Jordan wished it was possible to see the whole battlefield, but the sea of trees prevented that. She just had to trust that the elite footmen’s flanking maneuver was going as planned. It wasn’t necessary for victory, but every successful maneuver reduced deaths on their sides.
Meanwhile, her current position was basically a standard battle… just with trees making it harder for cavalry to maneuver. If one didn’t count the lords involved, they were at a slight advantage. If she counted the lords… the advantage grew bigger.
Lord Rutten was currently facing off against the enemy lord and a half dozen of his personal guards. Around them, Lord Rutten’s personal guard were facing the rest of the guards and more than their expected share of the enemy’s army.
If the reserve troops went in, the battle might have been over already, but it couldn’t be certain that the enemy didn’t have some troops hidden elsewhere. It was best not to underestimate them on their own territory.
The heavy infantry should have arrived already… had something gone wrong? Jordan wished they could give a phone to every commander… but even if they had that many, carrying their pairs around would require a cart for the commander. Lord Rutten said it could be done in another way, but he didn’t have the development time. Jordan wondered what would happen if they did have more time…
Finally, the heavy infantry appeared. They looked a bit haggard- clearly they had run into trouble. One of them had lost their shield… and somehow picked up a bow. It looked like a fine metal longbow, but instead of shooting arrows… it was being used to bludgeon people. In essence, it was an awkwardly shaped metal staff.
Jordan looked back at the sound of Lord Rutten’s voice. Somehow, the enemy lord was dead, along with the five personal guards. That wasn’t a surprise, but it seemed too quick. He seemed to be getting stronger… even more quickly than he had before. Then there was the staff… Jordan had never seen anything like it.
It didn’t matter though. Him being strong was good, and they were on the same side. As the enemies retreated, Jordan thought about their next stop. Their first real goal in this war was mostly symbolic, but important nonetheless. They would be taking over the Eternal King’s castle. Its central location was good for a base, but it was more important what it represented. The Eternal King was gone. That seemed to actually be true, but Lord Rutten knew more about it than he would say.
There was no lord of the territory surrounding the Demon King’s castle. That would have been the Demon King himself, but he was dead. At the very least, no part of him was capable of ruling in gevai territory.
Even without him, there would still be resistance at the castle. His personal guard… had all died with him, as had everyone else in the battle. There would be some new guards training, but without the presence of the Demon King they would remain quite average. Nothing that could stop an army.
The only issue was that a smattering of mages had moved in, along with Borislav Womack, gevai lord and self-titled archmage. They could provide just enough resistance to make the takeover of the castle delayed enough for reinforcements to arrive. Because they could not spread news instantly, they would not be aware of how close William was to the castle, but they could still have reinforcements on their way after hearing of him moving through nearby territories.
William hadn’t received any word of reinforcements on their way yet, but sadly he couldn’t give every spy a phone- so he wouldn’t hear about it more than a few days before their arrival, if they were quick. If he’d had a dozen more years to produce them with Lorelei he could have gotten a good start on phones to distribute throughout the northern lands… but they had other things to do, and not unlimited time.
When William’s army arrived, Lord Womack stood on the walls and made a declaration, “Leave this place, rebels! You shall not sully the Eternal King’s castle with your presence!”
William laughed, “Oh, you think I could possibly sully this place more than you? You’re not even a real Archmage!”
“Bah, that bitch you keep as a mistress is the one who has no right to be called an Archmage!”
If William was a bit closer, he would have killed Lord Womack in that moment… but it would be harder from his current position. Instead, he kept his cool- at least outwardly- and retorted, “It is interesting that you should say that, since the Eternal King himself declared her Archmage, and not you or any of the others. Clearly, you have no real respect for him. I was considering letting you live, but now it would be shameful to let you go, insulting the Eternal King from his own walls.” Lord Womack had no words, and William continued, “Honestly, how can the rest of you mages there follow such an idiot?”
Lord Womack was corpulent, and clearly did not consider pursuits of bodily health worth his time. His fat jiggled as he shouted a response, “Hmph, your insults have no meaning here! It is still my duty to protect this location from invaders!”
“Funny, I could say the same thing about you. I can’t have you insulting the title of Archmage, granted by the Eternal King. I would suggest a debate to show you aren’t an Archmage, but I’m afraid you’d be too uneducated to understand any of my points. Thus, I propose a duel.”
Lord Womack shook his head, causing his neck rolls to jiggle back and forth, “You continually insult my intelligence, but I know you are nothing more than a brute. I have no fear of you in a magical duel, but I don’t devote my life to slaughter like you do.”
“Slaughter? A strange word spoken by one who kills so many of his own subjects in the name of study, yet produces no results. Regardless, I could surely defeat a fake like you in purely magical combat.”
“I would not trust you to hold yourself to that.”
“That is because you yourself are untrustworthy. I would not ruin my good name to do so when I can defeat you with just magic. How about this…” William started dragging a line in the ground, “This is the range of the offensive magical formations on the castle. You come outside the walls and the shielding spell, and you can use that zone as a guarantee that I will kill you purely with magic and nothing else. Unless you are too much of a coward to fight me anyway.”
“Fine! I accept!” Lord Womack stood in a way that was clearly intended to make him look imperious, but merely made him look like a large ball.