CHAPTER 104: NEAR THE END
On the bottom Arial has transformed again. And Velamina on the top have already guessed what is about to happen.
It was nothing like before.
‘A rampaging God’ some Orc describe him from on top of the wall.
His eyes were red like the Horned Warrior and some of the enemies Orcs believe that the Horned Warrior has graced the presence of the Battlefield and is exacting his punishment over the disloyal.
Many of the Orc try to run from Arial only to be cut into two by Arial blade, or trampled by Koer cavalry.
But even Koer is afraid to approach the walking darkness which is Arial.
The glaive is stuck on the ground near the destroyed front gate. Some orc tried to use it to try to stop Arial rampaging but none of them could pull it out from the ground.
There are admiration and fear.
But at this time those who have not seen this state of Arial before the only thing they could feel in their heart is uncontrollable fear.
They trembled in fear disregarding their will to be brave. Arial continued to slash Orcs with his Enochian blade with more ferocity and speed than before.
Before Arial tried to deflect his enemies attack but now he didn’t even need to. The aura protected him.
Arial show the Orc a speed beyond their understanding, miraculous skill, moving with only slightest movement whether to attack or to dodge some powerful attack.
His move is unpredictable and elusive and by the time they know it they are lying on the ground with a slit in their throat or a big hole in their heart.
Then the horde of Koer Vor infantry began sensing the spaces crated by Arial and the archers and the infantry began pouring into the fortresses and went to secure the southern wing.
From the southern side Bor Orcs started retreating opening the southern gate and flooding out from the fortress.
They would rather die running rather than face the Red Eyed Human.
Koer troops is advancing with Arial on the frontline exacting judgment with his blade.
And this time it is Bor Orcs that is dying in thousand as Koer entire forces marches from the front gate and keep advancing.
Even though there are traps Velamina steer the army away from such trap. Koer is impressed with both Velamina and Arial.
While Arial keep advancing, Velamina give wise counsel on traps. Strength and tactical genius.
While Arial is a genius himself on the battlefield this time he is their first line of attack because of his massive strength.
And sometimes brute strength is enough to destroy any strategy. That is what is fearsome about the existence of Arial right now.
A force that can trample any strategy. Numbers of troop’s means nothing if you can’t kill one man.
Then they began stopping or maybe it is their plan all along as they stopped in one of the settlement and created another line of defense to stopped Vor forces from advancing further.
‘YOU SHALL NOT PA-‘And before he could finish his sentence the blade has already cut the Orc into two.
Arial is ignoring everything whether it be the yelling of his subordinate that ask him to scout the strength of the enemies or those who yelled to him that his act is insane but Arial ignored it.
They don’t understand.
The feeling of the air, the wind on his face, everything around him, the senses picking everything even the slightest movement, slowing everything, the blood pumping in his veins, feeling the fire in his body, power that is charging every part of his body, that power that is unbounded, limitless.
There is something coursing in his body, such power that he realize energize him, an ancient power Arial thought as his subordinates keep yelling at him not to rush while his hand keep hacking away his enemies.
He knows, nothing can stop him.
Another slash and 3 more die right at the spot they are standing. Arial is just charging the line of defense with his strength.
He stormed the line and created chaos.
‘For one man to do such feat’ Koer look from behind.
No wonder he is famous he mused. The story of Arial strength is widespread in the Orc land by now.
Everyone around the capital and Orc land and most of the Elves has known about this human.
Noise of shattered axes and spear can be heard. Enochian blade is after all, strong and magical.
But in the hands of Arial, the power can clearly be shown. No weapon could stand the power of an Enochian blade.
Axes, spears, swords are like tree branches compared to the sharpness of an Enochian blade.
Arial troops have managed to catch up and quickly moving forward and encircled the right wing of the line while their commander is concentrating on the center.
Hundreds of Orcs traded blows and strike, throwing axes and spears, hurling insults and smashing each other head.
In less than a minute almost all the center line is decimated, no one is left alive.
Stepping on the bodies, Arial moved his target to the left side that is already in disarray, and he jumped around rushing and slashing, the Orcs all fell in a second.
In almost half an hour the line is broken while the other ran to the other part of the settlement.
‘Let us stop.’
Arial could not confirm if there is an ambush or not and he don’t want to make the same mistake again.
‘We will stay here for a while before chasing them again’ Arial advises and Koer agree.
Koer also gives Arial the title of Dawarai, leader of 20 thousand troops.
Koer said his forces is not all here yet and the rest 10 thousand will be absorbed in Arial army.
