AOH – Chapter 63

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CHAPTER 63: THE DECISIVE BATTLE

AZRAEL MOURSTAR

1015 SEEDMONTH

THRONE ROOM

‘Your Grace’ the man looked at me as he kneeled in front of me.

‘You have summoned your loyal servant’

I nodded.

The other nobles have been prohibited from entering the throne room for now as I like to discuss this with Lord Mila.

 I like this to be personal.

‘Father-in law why? You know what this might result. We have had peace for a long time. Why do you want to destroy that now?’ I ask.

There is no need to delay this matter. Taking up a banner without royal command is treason and can be punished with death. Every lord know this.

‘My daughter!’ He yelled to me. And I can feel his desperation from his voice.

‘Your betrothed has been killed. Why does Your Grace think I march to the Blessed Lands if not to avenge my beloved daughter?

I gripped my hand. It trembles. Hearing him talk about Arianna murder like it has already been committed make my hearts waver.

It is hard being a King. But this is a speculation…..surely it is, isn’t it? Who dares touch a royal bride especially the demon king bride.

We may not control Davaurs any longer but surely they must still fear us. If they do not fear us, why built the damn wall to keep us out.

But a war must not happen.

No….that is the worst case scenario. If I didn’t stop Mila from crossing the border when I did, the humans will clearly see this as a provocation.

Maybe even a declaration of war.

And surely the young lord who live in the shore and has been given full control by his King,  that young lord surely, if he is as capable as the rumours speak of him he will invoke the Defender of the Shield title that will give him the papnatical authority to request from every Lucellian devout and the faithful’s of the Church of Light to aid him in his quest for repelling the Dark Lands armies.

And surely the other nations will also lend him armies.

And this means only one thing. A great war like has never been seen before. Bloods will be spilled, people will suffer and kingdoms will fall.

A great war between humans and demons.

Some romanticize it. A great war that whoever emerges will be the glorious one, a nation or Kingdom suddenly elevated to be the world superpower.

But a great war only leaves the kingdom with three armies. Army of cripples, army or mourners and army of thieves.

I looked at Mila. I understand his grief, but it does not warrant him to go to the border and march an army outside of Anvali.

‘That is not yet confirmed, my lord’ I say trying to persuade him.

‘Your grace, Minister Aleister swears it on his life that Arianna, my beautiful daughter has been killed.’

‘And do tell me how he stumbled upon this information?’

Aleister Crow is one of the influential ministers in Ge’laer faction.

Can his word can be trusted? Or is he inciting war to reclaim back the Lost lands? After all that is one of the important men of the Ge’laer faction. Suddenly this feels more like a setup. A conspiracy.

‘He said he has some spy to follow my daughter for he never believed in the humans. And the-’

‘Which Ge’laer factions member ever believed in humans?’ I said cutting of is words

Mila continued

‘He said that the moment that the Princess enters the Imperial Palace she was killed and it took only now for the news to reach here.’

I scoffed.

‘Do you really believe him my lord?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘How about this, my lord? Calm your anger as I investigate what really happen’

‘You don’t believe me.’

‘I believe in you, father in law. It is Aleister I had a hard time trusting’

‘Is that so? Or do you just want to avoid the stark possibility that my daughter is killed, or worse yet, you simply do not care about my daughter’ he spoke politely but I could feel his anger.

‘If the emperor of Vern really kill Arianna,I give you my word, my lord, that I myself will lead the army to Vern and burn that kingdom to the ground and everyone else in it.

But….unless all the fact is known I do not want to start a war especially if Arianna is still alive.

‘For now….please listen to me and be calm. Do not raise your banner. Let me investigate it. Let me see whether it is the truth.’

He looked at me for a moment. He closed his eyes and I can feel he is calming himself. Then he nodded.

‘You orders will be obliged your grace. Give me truth, Your Grace and I’ll give you peace’

I nodded. He excuses himself from the throne room.

‘Elkar’ I yelled.

