Chapter 1: 00 Prologue
Surrounded by mountains, in a valley with only a narrow entrance, exists two kingdoms, that have been rivals for centuries. There hasn't been any armed conflicts in twenty-three years. That being said, the two kingdoms still treat each other with distrust. At the end of the last armed conflict, a neutral meeting ground, separate from the rule of either kingdom, was formed. A self governing town, at the mouth of the valley, was built by both kingdoms. Every year, during the week of midsummer, the rulers of the kingdoms meet at this town. The denizens of the valley, have not had contact with outsiders in fifty years, in which time all knowledge of the wider world has been almost completely lost. That may come back to hurt them, for this story covers the events of the valley war, a war between the entire valley, and outsiders. This is the story of two princes, thrown into war. Many will die, but many more will survive.
Chapter 2: 01 Beginnings
“Milord?” The stewardess's voice makes him look up.
“How many times do I have to tell you to not call me that?” he asks.
“They need you up in the castle.” She turns and leaves.
Sighing, he leaves the drawing table, locking the door to his workshop before climbing the hill towards the castle. “Okay, why do you need me?” he asks the small group of nobles waiting for him.
“My Prince,” one of the nobles starts, “it's your father. He’s been killed.”
“What happened?” he asks, sorrow in his voice. “Was it the westerners?”
“No.” the only female noble says. “It was outsiders.”
“There hasn't been outsiders in the valley for years,” he says with raised eyebrows. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, we are.”
“Guess that means I’m king now.” he says with a sigh.
“Officially, you’re not king till the ceremony, but you do have all the powers of the crown.” Mar says from the side, to which the nobles nod.
“What do we know about them?” he asks, walking to the map room. “Do we know their intentions?”
“We know that they aren’t from the valley, for their armour is different from both ours and the westerners.” the female noble says.
“Aria, did we capture any?” he asks her.
She sighs and shakes her head.
“Damn. Well, let's get to planning.”
To the west…
“Milord,” the steward says.
“What is it David?” he asks.
“The nobles request your presence in the castle.” David says.
“Did they say why?”
“No, they did not.”
“Fine. I’ll get up there.”
A few minutes later…
“My father’s dead? Hah! Good riddance.”
“Prince Satoshi will you please sh-”
“No. I will not show respect for the man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of his own citizens. Speaking of which that is going to stop immediately.”
“You can’t b-”
“I am more than serious, nobleman Eddie.” a burning fire infuses his voice. “All arrests and executions will stop. Am I understood?”
Eddie gulps. “Y-yes Milord.”
“Good. Now, tell me about these foreigners.”
Chapter 3: 02 The Traveler
Beta/Edited by my boyfriend
Humanity has many legends. Many stories. Many heroes. And many villians. The people of the valley are no different. Though this is one legend that is not like others. The legend of the Traveler.
The Traveler doesn't even have a name. The legend states that he first led humanity to the valley. That he helped build the first city. That for a decade he lead the people as the first king. However, the legend says that he stepped down, and appointed his most trusted advisor as king, before disappearing back out the mouth of the valley.
Peace existed in the valley for fifty years before fighting broke out among the citizens of the valley. By this time, many small towns had been founded, with four cities being built. The Traveler returned to find the realm he helped found torn between those four cities. He was able to bring about peace once again, but only by taking the reigns of power once again.
A decade later, he disappeared. The fighting began not too long after, with the cities of Strongolt and Rochwall fighting the city of Avalon. The city of Swordbreak remained neutral. The old capital of Cresthill, the first city to be built in the valley, was forever sundered. The southwest portion was abandoned, while the northwest and eastern portions were occupied by the two factions. This civil war raged for many years, with it only ending when forces from Strongolt razed the town of Fogville.
Three centuries passed, with the two sides periodically fighting, and no sign of the Traveler.
This is where a new story begins. For as outsiders march on the valley, the two sides have a choice. What they decide to do, is yet to be seen.
As a story ends, a new one begins. An end of an era marks the beginning of a new one. What this era will be, has yet to be decided. And it will be decided in the fires of war.
Chapter 4: 03 Planning
Beta/Editor is my boyfriend
In the castle of Avalon…
“Fill me in on what happened.” the now king says.
