CHAPTER 160: HEAVEN WILL
The winner of the war has already been determined. Even if Harald kill Arial the throne is not his anymore as there is only him and his 10 guards which will surely mobbed to death by the Arrandian furious soldier if Harald manage to kill the Duke.
Harald is trying to drag Arial to death with him. The surprising fact is why did Arial accepts?
Because Arial had decided this is his. This is his battle. His moment. His….responsibility. He has come to conquer and conquer he did.
But one last obstacle is in front of him. And it is his duty, his……moment.
Whether he lived or whether he died, by dawn next morning, Arrandy would still win, victorious in their first war.
And his family safety will be secure. Light will shine. And peace will dawn. A thousand years of peace, a longing, a dream that he sought in his timeline, a thousand years of uninterrupted peace.
With a strong nation united and mighty, there will be no threats anymore. It is idealistic but he could dream.
And it is because of his dream, his determination that was given to him, through pain and suffering of losing families, friends, comrades during his first lifetime that made him obsessed to put it mildly, of the fascination, the exhortation of effort that Arial has expended to make Arrandy the forefront of power in the Human Continent.
Arial knows that if he dreams alone nothing can be achieved. Dreams are only dreams. However if you dream together, now that is a different story.
No success shall come to a nation devoid of dreams. So Arial wanted his subject to dream. But dream together. And maybe, that dream will become a reality.
But Silas once said to him… Beware of what you dream for, for either the pagan gods or even the blissful god of light, have a way of punishing such pride.
Arial most controversial decision was making alliances with the Dark Lands, an act that has never been done before and with mixed reaction from every single ruler of the continent and from the two main church in Human Continent.
He might even risk war with other Kingdom of the south east region if not for the empress advance during that time.
When Arial sign the treaty, Dostov and the other Caelum leader once thought of invading the small duchy under the pretext that Arial is a heretic.
They also been preparing their own case against the duke to be presented to the Supreme Papnoticon but the only thing that stopped them was the advance of the Empress which has decided to conquer her surrounding regions, shattering forever the notions that woman can’t be conquerors.
Of course some say that woman can only meddle in their husband dealing but not the empress.
She is not like any other woman. She is tough. Brave. Strong. And she values loyalty above all else.
She can be rash and she can be prejudiced but her intention is kind, her mistake she easily accepts, she is strict with herself, lenient with others, consulting the opinion of her peers and surrounded herself with brilliant minds not depending on their status.
She is close with her subjects, her officers and courtiers and she believe that the people are the roots of her nations and the roots should be strong so as to create a peaceful nation.
She can be fierce and yet she can also be gentle in her dealings.
Her behavior is like the noble chivalric code of Knights. It was because of this that Arial has remain undisturbed from foreign power of the south eastern region and only have to deal with Vangua and the North fragmented empire of the MontBlanc bloodline.
But today….today if he wins, then peace will truly be achieved.
Arial would struck an alliance with the Empress, and Zettel has already have blood ties with king Adrian and if Arial sister married William, the price of Aetehrland then….Zettel royal family will be bonded by blood to Arial family linking Arial family not only to most of the nobility of Vangua but also to most of the nobility of Zettel.
Then they reached the tattered and destroyed camp with blades, swords, axes all stuck into some of the fortification, and all around Harald is corpses, blood and the hideous face of pain of the dead.
Harald stand around dead people but behind him two people is laid among white flowers and stones and Arial know which two men honoured as such.
Lyons and Girth. The King most loyal companions.
Harald look at Arial with a calm look and then he look up, looking at the clear blue sky and then he said forlornly.
‘When I was in my youth, I was sent to Dostov to live with my grandfather. I followed him into war with 10, 00 men of great valor where I learned honour and loyalty. In that I failed in deposing the tyrant King of Dostov and my family shattered. My mother, lost her husband, her father and in time even her mother while I lost a father, a grandfather and a grandmother. Yet, I learned the pain of loss and of powerlessness. It was a powerful lesson. It teaches me. I then made my home in the land of a friend who then became my father in law and then one of a father figure to me. And then…..And then….’
Harald then look back down and see the blood that is seeping to the ground and he looked back behind him, thousands, hundreds thousands of corpses lying around, and a tear fall down from his eyes as he looked at the corpses of his cousin and then he look at Arial, his face is no longer angry but one of acceptance.
And then he continued his words.
‘I then became King!’ He yelled suddenly.
‘I was approved, and loved by the people of the Kingdom! I promise peace for the country and to the people. I protected and I shelter. I am their sun and their sky. I am their King and peace was my gift. HAHAHAHA! What lofty ambition! But now!’
And Harald pointed his fingers accusingly to the sky
‘Even heaven is against me! The troops I have, either have deserted me or dead beyond the pile of corpses, rotting, my cousins die protecting me and my trusted lords are all dying, about to die, or will die. HAHAHAHAHAHA!. Now I am left alone.’
And he stepped forward.
‘Your Highness!’ some of the lords try to grab the King hand but the King harshly release himself form the lord grip.
‘Go now! Go now before the dragon army chases you! Run to Freya. Run to Ranoa. Run to the edges of the world, to the Fire Below or to the Gates Above. This is my battle. My moment’ Harald said.
And his vassal lord understand their King intention. They all look at the King, bowing their heads with utmost respect and they jumped to their horses and sprinting down the hill from the opposite direction.
‘Lord Arial, let me chase them’ one of the Knight offer.
