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Part 1

General Brynd sat atop his steed, behind him the Tykin border. He had led his army west from Udra, where he had his army stationed. Darius had given him full authority to invade Vulkira and sent him to the border. Darius’s greed and need to see Xer fall blinded Darius to his own flaws. He had become weak and oblivious to his surroundings and it would be his downfall.

However, Darius was no fool. If Brynd failed in his attempt in a swift and decisive victory, he would be the scapegoat. Darius would throw him to the wolves to save himself and place the blame entirely on his shoulders.

This was his opportunity to lay claim of Vulkira for himself while they were in chaos. Darius wouldn’t know the difference until it was too late and then, Brynd would be king of Vulkira.

Brynd had worked his way up the ranks and after thirty years of groveling and picking up the pieces of lords and ladies' mistakes, he was finally in a position of power. He would not let this opportunity slip by him so easily.

Brynd saw a rider heading toward him, his face looked concerned. A letter in his hand told Brynd everything he wanted to know. Darius had changed his mind again.

“General!” the scout shouted as he approached. “New orders from king Darius. We are to stand down from any further aggression and fall back to the border.

Brynd cursed under his breath, “Let me see that!” snatching the letter from his scout as he pulled up next to him. He knew Darius was a spineless coward, but this? Hesitating at his stage.

He glanced through the letter. More nonsense and unclear reasons. Brynd was always resentful, as he was almost always kept in the dark. Never knowing why orders were given. It infuriated him further.

“Get out of my sight!” Brynd shouted at the young man on horseback. Taking out some of his anger on the scout, relieving some of his stress.

As the scout rode off into the distance, probably back to Akrov, Brynd took the letter and tore it into pieces. He continued to shred it till it was no more. He would have his glory. He would have his battle to prove himself. And he would take Vulkira for himself.

Brynd gave a crooked smile and sat there as the sun rose over the small hills. “I will be king.”

“Sir? What did the letter say?” Tulkrum rode up next to him.

Tulkrum was Brynd’s captain. He was a man of ambition like Brynd and pledged his loyalty to him, not Darius. He believed Brynd would lead him to glory and power. For now, Brynd had Tulkrum’s allegiance.

“It seems... our king... has ordered us to retreat,” Brynd replied with disgust.

“I knew it. The coward.” Tulkrum spat. “What… what will we do now?”

“Our plans haven’t changed, Captain. We move on. Vlakias is weak and Erik is a fool for thinking he is untouchable. I’ll show him how safe he really is hiding behind Xer.”

“But… sir, this will break our allegiance to Darius before we take the capital.” Tulkrum reasoned. “Maybe it would be best to wait while we have the support from Tykin. Taking Vulkira in Darius’s name is one thing. We will have his backing and reinforcements if needed.”

“Yes, yes! I know all that!” Brynd hissed. “We will have to do it without him. I have waited too long for this to turn back now.”

“What do you think made Darius change his mind so quickly?” Tulkrum asked. “Do you think there are others making a play for power?”

“Darius is an old fool!” Brynd murmured. “Anything is possible in his court. He can’t see a plot if it hit him in the face.”

Tulkrum looked worried but said nothing more. Brynd had made his choice and Tulkrum had to choose whether or not he would follow, or abandon his general.

“We push forward,” Brynd said. “I want the men ready to move immediately.”

“As you wish, sir. I’ll have them moving within the hour.” Tulkrum said.

“No, captain. Now.” Brynd looked at him, eyes enraged. A flicker of black crossed his eyes. “We leave now.”

The closer they came to Vlakias, the more Brynd grew annoyed. His plan was faltering before it began. He cursed Darius for his stupidity and berated himself for trusting in his greed, even if that greed was mutually beneficial.

His armies slipped past Zidyria and marched along the mountain edges. They would have one shot at this, if they were seen, it would all be over. With the element of surprise, Vlakias would fall easily.

The longer they rode, the more Brynd felt his mind become groggy. His eyes began to blur slightly but he ignored it and pushed on. A thought crept into his mind “Don’t fail me…” Icy tingles shot down his spine and he started sweating.

“General!” a scout shouted. “General Brynd! Something is coming!”

“Wh-what is it?” Brynd’s head cleared a little. “What did you see?”

“I don’t know sir. I don’t know how to describe them,” he said.

“You better try,” Tulkrum said menacingly.

