Prologue: The Cosmology

Before Creation, Darkness reigns, and before that lies the Great Abyss wherein the Primaeval Ones dwelled and slumbered. These primordial predators, vast and eternal, older than time itself. Born of Chaos and Darkness, they lurk within the watery abyss where nothing exists. They had no names but the beings that came after them called these abominations of chaos as the Chthonians; the Unwilling Progenitors of Gods. From these titans of old, then came the High Gods, entities born of the Light to oppose their ancestral oppressors, the Chthonians.

The warlike Asgardian, the prideful Olympian, the stoic Amatsukami, the ritualistic Ennead, the myriads of Daevas and the enigmatic Annunaki. Each a manifestation of ideal concepts given physical form, granted with power so ethereal and potent, that it birthed the First Light which drove the Chthonians far back to the corners of the Great Abyss, away from the blinding and scorching fire of Creation. Pluck from the remnants of Azathoth, the Chthonian Embodiment of Eldritch Dreams, the High Gods planted the Cosmic Seed which later sprouted into the Tree of Creation, its infinitely furcating branches each bore a Realm Fruit from which lesser life forms emerged.

Chapter One: Confrontation

The Tree of Creation, an infinite expanse of branching world lines, each bore its own unique environment and system. Some carried life, others remained barren. A plane of existence wherein the myriad Fruit Realms sprouted from each branch of this infinitely growing Tree. Where quintillions of mortals grew and thrived in their enclosed domain. Many of which lived in ignorance, imprisoned in their own realm, where only a few managed to escape and explore the infinite World Branches, colonizing other realms that inhabited the Great Tree.

Only the most powerful of civilizations could ever achieve such a monumental feat. Among these included the Ardent Imperium of Humanity, the Caelestirum of the puristic High Elves, the Clan Myrkalfar of the traitorous Night Elves, the savages of the War Horde, the Bulwark Coalition of the Mountain Dwarves, the ravenous Scourge and the Ethereus of the Yokai faction, to name only a few.

Amidst this sea of infinite realms each latched to a World Branch sprouted from the Tree of Creation, one of which found itself in a predicament. This world, Ea, a realm of the High Elves under the ruling of the Caelestirum, an empire governed by the (self-proclaimed) noblest of race. No larger than the average moon, Ea's population reached a measly two billion elves with over four continents and two hundred megacities.

Normally this world would be barely of interest for any other factions within the Tree of Creation, just one insignificant domain amongst infinite others. A footnote compared to that vastness of the Great Tree. Thus it came to a surprise for many when this inconsequential realm became a target of extraplanetary invasion.

Rebellion was something the local lord expected, demonic corruption perhaps—but not alien invasion. That was something nobody foresaw. Ea had nothing to offer, no arcane knowledge, no ancient artefact, no strategic or tactical value. It was a place of abode, one not even that of great value by the Caelestirum empire itself.

These thoughts filtered through the mind of an elven warrior, the elite of the Spectre Army, the main military force of Caelestirum. He was clad in adamantite, layered behind several barrier spells. The elf moved with an inhuman grace and agility, running along the crystal walls of Ean city, his eyes glued upon the scene before him.

They were an army, soldiers armed with steel weapons and draped in iron armors. From a glance alone he could tell they were humans, stocky and crude—a feature expected for an undeveloped race. This elven warrior, whose name nonexistent, dove forward unto the head of an orc—a humanoid pig, their thick flesh easily pierced by his humming vibrosword. The elf ignored the cry of surprise from the rest as he raised his hand to cast his magic, a circular ring of runic circuit manifested before his palm as he unleashed the terror of astral-borne lightning, their flesh and armor caught under the sinuous element. Its furcating strike ran deep into their bones and charred every drop of their cells, boiling their blood along with it.

For a moment, the living weapon paused, his eyes roamed the landscape. Amidst the towering crystal spires and bulbous constructs, there were legions of men who partake in unrestrained brutality—almost on par with the barbarians of the War Horde. The elf's eyes narrowed, his blood pumped with an emotion that was quickly quelled by magi-chemical suppressent.

