Capturing Pollian was an easy task. Too easy in fact. Tarius had found it strange that no reinforcements had come to defend Fiondan’s second biggest city. Surely, any military strategist worth his salt would have sent a large host to defend the city as the enemy would, of course, strike at it first. Either Fiondan has incompetent military strategists, or they are planning something else. Either way, they had taken Pollian with relative ease and now held Fiondan’s main supply line.
Tarius sat on a comfy high-backed chair in the lord’s chamber. Lord Valin and his family were taken prisoner after the city was taken into Imperial custody. However, Tarius had made sure they were treated well. He was annoyed at the fact that General Marcus had sent a messenger to the city moments after the Fiondan’s surrendered. The Regent of Gillia would be paying him a visit.
He did not want to deal with Marcus right now. A knock at the door had torn him away from his thoughts.
“General Marcus Valva has arrived!” a voice on the other side of the door announced.
“Send him in.”
Moments later the General had walked into the chamber. His long red cloak swaying from side to side as he approached Tarius. Marcus performed a deep, theatrical bow and grinned at Tarius.
“Lord General! It is so good to see you again!”
“Enough pleasantries Marcus. Why have you come? I did not request your aid in this campaign.”
Marcus made a show of fake shock and surprise “I did not expect such a cold reception! I did save your life after all!”
“Even then I did not ask to be saved. So I ask again; what is it you are doing here General?”
Marcus laughed heartily “I simply wished to congratulate you on a job well done! Taking the second largest city in the kingdom was no easy task. But I expected nothing less from Yasida’s most decorated military strategist!”
Marcus walked over to a table lined with fresh fruit and jars of wine. He poured himself a drink as Tarius watched him cautiously.
“I wonder,” Tarius said slowly “Why Algon never sent reinforcements to defend the city. He should have known it would have been the first stronghold we would strike. To be honest, taking the city was the easiest battle I’ve ever fought. My entire strategy was built around reinforcements arriving to help defend the city. Reinforcements that never came.”
Marcus sipped his wine slowly, closing his eyes and swirling it in his mouth before swallowing. “As to that,” he said slowly “He did send a significant army of Rune Knights, led by the Knight-commander herself, to reinforce the city.”
Tarius eyed Marcus suspiciously “Then where were they? Did they arrive too late? Are they heading this way with a larger army? And how did you come by this information!?”
“Do not worry my young lord! I have taken care of everything! My forces had managed to subdue the knights before they reached the city. They are all dead, and the Knight-Commander is currently in my custody.”
Tarius stared wide-eyed at Marcus and slowly stood up from the comfy chair he sat on. “You what!? I have questions, Marcus!”
“Come now, my dear Tarius! I thought you would be happy to hear this news!”
“How did you manage to sneak a large enough force past Fiondan sentries that had the strength to defeat an army of Rune Knights!? It isn’t possible!”
“You’re losing sight of the larger picture here Tarius. We have the Knight-Commander in our possession. This war is as good as won. You are going to strike at Arlcliff Fortress yes? You can be sure Algon will bring his entire army to defend it. If we wish to take it, we must use the Knight-Commander.”
“How will using her help us to take the fort?”
“It’s quite simple. Humiliate and kill the most revered Knight in Fiondan in front of their army and they will become demoralised, and their ranks will break. We will easily roll over them and continue our way to the capital.”
Tarius shook his head in disgust “First you go behind my back and somehow mercilessly slaughter an army of knights! Then you Capture the knight-commander, a woman, and expect me to agree to publicly humiliate and killing her? Have you lost your mind!?”
Marcus smiled as he places his cup back on the table and walks toward the door. “You will thank me later General Tarius. All we do, we do in the Emperor’s name”
Tarius plopped back onto the comfy chair as Marcus closed the door behind him. He was left furious, annoyed, confused, but most of all he was left worried.