The Raging Winds
The year is 1352. Unova is divided into Seven Kingdoms, states, Principalities and Republics.
The Confederation of Nacrene is a group of cities: Nuvema and Accumula Town and Striaton and Nacrene City, that banded together to stand up against greater oppressors. They are a democracy and headed by Nacrene City.
The Halian Kingdom controls most of the Southern Central Unova. It owns Castelia and Nimbasa Cities and has naval dominance over Central Unova.
The Genarian League is made up of Mistralton, Driftveil and Icirrus City. It is headed by a council led by three prominent members from each city. It is the major trading power in Unova.
The Principality of Oppelucid is the smallest of the states. It is based in Oppelucid City and only controls that area, but with mighty warriors.
The Kingdom of Humilau is made up of Lentimas, Undella, Lacunosa Towns and Humilau City, with the capital being in the latter.
The Lamdan Duchy is made up of Virbank City, Flocessy Town and Aspertia City.
There is a Seventh Kingdom, the Desert Kingdom. It used to be a vast empire before the Halian Kingdom expanded, taking it's major territories. It now exists as the Desert Castle and the stretch in between Nimbasa and Castelia, and has descended into raiding and bandittry.
Amayl strode through the sandy plains. There had once been a road here, that connected the two main cities of the Empire, according to the Elders. Now it was gone, descended under the rolling banks of the desert. In the distance he could see the toiling workers of the Halian Kingdom. They had been the ones that had invaded from the sea, usurped the Empire's power, and torn up this road. Now they were rebuilding it, laying down stones imported from afar. Amayl fingered his sword. He could easily descend, kill a few slaves, and take flight back to the Desert Castle. His party was large enough, their steeds strong enough. But the loss of life would not be worth it, and the King would be displeased to hear of his son, if not his heir, doing such base barbaric acts.
"Prince Amayl!" a man on the right flank called. "What do you want us to do?" The man was Laman, Amayl's right-hand man. He was an honest soldier, although a simple man.
"Follow your orders, Laman. You heard what the king said, we are here to scout only," Amayl replied. He spurred his Darmanitan below him into action, and the Monster descended down the plains. There were hundreds of Monsters in the world and they had all been tamed, for war, for farming, for building. After the collapse of the Empire the Desert Kingdom had used Darmanitans as steeds into battle. The beasts weren't as fast as Zebstrika or Swasbuck, but they were strong and could hold a rider for many hours. They descended onto the savanna plain that surrounded Castelia City, the old centre of the Empire. The work on the road had only started a few weeks ago and was going swiftly. The Desert Kingdom had at first harassed the slaves, but the Halian Kingdom had been quick to fortify the road and install guards. Amayl raised his hand, indicating that the twenty riders should halt. They dismounted, hammering pegs to the ground that were attached to the Darmanitan's leashes. They would have to advance from foot if they were to maintain stealth. Amayl crouched down, edging along the dry ground. He whipped the turban around his tanned neck and crawled through the ground.
After a few minutes of crawling the scouting party reached a clearing, where the shrubs had been cleared for the road-making. There was a large party of men, mounted on Swasbucks, surveying the progress of the road. They were well-dressed, in fine blue robes. Amayl heard the word 'Sire' mentionned as one of the slave-drivers discussed matters. It was the King, the enemy. Amayl felt rustles along his men as they realised the same thing.
"Men, we've learnt all that we can, let's depart," he announced. The men turned, crawling back through the dirt towards the Darmanitan. Amayl realised that they almost represented the Empire. Once proud, standing tall, now crawling in the dirt to hide from their enemies.
Re: The Raging Winds
The first rule of the forest, never venture beyond the fence. He looked out at the simple wooden barrier, erected from stakes driven into the ground. Across the fence lay Halian territory. There they would kill any foreigners. There, war reigned. A body of a Watchog lag on one of the stakes, shrivelled as it's fluids had leaked out of it. He gripped his spear shaft, spurring the Stoutland underneath him into action with the butt. It was ironic, that those the Nacrene League had backed, to wage war and defeat their old oppressors, became the new tyrants, expanding at their will. Only their alliance kept the Halian Kingdom from bursting its banks and flowing into Nacrene City, and from there to the rest of Southern Unova. It had surprised them, taking a fishing village or two along their coastline before the Confederation realised that its allies had turned against it.
