• The local time in Ixnay is
#1
"We were Victorious"​

Wilderness, northeastern Guultryk

They’d been walking for five days now. Through sand, snow, mud. Tiredness was all left to feel. A free Guultryk, that was the thing their local ‘Lord’ had sacrificed their lives for. With what right? He was not even a real lord, just a fat wealthy trader whom had bought himself the leadership over their settler community. Atnov had been so happy the past few months, building on his house which was bigger than he could have ever hoped for while plowing more land than he’d ever owned before. His family had never prospered as much as they’d done the last few months. All trouble they’d went through before the past few months had been behind them. Until that night. It had started normally enough. They’d all gathered in the great community hall, the children with their parents, all of them sipping from their hot chocolate, the fathers with blue-coloured beers in their hands and the mothers with glasses of golden wine. Josor the singer had sung some songs, accompanied by Sweet Drechen and her guitar. Only then had the one who called himself Lord stepped forward. Kwad Zkelkren, for he went by that name, had talked for almost an hour. First he’d told them the news of the just started rebellion. Then he’d stated that their village had to commit itself to the rebel cause for that would give them more freedom and more land. Atnov had been wondering why their isolated community would need more freedom or more land, of which they already had plenty. Some of the more hot-blooded, however, had shouted their approval, further boldening their ‘lord’. All others had remained silent, either because they did not understand, did not understand or simply feared the lord’s thugs. Only one old man, also called Atnov, had dared to speak against the ‘lord’ and the boilbloods yet he was simply ignored.

And so they had went to war, for a week. The lord had given them weapons and send them to attack a village of locals nearby. They had obeyed, Atnov as well, what was he suppose to do otherwise?They were at war, they had to strike first. They had outnumbered the local warriors by far. Six warriors of them against fifty better armed settlers. The battle had lasted about a quarter yet the worse part went on much longer. The ‘lord’s’ thugs had then turned themselves cruelly on the locals, raping, killing and burning as they went from one house to another. Atnov and the other ‘normal’ villagers stood by and watched. They did nothing yet felt soiled anyway. Or maybe they felt soiled because of that. One village was not enough for Kwad Zkelkren, however, and so they continued. Four more villages burnt and each time the settlers felt more soiled, and each time the thugs went further, and each time they were joined by a few of the settlers in their misdeeds. Not Atnov though, he just stood. He just watched. Worst of all raiders had been Gajud Zkelkren, the lord’s son. The young man was less fat than his father although he was by no means slender. He shared his father’s low cunning and cowardice yet differed on other points. Unlike his sire he was reasonably good-looking, yet inside he was more vile. Gajud was a drunkard, a rapist, a racist, a murderer, a robber and he was more cruel than any of the thugs. During every assault he remained behind to command and only once the battle was over he would come close to claim his spoils. This included valuables, women and captives. He would spend all night fucking and drinking while beating his captives and counting his new riches. Despite all their victories nor Atnov nor the other normal men felt happy or victorious. They felt soiled and damned for their deeds instead.

Their greatest victory was when they ambushed a small royal military convoy, slaughtering ‘the oppressors. It was only when they had occupied the now weakened outpost and when Gajud turned his violence against trueborn Zwallerkaddians, the wives of the soldiers as well as the captives and wounded, that Atnov and his comrades had had enough. They’d demanded Gajud stop his atrocities. When the drunk youth had refused they’d rose their weapons, making the beast in man’s skin nearly shit himself before his thugs blew off the head of Big Berren, which broke Atnov and his comrades, cowards as they were. They ran instead of fighting. They ran to their home’s where half of them decided to leave rather than to risk the wrath of their benevolent lord and his merciful son.

Although armed Atnov had felt so very vulnerable as he traversed the roads with his family. By now all their feet hurt and little Njenja would not stop crying. Still they walked, almost everything left behind, out of fear of their leaders, the glorious freedom fighters. This was war and they were victorious.
 
#2
A Grand Wave

Snavorr Gakrallud was almost thrown down by the strong northerly winds that came rushing down from the Arctic. Waves crashed into the pier and broke roaring. The grey salty water sprayed over Snavorr in his loose linen shirt and jeans. The water felt cold on his skin while the salt burned in his wounds. He did not care for like a true Zwallerkaddian Snavorr loved nothing more than the sea. Snavorr had been serving the navy for two-and-a-half decades now and had served First Wave Vorsholad loyally until he had been sent to Punth. Here Snavorr had come to see three things; One, Guultryk had much potential unused by the uncaring farts back at the homeland; Two, with Vorsholad corrupted by power there was no good men left to serve in Zwallerkad for a person so high up as Snavorr; Three, if he ever wanted to truly rule this was his only chance. Snavorr hd already understood this during the royalist coup so he had purged his fleet of all disloyal to him under the guise of purging republican elements.

Then he had heard about the Lord Protector’s journey to Grakinzöl and he had took the opportunity. His Marines attacked at three places simultaneously; The Governor-general’s palace where they’d captured the entire colonial leadership, the main army base on the island and the only air force base of Guultryk. Surprisingly, all attacks had succeeded, basically giving massive superiority over near foes, after all he now controlled all navy, marine and air forces in the colony and he’d paralyzed all other coastal forces. Then he’d declared the Free State of Guultryk and a massive revolt against colonial rule had started. It had almost been too good to be true. Now, however, Snavorr had to try and keep the initiative, after all he’d had no contact with all the different rebels in the colony nor did he know what the strong Border garrisons would do. Finally the homeland could raise far stronger armies than he could so he’d have to finalize his conquest, or liberation, before those forces could arrive.

Then another wave crashed over the pier with such power s to force Snavorr to his knees like no King or Lord had ever been able to. As he stumbled up, Snavorr heard someone call him and he turned around before walking down the pier towards the former governor-general’s palace. The caller was High Wave Knurig Narvidraan, Snavorr’s right hand.

“You shouldn’t just walk up there in just a shirt, your excellency.”

“Don’t worry, Knurig, I’ll survive a few little waves, after all I’m Grand Wave.”

“Still, we should not look for dangers, there’re enough around us already. Anyway, the men are getting restless, when do you plan on moving?”

“Tomorrow.”

If the answer surprised Knurig he did not show it. Snavorr had kept his troops stationed at their bases ever since he had kicked off the rebellion. This he had done in order to weigh the enemy’s strength without exposing his me to unexpected dangers.

“Where will we strike?”