The curtain behind the throne room fluttered. The silhouette behind it moves. Elkar quickly enter the throne room.

‘So did you hear it?’

‘Yes your grace’

‘What do you know about Aleister?’

‘Hmm, Aleister. Aleister as you already know is a minister in the Gela’er faction. He is also a great family friend to the Devonhurst family.’

‘So you think his words are the truth?’

‘That I don’t know. Because Your Grace just because he is a family friend doesn’t mean he would not lie.’

‘That is true’ I said ‘If he lie what do you think of his true intention?’

‘Why do you ask me Your Grace? Don’t you already know the answer to that question?’ he said to me throwing back the question to me.

I looked at Elkar and nodded. Yes I already knew what he intended if he lie.

The war between humans and demons. The chance to reclaim back the Lost Lands. To sow superiority that demons are powerful than humans.

Prejudice runs deep in my own court especially regarding the humans. A 500 years old hatred. Hah, problem after problem

‘Summon him to Arakath and bring him in front of me.’

Elkar nodded

Elkar excuse himself from the throne room while I rest myself on the throne.

‘Haaah’ I sighed.

Major mistake averted. But my hearts also began to worry about Arianna.

After this I have to send my own spies to the human continent to check whether the words of the minister can ever be trusted.

And then I continue my duty

******************************************************************************

ARIAL

DENTED SHIELD FIELD

1015 SEEDMONTH

The men were moving around with glint of fire in their eyes. The sound of their breath can be heard if you concentrate enough.

The cavalry were galloping back and forth but not a single voice can be heard.

All have grim expression, a sign of a highly disciplined army under one command. Under one banner.  My banner. The banner of the dragon

Integrating them with my personal armies is easy because when I was unconscious Ser West has already train them to try to synchronize their fighting style with us.

It will not be perfect but it will do the deed. There is no escaping the military might of my amies. My private army.

People have known the heavy weight of my military machine could descend on them with an exemplary force.

In this continent I daresay, at least in this continent my army is probably the greatest armed force with high quality equipment and strict training regiments and high morale.

But what sets them apart is their discipline.

Even West is shocked when he was introduced to the way I trained my troops. My army is generally undefeated.

Individuals commander of my armies and Knights lords can be outmaneuvered, outwitted but no other army in this kingdom can, in long term resist my troops military might.

I know this because I formulate all their training.

My armies are relentless, unflinching and genuinely invincible. The flexibility and tenacity serves my army greatly in creating this reputation.

Panic is a word seldom found in my armies. Even the other lords are impressed with my way of recruiting.

I did not recruit armies from peasants or common folk or some other lord’s knights and their armies but opened the army to the poorest of the citizens and train them.

I recruit them with my family wealth and the city wealth and also the effects of banking in helping my family retain power in economical level are helpful in recruiting army.

After the war is over I have many more ideas to implement in the building of my armies. Then I look again behind me.

My soldier neatly arranged on the other side while Alderam has already come out of his castle with his large host in this large field overlooking each other.

I could see his face as he saw me in the front leading my men, and I almost laughed. He squinted his eyes.

Shocked and disbelief. That is what I can see from his face.

Surely he did not think I would wake up so early. He might even pray that I would die and my troops has to return back to the east or maybe retreated back before preparing another incursion.

The sunlight shone on row of spears and blade, making the large filed gleamed with silvery ray.

Today this war ends. Today I will pay him back. Today I will avenge those who have lost their loved ones.

Looking at him I yelled

‘YOU WANT WAR ALDERAM!’ I yelled and the whole battlefield can hear it.

‘I’LL GIVE YOU ONE!’

The soldiers cheered

‘HAH HAH’

‘HAH HAH’

‘HAH HAH’ they shouted. The battle cry has begun.

The cavalry shouts and their horses neigh loudly almost like they are responding to their master. The noises were deafening.

I look at the great field that will become our battlefield and I could not help but imagine the kind of fights that will happen here.

