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Author Topic: Era 2, Xaoc  (Read 4718 times)
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Oton
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« on: October 16, 2008, 16:16:52 PM »

'What shall we do, Fenix', the survived Conclave members' eyes were all fixed on him.
"Conclave?  That word is a history already!"
Half of the Kings were missing. Some of them preferred to stay in their lands, fighting the barbarians, and others were slain by the same barbarians.
'The Nomad Horde is exterminating us, we have exhausted all our reserve resources, our armies are nearly decimated. The Steppe Dogs took control of all trade routes, they are hitting the civilians hard. Our lands burn', Empress Isolde could barely keep her voice calmed. She had come few minutes before the council begin, still in her armor, crushed, bloody, with the madness carving through her face. She probably had not slept for days.
'And this is not all', Chingiz added, 'Barbarians do not touch the Strongholds. They are cooking something huge, I am sure of it. What I don't understand is... where do they get so much reinforcements from? It's as if... the winter had not done anything to them. Each time they come more and more. They die in millions. But they continue to come in millions.
"You... ought to know... Mongol', Emperor Spanu was furious. Nothing had left from his former strength which he possessed. He had lost his right eye. And that was the least barbarians could take from him during the last battle which Spanu had shamefully lost, 'What was the nomad expression: "Healthy was the mother that gave birth to you all." Am I correct? You are breeding like rabbits... in the that... darned Steppe of yours!'
Chingiz did not respond. He simply drew out his sword and headed towards the huge Emperor. He had stopped being a King long time ago.
He could not be King anymore since he had seen his main cities burning.
'Chingiz, stop! Spanu, go outside to breath some fresh air', Fenix tried to make his voice sound powerful, but the mad emperors ignored him. Spanu drew out his heavy sword too and prepared to meet his opponent.
Chingiz started swinging... and in that moment the imperian hall's gate opened widely.
As mighty as an ageless mountain, with his skulled shaved, from its back side a yard and a half long pony-tail, dressed in ceremonial skins, the Great Scimitar belted around his waist, the Chieftain of the Ever Victorious Horde - Xaoc, was standing on the entrance. Closely behind him, as his escort, Krum - The Mongol and Oton - The Butcher stepped in, dressed in no less parade skins.
A deadly silence overcame the hall.
The Steppe Wolf looked arrogantly at everyone presenting. A devilish smile was on his face. He looked like a predator which had just fed. Or more likely - he was about to taste the meat of his killed victim.
'So... this is the Great Imperian Council', the Chieftain slightly bowed, 'It is an honor to be in the place which will soon be... my throne hall!'
His words seemed to pulled the Kings out from their numbness.
Spanu was the first to recover.
'How dare you to desecrate this hall with your presence, you nomad dog!'
Xaoc slightly lifted his hand and Krum reacted lightning-fast. Before Spanu had managed to make one step, the Mongol's short curved dagger was on his throat.  Oton was only one second slower but he drew out his sword, pointing it at everyone in the hall, slowly making half-circles around.
Xaoc continued smiling.
'Is this how you meet... an official guest to this Council?'
'What', Chingiz shouted, 'Official guest? Who had invited you?'
'I did', Fenix raised, 'The Horde's Chieftain proposed a peace treaty and by the law we are obliged to listen to it.'
'And since when... the Steppe Wolf obeys the law? Any law at all?', Chingiz asked with his sword still pointed ahead. His eyes met Oton's.
The Butcher's gaze was cold. He could slay him with one strike. And with the next strike he could crush Krum. After that Xaoc was dead.
'Put your sword down, Chingiz', Fenix raised his voice, 'Do not dare to split blood on this Great Hall. Remember who you are!'
Several seconds passed before the King put his blade down.
Xaoc waved again and Krum resumed his previous place.
'Sit, Chieftain', Fenix pointed the empty place in the opposite side of the long table. Xaoc sat comfortably and both his Marshals stood close by him.
'You will forgive me for entering so heavily escorted, Your Majesty. But I do not think there is anybody in this room who likes me very much. And... as far as I can see... some members of this Council do not consider to disarm themselves also.'
Though his nomad accent was very strong, Xaoc was speaking imperian flawlessly.
Fenix nodded.
'I will ask my equals to disarm themselves, if both your Marshals wait outside. You have my word that no harm will come to them as long as they are within the borders of my realm.'
'I agree, Emperor', Xaoc nodded his head and his escort headed for the door. On his way back Oton stopped before Isolde and looked at her top-down challengingly. He approached his face to hers. The Empress could clearly feel his hot breath.
'You ow me a hand... Your Majesty', the Butcher grinned, 'You have not forgotten, have you?'
'The only thing I regret is... I did not cut off something... a lot more important for you', the queen replied with an anger-trembling voice.
Oton smiled happily.
'Who knows... next time... I might invite you... in my tent. I am certain that... it will be... an unforgettable experience!'
Isolde looked at him mickingly.
'If you treat the women the way you fight... the experience will be all but... unforgettable... Marshal!'
'Let us go, Oton', Krum urged him with a hand, keeping an eye on everybody at the same time.
The Butcher kept looking at Isolde, but he moved.
"It was just about to get interesting!"
After the Marshals had finally exited and Xaoc's Great Scimitar, along with other kings' weapons were carried out, everybody seated.
'What is thy offer, Chieftain', Fenix decided to cut to the chase, because, though unarmed, the free kings could easily tear the Steppe Wolf with their bare hands.
Xaos leaned ahead and put his huge hands on the table.
'All Emperors swear as vassals to me, I am to be crowned as the Emperor Primus. You get to keep your lands and autonomy and you pay a tribute each year, in gold, which, I think, you all will be able to afford. Every fifteen years the Horde will claim one male infant from each imperian family.'
Everybody gasped.
'We might well could line up and sing like a choir of virgins, wouldn't that be your wish as well, Chieftain?', Chingiz thundered.
The Steppe Wolf ignored him. His gaze was piercing Fenix.
'You have lost. That is the truth. Several more attack... and you will have nothing to fight for. The Horde has already overtaken half of the land of Imperia. How many armies you have left with? What will you feed them with? I will not stop. My troops exceed yours ten to one as we speak. Even...', Xaoc made a short pause, 'Even your famous... guardians will not save you this time. You are hungry. Tired. Disunited. And... also, you know that... some of your countrymen... have already chosen to kneel before me. Tomorrow... I will send their armies against you. It will be amusing to observe... how you kill each other, how about it?'
The kings moved in anxiety.
Fenix kept his blood cool.
'Answer me this, Chieftain... If we are within your grasp indeed... Why are you here? Why do you want to negotiate? You can simply... annihilate us. Can't you?'
The Steppe Wolf started to answer, but Isolde interrupted him:
'Because he does not want history to remember him as the barbarian who destroyed the land of Imperia. He wants to be a Sovereign, Emperor, Primus... a God. And to rule the conquered kings, severing their bloodlines. Otherwise... he would turn us into martyrs. He wants us... humiliated, with our spirit broken. Isn't that the true, Chieftain?'
Xaoc bowed smiling.
'I believe I did not have the honor, Empress... But I suppose the continuous battles had twisted your mind. I am here to offer my hand in peace and mercy', Xaoc shrugged, 'I might as well not trouble myself doing it, right? The choice is yours.'
Fenix slowly stood up.
'We shall have peace... when you answer for all those slaughtering of innocent! We shall have peace... when you present me the heads of those two who escort you! And finally... we shall have peace, when... your very head... decorates my Stronghold's front wall', Fenix waited for several seconds and added the respectful: 'Chieftain!'
The Steppe Wolf slowly raised. His smile was radiating hatred this time.
'I shall not leave stone over stone in the land of Imperia! You shall all fall and there will be no one to remember your names! It will be as if you have never existed', Xaoc gazed at each one of them. His eyes stopped at Fenix's face, 'And you, Your Majesty... I shall not slay you. Not at all! I will cut off your tongue, your nose and both your ears... And I will turn you into a traveling laughing-stock, which all the nomads will spit and throw mud on!'
The Ever Victorious Horde's Chieftain rapidly raised and headed for the door. Before the exit, he looked at them all for one last time.
'And... as for this Hall... it will be my pig-stock!'
After the door closed behind him Fenix seated slowly and said:
'He is furious. And he is furious... he will make mistakes.'

