The Trapped Hamster
The Empire, the superpower that does not need an introduction to the continent of Falmart. Expanding in all directions from the former small city of Saldera, it is truly the greatest empire in the history of the world.
That was what Count Colt Formal and many people of the Empire thought before they walked through the Gate.
Alnus Hill, the Empire
Imperial Calendar 1 BC
The Day of Armageddon
"Count Formal! Great day for subduing barbarians, no?"
Count Colt Formal smiled to the man of greater standing. "Ah! Marquis Calasta! A beautiful day indeed!" he responded in similar vigor of the man.
The marquis' smile widened, obviously seeing a perfect chance to chummy up with him. "Looking forward to some exotic slaves? Hm?"
In response, Colt rubbed his chin in a slight deliberation of thought. "Perhaps... Or perhaps not... It depends on how agreeable the natives are, after all, I can't put my darling Myui in any danger," he replied.
"Indeed... It would be a shame if such a lovely angel such herself would befall such dangers. Ah! Speaking about her, have you decided on a marriage partner for her?" Calasta inquired, a cocky inquisitive expression replacing his faux smile.
Colt frowned slightly at the blatant inquiry on his family's political situation but shoved it in the back of his mind for now. "I have not, as I have no say on who she marries now," he revealed, relishing in the slight disgruntlement it caused.
Calasta ran a hand through his black locks, masking his disgruntlement and annoyance at the revelation. "I see... Anyways, I may not have the time to capture a slave, after all running a small part of the army does take much of my time. Therefore, I look forward to any exotic slaves from there that appears in Italica's auctions."
Colt conjured up a faux smile. "Ah, then I look forward to having some of your gold in my pockets!" he boasted with a small chuckle.
In response, Calasta chuckled as well.
The World Beyond the Gate
Are those... Metal towers?! Colt felt flabbergasted at the sheer size of the towers built around him and the Imperial army.
Towers made not of wood and stone but metal! Imagine such a thing!
"What the... Are these ashes?"
The count was drawn from his awed musings to that of his detachment of soldiers who accompanied him from behind.
What drew their attention, soon drew his and he looked to the soldier who seemed most distracted with his boot. "You there looking at his foot, tell me, what is wrong?"
The said soldier immediately put his foot down and looked at the Count with a nervous disposition. "Nothing, my lord!"
Colt grumbled a bit before looking back to the tall buildings once more. That is until he noticed the fine dust freely flowing around.
"Ashes...?" he muttered with disbelief.
"Hahaha! These barbarians have turned to ash in the wake of our entrance! Truly, Hardy and Emroy have blessed us!" declared one of the generals of the army.
In the wake of the general's declaration, many of the soldiers cheered merrily.
On the other hand, Colt Formal felt his gut twist. "Ashes..." he muttered slowly and then he focused his attention on the sky, briefly disregarding the tall metal towers that surrounded them. Have the gods truly blessed us?
"Saddening that there are no slaves to capture," Calasta said as he led his horse next to Colt's. "I wonder how these barbarians looked like in their hideous forms."
Colt ignored the young Marquis and instead focused his attention on the main general of the army.
"Build the camp here! Wyvern riders keep a lookout in the sky. Everyone else spread out in your cohorts! Even if this city's barbarians have turned to ash, do not mistake this as a sign to be complacent!"
Colt turned to his men who were finished exiting the gate. "Relay the information to the force behind us," he commanded, "we shall take the path behind the gate."
He didn't bother looking to see if some of his men followed his orders as he trusted them enough for them to follow his said orders.
They did as he had said as they turned around and ventured the street behind the gate. These paved roads... He looked at his men's reaction as some touched the ground in curiosity. "How do the roads feel, centurion?" he inquired from his nearest centurion.
"Strange, milord... It feels like concrete but it's so smooth..." his centurion replied in slight awe.
In response, Colt frowned. Why do I have a bad feeling about this...
As if the gods were to prove his gut right, a loud sound rang out. It sounded strange as if someone was flapping their lips but louder. Then suddenly, a wyvern dropped before him, killing a group of his men in the fall.
His heart rose in his chest as his horse neighed in response, almost throwing him off.
"What was that?!" Colt commanded as he calmed his horse.
Suddenly, a dull roaring was heard from the skies.
He and his men turned their eyes upwards.
It was then that the more intelligent people of the expedition force realized, they had entered a graveyard of the god's choosing
It was not only the barbarian's grave
It was also theirs.
