Diplomancy by Deception

Diplomancy by Deception

A Chapter by Eddie Davis
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King Haroldris attempts to bluff the Imperial legions.

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28.

Diplomacy by Deception

 

 

“Legionnaires of the Southern Empire, hear me!   I am King Haroldris, ruler of Northmarch!   You have invaded my Kingdom unprovoked and killed, pillaged and raped my people.   Behold, you have brought down the destruction that is upon you!   My Firebird has set your camp ablaze, and a mere handful of my soldiers have sent your legions into chaos.   I have slain Emperor Fendoris and his Vampire advisor.   His 12 mighty men have fallen to my forces and you are now without your leader.”  

 

“The Necromancers’ Guild has fallen, and Soric Potollis, as well as the Masters of the Grave are all destroyed by my forces!   I offer you only one chance at escaping with your lives, and that is by fleeing from my Kingdom at once.   Your Emperor is dead; your loyalty no longer belongs to him.”

“You have sampled only a small portion of my forces, do not think your numbers will overcome them.   I promise complete destruction to your army if it continues to plunder my Kingdom.   Leave at once the borders of Northmarch and you will escape with your lives.   Do not follow the insanity of a dead man!   Flee!  Do not give up your lives for a madman’s faded dream.”

 

Haroldris paused, waiting as the spell effect faded, but nothing really seemed to change in camp, only that they seemed to be avoided.   He turned to the surrendered bodyguard of Fendoris, and placed his great sword to his throat, “What about you?  If I release you, will you follow wisdom and leave my Kingdom?”

“Yes, my Lord!” The man said while nervously eyeing the blade near his throat, “My loyalty does not rest with this army.”

“Where does their loyalty lie?” Haroldris asked, gesturing to the camp, “They have killed my people, including some of my nobles, and pillaged and plundered.   Yet I give them one chance to escape utter annihilation; will they also take it?”

“I-I don’t know, Lord, but they would be fools not to.”

“You have seen our power; your well defended camp did not stand against us.   Remember that if you have any thought of renewed bravery.   Now go, get out of my sight, and do not stop until you have left Southgate far, far behind.”

 

Alvis and Lute pushed the man forward and he stumbled slightly, hesitant for a moment, but seeing that Haroldris meant exactly what he’d said, he turned and ran as fast as his armor would allow him to run, toward the corralled horses, a short distance away.

“I don’t know if that speech did any good.”  The King told those around him, “Let’s strip the bodyguards of their possessions and burn them before we leave; perhaps the sign of their powerful leaders’ burning corpses will persuade them of the folly of the invasion.”

While Sophia, Eioldth, Zeatt and Rori stood guard against any acts of valor by the legionnaires, the rest of the commando group quickly pulled the armor, jewelry and weaponry off the bodyguards and the Emperor.

“That is probably his phylactery.” Alvis told Alis as she pulled a ring with a large bluish-black gem mounted on top. 

 

Alis threw the ring down and Alvis struck it five times with Helke before the Gemstone shattered like a piece of glass, releasing a slight foul odor.

“He was a lich?”   The half-Elf girl asked in a mixture of disgust and dread.

“A very minor one, I’d say; more of a pseudo-lich.   But he is no more.”

“Don’t forget the Vampires; from the direction their ethereal forms floated, I’d say their coffins are in the big purple tent.” Zeatt said as she stood guard.

They piled the stripped bodies together in front of the tent, and then went inside.

 

It was furnished as much like a palace as possible in such a setting.   The tent was subdivided into four ‘rooms’ and in the first they found a handful of terrified slaves with ankle and wrist shackles on.  

Their terror turned to joy when they were freed and they readily told them of the contents in the other parts of the tent.

The largest chamber in the tent was the Emperor’s room, complete with a ridiculously large bed that had been transported with the army supply train.

 

In the middle of the bed lay three scared women, all wrapped in the rich covers of the bed and clutching each other in fright.   Upon seeing the King and Queen, all three of them cried out in delight, and then wept.  