“I’ll have us split in four groups. One group will remain protecting this island with half our fleet, another group of six battalions will disembark at the coast to aid our allies on the mainland. The third group under my personal command will assault the city and island of Worrolob. I know Worrolob is supposed to be a hard target being the biggest city and capital of Guultryk yet I’ve received intel that suggests that about half the forces defending the city might actually join us when we attack. Finally there is the fourth force, led by you, which will attack the Gildkeuss island of Malörinzöl to the south. This last force will be under your command.”
Knurig nodded:

“Sounds alright then, should we spare the Gildkruss rats that surrender?”

“Yes, I know how much you dislike them yet we need our image as ‘good guys’. Now, I gotta change clothes for my meeting with Lord Siljerrak.”

Knurig nodded once more and bowed before leaving his master. Snavorr almost smiled again, for he much appreciated to have so many capable, experienced and loyal people like Knurig around him. Lord Siljerrak now, was a different case. The Great Landowner was a man loyal only to himself, though he’d for now bound his fate together with that of Snavorr in order to realize his own goals. For the meeting with Siljerrak wore Snavorr a stylish black suit with a navy blue tie and yellow accessoires as to show his new loyalty. Once dressed he sat down behind his desk until a servant announced Lord Siljerrak. Snavorr rose and shook the man’s hand as he entered, Siljerrak was a not very special-looking man in his fifties whose most notable body feature was his pale skin.

“Lord Siljerrak. I’m most grateful you could come.”

“Your Excellency, Lord Gakrallud. The honour is entirely mine.”

“Thank you for your kind word, sir. Please sit, we have a lot to discuss.”

Once Siljerrak was seated Snavorr continued:

“After the declaration of the Free State you said you would join our cause in return for certain demands and assurances. Please let me be blunt and ask you plainly what conditions for actual support you had in mind.”

“Straight and honest, I appreciate that, your Excellency. Now, I don’t know how you had envisioned ‘your Free State’ yet any state I would support would need to be a democratic state, a liberal state and one that values tradition. Furthermore it should not wish to place Zwallerkaddians under locals. Finally I merely ask that the new government won’t forget my services.”

Snavorr had expected most of the conditions and was only surprised by the demand for Democracy, though it was easy to see why Siljerrak wanted that, it was good for both business and their image.
“Those terms sound acceptable, though you must understand that these should remain between us until our enemies are all vanquished.”

“Of course, your Excellency.”

“Alright then, let’s jump onto the details...”

For hours more the two talked, the next day Siljerrak declared for the rebels, soon joined by most of the other great landowners. That same day Snavorr and Knurig left for the other islands.
 
#3
Captured

Atnov had been glad he to have joined the forces of the Free State until Trasvelek. The army had given him, his family and his companions protection and food in trade for the service of Atnov and the other men from the village. Everything had changed at Trasvelek. Atnov had left his family at some village with other wives and children of homeless Free State soldiers. Their host had then linked up with other Free State forces near the city of Trasvelek where the royal garrison regiment still held out. As they descended upon the area around the city, howeer, their in his eyes undefeatable force had been repelled seven times by the regiment before the eight attack had driven the royalist into the city itself. The battle had been terrible for Atnov whom had fought in all eight assaults. Thousands of Free State soldiers had died around him at the hands of the Black-clothed devils that defended Trasvelek. Then, after the fighting which he had survived relatively unscathed, it became even worse as he had lost all his companions in the carnage and was now surrounded by strangers, half of them wounded. At that moment they had come. The inhabitants of the city. The Shield commanding the royalist regiment had commanded them all to leave the city, knowing he could neither protect nor feed them. At first the refugees were bullied and badly treated by the battle-worn Free State troops yet then the officers restored order and sent the expelled to the towns with the families of the Free State men, which meant Atno had lost track of his family. The realization tasted bitter in his mouth, he had joined the army to protect his family not to lose them. He'd searched for a day until some smirking officer had brought him back to some unit, threatening to execute him for disobeying orders if he would not remain in that unit. After that no bluebeer nor any companionship from his new soldiers could cheer him up.

Now he stood ready to fight again as the Free State Army prepared to assault the city. Their 'army', however, was more like an armed rabble and the morale had reached a new low after the earlier battles in which the Regiment guarding Travelek had proved to be a far more formidable enemy than any other royalist resistance they'd encountered sofar. As officers in cars and atop horses drove past to order the units Atnov fastened the grip on his rifle. It was a simple weapon, effective yet of far less quality than some the others held and uncomparable with the weapons of the garrison of Trasvelek. He wore no military dress, instead he wore a shirt under a leather jacket above a pair of jeans. Besides his rifle he had some reserve ammunition and a big cleaver in case he would run out of ammo.

Then it started and he was running through muddy grass. There was few cover to be found around the city as the garrison had burned most away during the Yellow Revolt. Still the Free State troops rushed forwards, their bravery could not be denied. Allied artillery roared as they started their bombardment of the city in order to cover the advancing troops. It did not take long, however, before the garrison returned the favour and within minutes Atnov saw the first dead of that day as a shell from the city hit a group of Free State men near Atnov, sending up a fountain of blood, dirt and body parts. Yet on he and his companions went, ever forwards, ever closer to Trasvelek.

As they closed in on the city the artillery barrages intensified. It took not long before Atnov had lost all orientation and was falling, rolling and standing up on the time, running ever forwards, fully covered in dirt. He cared no longer for those around him and felt like going crazy as he ran on and on. His head felt like there were stones inside and his belly was cramped together like there were acid burning inside while a foul taste could be felt in his mouth. Atnov was no soldier but no coward either and although he did not stay in formation he did continue on, ever on to Trasvelek. Until he suddenly tumbled in a ditch, hidden by layers of grey smoke. Immidiately something hit him on the back of his head and he fell to the ground, dazed. He only vaguely heard the sounds of battle raging around him as he felt the taste of wet earth in his mouth. He slowly blinked yet the blurriness would not leave his eyes. When he mumbled something while trying to get his head up a black boot filled his view.

The next thing he saw was a grey, cracked concrete ceiling. For what seemed an eternity he simply watched the roof, not being able to do anything else. Then, after a long time he heard a door opening and a face hovered above him.

“Awake, aren’t you?”

Atnov wanted to talk but could only mumble. Then he fell asleep once more. The next time he woke it all went more easily. Something was already waiting beside the bed and Atnov could now speak and move again, though both went a little slower than normal. Only as he was getting dressed Atnov realised his family was still out there and suddenly he was wondering where he was. After all he had to save them. When he asked the man who had brought him clothes answered.

“Welcome to Trasvelek, mate.”

“Did we take it? Are the women and children here as well?”

“You are mistaken, sir. I am no rebel, you have been captured by the Zwallerkaddian Royal Army. Come, please follow me, the commander wants to see you.”