His gaze quickly caught the sight of several mythril-armored skyships descended from the atmosphere. Finally, cavalry had arrived. The elf relaxed his gaze as the skyships rained hellfire upon the human savages. A barrage of pure mystical bolts, each taken the form of small emerald javelin able to pierce through flesh and armor, capable of ignoring steel and stone as if they were papers. The effect was gruesome, even the titanite-enforced armor of the Imperium would fail to defend against this magic, let alone an army of ironclad primitives.

The elven warrior allowed himself a brief sense of relief and a tinge of annoyance. His eyes caught the sight of few that survived, their army scattered and in disarray. It seems that he still had much to do.

Dusk arrived and the remnants of the invaders left broken, some remained, running and hiding within the city, but their luck quickly ran dry. This tragedy, this insult, was not to be forgotten. Already, the strange construct that had brought forth the invaders were blocked and its entrance guarded.

At the far east, away from the invasion, a towering spire stood tall amidst the rest, its height surpassing mountains and nearly reaching the clouds. The Monolith, the Tower of Eternal Stars, where the immortal lord of this planet resided amidst his Head Council. The local lord, the Baron of Ea, the ruler of this realm for almost two centuries in which he had brought nothing but peace and prosperity to its people and its world.

"This is a declaration of war, Milord! The humans have become more bold, to attack us, here, within the domains of Caelestirum?! They are driven mad with arrogance, it is time we cull them off their heads!"

"Though I would love to see those apes eradicated. This is not the work of the Ardent Imperium, Councilor Ultreus. Look at these armors," an ethereal projection materialized at the center of the hall. "They are clad in iron, armed with spears and swords. None were the Imperium's prideful Titan Armor, none were their awful Gauss Weaponry. This is not the work of the Imperium. Nay, this is... something else."

"It could just be a remnant force from a less... developed world," argued another. "You know how the humans are. Their systems scattered, their realms in disarray, a great many of their own worlds had not even reached its industrial stage."

"Yet these so-called primitives managed to get their hands on a Realmgate," another councillor retorted, his sculpted face marred by the frown carved on it.

"Enough of these already," the Lord of Ea finally spoke, his word carrying strength powered by his vox magic. The air flowed and swirled subtly, just enough for all to feel the power of the baron. "You, Councilor Salferea. Tell me more of these humans."

The councillor in question, a female elf draped in a luxurious white robe decorated with golden accent, rose to her feet and waved her arm as the aether weaved under her command. In an instant, the ethereal projection changed and displayed an image of the army that attacked the local populace. "They arrived from an unidentified Realmgate with over two thousand soldiers, each armed with spears, swords and shields—all made of either steel, iron or bronze. They brought along with them legions of wyvern riders, orc warriors, armed ogres and several yokais."

"Yokai?" An elf murmured in surprise.

"Since when did the Imperium ever keep beastmen as a part of their army?" Another uttered in confusion.

"What more, they also brought along orcs and ogres...? How is this possible?"

The Lord of Ea slumped to his seat, contemplating as he absorbed all the information. He too was plagued with confusion, which then shifted to dreaded curiosity. He wanted no more than to burn these humans, to strike their world and destroy it to ashes. However, he was even more curious as to what had driven them here in the first place. There was nothing Ea had to offer, nothing the humans would've wanted or could've gained. Was this simply an act of spite? Though he wouldn't put it past those mongrels, he also doubted that, seeing how... ridiculous this situation seemed to be.

"How many of our kin lost?" The lord questioned, pushing his contemplation at the back of his mind.

Salferea paused with brief but noticeable hesitation before she spoke. "Two hundred dead, and eighty missing. Possibly dragged back to the Realmgate."

"Tch, planetary extermination is out of the question then," murmured a councillor. His disappointment was shared among the other councillors, nodding at his words. "So, from what little we can gather. They are a clan of undeveloped humans that had with them other races under their dominion. This does not seem like the work of the Imperium."