“They are Duke Antonius Pix’s two daughters and niece.”   The King softly told the others while Siris, Aurei and Alis went and comforted them.

“Fendoris would take three young girls from the household of the Duke of Aegoppa together to… violate?”   Khord asked, sick at the evil of the deed.

“He was an evil man.” Eleazar commented, wondering how the three young women would ever put such a nightmare behind them.

As soon as the women were escorted from the chamber, the men proceeded to open the five coffins found in the room.   All contained the bodies of the Vampires they had ‘killed’ earlier. 

They could not move or offer any sort of resistance, but laid there paralyzed and seemingly asleep while they drove stakes into all of their hearts, then cut off their heads.  

 

Crassivus’ corpse turned to ash immediately as his head was lobbed off, revealing to them that he was an ancient Vampire that should have died centuries ago.

Still, they took his ashes, and the bodies of the other four outside to the pile, where they striped them of their clothes, weapons and jewelry and tossed them into the pile.

 

They all backed away as Sophia used her staff to set the corpses and the tent on fire.   As it burned, a group of soldiers approached cautiously, waving a white piece of cloth and holding their hands out to show they were not armed.   As they neared, it was clear from their armor that they were Centurions and officers in the army.

Haroldris went forth to meet them, flanked closely by the Paladins while the others stood by very warily, watching for any surprise.

An older man came forth from the delegation and from his appearance he was a long term veteran of the army.   He bowed respectfully to the King.

“Your Majesty, I am Marcus Seveus, senior legate for the first Imperial legion.   I wish to formally surrender my forces and this army to you.   It was with great reluctance that the leaders of these legions led their forces into this campaign, but we did so out of fear of Fendoris due to his undead masters.   Even the Imperial Senate was subjugated by the Necromancer’s Guild.   We had no choice but to unquestionably follow whatever orders that the Emperor gave, or, we were told, our families would be killed and turned into undead slaves.”

 

“So you are refusing to take responsibility for the atrocities committed by your men to the people of Northmarch?”   Haroldris asked sternly.

 

“No, sire, although I did not order it; I was fearful of trying to prevent it, as Fendoris proclaimed to the troops that they would be allowed to do what they will with any of those they encountered in the conquered cities and villages.   I know it was wrong and I should have stood up to him, but I failed in my moral responsibility.   I am responsible for the actions of my troops and will not shrink from your judgment.”

He bowed his head in respect of the King, and Haroldris stared at him for a long moment and nodded, “I sense no evil about you, Seveus and I take you at your word.   I will grant mercy to you and your men of these crimes under the condition that all spoils and all prisoners and slaves taken from my Kingdom shall be left here.”  

“All weapons of war, from bows and arrows to swords, spears, daggers or lances shall be left also in camp.   You shall take your army immediately and march in a direct path back the way you came.   You shall not take anything from any resident of Northmarch and though I will know it will take you more than a day to leave my Kingdom, I will allow you to rest only one night on my soil.”

“This bird of fire that has set your camp ablaze will be patrolling above you, as will other forces you will not see, and if you do not follow the conditions of these terms, they will have orders to attack and destroy you, and make no mistake, sir, I will not extend any more mercy then this.   Have I made myself perfectly clear?”

Seveus turned to the other members of the delegation and they all nodded.  

“Yes, Your Majesty, we agree to your terms.”

“Then immediately tell your men to drop their weapons and surrender up all the captives and plunder they have taken.   I will call off my forces for them to do this, but I can quickly bring them back, with even stronger reinforcements if my demands are not met quickly.”

“Yes, sire.   It will take us a short while to pass the word.”

“I will permit this, but make haste.”

With a bow, Seveus and the others backed away and then disappeared into the camp.   Harodris turned to Sophia and asked her how to recall the surviving penny soldiers and the Firebird.

“The soldiers can be called off, Your Majesty, but they won’t reform as pennies, they will simply disappear.   So if the legionnaires try anything; we won’t be able to bring the soldiers back.”

“I understand.   It is such a shame to see them go.   I take it though that the Firebird can be called off?”