Shit. That was the only thing Atnov could think about as he followed the man. Only now he noticed the man’s black-and-gold uniform. The man took him one floor up. The building they were in was like one big concrete block without windows as far as Atnov could see. He could see some black-clothed soldiers which seemingly did not care about him. Was this how it was like to be a prisoner of war? It felt weird. Atnov had no time to think about this, however, for they’d reached a simple door guarded by two soldiers. On a word of he man of the clothes the two opened the door and let Atnov past the room.

The room was not furnished but for a small cupboard, a desk and a few office chairs. It was a small, square room with one window overlooking the landside of the city. There was one man in the room who was just finishing a call about reinforcing something. As he turned to Atnov the latter took a good look of him. The commander was a well-built man in his early forties with dirty golden hair and small beard. He had somewhat sharp features and the typical Zwallerkaddian pale skin, though not extremely so. He wore a restitched black uniform, touched with gold and a ragged sealskin cloak, kept together by a small golden Dölvednad*. His blueish green eyes stood weary if not exhausted yet still they were ones to inspire loyalty.
Atnov knew this man only by name and reputation. This man was Shield Vargas Gyrrnak, a famed commander from both the Whaler’s Revolt and Vujan’s war of Guultryker expansion.

“What is your name?”

“Atnov sir.”

Atnov tended to say sir to anyone who appeared above him, this he had learned from his father early on, it kept you out of trouble.

“You do not look like a soldier, Atnov.”

“I ain’t one, sir. Twas only when Lord Zkelkren commanded us that we took up arms, sir. Yet he wanted us to kill people like us so we left him but then we were homeless and hated so we joined the rebels. My family is still out there, y’see sir.”

“Zkelkren, you say? The fat one that calls himself a lord? Ah, well, never mind. That is a sad story Atnov and I wager you would want to get back to your family as quickly as possible.”

“Aye sir.”

“I want you to do two things, Atnov. I want you to tell me everything you know about your army and then i want you to remain at my side the next assault. Do this and I will let you leave freely. Lie to me or betray me and I wíll know, don’t doubt that.”

For a moment Atnov doubted. Why would the man to keep him at his side for one assault? And should he betray his army? His companions? But no, his real companions were dead or lost and he had only joined the rebels for protection. Besides it did not matter, the man would know when he lied and he would get the truth from him in the end anyway. Besides, he did not care why the man wanted him one assault, he just wanted to get to this family and leave this hell. Having considered this he told Gyrrnak everything he knew after which the Shield dismissed him back to his concrete room ‘to await the next attack’. Hopefully it would come quickly.


Dölvednad = The Dölvednad is a national Zwallerkaddian symbol, literally showing a ‘twelfteeth’. It is also depicted on the national flag.
 
#4
Miserable


The light blinded him. It was the first sunlight he had seen since his discussion with the Shield. They’d told him nothing inside his cell though he had heard the rumbling of the artillery which had intensified various times, making clear to him when attacks took place. And now he saw the result of that same rumbling; Trasvelek was ravaged. Craters of shells covered the streets which were surrounded by many half-collapsed buildings. The two soldiers which were escorting him through the ruined streets were both in their black uniforms though both were stained, dirty and torn. The same went for their bodies. As they walked they occasionally came upon another soldier. One of those missed an arm, another had burns all over, a third missed a hand and a fourth had scars of all kinds everywhere Atnov’s eyes could see. His escorts led him past the sides of the streets. At first Atnov had been surprised to be taken from the original building yet then he had understood. The Shield wanted him to see ‘the next assault’ though over a dozen had passed by now.


They found the Shield on a courtyard surrounded by crumbling, shelled buildings. Under the cover of a half-collapsed shop they’d placed a table and a chair so the Shield could use it as a forward command. Soldiers constantly came and went from the courtyard which had once been a parking lot inside a shopping centre, Atnov guessed. One man surrounded by ragged aides and officers stayed at the table, however, the Shield. Vargas ‘Goldbeard’ Gyrrnak had not changed much since the last time Atnov had seen him. A new small red line could be seen on his left cheek, he wa a little gaunter, a little more covered by dirt and splatters of blood, his beard was a little longer and his uniform looked even more ragged than before. The eyes remained unchanged, however, same as, soon proved, the Shield’s mind.


“Atnov, rebel, come closer. Your information was true indeed and believed me, we used it as well as we could. Now this does probably not really concern you so let me get to the point, part two of our agreement. You are to see our side of the fighting after which I will have you gone from this city.”


Atnov almost bowed instead of nodding and once more noted how the man had something regal around him. Yet this was to be expected of a descendant of kings and princes, of course. As the man rose from the small table he was immediately ringed by guards who only grudgingly accepted Atnov at their master’s side, fearing he’d attempt to kill the Shield. They had no cause to be afraid though for Atnov had no motives to kill Goldbeard. After all he could not care less about the civil war, he just wanted his family safe. Besides that he doubted he would be able to murder Gyrrnak, the man looked every inch a soldier as well as king. Behind the former shopping centre they took three awaiting jeeps and drove in the direction from which Atnov could hear the roaring of guns. As they drove past the ravaged city Atnov was surprised to see not a single civilian on the streets. Neither dead nor alive. It seems Gyrrnak had indeed successfully evacuated the population of Trasvelek, leaving them to bother the freemen outside of the city. When Atnov first laid eyes on the actual ‘front lines’ as they drove downhill he was shocked. How the hell could this garrison still resist against such a force? The rebel host on the far side was a world away from the one Atnov had been with before.


By now the rebels had been organized and grown in number once more, clearly outnumbering the defenders many times. Atnov could see large artillery pieces looming on the rebel lines and saw armed rebels marching around. Then he knew it, an assault was coming and as he looked better he saw that this would be one of a scale even surpassing the earlier fighting near Trasvelek. He must have been staring or something as Gyrrnak gave a wry smile when he looked on his face as if to say ‘I know this is hopeless’. Instead Gyrrnak dispatched aides with orders and as the rebels prepared for assaults Gyrrnak readied his own. men. Then it started a sound like a thousand thousand rumbling drums followed by an inferno.Atnov knew he was quite safe between the mountains of rubble in the collapsed building yet still the bombardment felt like the end of the world. Rocket launchers, mortars and large guns now were released to pound the defenders, and Atnov, into nothingness.


For about half an hour it went on. Half an hour Atnov spent covering himself and running behind Gyrrnak and his staff as they moved through the ruins in order to stay safe and give commands. Then, at last, a moment of silence. Seconds later shooting as the rebel infantry reached the city. Still rebel artillery sounded yet now only to cover the ground forces. Atnov was kept up-to-date by Gyrrnaks aides as battle ensued. Armoured vehicles and trucks had entered the streets were they were now trying to break through the countless barricades as they intended to take the city street by street. To Atnov it sounded like this was normal, only now there were many more rebels and it seemed they were finally going all in. At that moment he saw the first rebels. They suddenly appeared on the other side of the ground floor of some industrial building. Immediately Atnov was forced to the ground as Gyrrnak and his men engaged the enemies, no rebels, after all Atnov was still one of them. As soon as Gyrrnak and his staff had dealt with the rebels another group appeared. And so they kept running and hiding and moving. Every time they came upon other royal troops Gyrrnak encouraged them before continuing on, restlessly.


