Heimarian Odyssey - Chapter 77

Campbell was very confident in the plans he had laid out for the battle in the Gordon Heights. Even if they were unable to defeat the more powerful Faustian army, they certainly would not have lost. He was planning to severely cripple the Faustian army.

Faustian may have a strong military, but Shalor had a much more developed economy, with an abundance of food and magical might that far surpassed any of its neighbouring countries.

If it weren't for the bloody battle in Gordon Heights, Shalor wouldn't have lost half of their armed forces, which in turn meant they wouldn't have lost Bideslane.

Campbell had chosen to deploy his troops in the Felmo Grand Canyon out of haste, and had managed to stall the Faustian army for nearly a month. If the battle started all over again and gave him one more chance, Shalor's land would not have fallen so quickly, and they would not be faced with extinction.

But these were all hypotheticals. He should not be dwelling on such possibilities. After all Campbell was merely a man, not a prescient god. As it was, Shalor was facing an imminent threat of annihilation.

All he could do now was to give everything he had for his country. Campbell, surrounded by the massive Faustian Gale Corps, was ready to die for the country.

But before his death, he vowed to give the Faustian invaders a reason to remember his name, Campbell Jones. They would pay the full price for invading Shalor!

The two armies faced each other off. One side was ready to go, standing tall on the high walls; the other side remained disciplined, seeming like a torrent of steel about to crush the city of Eilis.

"Gale, gale--" The slow, steady rhythm of the song intensified the anticipation of battle. Woode had written the war anthem himself. It was a simple song, repeating the word 'gale' all throughout its lyrics.

Each of the four margraves of Faustian were their own unique and distinct characters. Marmen was fierce and ferocious, De Sandro was the operations specialist and master strategist, Shia had an undying loyalty to the royal family, and last but not least, Woode was frank and honest.

Woode's nature made it very difficult for him to get along with the elite nobles of Faustian, but it did allow him to work well with the soldiers in the army. Gale may not be the poster child for combat effectiveness among the four major corps, but there was no denying that they had the strongest bond amongst themselves.

Woode dedicated his life to Gale, and this was evident: all of the soldiers of the corps loved their jarl.

The Woode family was among the cream of the crop in Faustian. However, they were not quite as rich as the normal count household, as they invested every extra thaler they could spare into the development of Gale.

When Woode took over the corps 20 years ago, they were the lousiest of Faustian's four major corps. Nearly all of the gangsters, beggars, thieves, and robbers, and other dregs of the Faustian army were all thrown here to fend for themselves.

With a pair of iron fists, Woode had won over the hearts of the unruly rascals. Men only served people who were stronger than themselves. Woode had turned the corps around single handedly under his leadership by his own might.

In the years that followed, Woode settled down in the unit, eating and sleeping there every day without fail. He had spent an entire 20 years with his fellow soldiers living this way.

From the young man who only just inherited the family title, the previous years had seen Woode evolve into a far stronger middle-aged man. Margrave Woode was a rather straightforward man with quite a poor memory. Despite being known for failing the cultural curriculum in the academy for nobles, he was now able to remember the names of nearly a third of the corps' men.

One might say that Woode held more prestige and executive power in Gale than the king himself.

Five years ago, Gale was the underdog heading into battle with the Shalorian army. To lift the spirits of his men, Woode composed a war anthem for his corps with his limited vocabulary, and thus, the song 'Gale, gale' was born.

The fact that the lyrics were just one word being repeated over and over again made the Faustian nobles snicker. However, Woode had poured his soul into it, much like he had with the corps as a whole. The anthem told the story of the corps' rise in the past two decades.

From rock bottom, Gale now stood in second place among the other Faustian corps.

Listening to the familiar tune, the orderly pace of the soldiers in armor, the neighing of war horses, and the rumbling of war drums, Woode reminisced about his younger days. He had been so enthusiastic and pumped on the notion of obliterating all obstacles that stood in his way.

"Gale, gale..." Woode couldn't help himself and sang along to the battle anthem as he had done on the battlefield countless times.

Drawing his sword and mounting his horse, he took the lead and rushed to the front of the army.

He was the only one to do so, not unlike a shining beacon to all the soldiers of the corps.

Behind Woode, ten thousand troops followed as they screamed into the sky and charged towards the city of Eilis.

