The Lord The King And The Lord General Ride To War

From Charred Marble

Erkenbrand, Lord General of Ahm-Shere, steadied his horse as his royal cohort marched along the paved street to the grand gates of the White City. An immense place of architectural brilliance, the White City was an impressive sight to the eyes of all but the most ignorant of people. The capital of all the White Realm and home to the Lord of that glorious Empire, the White City was more than just a haven for those seeking refuge. It was more than a large city bustling with activity in the markets at mid-day. It was a fortress, and the one place in all of the Known World that a man could feel safe.
Before him, Erkenbrand could see the vast gates to the city. Although conceived to be one of a very small number of weak points in the City’s defences, alongside each of the heavy doors were huge towers. Upon the battlements were hundreds of soldiers, to-ing and fro-ing. The staves of spears leapt up and down as the men rushed along the great wall. A large banner was flying in the harsh wind - the banner of Lord Sunnycool. Erkenbrand admired the ornate heraldry as he held up his hand. Behind him, 500 men; some mounted on the finest steeds in all the land and the rest standing heavy-legged after their ten-day march from the Ahm-Sheran capital of Verdonsk.
Erkenbrand’s silver horse trotted forward as a man called from the battlements above.
“Halt!” the voice declared. Erkenbrand winced as he looked upwards. He patted his horse on its long neck and the beautiful animal came to a stand-still. The bright sky illuminated the fading white surface of the rock and the blue sky was too intense for the eye. “Who goes there?” asked the man, his accent easily definable. This man hailed from Avalon, a town in Ahm-Shere.
“I am Erkenbrand, Lord General of Ahm-Shere,” came the reply – and immediately the man upon the battlement’s facial expression changed. “I have travelled without rest for 10 days, my men need food, shelter, and above all rest. We travelled around the Avalon Mountains, into the Golden Empire and now to here,” he exclaimed in his deep, husky voice. Erkenbrand as a young adult had possessed an extremely powerful and commanding voice, but a battle against the Wildmen of the Jungles of Mu had left him with an arrow embedded in his neck. Upon removing the bolt, his doctors had succeeded in stopping the bleeding, but at the cost of damaging one of the Lord-General’s vocal chords. Ever since, Erkenbrand had only been able to speak a few words before having to pause for a breath. Talking was an extremely strenuous task.
“Forgive me, m’lord!” said the man on the battlements. “Open the gates!” he shouted, as the sound of heavy bolts clunking together could be heard, albeit muffled. “I will escort your men to a spare barracks,” explained the guard. “I expect you, m’lord, will be expecting an audience with Lord Sunnycool?”
Erkenbrand did not reply, but nodded his head with a half-smile present.
The gates divided, and Erkenbrand passed through into the White City.

Locky had ridden for many hours with Darian, but the White city was visible in the distant.

Locky was trying to recall the events that had lead to this, in his head. He remembered looking for Lathaon in silverton, and before having found his camp, he remembered feeling weak and fainting. He recalled reawaking, but felt different, he was moving, but he never remembered moving himself. He then realised that he had been taken over.

He realised he was trapped in his own body, and couldn't do anything, he then recalled the seige, and the talk with Lathaon, he remembered struggling with the liche's will in his mind, causing the spell to cut out, he remembered leaving silverton for castle Mjlinor. Then it occured to him, he had battled with the creature for his own mind and body, eventually casting it out. Not before it left him, probably as good as dead in the snow.

Locky wondered what exactly it intended to do. He shudered at the thought.

Erkenbrand followed the guard through the streets of the White City. The man before him weaved through the hordes of people gathered in the square as Erkenbrand followed on his steed. Flanking him were two heavy-armoured guards on either side, each carrying tall spear and wearing fearsome helms. The sound of chainmail and plate armour knocking together gathered in tempo as the square cleared, and Erkenbrand’s horse quickened her pace. The guard who lead the way lead the convoy onwards through the wide streets. Each road was packed full of children and women, and the sound of laughter and conversation. The sun beat down mercilessly in the sky yet a cool, soothing breeze helped refresh the Lord General as suddenly they reached the White Counsil, the home of the famous Counsillors of Lord Sunnycool.

“M’lord, I will inform the Lord of your presence. Please, remain here.”

Locky had reached the gates. His men recognising him and letting him through instantly. He galloped full speed towards the White tower. He made it to the counsil cambers, where his own qauters and his elite citidal guards lived. Locky saw a man he had not seen for some time.

"Erkenbrand!" Locky exclaimed, as he dismounted with a now concious Darian.

"Locky!" said Erkenbrand, who had dismounted as he waited for the guard to return. "It has been many winters since we last met, old friend!" he said, embracing the man before him.

Darian rose up in his saddle, looking at the man which Locky embraced.