By now Atnov knew that defenders were finished and was only thinking on how to get out alive, to his family, yet dared not asked Gyrrnak who had commanded him to stay and watch. However, as they climbed a fallen apartment flat Atnov suddenly saw something strange. The fields outside the city had become a battlefield once more as seemingly thousands of royalist troops were now fighting the Guultryker. But how was that possible? As far as Atnov knew all royalists had been defeated in the region except for the garrison of Trasvelek. Gyrrnak quickly explained it, both to Atnov and to most officers and soldiers who looked just as astonished:


“Border Forces, I was told Narlig Hygralsen was marching a brigade towards us in order to relieve us yet as I was also told they would probably arrive too late I decided not to spread word of this, fearing to be giving all of you false hope.”


Atnov knew he should be happy now, this gave him a chance to escape alive after all. Instead, he felt tense and fearful, after all his family was out there, closer to a large battle now than they had ever been before. The two armies clashed in front of the city and the rumbling of artillery and the sound of gunshots filled the air as infantry and armoured formations went down in clouds of iron, smoke and mud. So Atnov just watched in terror as Gyrrnak continued to organize the defence from up his building for about an hour, waiting for areport on the progress of the battle. None such report came, instead the other royalist force managed to fight their way to the city and soon Gyyrnak went to greet the Border Force commander, a curious Atnov with him.


There could not be a greater contrast between Narlig Hygralsen and Vargas Gyrrnak. Whereas Gyrrnak was regal and handsome, Hygralsen was uninspiring and harsh, even sour. Where Gyrrnak was dressed in torn uniform and ragged sealskin cloak, Hygralsen wore a tight, unadorned yet clean uniform. The same went for their soldiers. Hygralsen's men looked fresh and disciplined from up their vehicles whereas Gyrrnak's men were a battered, ragged lot. As they approached Narlig spoke:


"Greetings, Lord Gyrrnak."


"Lord Hygralsen, you came just in time, it seems. The city is yours, High Shield."


Hygralsen shook his head.


"I fear I must refuse the city, Shield. Assemble your forces and prepare them to retreat."


Vargas made a face:


"How so? As far as I could see you are winning the battle against the rebel army. What is wrong?"


"We might be defeating this army, aye, but it was a trap. A second force has appeared in our rear and we cannot withstand both in our current position, neither can we hold the city."


"I see, I will gather the remnants of my forces as soon as possible."


"Good, I will keep you informed and I await you at the city's edge."


As the High Shield left them behind the Shield turned to Atnov:


"Now what to do with you? Leaving you behind here just like this will have you killed."


Gyrrnak paused for a moment before continuing:


"Chain him to a wall and cover him in mud while writing traitor above his head as well, that should have the rebels spare him."


Then Gyrrnak turned away from Atnov and started barking orders before leaving as well. And so Atnov was chained up and humiliated as the Black-clothed soldiers marched out of Trasvelek.



ruined trasvelek.jpg
Ruined Trasvelek.
 
#5
Whispers of Treason and Money

A Siljerrak Estate, West of Bjalmör

They would have to leave soon, the royal forces were coming after all. These days Drullan Siljerrak was beginning to doubt their victory which had been seemingly inevitable until the battles of Trasvelek and the Straits. Still Devaskjer had insisted on meeting, however, and Drullan could see the wisdom in that. The things to be decided here would only have positive effects on the Free State, after all. With these thoughts Drullan watched as a column of cars approached his estate. As they stopped in front of the manor many appeared from the cars, mostly soldiers, yet only two mattered to Drullan Siljerrak. Syr* Inrad Devaskjer, his fellow High Shield, and the businessman, Vrenek Pöldamönn. As both walked towards him he welcomed them and they shook hands before Drullan led them inside and seated them in a room overlooking the manorial lands. Here he took a good look of the two men as the servants brought refreshments and pleasantries were exchanged. Devaskjer was a tall, well-built man with blueish green eyes and yellow blonde hair which he kept quite short for a Zwallerkaddian with a small well-trimmed beard and mustache. Vrenek Pöldamönn was a totally different man, being old, bent and frail. His somewhat rattish wrinkled face was crowned by a little white hair and his sunken watery eyes were covered by bone glasses which rested upon his hawkish nose.


For he and Devaskjer had talked often before Drullan just turned to old Pöldamönn first in order to inform the man why he was actually on Drullan's land.


"Of course you would like to know why you are here, Dr. Pöldamönn. I suppose you understand that any word spoken in this room are to remain between the three of us?"


"Certainly, Lord Siljerrak."


"Great, let us begin then. As you do know more than anyone else Punth is a land of opportunity, that's why all of us are here after all. Now the reason why we have called on you is to fulfill our goal of completely utilizing the Punthite Resources for national gain by creating a national Guultryker company. This would, however, have to be implemented outside of our current... 'leader' for he would naturally complicate stuff. Anyway, to head this national company we need a capable and loyal partner, one who understands the value of discretion yet who at the same time is able to conjure money from anywhere. That, dead Doctor, is why we've asked for you; The best and most loyal businessman in Guultryk."


Silence fell. Moments long no sound could be heard. Then Pöldamönn cleared his throat and softly asked:


"Quite ambitious, my lords. Do you have any information regarding the details of your plans?"


"Of course, Doctor, here you are." said Drullan as he handed the old man a summarized version of their secret documents.


Minutes more the man went through the papers, softly moving his mouth while doing so until he rose his watery eyes to look upon Drullan:


"This looks both interesting and impressive, gentlemen, anything else I should know when taking all this into consideration."


"Not yet, are you the man we seek or not?"


"I have to think, this is a lot."


"Alas, Doctor, that is sadly not possible. We need you to decide now. There are a lot of other pressing matters we need to deal with so we need to know your stand now."


"Well... Then I am in, I suppose."


Yes, yes you are, you completely are, Drullan thought as he showed a small smile to Devaskjer who had proved content not to say anything.



*= Syr means Sir in Zwallerkaddian.
 
