The Defenders

One-Shot the First

It was ten years after the collapse of the Empire and the land remained engulfed in turmoil. In the midst of all the up and coming countries one in particular managed to root itself both in history and on the maps. The country was Ansheris of multifold houses, which overtook a neighboring country in one decisive battle by the powers of its Five Generals as led by the Commander Jerrick of much charisma.

The might of Ansheris was pressing forward on a front passing through hilly lands without pause headed to march on the Sizan capital. They had been moving through with ease more often than not as the strategic wit of Levi Armstrong and information gathering expertise of Singorn had no parallel on the enemy’s side. In fact the Sizan only had one leader on the battlefield, who was the heir to the Sizan nation. That did give the Sizan an iota of morale to push back at times with the terrain knowledge they had. Yet, with only archers and basic infantry this would not be enough.

So, they concocted an agreement with General Kradan Acra of which the details remain unclear. Nonetheless, it ended up causing the Ansheris forces to be led partially astray and almost be taken by surprise while they went towards the heir Devarin’s troops. It is understood that on their march to the supposed location of the enemy camp a few scouts were directed by Armstrong to investigate some lights on top of a hill. This caution paid off when a lone survivor by the name of Roderick Milesworth returned with reports that the camp was closer than anticipated.

Generals Thorn, Saeki, and Kradan had a quick discussion as they were in front of the Ansheris infantry over adjusting plans to confront the enemy. Armstrong motioned to carry on with their typical methodology, as he was oft to be a man of action with his personal men at the back. The forces of Ansheris then decided to carry on up the hill with the Shields of Saeki to cover their ascent and the deadly dance of Thorn’s blademen to both eviscerate and terrorize the enemy. Armstrong left orders to burn the crops of a farm that was ahead of the hill, but amongst those he sent one volunteer by the heinous name of Nathaniel Ag burned more than instructed with the intent to move ahead of the farm and burn the nearby Sizan town to the ground.

Everything went nearly according to plan. As the army went up the hill Armstrong’s men separated to the sides with the notion to flank the enemy. Saeki sent a few of his lesser Shields to investigate the burning of what seemed to be more than just crops. He also managed to deflect arrows so perfectly that some archers toppled and slid down the somewhat wet hill. Thorn and his blade dancers came upon the top of the hill to the sight of archers aiming down at them and behind them Devarin on a mount with his foot soldiers all behind him. Soon after Kradan managed to get on top of the hill, then came Saeki’s Shields. Armstrong’s own units came staggered with the one he was leading first on one side and the other afterwards. The infantry and archers of Ansheris were the last to reach the hill. By the time they reached it Thorn had swept through the archers with the grace of a butterfly and lethality of a plague. His Blade Dancers did the same leaving no enemy archer alive.

Thorn was the type to cut at the legs and collapse the enemy. Then, press his foot on them while driving his sword down. In his element he was seen as very cruel, but did fight with the utmost efficiency he could muster. Kradan began acting oddly at this time as he casually walked over to Devarin and turned to face the Ansheris forces amassed on the hill. Armstrong felt something was going on, but warranted that it was better to hold off on engaging the enemy immediately. Saeki was unsure of what Kradan was doing, but he hadn’t a reason not to trust his fellow general on the field. Thorn idled with curiosity at the sight of Kradan’s odd actions.

Kradan then began smiling widely and spread out his arms as a glow began to suffuse both his body and his eyes.

Saeki asked, “What are you doing?”

Kradan answered, “What I believe is right.”

Saeki was puzzled by the answer, but before he had a chance to figure out what Kradan meant the Shields he sent to check on the burning came back to let him know of Nathaniel’s intent. Saeki left immediately with trust still in his heart to rescue those townspeople, because to him it didn’t matter if they were Sizan or Ansheris people.

Now only the main Ansheris forces, Thorn, the other blade dancers, Devarin’s slowly retreating men, and Armstrong’s off to the side forces remained on the hill. Kradan began to glow with more intensity, which Armstrong identified as being soul for sure. Thorn sensed something might be amiss, so he was prepared to move if need be.

Kradan loudly yelled, “Embrace the darkness, praise the night!”

Then, with the ferocity of lightning and thunder Kradan let out an eviscerating soul in a radius that Armstrong was luckily outside of. Thorn, however wasn’t so lucky. His preparation for trouble, however, did manage to let him leap out of being directly in the range of Kradan. Instead of his soul weakening to nothing he was left soul singed and just generally shocked by the course of events. Armstrong thought that the enemy had done something to Kradan, so in anger he charged at the small amount of survivors that were outside the soul blast leaving none.

As for the effects of Kradan’s suicidal actions all that remained were lifeless husks standing withered as if long dead with the grass mainly brown now. Kradan himself remained grinning maniacally captured in the state of emitting his soul supernova. Saeki returned to the hill after his heroics, but was left silent by the scene before him. He managed to get Thorn to reveal the last words of Kradan. He also confronted Armstrong over Nathaniel learning that it was not his command. Kradan had managed to kill off nearly both armies. Those Ansheris fellows that evaded death returned to their camp to inform Jerrick and General Singorn of the events that passed. The two were in such disbelief that they had to go back to the site of the short battle to prove their words.

In finality the Sizan people surrendered unconditionally as they thought that if the Ansheris could wipe out multiple armies with just one man that they would be better off not seeing if they could do it again. Not to mention that thanks to Saeki’s selfless efforts their citizens were not harmed at all giving them reassurance that it would be safer to not press back against Ansheris.

The generals themselves went down as figures of history in other regards too. Levi Armstrong authored a text on strategy as well as creating a specialized team of combatants which included training further soul sword practitioners. Thorn the Butterfly of Death was stricken with grief over the loss of the few other Blade Dancers, so he went on to reform the tenets of the Blade Dancers from being on-hire mercenaries to a far-reaching order that did good in the world. Saeki Koichi the inspiring savior of many carried on an organization of those that wield the shield as well as making the first forays into soultech by developing a prototype Soul Flume. Kradan Acra of course went down in infamy in the annals of history.

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