Twenty second wave results:

Successful pillages: 1261
Defenders' victories: 186

Nomads killed: 31988435
Imperian soldiers killed: 11011774

Civilians killed or taken into slavery: 16981439

Twenty third wave results:

Successful pillages: 1534
Defenders' victories: 103

Nomads killed: 328961719
Imperian soldiers killed: 16914391

Civilians killed or taken into slavery: 19470035

Twenty fourth wave results:

Imperian Fortresses destroyed: 1532
Defenders' victories: 108

Nomads killed: 21249077
Imperian soldiers killed: 239799229

Twenty fifth wave results:

Imperian Fortresses destroyed: 1536
Defenders' victories: 107

Nomads killed: 16047050
Imperian soldiers killed: 14705189

Twenty sixth wave results:

Imperian Fortresses destroyed: 976
Defenders' victories: 102

Nomads killed: 11346191
Imperian soldiers killed: 4068853

Twenty seventh wave results:

Successful pillages: 1550
Defenders' victories: 97

Nomads killed: 328961719
Imperian soldiers killed: 16914391

Civilians killed or taken into slavery: 21090138

My dear Paris,

I hope this letter will find you in good health, I hope you are still alive and you are still thinking about me.
But I beg you not to, in the name of all Gods. Do not think about me again. Forget me. I am dead. Live... and remember I have always loved you and I will always love you. Run away from this darned place and never come back. There is nothing left for you and me here. Do not seek me. Do not rescue me. Because... you will lose your life. Believe me. I ran away from the nomad camp just to send you this letter, which I do not even know weather it will reach you or not. I hope it does reach you. Now I must go back to my imprisonment. This is the only way for you to remain alive. You and... our unborn child. The child which will never be ours. Because... the barbarians will wait for me to give it birth and then... they will take it away. Forgive me for not being strong and brave enough to take my life. The only thing I have left... is living with the memory of you.

Farewell, Paris, My General. My love.


                                                                                                                                           Yours forever: The Knight
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