Arial gratefully accept.
‘Waiting for me?’ Arial said as he could already see, Velamina treating his tent like her own, no doubt waiting for him to come inside, as she is pouring something in the goblet on top of the table.
‘I’m pouring some wine.’
‘Where did you get it?’
‘When we go to the capital last time’ she replied. Arial nodded.
‘Don’t mind if I do’
Arial enter the tent and took the cup as Velamina lay on the ground. Arial take a sip.
‘Oh, this is really smooth’
‘It is doesn’t it?’
Arial sit beside her, as Velamina took his hand and traces her fingers around Arial hand. She looks at Arial eyes meaningfully, showing a desire to possess him
‘I help you a lot this time didn’t I?’
‘I want a reward’
‘Yes, a reward.’ She said determine. Arial laughed.
‘Fine, elvenan. What do you desire?’
‘One day, if I did something bad, whatever it is, I want your promise that you will not get angry with me.’
‘That is an odd request.’ She gripped Arial hand tighter.
‘Just promise me.’
‘Fine’ Arial said not thinking too much about it.
‘I’ll forgive if that time ever come, though I don’t think that will be the case.’ He said still smiling
‘Why the confidence?’
‘You have never disappointed me.’
‘Yet’ she said
‘Well, that is true. And I don’t think you will.’
‘Don’t be too sure Arial. We, women are a fickle creature. There is nothing sure about us’
‘That sounds dangerous.’
‘I tell you before didn’t I Arial? I am dangerous.’ She chuckle looking at him and he is looking at her, their stares and their breath in sync, while the world outside fall away when they both look at each other.
And then she felt her heart beating furiously, both of them finally startled by their own feeling and both of them drew away one step from each other as they realized they were about to kiss each other.
Arial realize it at that moment. If he kisses her, there is no way; he could stop just at that. Looking at the hunger in Arial eyes, her cheeks blushed.
‘I guess this is it tonight’ Velamina said.
She gives a smooth kiss on Arial cheek and went to her tent.
There is many great forts constructed when Arial first enter the settlements. Many fort need to fall before Arial could truly strike a decisive blow which is weird.
Someone is helping them Arial thought.
That spring Arial and his force numbered 5000 troops is tormenting the larger force of Bor in the Shen Tar Valley.
While Gurik tribe is coming from the south to send aid to Bor forces.
FAES BOR WAR TENT
‘What is the human doing?’ Faes Bor said in his war tent he said smashing the goblet on the long table
‘We….don’t know Orothon’
‘Even we could not understand this human logic.’
What frustrates these Orc is Arial. As the weeks of the campaigns went by, Arial repeatedly led his soldiers out of the Shen Tar Valley, then back to it.
Back and forth, back and forth.
Was he preparing to help defend Koer in the newly acquired fortress? Was he marching on Bor territory, now that Gurik tribe absence had left it unprotected?
Was he heading north to wreak havoc up there with the rest of Bor supporters? Why was his small force moving in circles?
His movements made no sense.
Arial inexplicable moves made the Bor generals delay the march on the Koervan Fortress after Koer named it after his name as they waited to figure out what he was up to.
KOER WAR TENT
‘Your strategy is working Dawarai Arial’ said Koer Vor showing a satisfied smile.
Arial sits in one of the chairs in the war tent smiling. Arial knows that Bor have many troops and if they attack the Fortress now when it is badly damaged and Koer forces is practically weary, to win is almost an impossibility.
He could of course just storm the stronghold and at least kill thousands of Orcs then flee but that would be too arrogant of him.
The world is vast. Who knows how many experts live? And who is he to be so arrogant? Who knows if there is an Orc expert or someone on his level.
Arial might seem arrogant but his arrogance has basis. In the human continent, no noble dare challenge him and Arial know enough of his ability that he is confident that no noble could defeat him in one on one battle.
Because nobles even though they learn internal energy cultivation from they are a child, in their youth they then will have to assume their responsibility as lords or count or baron of certain estate.
Naturally their internal energy training stopped, if not slackened, some because they are preoccupied with the matter of their estate, some trapped in the politic of the court, while some get indulgent with the power.
But Arial know in the martial art world, expert are many as the clouds.
Even though Arial knows that in the martial art world he is not considered weak, he himself do not have the confidence to declare himself the strongest.
Of course unbeknown to him, his level of internal energy surpassed even that of the 4 Immortals, which is acknowledge by two Immortals, The Southern Healer and the Western Serpent but in terms of technique and understanding he is still so inferior to the 4 Immortals.