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#6
9th Dragoner Sjokk Bataljon
(9th Dragoon Shock Battalion)
Brevet LT COL, Grand Cross, Ryan O'Hanlen commanding
Kluchexetl had remained largely untouched by the fighting on the coast. The feeling was jubilant. Defeat after defeat for the royalist forces had the Guultrykian population at ease and over confident. Then the Knights had conducted their HALO jump the night before they had been pleased to arrive at the rendezvous point undetected. The 5 company captains had gathered with O'Hanlen for a final briefing before the effort to destabilize the city was attempted. They plan was not to capture the city itself, occupation was never the role of the shock troops, but to draw the rebels attention away from the coast long enough for royalist forces to regain the upper hand. When the company captains remunerated, they gathered the lieutenants and the sergeants to finalize their plan of attack.

2nd Squad, 1st Company, 9th Dragoner Sjokk Bataljon- 2nd LT, Knight, Maklen MacMaklen commanding

Maklen "Mak" MacMaklen was scared, he had never been in battle before and his father Grand Officer Declan MacMaklen had insisted that he volunteer for the opportunity to serve the order. The MacMaklen family had been knights in the order since the 1670s and it was very important to Declan that his only son take on the mantel. His sergeant had made it clear to Mak that he was going to make good calls or he was going to be overruled by the sergeant. 1st Company had been charged with infiltrating the basement of the city hall and planting a number of incendiary devices. Once the town came out to see the fire they remainder of the Battalion would swoop in and displace as many residents as possible. Captain Fitzroy keyed in his headset, "Move out!"

"All right men, lets move." Mak tried to sound manly and calm as he spoke to his squad. They look unconvinced, but followed his lead. Sneaking around isn't the forte of the shock trooper and their heavy equipment almost gave them away a few times as they wound their way through the darkened streets. Mak thought they were quiet in training but now it sounded like a cacophony. He prayed that they wouldn't be caught by the drunk and partying few still celebrating the Zwallerkadian losses at 1:30am. By 1:55am they reached the parking lot of the city hall. The manhole cover that they were to infiltrate through was right in the middle with no cover. While the remainder of the company set up a perimeter, an Overfall Ingeniører (Assault Engineers) detachment worked to slowly and quickly remove the cover. Once removed they stepped aside and signaled Mak and his squad. He signaled to move out and then to the sergeant that he would go first. Mak took a quick glance in the hole and then dropped in.

He got about waist deep before his armor and gear caught and he was stranded half in and half out of the hole. He struggled for a second before the sergeant asked if he was ok. "I've got it, I'm fine!" he said curtly through gritted teeth. A few seconds later the sergeant leaned in, "LT we are exposed in the middle of a parking lot, is there anything I can do to help?"

"I've got it!" Mak was seething, mostly from the embarrassment. He wiggled for a few more seconds and then the captain came on the mic. "2 squad, what is the hold up?"

Mak reached for his throat mic and ended up edging himself further into the hole. "Sir, the manhole cover isn't big enough for our gear."

"Typical milintel, roger that. Get out of the hole and we will go through the front door."

As his squad jimmied him out of the hole, 1st squad closed in and the Overfall Ingeniøren busted the lock with a crowbar and sledge hammer. As first squad disappeared inside and 3rd squad prepared to follow them, Mak and his 2nd squad fell in to provide cover. He was beyond embarrassed, just ashamed. He knew he had put the whole operation at risk. As he spiraled into self pity a shattering sound broke the spell. A body burst through a third story window and down onto the pavement. It made a squish sound, Mak shuttered and nearly vomited. The captain came on the headset, "Save the BurgyWood shit until the rest of the family gets to the party." A muffled, "Copy that." was heard in response.

Mak was fixated on the body when his sergeant shouted, "CONTACT, 6 O'CLOCK!" and opened fire. Mak spun around and raised his weapon. A few shadowy figured were clearly cowering behind a cement barrier and taking pot shots at the knights. Mak took a breath like in basic and raised the rifle to his cheek. He squeezed the trigger. The percussion still surprised him, no matter how many times he had fired it before. 4th squad began sprinting across the parking lot to provide suppressing fire. This is how they had trained. Not the pussy-footing around like a second ago. The figures lay mangled on the ground and Mak moved his men forward to clear the area. As they left the parking lot a loud thud buckled the ground beneath them. He turned and watched part of the city hall collapse. He grimaced and turned back to clearing for any remaining threats. Finding none, he called "Clear on threats to the southwest." "Roger, lets exfil our guys." said the captain. They worked there way to the rubble and found a gaping hole. They descended into it and into the basement. Sweeping for traps and testing for weakened structural supports.

 
#7
In war there is no safe place

Höveddar

"Men, as all of you know I don't fight against the Crown of Zwallerkad here. No, rather I like to say that I fight for something, and in this case that something is the freedom of man, yes the freedom of you, you and your families. After all, is that not why you are here? Höveddar was founded as a sanctuary of freedom for those that didn't fit in the tighter society of the beloved Homeland. In return for hard work we came here to live as free men on our own plots of land. And we worked hard didn't we? As explorers, soldiers, farmers, artisans and merchants, we earned this freedom and if they are not willing to give it to us we are to get it by force.

However, just the show of force has proven not to be enough, no. No, they demand blood be spilled, so gather up your courage, men of the Höveddar legion, for the enemy is upon us and we need to strike them down to prove the righteousness of our cause. Their leader is dead, they underestimate you and they do not expect you so only cowardice can yet bring us down. You are the Legion, to arms! For Höveddar! For Guultryk! For freedom! Forward men! Do not waver, bearers of the Trident! May Saint Kratarnus and Taludarus the Holy look upon you! Be blessed, salt-blooded of Zwallerkad! Be blessed and may God almighty grant us victory!"

After these words he drew his Rapier and vigorously reared his horse as the ranks shouted "Devaskjer", "Devaskjer" before moving to their combat positions. Devaskjer felt the adrenaline bursting from his veins as the crimson banners of his Höveddar Legion unfolded and while still panting from his speech he moved his horse in the direction his legionnaires went, followed by his entirely horsed staff. Of course they had access to cars yet he knew it was easier to inspire your troops from horseback than from an armoured car.

It were these moments of standing before his arrayed soldiers that he sometimes even actually cared for their cause. That even he, High Shield Inrad Devaskjer, felt like one of them. That was not him, that was not the real Inrad Devaskjer, who secretly cared for none other than that same Inrad Devaskjer. No, the real Inrad Devaskjer did not give a dead horse about the cause of Free Guultryk, he just felt a Zwallerkaddian, but for his own goals.

Still, he never showed this real Devaskjer. Moreover sometimes, like during his speeches, he wasn't even this 'real Inrad'. And so he led his horse on past the unending ranks of his soldiers, his legionnaires, as he made for the battlefield to be. This idea of the 'Höveddar Legion' had been a golden one. Calling themselves legionnaires had truly changed the men joining the 'Legion', they acted braver and more like real men should be and Devaskjer could not need that more now that he was facing the dreaded Border Forces.