‘Let them go.’ Arial knew that West will not let the lords go. Surely West will pursue them from behind.
Then Harald continues again, another step approaching the Duke.
‘Know this Arial the Dragon! Heaven has deserted me. He sent you as my enemy. Heaven willed my demise. What is the use of valor?’
He ask as the wind blows slowly, caressing Harald cheek as he knows that his life is but a few moments away from fading.
Arial might have lost a lot of his internal energy but Harald also injured by that onslaught. Harald see the pain in both of his cousin.
Lyons was struck at his forehead and the spear that stuck into his cousin head, drilled itself as the pain could only be described as torments of the Dark.
Girth met an easier death, sliced by a rotating shield, Harald medic had to sew back the sliced parts to give his cousin a proper burial.
Harald knew Arial still have strength. Arial might have expend a lot of his internal energy but even in Arial weakest moment, Harald is confident Arial is still stronger than him.
‘What use is valor?’ He asked again, this time looking above, like he is questioning the Heavens.
‘If the dragon is destined to be Sovereign how can I fight the will of heaven?’ he laughed with tears in his eyes.
And then he rush to one of the Knights in Arial army jumping very high and landed in the center.
This shocked Arial. Why did he do that? He mused.
And then Harald yelled and began slashing right and left, a one man show of last desperate measure, killing anyone that reaches his sword, until Arial Knight lead by Eustace decided to retaliate.
Arial on the other hand with his internal energy almost depleted try to rush to the center but even his knees wobbles and he had to be held by one of his Knights.
Arial wanted to end this. Then a howling scream fill the hill.
Eustace who is near the area of attack ran the King through the chest with a lance, drenching the earth with spurting blood, one of the others Knights cut off his hand, a third disembowelled him, and a fourth cut off his leg,.
And the King fall, bleeding profusely and in pain but he laughed like a madman and he said with pride, and defiance
‘Let the world remember that the blood of the King of Vangua, Harald Alan did not die killed by the Vermont’s. Let it be said their King until the end, die with honour denying his enemy of what they want…until the end’ and the dying King spouted fountains of blood.
And then a brawl broke out among the dragon soldiers at the scene due to everyone wanted to stab, slash, spear, the enemy King and by the end, the King body is dismembered and mutilated beyond recognition in the fight.
When Arial arrived it was too late.
The King face in his decapitated head is heavily disfigured, his hand and leg has disappeared, his body is fill with holes and slashes, blood running through the holes, his intestines was ripped apart, and people could even see the white of his bones.
Arial looking at this scene shakes his head, disgusted at the unchivalrous treatment of his enemy.
He sighed but he recognizes the battle is won. Arial look to the sky and then closing his eyes, a moment of silence and then he yelled.
‘KNEEL BEFORE YOUR KING!’
And with such roar every single person in the hill, drop their weapons, kneel with one knee on the bloodied ground and bowed slightly and then they looked into the majesty of their duke.
On the other hand West units are still hard at fighting near the bottom when they hear the roar as Arial is declaring his kinghood.
West units is handling the enemy King followers furious attacks, Lords and knights of the kingdom of Vangua, who even when they heard of their King deaths, do not falter from the battlefield, as they considered it their duty to perish with their lord.
They did not even ask for quarter and that amazes West and even made him secretly admires the loyalty of this lords that fight alongside of Harald, and every single one of the enemy lords went down fighting to the last man.
Among them Lord Gowin, Lord Seinfred, Lord Thornier, Lord Ludwig.
The only survivors were the wounded who, assumed to be dead, were thrown on to the pile of corpses, but who later recovered enough strength to crawl away under cover of darkness.
Ironically, the lords probably fought even harder in the last half-hour of daylight than they had done all day, for now they knew they would see the sun no more on this earth.
A lot of the soldiers already deserted the battlefield.
They were signally cast down by the death of their king and began slinking away off the battlefield even before dusk fully hid their movements.
Some went on foot, and a lucky few on stolen horses; some followed the road to Cori seeking refuge there or maybe straight to Freya using the Old Empire road, and others cut across country, thinking themselves safer from pursuit that way.
Thus was the great battle lost.
And the war too was lost by the deaths of Harald and his lords, which left Vangua without leaders, and by the unyielding valour of Harald’s immediate following.
They were slain to a man, and Vangua is left defenceless.
When night came, the Arrandians is everywhere victorious. The new self-appointed King has rest in his tent while his army is still continuing their mission lead by Blackton lords, and Loness Lords.
They is in full possession of the field, and they rode triumphantly to and fro through Harald’s camp, leaping their horses over the bodies of the dead and dying which covered the ground.
Those of King Harald’s followers that had escaped the slaughter of the dragon forces fled in hopeless confusion toward the south, where the flying masses strewed the roads for miles with the bodies of men who sank down on the way, spent with wounds or exhausted by fatigue.
The battle of Arleans sealed and settled the controversy in respect to the Vanguan crown.
Arial in one battle of destiny, has become the King of Vangua. Yet the title of a mere King is not what he desires.
That day on top of the Hill he declared himself an Emperor, citing claims that Freya and Cori is now underneath his dominion and as such the south is controlled solely by him, making him qualified to use the title and sending emissaries all over the southern regions asking them to capitulate.
His lords and vassal has already addressed him as Your Grace and all have been prepared for his eventual coronation at Arleans.
In a few months after he marches he becomes one of the greatest and most powerful potentates on the globe creating on what he called the Edenian Empire.