THE OBSERVATORY TOWER
A young man was standing looking down from his observatory tower as the wind blows gently on his flowing golden hair.
His face is fierce and manly. He was muscular and he wears a lion armor, a metal white silver armor with a crest of a Lion.
His eyes was clear and full of determination.
He then sighed. The man standing at this observatory tower is Duke Bradheim, one above all, below only under one person.
Bradheim is the stepbrother of King George of Vanheim. Born from a different mother, he has never let that bring him down.
At a young age he learned tactics and strategy so that one day he might defend the Kingdom.
In his teen he follow his Royal Father hunting and in his expedition against Vetten and Niovar, making a name for himself in the battlefield as the Golden Lion of Vanheim
Strong and charismatic, he was different from George who is always at the library and spending time with that old cuckoo they called Sage.
He has always see his brother talent as inconsequential in creating a powerful Kingdom.
Everyone believed that Bradheim will be appointed as King. But this belief did not extend to his own Royal father.
His Royal father on his deathbed choose his older brother, George. George is known to have health issues long before he even took the throne.
He didn’t believe that George could rule as King for long and will brought Vanheim mighty reputation to crumble.
But he also could not rebel openly and brought the Kingdom to a civil war which will weaken the Kingdom offensive capability against other threats.
So, he endures and compromise.
He asked his brother to give him a state so he might rule.
George then gave him a state to rule not because he wants to but because George himself fears his political clout and military power he could exercise.
Away from the capital, the King could sleep easy. But that was mistake as Bradheim could not develop without the prying eyes of the Capital.
If Aero was there during that day, he will surely not hesitate to assassinate Bradheim instead letting the Lion get out of the Capital.
Arriving at the state he named that state Bradheim based on his name.
Bradheim settled and built his foundation defending the borders and pacifying the region winning the hearts of the common people.
He believed his brother will face much opposition to his rule.
And true enough his brother has so many entities that worked against him. The nobles, the neighboring countries provocations, and the Orcs.
Sensing that his brother rule will not last long and his dethronement and death would cause chaos to the Kingdom he hatched a plan.
He bided his time.
He trains his soldiers and reserves his strength. Then when just he was about to strike, George abdicated.
It was an unexpected move.
His brother by not naming a successor created deadlock so he couldn’t just march to the capital with no good reason.
The fact that king is still alive at that time is also what preventing others from naming an heir to the Kingdom.
And the subsequent chaos and instability that followed forces the nobles hand.
Then in not more than a month his brother successfully gained the people support and unlimited power was handed to him.
He pacify the Kingdoms, gains the people approval, forces the nobles to acquiesce and the Temples to wholeheartedly support him.
Suddenly, from an incompetent King, he was suddenly elevated to a wise king rarely seen through the ages by the people and become a headache for the nobles who have been winning the entire time.
Bradheim thought George was an incompetent ruler. But what happened shattered his perceptions.
After extensive research and information gathering he found out who helped George.
‘No wonder, my brother can succeed’ Bradheim thought.
He has able advisors to advise him. Bradheim couldn’t help but acknowledge the person who helped George.
Bradheim did want to try to recruit the adventurer named Aero after that incident but his informant in the capital says he is loyal to George.
Right now in this Kingdom the only one who holds military power is only him and George after George uses his edict to forces the nobles to contribute their soldiers to the war effort.
But Bradheim could see this is just the King wanting to put all the military power under him.
By now, if Bradheim could not guess the intention of that Strategist beside George, he would surely have wasted his learning.
Bradheim understand why the war was wage and why it is important to win. The strategist wanted Vanheim to become the sole hegemon of the Eastern continent
George right now possess such powerful influence that he could take military power from Bradheim and the common people would not bat an eye.
They gave George the authority to do so. But by not taking his military power shows how smart George really is.
Or is it his advisors that are smart? If George takes Bradheim military power after the war nobody will complain.
If they win, it would only add legitimacy to his rule. If they lose, then that would be explained as to bolster the forces for defending the Kingdom.
Either way, Bradheim power will be diminished.
To be honest it’s not like Bradheim has treasonous thoughts from the beginning. He just wants the Kingdom he loves and sacrifice his youth for to become strong.
If George is really capable, he will gladly be loyal to him….but all the years he saw this stepbrother of his, he never seems capable and fall short of Bradheim own expectations.
Many see Bradheim as someone who is hungry for power.
But that was not his character.
If he was truly hungry for power he would have already rebelled with his legions during that day after the will of his royal father was announced.
Now the Orcs are attacking, backed by Vetten. This is probably the gravest crisis that Vanheim has ever faced since the Hegemony War.
He already got the letter from Aero, George strategist.
Enclosed in it was the information about Vetten conspiracy and Aero intention to repel the invasion of Vetten in Fort Vars.