"It is not," voiced another councillor, one who sat at the furthest corner of the massive hall. At his word, the hall fell to silence. The man, his hair greyed, his face wrinkled by elven standard, his body frail and lost all of its youth. However behind his old and dull eyes hid a peculiar power that dwelled, a gaze piercing and heavy.

"Councillor Hadream, do you have anything to share?" The lord uttered, his tone held respect for the wizened elf.

"Aye, Milord," with but a flick of his wrist, the intangible illusion reformed. Like a hazy mist it dissolved and a solid shape manifested. "These humans are not of any culture of the Imperium, the origin of their Realmgate is also... strange. Look at this, the marking."

The illusion showcased a structure, small and quaint, made of white marble and sculpted from hand. There was a prominent gem embedded at the center and a gaping dark maw where the entrance was situated.

"Olympian architecture..." Mumbled Salferea under her breath.

"We know the Imperium hates the High Gods, their rotting emperor had banned the deities and denounced their divinity. His will had been heavily and strictly enforced across millions of realms within thousands of branches under the Imperial dominion. This Realmgate alone proves that whoever or whatever these invaders might be, they hold a relation with the Cults of Olympus."

"A rogue faction," the Lord of Ea exclaimed with furrowed brows. This would prove to be difficult. Humanity was a fractured empire, ruled by conflicting noble houses each served the emperor yet each an enemy of one another. It would come to no surprise that some had rebelled and formed their own alliance and loyalty.

"How typical," cursed another councillor.

"Whoever these people are, they have insulted my authority, my people and the great nation of Caelestirum. This dishonor shan't be forgotten and their transgressions will be met with severity. They shall kiss the thousands blades of our Spectral Daggers, they shall cower under our astral-borne ships, they shall see the wrath of our most noblest race. I do not care what tidings they bore, all I want is the head of whoever responsible for this insult against my domain."

"Of course, Milord. I shall see to myself that their head hung and their land incinerated," bowed Councillor Hadream.

[Ea, Adrean Branch]

Gladius, the "Sword". That was what people called him, and that was the moniker he used to introduce himself. It wasn't his name, only an alias. He had no name, no identity of his own, nothing more but a Sword. Because that was what he is, and what he shall be till the end, the "Sword That Strikes". Nothing more, nothing less.

He was but one amongst thousands of others, a part of a project kept secret, only a sparse knowledge of its existence shared amongst the public. The Lancers, or so they were named. A group of the most elite warriors acting as the blade of Caelestirum, a collective of their most powerful asset used for warfare. They were not elves born of a mother's womb, they were artificial constructs made both of flesh and machine, to enforce their strength both physical and arcane.

Gladius was not a man, he was a weapon. Created to ensure victory at whatever the cost, a tool used for combat and one to be discarded. This, the half-elf understood, a fact ingrained into his head since his inception. His eyes roamed the clustered city walls, now deserted of any civilians, completely seized by the Spectre Army. The Realmgate, strangely archaic in appearance, guarded by golem constructs armed with myriads of arcane weapons

"Spectres!" A man yelled, garbed in silvered uniform accented with sapphire blue collars and decored with a golden emblem placed on his chest to signify his authority over the rest. "Warriors of Caelestirum and Children of Alfheim! Yesterday the enemy of Elvanari dared step afoot upon our holy land and desecrate its beauty with their taint! They think themselves conquerors, rulers, masters of our proud race. Well, we easily proved them wrong in less than four hours! Now their forces beaten, the remnants of their soldiers left running like skittering rats. Our city are left to cleanse the stain they have marked on our lands, on our people and our pride!"

Gladius remained stoic as he listened, the word did not rouse him like others. The speech meant nothing to the Sword, empty words spoken to reinvigorate the spirits of the wrathful and the wronged. His gaze, listless, quickly scanned the environment. An army of ten thousand strong, armed with spellguns of varying structures and magic. If this were any other mission, they were awfully underprepared but seeing the enemy they were to face, this was most likely an overkill.

