Ostana had the misfortune of being on the border of the demon lands. However, there was only one large pass in the mountain range separating them. This made it feasible to defend, since otherwise they would have had to somehow protect their border of almost seven hundred miles. The situation was complicated somewhat, since although Ostana claimed all of the area, the northern one hundred miles or so was generally unpopulated by citizens. The presence of magical beasts made it harder to move an army through the area, but the armies of Ostana would have trouble trying to intercept the coming demon lord’s army if they didn’t go to the border keep. Therefore, they had to send soldiers to protect the supplies they were bringing, even though everything was inside “safe” lands.
The border keep was always maintained in case of demon threats, but it had been mostly destroyed in the previous Demon King war. Although repairs had been made over the many years, it wasn’t completely done. There had been more pressing needs for the economic resources it took. Now, they had to finish the repairs quickly. Fortunately, they had warning. If not, the forces at the border would have been completely inadequate, even if the keep had been fully repaired. A single battalion of about 2000 men was always stationed there, which sounded like an impressive number, but only until one realized that the pass was wide enough that they would only be able to form a wall one soldier deep if they were trying to cover the area.
Theoretically, in the remaining years they had to prepare, Ostana would be able to raise a full 10 battalions. That would be a total of 20,000 soldiers, mainly conscripts. In addition, there would be 200 well equipped knights in each battalion, and 10 wizards. William wished that there could be more wizards, but that was already the limit of those who would be combat ready. In total, there were about 300 wizards in the guild, maybe 400 if those who were retired or very weak in magic were included. A total of 100 wizards in the armies wasn’t many, but they could be very effective in massed combat. A single wizard could defeat 10’s to 100’s of human enemies, depending on how densely packed the enemies were… and how well protected the wizards were.
However, most wizards would have a more important role than flinging out fireballs, since their enemies weren’t human. They were demons, which meant that each and every one of them had a body that was stronger than humans, and at least possessed the potential to use magic. Thus, a large part of the effort of the wizards would need to be spent controlling and maintaining the wards surrounding the keep. William didn’t think they would have a chance if they weren’t fighting a defensive battle- and if the demons weren’t much fewer in number.
William hoped that the information he had was accurate. There would be about 1200 enemy infantry- a paltry number, in theory, but all capable of using magic and with strength greater than that of several knights. To really take the advantage of numbers that the human side had, they would have to leave the safety of the fort. Even if all the wizards on the human side were free to attack them, they probably would have to defeat most of them with individually targeted spells- certainly nothing like what they could do to a human army. There would also be approximately 500, most likely much better trained, enemy cavalry. Normally they wouldn’t be as useful for a siege type situation, but they would be riding hellhounds- giant dogs that could breathe fire and climb walls. Then, the worst enemies, those who actually trained in magic for war. The intel indicated about 50 enemy wizards, and William was certain that at least a few of them, including the enemy demon lord, would be very dangerous. Most likely, more than any of the wizards on the human side, with the exception of Lila.
Going over the records of previous battles, William wasn’t sure how confident to be. Although they possessed a large advantage in terms of numbers, the quality of most of their forces was inferior. It also wouldn’t be unusual for the intel to be somewhat incorrect, which could significantly tip the scales. No matter what, though, the predicted casualties were high. Though he didn’t like to think in these terms, the regular soldiers could be replaced. The deaths among the knights, who had many years of training, and the wizards, of which there were few, would be much worse.
The human’s numbers advantage was also deceptive in another way. There wasn’t actually just one pass into the country- it was that there was just a single large pass. However, smaller groups of 10 or more demons could easily slip into the country, and that wasn’t something that could be ignored. Thus, there would have to be two battalions, about a fifth of the force, patrolling and defending the other, smaller passes. William planned to be with those divisions until such a time as word was received of the (presumably) large main army approaching the main fort. Patrols had already been started and scouts sent out, even into the demon lands, though there were still a few years until the predicted time.
William wasn’t sure what the demon lord would gain from this war. Perhaps there was some reason, such as prestige. Perhaps they actually thought they would win, or maybe they were just trying to keep the human forces weak for the eventual arrival of the next Demon King. He just hoped that this demon lord wasn’t capable of soul destruction, because the humans couldn’t afford to have an even smaller percentage of wizards in later generations.