I learned Dragon Regret, Fairy Steps, Lion Bite and many other technique which can maybe in my current body take 100 to 1000 but it is beyond me to attack a strong hundreds of thousands using this technique.

At least not yet.

And I heard some report that Alderam has raided the Dented Shield castle and found Shadowslasher, the Enochian steel that belongs to his ancestor.

I can try to attack the front line alone, but doing so would be unwise. If I somehow fall in battle then surely our momentum will be broken.

This, today seems like an inappropriate day……to spill blood. The weather is clear with white clouds hovering in above, the sky stretched out for thousands of miles.

The hundred thousand of my army were arranged in row after row on the field, all in high spirits.Our discipline is strict. But before they march I need to say something to them.

An encouragement.

I turned my horse as I face my armies. West and Kyle quickly go in front preventing any sneak attack.

‘MY TROOPS!’ I yelled and they all gripped their weapons tighter. They all knew what this is. The last words before they go to battle.

‘You have honored your Kingdom and my family and the crown! LOOK! LOOK in front of you!’

I gestured them to see the large army in front of them, all ready to fight us, a last sign of attack, after the castle seems almost to be breach they finally showed themselves and met us in an open battle.

‘A vast army that Alderam has amassed! What foolishness! They could have been our brother and we would have accepted them with open arms! But they are stubborn! Treacherous! Look again! Who is this lord that orchestrates murder at a feast! Who is this lord that tries to kill his own brother? Who is this lord but a lord of greed? Greed for land, greed for power! All their arms, numbers and fine horses will not deter us from this undertaking.’

They cheered

‘Some of you will die here. Some of you, perhaps myself, will not live to see the sun set over this field at the end of the day, for I will be in the thick of battle with you, fighting with you side by side, against this enemy that have sworn to fight us with their last breath. But they will fail! Why? Because they will find no fear in our eyes! And this is the advice I will give to you before we enter this great battlefield. Conquer your fear! And you will conquer death! FOR THE GLORY OF OUR NEW NATION!’

And I held up my sword high and the troops followed

‘HARRRR!’ The troops cheered.

The battle formation has been formed and the drums are beaten. The bugle is blown signifying the battle that is about to begin.

The troops started to move with me West and Kyle in front leading these troops.

Alderam also began moving his troops. Slowly we march before we will order them to charge.

‘DIVIDE YOURSELF’ I yelled.

Ten thousand troops that belong to me understand what I taught them. One split off moves forward, the other moved towards resembling a snake, two divisions charged.

The other lord looking at this also follows my troops. But they seem to be confused. I quickly order my Knight to advise the other lords not to follow my formation and instead fight with their own way.

I, on the other hand rides in the center. With a shout I broke through the front, slashing the enemies  and their blood bathed my armour.

Up above, arrows flew out blocking the sun and turn the battlefield dim.

 Lord Paris is in charge of the archers.

He must have order them to shoot. Enemies troops fell like trees. My armies employed turtle formation while still moving under the sea of the arrows.

Fiercely West and Kyle behind me follow while Lisa and the other lords deals with those behind us preventing them from encircling us that broke through the front.

One of Lord Summersill troops division managed to take in the hole created by my division and they clashed with the main army of Alderam.

They use their sabers and swords, hand to hand fighting.

Bloods all over the battlefield.

‘THERE IS AN OPPORTUNITY’ I yelled

I charged in between them while the snake formation clashed into both of the armies but still maintain the neat formation.

They were startled and confused, and some of the enemies even scattered disorderly.

‘IS THAT YOU, ARIAL?’ the voice yelled

Alderam is near.

‘TIGER’ I yelled.

And the formation changed.

The front occupied the front position, and the rest of my troops enveloped Alderam army as they became more confused and the lords seeing this followed in suit in helping my army enveloping the Alderam army.

This formation has subtle variations, each is very powerful.

The troops divided into small groups can confuse the enemies and went continually attacking them I imagine there must be great fear that crept on them now because they must have a hard time to know the exact number of my troop.