In the letter is also a plan written for him. Bradheim knows it’s not only a plan, it is a test. A test designed to see whether he is loyal to the crown.
But the plan that Aero enclosed in the letter amazes Bradheim. To think he could form a plan without even seeing the battlefield is an amazing thing to do.
But what is the most amazing than this was that Aero knows who he is. Not his name but his personality.
Unlike others, Aero did not see Bradheim as a hungry lion but as a proud King of the Jungle.
A lion that did not want to be ruled someone weaker than him. An honorable person. And because Aero knows that, he dares sent the letter and ask for his help.
George will not dare. Nor is his loyal officials and generals who shares George doubt about his allegiance
If it works this Aero shall be no commoner and will surely be promoted into officialdom and become the King most trusted advisor.
Now he must decide.
Will he take this chance to betray his brother or save his Kingdom only to give the military power to George if he wins?
Bradheim is still thinking in the tower.
He looks down and he could see the villages and his city and then he looks forward and he saw the blue skies and white clouds as the winds pushing the clouds and reveals the blue skies.
And he sighed.
‘Being peaceful in times of chaos is easier said than done. Being cruel is easier. To ride the time or to change the times? Which one is easier and which one could be done?’ He muttered to himself
There is not much time. He must decide. And he must decide fast. Then he closes his eyes and crumpled the letter on his hand as a look of determination appears inside his eyes.
The Orcs have almost arrived here. Bradheim has sent his troops to engage them in the distance in raids and surprise attacks.
There are not many casualties in the first day on Vanheim side. Yesterday he himself did not lead his men to battle.
Today he will take to the field and this news send the army into a frenzy.
Bradheim is known as a talented commander and a fierce General of War. Today he will lead the army to the front lines to engage the enemy.
The troops’ morale has increased knowing that Bradheim will personally lead them. It is an honor top fight alongside the Lion of Vanheim.
On the battlefield Bradheim sitting on his warhorse looking dignified and full of majesty quickly analyzed that the enemy is employing a straight line formation.
He then quickly yelled
“Form ranks. Wedge formation!”
Wedge formation is one of the formation Bradheim is most proficient at.
He would thin the lines to provide concentration in the center to break through the enemy lines.
And then he would charge like a fierce lions and pounced on their enemies with speed and might.
With 5000 cavalry they quickly regroup on the battlefield as horses hooves creates dust that covers the battlefield and the drums of war was being pounded to incite battle spirit.
Then with a shout they began their formation attack.
Bradheim army has many elite soldiers nurtured by him and this is proved by how fast they broke through the enemy lines, swinging their swords and piercing their spears through the shields and flesh of Orcs like they were slicing and dicing meat for dinner.
“Search for Gruk. Whoever takes his head will be rewarded handsomely” yelled Bradheim while he was slashing Orc soldiers splitting the Orc barring his way into two
Blood colors the green grass red as dins of weapons could be heard in every direction and screams and wailing intertwine to create a bizarre sound that could weaken any man will that has never been to war.
They fight bravely but there are no signs of Gruk in the battlefield.
The momentum of the battlefield was clearly on Bradheim side as they slaughtered their way and killing in a frenzy like they were possess by the God of War.
This is an advantage that could be used by his armies to weaken the Orcs. After that the momentum that Bradheim created is broken by a terrifying roar.
The sound resonate all over the battlefield as the ground trembles and the battlefield was suddenly being overwhelmed by a single shout.
Some troops have their eardrums ruptured and some even froze as the Orcs Horde cheers and cut the enemy in front of them, slashing down the frozen and disoriented soldier with ease as their counterattack began.
Gruk has shown himself on the battlefield. His horse was only slightly smaller than an elephant, holding a big clubs twice his size he look like the Old Monsters that appeared in the children nightmare stories.
To those who watched him, they finally understood why the other tribes followed him. The Orcs valued strength and this Orc is undoubtedly is the strongest of them all.
There was no doubt that’s the reason. Any troops that were smashed with his clubs died a horrible death.
Faces were smashed leaving a mashed meat on the ground. Bones were broken into dust before they trembles and die because of internal bleeding.
Bloods splattered all over the battlefield.
The Orcs morale soared. Sensing a change in the tide of war, Bradheim quickly ordered retreat.
They changed their formation and started retreating back to the Fort. Bradheim hoped Gruk and his horde will follow them, but his expectation was wrong.
Gruk ordered the Orcs to reinforce their position.
If Gruk had followed, he would face the ambush troops Bradheim prepared in the hills. This Gruk calling himself the Great Orc is not stupid.
That much is clear.
And so the battle turned to a siege battle. The Orc Horde of Nairhell and the Golden Lion of Vanheim has begun collided with each other
Third chapter of the week.Please leave some comments and donate for extra chapter