It is this that prohibits him from winning against the 4 Immortals if they clash.
But if he fights against the 4 Immortals on the basis of internal energy alone, even if 3 of them sent internal energy wave against him, he could handle it.
Arial knows that he is lucky enough to be blessed with the knowledge of Levitia training Manual and his understanding of internal energy always increase every year.
Recently he created another technique. The Imposing Presence.
But it is still at the elementary level, and Arial knows he need time and patience and insight to the deeper meaning of cultivation of the internal energy, its profound truth and the insight to really create this technique.
There is so much he can do alone.
This he silently acknowledge. In the matter of the Bor forces, if they really attack then surely Koer will retreat back to the north and maybe lose the initiative to end this war in a swift manner.
How many years it would take for Koer to once again invade the South if he retreated back to the North?
Arial could not let that happen.
‘This technique of yours is brilliant Dawarai’ another Orc commander commented.
They have heard the story about the brilliance of Arial strategy in battlefield but since all they could see before is his overwhelming strength , most of the Orc believe he manage to push through using strength alone.
But this technique of him has earned the respect of the Orc commander.
‘Always mislead, and surprise the enemy if possible’ Arial reply
While the south force is hesitating to attack, the Koer Orc is fortifying the fortress and waits for reinforcements.
The Capital has managed to persuade the Elven Council to send the Legion of Leaf to join the war effort on Koer Vor side.
What Arial employs is an unpredictable move.
Unpredictability is most often the tactic of the master, but the underdog too can use it to great effect.
If you find yourself outnumbered or cornered, throw in a series of unpredictable moves. Your enemies will be so confused that they will pull back or make a tactical blunder.
People after all are always trying to read the motives behind your actions and to use your predictability against you.
Throw in a completely inexplicable move and you put them on the defensive.
Because they do not understand you, they are unnerved, confused, bewildered and in such a state you can easily intimidate them, Arial thought as he grin.
A simple smoke screen he mused. On the Fort they captured, it is undergoing renovations. The ruined walls are repaired and the supply line is established.
And small forts made of woods, and watchtower is built alongside the Fortress and every time they went to the Valley they put some construction resources so that when Arial decided to attack ad occupied the valley then construction can be done in a swift manner.
Stones are gathered and towers are built, renovation to make the Fortress sturdier then before.
‘The Legion of Leaf will arrive tomorrow’ Velamina said informing Arial as he stand on the southern wall supervising the construction
‘Do you need me to go to the Valley again?’
‘No, go in the evening. Attack a few of them, do some casualties and then return back’
Velamina nodded her head.
All around her is Orcs partaking in the construction. They may not be talented builder but because of their strength the construction becomes fast.
The supply will also come faster when the supply lines is established. Not only that it can supply the reinforcement that is coming both from the Legion but it can also supply the clans of the South.
The legion is consisted of Dark Elves and White Elves. A few days from now when all have arrived Arial could begin the offensive.
Even then even if they knew Arial tricked them it will be too late. Armours and arms, daggers, spears, axes, arrows and many more all are supplied by the South.
This is the decisive battle. And Koer must win or the war will dragged for years and might even spread to the Capital.
The battle preparation was in full swing at the fortress.
The sound of marching in the distance, the wind blowing hard and the sound of Orc yelling to prepare themselves.
The Fortress is alive with shouts and orders.
At the top of the wall tower, a person is seen looking at the marching army with apparent ease, with a smile on his face and an Elf beside him.
‘When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains, then attack.’
Arial said as they are watching the advancing Orc horde of Bor. Arial has spread a rumor using the Legion to spread it among the Bor camp.
The rumor suggest that Arial is just deceiving the Bor camp and he is waiting for reinforcement.
It is true about Arial deceiving Bor but the reinforcement has long arrived. Hearing that, Bor and his horde began to move to try and stop Koer plan to come to fruition.
Arial is smiling on the southern side of the wall watching as the march of Bor is making the plains shake just by the sheer amount of their horde.
The largest army Arial has ever seen. The largest horde compared only during the Invasion. But at least his plan work.
Now he just has to win the battle.
‘Is this a wise choice to lead them here?’ Velamina ask as she looked at the approaching horde.
‘If there is something I learn as I try to navigate the muddy water of politics in my region it is this. What is the point of chasing enemies here and there, trying to solve problems and defeat my enemies, if I never feel in control? Why do I always have to react to events instead of directing them? The answer is simple: That idea of power is wrong. ‘
‘What so wrong about it?’ Velamina ask again.