However dreaded though, not even the Border Forces were immune. This Devaskjer had proved already, first as his men had successfully held the Höveddar Lines against High Shield Narlig Hygralsen. Then by figuring patterns in this same Hygralsen's acting, making it possible to find out where he would be after a while. It had taken nine days, in which his men had proved themselves by holding the line, before Inrad had successfully been able to lay an ambush for Hygralsen. It had been earlier that morning when the High Shield was being driven to the front lines to give new instructions as guerilla legionnaires had appeared from the bushes, under Inrad's personal command, and had mortally wounded Narlig Hygralsen, the famous High Shield of the Border Forces.


Now, with Hygralsen gone, was the time to strike. Devaskjer had directly returned to his forces at Höveddar and now they were on the move. The Border Forces, yet undefeated and until now on the offensive, would not be expecting Devaskjer and he would use this element of surprise to its full extent. And that, combined with the high morale of his forces and Hygralsen's dead, would give him victory.

It was with these thoughts in mind that he ordered his staff to set up a forward command as the sounds of battle rose close by. It had begun.


*
Forest near Bjalmör

Once more Atnov stood ready, a rifle in his hands. It seemed like a never-ending nightmare, this rebellion. After Trasvelek he had found his family safe in the victorious rebel camp yet as there would still be fighting in the region they had joined a convoy to the north, to the capital, Bjalmör. The safest place in all of Guultryk, or so he had been promised.

At first it had actually been good, they'd received shelter in one of the many empty hotels and there was finally food and drink in abundance, as well as electricity and hot water. However, then the royalists had announced their new offensive and all able-bodied men within the city were called under arms.

So now he stood, ready for more enemies to arrive, disillusioned and tired. It was the fifth day of fighting for him and he and his companions had been constantly retreating. They'd vastly outnumbered the royalists at the beginning yet every time they engaged the royalist superior weapons, better training and the cowardice of many Guultryker meant their defeat until most soldiers in yellow had become corpses in crimson. Atnov did not longer recognize the scarred, empty faces of the men standing beside him in this ruined forest which had seen too many of combat already.

Beside Atnov was the burned-out skeleton of a Rapadzör tank as a memory that they'd actually beaten back a royalist platoon here. However, he could already hear the engines of more Rapadzör's getting louder in the distance as a kind of announcement that more enemies were coming. With a sigh Atnov kneeled and readied his rifle. He did no longer fear dead or combat any more, if only because all inside him had died the last few days which had been the most terrible of his life. It did something to a man, seeing all around him die in all kinds of horrible ways, being defeated time after time and finding yourself running in the same bloody mud every last single one of those times. Atnov was done, yet God was not done with Atnov, it seemed. Why was he otherwise still alive? For Atnov only the thought that he and the empty faces beside him were the last defence of his family kept him continuing the endless rhythm of running fighting running.

Suddenly the man to his left collapsed without any gun having fired and Atnov immediately knew he was death. Whether it was exhaustion, malnutrition, illness or just a collapse of the soul he did not know, only that that man would not rise again. By now the sound of the enemy had grown louder and as a woman to his right shouted "Here they come!" he took a breath and fired as something moved in front of him. Next thing the world exploded in sound and light as both sides opened fire. For what seemed only seconds Atnov kept shooting, reloading and hiding. Running from one tree to another until an explosion of light threw him backwards, rifle pressed to his chest.

When he opened his eyes again, nothing had changed but for the sudden taste of iron in his mouth and the aching at his chest felt somehow distant. It was right at that moment that he noticed one distinct soldier among the enemy, one who was shouting orders and who wore a white sash over his black, decorated, uniform. Suddenly Atnov knew who that was, he had seen him a great many times on TV, it was the man who had defeated them so often, Governor-general Vujan Zakonziak. Atnov did not think as he readied his rifle again, only knowing that that which he did would be good for his family. He pressed the hold of his rifle to his shoulder and moved it until the white sash was within his gun sight. Subsequently he only pressed the trigger and watched as the sah coloured crimson while the Governor-general fell on the ground.

For moments he sat dazed as the shouting intensified and men in black uniform gathered around their fallen leader. Thereafter he rose, dropped his gun and just ran. He ran on and on, not seeing any of his neither-seeing companions-in-arms as he ran past, not seeing the black trees or the burning Rapadzörs. As he fell over and over again, dirt covered his face yet he kept running on, where to he did not know and it did not matter either, nothing mattered for Atnov had lost Atnov he was no longer a man, he had become a walking corpse, his soul crushed by days of the pure torment of warfare that his untrained mind could no longer sustain. When he opened his dirt covered eyes in the ditch, white light engulfed him.

It was only half an hour later that men in crimson and yellow, who were shouting the name 'Devaskjer', ran past the same place as they set upon the men in black uniforms, thereby making sure Atnov's family was safe. At least, for the moment. In war there is no safe place after all.
 
#8
Out of Control


Lord Njalzor Vözarzhel’s long pale fingers moved the wooden figure an inch across the map. He knew many thought of this usage of maps and wooden figures as nothing, a waste of time but so far Njalzor had always proven them wrong. For was he not a master of war, the greatest army general Zwallerkad had seen since Vorsholad had last taken the field. In fact, however, he would probably be even more effective using modern battle simulators and the like yet there was one advantage in using his old toys, reputation. It was his reputation that made Njalzor who he was in the eyes of the masses and the wooden figures and maps were part of that reputation, the same reputation that made his men willing to fight against extreme odds under extreme circumstances. This because the second part of his reputation was that he had never lost a battle, against any foe. It was his reputation and only his reputation that had guided them, first against Tzihalchutl, then against the Northern Confederation and finally against Zelorzod. And finally it was the one thing that convinced his troops to fight the upcoming battle, a battle against huge odds. Just in numbers for his soldiers were of course far more capable than the rebels. Still, it would be tough, fighting an army this large.

After all his scouts had confirmed that the force he was about to face was composed of many units which formerly fought alone, The Guultryker Independence Army, the Yellow Vespians, the Zkelkren Army and Confederation warriors. Of all these only the Yellow Vespians were equals to his men on the battlefield and luckily they numbered fewer than their counterparts. The Zkelkren forces were rather bandits than soldiers which was to be expected of the creatures serving a local warlord who had ‘taken’ his ‘capital’ of Trasvelek only after everyone else had left it. The confederation warriors were no great threat either, though fierce fighters they were more warriors than soldiers and were easy to smash as units. Besides this they were far better at guerilla warfare than pitched battle, something Vözarzhel had experienced when passing through the Northern Confederation on his way from Tzihalchutl’s realm to Guultryk. It had been bad fighting their guerillas. Njalzor could still see the piles of dead, mutilated scouts outside the camps. Still, fighting Tzihalchutl had been worse and in the end Vözarzhel had prevailed over both. Finally the Guultryker Independence Army made up the bulk of the enemies and though this was a diverse force which was also composed of some elite units most forces were irregulars or militias which would falter before the armoured Zwallerkaddian formations as they had done against Gyrrnak and Zakonziak earlier on.

