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Sunday, August 15, 2010
18.104.22.168. Fool's War
The reply from Lore comes four days later. After reading it, Cristophe chucks the letter on the floor. The ministers who are present in the Great Hall know at once what the King of Lore’s answer is. The Emperor stays calm on his throne, thinking, yet he looks like a volcano that is about to erupt.
Talbot du Bois, the royal advisor moves and picks the letter up and reads it. ‘Zoo, zee King of Lore refused to surrender zee fugitive Robert to us. ‘Ee ees being detained, until zee investigation ees complete, and ‘ee will be facing trial in Lore.’
Chris gets up with a jerk and shouts, ‘The question is: When will he be tried? Tomorrow? Or the doomsday? No, it’s obvious. The King of Lore trusts him, and he won’t cooperate with us no matter what excuses he uttered. As I’ve said before, the ultimatum is clear. Hand Robert over or we’ll attack Lore. As they sought ways other than that, our answer is clear: WAR! We, the Empire of Arcadia hereby declare WAR on the Kingdom of Lore!’
The declaration puts Eloise in an extreme shock. She pleads, ‘But, Your Majesty, you promised… You promised me not to attack Lore! You’ll break the peace treaty!’
‘HOW DARE YOU QUESTION MY DECISION!? It’s the King of Lore who broke that treaty by protecting that criminal, Robert! And I, I am true to my word. It’s them who brought that upon themselves!’
‘They just go by the rules! Robert might did a crime in Arcadia, but he was captured in Lore, so the Loreans have the right to investigate on him before handing him to Arcadia or any other nation. He’s a resident of Lore in Lore’s soil, so he is bound by the laws of Lore first, no matter in what country he committed the crime! Just remember, Your Majesty, Lore has done much to your Empire. They fought for you, even two of their best knights lost their lives to defend Myrcalia. Don’t you see it? Lore has done the best to maintain peace with all good intentions. Isn’t that enough? Or should I take my own life to convince you?’
‘IMPUDENCE! This is an open rebellion to the Emperor! Listen, woman! If you’re not the Empress, I would sentence you to death! You might be Empress, but I’m still your Lord! You are not a Lorean anymore, but an Arcadian! Even your death won’t change my decision!’
‘But my father…’ ‘ENOUGH! If you still think like that, you’re my hostage! GUARDS!’ The royal guards stride in quickly and orderly. ‘Take the Empress and detain her in the Tower of Solitude until I say she may go. She may go out to bathe with female escorts. No visitors allowed. Guard her at all time. Do it, now!’
The guards carry out the order at once, dragging Empress Eloise down and away. She doesn’t fight it and comes along. Her face shows disappointment, sadness and terror. She doesn’t dare to look back. For her, the man she loves has become a monster, consumed by hate and vengeance.
Chris, on the other hand, doesn’t care. War is the only option he has. He wouldn’t use covert actions because Rael’charon will see through his plan, definitely. He shouts out instructions.
‘Prepare our troops! In a week’s time, we’ll set out to Lore! It’s time we fulfill my father and brother’s dream to unite Lore and Arcadia into the strongest Empire in history!’
Suddenly, the Sword of Justice on Chris’ waist vibrates, as though protesting its master who is straying out of the Right Way. Chris grabs the sword hilt tightly, pumping holy aura to suppress it.
Stay still! You will obey your master! A sword is still a sword. No matter how powerful it is, no matter how hard it fought, it finally stops shuddering. Instead, the glow on the blade vanishes. Never again will Excalibur lend its power to Chris until the master is back to the course of Justice. The armor, the greaves, the helmet and the shield are also no longer magical, just tools of war.
It’s a fool’s war, and no good will come out of it.
The Army from all over Arcadia gathers in the harbor city of La Porte Neuville five days later, consisting of thirty thousand infantry, twelve thousand cavalry, ten thousand archers, five thousand artillery and special units, and five hundred mages. Twenty-seven thousand troops of various units including war chariots and arbalests stay in Arcadia for defense. The legendary griffin riders choose to defend Arcadia rather than joining in the meaningless campaign against Lore. Thyrine and Escudia has declined to join the attack. Only the Borgians and a small regiment of dwarves from Grad come along. Chris only goes with Andreas Marvellini, Adler von Bachmann and Eidos Crydias. Carolyn and Bernides chose to stay and defend Arcadia. Even Iris and Dejan Pavlovic go to Regia Confederation to monitor the Dark Forces’ activities in Sylvania. The Dark Forces has been greatly weakened after their defeat in Myrcalia, but who knows what Arachus and his minions are planning next. Better safe than sorry, people say. We cannot rely on the angels alone. One hundred and ninety-three ships, great and small set out from La Porte Neuville that night. Though the troops know about Lore’s strength and geography, and some of them are veterans from the previous campaign to Lore, they can’t help but feel uneasy about this war. Something’s not right. It’s not about their chance of winning or the devastation in Myrcalia City, but the hunch, the weird feeling, the timing that they should be somewhere else, not Lore. The Commander of this army, the Emperor of Arcadia himself is acting mysteriously by putting his helmet on all the time. Perhaps it’s to hide the vengeance in his heart from showing on his face. Perhaps he too has doubts of this campaign. Troops and innocent people will fall victim just to capture a suspected heir-of-a-devil. What madness is this? Is it right to punish the whole nation because of someone’s crime? Or is it just an Emperor’s madness?