UNSC HARBERT, above New Phoenix
July 25, 2557
"Link me to that fucking pilot of the longsword!" roared the captain of the UNSC Harbert, the nearest spacecraft to New Phoenix. His name was Robert Black, rank commander, and he was furious.
"Affirmative, linking comms to LS-395," an ensign responded as the large main screen of the bridge switched to a live camera feed.
"Your orders were to observe, pilot! Give me a fucking good reason why you shouldn't be court-martialed?!" the commander roared, his face red with fury.
"My family used to live down there... Those bastards were stepping over their ashes..." the pilot whispered solemnly as a dark expression shadowed his face. "I apologize, sir... Returning to base..."
With that the comm-link was cut, leaving a frustrated commander and a solemn bridge crew.
The ship's AI, Calisar, popped on the bridge's war table. "Want me to send the court-martial, imperator?" the Roman-themed AI, inquired
"Fucking hell, postpone the order and send me his dossier later," Black grunted out as he pinched his nose. "Any orders from HIGHCOM or Lasky, yet?"
"Not yet- Ah, new orders have come in, HIGHCOM has just issued orders to secure the city and we are to continue observation." Calisar paused as it filtered in new information. "Fleet Admiral Lord Hood is requesting communications."
Commander Black heaved a sigh before motioning for the AI to pull it up. "Why the fuck is everything happening at once?"
The large screen was soon occupied by Lord Hood's grizzly face. "Morning, Commander."
"Has the Master Chief arrived yet?"
Black turned to an ensign to his right. "Status on the Master Chief's extraction?"
"I am here, sir," a deep voice intoned as the said legendary spartan entered the bridge unadorned in his equally legendary armor. His deep blue, wizened eyes keeping his gaze on the Fleet Admiral.
"Good to see you, spartan." Lord Hood greeted curtly before turning to Black. "Commander, your new orders are to escort the Master Chief to the UNSC Infinity."
"What about our observation orders, sir?"
"This takes priority, the Infinity is currently on its way to take your place."
The commander snapped a salute before busying himself with ordering his crew. Leaving the Master Chief as the center of Lord Hood's attention.
"Chief, your leave will need to be cut short. You shall receive your orders and equipment soon."
With that, the large screen cut the transmission feed and Lord Hood disappeared.
The Empire's Expedition
The expedition was still together despite the appearance of the metal dragons and the massive flying metal fortress. The younger, less disciplined legionaries were the most troublesome currently as the individual commanders sought to quell them in their manner.
The wyvern riders, being as prideful as they were, sought to avenge their fallen comrade and gave chase to the rapidly fleeing dragon. It was only when the metal dragon had disappeared in the vast horizon that the riders gave up.
"Get those ballistae set up on top of the buildings! We will take down the dragon when it comes again!" the leader of the expedition ordered as the engineers busied themselves.
Meanwhile, the legionaries sat inside the abandoned buildings and lit fires. Their loss of eagerness is due partly to the lack of substantial loot in the city.
Count Formal looked at his troops and then to the troops of a nearby regiment. "It is frightening how morale drops when there is a lack of loot to be stolen and sacked," he commented to his centurion.
"Indeed and with General Sangria ordering no venturing beyond the high buildings, the troops are getting restless," the centurion said.
"Oh?" Colt quirked his eyebrow at the revelation as he looked at General Sangria from afar. "I had not realized that he ordered such a thing."
"Ah... Sorry, my lord for not informing you... I had thought you had received the information already as you had ordered the troops on standby."
Colt rubbed his chin, unconcerned by the admittance of guilt from his centurion. "I only ordered a standby as I wanted to inspect the carcass of the wyvern," he revealed. "Tell me, centurion, do you think coming here was a mistake?"
The centurion frowned at the question as he scanned their immediate vicinity for eavesdroppers. "I do, my lord. The loot here is non-existent and there seems to be a great power at the play of which I am unsure is the gods or the inhabitants of this world."
"Anyhow, tell the troops to prepare," Colt commanded as he watched General Sangria talk to a haggard legionnaire. "We will be heading-"
He stopped his words as murmurs and shouts were heard from the nearby regiment. The legionaries pointed to the sky as many fell to their knees from seeing something so terrifying.
Before Colt looked up, he saw his Centurion freeze and gape at what he saw. The count was the next to freeze.
A dozen flying fortresses pierced the sky, descending like slow-moving meteors.
Then, the metal rain started
Chapter 1 End
Okay... I'm going to sleep now. Happy? No? Well, I don't give a fuck anymore. I have come to realize why I fucking dropped this story in the first place.
I hate military jargon.