Sorry for the wait; I finally got the game, and how could I find time to write about it when I could play it?
Part 6: Surprises
The two messengers stared in shock at one another, gaping in the dark room.
The bearded old man chuckled from his seat behind the small, wooden table. “Don’t act so surprised,” he said, “There’s far too many flies in this old house for you two to be gaping like that; they’ll fly right down your throat and choke you, I’ve seen it before.”
The human messenger, clad in a ragged suit of chain mail, turned on the gray-haired man. “But an elf? Probably a servant of that insane Arkantos, as well.”
The elf, who was dressed in fashionable (though mud stained) forest green silks, shifted from foot to foot. After all, he did
serve Arkantos, and he had to agree with the human; that general definitely seemed quite deranged.
The old man looks between the messengers, his smile slowly fading. “I brought you two here to help both of you save your friends and kinsmen. A vast army is on its way to crush Arkantos, and any who stand in its way. Many lives will be lost, and that will only be the beginning.”
“Then what are we supposed to do?” the elf asked irritably, “We have no army.”
A massive grin spread across the old man’s wrinkled face. “That’s where you’re wrong.”
Someone else walked into the room. And if the messengers were surprised before…
They stood on the pasture just outside of their fortified camp, overlooking a steep, rocky valley; the sun glared brightly on the bare fields of Rollingplain.
The mail clad Terian soldiers, more than 500 of them in all, stared doubtfully at the general who, only a few days ago, each and every one of the men would have followed to the deepest pits of hell.
But now…allegiances change. The troops would never dream of betraying their leader, of course; but it seemed that their leader had betrayed them
: by allying herself with the notorious elf lord Arkantos.
It wouldn’t be easy to convince them, Valkyrie knew. For months now, they had dreamt of spilling elf blood. And for these terrible enemies to suddenly turn to dear friends…the troops would need some serious persuading.
But Valkyrie was an expert at persuasion.
“Men of Teria, you have long suffered in this endless war, fighting against an evasive enemy: Arkantos’s elves, who ride across these plains like the wind, leaving no sign that a massive army is about to strike. After nearly half a year of fighting, you have only one victory to show for it. Am I wrong when I say that every last one of would rather return home than stay in this barren wasteland?”
Hesitant nods of consent came from the soldiers, not sure what their general was getting at. Would she really let them go home?
But Valkyrie soon crushed their hopes. “I am sorry to have to tell you this, but you cannot go home. You see, you have no home to go to. My soldiers, the place you call home, my own estate…has been brutally ravaged by enemy forces: the houses burnt, the inhabitants slaughtered; and more than fifty other towns share the same fate.”
Almost instantly, shouts came out from the crowd, condemning the cruel elves that took away their homes and their loved ones.
“But it was not the elves who did this!” Valkyrie said.
Stunned silence. Who else could have done such a thing?
“Our lands were devastated…by men
.” Gasps from the crowd, but Valkyrie continued. “Men of Teria, who destroy the countryside on their unstoppable march to this very place! Led by the servants of the traitorous Lord Cam, this army has come to kill Arkantos and his elves, along with any who stand in their way!”
“I know you, as this war drags on, have been taught to hate and fear the elves. But they only attack us to protect themselves, to protect their forests, and to protect their princess’s honor! Is that not why we fight? For king and country? The elves may be a strange race, but they
are our kindred in spirit, not the bloodthirsty forces of Lord Cam! I know much blood has been spilt between the races; but I also know that each one of you have the courage to realize what is right, to realize that it is better to fight alongside honorable strangers than traitorous friends!”
Valkyrie’s soldiers cheered vigorously, their blood warmed with righteous anger against those who destroyed their homes and killed their families; their hatred for the elves was, for the moment, forgotten.
Which was just what Valkyrie had been hoping. Arkantos would be pleased; their armies might just stand a chance, after all.