The patrol moved along the fence, eagerly looking out for the enemy. There were five riders in the party, led by him, Janex. He had spent five years fighting the old Nimbassa Empire and ten against the Halian Kingdom. He had fought, he had killed. He was a man of war. He saw every rustling leaf, detailed which ones might have been touched by a careless enemy. Although strongest in the right hand he held his spear in his left, so that he might wield his shield in his right, to protect himself as he rode along the border. Action along the front had increased recently, patrols ran into each other more often than usual, the odd offensive force was met and repelled. He was taking no chances, taking an extra two riders on the patrol.
Janex saw a flurry of movement. Seven or eight men were leaping over the fence, axes in their hands. Janex heard the whistle of an arrow and raised his shield to protect his torso. The arrow thudded into the shield. Good job that he had kept it on his right side. He spurred the Stoutland into action, and the great beast leaped forward, jumping over a log. It careered into one of the lightly-armoured men, sending him flying. Janex leaned out of the saddle, spearing another as he turned to face the oncoming patrol. His men followed him, taking down another five men in between them. The last man ran back towards the fence. Janex took chase, bearing down on the fleeing soldier. Stoutland leaped, burying its teeth into the man's neck. Stoutland let go, the man fell to the ground. No more arrows issued from the other side.
"Men, we should hurry back to camp. That was a force of forerunners, there'll be a main party coming soon enough. We have to warn them," he turned Stoutland around, spurring the great beast back towards camp. Unlike Zebstrika, Stoutland were able to navigate past trees, making them the perfect Monster for a woodland patrol. Janex was glad of that now, as the party rushed back to camp. No-one chased them, and they flew unharassed through the forest. Trees shot past, logs came into view before disappearing, it almost seemed like life rushed past them, unable to be slowed down, unable to be stopped.
The five riders emerged from the forest, uninjured, onto the plain approaching Nacrene City. Small wooden walls had been constructed around the camp that had stood for three years around the forest. They called it the Last Line, or, its official name, Camp Running Brook. The Stoutland ran, along the dirt track leading up to the camp, before coming to a halt by the gates. A group of centries stood, armed, Watchogs at their side.
"Who goes there?" one of them asked. Janex dismounted his Stoutland and took a step forward.
"Friendly Forces," Janex replied. This was all part of the protocol for entering camp, and, right now, Janex was in no mood for it. "Reporting enemy contact," he added on the end. The guard looked at him sceptically. He recognised him, of course, as one of the Four Captains, but was surprised at the swerve from protocol.
"If a tree falls in an empty forest..." the sentry began, reciting the first half of the password.
"It will crush a Watchog." Janex remounted, having completed the password, which changed daily, and rode through the camp with utmost speed. The camp was arranged in perfect order, with tents placed in straight lines, making straight, unbroken roads between each side of the Last Line. At the centre of the camp was HQ, a small wooden building where the Colonel was housed and daily meetings were kept with his staff. Janex's Stoutland stumbled to a halt and he leaped off, opening the door of HQ. Inside the Colonel was sitting at a table, with two of the other Captains. Xenephon, the infantry commander, and most senior of the Four Captains, stood up.
"Janex, I know that you would not come here without good reason, what has happened?" he asked. Xenephon was wise, after twenty five years of war, and reasonable, and Janex was glad to have someone like him to deal with today. However, he ignored Xenephon, turning instead to the Colonel, Miliatides.
"Sir, on my patrol earlier today I encountered a party of forerunners, backed with missile attack. We destroyed the group and none of my men were harmed, but I highly suspect that they were scouting ahead of a larger attack," he explained to the commander of the Regiment. The Colonel looked at him, showing no expression on his face. He was a short man, with a bristling moustache, and had fought in wars even before the Nacrene Confederation had been established.
"Xenephon, chances are that they will use infantry to attack, and cavalry won't be able to repel it in such thick woodland. Take three squadrons to deal with this attack, along with a patrol of Stoutland to send back to camp if you need more," he commanded. He stood up, and walked over to the entrance of the tent. A trumpeter stood there, ready to give signals. The Colonel whispered something in the ear of the trumpeter and bold, brassy notes issued across the camp. In a few minutes soldiers would be assembled, in two hours the attack would be repelled. They had succeeded.
