AOH – Chapter 28

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CHAPTER 28: THE BATTLE RAGES ON

1014 AF SEEDMONTH 74

ADRIAN

I still feel this chair to stuffy for me. I fiddle around the handle. A carved wood, probably made by a talented artisan.

House Vermont wealth truly is….even their chair is this luxurious. A throne they say. But this is just a chair made of wood. Authority made by spoken words.

Well, considering I don’t even have a place to rule, I don’t really feel like a King. After the coronation, my brother sent a letter to me declaring war.

To be honest he drew the first blood of this bloody conflict.

After the coronation and the eating I returned back to Roaring Dragon, the magnificent castle of the Vermont.

 For now I will hold court here while my attendants prepare my arrival at Rockstill, the castle that used to belong to Arwin Rodan, House Rodan.

After the Feast his family with no heir, came into chaos.

Arial quickly absorb it and all the people there the knights, the attendants and the minor lords all swear their fealty to the Vermont.

Arial said he fear that if he did not pacify the region my brother faction will.

Well, when you ride to Rockstill with 1000 strong force, knights lead by Ser Masser a knight that swear fealty towards the Vermont, whom I heard a very talented Knight, I doubt they have a choice.

Kneel or die, that is the implication. Unspoken but it’s there. The young lord is truly like dragons of old.

Bold and strong

Now the heir of Roaring Dragon, eldest son of Aries Vermont is ten and four yet he has already proven himself to the people of the Kingdom he is a force to be reckoned with.

It is not that unusual to have a young lord ruling a House but a capable young lord is rarely seen.

The few example are Emperor George the Wise, First of His name, that take the throne when he was 10 years old yet show great aptitude for ruling, so wise in fact that even in his life people called him the Wise.

He rule for a 100 years, ending slavery, making economic reforms, social reforms, built great monument that to this day still stand, pacify the regions of the Empire, making deals with the mountain tribe and so many things that help stabilize the Empire at a time where chaos and war reign, a problem left by his ancestor and grandfather and father.

At his deathbed when the common folk and the nobles heard that he died, they cry and cry while the mourning lasted almost a year.

Usually the mourning of an Emperor is 40 days but for him, the people mourn him, month and month until his son, William the First rose to the throne, and stop the masses from mourning.

Then there is also Levitia.

At age of 13, he showed great prowess in battle and understanding everything about battle.

He battles many great heroes and villains of his time at that age.

Creating martial art technique, unrivalled in battle, undefeated and all-conquering.  Pity that such great hero could not understand people better.

The common folk are also fond of their young lord, who I heard from the other people that even when he was a child, he was bright and smart, strong and brave.

He is loved by the common folk because during his training at the Academy of Knight he solve many quest and killed many criminal and save many common people, some who rose to great positions in the Kingdom.

Noble and brave. Dignified and calm. The perfect Lord.

Arial is right now is moving south to meet the other noble houses and asking them to swear fealty to me.

Haah, I sighed

Even though I called it a Kingdom, it’s not like all of the kingdom is under me.

In the South most of the minor lords is pacified most of it by Vermont family wealth and their overwhelming force.

But not all. Not all, I reminded myself. The West and North are still not pacified. There are some lords that claim themselves as Duke or Count.

So to counter all these threats I created the office of the Protectorate under the suggestion of Arial.

Lord Henry Summersill as the Protector of the West, Lord Arial as Protector of the South and East and for the North Lord Aldrey Woodrath, a talented Knight raise to lord who convinces me he can take the post and win me battle.

And right now I need people who can win me battles. Right now with many of my supporters died in the Feast, I turn Knight into Lords.

In exchange I got their fealty and their skill in battle, and the troops they have.

The Vermont controlled both of the East and South office because they have the biggest influence, all of the lords in the East has already swear their fealty to Lord Arial and his family while he also convinced many of the southron lords to swear fealty to me.

It is only appropriate that their family hold both offices. Well with their influence I hardly can object.

Yesterday after weeks of threat battle broke out. I’ve gotten the report from Lord Lorraine.

Heir to Vorwound Hall, Hadraul Vorwound came back with a force of 1000 man to rid out of Alderam forces.

Hadraul Vorwound did come to the coronation, a young man twenty and two, hazel eyes and handsome appearance, yet his face was full with grief and shock, he came with his knights and loyal vassal and wanting to avenge his father death.

So when I asked if any of the lords who follow me to my interim court in the Roaring Dragon whether any of them would try to intercept Alderam Alan march to Abret, Hadraul offer himself.

This is truly a war now that battle has broken out.

Initial report indicate that Alderam only brought about 1500 troops, troops that Hadraul is confident he can route long enough before reinforcement from  Tearlay come, another House that swear fealty towards the Vorwound family.

But when he arrives near Penrose, he could see it was 4000 troops.

The Duke of Arouen has already set up some defensive barricade his man is strong and energetic.