“During the meeting between your father and the king of Rochwall, a group of fifty outsiders forced their way into the town and killed both kings before retreating.” Aria says. “By the time the guards were mobilised, both kings had been killed.”
“Did the guards kill any of the intruders?”
“No.” a different noble says. “The guards were unable to catch them.”
“Dammit.” he says, hanging his head before shaking it. “Seeing as this concerns both the kingdoms I will be sending an envoy to Rochwall asking for a meeting.”
“Milord, are you serious?” Aria asks.
“Yes. Yes I am.” he says. “Now, I want to triple our garrison of Starford with the soldiers being posted along the bridges out of the valley.”
“The westerners aren’t going to like it.” a noble says.
“That’s why they will not be posted until after the meeting. Marcus,” he looks at the noble who spoke, “you will be accompanying me to the meeting.”
“How do you know they will accept your proposal?” Marcus asks.
“I don’t.” Zach looks up. “But I have faith. Now, on to that message.”
Two days later in Rochwall…
“What is it?” Sato asks.
“A message from Avalon just arrived.” David says.
“Probably just a retort like usual.” he growls.
“No, your majesty. It’s a request for a meeting.”
“Let me see!” Sato practically rips it out of David’s hands and opens it.
Dear the new king of Rochwall
As you may know, both of our predecessors were killed by outsiders while meeting in Starford. I propose that we meet somewhere more private. The location of the meeting, if you so choose to meet with me, I leave at your discretion.
Sincerely, King Zach Laron of Avalon
“Well, that certainly is interesting.” Sato says quietly.
“What are you going to do about it?” David asks.
“I am going to meet with him. At Roselake, I do believe.”
“We should probably send a message back.”
“Yes. Yes we shall.”
A day later, Evening in Avalon…
“We have received a message from Rochwall.”
“Let me see.”
Dear King Zach Laron of Avalon
I accept your proposal for a meeting and will meet with you in three days time at Roselake.
Sincerely, King Satoshi Oda of Rochwall
Zach jumps up and does a little dance. “See Marcus you just need to have a little faith.”
Marcus rolls his eyes. “Yes, yes, I was wrong. Shouldn’t we get to packing?”
Zach laughs. “Packing? I was packed two days ago.”
Aria facepalms. “Overzealous much?”
“It pays to be prepared.” Zach says. “We shall leave tomorrow.”
“Should I send the go ahead for the soldiers to be stationed in Starford?” Aria asks.
“No. You will go to Swordbreak and await my orders.”
“Of course, Milord.”
“Now, time for some rest.”
Chapter 5: 04 The Meeting
Edited by my boyfriend
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Roselake Town Hall…
“King Laron,” Sato says.
“Please just call me Zach,” Zach says.
“In that case call me Satoshi,” Sato says. “Please, sit,” he says, waving towards the chairs.
“Of course,” Zach says, walking to them. He’s kinda cute. Wait no! This is not the time for those types of thoughts.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Sato asks as he sits down. Damn, he is good looking. Wait, why am I having these thoughts right now? Focus, Sato, focus.
“The foreigners,” Zach says, sitting down.
“Ah, yes. I should have known,” Sato says.
Zach smiles and relaxes a little. “Aye. I actually have additional soldiers ready to reinforce the Starford garrison.” He sees Sato stiffen up. “I can see you have some worries about that.”
“Mainly the fact that our two soldiers aren’t that friendly,” Sato says with a tilt of his head.
“I have assigned one of my nobles to lead them. I would trust her with me life,” Zach says.
“Oh. So you believe she will be able to keep your troops in check?” Sato asks while tilting his head.
“Yes,” Zach says, “Though I would like to be there myself.”
Sato blinks, respect for him growing. “Why do you want to be there yourself?”
“I am a firm believer in leading from the front,” Zach says while looking Sato in the eyes.
“I’m honestly impressed,” Sato says wide eyed.
Zach smirks, unknowingly teasing Sato. “I’m not surprised that you are. Not many of our predecessors led from the front.”
“True,” Sato says with a nod, “Honestly, I’m also surprised that you are willing to cooperate with me.”
“My kingdom may be more populated and wealthier, but your people are more robust and hardy. In all the wars between our two people, my kingdom was always the attacker, while you were always the defender. Even when outnumbered five to one, your people held,” Zach says humbly, “That is why I want to cooperate with you.”
