Preface: I almost decided not to upload this chapter, but I knew I had to. I've decided I won't leave anything out. I doubt anyone will have much praise for this. It's sort of long, and it's mostly informational. The reason for this is the fact I never intended on publishing this or sharing it in any way. So, I just focused on creating this world with such detail I could maybe release it under a different name, using the information I already had.
I believe Chapter Five will be more acceptable for action-craved readers.
Skip to this, if you don't want to read the above: Here's the good news. I've committed myself to releasing as many chapters as I currently have (by now, the reader should know this was written almost a year ago). Then, I will focus on a fantasy novel of epic proportions that I hope will offset any damage this information-heavy chapter may have. When I say "epic proportions", I do mean just that. I will put every inch of my writing skill and abilities into this piece, and I can only hope I will get decent reviews.
King Holskolm let the worries of the day run off of him as he prayed gently to God, the words seemingly falling on deaf ears for the time being, as the storm had just began.
“I pray to you to return my cousin to me, Lord, and I keep my faith but seek nothing in return. I stand much to lose, and I hope that it will not be. Return them all and will this terrible storm away, and rescue me from the horror of everyone of my days.” he concluded, standing up, shaking the stiffness from his old bones.
“Alas, if this was to be heeded, perhaps then I could rest.” King Holskolm cried, sitting down upon his throne, as weary as ever.
He had once led an army of 40,000 men against an army thrice the size, with supplies to boot. He had once rescued his own brother from the clutches of the old practices. He had sailed the sea many times, married twice, had two sons, both of whom were critically acclaimed in battle, boasting prowess unmatched. Yet, his age was in essence, failing him. The feats of the many yesterdays seemed distant to him, as if he could not hope to accomplish any of them any longer, as if he was worn down and the last efforts he made had already been completed.
His thoughts wandered angrily to the invaders, a nail in his head. They taunted him, stealing from the villages, pillaging what they saw fit to pillage. He could little but send soldiers who took too long to get there, or in some cases, could find no visible foe to defeat once they reached the villages. The laws made no difference. He had twice called upon Sion for assistance, but had heard his calls unanswered. He chose not to believe that his longtime friend and ally was ignoring his calls...the king of Sion had problems where problems need not be. As King’s it was their first duty to protect their own kingdom, no matter who bid their attentions.
The essence of the situation began with the clever invaders...yes, they had the shaman of Yeturi to back them up...a mystical warrior, perhaps more mystical than the Uthidagva himself. Intelligence reports claimed he could transform into an eagle, call upon the gods themselves to punish his enemies, and that he had killed his first king, a tyrant who wrested his family's land from them forcefully, at age 13, giving him the name Yeu ti Kyro, Killer of the Kings.
The Yeu ti Kyro was well-known in all kingdoms, as he had waged a war with nearly every single one of them. He was blood-thirsty and unsatisfied with the gold he had, and had recently taken to relieving Iberian itself of its precious jewels and gold.
He could no longer march out to battle, rapier in hand, expecting his enemies to tremble at his feet. He had his sons to do just that, and how he himself was nothing more than the wise adviser...no longer the warrior. In faith, most leaders chose to rule by a gentle hand in these times, but the usefulness of rulership by force was never left on them. An intimidating warrior commanded more attention than the cowering king, and that was as it always had been.
He had debated on attacking Yeturi many times throughout his time on the throne, but each time found himself deterred by the mighty Yeturi, who could strike a man down with the gods himself in hand.
Not only was he an impressive warrior, but also a tactical genius. Iberian had many men, Yeturi had many too. Supplies were plentiful in both kingdoms (if Yeturi could be called a kingdom.)
It was now the geography of the kingdoms that plagued them. The earth as they knew it was literally divided into six major kingdoms;
Miro, the blacksmiths of the east, then beside them, Yeturi, the warrior providence, Sion sat to the coast on the west, Iberian a few hundred miles down the coast, in the largest valley of the mountains, the temples of Idious, practitioners of the old ways, sat further North up the coast, and then finally, Uthirdyie, the oldest of all kingdoms, consumed the mountains, smiling from above.
