is Arial apparent underestimation of the Orc. The orc could sense that Arial is not giving his all.

More like he toying with him and this enraged the Orc leader. Arial troops are accustomed to Arial behaviour after seeing their leader in many battles.

Their leader is an object of admiration and awe in their camp and campfire. Most of his troop knows that Arial wanted to enjoy the battle longer.

After battling the dragon Arial could hardly be entertained by normal battle anymore. And with the glaive and its destructive power his battle usually ended fast.

Not once the Orc axe graze Arial while the glaive have already cut and slice the Orc thick skin.

The Orc troops look at the battle. Velamina on horseback watching the enemies Orc troop if they somehow wanted to help their Orc leader.

After all every emergency need to be anticipated.

Velamina experience with Arial has made her believe there is no man on this world that would ever match his prowess in battle.

This is why she is not worried about Arial.

In all of the battle they have fought since they help the Vor tribes, not once Arial is graze by an enemy weapon or injured.

Since his heart swapping it seems in Arial words, he is full of energy all the time, and his wound heal incredibly fast, his senses is in a state of full awareness when he is on battle.

The Orc leader tries to advance this time sheathing his sword preparing to attack Arial while throwing his axe to Arial which Arial deflected with Dragon palm.

Quickly the Orc try to take advantage as Arial view is hindered by the axe throw but Arial quickly maneuver himself out of harm way missing just a second before the sword reach his heart while his troops gasped.

The axe flown behind him and stuck itself to some unlucky spectator head.Arial just smile.

The Orc then began trying to slash at Arial but Arial dodge it again, while some he deflected and titillation of their battle rang around the battlefield and both armies held their breath.

The battle is interesting but also the fate of their lives. Whoever wins take all.

Should I end this? He said and suddenly Arial dashed forward with unbelievable speed like a lightning. No one could see it even Velamina.

And suddenly a scream as two silhouette can be seen flying on the air and then with a thud if fall into the ground.

The troops look at it and could see it is a pair of hands and then their eyes is focused on the screams of the Orc chief.

Both of his hand is cut in those few second. Blood is spurting from his amputated hand. Arial is facing north while the Orc is facing south.

‘ARGGHHH, MY HAND!’ The Orc screamed.

Arial looked back. Slowly, Arial step towards the kneeling Orc.

‘Where is he?’ The Orc said looking left and right when he should have been looking back.

‘I’ll end this’ Arial said boringly.

One swing and the Orc leader head roll. Then Arial turned to his enemies.

‘KNEEL AND SURRENDER!’ He roars and whether because of their leader demise or Arial terrifying roar they quickly kneeled. And Serif Fortress is conquered.

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That night the prisoner is given a choice to enter the army or die in the execution block. They all choose to die in the battlefield.

They rather die in battle over the execution block anytime.

They will become the front line infantry attack Arial decided.

Arial eat a little from the fortress kitchen and the rest is distributed to the army. Some Orc ask permission to loot the nearby village and settlement like the Bor has been doing when they conquered fortress belonging to the Vor clan.

Arial quickly forbid such conduct.

‘But we won, Larenas Arial.’

‘I AM YOUR LEADER AND I ORDER YOU NOT TO LOOT. IS MY ORDER CLEAR OR DO I NEED TO BEAT IT OUT OF YOU SO YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND!

When one of the Ratarai, 1000  Orc troop leader ask for his permission.

‘WHOEVER LOOTS ANY OF THE SETTLEMENT OR VILLAGES WITHOUT MY EXPRESSED PERMISSION WILL BE SENTENCE TO DEATH ACCORDING TO MILITARY LAW OF DISOBEYING A HIGHER RANKED LEADER! DO YOU UNDERSTAND!

‘YES LARENAS!’ they replied.

After that they all went to sleep. There are some whispers of dissatisfaction but they would not dare disobey his order not when they all knew how Arial temperament is when anyone disobeys his order.

Arial walk to his camp and found Velamina is there waiting for him.

‘What are you doing here Velamina?’

‘Waiting for you.’ Arial asked while began removing his armour.

‘Let me help you with that’ as Velamina approach Arial and help him remove the armour.

‘How is it?’

‘What? The battle?’

‘No, the armour, hemlen. You win the battle didn’t you? I was there. I’m curious about the armour.’ Said Velamina as she put the armour down beside  the bed

‘I should have made you one back then.’ Arial remarked

‘It is alright. After all if you made two we have to wait there for two weeks and who knows if Orgehren suddenly manage to persuade you to let him come with us? Uhhh, I shudder to think about that.’

And Arial laughed slightly.

‘It is great. None of the attack seems to damage it.’

‘Unless of course they hit you with considerable force.’ Velamina remarked.

‘Well, it’s not like I’m going to be sitting around and let them attack me, would I?’

‘True, you wouldn’t.’

Velamina take a seat beside Arial bed as Arial lay on the ground with the multiple hays as his bed.

‘So, is this enough? I think you did enough. You have won considerable battle for the Orc. If your objective is for the Orc gratitude and Arakath trust I think you have got it.’