Sato is rendered speechless by his words. His mouth works up and down wordlessly.
Zach laughs quietly. “Need some time?”
“Well it has been a long day on the road,” Zach says, standing and stretching, his shirt riding up slightly. “Let's talk more tomorrow.”
“O-okay,” Sato says.
A few minutes later…
“You like him don’t you?” David asks Sato.
Sato groans and places his head in his hands. “I don’t know why but yes, I do.”
David chuckles and lightly pats Sato’s shoulder.
“I need a bath,” Sato says as he gets up.
In the bath house…
Zach sighs as he slips into the water. He rests in the water with his head leaning back. That is until he hears the door open and a yelp. He lifts his head and sees Sato standing at the edge of the bath, clothed in only a towel.
“I-I didn’t know you were in here. I’ll come back later,” Sato says, turning away.
“No, it’s fine,” Zach says. “If you want, I can look away.” Sato nods and he looks away, hearing the towel hit the ground and Sato enter the bath. When he looks back he struggles to keep his eyes on Sato’s face as the water is semi clear leaving a...well, you can probably guess what is most likely in full view.
Sato is having as hard a time keeping his eyes up as Zach is. “So, ah…”
“Yeah, I also got nothing,” Zach says sheepishly.
“W-well...you do look...good looking,” Sato says.
Zach blushes and lets his eyes flick downwards. “So do you.” he says with a massive blush, almost matching the one on Sato’s face.
“This never happened.”
*cough* It did happen.
Chapter 6: 05 Preparing for the Assualt
Edited by my boyfriend.
Approaches to Starford…
The noises of men marching fills the air as a column of men, ten wide and fifty deep, march towards Starford.
“Ma’am!” a young man says.
“What is it?” a thin faced woman asks.
“A large group of foreigners are approaching the south-eastern bridge.” he says.
She leaps to her feet. “Send a message to Avalon,” she tells him.
“Aye ma’am.” He immediately starts working on it.
She barges out of her office strapping on her armour, seeing her platoon of soldiers, half of them already in armour and helping the other half, and her western counterpart in full armour standing near the door.
“I take it you have heard,” she asks him.
“Yes. I have,” he says, “I wish to offer my help.”
“We can use all the help we can get,” she says, “Thank you for your help.”
“These foreigners are a threat to the entire valley,” he says, bringing a fist to thump his chest. “We can not allow them to gain a foothold.”
“Exactly,” she says, “Shall we?”
Twenty minutes later…
As a messenger sets off on the road to Swordbreak, sixty armed and armoured soldiers amass at the bridge that the hostiles are marching towards. The bridge itself is only wide enough for five men to stand abreast.
“Are you sure this is going to work?” she asks him.
“Would you rather fight all five hundred of them on an even ground?” he asks her.
“Touché,” she says, “So we only fight five of them at once.”
“Exactly,” he says, “From what we can see they are lightly armoured.”
“True.” She turns to the bridge where there are ten soldiers arrayed in two rows. “Your spearmen and my swordsmen should be able to hold for quite a while.”
“Hopefully enough time for reinforcements to arrive,” he says.
“Hopefully,” she says, “Hey, if we survive, first round’s on me.”
Chapter 7: 06 The First Battle
Edited by my boyfriend. Also Happy Boyfriend Day!
“Here they come!” she yells out as the first wave starts to charge down the bridge, twenty-five lightly armoured hostiles with only a sword. As they near the five in the second row thrust their spears through the five of the first row. These five spearheads manage to impale four of the hostiles which manages to slow them enough that the first row get a swing in, dropping three more. The better armour of the valley soldiers easily deflect the swords of the foreigners, with only one being nicked by a blade in the arm.
It’s over in half a minute with only nine foreigners making it back, while only two of the defenders being injured. All ten are replaced, however, to keep a strong, rested front line.
Swordbreak, an hour later…
“Noblewoman, a courier has arrived from Starford.” A captain holds out a scroll. “He was carrying this.”
“Let me see,” Aria grabs the scroll.
Starford is under attack by foreign forces.
“Prepare the troops for immediate departure to Starford,” she says.
“Yes, Noblewoman.” He turns and leaves to do so as she starts strapping on her armour.
A few minutes later…
“The troops are ready, Noblewoman,” the captain says.
