“You’re saying Brendel...Count Trentheim might have misinterpreted the situation on the ground, and that it might even be a trap?” Gryphine snapped.
Half an hour later, Audine, Duke Viero, and the envoys of the Highland Knights were summoned. Duke Viero scanned through the details within the letter at hand and promptly requested the entry of his own subordinates.
A middle-aged knight came into study, with a bow of respect to the princess, the self-proclaimed pundit on all matters regarding the Black Roses of Bromantonu from his long history with the Madarans was notified of the princess’ dilemma.
Shaking his head, he then replied, “In recent times there has been recurring news that the Madaran Kingdom was going through a series of historical changes in structure, and naturally with that, they should be keeping an extremely low profile in their motives right now. If the words of Count Trentheim were to be true, how does it explain the sudden resolute support from the Madaran Supreme Leader on Bloodstaff?”
“I believe the main adversary that we should be concerned about is Radner,” Duke Viero laid out his opinion, “Given that we have just recently signed an agreement with the Kingdom of Madara, I do not believe they would allow Bloodstaff to do as he pleases unless they were offered an opening by Count Radner, from which he decided to wield the opportunity as a mean to please their overlord.”
Duke Viejo’s reply appeared to be overtly subjective and left everyone in attendance to shake their heads in disapproval, the princess even frowning at this response. Noticing the stark difference between her maternal grandfather’s suggestion with Brendel’s, she could identify that Count Trentheim’s priority was placed upon the Madarans, which evidently aligned with her own.
Naturally, having made up her mind, she was reluctant to make a change in opinion, and decidedly ignored her grandfather’s suggestion and turned towards the knights.
The squad leader of the Highland Knights envoys was an experienced, stoic, old knight, but his spokesperson appeared to be a younger mage, as he explained, “According to our informants, we do not agree with Count Trentheim’s suggestion.
Even though the Supreme Leader of Madara had already united the perspectives of the Dark Nobles, Madara, to this day, was still yet to be officially reunited. The Vampire Houses mostly support his direction, and the Darkened lords too appear as such, but they were all individually scheming on something behind each others’ backs. The Necromancers would bow down to the pressure of the former powers, which leaves us with the Queen of the Demons, Alvitr. With the support of the Holy Palace of Eloideniel, they are decisively in opposition to the merger. From our predictions, a war is brewing from within them.”
Aware that all Nobles in attendance, along with their gathered intel, had gone against Brendel’s deductions, Princess Gryphine was in a tough position.
Even though deep down she was slightly wary of Brendel’s underlying goals, she had always been trusting of Brendel’s inferences on future events, and had time and time again chosen to align with the Count from Trentheim, notably due to their uniquely aligned political stance. But now with all odds seemingly against her, how can she convince the others, or has Brendel finally made a mistake this time around?
At this point, Freya couldn’t help to interrupt, “Could it be that Alvitr and the Queen’s plans were just the same wine in different bottles? With Bloodstaff now bloodthirsty, and notably pestering our border regions, wouldn’t that mean he has disobeyed the treaty between our two nations? Sure if he were to win it would be able to justify his loyalty, but what if he loses? He would be decimated.
Bloodstaff was renowned as part of the faction that was most defiant even amongst the Dark Lords, he had no interest to abide with Madara’s Supreme leader, Cheque, the King of the Necromancers. Cheque is a brutal, vile leader filled to the brim with greed. He at one point allowed his hot-headed temper to get the best of him during his avengement of Karsuk.
Once again challenging and sidestepping the Supreme rulers’ authority, if that persists, it would make sense of the current situation.”
Her words left the entire study in pin-drop silence.
Nobody knew who was the closest to the truth. After all, it was not something even Freya would know, all she did was make assumptions based on what Brendel mentioned that one time, and drew her own conclusions.
After a long pause, she noticed the Highland Knights all shaking their head in displeasure, even Duke Viero took to chastising the young maiden,
“Gibberish, you’re clearly just patching up hearsay. This is a war we’re talking about, why would we even bother about the feud between the Supreme Leader and Bloodstaff? Not to mention that’s all blank assumptions, what proof do you even have?”