“Yes, but by doing so, it will not be able to be called forth again until tomorrow evening, so let’s hope they are bluffed.”

“Indeed; tell me the commands, Sophia.”

The sorceress pronounced the command and informed the King that he did not have to amplify his voice for the magic creatures to respond to it, which pleased Haroldris greatly.

He spoke the commands and throughout the camp the penny soldiers, which had been reduced now in number by half, suddenly vanished, to the great relief of the Imperial legionaries.    

The Firebird also suddenly vanished from the sky and reappeared next to the King as a beautiful statue.   Eioldth quickly snatched it up into her arms.

Most of the tents were ablaze, and the wooden stake wall around the camp was collapsing in a multitude of places as it burned.  

With surprising quickness, the officers spread the word and the soldiers complied, glad for anything that would end the danger to them from the flaming bird and the mysterious soldiers.  

 

A procession of soldiers began piling weapons and plundered items in several piles a short distance away from the King and his group.   Most looked at the burning pile of corpses and the great purple tent going up in flames and felt no regret for their forfeiture of it all.

A rather small number of slaves and prisoners were brought forth and they were awed and relieved to see Haroldris receiving them.  

The King spoke to each of them personally, thanking them for their suffering and promising them restitution.   All of them seemed greatly comforted by his words and accepted them, then hurried off in several groups, to return to what was left of their homes. 

 

The dawn was just teasing the darkness in the east when Seveus and the other officers returned and announced that they had complied with the King’s demands and asked for permission to break camp.  

“Yes, go at once, and do not tarry in your retreat.   Remember my warnings, and thank Yesh that I am not a vengeful King.”

In short order, the legions formed up ranks and marched proudly out of the camp, leaving their burnt tents and weapons behind as they left.  

Haroldris and his companions watched them go guardedly, but there was no incident and by the time the sun was fully rising, the last of the legions had marched through the smoldering ash that had been the gate to the camp and turned south toward home.

 

Aurei stood quietly with the others, watching the legions disappear over the gentle hills until the last soldier disappeared from view.   Then collectively, the group gave a deep sigh and glanced at each other in disbelief.

 

“We did it!”  Aurei said aloud with a joyous laugh, “I can’t believe that it worked!”

King Haroldris was smiling broadly, “Praise Yesh for that, but I must give considerable credit to all of you who so valiantly agreed to this plan.”

He looked upon them all with respect and admiration, which they knew they had earned.

 

“Also, I must praise myself too, for I made an excellent decision in giving Aurei the title of Archduchess.   Her idea was brilliantly thought out and worked flawlessly.   She has shown her skill in tactical strategy.”

 

Aurei just shrugged, feeling almost ashamed at receiving such praise, “Ah, it wasn’t that big of a deal; I just thought about what we had available to use and thought of a plan to use it.   It seemed really crazy to me, but it was all of you who pulled it off.”

“Well, I’d say that the lot of ye all are worthy of praise.”  Thorm commented.   “For me, though, I’m a-feelin’ mighty tired of fighting.   I vote that we return the captives to their families; leave the loot with their town officials, then get aboard that blasted airship and go home!”

“I agree!”  Siris said, giving the Dwarf a big toothy grin.

“Well there’s a first!”   Thorm replied with a laugh, “I’d say ‘tis a sign!”

They all laughed at the two and set the Dwarf’s idea into motion, each feeling a great desire for rest come over them as the stress of the night faded with the morning light.

 



© 2014 Eddie Davis


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Added on January 24, 2014
Last Updated on April 15, 2014
Tags: King, Drow, Elf, Knights, Paladins, Magic, Fantasy, Adventure, warfare, good versus evil

The Chronicles of Aurei Book 3: Bane of the Necromancers


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Eddie Davis
Eddie Davis

Springfield, MO



About
I'm a fantasy and science-fiction writer that enjoys sharing my tales with everyone. Three trilogies are offered here, all taking place in the same fantasy world of Synomenia. Other books and stor.. more..

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