“We’ve lost too many – there’s no way we can fight again.” The speaker was one of the few Commanders that had survived the battle. Again, the twelve Celryn sat in a circle, and again the thirteenth chair was empty, in memory of the traitor that once had sat there.
“We cannot let them win!” argued another, still tense from the fight, and covered with the blood of his comrades, and his own blood.
“They’re too strong for us,” his commanding officer reminded him. “If we fight again, we risk wiping out our entire race.”
The Celryn had called a meeting as soon as the remains of the army had returned. With less than a fifth of them remaining, the higher-ups understood for the first time just what a formidable foe they were fighting.
“The girl is powerful, that much is obvious,” Paradox snapped. He was not in a good mood. This was supposed to be an easy conquest – the start to a victorious campaign. Where had it all gone so wrong? “But we have our own magic – we can beat her.” His voice was firm, determined. “I will not have us giving up.”
“Sir?” said a young Celryn, only admitted to the meeting because his superiors were dead. At a nod, he continued, “I don’t think we’ll need to go to battle again. They’re going to come to us.”
In alarm, the twelve Celryn looked up at the huge screen dominating one side of the room. It was a new addition, made while the army fought their doomed battle in Anna’s living room.
Sure enough, the radar showed clearly that a large host of Telcontar were making their way towards the shuttle.
“Nothing is sacred any more, is it?” said Paradox sadly, quoting a book that he knew none of the others had read. “Nothing at all.” He got to his feet, his mind made up.
“Let them come!” he announced, and the other Celryn looked at him with something akin to awe. That or fear, because he was known to destroy those that angered him. “We can destroy them, and we will!” His roaring voice filled the room - a few of the younger Celryn cowered.
“They will not defeat us! We will destroy them or die trying!” There was silence as his words stopping ringing around the chamber, and no one dared to speak.
Then a crash announced the presence of the Telcontar.