"Erkenbrand?" he asked in wonder. "The Erkenbrand of Ahm-Shere?"

"Well, one of three," he smiled as he looked on at the newcomer. "I do not believe we have met before, sir," said Erkenbrand, as he moved slowly from Locky towards this man. "I am indeed the Lord General, although my reason to be here is not social, instead far more serious. My scouts have reported that Almirith Damorath was killed at Villiath. Not only was he husband of my sister, but he was a brother-in-arms and a close ally."

"I'm sorry," Darian said. "He was a good man of the Realm, as well as an important man. He is a loss to all of us I think." Almost, he thought, but did not mention it aloud.

"My name is Darian Kandar. I'm one of the Warriors of Mjolnir and hails from the Empire of the East. It's an honour to meet you." He extended his hand.

"I'm dreadfully sorry for your loss Erkenbrand. Dark times indeed we tread upon. I'm guessing we shall find your intentions soon enough, i hear Sunny has recovered, such a joyful news." Locky said smiling.

"We have much to catch up on old friend, your vioce sounds ill…that wound will never heal will it old friend. But one does not need to speak to command such bravey and skill which is evident in the excellent soldiers of your country. It is wonderful to finally see you after all these years." Locky enquired, eyeing the visible scar on Erkenbrand's neck.

Erkenbrand took the extended arm of Darian. "May we fight together on the battlefield, Darian of the Warriors of Mjolnir," he said as he trned towards Locky.
"This scar is but a reminder of what I would give for my people. Locky, I will tell you this, but you must mutter a word to another person," said Erkenbrand in a serious tone. His face was more of a frown than a scowl, but any man could read what it meant.
Locky did not reply, but instead looked straight into Erkenbrand's eyes.
"Whilst I grieve for the loss of my half-brother, other business has brought me here. A thousand years ago, a terrrible beast named Vardakh from the Defiled Kingdom waged war on Ahm-Shere. He was vanquished by my fore-farther, Barsil, but was never utterly defeated. I have learned that since he cannot muster the strength to take bodily form, he has took the guise of a paracite of a daemon, and possesses the minds of others," he said to Locky, who stare dat the ground, his ears absorbing every sound.
"He has taken Almirith's body."

Locky's eyes shot open. "His body? I can probably assume what that creature hopes to conclude. I've had my own experiances with the undead." This does not surprise me, but we must talk more of it with Sunny." Locky said worried.

"I shall help you in anyway you wish however."

"Excuse me for a few minutes, i must write a quick letter," Locky said. He sat down on one of the becnhes and took a qill and started to write.

I believe you had trouble with a certain liche, i apologise for this. I have returned to the white city, with Darian, we are gonig to have a meeting with Sunny, and Erkenbrand. Please aske Lathaon for the return of my equipment, and order the recall of my citidal guards, there's a serious problem that has arisen.

Good luck my friend,

Lachlan Zath'qlo'agis."

With it written, Locky called for Zylos, attached the letter and the bird took flight.

The Lord walked down to the speaking gentlemen with a very surprised look on his face, which was failing at hiding the Lord's still present fear of failure. He was starting to doubt that he had indeed regained the strength to lead his men into war. If he failed, then the morale would fall further than the Basin of Collar.

He pushed these thoughts away, as he studied the faces of two men, he had not seen for far too long. Locky and Erkenbrand. Smiling, he said to them:

"Welcome to my humble home, gentlemen. We could start pointless talks about how long it has been since we met, but," Sunny's face got darker and his tone serious," we are at war. Let us go to the meeting room and discuss the situation, and" he added, while turning towards Erkenbrand specifically," find out why our fine hero from Ahm-Shere has decided to visit me."

Darian bowed deeply towards Lord Sunnycool. Surely, to Darian's eyes, the Lord of the White Realm was just as great a ruler as the Emperor of the East.

Darian still kept his position behind Erkenbrand and Locky. They were Lords who deserved greater honor than him.

When Lord Sunnycool had lead Locky, Erkenbrand and Darian to his meeting room, the Lord General had witnessed his childhood flow back to him. As a young boy, he had spent many evenings in the halls of the White City. As the son of a great lord, he had known many other children who would go on to become fantastic generals and cunning tacticians, and fair rulers and commanding leaders.

Taking one of the many seats in the room, he waited for Lord Sunnycool to speak.

Locky was fiddlnig with a fork. He was jabbing the prongs into a piece of cheese. Locky was distracted.

"Sunny, i think we should make this short, we should all leave to Thunderton very soon, something worries me."

"Lord Sunnycool, we must gather all troops immediately. We need to strike with all of our might against the Weissland. If we can force them back into their own land, we can pin them there," said Erkenbrand


Ranorist finally reached the White City. He gave the sign of Mjolnir as he passed the gate, and many of the soldiers at the gate recognized his face and saluted back.

