After putting on her armor, Valle Estrada made her way to the watch tower. Her dragon-scaled battle cave, bluish-white armor, and especially her long shiny blonde hair made her look as if she was glowing, making any passerby or guard turn his head and watch her in awe. One of the seven guardians of Seven’s League, she was just doing one of her daily routines as any other day.
“Your highness, the night wind is getting chilly, why don’t we get back inside?” Her advisor, Therol asked her in a worried tone.
“Worried about a little cold?”
She was looking at him with a grin on her face as if she just heard a joke. He couldn’t help but to avoid her gaze because her sapphire-like blue eyes and milky skin were enough to make even an old man like him blush. Therol, now a grandfather and an aging-soldier couldn’t help but to feel as if he was a boy again whenever he was with her although he’d been fighting by her side since he was a kid. Any man would feel exactly the same way in front her. In addition to her milky-skin, and sapphire-like eyes, there was something about her strong will hidden inside those eyes that she drew attention from both men and women. Although she had a long scar right above her right eye, it was almost unnoticeable because of her exceptional beauty. Getting that scar meant the beginning of warrior life for her. It was also a constant reminder that she was a battle-toughened warrior, not some kind of an eye candy.
“Even an incarnation of Dragon needs a rest, don’t you think?”
“This is not a moment for rest, and you should know that.”
The news of a small country in the north recently invaded by the Empress of Darkness made her uneasy, and seeing refugees flooding into the country through Leenan River wave after wave didn’t help either. As a chief commander, a rest sounded like a luxury she couldn’t afford, especially not at a time like this when she could just smell the trouble approaching.
“How about you take a break, Therol? Aren’t you considered to be old in human age?
“Old?! Not at all! I’m still healthy and those toddlers have to wait until I die if they’re thinking about replacing me”.
“But still… Isn’t your son captain now? Am I right?”
“You can’t be serious, your highness. He has still a long way to go, and nowhere near capable of serving you. Anyone who’s thinking about replacing me has to kill me if he wants to get this job.”
Now an old official, Therol, who spent most of his life in battlefield shook his head from side to side in denial. Just thinking about the possibility of his job being handed over to another person made him dizzy, even if that person was his own son, and this over-the-top commitment to his job made Valle smile.
“By the way, it looks like we never run out of incoming refugees. It must be very tough for the guards at the checkpoint to deal with them waves after waves.”
“Speaking of devil, did you hear the news, your highness?”
Asked Therol with a big smile on his face. It was always good to have company like him by her side as guarding at the watchtower could turn into a very dull experience. His question piqued her curiosity.
“Solram, now a perished country as of today morning, sent an envoy demanding we send back the refugees from their country.”
“First of all, if I heard correctly, the country is now perished, and last time I checked only countries send envoys. Second of all, they’ve got some balls making a demand like that”.
If sent back now, only thing that’s waiting for the refugees is death by execution. It didn’t appear that the country of Solram hold their citizens in high regard, and it quickly crossed her mind that having any reasonable negotiation with them would be a difficult task.
“The problem is their king claims that the country signed a treaty with the Empress of Darkness, and his country still remains. There’s a rumor going around that the king is just a puppet controlled by the Empress of Darkness and her dogs. Their envoy says their demand is legitimate.”
“Are you implying that they’re using dark magic to control him?”
“Not exactly, it was a known fact that he wasn’t much of a king. He’s kind of a scumbag who’s willing to sacrifice his own country without a second thought if that means saving his own behind.”
“You gotta give him a credit though. Withstanding an invasion from the Empress of Darkness over a month is not easy by any standard, and there are only a few countries that are capable of doing that.”
Princess Valle tilted her head in curiosity. Although it was far from a full scale assault, and Queen’s Land and Solram are miles apart separated by the most rugged mountains in the north, Nathgarl mountains, it didn’t sound quite natural that a country as small as Solram could hold their own against the mighty army of the Empress of Darkness for as long as one month.
“The source tells us that the general who was leading Solram’s army was quite an exceptional one, a military prodigy, some say…”
“A military prodigy?”
Asked the princess raising her eyebrows. Being a soldier herself, the word, military prodigy easily got her attention.
“Yes, your highness. He’s said to have held back the assaults from the enemies single-handedly for seven days. Whether that’s true or not, we would never know. But one thing’s certain. All refugees seem to think very highly of him.”
Continued Therol in an excited tone. The fact that Valle was showing interest in his story meant a lot to him.
“Sounds like a fine general. We could use someone like that if he’s still alive that is.”
“Too late. Fine people like him die early these days.”
“Hm…indeed. That explains why there are so many people fleeing that country.”
As soon as she turned her gaze to Leenan River, something caught her eyes.
“I’ll be damned.”
She rubbed her eyes in disbelief. However, what she saw was still there.
“What is it, your highness?”
“It’s a Wyvern.”
“Not just a Wyvern, a black Wyvern.”
She grabbed her battle hammer, and shield lying next to her. One of the Empress of Darkness’ most trusted generals known as “Lords of Despair”, was approaching from the north of Solram.
With an exploding sound rose a tower of blaze. It set a fire on one of the boats and everyone on it felt unable to withstand the impact.
“OH NO! IT’S LORD OF DESPAIR!!”
Knowing very well what he’s capable of with his evil power, people were terrified. There was nothing more terrifying than watching him on his Wyvern looking right down at you from above.
“You listen to me and listen to me good, you parasites.”
The lord of despair spoke looking down at the boat from his wyvern. His ghost-like eerie voice echoed in everyone’s ears. His could be heard very clearly even while the boat was burning down and its masts were falling.
“I believe a disciple of Remanasark, and his daughter are hiding among you. If you hand them over to me, I will let you live. If not, you will all face death, and trust it will be a painful one”
No sooner he spat out his last word that he raised his hand. A ball of fire was forming above his palm. The ball struck the already wrecked boat.
The explosion split the boat in half, and all the refugees on it were thrown into the cold river. The lord of despair snorted, amused by the sight. He drove his wyvern to move on to the next boat. The crews on the boat fought back firing arrows and guns, which were useless against the durable armor that was covering the wyvern’s body. It flapped its wings towards the boat.
It created a couple of whirlwind, which struck the boat on the both sides. Designed to stand light wind, and built to be used on rivers, the boat instantly became unrecognizable. Few wizards onboard fought back with their wizardry, which was blocked easily by the lord of despair who was blessed by the empress of darkness with powerful force.