Anyone that sees it knows it is a lost cause yet he perseveres. The young man is stubborn. Stubborn and angry.

Hadraul attacked the troops. Young and bold and reckless. I shouldn’t have sent him into battle knowing that he is still grieving for his father.

Vengeance drives the young boy. Vengeance kills the young boy. I killed the young boy. He should have retreated or wait for reinforcement.

I could not help but feel responsible for his death.

I should have known. I heard the report presented to me in full detail, with vivid imagery.

It is said when Alderam meet the young boy in battle he use his big hammer and with one strike the young boy head was smashed, nothing left but a smashed face, full with blood while his soldiers slaughter the other 1000.

Bodies strewn about the hills, like a rotten fruit borne by strange magic, the soil was damp with blood, the horse feet was stain with brain matter.

The Vorwound were in full retreat back to Tearlay, while other Northern family that believes in my cause started to delay Alderam march.

Overall casualties on our side are 643 troops.

The lineage of Vorwound ended that day, with all of their family who kept captive in the House Vorwound were executed by Alderam when he set foot in Vorwound.

Children, widows, woman and child were put to the sword, their blood in his brother hand.

Lord Woodrath who the Northcour swear fealty towards began forcing the noble houses on the North to join my cause.

Not all of the North swear their fealty towards Alderam especially not Lord Woodrath who is affiliated with many of the Lord that dies in the Bloody Feast.

On the other hand, Arial in the South encountered some battle with the Blackton and Whitetree family

Those two houses refuse to bend their knee, so Arial and his army, 5 thousand of them move to the South marching to either force them to bend the knee or perish under his sword.

I remember what the young lord said to me. It surprises me. For a young kid to speak so resolute and firm.

He said to me that night before he leave the castle, when I speak to him about the Whitetree he said

“They will either bend their knee, or their head will be the price for their defiance.”

The battle of Whorleath, where the Whitetree tries to intercept Arial march to their stronghold South Grove.

From the letters, Arial won.

Arial centralize his force and then attack the Whitetrees troops, then a force commanded by Fred Lear, another House that swear fealty towards the Vermont who is near and has been receiving many letters from Arial before the battle intercept the  Whitetree and wreck many damage to the troops of the Whitetree.

Their battle in Whorleath is decided from then on. When the Whitetree met the young lord, it was under his term.

Now joined by with House Lear, and also some of the Althea troops who followed the young lord to reach SeaWorth.

The Althea is comprised of their lord Helve Althea and the Lady Helia though from what I see, she looks more like a Knight than Lady.

They, of course can return to their stronghold in Sea Worth if they instead went to the West first, a route that undoubtedly safer for the lord.

But it will take much time and the Lady persists in following her fiancé to battle. Young and smart.

Strong and brave. The new generation seems to be braver and stronger.

Their battle took place on an open ground chosen by Arial himself, to give him full advantage of his superior force and his strong cavalry.

The Whitetree decided to take up a defensive position, dug a trench to their rear and fortified their front lines with sharp stakes.

He goaded and insults the young lord calling him milksop, an embarrassment, a tyrant yet he was calm and letting the Lord mock him.

That was brilliant.

He must have sensed that even with his superior number the Whitetrees is planning something.

It was at night when the Whitetree stopped their goading an insult, and unprepared, believing that the young lord was scared.

And then a counterattack. The young lord charged first with fire arrows in the night, forcing the Whitetree to charge Arial troops which was followed by an infantry charge by Arial killing many of the Whitetree.

Chaos filled the battlefield, the night lit to fire. The cavalry stampeded the enemy forces, men become meat paste under the furious and heavy stampeding of the cavalry.

Then Arial charge the Whitetree with his cavalry and a fierce melee ensues.

It was at this that the people in the war was more awed when the young lord charged and killed many of the enemy troops single handedly and it was at this time he killed Lord Brad Whitetree.

The Whitetree demoralized with the losing of their lord, and seeing the massive troops of the Vermont broke their lines and fled.

Arial armies were unstoppable. His cavalry is the perfect killing machine. Arial give pursuit and cut down many of the fleeing Whitetree troops.

Then he march unchallenged to Whitetree and rest in their castle the South White Hall, while the minor lords that swear their fealty to the Whitetree, now bend their knee to the Vermont’s.

The family of the Whitetree is imprisoned until after the war ended. But their prisons are fine, especially since they are noble.

They will be well fed.

Now Arial marches to Blackton while the Althea march back to Sea Worth to raise their banner for me and probably subjugate the rest of the South.

They most likely will go through Bush Haven and from then on march to Ales, ruled by Hugh Ales, another lord who has already swear fealty to the Crown then they will reach Cape of Blood and from then on ,they can march straight to their home.

The Blacktons, huh. Stubborn lot

The Three brothers Lord Hugh Ales, Lord John Lonne, Lord Will Trouts will join Arial attack towards Blackton.