Re: The Raging Winds
No, it's got a way to go.
Originally Posted by jorgea
Janex wandered through camp. He had succeeded, but now had to go through the inexorable wait until Xenephon came back with his troops. He passed other tents, talked with comrades, fellow officers, even with the sentries. Every time he saw someone he retold the story of the encounter with the Forerunners. He walked over to a large gap in the tents, where the Stoutland were tied to posts. This was his favourite place to go when he had free time, to where he could rest with the great might of the gracious creatures. He walked over to the post of 128, his Stoutland, Majuk. There the beast was attached, eating out of a fodder trough. He put his arm around the creature, breathing in its blue-grey fur. The Monster smelled of nature, of wild hunts and expedient charges, of chases, of woods, of water, of everything that it was deprived of here, in the camp.
A trumpet sounded from the gate of the Last Line. Xenephon had returned, it seemed. Janex raised his head, lifting his arm from Stoutland, and ran to the main isle between the tents. Men were hurrying to the gates, and Janex slowed to a walk. He was an officer, meant to set an example, and he was still in his uniform. He reached the gate, where a small crowd had gathered in the side-alleys, and Janex took a position near the front. The gates swung open, to reveal Xenephon entering with his squadrons, and with visitors. Alongside him, riding on Swasbuck, were Halian nobles. As they rode past the men spat on the floor that the creatures rode on, and into the faces of the retinues of the nobles as they passed. Janex didn't stop them, he was disgusted. He turned budging through the churning crowd, out into the extremities of the camp. Only from here did the crowds thin and he was able to run, parallel to the path that the Halians were taking, towards HQ.
He stopped just as the advancing column came to a halt. Servants came out, taking the Swasbuck as the nobles dismounted, and leading them off to where they would be fed, just like a good Regimental steed. The nobles advanced, going up the steps of the same wooden structure Janex had been in a few moments ago. Xenephon, along with a few more junior officers, went with them and Janex joined the group. Ahead of him, Xenephon knocked on the door, and opened it into the inner sanctum of the Regiment, where not just foreigners but enemies were being led.
Inside the Colonel was sat in the same position that he had been earlier in the day. The nobles took it upon themselves to sit at chairs around the table where he was writing. Janex walked around the table, stopping a few feet from the Colonel. Finally the Regiment's commander looked up from his papers.
"Who are these men?" he asked Xenephon. "Explain why you have let enemies into our camp, into our place most sacred, where no foreigner has been before." Xenephon stirred awkwardly opposite Janex.
"Sir, I went to the fence as you commanded, and engaged with the enemy. They said that they were an embassy, and that the Forerunners intercepted by Captain Janex were guards clearing the way," he explained.
"An embassy," The Colonel muttered. "An embassy, that does not alert the patrol that it is arriving, or use proper diplomatic presentation." He turned to the assembled nobles. "What kind of embassy are you, who are so uncouth?" he asked, the level of his voice raising. The noble seated opposite the Colonel spoke.
"A desperate embassy, keen to see this war finished, and an alliance established between our two nations against the greater evil stirring up," the man replied. The officers around the table stirred. This sounded like nonsense, what evil was greater than that of the Halian Kingdom?
"You want peace, an alliance, with the allies that you betrayed, the men that you turned on so soon that we barely had chance to raise your flag in Castelia before you were assaulting our coast," the Colonel's voice raised to a shout. "I was there, when we sent a Regiment to Castelia, to strike the head of the Empire down. I was there, with others, when your ships took our fishing villages, raped our women, killed our children! Five hundred men died in liberating Castelia, and you turned on us! On that day, I decided never to be friends with the Halian Kingdom!" Other officers around the table murmured their agreement. Janex remembered the day too, marching through the streets, fighting in pools of his friends' blood. Then, that bitter betrayal.
"Please, we regret the actions of the past, we understand that no apology can be given strong enough. But there is a greater power emerging. We came from across the seas, evicted by rising powers in our homelands, the same lands that the Genarian League now trade with in their foolishness. They are uniting, to a power as great as Unova's. In these divided Kingdoms we cannot stand, but will fall to the Empire that has been founded there." Silence ruled HQ. No-one moved. Eventually the Colonel stirred.
