Holy Avenger

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chapter 8

Tarius burst out of the parliament hall, fuming. Fools! He thought to himself. The crowned prince of the Yasida Empire had just finished sitting in on a parliamentary meeting held by the Senate and his father, The Emperor.

Again they would not listen to him. His father, who he had always admired, seemed to be nothing more than a puppet made to dance for the Senate. He had begged his father not to start a war in the northern continent. Instead, the Emperor had listened to the Senate and spent countless resources to sail their men across the sea to Gillia. There was absolutely no need to start a war with Gillia. The empire already held vast resources and land. They were known as the most powerful country in the world when it came to military might. Yet it was not enough. The Senate insisted on sailing to the north and conquering the largest kingdom, Gillia.

Tarius had been sent north to spear-head the war effort in Gillia with the aid of General Marcus Valva. Conquering Lavern was an easy task. They did not expect a naval attack from the Empire and fell under imperial control within a day. The battles after that had only become more difficult.

The next battle was against a thousand Gillian Knights and several thousand of Gillia’s military. It was the battle to retake Lavern.

Tarius and General Marcus had done well to hold the city against the siege; however, they had lost many men in the effort. The Gillian Knights were not only skilled, but they were ferocious warriors that would not stop fighting until they drew their last breath. They were formidable foes that caused Tarius to garner great respect for them.

Because of that battle, he could not move on the Gillian capital until reinforcements arrived from Yasida which took several weeks.

Tarius marched with the legions toward the Royal Capital, only to meet with the entirety of the Gillian forces at the Bullein Plains. King Tylon himself had stood at the head of the army surrounded by several hundred Gillian Knights. Tarius would never forget that day. It was a ferocious battle that lasted from the early morning until dusk.

Tarius had watched King Tylon slay dozens of imperial soldiers with ease. He moved so swiftly and elegantly that it seemed almost easy for him. Thousands of imperial troops had fallen, and the Gillian army appeared to gain the upper hand. It was then that Tarius had decided to cut off the head of the army that was their King.

After cutting his way through Gillian Knights and infantry, Tarius had finally locked swords with the famed King of Gillia. He had never battled such a ferocious and skilled warrior in all his life. It did not take long for King Tylon to over-power him. As Tarius steeled himself for the final blow, a sword protruded from the mighty king’s chest and brought him to his knees. General Marcus had stabbed the king in his back, and thus the battle had ended. Both the Knights and the Gillian infantry had lost their morale and were ultimately defeated.

Tarius, having acquired a new found respect for Gillia, had decided to take the diplomatic approach once they reached the Royal Capital of Gillia. Tarius and General Marcus had met with the newly crowned King of Gillia, Kellin Juvian Xellian, and his royal advisors. After much deliberations, Tarius had finally come to an agreement with the young king and avoided further bloodshed with the brave men of Gillia.

Only a week ago Tarius had received disturbing news that the famed beauty of Gillia, The Princess Azzara Xellian, had been killed as she set off for her journey to the imperial capital. Tarius was disappointed as it was his idea to marry off Azzara to his younger brother Mario.

The Crowned Prince had a feeling that her death had something to do with General Marcus. Ever since that snake had wormed his way into the imperial hierarchy, Tarius had never once trusted him. There was just something about him that seemed sinister and foreboding.

Now, in today’s parliamentary meeting, even more, disturbing news had come to light. The Senate suggested that the empire begin preparations to conquer the much smaller northern kingdom of Fiondan. Tarius had protested aggressively ‘We’ve already expended too many resources in the war with Gillia!’ he had said ‘We haven’t even secured supply lines from Gillia to Yasida and yet you already speak of starting another unnecessary war!’

‘I would hardly call it unnecessary’ said an elderly senator ‘had Gillia and Fiondan joined forces against us, we would have been crushed. The war was for the safety and security of the Empire and all who dwell within it.’

Another Senator had spoken ‘Gillia is now a part of the Empire. As a vassal state, they are under our protection. Should King Algon decide to take advantage of Gillia’s weakened state, it could prove to be a great threat for the entire Empire.’

Tarius had listened carefully. However, the more he heard, the angrier he had become. He was no fool. Attacking Gillia had nothing to do with security. The Northern Kingdoms had no interest in a southern empire that was thousands of leagues across the sea. The real reason they attacked Gillia was to expand their influence and syphon off the vast resources contained within the northern continent. It was a war of greed. Thousands of men died on both sides for the sake of greedy senators.

Why would father not listen to him!? Tarius walked purposefully to the palace’s central hallway and found his younger brother, Mario, courting the Lady Freya.

Idiot! Tarius thought to himself. He was so excited to marry the most beautiful woman in all of the northern kingdoms but did not even flinch when he heard news of her death. Ever since that woman came here, Mario can think of nothing and no one else.

Lady Freya had arrived in the palace only a month ago, and her first order of business was to wrap his younger brother around her finger.

She is supposedly the niece of General Marcus Valva. That was another reason not to trust her. What does she want with Mario? Perhaps General Marcus was plotting something devious by using this girl to get close to Mario. Tarius had his suspicions ever since she arrived here.

“Mario” Tarius called out as he approached his brother and the lady Freya. “Lord brother,” Mario said.

“My Lord” Lady Freya said as she bowed deeply.

She was a beauty Tarius had to admit. Not as stunning as the princess Azzara, but he could see why Mario was so smitten with her. She had long maroon hair that fell to her hips and beautiful dark brown eyes that might have captivated him if he did not think she was an untrustworthy harlot.

Mario seemed to have forgotten that his older brother stood before him and took hold of Freya’s hand. He led her away through the front doors of the palace and disappeared from sight. Mario had changed ever since she arrived here. His brother was usually respectful and diligent, but now he was in a constant daze and always had a glassy look in his eyes. He even had the palace chef’s son killed because he stared at the Lady Freya longer than he should have.

Tarius worried for his younger brother. It seemed his entire family was falling apart. His father would barely speak to anyone, his brother seemed to be in his own world with this untrustworthy woman, and his own wife had been ill for months with no sign of recovery. Yula Gilises, Tarius’ wife of six years, had taken ill several months ago. Every physician and every wizard in the land had come to treat her, but none were successful.

Tarius’ only son, Varian Gilises, had been the most affected by his mother’s illness. Being only five years old, Varian had become mentally older than he should be at that age. He constantly stays by his mother’s side and takes care of her every need. He would not allow servants to care for her and instead insists on doing it himself. Tarius had tried many times to put his son at ease and have him enjoy his life but to no avail.

Tarius sat on a nearby chair and buried his head in his hands. With everything going wrong in his life he needed at least one thing to go right. He would speak to his father privately. He would force him to see reason. With all of the misfortune that he had no control over…this at least, he could do.

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