Arial troops is currently resting in the forest near Blackton and has already constructed a war tent and waited there.

He must want the Blackton to bend their knee without battle. Huuh, I sighed again.

Can I win this war?

Knock, knock

I heard the knocking sound.

“Enter”

Ser Baldwin enters.

“Your Highness, there is a Knight that wish to swear fealty to you”

This is weird. Any knights that wish to swear fealty to me can do it to Ser Baldwin.

“You can handle it” I said gesturing him to leave me to my thoughts. In the desk there are so many more reports of battle all over the Kingdom.

“I’m occupied” I reply

“No, my liege. This one you have to attend yourselves. A son of a great noble House” he said snorting

Then a young Knight enter, his hair blonde, his eyes blue and his blonde hair was long like a lion mane, tall and wearing his shining armour, I put his age around ten six or ten seven, a Knight yet elegant like a son of great noble .

“I present to you your Highness, Ser West of House Palais”

I was shocked. Finally I understand. A son of a great noble indeed. House of Palais. The enemy of House Vermont and the greatest backer of my brother claim.

I looked coldly at him and said

“Why do you want to swear fealty to me? Why not to my brother?”

The boy kneeled.

“The action and decision of my House does not reflect my decision as well, Your Highness. I do not agree with my father opinion, neither the way he did things”

“Is that so?” I said

“Yes, Your Highness”

“How can you go out of the Knight Academy? If my memory serves me well, only a Knight of Knight Brother ranking can get out of training while doing quest on the outside?”

“The Knight Academy has closed itself, its towers were closed, their city gate barred. They fear that this war will also involve them so they sent many of the trainees back to their land.  As you understand, there are a lot of sons of noble, some from distant lands, some are not. The Knight Master fears that any of the forces would use the noble’s children as leverage.”

“Any of the force? Are you implying my force would do such a thing! Heard of the Bloody Feast? Now that is a force you should be wary of!” I said losing myself and remembering that night again.

So many of the people I share bread with, people who I trust, people who supported me died that day.

“Permission to speak truth, Your Highness?” he said his voice is calm and annoyingly calming

“Fine, speak it!”

“In war, men turn to beast. Just because you did not kill them now, doesn’t mean you won’t. Forgive me if my word offends you Your Highness.”

I was speechless. What he said is true. Who’s to say in an act of desperation I won’t use the very same play this boy mentioned?

“Are your words true? Is your fealty real? Or are you a traitor? Once you spoke your oath it is binding.’

He is the son of Palais. The Vermont is their enemy and likewise. What if I accept him and the Vermont is offended?

West is a son of a great lord, while Arial, is a son of strong lord who have the force of ten thousands strong soldiers which day by day increase.

Lords great and small, old and young offer their sword and fealty to the young lord and the news of his victory against the Whitetree surely spread all over the Kingdom by now.

A young but capable lord. And wealthy.

Surely by now his initial 5000 men is now double of that strength with all the other Houses in the South that swear fealty to him raise their banners and follow his march.

“I swear fealty to the true King of Alan” he said

“The true King, huh?”

To be honest having a son of the Palais House in my court add my legitimacy.

Even though, the House of Palais is despised by many of the common folk, many nobles have familial ties with them.

House Vermont may be the strongest, but if to gain the nobles favour it is very good to have a Palais in my court.

Many of the Noble Houses in the North still swear fealty to House Palais. And that is why Henry can raise an army.

Before he couldn’t, not when all the lords threatened to fight him, but now all those lords are dead.

Now if I brought a Palais when I win, if I win, I will install him as the Great Houses in the North and no one will object.

If I put Aldrey Woodrath, a Knight turned lord as one of their Great Houses I doubt they will be pleased, not to mention he is descended from the South.

“Your Highness?” Ser Baldwin asked

I need to make a decision

“It seems to me your intentions are pure. You have chosen the right person to choose fealty towards. I accept your fealty. You will be put under the leadership of Ser Baldwin. Bring victory to our cause” I said

He nodded

“I swear it by the God of Light”

“So be it” I said.

Then I gestured him to get out of the room. I need to finish reading the document before dark came.

There are many thing to read, many things to sign. I hope employing him is not a mistake.

There is also the letter of a marriage from Vangua,Seren and Vern offering their daughter to me, a marriage that would surely give me more allies.

Even Renasia sent an offer. Princess Rhyssa Renasi, the heir to the Kingdom of Renasia.

But Renasia is so far away, what good will it does for me, here in Alan to secure an alliance with them so far away.

I grab a parchment and quill and began writing to Arial. The young lord. Young and capable.

Young and capable of anger.Young and have a 10 thousand strong soldiers behind him. Some young lord can be patronized, ignored, even forgotten

But a young lord that control so large an army? No, that is the kind of young lord you don’t want to offend, patronize or forget

That is the kind of young lord you appease.

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