The plan is to cut off, little by little their troops.

Keep them isolated from each other. This will induce fear and confusion making Alderam task of managing his armies an impossibility

In a short moment the formation is employed, thirty thousand troops of Alderam had been cut off from each other; each group could not help each other.

After securing these enemies troops in the formation, my troops leave the enemies to the lords while they return back to their formation as the lord hacks away the enemies.

This strategy works.

My private army will separate the enemies and the lords will kill them.

On the other side of the battle Lisa fighting took a different turns since the enemies fighting spirit has weakened after seeing many of their friends has been encircled.

First they are tired.

They are tired of the war and the civil war. Second they were afraid of the dragon wrath.

They celebrate when Alderam spear me thinking surely I will die but now I have awoken and everyone knows of my reputation to deal with my enemies mercilessly.

The dragon wrath, the troops called it.

As soon as Lisa who also employs the same formation, owing that she learned them from me they lost their will and motivation to fight and Lisa sense this.

She yelled

‘Put down your saber, bows and arrows, swords and knives to avoid the dragon wrath!’

Almost all the noble lords in that side listened to her pleas and they dismounted their horse and quickly they threw their weapon to the ground.

Lisa and her troops quickly secure the prisoners.

 I could hear it from here, the sound of saber clanging, hitting the hard ground

In my side, Lord Dreyfus and about a thousand of his loyal followers charged with great zeal and ferocity but Kyle with 10 groups of cavalry came surrounding them from all directions.

One by one they are mercilessly hacked down and one by one thy fell from their horseback some of them is even being trampled by their own horse.

Their heads were smashed like pumpkin. The scream and fear is contagious but my troop’s morale is higher than ever.

Win this….and we are coming home.

Lord Kean is surrounded by West after he split off with the main army with 5000 troops and lord knows that if they were forced as the same like Lord Dreyfus they will die a meaningless death and quickly they surrendered and dismount their horse and throw their weapons down.

They are forced to sit down and their hands were tied behind their backs as West leave the supervision to a 1000 troops led by Ser Holmes.

West then with his 4000 troops joined back the main army and guarded the rear.

I could see Alderam now and he looked scared but I could still see hope. And I meant to crush it. No grinning and smiling anymore.

His face is full of worries and fear. I looked at the formation and my heart swelled with pride.

This formation is useful because it confuses. These dreams help me lot of times. I shake my head.

This is not the time to think about it. I took the horn in the left side of knapsack that is saddled in my horse and blow it.

My troops reacted upon hearing the signals.

My front troops moved backwards and the rear teams moved forward, and quickly Alderam forces were surrounded on all directions.

Ten thousand of my troops split into 10 smaller groups but did not charge forward but moved backward.

Alderam yelled attack but these ten groups moved around, the right flank groups charged to left, the left flanks groups strike to the right, all with strange variations, swiftly moved back and forth.

The resulting conclusion is that Alderam lords and troops who have never seen such intricate or even see such formation were confused and in a state of disarray.

My troops swiftly moved back and forth all the while striking and killing Alderam forces. Until finally because of the disarray I could see a spot that opens and quickly I take it.

‘MY LORD, DON’T GO BY YOURSELF’ Kyle yelled as he saw I went into the opening and inserted myself in the encirclement of Alderam elite guards.

We are at a safe distance from each other while all around us fighting and killing is happening.

In the back my troops is trying to break the encirclement that has close up after they realize I enter it thus trying to trap me. But I chose to enter it knowing what it entails.

In Alderam back his troops is trying to hold back my troops from attacking their lord from behind.

 I looked at him and he looked at me.

‘I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL ALDERAM’ I yelled to him and he said

‘IF YOU CAN, COME TO ME.’ He yelled back.

I smiled. His guard went in front.  All have a determined look and readied their arms.

One of the few bowmen hides behind the guard no doubt wanted to finish me of with a combination attack of swords and arrows.

And I jumped from my horse and charged

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