chapter 2 page 9-11Mature

Garrick watched as the sun set. They had been lucky. He knew the Masquerade was a masterful strategist but that didn’t change their troubles... in fact, it was now that cause of them. Today they had bested some of Albion’s finest forces, but only on their terms and mostly through tricks. Eventually the royalists would learn.

It had already begun in some ways. Their early successes had earned them support from the downtrodden peasantry of Albion, rogue Florisian errant-chevaliers, noblemen eager to cling to this new rising star for the promise of a higher place in society once victory over the crown was achieved. With every victory came renown and with renown came increased resources... but also increased opposition.

The king of Albion had begun deploying the sisterhood more and more often and their magic was almost impossible to counter. There had been victories against them but always at an incredible cost. And no victory had yet been achieved against any force led by their commander – the maiden of light.

“What are you thinking, Garrick?”  The voice asked from behind it. It had always bothered Garrick that his general was so lacking in masculinity. He was an Englas, his tribe had always valued strength over all else. Yet the man he followed barely came to his chest and his voice was too boyish. He knew that Masquerade was terrifyingly proficient in a fight; he had seen him on the battlefield. But it still bothered him that someone so small was in command of almost the entire native population of Albion and more.

“We need a counter for their magic, Masquerade. We will need to face them openly soon.” He said - his voice heavy with concern.

“You needn’t worry. I already have a solution for that, I simply need time and competence from those I trust... speaking of which, I need you to remove Caena from command. Today he got many of his men killed for no reason whatsoever. Not only does that weaken our military strength but it also looks bad to our supporters.”

“But he wiped out an entire lion company,” Gerrick protested.

“And his losses are a testament to his failure,” Masquerade declared flatly. “Had he held his men in check for a few more minutes that company would have moved into the woods where they could be safely dispatched... instead how many men did he lose to a single cavalry charge? He is to be replaced. I leave the selection of his successor to you.”

“Very well. Out of curiosity, what is your plan for the sisters?”

“There is a certain woman that will soon come to Albion. She is a magician of almost unparalleled might. I believe your people still have stories of her kind, the children of the dragons?”

Gerrick stood, stunned at the words. A dragonchild was one of the most potent forces in the known world. Magic was commonplace but their sheer dominance in that art was insurmountable. Raised by the Dragons that ruled over the paths of magic themselves, they could cast without gestures or incantations and summon powers beyond any other mortal with a simple thought.

“I hope,” the masked boy continued, “that she will become a piece of my plans in the future. If she does not, we will have to have her eliminated. We cannot risk her siding with the enemy.”

The End

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