“They… they are beasts, sir. Giant animals. Nearly as tall as a horse.” the scout stuttered. “Hundreds of them.”

Tulkrum turned to Brynd, “What do we do?”

“We push forward. If an enemy stands in our way… we will crush them.” Brynd commanded.

Tulkrum and the scout looked at each other with worried faces. “As you wish, general,” they said in unison.



Part 2

Constant reports of the enemy brought Brynd’s anxiety levels skyrocketing. One bit of good news came from the relentless reports. Erik and an enormous amount of the population were fleeing Vlakias. Apparently, Erik couldn’t handle the threat and was running with his tail between his legs.

“Erik must be nearing Nolvis by now.” Brynd convinced himself. “Vlakias will be ours without any resistance. He has abandoned his home in fear of these creatures.”

“Maybe, we too should fear these beasts,” Tulkrum suggested.

“We can deal with a small horde of animals, captain.” Brynd laughed. “It’s like taking candy from a baby.”

“Even so… is it not wise to exercise caution?” Tulkrum persisted.

“Do not! Lecture me on wisdom, Tulkrum.” Brynd burst into anger. “Once I am king of Vulkira, people will fear me. Respect my…” he trailed off and looked ahead.

Three horsemen charged over a hill, waving and shouting. It was another scouting party, but they were not expected to return till tomorrow.

“Form ranks,” Brynd whispered. A horrible gut feeling washed over him.

Tulkrum didn’t respond, only looked at the ridge. The ground began to rumble and the horses stirred.

“Captain!” Brynd bellowed. “Form ranks! Now!”

Tulkrum snapped out of it and whipped his horse around toward the army. “Shield wall! Shield wall!”

The army halted and without hesitation swiftly formed rows in front while the archers stood behind. Two groups of cavalry lancers split and quickly pulled up to each side of the army. Five hundred footmen made a shield wall and advanced slowly, making their way to the top of the hill, still unable to see the danger. One hundred archers had their arrows nocked and slowly followed behind the wall of footmen. Fifty horsemen on the left and right brought up the rear.

All eyes were on the hillcrest, waiting in anticipation. The three riders galloped at full speed still screaming and yelling. “They’re coming! They're coming!”

Brynd silently sat on his horse watching for any signs of soldiers or beasts.

Movement caught everyone’s eyes and suddenly the entire hillside was covered with beasts the size of horses. Every living soul froze at the sight. Brynd was completely dumbfounded at the size of the creatures. Rows and rows of giant beasts kept popping over the hill, revealing themselves.

Tulkrum came riding up to him, panting. “Sir! What do we do?”

Brynd didn’t respond, he was in shock, his own arrogance had blinded him to the dangers. He wouldn’t listen to his scouts and now this. What was happening to him?

He had never felt so out of control before, something was messing with his head. Brynd’s eyes went wide in shock. The demon, in his dream. What was his name?

“I will be king,” Brynd whispered, his mind foggy and unclear. He couldn’t think straight. Ever since he had that nightmare, he hadn't been the same. His memory was failing him. “It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real.” Brynd felt frantic.

“Don’t fail me… general.” Mulguran’s demonic voice penetrated his mind.

Tulkrum looked at him in shock, “What is wrong with you? You aren’t thinking straight! We must retreat!”

“I will be king. I will be king!” Brynd started shouting, completely unhinged.

“You’ve gone mad!” Tulkrum yelled. “I’m ordering a retreat.”

Tulkrum raised his sword in a signal and began to call for a retreat when he felt cold steel, slide straight into his neck. The blade pulled from his throat and he fell off his horse to the ground.

Brynd looked down at him, his eyes were black, his stare blank and emotionless.

Tulkrum clutched at his neck, trying to stop the bleeding. It was too late, blood was gushing out of his neck and he felt himself fading, his strength abated. He tried to speak but blood filled his lungs and mouth making him spray blood. His whole torso was wet with blood and his hands were slippery, unable to grasp his neck to prolong his life.

“You served Brynd well, human. Now die.” a deep demonic voice left Brynd’s mouth.

Tulkrum looked in horror at his general, who clearly wasn’t himself. Darkness blurred his vision and he fell limp.

The three scouts from before came riding up, then froze at the sight of Tulkrum lying dead on the ground.

“General?” one asked, confusion written all over his face.