Furthermore taking the heavily fortified rebel city of Zelorzod, the largest city in Guultryk, with ease had increased the morale of his forces to new heights while probably lowering that of his opponents and the same went for the earlier victories against Tzihalchutl and the Northern Confederation. The capture of Zelorzod had also solved the problem of the lack of ammo and other supplies which had bothered him against the Northern Confederation and Tzihalchutl for the city still had the old military arsenal which had still contained everything Vözarzhel needed. Finally, he had a good battle plan which would not fail him. Making use of the advantage of the higher ground and Zelorzod’s advanced fortifications he’d have his infantry, headed by a van made up of veterans and unbeatable Strajlydzar, stand their ground against the enemy hordes which would cut their teeth trying to breakthrough. Then, with the enemy weakened, he would attack over both rearguards and have his armoured formations smash the rebel army and hunt them down.

Of course he knew that no battle plan would be unchanged or maintained in the chaos of battle, he would be the last to argue against this, but still good plan was key for once the battle would ensue everyone knew what to do and how to do it which allowed him to focus on inspiring his troops and making addition to the way the battle went.

He was pulled from his thoughts when a staff officer entered his improvised office and announced that the enemy was ‘here’. Just as Njalzor wanted to ask how near here was, the answer came in the sound of rumbling artillery, it had begun and the dices would decide the outcome.
 
#9
Lord of the Monolith (Part 1)


The Shockwave hit him with enormous force and he was thrown on the ground with a smack. It felt like everything within him broke that second and as a tickling feeling spread over his chest everything became black as his head met the ground with a thud. He immediately tried to open his eyes, failed, tried again, and failed again. When he finally managed to force them open all he saw was a blur black, white, black, white. Flashes of some kind. He could not think, he could not move, he could not cry. And it was crying he wanted, it was all he wanted right now deep inside. Instead, however, he used every bit of focus he had to try and orientate, to see...something. His ears buzzed and felt shattered as the world slowly, very slowly, stopped spinning around in black and white.

A hand touched his neck and held his head straight. A blurry face appeared before his eyes, a man’s face, no a woman’s face. He did not know. He could not think. Once again he tried to focus. The face disappeared and the hands pushed him to a chest. A woman’s no doubt left. He closed his eyes, his head pounded and the sounds reaching his ears were still muffled. Then suddenly he realized where he was. All came back to him. He was on a goddamned battlefield, or rather a battleforest. His eyes shut wide open, he gasped and air filled his lungs. Smoke drifted through the air and fires burnt around him. He looked up to the woman holding him, Gezall, that was her name, Gezall Srelssen. Pretty face, had he slept with her? No, no he could not think of it. His focus still drifted away with each thought.

He tried to speak but no words came out. Gezall now noticed his open eyes and rose him to his feet:

“That’s it Irzad, up now. God spared our lives, let’s not waste them now, shall we?”

God spared their lives? How did that come to pass? He tried to remember. as Gezall helped him to put a step, where to he did not know. With a broken voice he asked:

“What happened?”

Gezall managed a weak smile:

“So you can still speak, good. I don’t know what you still remember right now so I will just tell everything. You, I and the other staff officers were with the Shield, Lord Askil Zernegon, when our forward command was attacked. A rebel blast hit the command post, we were shattered. I don’t know what happened to the others. I was just walking around,searching survivors when I saw you on the ground, your Grace.”

With every word Gezall said, Irzad remembered more. He, Prince Irzad VI Vjasgör of Börvamö, had been attached to the staff of Shield Askil Zernegon, commander of the Strajlydzar Regiment accompanying Njalzor Vözatzhel’s Punthite Expeditionary Force. Suddenly he thought of something:

“You haven’t seen the commander since the blast? Or Krenör Walzoraan? Or Valrad Jazaldar?”

“No, Irzad, I haven’t seen the commander, nor your friends. I suppose we could go and find them now you are able to talk and walk again.”

Suddenly Irzad realized their situation:

“Wait, how can it be that no one’s fighting here? The rebels should have attacked after the blast right?”

Now Gezall showed a real smile:

“You bet they did, it were those damned Vespos. Painted creeps attacked from all sides but remember, these are Strajlydzar, as I was sitting confused against a tree and you was eating dirt our men held them back and pushed them back I think. They must have, it is not like those vespos really spare anyone.”

Irzad knew she was right there, the Yellow Vespians were core units of the rebel forces, ruthless, disciplined and not afraid of anything.

“I see, well, let’s find others then.”

He moved his hand to his belt and took his gun. It felt good to feel its weight. Gezall laughed as she took her own:

“Yeah, let’s not forget those, cover me, I’ll lead. You’re the prince after all.”

Irzad smiled at the tone she pronounced the word ‘prince’ it was funny how in the military the normally so important noble ranks were so quickly waved away. Besides, following Gezall certainly allowed him a fine view.
 
#10
Lord of the Monolith (Part 2)

After a while Gezall signed him ready and as she moved forward through the bushes. He raised his gun, ready to shoot like they were back in Confederation territory again. Suddenly all happened at once. A crying man in black uniform came running at them and collapsed just in front of them as a gunshot sounded. The next moment both he and Gezall shot and ducked as a group of painted warriors appeared, Vespos. Gunshots were exchanged until the other side went silent. Once more the long hours of training at the Strajlydzar Military academy were paying off. They saved him now like they had in the Confederation and Tzihalchutl’s realm. Gezall cursed:

“Shit! Out of ammo.”

“Try the dead man.”

They walked to the corpse in black uniform. It was a man in his early forties, his face was drawn by fear in his last moments and Irzad pitied him. Dagor read his name.Irzad decided to remember that name, after all the man’s death had warned them of the Vespians. He was pulled out of his thoughts when Gezall touched his arm:

“People approaching.”

“Right, let’s take cover.”

Moments after they had kneeled down a group of men appeared, Zwllerkaddians, Strajlydzar. And among them a face Irzad had hoped to see alive again. He rose and shouted:

“If that isn’t Valrad Jazaldar.”

A young officer turned his head in surprise as his comrades pointed their guns at Irzad:

“Irzad, you’re alive! Down with the guns, boys, you’re pointing them at one of our superiors.”