Miro had the major bodies of iron ore...Yeturi had the abundance of gold and silver, Iberian the advantage of rich silk and gold from the mines, plus the many trade routes that snaked its way through Iberian lands, Sion had the advantage of plentiful food and resources from the sea, Idious the protection of the mountains, and Uthirdyie, the highlands, where they could survey all with impudence.
But they all in turn lacked supplies...unfortunately, in times of wars, such supplies were difficult to ferret across hostile lands to feed enemy troops.
Yeturi was many hundred miles from Iberian, separated by Sion, and the only way to access Iberian was then from the use of ships. The shaman of Yeturi had decided to capitalize on the advantage of their large naval fleet, branching out stealthily in the night, hiding in the shadows as they waited for a lapse in Iberian's attentions.
Naturally, as the wizened king mused sadly now, such an opportunity had arisen in the form of festivals.
They had left the ports unguarded for nigh on an hour, but that had been enough. By the time actual resistance appeared on the shores, the invaders had already stealthily made their way inland. Trade had been suspended, and the war had began.
As King Holskolm reflected, he had handled the situation well. He had ported soldiers to the southern port, gathering a steady resistance they later used to force the invaders back to the shores. The invaders had made it to the ships, but several of the said ships had been destroyed in the affray that followed. Luckily, the shaman of the west hadn't made an appearance, thus raising the morale of Iberian soldiers and making allowance for a small decisive victory.
What hadn't been known at the time, however, was the fact a small pocket of three-hundred odd heavily armed invaders had made it in the country lands, hiding in the mines and snatching unfortunate witnesses, torturing them until they revealed the locations of certain mines, rumored to contain a massive amount of gold and silver. They were barbaric in their methods, leaving absolutely no evidence behind for the king to corroborate the rumors flying at him from every direction.
Recently, the said invaders had met much resistance from the 3,000 armed soldiers posted in the City of Islipit. Nearly 60% of their numbers had been decimated, leaving the rest of them in hiding with no options and no reprieve, but the cold blade of the soldiers.
Had this been an end to it, King Holskolm reflected, they may have been able to effectively stabilize the situation.
But as fate would have it, Miro chose that time to close off trade, as they feared Yeturi's, or more accurately, the shamans punishment if they continued to assist Iberian. With little supplies, and Sion engaged in a struggle with Yeturi and Idious, this left Iberian open once more to attack. A fleet of 100 fully staffed naval ships bid way to Iberian, unhindered by Sion’s own navy, currently involved with a battle of their own.
Iberian had an active naval military of 30,000 trained men, with over 400 ships in port. But caught surprised by over 100 staffed naval ships, they had no time to react before the invaders reached the shore, accurately causing the destruction of 30-odd ships, and the death of 2,000 good men. Once more, they did not opt for a straight-out battle with the Iberian army, and opted instead for the supplies they desperately needed, cloth that only Iberian possessed abundant amounts of. The king himself had stood and watched as they charged the villages.
It was also a point of timing and positioning. While the bulk of Iberians soldiers were posted at the border, an unprepared navy had no chance of fending off so many attacks. Iberian had lost over 10% of the port-land, losing several villages. For a kingdom so large, such a loss was felt very hard. Holskolm had contacted his advisers the next day, bidding their immediate attentions, as he wished to consult over war matters.
In a bid for time, they had postponed such a meeting until all the pieces were in place...
And now, King Holskolm sat in the middle of it all, his hopes defeated before his own eyes. Any hope had once possessed of launching a full attack on Yeturi was gone. They no longer had access to all their ports and until they could garner enough troops to defeat the invaders, a hard enough feat as it is, they couldn't do much about it at all.
He felt the weight of it mostly on himself, as he had been the one that had let the invaders take over, and had been unable to do anything about it.
The open trade routes prevented Iberian from releasing their grip on the borders, if they did, it would let any manner of foes in, including the Yeturi army if they so wished. The routes were just too numerous for his army to man successfully, too diverse. Therefore, the northern borders had to be manned...if not, they were all damned...
It seemed lately, the king himself had opened up the underworld, allowing death to flow through his kingdom like poisonous water.