126.96.36.199. Merida Marination
‘Commander, is it right for us to move out without waiting for the Parthenian war machines and the Valanian mages?’ asks Ney’varíth Ushmiel the elf sorceress to Cristophe, Commander of the Allied Forces second division as they march along the main road from Arcadia to Merida.
The latter, the red-haired man who is also known as Emperor Sage the Fifth of Arcadia and Vadis’ Heir answers, ‘Rael’charon’s instruction stated specifically that we must move at once to liberate Merida, and the Parthenians and Valanians will meet up with us en-route. That’s why your brother went to Valanis and sent Ivor Bigstumble to Parthenia to make sure that those countries fulfill their part of the Crusade.’
Carolyn Deveraux, who also joins her cousin Chris also comments, ‘Oh, great. That leaves three women and one man to lead the main force. Are you sure this is the right arrangement?’
‘Well, everything is in Rael’s calculation,’ Iris responds. The elf archer points at the troops and says, ‘He has already predicted enemy’s movements, so for this part we need more magic and those who are highly defensive against magic, say, the elves, griffin riders, mages and war machines.’
Again, Carolyn speaks up, ‘Plus, I have been to Castoria and Iris and the Emperor to Merida. With our knowledge, we have formulated some tactics to avoid enemy ambushes and the best, unexpected way to defeat the enemy. In Merida, Ney is the key.’
Her three comrades nod together in understanding.
And then, Chris glances at the troops marching in high spirits, each of them carrying a log of wood and a rope, singing the Crusader’s song as they move along, setting his mind adrift in his memory.
Ah, I have fond memories in Merida, diving for hours in the lake without freezing, and learned from Res’marth that again, violence is not always the answer to attain our goals. He carresses the Shield of Faith hanging on the saddle of his armored red griffin, Acavela.
And now, I shall go and avenge her and the people of Merida so they can rest in peace.
Chris then turns Acavela around, lifts his sword high and pulls the rein so the griffin stands on its two hind legs, and shouts with a thundering voice, ‘FOR RES’MARTH! FOR MERIDA! For all the good people who should’ve lived in peace in this world! For all that, WE’LL FIGHT! We’ll purge the scourge in this land! Yes, we’ll fight!’
‘HROAAAH!!! HUZZAH!! WE FIGHT!’ Come the thundering voices from the troops as answer.
The march comes to a difficult part when the Allied Forces arrive in the Grad Mountain Range. The dwarves, who repelled the Dark Forces with their formidable mountain guerilla defense join the Crusade and serve as guides.
This is still summer and still, the road is as treacherous and dangerous as Chris and Carolyn remember it from their previous journey to Grad. Many men fall off the slopes and succumb to fatigue, yet casualties are minimal and eighty-five percent of the troops arrive near Lake Ovalna in Merida in good health.
It’s raining now, a perfect momentum to launch the battle.
‘Lake Ovalna is actually located on a plateau, and the city of Ludl is (inappropriately) built on a fertile valley, surrounded by mountain ranges of Borgia and Grad. Now, though most of its inhabitants evacuated that city, the undead had overrun it so badly even Res’marth gave her life to protect our retreat,’ says Iris in a bitter tone.
‘Don’t worry,’ says Chris in consolation. ‘With this piece of strategy, we will cleanse Ludl from the scourge and maybe, the people of Ludl will find a better place to build a city and start anew. Now let’s get this tactic in effect.’
And then, he shouts, ‘Ney! You and Iris take your team to the lake and do your thing! And the rest of the troops! Assemble the logs before sundown! And keep your voices down! Don’t let the enemy know what we’re doing here!’
Ney and Iris nod as answer, and together with a small group of troops (including some dwarves) they go uphills towards the lake. Chris just watches them go, and goes to supervise the assembly so they can finish in time.
Note: Script draft 1 pg 222/487
Image source: Urbanism Fantasy City Painting by Kriston Capps