“Proof?” Freya’s face turned red as a tomato. The ‘proof’ was obviously provided to her by Brendel, and she knew full well of that, but that was not solid evidence.
Gryphine at that moment came to her defense, “Regardless, let’s take Count Brendel’s suggestion, we can never be too cautious after all. I will like all of you to hand the contents of the letter down to the generals.”
After that, the princess glanced towards the daughter of the Earth Knight, and reactionarily shook her head. She knew it was Brendel’s intention to allow the young maiden to stand her own ground since, after the preceding events, she now had a background of formidable experience and had noticeably matured since then. Nevertheless, in an argument that involved Count Trentheim, she stumbled in the face of pressure.
Nevertheless, deep down the princess was rather envious of Freya. Brendel’s political decisions were now also hers, and defending against Madara was also within her consideration, but she could not voice her opinions confidently the way Freya did to defend the suggestions of the Count from Trentheim.
For she was the sister of the future King of Aouine, and at this point the true ruler of the kingdom.
Oberwei took notice of the names on his de-facto student’s notes. They were all names suggested by Brendel.
He shook his head in disapproval, thinking that the Princess was still too naive for the position, leaving too much to the decision of her underlings despite the fact that Duke Viero and Lantonilan were clearly uninterested, the Highland Knights were too hardly enthusiastic.
He was wary that a top-down effect might persist. If the leaders were absent-minded about their position, he could only wonder how many of the subordinates would take it seriously.
What the Wolf Baron was not aware of however, was that in a brief while it would not be of anyone’s problem any longer, for before this order was sent beyond the gates of the Castle Vallendaren, The Black roses of the Bromantonu under the shadows had patiently blossomed.
This corridor was located on the Northern side of the Pine mountain range, between the Tusankard Forests and Bucce, better known for its nickname, the Cielmann region.
Just like other lands by the Aouine border regions, Cielmann had no expanse of riches. The region was hilly and rocky, and the only flat area was by the eastern sides by the river valley, where a sprinkle of villages and farmlands were located.
By the southern reaches were two rivers, one through Bucce, and the other through Cielmann river valley and ultimately into Vallendaren Lake, the latter of which was the lifeline of the Cielmann region.
From the beginning of harvest month, three big armies of knights were scattered throughout this lifeline of a water source. Nevertheless, what sounded like a massive army presence was actually a loosely collected group scattered across each city and township.
It was more adequately considered to be just one or two mid-sized armies.
To prevent further dispersion of forces, Deputy Squad Leader Walter assigned most of his army around the Owl town where most of the wealth in this region was gathered.
Subsequently, he broke down the legion into small teams of knights as patrols or guards to monitor the south side of Pine Mountain Pass.
Nonetheless, as the day came to dusk, the patrol guards that were supposed to be returning on time to change shifts gradually went missing.
Evening, seven o’clock. There had been reports of a cluster of undead sighted on the south side of the river pass. Regardless, at this point, most still took the Cielmann river pass with a mentality of luck, and amongst them included Walter, certain that it was just a test of waters from Madara’s end.
Given the terrain, it was easy to understand his reasoning. After all, with the Kingdom of Madara holding the flatlands of the Bucce region, it made little sense for them to attack from the narrow Cielmann river pass.
Eight-thirty. Walter met with messengers from Vanmier, only then was he notified of the assault on Vanmier’s defense by a horde of the Undead Legion.
Madara’s main attack was indeed via Bucce, he thought. Only then did Walter let out a sigh of relief.
Even though he did receive a direct warning from the princess herself, the Vanmier legion, well-known to align closer to Count Grinoire over the royal family, did not heed the advice.
Princess Gryphine took the effort to notify the count and his legion but was swiftly dismissed, certain that they knew exactly what they were facing, even so far as to insist that the royalty was just calling misplanned shots from far away.
What the undead legion was plotting beyond the mountains, they were certain they knew just as well as the back of their hands.
By ten o’clock that night, Walter rubbed his eyes, half asleep to take the last observation, only to be greeted by a miracle of a night sky full of shimmering stars.