A horse rides through the land, a man with long snow white hair, fluttering with the breezy wind marked in crimson red swoosh past soldiers, with each soldiers look at the man riding the horse with awe and fear.
‘Rings of stone’ Arial remarked as he arrived in front of the castle.
His horse neighed but with one tight pull, the horse obeys.
Looking at the condition of the castle, with bloodstained gates and dripping blood flowing like a slaughter house and the fires that are being put out in the distance, Arial could tell that Ragar and Castile had a fierce battle here.
‘A concentric castle’ he thought to himself as he near the gates.
The Primitive Thirteen Tribes and the more technological superior Shadowlands inhabitants.
No wonder the Ten Tribes have always viewed the Three Great Tribes with such awe.
But to Arial this level of civilization is not worth comparing to the level of technology of his Empire.
Eden is not only superior in technology but also in its culture.
As Arial approached the city gate with his horse, the soldiers in front of the castle kneels and gave way for him to enter.
They do not speak much words of flattery.
This is one of the traits Arial realized.
In the Empire if he returned from war or long excursion, he is welcomed with grand celebration or the entire city kneeling or prostrating towards his Imperial Presence.
But Arial like this straightforwardness attitude of the Thirteen Tribes.
Their way of showing respect is not achieved by heaping lengthy praises or word but more towards their actions and behavior.
Arial smiles calmly looking at the solider like he approves of the soldiers hard work and acknowledges his hardship and the soldiers felt reassured.
This is Arial charm over the soldiers. No one possesses such influence over his men in arms more than Arial the Conqueror.
He always knows the right words to say and the right action to take.
Arial then urge his horse forward before he halted his horse and asked one of the young guard stationed in front of the gates.
‘Where is General Ragar?’ The young guard was startled with the sudden voice booming over him and quickly looks up and seeing his lord on horseback looking bloodied.
He did not notice his lord because he was thinking about the battle before.
Seeing so many blood spilled and so many head being sliced and hearing the screams and wails, has made his soul shaken to his core.
The young guard could only lament the fact the people of this city did not surrender when they can.
Looking at his lord he realizes his lord looks terrifying with blood all over him, looking sticky and uncomfortable.
He knows that the blood on his lord entire body is not the lord blood.
How many times have the people of his convoy follow him into battle? How could they not know the prowess of this lord of theirs?
The army was also surprised about another thing. When Arial was besieging the city, he declares himself as the Emperor of Eden.
While many of the soldiers here rarely left Novus Gaia, they heard stories.
There is an Emperor across the Vast Sea that rules half a continent and is known throughout the world as Celestial Dragon.
Many of the soldiers always speculate about the background of their lord but none dare ask bluntly so they were left wondering.
Today that question was answered.
And they become even awed after knowing the true identity of their Lord.
The Thirteen Tribes have no Kings or Emperors, Queens or Empresses but they know that the people who have these kinds of titles are all great men and women, acknowledged by millions and obeyed like a deity.
Their understanding is limited but all they know that the people who possess such title stand above all others.
So, now there is profound respect and certain mysticism that is associated when looking at their lord.
‘Soldier?’ Arial asked again seeing the dazed face of the guard.
‘My lord. Yes, the General are waiting for you in the Great Hall of this castle. The other is cleaning the corpse as to not taint my lord eyes.’
‘Thank you soldier. Keep up the good work ‘
Arial said nodding his head as he jumps down from his horse and give the reins of his hors to that guard as he walk inside.
The breeze of the wind from the hills seems to slowly repel the smell of blood and murder.
At the foot of the castle walls, is a precipice of rocks, and on two other sides, the ascent is too steep to be practicable for an enemy.
On the fourth side the castle could be approached by means of a winding roadway. At the foot of this roadway was the town.
It is a well thought of construction Arial compliment in his heart.
Not far away from the castle is a beautiful stream of water which meandered along through the valley, near the town, and, after passing it, it disappeared, winding around the foot of the precipice which the castle crowned.
Entering the castle ground he could see temples dedicated to the Thirteen Gods for the use of the City Lord and their numerous retinues of servants and attendants,
There is building for the storage of munitions of war, and for the garrison.
