Valark rode forwards, watching the beasts draw nearer. The Wolves were waiting on the flank, whilst the Lions marched up to face the on rushing hoard. Horrific beasts snarled as the went forward, half-dead men shambled in their shadows and great, wolflike creatures with matted, scabbed black fur bounded towards their lines. At an order, Valark kicked his horse into action. He and his company sped off to the right of the army. The hooves of their steeds pounded the earth and Valark began to draw his pistol, as did the rest of his troops.
As he was doing this, the line upon line of Lions were preparing to fire, levelling their weapons neatly into perfect volley lines. The first volley came like the sound of thunder and Valark knew what he was expected to do.
"Open up, lads!" He shouted and the sounds of dozens of pistols snapped around him. From the front and the side, the monsters were jerking and twisting, collapsing in sprays of blood.
"Swords!" Valark called, more to the Lions and other infantry than to his own troops, who were already drawing their short, heavy pointed blades. The cavalry crashed into the monsters, blades swinging and hacking, cracking spines and shattering skulls. The waves of filthy darkness crashed upon the pristine Lions and were clearly outmatched. Uniformly, the Lions' blades spun and swished, slicing apart the enemy.
It wasn't long before the foe realised they were outmatched, they quickly began retreating, scampering away from the Rebublic's lines.
"Reload and send them a good farewell boys!" An officer shouted amongst the Lions. A resounding volley felled the fleeing foe and Valark sheathed his bloodied sword.
"Ah, excellent work, Captain." Came Hibracht's voice.
Valark turned to see the king, unbloodied, uniform perfectly kept, trotting towards him on a beautiful horse.
"Milord." Greeted Valark.
Hibracht rolled out a parchment. "I have just set up a new decree, I am hereby solely in command of all military affairs for as long as necessary, I am now, as well as king, Master General of the Army of the Republic." He smiled. "I'm having a new uniform fitted tonight."
Valark stared at him warily. Hibracht was inspiring in his vigour, a fine warrior, but not much of a commander. Valark feared the implications of this new decree, but he knew hat he was not being asked of his opinion on the appointment, merely told of the things that had taken place. He nodded and smiled politely. "Very good, Milord."
"Yes, it is, isn't it?" Hibracht said absently. The he spun his horse around. "Come, Captain, you must accompany me to my quarters, I want a report written up on the battle, don't forget to mention my own heroic actions in the battle amongst those of the Lions and the Wolves."
Valark followed numbly, staring after his king and waving his men off duty.
Lord Baggro burst into the room furiously, a piece of parchment crunched in his hands. Captain Valark spun round, his pistol half out of his belt before he saw who it was and hurried bowed instead.
"Hibracht!" Snapped Baggro, tossing the parchment at the human king, "You cannot do this!"
Hibracht smiled nastily. "I think, my dear Lord Baggro, that I can. For I am a king, therefore, I may do as I please."
"You are not the only one with that lofty rank, you cannot simply form decrees, much less ones giving you unrestricted and singular command of the armies, without my consent!"
Hibracht raised his hands in a large, elaborate shrug. He raised an eyebrow.
"What, then, Baggro, would you suggest we do?"
Baggro frowned, sensing a trap. "We send out a second decree, stating that the first was in error."
Hibracht smiled again. "Cyrus, my good man, what did you say the state of the people is?"
Mirador stepped up, his face was expressionless, but for a second something else flashed across his features, either a scowl or a smirk.
"Milord, the people are on the edge of total panic." He said. "their morale hangs by a thread."
Hibracht spoke up again. "So, what would it do to their morale if they heard that the kings were in disagreement? They would not feel safe, our recent successes are proof enough for them that I am a competent general and we might risk open revolt if we were to be seen arguing.
Baggro's expression was that of horror now. "You would use the fears of the people to feed your own bloodlust? In what way, then, are you different from your foe?"
Hibracht's expression soured. "How dare you compare me to those, those things? I have spent many seasons on this war, I've seen good men die for our homes and you compare me to those beasts from beyond the mountains?"
Hibracht swept out of the room, sweeping his arm to order Valark and Mirador to follow. He turned back to Baggro's silent form. "I have an invasion to plan, we are striking out to save our allies, this is not the place for you, Baggro, the field of war belongs more to men than it ever did to the gnomes.
Baggro watched as his fellow king marched down the corridor, Valark on his left and Mirador, his right. Valark was looking shocked and worried, clearly disturbed by what he had seen. Mirador was sizing Hibracht up with his eyes, schemes clearly spinning through his head.
1000 Elites (Lions) trained in all territories.
30,000 cavalry moved from 33 to 32
10,000 Heavy infantry moved from 33 to 32
7,695 Artillery moved from 33 to 32