“What are your orders?” another ignored their fellow comrade on the ground.

“The Vog, wait for our move.” Brynd’s voice had slightly cleared but still sounded deep and unsettling. “Give the order to attack.”

“But s-” Brynd swung his sword with lightning speed and cut the head off of the protesting scout.

“Attack,” Brynd repeated coldly.

The other two looked in horror but turned and started giving commands.

“Charge!” platoon leaders from the line screamed.

The line of men broke, sprinting forward. Archers jogged behind keeping their distance from the main force. Lancers circled around, in preparation to charge from the sides.

At this point, the monsters on the hill broke from their stance and sprinted to meet the humans. One volley of arrows rained down upon them but bounced off their hides like toothpicks. Seeing the effect, or lack thereof, all archers dropped their bows, drew their swords, and joined the line of shield men. Without hesitation, the beasts crashed into the line of shields and utterly destroyed them. The entire line of men broke the instant they met, plowing through them like ants.

Flesh tore from bones, and screams of agony erupted across the land. Swords jabbed into the underbellies of the beasts as they jumped over rows of humans. Dozens of beasts fell to the humans, but the devastation they brought with them far outweighed their losses.

The number of bodies finally stopped the initial advance of the monster's charge but what that meant was, the archers were vulnerable due to having no shields. Clumps of humans held out against the onslaught when the lancers swung around for their first charge. No one had expected the lines to break so easily but the calvary quickly joined their brethren in an attempt at rescue.

Long sharp lances pierced the hides of the beasts and dozens more fell to the cavalry charge, but it wasn’t enough. The horsemen quickly lost their momentum and the horses panicked, causing the monsters to pounce on them immediately.

Within fifteen minutes, the humans were nearly defeated, small groups of men formed circles in a desperate attempt to rally the men. Several surviving horsemen raced off, fleeing the battlefield. General Brynd flipped off his horse with the agility of no man.

“I expected more from you humans,” Mulguran said. “What a pitiful excuse.”

Mulguran stalked forward into the fray of bodies and went to work. He moved like a slithering snake, dodging in impossible movements. Brynd’s sword cut through dozens of Vog, effortlessly. Cutting heads clean off, his blade work was no match for the creatures that swarmed him.

Suddenly, Mulguran noticed Brynd’s body giving out. He had sustained numerous cuts and scrapes but no mortal wounds. However, his human body quickly faded from fatigue, Brynd’s strength faltered.

“What a shame,” Mulguran said pitilessly. “No matter, the damage has been done.”

With that, Mulguran left Brynd’s body and left him bleeding and surrounded. Time seemed to freeze for Brynd. He looked around him and gazed at his fallen army, his whole body covered in cuts.

“What have you done?” Brynd whispered.

“YOU… have done,” Mulguran smirked. “It was so easy. You thought Darius was blind.” he laughed at the human. “But you were the blindest of them all.”

“You… tricked me. But you promised me power!” Brynd faltered. “I was to be king! I was to be something more!”

“You were never anything but a pawn,” Mulguran said coldly. “You served me well. The Vog now hate humans. There will be no peace between you.”

“What are you talking about?” Brynd said in confusion. “I never wanted peace.”

“Not for you, foolish human.” Mulguran laughed. “Malik, will never have his peace.”

“Who… is Malik?” Brynd asked. “Why have you done this?”

“Simple. I want Malik… to suffer.” Mulguran’s eyes flared red. “And when I have finally found his chosen one, I will destroy him and his precious plans will die with him.”

“I don’t understand! You gave me power, I could have used it… for you.” Brynd screamed and time began again.

“I have no use for you. Now die, human.” Mulguran smirked evilly then disappeared into thin air.

Vog swarmed him and ripped him limb from limb. Brynd’s final thought was. “I… will be... king.” as he was torn apart.

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About the author

MorseCode

Bio: Hello, all. I am a new aspiring author and I'm extremely excited to share my stories. I've always loved writing and bringing the ideas in my head to life, though it was only recently that I began to write on a more serious level. I have many many books I wish to write and I hope I can share them with you all in the future. I have a lot to learn but I hope to grow into a more experienced and learned writer.

I don't shy away from gore, which will be present in all my books to come. I hate plot armor, and I do everything I can to make things as real as possible. Real decisions, consequences, logical outcomes, and making a darn good story are my main focus.

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