Slowly he walks taking it all in.
On the castle gate, Arial soldiers are pouring in and his officers are immediately shouting orders to pacify the people and to declare to them that this city has been conquered.
The officers have changed the banner of this city into the banner of the Dragon. The city walls were plastered and flags were hoisted.
In the rear however, a very startling development has occurred.
The two people leading the fifty thousand strong men halted the rear and then after a few questioning from its two leaders, they instead escorted the rear to the city.
Both of them have the same heights of six feet tall and they have muscly but lean body. One of them wields a purple spear on his hand while the other has white hilt saber.
Fifty thousand bloodthirsty warrior behind them look at these two men with a mixture of fear and admiration.
They spoke of their desire to meet the man who hoisted the banner of the Dragon and respectfully escorted the convoy on the rear towards Balhae while the convoy felt both unease and suspicion.
But regardless they march towards the conquered city.
The Two men look towards the city and could not help but anticipate their meeting with the man that hoisted the flag of Eden.
‘You think it’s His Majesty?’ the man wielding the spear asked the man wielding the saber.
The saber wielding man did not say anything only nodded solemnly while looking at the city in the distance.
The man holding the spear nodded.
‘Hearing the accounts from this convoy, I too think it is His Majesty. We must hurry then and transmit Lord Regent message and then return back to the Eden!’ He said before spurring his horse to lead his men forward while the saber wielding men creased his eyebrows and shakes his head.
Looking at his enthusiastic colleague, he relay did not know how to break the news of his grim thoughts.
‘If it’s really his Majesty, that is attacking that city, it means His Majesty wanted to conquer this land. Which mean he has no intention of returning. Fires are brewing in the Empire, another expedition in a foreign land…..is it worth it?’ He asked himself before sighing.
In the Token Giving Ceremony where he return back the Token of Military to the Empire, few of the Generals wanted to rebel.
If not for the scheme was discovered by Lord Silas, a new chaotic era might have started again that day in the Imperial City.
The reason why the Generals wanted to rebel was because they fear that the Emperor would do away with them, now that the Empire has found peace and no longer need these bloodthirsty general.
Lord Silas convinced the Great Generals to sincerely talk with the Emperor instead of incurring his suspicion and wrath.
Lord Silas reminded, they might have one million soldiers each but only one life. Even if they rebel as long as the Emperor personally moves, could they keep their heads?
Cutting four million soldier heads is impossible for the emperor to do by his lonesome but is it hard to just claim four heads?
Everyone knew the emperor was an unrivalled martial art grandmaster. He could sneak in the dark night and claim their head on their bed.
Persuaded by Lord Silas, the four general that have intention to rebel sincerely ask the Emperor about the matter after their retirement and the Emperor gave them satisfactory answer so they returned their Military Authority to the Empire.
Peace dawned in the Human Continent and the Great Generals could live in peace and safety.
Yet, now he wields his saber once again, to resolve the debt he owed towards Lord Silas…..but he really did not want to enter into another bloodbath battle again.
He has been living peacefully in Rome this couple of years….so he really did not want to escape from his idle life.
Yet, here he is…once again trusted into the thick of battle once gain.
‘When will you be satisfied, O Great Emperor?’
He lamented before he rides once again to the city.
Of course this matter is not yet known toward the people in the city who are now just trying to pacify the city populace.
Arial arrived at the Great Hall entrance looking at the door in front of him. Blood has stopped ripping from his hair and is now hard and stiff.
Arial did not felt sticky instead he felt relieved.
His first objective has been achieved.
A stronghold. A base of operation where he could plan his next move.
After this it would be easier.
He only needs to make sure his supply line is secure and after rest, he would be prepare to engage the threat on his rear.
The people that followed him and his officer have always worried about the fifty thousand men coming behind them since the moment they got the news.
Arial after finishing establishing order here would immediately restock his supplies, armed his soldiers and engage in contact with that fifty thousand men convoy to annihilate the threat on his rear.
