WAR OF THE CARDS : ORCLANDSPIEL

Foreword:
This is actually the first time that I have tried doing fan fiction. I would be more than happy to see criticism regarding my flaws. As you probably would have noticed by now, my English is not that good. I never really get to practice it in my daily activites. I try to use writing as my own way of trying to resharpen my dull sense of grammar. And as a good friend would say it: "In the name of sportsmanship, flame away!"

I'm a huge fan of war stories and military books. If you know your history well enough, you will find quite a lot of events that reflect real-life events that had transpired sometime between the two world wars. I'm not trying to do a parody. I just feel that the best material for war stories can only be found in the pages of history. But let me clear up one thing first, I do not like war. I have personally been in the middle of one and I hate it as much as anybody else (if not more). War is hell, but that doesnt mean that we should forget the lessons learned by those who have made mistakes in the past, lest we commit the same ones ourselves. With that said, I just hope you'll enjoy reading this story to the same degree that I have enjoyed writing it.

Clockmasters Apprentice, Redkinoko



Chapter 1:

Dawn lit up the uneasy camp of the invaders. It has been six weeks since their bid for total Geffen control started and they were still far from completing their plans. The restless soldiers could only look as far as they could in the greenish hell that has become of the Geffen fields. Too many of their comrades have already given up their lives in those rugged plains and yet the prize that they were hoping for seems to slip away from their reach farther each time the sun rose in front of them. Bishop Thames Wingate looked at the sunrise from his tent along with all those who were pondering at their own follies. He took a deep breath and strolled slowly towards the command post. The path towards the largest tent of the makeshift encampment was littered with suffering and agony.

Thames' thoughts were deeper than the usual that morning. It all started the day Geffen Archduke Rimbaugh got killed by a single orcish arrow on his monthly territorial review trip. Finding themselves parted of their beloved leader, the whole western side of Midgard was thrown into chaos. Seeds of anger weaved its way from the lowest of peasants up to the seats of the alliance leaders. Three weeks after the incident, ten companies of the Pronteran cavalry, five companies of the Payon Free Forces, and three of the magi circles of Geffen found themselves locked in a war of attrition against the greenskin orcs in the western fields of Geffen. Meanwhile, Wingate found himself as the lead commander of the two companies of the royal cavalry assigned under the Holy Banner. Who would have thought the death of one would lead so many more to their end?

" Thames, on your way to plan already?" shouted an eager voice coming from Wingate's back.

The ironclad priest stopped and glanced to see who was speaking. It was a young brunette huntress who wore the traditional female armor of the war archers of Payon's glorious past. Wingate fixed his glasses. It was none other than head of the second ranger company from Payon that accompanied the main cavalry to countless battles.

"Hmm? I don't reckon we've met before. But I can easily guess that you are Melina Shadowshot, lead arrow of the most notorious of Payon companies, more fondly called Payon Rose by the locals for sheer beauty amidst the harshness of warfare. And if I might say so myself, you are indeed the loveliest rose amongst the most venomous of thorns " said Wingate.

Flattered, the huntress slowly approached the battle priest whose ornate armor and snow-white hair glistened with the rising sun.

"It seems that our reputations precede the both of us, Thames Wingate, battle lord of the Holy Sacrament, undoing sword of the Mother Church. I'm surprised somebody as important as you would be strolling 'round these parts of the camp. So you are off to plan another skirmish, are you not? Clearly the orcish hordes are not intending to give up their grounds. " said Melina

The priest stood silent for a few moments, aligned his loosely attached round glasses then faced the sun. Melina could only wonder what a bloodstained servant of the Church could be thinking in the midst of all the pain.

"Yes. I fear that merely waking up a sleeping giant in attempting to retake grounds long inhabited by our bloodthirsty neighbors. But I have taken my orders from the highest commands of both the monarchy and the Church. The orcland will be ours or it will be my head on a silver platter. Nobody in this camp wants this war. I'm sure you resent this just as much. Please do tell me why Payon has taken part at this." said Wingate.

"We come only to repay a debt of honor. I too would not take part in this pogrom given the choice. So we are not so different after all, Thames. But I guess we are but pawns in the game. The best we can now do is end this with the fewest possible casualties." said the huntress.

The sun finally showed itself fully as it slowly painted the flatlands with crimson light. Wingate stooped down and picked up a small rock from the grounds the two were standing on.

The bishop threw the stone towards the southern side of the camp. It slid along a natural gorge. "I may be a pawn for now. But that will not be the case for long. Not for long… Today, we attack where it would hurt them most. We will destroy the northern villages of the greenskins. Only then can we end this foolishness."

Melina's expression changed. The gorge was not that deep nor was it too steep, but it was treacherous to go there. The watchful towers of the enemy overlooked the whole area. It was no man's land and it was the only way to reach the northern villages without overrunning the defensive lines set across the northern pass.

"That gorge has death canvassed all over it. It would be suicidal to mount an attack from that area. The northern orcs maybe few but their arrows fly true and are laced with the element of damnation." said Melina.

"Well milady, you are only here to fulfill a promise. We will not force you to partake in this operation. We have the element of surprise. In war, fortune favors the willing. Their arrows maybe true, but my Pneuma is more than enough. I will not fail this time or it will be the end of me." bragged the bishop.

"Cocky, aren't we? Strong maybe the bond of my people to the oath but stronger is my will to spare them from the impending massacre. You will be this alone this time honorable priest." said Melina Shadowshot.

"Hmmph. Do as you please archer. I will be dining in orc hero's halls tonight. And you shall be my guest of honor." said Wingate as he started walking off.

Thames started signaling troops to and fro on his way to the planning tent. Another battle was coming. The thunderclouds of war started to gather. All warriors save the archers of Payon made ready their tools of war. Priests roamed all over the camp, blessing and healing as they went. It was clear to everyone that this was going to be pivotal to the war. Melina would only stare at Thames as she stayed atop the tree-lined settlement of her company not too far off the main camp.

"Milady, are we not going to assist them in this battle? We could be an invaluable aid in their assault." whispered a trusted hunter.

"We will not throw our lives in such a pointless exercise of folly that epitomizes this damned war. Be vigilant nonetheless, be prepared to follow my orders for only the gods now know what we will be doing." replied the Melina.

Evening finally came and all preparations were completed for the assault. Swords were unsheathed, axes sharpened, arrows poison-laced. Thames the DeathPrayer, as he was fondly called in battle, mounted on his albino Pecopeco and sported a swordmace as radiant as the moon above. The men psyched themselves up with a single shot of alchol. Short chants were sang by the holy men for victory and the redemption of those who will be lost.

The whole attack would be done in the cover of darkness. The northernmost camp of the alliance was lighted the same way it was the night before, but not an able-bodied soldier was left. The men took positions overlooking the bottom of the ravine. The hour of the storm came at last.