“The home to everyone is to him his castle and fortress, as well for his defence against injury and violence, as for his repose.”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
***Kingdom Newerth, Capital City***
I was really surprised at how fast Shade managed to make sense of the magical artefacts. Two days after my father had them delivered, Shade already presented us with the inter-dimensional coordinates of our enemies. According to his research, all of the artefacts are supposed to open a portal to the same spot.
That isn't a small feat if we take into account that Zhon's small stone was burned out and the cornerstones were damaged because too much raw power was channelled through them. I honestly didn't expect that Shade could gain any knowledge from the rubbish which our troops managed to secure out of the ruins.
Despite everything, it still left us with the question of how to attack another dimension? Should we copy the spirit’s tactics and create a portal, just to rush through it with all our forces? I wasn't a fan of that idea and I made it known during our strategy meeting.
The spirits had been using this method for centuries and I wouldn't call it exceptionally effective. More like mindless sacrificing of troops in hopes of hitting a poorly defended place. Which actually isn't a bad bet when you are aiming at taking over a whole multiverse. Unfortunately I can imagine too many ways to die by simply charging into enemy territory. We don't have limitless cannon-fodder as the spirits apparently do. Not surprisingly, Elona, Seria and my parents also took my side on that matter, pointing out that they know more creative ways to commit suicide.
In the end Shade informed us that his city could be split into different segments. He could leave the agricultural and civilian parts behind, while taking only the citadel through the portal.
The citadel houses the military and consists of a long, square piece of mana crystal. On top of it stands the citadel, a long fort-like structure. It's basically a single building which has more similarities to a spaceship than anything else. Of course using the term 'spaceship' sounds a little misplaced. We've yet to find a realm which actually has space and after living for so long in this dimension I find the thought of empty space actually a little disturbing.
That solution met much more acceptance. It gave us a little more safety regarding enemy countermeasures. But to understand why, it's important to know how most portals work. Portals are, in essence, wormholes. That means that you have to know the exact coordinates for the entrance point and the exit, which results in the fact that a basic portal is always a one way ticket. There are possibilities to set up a portal in both directions, but they require exorbitantly more power than a simple, one-way route.
If we open a portal, there is always a risk that our opponents may be able to hijack it. They could switch the entrance and exit points, or use them to aim their own portal. We already know that the spirits have high capabilities in those sectors. Of course I asked why we aren't using the pathways, but Shade pointed out that they are probably too weak to get us wherever the spirits have their base.
When Shade brought his city over to our realm, he used the pathways to open a portal from his own realm to ours. He compared his method to using a direct cable connection, as opposed to sending the signal openly through the aether. This method should be very safe as long as we connect two places which are both under our control. But opening a portal to a spirit realm may allow them to hijack the pathway system. At least it should make them aware of the pathways. Elona and Shade don't believe that the spirits will be able to hack into their system, but they don't want to ignore the possibility either.
So we decided to send the citadel and pack it with as many combatants as possible. According to the citadel's specifications, it should be able to take quite a punch. The shields and wards should be able to hold off the average spirit beast and according to Shade there are offensive capabilities as well. Unless we encounter a heavy-weight divine class spirit beast, we should have enough time to take a lazy look at our opponents to decide on our next move.
Shade decided to lead the attack on the enemy realm. Seria and I are also joining the attack while Elona and my parents will stay behind. Currently Shade is giving us a tour through the citadel. Okay, the tour is mainly for me, since I am the only one who doesn't know his way around. I'll also have to coordinate my realm's fighting forces. We added an entire platoon of our best fighters to the operation, which means that we are lifting our own weight in this adventure. All together, the citadel is now manned with about a thousand divine class warriors.
I am still listening to Shade's arcane explanations when I get a sudden inspiration. “I am not sure if the idea is actually feasible, but Seria already showed us that the new pathways can be weaponized. Aren't you able to program the pathways with some kind of auto attack against spirits?”
Shade stops his explanations and studies me with a raised eyebrow. Then he scratches his chin as if he is considering the possibility. “Normally I am all in for weapons which are capable of mass destruction and genocide. But you have probably noticed that the pathways are still growing throughout the multiverse. And gravely slow on top of that. Of course, the overall process is speeding up as the pathways tap into new sources of power. The mana storms are currently their main power supply.
“We think that the mana storms are areas in which we collide with another multiverse. If that's true, then the pathways grow in those areas the fastest. That may actually reinforce our own multiverse. Elona and I commanded the network not to spread into realms which aren't on our 'wavelength', for the lack of a better word. Our current hope is that the other multiverse may be crushed during the collision. In other words, using the pathways for something else is a little outside their capabilities at the moment. Though your idea has merit and once the network has grown sufficiently, we would do well to set up a function like that.”
I furrow my forehead. “But if that's true, then all we have to do, is to outlast the spirits!”
He raises a finger. “I said that we 'hope'. I didn't say that it would actually work. This whole issue is admittedly outside my knowledge, but not because it's above my paygrade. It's because I lack the necessary data to analyse the situation.”