The Sword gaze eventually landed somewhere in the distance. Amongst their many armored vehicles and automatons, all powered by spiritual magic, there were numbers of Ljosal Revenants, the souls of the deceased encased within two legged machines of war. Like many elven constructs, they were created to be sleek, elegant, with emphasized curves and bulbous shapes.

Gladius frowned, no matter how much of a machine he believed himself to be, there was still a spark of soul beneath it all, hidden under layers of adamantite and false-flesh. However, those revived constructs were truly inhuman in every sense. It was unnerving to one as mystically attuned to souls as him. The faint moaning of the dead could still be heard beneath their armor. Trapped in an arcane container, waiting to be released, returning once more to the Light.

"-your deeds today shall be remembered in the annul of history and your names sung by your children! Ready your arms and be prepared, our enemies will be plenty and abound!"

That last speech stirred Gladius and brought him back to attention. The soldiers were prepared, their hearts seized with vengeance. Gladius, in turn, merely nodded. This war held no value to him, a Sword task was only to thrust and slay one's enemy.

"Sir Gladius?" The sudden intrusion to his thoughts inwardly startled the half-elf, though one couldn't tell from a glance. The Sword turned, his eyes meeting another pair. She was small, Gladius noted, almost the height of a human adolescent. Her crimson hair fell down to her back and sharp ears poked between the red strands, her silver eyes peered unto his own violet iris. "Greetings, I am Eryliana Felinius, Chief Ranger of the Scarlet Steel Platoon. A Golden-Class Officer with six decades of service. You are Gladius, correct?"

The Sword studied the officer before he replied, "Gladius. Lancer of Faltine Legionnaire."

"A Lancer..." Murmured the Chief Ranger in suppressed awe. She did a double take as her eyes roamed him once more. "I can't believe I get to see one of you in the flesh." A smile crept on her face, "you are as imposing as the rumors makes your kind to be."

Gladius frowned, confusion briefly etched his expression. However, it did not last, "I hope I live up to your expectations, Chief Ranger."

"That remains to be seen," said the elf woman with a glint in her eyes before her heels turned. "Come now, my rangers are anticipating your arrival. I can barely contain their excitement."

Gladius trailed behind Eryliana as she led him. His stoic mask remained unbroken as he studied the soldiers that walked past. Many gave him a look that suggested both awe and fear, some broke to a whispered murmur and few openly addressed his presence aloud.

"We were given orders to wait for the golems to scout first. That was an hour ago, and we have reports that another legion will arrive soon," uttered the woman.

"When will we be expected to disembark?" Gladius queried.

"Soon. Very soon," Eryliana turned, one of her brows raised. "I'm surprised, do they not tell you anything?"

"I am a Sword, my task is to serve. It is not my right to question," replied Gladius automatically.

The other elf frowned at that but said nothing. No words were shared as they walked through the empty plaza, at that time Gladius allowed himself to familiarize with the city—one so different from the sterile facility he was created from. The wide and empty area now completely occupied by the Spectre Army, with a company of armored vehicles, war-constructs and battlemages, it felt oddly soothing for a living weapon like him.

"Hey Chief!" A voice called out, Gladius craned his head to see a short blue haired High Elf waving his hand enthusiastically. The Sword idly noted the slight glow of his azure eyes, hiding powers so subtly swirled beneath his retinas. "So who's this? Is it the Lancer you've told us about?"

"Flint Officer Pelestrias, please summon the others. I have to introduce him to the team and I don't like repeating myself," uttered the Chief Ranger.

"We're here, Chief." Came another voice, followed by three more presence. "Woah, who's this?"

Gladius studied the woman, a golden haired spellcaster with bright green eyes and a lithe frame hidden behind her half-armored robe. Her gaze held an inquisitive quality as it roamed from his silvered hair to his armored bod. Behind her, just a few feet away, stood a stone-faced Silver Elf, and unlike his High Elf brethren, the man had black hair, a distinct grey complexion, with glowing crimson eyes to complement his sharp elven ears. If not for his spiritual presence and lack of fangs, some may have mistaken the Silver Elf for a Vampire. Then Gladius' eyes fell to another, a cloaked assassin, draped in darkness leaving only the menacing glare of their violet irises, matching his own.