Taking a breath he pushed the door and the door creaked as it open and the many officers sitting on top of the chair inside the great hall Large Table immediately got up from their seat and in unison congratulate Arial
‘My lord has succeeded, The city has fallen. Please order us’ they all said as they kneeled. Arial smiles as he strides forward to the largest seta in the center of that Great Hall.
As he approached the chair, with each steps, his aura surged making the officer inside the Hall lower down their gaze, only looking at the ground, not looking up to match eyes with their lord.
The more they knew things about their lord, the more they understand how terrifying their lord really is which only increases their respect for him.
The thirteen Tribes respect strength above all else.
Arial then sit down on the largest chair like it was the natural thing to do and then he said
The officers immediately relaxed as they finally looked towards their lord sitting on the largest chair and look extremely regal.
‘Ragar’ Arial spoke and Ragar was jolted as he quickly stands up
‘Did any of the soldiers try to loot the city?’ Arial voice was cold and impassive but there is certain dangerousness
‘None, my lord! He answered.
Arial nodded satisfied with the answer. He has created a unit of forty mounted horsemen to act as a military police to stop any plundering by the main body of the army long before they conquered this city.
Thankfully, Ragar could control his men well and they are obedient towards him as their lord.
‘Any local lords swear allegiance? Arial asked one of the other officers named Neronian from Negevians tribe.
‘Yes, my lord.’
‘Award them with titles and guaranteed their safety.’
‘Yes, my lord’ And Neronian smiles satisfied with his lord judgment.
Castile and Ragar understand why their lord did not plunder the city and raped its wealth.
Their lord has no intention of simply sweeping through the Shadowlands, plundering as he went.
They immediately understand the enormity of their lord ambition.
Their lord aim is to become the Lord of this entire Shadowlands and subsequently the entire continent of Novus Gaia.
Rule the Shadowlands and you rule Novus Gaia. Since his aim is to become the Lord of all Novus Gaia, the people of Novus Gaia is his subject.
A stable empire could not be built on a foundation of pillaging and plundering cities. Arial smiles and then closes his eyes.
The local lord has quickly surrendered making Arial job easier.
His aim is to maintain the status quo and then from this basis he would slowly establish a developing economy.
First, he would not change the existing levels of taxation so as not to upset local economy.
When sea routes are established from Novus Gaia to Eden, only then he could introduce the laws of the empires and changing taxation system of this Shadowlands.
Arial of course knows that his approach for this city will not be the same for the next city he would capture.
In the Empire during his Conquest Expeditions he would in occasions use taxation levels, their reduction and abolishment to reward those he wished to influence.
After he settle the problem in his rear he would send his soldiers to quickly capture and conquer nearby villages and declare his dominion and territory inside Vernium.
By establishing his domain of influence and declaring his intention to create new rule, he could entice the lords and weak nobles to his side while at the same time using the tax from his territory to pay for his next conquest.
But for now, he needs to rest and his men need to rest. They have served him well and make him proud.
So, today they rest. Tomorrow they will fight.
Arial was about to say words of encouragement and praise when a messenger burst through the Great Hall.
The officers inside the Great Hall were startled and one of them immediately shouted after being so embarrassed to be startled with such commotion, his face red in embarrassment and his neck veins were bulging in anger
‘Impudent! What do you think you are doing in front of our lord!’ Arial hold up his hand and the officers stop speaking.
‘My lord, forgive me. But there is news from the rear.’
Arial immediately stand up in worries. The reason why he worries is because in the rear there is the carriage of Tatiana.
He wanted answers. He could not let anything happens to her until he knows the truth.
‘The fifty thousand men convoy has caught up with our rear. ‘
The officers in the room all turns pale and they could feel their knees wanted to give out. They did not expect that the convoy could reach them this fast.
Based on their estimation the convoy should have reached them after they in about three to four more days.
In those four days, their lord could prepare maneuver and strategy to subjugate that convoy.
They all looked towards their lord and they immediately look back down after looking the expression on their lord face
He was angered. No…..it was more like an undisguised wrath.
‘WHAT DID THE OFFICER IN THE REAR WAS DOING?! How many were slain!’ And he stomped his feet causing the stone floor to crack creating web lines that stretched towards the Great Hall entrance.