"Very well, send for the council."
Re: The Raging Winds
Chapter Three (incomplete)
Amayl spurred the Zebstrika on, to the top of the sandbank, followed by a flurry of other riders. This was no longer a scouting party, on slow, endurance based Darmanitan. This was a raiding party. He halted the Monster and looked down on the dirt track that connected Nimbasa and Castelia Cities. A scout had alerted them of the passing convoy, and Amayl had decided to personally lead the team to raid it. Further down the road Amayl could see a line of robed monks processing down the track. They were in fact a small party of warriors on foot were ready to make first contact with the convoy. Carriages trundled down the track, accompanied by riders. Amayl would have to hope that surprise would allow the lightly-armed scouts below to inflict significant damage on the convoy before the cavalry charged.
One carriage buckled as the front wheels fell into a concealed ditch. Two legged Monsters emerged from the sand, clad in breastplates and iron claw-covers. The Krookodile all emerged, surrounding the convoy, and started to attack. The 'monks' threw off their robes and charged towards the convoy, with a further group providing covering fire with short bows. The Krookodiles' claws gorged the bellies of the Swasbuck as their riders tried to break the circle. A group of light infantry swarmed onto the fallen carriage, dragging out its occupants. Now was the time.
"Charge!" Amayl called. Twenty Zebstrika thundered down the sand dune, going full pelt towards the rear of the convoy, where guards were emerging from carriages to form a decent defence around some Halian nobles. Amayl lifted his lance to a level where it might injure such a guard, and kept on riding. His Zebstrika slammed into a pair of guards, who were sent flying across the track. Amayl burried his lance inside another before drawing his scimitar. The guards were broken, and fleeing back down the road, and a group of riders chased them. Only a small group of five remained, forming a protective circle, their poleaxes pointing outwards. Behind Amayl the scouts formed a line, finished with plunderin and killing. These guards, along with two cowering nobles, were the last survivors of the ambush. Amayl dismounted, walking towards the isolated pocket.
"You have fought well, but lost. I congratulate you five on your bravery. You know that I cannot let you go, however. You must come with me, for you are prisonners and slaves of the Desert Kingdom," he said to them. The nobles whimpered, huddled in the small circle, and the guards glared at him. One of them stood up, and discarded his poleaxe.
"Kill me now, I'd rather die than become your slave," the guard spat. Another stood up and joined him. Their wishes were granted by a slash of Amayl's sword. The bodies fell to the ground, and blood poured onto the sands that drunk Empires in a gulp.
"Men, victory is ours! Back to the Desert Fortress!" Amayl commanded. He remounted his Zebstrika, and led the riders back up the sandbank. The prisoners were led in front of the column of scouts, along with the bodies of the dead. All raids took their toll on the soldiers, and Amayl was fortunate that only a Krookodile, two scouts and a rider had been killed in the fighting. They marched towards the Desert Fortress.
Towering iron gates loomed in front of Amayl's column as they approached the Desert Fortress. Giant natural walls of rock shot to the sky, that protected the last bastion of the old Empire. Once this had been a quarry, mining minerals to be taken to every corner of the Empire. A hundred years before its decline the Emperors had moved their palace to here, this stark and lonely outcrop, as a symbol of their strength. It was the strongest fortress in Unova, and could be held by a hundred good men against thousands. Amayl halted his Zebstrika as he came under the shadow of the great gates. Guards hurried to the towers on either side, and came to attention.
"Who goes there, into the Desert Fortress, capital of the Desert Kingdom, last foothold of justice, and seat of the Volcani?" the Captain of the Gate bellowed down to the sand below. Amayl looked up towards the tower.
"I am Amayl, Prince of the Desert Kingdom, Lord of the Sands and first in line to the throne, returned from victory to see his Highness," he called back. The gates laboriously swung open, and sunlight poured into the valley. Before him neat rows of houses, walls, trenches, gardens and towers lay. This was the heart of the Kingdom, and the most beautiful place on earth. Amayl spurred his Zebstrika into action, galloping down the paved roads.