When he finally reached the White Tower he quickly dismounted. Behind him his steed collapsed because of the long race with the massive weight of the Mjolnir Warrior on it all the way. Quickly Ranorist ran into the Tower


Erkenbrand heard heavy, pacey beats of heavy shoes on the marble floor from behind. He turned to see a man enter the room.

Lord Sunnycool sipped from his wine. He had not touched the food himself.

"What worries you?" he asked Locky. And to Erkenbrand he responded.

"I'm afraid it's not that easy," he said. "Thanks to their magic they have shown themselves of being able to attack with whole armies behind our lines. And even if we force them out of the Realm I doubt we will be able to pin them down in Weissland thanks to their formidable navy."

"True," said Erkenbrand. he had not touched the wine he had been offered. "However, can we not pen them into their own lands? We should gather all of our might and press them backwards. It is the only way!"

"Most of our might is already gathered," Lord Sunnycool began then he looked up at Erkenbrand. "Are you saying that the armies of the Desert Sands will march to our aid?"

"I have five hundred men with me at my disposal, but I can gather 20,000 more within the week. Ahm-Shere's military might numbers over sixty-five thousand, but with time against us, it will be impossible to gather all of our forces, though I will not allow my homeland to remain undefended," said Erkenbrand in a commanding tone. Though he was slightly shorter than Lord Sunnycool, and lacked the same aura of respect and command that could be sensed when in Sunnycool's presence, his icy glare and weathered-but-handsome features made up for his lack in stature.
"Ahm-Shere will answer the old treaties with a third of its total might," he said.

"Hmmm, something feels out of place, what concerns me isn't Weissland, but the Defiled Kingdom. What men do we have on that border?"

Lord Sunnycool nodded. "And you would do this, for the sake of old alliances only?"

"For Old Alliance's sake, and for New Alliance's sake. I want to avenge my half-brother's death."

"For the Old Alliance, and for the new one then," he said. "I will accept your aid Lord General Erkenbrand of Ahm-Shere."

Erkenbrand took Sunnycool's arm, shook it, before taking the wine and sipping it

Lord Sunnycool turned around to see the Captain of Mjolnir arrived from the doorway. The man bowed to the three lords who sat around the table. Lord Sunnycool recognized the man, though he had never seen him without Ariakas around.

"My lord," Ranorist Chrasto began in deep barytone voice. "I bring you greetings from Ariakas, Commander of Mjolnir as well as a letter written by him."

Locky's attention focused on the man, he waited pateintly for the news he bore.

As Lord Sunnycool read the letter his eyebrows rose
"This is both joyful and terrible news at the same time, and above all else suprising," said.

"Please tell my friend."

"It is truly from the Loremaster," Lord Sunnycool said with something which seemed to be a small sign of irritation mixed with anger in his voice.

"It seems he has made peace with Weissland. On all fronts. They are to pull their men back. Except in Port Village, for reasons he don't mention."

"Interesting. I think we should travel to Thunderton, Sunny." Locky said, intrigued.

Lord Sunnycool raised an eyebrow towards Locky. "Did you know that there was a meeting in Thunderton Locky? Between Ariakas and Lathaon Thaendil?"

"Yes, but it's a long story." Locky said with a chuckle.

"Why have you not even begun on it Lachlan? Both you and Ariakas knew about such a meeting, and neither of you told me about this?" Lord Sunnycool clenched his fist, and his voice was shaking.

Locky scopped up his glass, he thought for a moment. "I was attempting to look for a peaceful solution to this matter, during the start of the war, i was trying to reason with certain figure heads within the Weissland command. Eventually something unsuspecting happaned to me, and that's when i ended up back here." Locky paused.

"I insist that we go to Thunderton, there's something brewing in the Defiled Kingdom, and we haven't much time, something feels wrong, awhile ago i felt something…it didn't seem natural." Locky said sternly.

"I'm sorry that i hadn't informed you of this, but circumstances at the time prevented my doing so." Locky said, as he stood up and paced over to Sunny, placing a reassuring hand on sunny's shoulder.

"And now you tells me this?" Lord Sunnycool grumbled. He shaked of Locky's hand. "What kind of circumstances could have prevented you from doing this when we sat here, eating at this table?"

By the lords, he missed Branalbinn. Both Locky and Ariakas were wise, but they were too sure on themselves most of the time.

"To Thunderton you say? If peace has been made it would make more sense to go directly to Silverton, or all the way to Port Village."

"I was uncertain of these recent advents, when i was left uncouncious, i was too unsure of what to think. I'm sorry old friend." Locky said, rubbing his cheek.

"I know, but many of our soldiers are stationed in Thunderton, it would do them well to see their lord, there has been much doubt without your presence." Locky explained.