"Rangers of Scarlet Steel Platoon, I would like to introduce you to a new edition of our team, or at least for the time being. This is mister... Gladius, a Lancer of the Faltine Legionnaire, the Honored One and the Blade of Caelestirum."

"So he is a Lancer," Murmured the blue haired elf, recognition flashed his eyes as he double back and studied Gladius intently. "Freya's be damn, that's adamantite armor isn't it?"

"He is smaller than I expected," exclaimed the Silver Elf, his intonation suggested disinterest but his eyes revealed otherwise.

Eryliana cast a disapproved glance at the Silver Elf before she introduced the rest to Gladius. "This grumpy Silverblood here is Anderis Aphoston, our Shield Unit. A specialist terramancer, proficient with magical protection." The Silver Elf grunted.

"That shortie over there-" an indignant cry of rebuttal came from the blue haired elf. "-is Pablo Pelestrias, a Flint Officer who had been with me for almost five decades now. He might not seem like it-" another cry of indignation. "-but he is the person whose skill you can depend on. Now this is–"

"Hi, I'm Asteria Saphalon. A Tier Four Spellcaster," the blonde elf answered with a smile, her gaze flickered from Gladius' chest before slowly making its way to his face. Her eyes studied every curvature of his facial features, which followed later with a smile. "I've heard legends of the Lancers, and I must say, you do not disappoint."

Eryliana did not waste her time to introduce the last of her team, the cloaked elf. There was a brief moment of worry crossed her eyes that Gladius immediately picked up but was quickly dissolved under a smile. "This is Daggan of Vilwinter, a member of the... Shroud Temple."

The Shroud Temple. A hidden organization under Caelestirum authority, blessed by the Light to serve as its eternal shadows. The Shroud remained to be one of the most enigmatic powers under the Caelestirum empire, surrounded with veiled mysteries and uncounted secrets; some could threaten the lives of trillions of elves. Gladius allowed his Third Eye to peek behind their dark cowl, seeing the swirling presence of mystifying aether surrounding their person.

A dangerous being indeed.

"Is this all?" Gladius remarked, dispelling his thoughts for another time.

"Welcome to Scarlet Steel, Mister Gladius."

[Hardy's Underworld]

Hardy, the Goddess of the Underworld. For the natives of Falmart, she was the personification of death and the mother of all leviathans. She claimed herself to be the living embodiment of life ending, wherein all souls returned to her domain, and for all the mortals knew, that might as well be true. She guarded the realm of the Underworld for which unworthy souls find themselves to be. A place for the dishonorable, the cowards, the regretful and the weak.

For Hardy, this was her kingdom and the damned souls were her subjects. She had ruled the Underworld since the dawn of civilization, the cold touch of her presence felt since Man first discovered fire.

"Intriguing," murmured the aforementioned goddess, her gaze flickered at the large crystal sphere before her. Its glassen surfaced reflecting a rippling image of the Gate, the doorway between dimensions. It was something she inherited from an older god, whose name forever forgotten. The Gate was a power that was hers to command, a gift that allowed her to bridge the gap between realms and affect the course of history upon the world.

Such had been a tradition for five thousand years, opening and closing the Gate each millennia, changing the landscape for every new cycle. Today, the Gate appeared once more drawing the attention of gods and mortals alike. Hardy herself knew very little of the world beyond the Gate, as her powers only extended for so much. It was the mystifying uncertainty that drew so much enjoyment out of her. There was very little she could glean from the other side of the Gate, no more than a flicker of shadows. To Hardy, this was the closest she could experience gambling. All she knew out of this, was that whatever forces emerged from the Gate would forever alter the nature of the world.