“Then let's move out.” She turns towards the gates, which open with her signal. “Let’s move!” she yells as she nudges her horse into a good trot. Behind her are the sixty soldiers she has been given as well as forty volunteers from the local garrison giving her a full company of soldiers to reinforce Starford as well as the fifteen mounted knights of her personal guard.
An hour later…
Thirty-seven men and woman lay or sit, wounded both minorly and majorly with another four lying dead while the river begins to run red with the blood of a hundred and twenty-three of the foreigners’ blood.
“We aren’t going to be able to hold for much longer,” the western commander says, grunting as he pushes a foreigner back.
“Hopefully, Swordbreak sends some of its garrison to help,” the eastern commander says as her sword slices into the foreigner. That is when twenty arrows come streaking out of the air and impaling the rest of the foreigners on the bridge. “Well, that’s certainly more than I hoped for,” she says as she sees the force that Aria has crossing the much larger bridge that leads to Swordbreak.
“Hey, look! They’re running!” one of the wounded yells out. Indeed, the remaining hostiles are marching away from the bridge.
“Thank god they are,” she says.
“By the way, I like the Roselake vintage,” he says.
“Fuck, I gotta buy,” she says, to which he laughs.
Chapter 8: 07 Aftermath of the Battle
Edited by my boyfriend
“Guard Captain Alandra,” Aria says. “Good job on holding the enemy.”
“It wasn’t just me Noblewoman,” Alandra says. “Guard Captain Aaron also helped.” She nods towards Aaron.
“Well done as well, Guard Captain Aaron.”
“I was simply doing my duty,” Aaron says.
“Indeed,” Aria says, “You two probably have reports to write,” she smirks. “Tomorrow, that is.”
“Aye, Noblewoman,” they say.
Later that night, at the local tavern…
The sounds of 58 weary soldiers fill the tavern as they spend what free time they have getting drunk.
“Bullshit!” Alandra says, her face flushed from the beer. “There is no way you could get one chick to sleep with you, let alone five!”
“I’m telling you it ac-act-actually happened,” Aaron tries to say drunkenly. He takes a swig of his wine. “And it w-w-was awesome,” his eyes go cross eyed.
“Dude, you probably dreamt it,” she says with a giggle, “If you actually did do that I will eat my boots.”
“I-I will prove it to you!” he says. “I *hic* will sh-” he slumps onto the counter, unconscious.
“Dammit. Who’s gonna drink with me…” her head comes to rest on the counter as well, starting to snore.
A few days later in Roselake…
“What do you mean Starford was attacked?” Sato asks.
“I mean exactly that,” Zach says, holding out a scroll. “This just came in.”
Sato takes it and opens it.
Starford was attacked by foreign troops.
Both Eastern and Western troops fought foreigners.
Nineteen Eastern troops wounded, Eighteen Western troops wounded.
Two Dead from both the Western and Eastern garrison.
One hundred thirty foreigners killed.
Foreigners retreated when troops from Swordbreak arrived.
Noblewoman Aria expressed praise to both Guard Captains.
“Oh.” Sato looks up. “It would appear that our troops are better at working together than we thought.”
Zach snorts. “It was probably a case of desperation.”
“True. But our case is desperate,” Sato says.
“Yes. Yes it is,” Zach says. “Though it does appear that we would stand the best chance of success if we worked together.”
“Indeed it does,” Sato says. “So, a treaty then?”
“A treaty?” Zach puts a hand to his chin in thought. “That would be a starting point.”
“What do you mean?” Sato says, tilting his head.
“From my perspective, in order to stand the best chance, our kingdoms would have to join as one.” Zach holds up a hand to forestall any arguments. “I say this because even with just a treaty, we are still divided. That can lead to unnecessary friction among our people. I know our people have been at odds for centuries, meaning joining together is as of now impossible,” he sighs. “I just see it as the only chance we have if things go bad.”
Sato turns away slightly to look out a window in thought. “Indeed. Our people, for the most part, are heavily against our kingdoms joining. However, that is now. If things do indeed go bad, it may be our only choice.” He turns back to face Zach. “As of right now, the best we can do is make a treaty.”
“Then let’s go make the treaty,” Zach says with a sigh. They turn to walk into the meeting room.