And he walk a step forward his eyes were red. Combined that with the blood on his armor, their lord is too intimidating to look at.
‘My lord, please calm your anger.’ All the officers quickly spoke in unison to Arial in a pleading tone.
‘My lord, this humble officer got a report from the officer guarding the rear that the fifty thousand men convoys were led by two men.’
‘And what does it matter!’ Arial said as he walks down from the steps of the chair to the messenger, his aura surging wildly enveloping all around the inside of the room.
Don’t be the bearer of bad news.
The messenger finally understands why this wisdom has been passed through the centuries.
Facing Arial in his rage is like facing an avalanche that is about to fall down, full of oppressive power and induce a feeling of finality.
Thankfully and fortunately, that messenger is not bearing bad news.
He immediately said the other piece of news. He didn’t want to be subjected to his lord wrath.
‘My lord they said they are your subordinate’ And like he was being showered with cold water Arial stop his step and was dumbfounded.
‘Yes, they said their name is’ and the messenger look back to the letter he got from the rear.
Written in the Common Tongue of the Human Continent, the messenger has difficulty reading it.
Arial was impatient so he made a grasping motion as energy covered the parchment and the letters flown to his hand as he quickly read the name written on the parchment.
‘Santiago Capulet and Giovanni Montague.’ He look that sound for about three seconds, unmoving, his head is thinking many things.
Arial then laughed.
His Two Great Generals.
He laughed but then his laughter died out. Why is the Thirteen Great General System is revived?
There is only one reason. His Empire is being attacked by storms.
Only one person would have the guts to revive this system and capable of reviving it in his Empire when he is absent.
Silas….But whether it was him that sends this General he could not be sure. Oliver…..he too could have revive this system.
To revive this system involves waking up the lions that has been slumbering in the Empire after the conclusion of the Conquest War.
Other than him, as the Emperor only Oliver and Silas commands enough respect and fear among the Great Generals to force them to the center stage again.
He had left the Empire to these two great retainers of his. He expects complication. He even expects rebellion.
But as long Leander holds the Hall of War, he could be at ease. His loyalty is the only thing Arial don’t have to doubt.
But if tone of those two sends two of his Great General here…this means something really bad is happening in the empire that went against their plans.
Arial, Silas and Oliver concocted a grand plan before he leaves for the Dark Sea…could that planned meet a complication? Arial asked himself.
He could tell the news he would hear from them will not be good news.
But breaking from his emotion he quickly ordered.
‘Order my officers to welcome them and escort them to this Great hall’
‘Yes, my lord’
Arial then sit back down at his chair, his hand gripped the handle of the chair as uncertainty fills him.
Silas, Oliver….don’t disappoint me. Protect my family’ he said in a whisper.
This chapter is short. This post will be my last post for a while. The reason is not because I don’t want to write or have nothing to write.
The reason is because I want to a writer. And my dreams were crushed by my parents. My computer has been confiscated by my parents to give it to their favored son.
I know my parents don’t like me since I was a child but this time they were taking it to a whole other level. I couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
If my life is a novel, I would be the good for nothing son who grow up to a great writer and astound the world.
But this is real life.
Effort doesn’t necessarily pay off. But…I don’t want to stop here. I don’t want my effort to be buried.
Even if I work hard in writing it might not work out. People may never know what I write, and why I write it and what dreams I have.
But I tired. I tried hard. So…I don’t want to give up. Not now. Not yet. I won’t give up. I can’t give up. I can only walk forward confidently believing in my dream.
And at the end of the road, I hope I find something. It might not be a good result but I hope at the end, I could look at the sky and smile freely.
In the meantime, I will write my stories on paper and when I save dup enough money to buy a laptop, I will already have the chapter ready to be written.
So, I can only hope you all can wait until that day comes. The adventures of Lord Shadow, Arial and Charles is just beginning.
I guess this is it. Thanks for reading. You can ask me question by contacting me on this mail firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S: I recommend listening to this song [Mae Shika Mukanee by AKB48] Better listen to the song while reading its meaning. It cheers me up when I was down.