Already, she had been proven right when the invasion force of the Saderan army mercilessly hunted, chased by strange armored creatures made of ivory metal and opaque sapphire. She kept her scrying eyes open, staring at the bloodbath as men in tattered armors fled for their lives before what seemed to be exoskeletal monsters. She could feel the wisp of mana in the air, tugging the strings of reality and bend the fabric of existence to its caster's will. However, this was not like the sorcery of Rondel nor the Gift of Elange. It was odd magic, something new and fresh.

Three beings lumbered onward from the Gate, their flesh made of metal and their skin covered in crystal. Hardy gaped at their forms, they were massive—only slightly dwarfed by the ogres. With thick pearlescent carapace segmented into different pieces to coat their body, a pair of spindly long arms terminated with five sharp fingers each. The legs of the creature were of similar nature, made to be sleek and embowed. The most peculiar however, were its head. An ovoid cranium which stretched to a pointed end, where the bulbous part of its head embedded with a pair of glowing gemstones, each representing eyes.

It was an odd thing. Though appearing to be made of inanimate crystals, Hardy could feel the essence of life deep within its bones and remnants of flesh upon its metallic form. What more, she could also feel the rhythmic beating of souls inside its chest, a presence rife with pure energy.

Hardy's prodding did not last for long, in the moments she caught a glimpse of the strange beings, her mind felt a sharp intrusion. A foreign presence broke into her conscience, a flaring pain rooted itself into her before they disappeared and she was forced to stagger backward, feeling her immaterial body wavering under the assault. Though her lungs no longer exist, the Goddess of the Underworld could feel the deep pressure of her chest and the tightening of her nonexistent ribs.

"W- what..." She croaked, confused and afraid. For a moment, there was only silence accompanying her. The initial panic slowly subsided as she regained her composure, uncertainty still gripped her heart and her gaze slowly trailed around the ethereal space. "What in my name was that?"

Darkness. It was the first thing she noted as the goddess once more tried to pry into the scene of Alnus Hill. Her puzzlement still apparent as she attempted once again to gaze unto the so-called Holy Land. Again, she was met with darkness. Like a veil being placed upon the hill, there was nothing for her to see but thick blackness. Her momentary bafflement quickly dissolved, met with frustration followed by wariness. She knew not what power lies beyond the Gate, but if they were potent enough to do... this, whatever this may be, then perhaps they might be more intriguing than she expected.

A prospect, whilst infuriating, still invoked a sense of curiosity for her. Hardy slowly came to her bearing, no longer trying to peek into the Gate despite her irritance. "This is... indeed very interesting."

[Imperial Senate, Sadera Capital]

There was nothing but cacophony of chaos within the senator hall. The Imperial Senate building was constructed two centuries prior, its massive size meant to represent a testament of Imperial Power, to be the physical manifestation of their absolute authority over Falmart. However, that same imposing power now fell into discord as imperial senators began to bicker of their recent predicament—their first defeat after centuries of victories.

"This was a foolish endeavor!" Exclaimed a particularly overweight senator, his voice echoing amongst others. "We should've studied the Gate first!"

"And leave the Gate untouched, only to be seized by the savages? Ridiculous!" Argued another.

"And yet we have lost one-fourth of our army. This is a great humiliation for the Empire! What would the other kingdoms think of this? They will surely mock us right now!"

"I told you we should've sent more mages!" A third senator interjected as he slammed his staff on the floor, the argument became more heated. "My men could channel the forces of nature. They can summon slithering lightning, cast scorching flames, manifest the bitter cold of ice and shape the very earth we stand! I do not understand why we limit ourselves sometimes."

"Sorcerers are rare as it is, Godasen. Sending them to a mere expeditionary mission is a waste of resources. You yourself claim that your trained battlemages were a valuable asset, would you like it if we waste their worth on such a simple operation?" Scoffed the other senator. Though his words were nothing but compliment on the surface, it hid a thinly veiled sarcasm.