"We can then head to Port village, but it's your choice." "I was uncertain of these recent advents, when i was left uncouncious, i was too unsure of what to think. I'm sorry old friend." Locky said, rubbing his cheek.

Lord Sunnycool's eyes were blistering with fury now.

"Darian, ride to Castle Mjolnir and tell Ariakas I'm arriving there now. And he better be ready to explain himself to me considering his actions." Darian swallowed, bowed and walked out.

"Erkenbrand, if you would like to come with us to Thunderton I want you and your men ready to leave within two hours."

Locky seemed to be about to speak, but Lord Sunnycool raised his hand, signaling that he wanted the man to be silent as for now.

Locky shook his head. He left for his qauters to rest.

"Stay here Lachlan," Lord Sunnycool called as the man turned and begun walking.

Locky paused. "Why?"

"I'm not done with you yet, High Captain," Lord Sunnycool said still having his eyes on Erkenbrand.

Locky stood near the fire. Waiting for Sunny to explain.

"You," said Erkenbrand, clicking his fingers. A guardsman ran over to the Lord General. "Tell Lieutenant Willhelmson to prepare my escort for their immediate departure."

Erkenbrand turned to Sunnycool as the man ran out of the Council chambers. "I will ride with you to Thunderton, My Lord," explained Erkenbrand.

"Good," Lord Sunnycool said with a smile. "And may I ask if you would leave myself and the High Captain here in a little privacy before our departure?"

"Aye, indeed. I shall ready my troops. I shall meet you at the Gates in an hour, milord!"

Locky proded the ambers, with the stoak.

"Now Locky", Sunnycool said as Erkenbrand has left. "I want you to tell me all about these worries of yours that you keep mentioning."

Locky turned to look at Sunny. Locky's face looked tired, his usual happy mood was gone. "The Defiled kingdom grows in power. I felt something quite unnatural a few minutes ago. I may not be as magically attuned as Lathaon, or Mordain. But i felt great dark magics grow to unbeleviable levels. I suggest we mobilise army fully."

Lord Sunnycool shook his head. "What do you mean by 'fealt something unnatural'?"


Lord Sunnycool expected the answer and shook his head. He could not deny magic and some feelings of his own have aided him sometimes, but he still disapproved of magic. If he could banish it forever, he would do it. It was too big. Too hard to control. Too undefined. And yet it was also inevitable.

"Locky," the Lord said, while looking his captain straight into the eyes, "I feel it too. This Defiled Kingdom has never been a direct enemy to us, but, "the Lord paused thoughtfully before continuing: "in our weakened position, it is an enemy we can not dismiss or underestimate."

Sipping to his wine, the Lord concluded:

"Mjolnir County has been davastated by the war with Weissland, but if I were these Defiled bastards, I would strike from Shiverland. Is it time for the Crusade to be initiated, Locky?"

The Shiverland Crusade, Sunny thought to himself, A massive military invasion of the semi-independent county in order to be fully consumed into the White Realm. Such a crusade would mean the cleansing of the enormous Undead Armies in Shiverland, under leadership by the Banned Ones. It would be a requiring, but necessary war, since Shiverland is a liabilty to the Realm's security. The Crusade is still being planned and discussed and initiation was iminent, but then the White War errupted.

"Indeed my friend" Locky said. Locky slumped to the side, his left hand bracing againest the fire mantel, his right arm dangled at his side shaking.

"I need…rest…sunny.." Locky said his body looking weak from some strain.

The Lord of the Realm bent down and helped the High Captain. Lord Sunnycool took Locky's shoulders in a strong grip as he spoke to him.

"You can rest now Lachlan," Lord Sunnycool said. "Get some rest, and stay in the White City for a day. I can travel with Erkenbrand and Richard to Castle Mjolnir to meet with Ariakas."

Erkenbrand, mounted once again, sat upon his horse at the foot of the flight of steps as he waited for Lord Sunnycool.

Locky nodded his head and wandered off to his room, wearily.

"I will arrive soon, Sunny." Locky caleld back.

A while later Lord Sunnycool had ordered Richard to assemble the Champions and told Apollo Galerick of the situation. Apollo was to be in charge of the city's defense.

Approximately one hour later the Champions was assembled at the gates. Lord Sunnycool noticed that Pezza sat on his horse beside Richard. Very well, thought Lord Sunnycool to himself, Pezza could be useful in the negotiations.

Lord Sunnycool nodded to Erkenbrand. "Are you ready," he asked.

"I've been ready for what seems like hours," explained Erkenbrand.

"Good," Lord Sunnycool nodded. "Then we ride. To Castle Mjolnir," he cried and with that the force of cavalry began to move towards the Castle of Mjolnir.


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