Campbell, who was on the wall, watched the men advance with admiration for their ferocious commander. It was a pity that they were enemies. He would have liked to be friends with someone like Woode.

"Shalor, my dear motherland, this is the last thing Campbell Jones can do for you..." Campbell murmured in a low voice. After giving out his last sigh, he waved. Countless rolling stones, long spears, bolts and fuel appeared on the walls. Campbell had rallied the military and civilians of the northern domain of Shalor together to pool together these resources.

Additionally, the top of the walls was lined with several ominous robed figures. These were the casters of the northern domain that had given Shalor its reputation of excelling in magic. There were 15 casters standing here, while Faustian would have no more than 7 in a corps.

Of course, most of these casters usually spent their days roaming in the wild. Since they were widely sought after everywhere they went, they usually did not have a strong inclination to their motherland. But at the juncture of Shalor's imminent destruction, most of the casters chose to return and fight for their motherland.

Among this row of casters, the old man donning a red robe was the strongest and the most intimidating. He was a peak-rank Lehrling, one of Campbell's trump cards.

Gale had unleashed a violent siege on Shalor for four full days. Over this period, they had captured one of the city's gates, but Shalor quickly reclaimed it.

It had almost been a week since the royal capital of Shalor had announced Angelina's death. The prince had also issued several reminders, one after another. Woode could no longer bear the pressure from the capital and from Kenzir. On the fifth day, Woode personally led the suicide squad to carry out a desperate siege early in the morning.

On the afternoon of the sixth day, Eilis was torn to pieces and Woode was nowhere to be found.

At dawn of the seventh day, resistance in the city continued. Many of Shalor's soldiers hid in the city and started fighting with Faustian soldiers on the streets. Coupled with sporadic magic attacks, the two sides fell into a stalemate again.

That was until Woode's body was found in the corner of the northwest gate of the city.

Along with Woode's corpse, Margrave Campbell of Shalor was found lying lifeless, with a deep wound through his abdomen. They seemed to have died quite some time ago. Additionally, the red-robed old man's body was directly in front of Woode's contorted body, with a sword stuck through his chest.

Woode's daring attack on the city was most vicious at the north gate. Not only was Campbell guarding it personally, the group of casters were holding their ground there too. Everyone in Gale was left dumbstruck; they could not believe that the man they looked up to as a god died here.

Woode had fought valiantly until his last moment. Burns and sword wounds were faintly visible on his body. The legendary margrave of Faustian did not fall until his very last breath!

Following Woode's death, the soldiers of Gale, with the tacit assent of their superiors, launched a massacre on the city.

Before the city gate was breached, it had already been exposed to Faustian's army. Yet the Faustians maintained their discipline and obeyed orders from Woode to not harass the people. However, the Shalorian soldiers fled into the city like a flock of mice, instigating fights on their own. The Shalorians had the support of the civilians, causing the Faustian army scores of casualties.

Woode's demise dealt a great blow to Gale. Furious sentiment filled the corps from bottom to top, from the ordinary soldiers to division jarls. Ordinary civilians, the elderly, women and children especially, should never be allowed to involve themselves in a battle. Those involved will no longer be considered as such and were to be killed!

Thus, a bloodbath ensued in Eilis, the capital city of the northern province of Shalor.

One by one, the Shalorian soldiers who had been hiding in civilian shelters to fight the Faustian army were rooted out. Even with the aid of magic, the hidden casters could not do anything to stop the Faustians. Anyone suspected of being a caster was burned to death on the stake by bloodthirsty soldiers.

"Kill! Kill! Kill!" Everyone in Gale slaughtered any moving object that came to sight. No, Woode's death was not the only cause of their delirium. The shadows of war and the close brushes with death had caused these to let go of their humanity. After all the adversity they had faced, they were unscrupulous.

If he were still alive, Woode would have held them back. Now, nothing short of a massive bloodshed would calm this group of bloodthirsty soldiers.

When word of the massacre in Eilis broke out, the entire country was shaken. Everyone in Shalor, Faustian, and the neighbouring countries was shocked mute. The news had even travelled as far as the Aomar Empire, the overlord of these countries. Nothing like this had happened in the past century.

A few days later, Kenzir sent his men to mediate, but by then, no living person other than Faustian soldiers could be seen in the city. There was only a sea of corpses and blood.

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