Irzad smiled as he and Gezall approached Valrad and his band:

“How did you get out of the blast with such a clean uniform?”

“Well, you know me Irzad, nothing can get my uniform dirty, unlike yours.”

When Gezall snorted at that Valrad turned to her with a grin:

“And if that ain’t pretty Gezall, it seems you chose the right girl to hump last night Irzad, mine pissed herself ad ran the moment the blast hit us.”

“Maybe she was smarter than us.” Irzad replied.

“Could be, doesn’t matter, we’re all alive now.”

Now one of the soldiers, an older man with a huge mustache bearing the ensign of a sergeant, spoke:

“This reunion is all nice and well but we should get going and join up with the others who are still waiting as we’re taking a piss here.”

“Irzad, this is Sergeant Wys, he really does not care for ranks and will hit you just as easy as he hit me so I propose we get going.”

With that they were on their way and as they advanced through the forest Irzad whispered to Valrad:

“Have you see Krenör since the blast?”

“No, but I guess that prick is-”

Valrad was interrupted as the shouting and shooting could be heard between the trees in front of them. Moments later soldiers came running to them from between the trees, Zwallerkaddians.

“What is this? Why are they running from the front?” Wys shouted beside them.

“These are no Strajlydzar.” Gezall noted.

Irzad saw she was right. By now the men were approaching as more and more of them were appearing with the sounds of battle slowly coming closer. One man appeared to be leading them and as the seemingly retreating soldiers passed around them, ignoring Irzad and his companions, Irzad walked towards him.

“Hey you, who are you? What’s going on?” Irzad asked the man.

“I’m Captain Aswad Marderren, 8th Battalion, sent to aid the van. Damned Vespos killed our commander and forced us back.”

“The Strajlydzar are holding out, you should not retreat, it would expose their rear.”

“I don’t know who you are, sir, but I cannot with good motion ask my man to fight those Vespo demons, and besides they’d refuse me anyway. They will fight another day, or against another enemy. But not against those Vespos, not today.”

“And yet we need you today, I demand you stand and fight and hold your ground until reinforcements arrive or we are all dead on the ground.” Irzad said with firm voice as he had been taught by his tutors.

By now Marderren’s soldiers had caught the argument and were, intrigued by someone confronting their leader, surrounding them. Aswad spit:

“I would damn well like to fight on and I hate this just as much as you do but today is lost and I am no longer able to get my men to fight yet if you have a miracle to offer, whoever you are, then say it because somehow you seem unconvinced to run.”

“I cannot run, for I am Prince Irzad of Börvamö, Lord of the Monolith and the moment I run I am no longer worth those titles. However, if you think the lack of these titles will allow you to run you are very mistaken for you also got a title that prevents you from running and that is the one of defender of Zwallerkad. You once swore to protect our nation now do it for this is the moment that was always in the vow and in everything you did at home. This i the moment which decides whether you are worth the name Zwallerkaddian or the name of dishonoured coward.”

Irzad had spoken every word louder than the previous and the words had come straight from his words but now he doubted them, naming these many men now surrounding them cowards wasn’t exactly a way to stay alive. However, the moment he finished sergeant Wys to his right shouted:

“Aye, cowards or real men, I know what I am, what about you?”

And with those words he walked towards the approaching sounds of battle. For a moment nothing happened. Then Irzad looked at Valrad who nodded and after taking a deep breath the two followed Wys. Now Gezall shouted:

“You won’t leave me behind either.”

And this changed the situation for none of the men of the 8th battalion wanted to run when a woman did not and they turned, turned from running and towards the fighting. An expression of surprise had drawn Marderren’s face until now but now something like firm determination took over as he raised his gun and shouted:

“Rally men! rally to the Prince! Rally! Rally! Death to the Vespos!”

And shouting dozens of different war chants the men and women of the 8th battalion turned and re-engaged. The Strajlydzar would be secure and the van would keep up the fight.
 
#11
Back Here


Shield Zigur Draslavak walked through the corpse hall. The previous owners had surprised him by their courage, or their perverted version of it as they kept going on organising torture scenes, orgies and their amoral feasts in this hall until the moment Zigurs forces entered the ‘Zkelkren Palace’. Oh, how he despised the creatures they’d discovered within these blood-stained walls. The moment they realised their bandits an thugs could no longer protect them the Warlord’s cronies had tried to escape the building as fast as they could, the cowards. None of them had, however, been fast enough and the Royal Army had captured them all, and executed them all. And now the turn for the Great Swine had come, Gajud Zkelkren ‘The Warlord’. The man who had never fought a battle yet who had killed so many. Gajud had not even tried to flee, not that he did not want it yet he had grown so fat and so physically incapable that he had been unable to escape his ‘throne’ which was built of bones. The just half a year ago young man had turned into a huge snail covered in fat. His drinking, eating and fucking had turned him into an allegory of sin, one Zigur was about to destroy. He would do this the way Gajud had never done it, by killing him himself.

Zigur entered the High Hall, his men had emptied it of everything but the Bone Throne and the creature attached to it before leaving the room. Zigur himself was in no way harmed by the creature yet he was a man to whom justice and righteousness were the highest virtues and he had nearly cried when hearing of this man’s misdeeds which had produced enough tears to swallow the world. He looked at the fat creature and imagined it's little pig’s eyes who had apparently glittered when he had raped children in front of their parents before having others torture them all to that before his eyes. Oh, how Zigur was sickened by this creature.

He took his hunting knife from his belt as he approached the Bone Throne but stopped as he reached it. He heard something, very soft yet disgusting, a whisper:

“Mercy, mercy.”

These worse filled Zigur with blood as he imagined how hundreds had begged this same creature for mercy and after ignoring all those pleas he now expected mercy, no, oh no.

“Shut up, fat swine, did you really think your crimes would go unpunished? Did you really think the darkness would hide your sins? No, God is good, or mut I say God is just, for to creatures like you he could never be good. Now I shall be his avenging angel and I will have you suffer all that your victims suffered. Your vile father will be tried for war crimes, but your fate will be met today and believe, it will be the worst you have ever known though I’m sure Hell will be even worse to you.”

By now a disgusting smell came from the creature whose body fluids were already leaving him in terror. And so, with a devil-like smile, Zigur started avenging all Gajud’s victims. It was many hours later when he climbed the Town Hall tower and ordered his men to raise the Royal Flag. Trasvelek was purged and Zigur praised God for granting them their magnificent victory at Zelorzod which had allowed them to march all the way north to Trasvelek and now even further as the rebels retreated in terror before the victorious army of Njalzor Vözarzhel as the Punthite Expeditionary Force marched on Bjalmör, the capital of Guultryk.
 
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