‘One must not mistake aggressive action for effective action. I could not beheaded all conspirators of a conspiracy or kill everyone I suspected of treachery. Most often the most effective action is to stay back, keep calm, and let others be frustrated by the traps I lay for them, playing for long-term power rather than quick victory.’
Velamina nodded looking at Arial unaffected expression at looking the hundred thousands of the Orcs. She looks admiringly at Arial.
‘In power, initiative is everything. Letting others react to my moves, to keep my nobles and opponents, conspirators and plotters alike, around me in the defensive, that is the ideal plan. When you make other people come to you, you become the mastermind. You control the situation to a degree.’
‘Control’ Velamina mutter.
She look at Arial and she realizes she never truly know Arial. She knows him as a warrior and a great military commander but she never saw his side as a Lord.
Even though when she knows that Arial is a prince that fact didn’t really dawn on her. After all, Arial rarely act like an obnoxious noble.
From the stories that the kind Grandma Elves always tell her, nobles are usually overbearing and pride mark their step.
And so that image stuck on her and her experience in the Capital didn’t really help her to improve her image of nobles.
Since Arial rarely act like such, she forgot. But hearing Arial, she understands Arial must have done many things to survive in the human continent.
Politics is not the matter of normal elves but when she was to be Elder she was taught of how politics work.
She travel to the Capital and see secret deals being made in suspicious alley or establishment, trading promises only to broke it if there is no benefits and she made a very stern impression on politics.
A pure kind hearted heart will be swallowed by such acts.
Arial continue his explanation, a calm face even though maybe a million Orc is heading to the fortress right now.
‘The one who has control always has the power and initiative in any battle or negotiation. I will teach you Velamina how to place yourself in this situation. Learn to master your emotion like you control your sword and never be influenced by anger like the flowing water, however you must not forget to play on people’s natural tendency to react angrily when pushed and baited. The ability to make others come to you is a weapon far more powerful than any tool of aggression.’
‘How do you know Bor would fall to your tricks?’
‘He falls for the retreating tactic didn’t he? That is how I knew. Orcs is not used to espionage or rumor mongering. But we humans, deceitful we are, are all too familiar with false rumours and lies. In a way maybe the elf is not that wrong about us humans’ he smiles a bitter smile.
Looking at his troops and then back at Velamina he continued
‘Took the time and place into your own hands. All of us have only so much energy, and there is a moment when our energies are at their peak. When you make the other person come to you, he wears himself out, wasting his energy on the trip. And this march with a million of Orc only will tire them faster. Bor enemy is not only us; it is also his own army. How many have died in starvation since they began their march?’
‘Not many’ Velamina reply.
‘True, but when they try to siege this fortress, with their supplies dwindling they will undoubtedly put in a difficult position Velamina. I have dangled bait at Bor. To crush Koer forces once and for all.’
He said grinning, still looking at the approaching horde with calmness.
‘And the throne of Kings of Orcs. The bait is sweet enough. Bor want the kingship. And he wants the fame and glory. I, on the other hand wanted him to come here to the place of my choice. Being on enemy ground will make him nervous and often he will rush his actions and make mistakes.’
He said, clearly excited to impart this wisdom to her.
‘And in a battle, one mistake can turn the tide of the battle. In meeting or negotiations in my court, I have always find it wise, to lure others into my territory, or the territory of my choice. You must wonder why am I so calm in the face of such numbers?’
He asks a rhetorical question to Velamina.
‘I have my bearings, and can afford to be calm and collected while the other party will see nothing familiar and are subtly placed on the defensive. And with the Orc and the Legion effort the wall is sturdier and encompassed almost everything around this strategic position. They have to break us here or they will be the one destroyed. If I can get others to dig their own graves, why should I tire myself? Let them come to their own grave. Push them of the ledge and bury them’ Arial said laughing
From the distance the Orc horde is approaching. Arial grip his large glaive tighter.
‘Be ready Velamina. This will be the battle of your life.’
‘Fine.’ She said and looking at the approaching horde she began moving. It is time for her to lead her troops to battle.
‘I will order my troops now.’
‘Go and bring victory’ Arial said.
‘Good tiding to you hemlen’ she said and she is off.
Arial then goes to his troop and look at all of them. Who would have thought he would command his own Orc horde.
There are so many of them, hundred thousands of them after the fortress and wall stretched around the Plains.
And so the last battle begins.