Under a new sky – chapter 21

Note: this is a work of fiction, with all the usual stuff about copyright and permission. It’s also a work in progress and a way to develop my knowledge of the english language. So feel free to correct, debate, laugh, ask about it in the comments. Help appreciated.

You may find the index here.

Chapter twenty-one.

The Omniplan crisis was in full effect, leaving both armies with no information at all about their enemies. For Zeranta it was the dawn of a new era of warfare. For ten centuries their field battles were all about fast tactical moves developed when already in contact, the only way to overcome the constant flow of informations about enemy’s movements. For what Kellan told me in their chronicles full scale battles has been no more than five in the past, every king of their history avoided such confrontations without a real superiority by his side. This time was much different. King Harkoon and Prince Halkan got about ten thousand fighters each, both armies got strong and weak points. Loyalist had a heavy cavalry regiment, rebels a regiment of light equipped cavalry. Loyalist got some catapults at hand near the capital, rebels didn’t have none. Halkan lost his wild card, the “ghost” unit, and Harkoon lost the choice to use me against his son. The old king was right, there were all the conditions for a bloodbath like never before on Zeranta.

Keller was more worried about the future that about the incoming war. In the last ten years Omniplan advised everybody about the incoming Storm, but its warnings were futile against the power hunger inside the kingdom. For what Keller knew it was a bad mistake. The so-called high-energy events, like the one that got me here, happened in a regular sequence except for a small season every four hundred years or so, when a Storm will be able to kick out of order Omniplan and to kill almost every living being on the surface of the planet in a matter of days. Every time civilization kicked back from the ruins, helped by Omniplan, to slowly reach its high again. Little groups managed to keep a record of what happened, hence the ever mentioned chronicles. According to Keller the castles built around Omniplan labs were an early attempt to save as many people as possible in the past, while the great part of Zeranta’s population was left out to die. The death of almost every animal and the destruction given by the Storm always had as a major consequence a famine and only the guidance from Omniplan had preserved humankind from extinction.

For the republicans the incoming battle was no more than a pause. They knew that whoever win will turn his forces to north as soon as possible with no choices at all for them to survive. Kellan told me about their plans to escape to the mountains, hoping to find a way to start a guerrilla hard enough to keep enemy forces at bay. With me in the field things could be different, at my best I could be a weapon of mass destruction in this world. Problem is that every day I got a transformation I felt worse. It was more and more difficult to keep my thoughts under control. Me and Kellan were together all the time, she was the only one that could bring me down if needed. We needed to find a strategy to follow, so I got Keller with me for a recon.

Medieval Army

You see, there are no bridges left on the river for miles. The King is gonna use the river itself to secure its left flank and keep the battle as far as he can from the capital.”

Keller got a keen eye for strategy and was fast to understand the new choices of a battle without the presence of Omniplan.

His right flank will be exposed to the actions of Halkan’s cavalry, so he’s keeping the best part of his archers there, mixed with infantry for protection.”

Very good Keller. The basic idea of Harkoon is to wait for the first attacks from his son, the he will try to use his heavy cavalry to open a break in the enemy line and break them in two. We have to assume that Halkan knows that, so what will happen in your opinion?”

Keller was thinking, his eyes were wandering from the river to the capital.

I told you, I think that his cavalry is already on the move. They will try to avoid detection and to attack the town. Harkoon still hold his reserves in the castle and he will be forced to move when the capital will be on fire at his back.”

Do you think that Halkan will try to destroy the town? This is madness!”

Son, war is madness organized. Harkoon is caught between a rock and a hard place here. Ten thousand warriors are too much to be concentrated in that castle, are too few to set up a defensive ring all around the capital. If Halkan cut off his reserves with his attack he will be forced to stand his ground and that will keep his heavy cavalry out of the game. It will be a bloodbath, days and days of battle. Halkan could win the kingdom if he’s willing to pay the price.”

It will be a massacre. Is it possible to save the town?”

No, I don’t think so. You see, there’s little room between the walls of the castle and the houses. Even if Harkoon get his reserves out of the castle and set them here and there in town it will not be enough to stop cavalry. They have to set up barricades and obstacles all around. Even common people understand that, that’s the reason they are going away.”

A long column of civilians, with wagons and a few horses were leaving town, heading north.

As you may see they have no cover at all from the king’s troops. A few raiders from Halkan cavalry could do whatever they want as soon as they are a few miles from there.”

We have to help them! You have to jump there and…”

Calm down lad. You’re the leader, remember? If you deploy me in that direction I can’t be here where the main battle will take place. How many warriors do you have up north?”

No more than three hundred.”

They will have to do the trick. Have them on the move right now, they can reach the refugees by tomorrow and give them some screen against Halkan’s riders. Now, this is your planet and it’s up to you to decide whose side are you on. I can attack one of these armies with a bit of surprise at my side, it will not work twice.”

Keller didn’t answer for a while.

Bring me back, we need to talk all together. And we need to protect that people.”

Good kid, he was thinking as an officer. His problem was about being responsible. We jumped back to our quarters and everybody got involved in a long discussion about what to do. I’ve found a cavern nearby, deep enough to exclude most part of the sunlight. Once there I reverted to my normal being, just in time. I was ashamed by my own lack of control, it took me a lot to obey Keller and came back here instead of start a mad attack at the king’s forces. The only way to calm me down was the use of godblood, a solution worse than the problem itself. So I tried to lay down in the cave most part of the day, only to find some peace of mind after sunset.

Later Kellan came to me with her sexy smile, something to eat and a plan. Who could ask for more?

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