AOH – Chapter 34

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CHAPTER 34: CONFLICTING EMOTIONS

DENTED SHIELD

HENRY PALAIS

1014 LIGHTMONTH

A messenger came bearing a letter for me. Under the raining atmosphere he came banging the castle door. His clothes are wet, his hair is messy but he did his job.

Combined with the night it is cold outside. The messenger came in the blackness of night. The guards spotted the messenger.

And then they quickly report it to me. Then the messenger quickly disappeared without even telling who sent the letter

Since Alderam is not here, I was made Regent while he is away

Alderam and his son Harald is in other region of the North fighting the rest of the other noble houses.

We have blocked Vermont trade to Vern so he blocks our trade to the rest of the other nation.

Considering they control the West, South and East it’s not that hard to do. That shows how many influence the Vermont’s have.

This is their strength

The wind blows and my room window smacked each other with wind and water. I shivered slightly

I have underestimated the cold tonight.

It is cold.

So cold that it almost burn.

But at least this is not Vorthy, the Land of Eternal Winter. That place is white and snow, their people are hard and relentless, living in such harsh condition, and the cold burns like fire, never to see the summer or feel the autumn kiss, extinguishing life like it could buried the flame of the Sun Emperor.

At least not like that, I mused

I ordered my page to come enter my room

“Ales, bring me the letter” I ordered him

Ales nodded. He is a page from a peasant house here in the North.

‘Yes my lord. I will retrieve the letter’ He nodded

The night is wicking my heat faster than my body can replace it. At cold night like this I’m reminded of my son.

Is he safe?

Has he found refuge in Adrian territory?

I know we could not trade letters but my heart is always with him. I hope Adrian forces will not execute him because of my decision

West, my son.

I light the candle. The letter must be important because of how the messenger insistence to send it even in this kind of weather.

Thunder boomed outside, each sending a sound so loud that it even startled me.

‘My lord, permission to enter?

‘Enter’

Ales come and bring me the letter. He handed it to me and I recognized it the moment I saw it. A letter embossed with a dragon seal.

The Vermont’s. I took my knife and carefully open the letter.

To: Duke of Arouen

From: Arial Vermont, Regent of Duchy of Arrandy

I’m proposing a truce. For a year we will not war against each other and stop each other from doing any aggressive move. We can negotiate if you want the Duchy of Arouen.

Sent me letters to show your willingness. Reject this gift, and I will come for all of you with no mercy. This succession war will bring ruin to this Kingdom. See reason, Alderam.

Sincerely

 Count of Acro, Regent of Arrandy, Arial Vermont.

The Succession war. That is the name given to this civil conflict between these two brothers.

 Adrian and Alderam

Both of them wanted the Duchy of Arouen. Now that Adrian proclaimed himself King so now the stake is higher.

All Dukedom under one rule.

Adrian derives his claim from his father last wish, but many of those who know of Lord Hadrian will are either killed or missing.

Alderam derives his claim from the law that decides the oldest child will inherit.

The Adrian forces is known as the Spearer and Alderam is known as Alanist

I sighed. I never thought it would be this big of a scale. I did it to save my relatives but now…Now…

Hah…The door creaked open.

‘Dear are you in here?’

‘Enter, Liana’

She looked at me and she immediately recognized my expression. Surely I did not show a good expression

‘What are you worried about?’ She said standing beside me. She knows me. One glance and she can already tell something is wrong

‘A letter? From who?’ She asked glancing the letter in my hand.

‘The Vermont’s’

She sits on the bed. Her face contorted to a look of pain. Then slowly she utter a question

‘H…How is our son?’ I looked at her and I too felt it.

‘I believe he is alright’

‘I have told you that….’

‘I know Liana. I know. I should have listened to you. But what’s done is done’

‘True. It is done. Your words, your laws. And now you take away from me my son.’ She lay on the bed

‘I will sleep first’ she said her tone sulking

I separate her from her son. She is in pain worrying about him. But did she think I did not feel any pain? West is also my son.

“I will go to sleep a bit later’

‘Whatever you say’ she said and she lying on the bed covering herself with the blanket. Thunder boomed outside.

I began collecting my thoughts

Alderam promised me he can end the war fast. He was confident of his victory when he planned the Bloody Feast in his mansion.

He was convinced there are no other forces in the Dukedom that can stop him….he were wrong.

The Vermont raises their dragon banners and rally to the newly crowned King and won him battle and lands, fealty from noble houses in the South and the west and sooner or later if Alderam is stubborn they will march here…..to the North

The young lord is smart. He consolidated his power base before making any march to the North.

The thunder boomed again, the winds blows harder and the candle flame flickered.

The War they called it. But it’s not really like the war in the past like the Subjugation or the Bastards War that lasted ten years or a war that sacrifice many of innocent people.

It is mostly sporadic battle all around the Dukedom, in the North, South and West. The East on the other hand did not even affected by the war, mostly because all the noble houses in the East is controlled by the Vermont, or their vassals.

There is also unrest most of it in the North and the West, alliance created and broken, resistance from the common folk, rebellions from lords wishing to make their family the strongest and gain glory.

Foreign policy also intruded and inevitably tension with neighboring countries also affected.

Dostov support Alderam while Seren who is bordering Dostov supports Adrian but that is mostly because the Vermont supports the King.

This could escalate and brought the Dukedom into other military conflicts though unintended.

The candle flickered and I sighed again. I looked again at the letter. A truce. He is proposing a truce.

Even though, Alderam is the sole force for this war, but Alderam itself is not the strong one here.

It is because my family and my connection with the noble families in the North that Alderam have almost full and complete control of the North.

But Arial Vermont, the Dragon is a talented leader and a unifying force this Dukedom has not seen in many years.

When the war begins instead of wasting time trying to fight in the North, he quickly moved his army, as young as he did, and unify the noble houses in the East under his complete control.

That shows leadership.

Considering the East is loyal to his family, it is no surprise that they so easily listen to the Vermonts. But even after unifying the east he did not attack the north.

He sent letters, messages, and ravens to other noble house in the west and south. All asking, persuading to swear fealty to the new King.

Some swear fealty some did not. Those who did not were subjugated. Vanquished. Destroyed by his army.

Those who bend the knee were treated graciously.

I was right that the Vermont is a powerful family. I’ve seen the danger. I have felt their power. Their power of gold, yet I never did expect that the Vermont have such an able commander.

Quickly the young lord pacified half the west and sent the other noble houses loyal to the crown to subjugate it.

His victory against the Whitetree, only serve to consolidate the Vermont’s position in the South and quickly the young commander of the family, Arial, his reputation soar. There is no one in the Dukedom who did not know who he is.

 Arial the Dragon. Merciless to his enemies yet he treats his companion with respect

What should I do?

I looked back at the letter.

Alderam will not accept a truce. He wanted the Dukedom to remain separate. At least when it was separate Alderam can find more allies to his cause.

But since Aries crowned Adrian as King under the blessing of the Grand Papnoticon in Cori who reside is Roma, on the Mirror Tower of Light.

All the noble lords have sworn fealty. They have chosen their side.

Not long now the Vermont will control all he South too. And then, I suspect they will march here with all his force, led by the young boy that subjugates them in the first place.

Aries the Kingmaker and Arial the Dragon. Who would have thought that the Vermont can be so influential?

The winds blow again and some water sprinkled to me. It almost like storm. The windows are creaking.

I hastily closed the door, the cold creeping in. I looked at the bed. My wife is already deep asleep.

Either way I need to show it to Alderam. Whether he like it or not, that is another thing. And then I lay on the bed, hoping, praying that tomorrow will bring me solution

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