AOH – Chapter 48

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CHAPTER 48: 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, led 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 don’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 have already waited for 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. The white snow beneath my feet dyed red, a beautiful scene tainted by the blood of man and their ambitions.

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.

Brain matter exploded and fall to the snowy lands.

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 has 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 since the battle.

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 are killed while Lord Wiltsred were captured and executed.

The ground was covered with dead and dying man.

The air was hot and stifling even though it was winter, and even though snows are still falling. 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.

And I will burn that crown with my fire. 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 its 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 is 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? Shaking my head, I try to forget about things I don’t understand. Better think of something else.

And I need to think on how to raise my standing here in the Forbidden City.

From what I hear, 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 lying 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.

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