"Simple operation? Watch your tongue Crassus, your words suggest that this expedition is beneath you. Are you questioning the emperor's–"

"Silence," boomed the voice of the Saderan Emperor, Molt Sol Augustus. Despite his age, the man possessed an imposing figure sculpted from decades of training and warfare. His short golden hair neatly kept to his pristine golden crown, the red opulent mantle flowing upon his back displaying his power and authority over the rest.

Truth be told, the emperor enjoyed their little bickering. It was equivalent to observing the squabbles between petty children, a great entertainment for a man such as him. This conflict, seething between the Senate meant that their attention remained upon one another. Their continued rebuttal between themselves meant less vice against the emperor, fewer noble that could truly threaten his seat of power. However, as much as he enjoyed their little struggle, his duty as the ruling monarch still comes first.

"Your Majesty," one of the aristocrats rose to his feet. Casel El Tiberius, the Marquis and the leading head of the Imperial Senate, acting as their collective voice. One of the few rare instances of intelligence amongst a crowd of idiotic sycophants. He, unlike the emperor, possessed a thin body and a black spiked hair. His steely gaze conceals the concern hidden behind his eyes. "With the Voice that the Senate had given me, I have to share their grievances regarding our neighborhood. As our forces were repelled by the enemy, the surrounding kingdoms would no doubt hear of this soon and will begin to speak of this event. Though I wish not to speak ill will of our allies, our pride has been trampled, Milord. The Unified Kingdoms would surely notice this."

"I am aware, I too share your concern Marquis Tiberius. I dare not rest to think what the others make of us whilst our enemy still festers upon that holy Gate. It brings me great shame that our proud soldiers fell under the hands of barbarians. But worry not my loyal subjects!" Molt rose from his seat, his rousing voice garnered the attention of not only the senators but the guards that stood at the side as well. It was one of many gifts Molt possessed to be a successful ruler. "Are we not Men of Power? We who descended from those before us. Those who fought and slain the Basilisk, those who won the great and treacherous Arctic War? Are we not the one who mastered the art of magic when the elves remained stagnant for millennia? Are we not Children of Sadera, we whose power is second only to the gods and their apostles? Are we not those who forged steel when the dwarves still squabble for bronze? We are humanity, the greatest of god's creation. The rightful inheritor of this world and its glorious savior. Tell me Children of Man, do we cower behind our seat when our enemy are marching upon our land?"

A resounding, "no!" roared the Senate Hall.

"Do we flee when the bunny warriors dare defy our rights?"

"No!" Another chant followed, their previous conflict ebbed away as their spirit reinvigorated.

"Do we bend to the will of the traitorous warlocks during the Rondel Civil War?"


"Then hear me, Men of Sadera," Molt smiled. "Our defeat was... unfortunate but not entirely a loss, it is of no doubt that the enemy is licking their wounds as well. There is no greater time to strike but now. When they are weak and vulnerable."

"But Your Majesty, may I interrupt?" The Marquis voiced, a slight hitch in his voice could almost be heard.

"Go ahead, Marquis Tiberius."

"It will take a few weeks at best to gather our army and march there again... Is it not better if we recollect ourselves first?" Casel El Tiberius stared unto the emperor's eyes, a look of uncertainty etched his expression. Thus it came to a surprise when the emperor responded to his question with a smile.

"Who said we shall send our own men, Casel? Do we not have allies to do that for us? The Kingdom of Elbe bore many great warriors, the League Principality boasted mighty cavalry to spare and let us not forget the formidable wyverns of Mudwan."

"Ah, what an ingenious proposal Milord! You are truly worthy of the crown," praised a senator, which was soon followed later by the rest as they shared their thoughts upon the matter with positive light.

Casel hesitated, a frown made its way to his face before he addressed the emperor again. "Y- you want us to summon the power of twenty one kingdoms... over one army?"

"Well yes of course, it never hurts to be careful, Marquis," smirked the emperor.

"This could be a bloodbath."

At that, Molt's inconspicuous smirk morphed to a sinister grin. "I know, Marquis. I know."