‘Not yet, Velamina.’

‘Why suffer so much to help the Dark race? I know you said Arrandy is allied with the Dark lands but to go this far.’

‘For peace, I guess.’ Arial replied. Then after a brief silence he continue.

‘My view of the dark races has always been skewed. This all change as I travel around the dwarves taigns, the Forest of Goblins and even the Orc tribes. They all have their loved ones, people they want to protect, people they hate, their culture and beliefs, just like humans do. The Vernian Church in the Human Continent preaches that Dark races are deceitful races, and among the most conservative of them, they once preaches that demon race has no soul. They love killing and they have no heart, compassion or love. They destroy everything they touched, tainting it with the darkness in their hearts.’

‘This Church men sound like an idiot’ said Velamina.

Arial smile a little.

‘They sure seem like it. But many human believe it.’

‘Why?’ Velamina ask.

‘Because they do not know any of you. They do not know any better. The dark races are shrouded in mystery. This is the first time since a long time that a human from the Human Continent ever reach this far. Many of those that met me thought me from Asteros but when I told them I am from Davarus they look at me suspiciously. Ignorance breeds misunderstanding. I have seen how a mother Orc would sacrifice herself rather than letting her children die and I have seen how loyal a Kobold warrior and how honorable they can be in the face of certain death. And while the dwarves are greedy they never broke a promise.’

‘But what difference does it make if only you are doing all this? And what benefit is there for human if you keep doing this?’

‘Humans are viewed in an unfavourable light in this land are they not? Orcs viewed humans as weak, elves view humans as deceitful, dwarves view humans as oath breaker and demon lords view humans as savages. And whether I like it or not, humans of Davarus have a complicated relationship with the demon race of Anvali compared to Vorthy and Asteros or Ariundus. There is hate, vengeance, misunderstanding, a rift of a 1000 years separation’

At this Velamina had to nod.

Even when she first heard of her prophecy she has her prejudice about humans. Whether the humans are from Asteros or Vorthy, humans are humans.

They destroy nature and burns trees, The Elder once said.

Well, since she is a high Elf, trees is not really needed for her to channel magic. While the White Elves and the Dark Elves must always return to the Forest, High elf is free from such restriction as their magic is in all things even in Words, Dreams and the Stars

‘So you think by helping the Orc it will heal the rift, the misunderstanding, the hatred and vengeance of these races? That seems to me a heavy burden to bear for any man, Arial’ and she began lying on the hay looking at Arial eyes.

She notices that beautiful blue eyes, that see further than anybody else, which see a dream that is beyond her.

Arial turned and look at her eyes, staring at each other, and his heart start beating furiously.

She brings her finger to Arial hair and feels it with every stroke.

Arial did the same thing, letting her long flowing hair to be on his fingers as he traces his hand around her hair, like he is admiring her.

“I don’t expect it to heal. But it is a start. Because, Velamina, somebody has to start. That is how it is always is. Somebody has to step forward and do it. If nobody starts, then others cannot follow.”

‘Hmm, you really are a remarkable human’ she said and she give him a light kiss on his cheek.

And then her hand traces his body and began trying to enter his trousers and she undid the laces on Arial trousers.

‘Stop, Velamina.’

She stares again at those beautiful blue eyes. That beautiful blue eyes that is driving her crazy with love.

‘You know, I could lose myself in those blue eyes of yours’ she said.

‘And me, yours’ Arial reply and Velamina blushed slightly

‘You really are a remarkable human. You’re like a stone statue. Almost a year and you still stay strong against temptation. Usually a man like you, young and at his prime would ravage a woman like me.’ She said her eyes glint mischievously

“I am confident of my body” she said when she looks that Arial is staring at her body

‘Well, a lady should be treated better than that’

‘I never declare myself a lady and I’m not a lady. Why do you insist giving me that tittle?’

‘You are a lady to me.’

‘I refuse.’ She said

‘I insist’ Arial replied. Then Velamina removed her hand from Arial trouser as Arial release a relieved sigh and Velamina begin standing up.

‘One day, I will catch you and you will fall under my spell.’ Arial could not help but grin.

‘Unlikely, Elvenan. But do try’ and with that ended their night talk and Velamina return to her tent.

They usually have this banter at night; Velamina try to seduce Arial and Arial rejecting. In a way it is like a game to both of them.

One who cannot stop, while another is immovable. Velamina have met her match. Velamina is still a maiden.

She is young, but she knows the Art of seduction after all Legion of Leaf always use it in their reconnaissance mission for the Capital.

Velamina once dream of entering the famous Legion before her prophecy of Elder is given. After that she was forced to study the Ancient Laws and Ancient Magic.

This is why she is proficient in both mana controls and swordsmanship.

‘One day before he return home, I will make him mine’ she grin before she went to sleep that night while on Arial mind before he went to sleep that night is this

“ She will never win that bet”

And with that they both go to sleep, preparing for another day of battle.

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