Prior to the invasion, Faresoenn was fully sure he had his defenses ready. The small gap in the energy barriers that surrounded the settlement was filled with traps that could easily crush their huts in two. The trenches were reinforced with walls and gun positions, lined up neatly and just out of range of each other. Faresoenn himself was stationed in a vantage position, with a range enough to sight any troops beyond the forest. The forester warriors, armed with their repeating crossbows (they knew energy cannot pierce the H-1’s armor) and demobilization spears and javelins, sat anxiously waiting for the inevitable.
As Faresoenn was watching from his vantage point, he saw a few specks in the distance. As they came closer, he realized what they were. Rockets. Screaming over the bright sky, they look like birds, flying in formation. He signalled the alarm, and sirens sounded throughout the defenses. As the rockets hit the energy barriers, the barriers shuddered, but it held still. However, it soon began shutting down, sounding a dying whir before it shuts off completely. The rockets were designed to take the barriers down.
No sooner had the last barrier been shut down, there was a huge rustle of leaves and vegetation. A small battalion of H-1s soon burst in, armed with mini-missiles and auto-fire guns. Frantically, the foresters retaliated, but even with their numerical superiority, few deactivating arrows penetrated the thick plating of the H-1s, and the blasts from faraway artillery shells combined with the H-1s mini-missiles severely damaged the defenses.
Knowing a firm defense like this cannot hold on, Faresoenn cried, “Charge!” With frightened expressions, the foresters evacuated their trenches and charged towards the H-1s. However, they lost what little courage they had with another round of explosions, quickly forcing them to hide in ditches. There were scattered bodies everywhere, some quite intact, some just a hunk of meat. When some foresters saw a dead comrade beside him, they attempted to flee, only to be shot dead with the barrage of energy from the H-1s. However, as the casualty toll of the foresters mounted, so too did the H-1s. The H-1s were all mostly intact, but many that had been shot by the arrows simply deactivated and formed a wall for the horrified defenders. Soon, the foresters regained morale as they one by one deactivated the H-1s, until there were only several left, flanked and battered from the arrow impacts. On Faresoenn’s command, all of the remaining H-1s were destroyed or deactivated.
Just as the foresters regained to close to their original morale, there were another rustle of vegetation and a round of explosions. Faresoenn tried to go back to his vantage point, but now it is bombed to a crater. Frustrated but unfazed, he reorganized the foresters and stood, waiting for the inevitable second attack.
The second wave had more H-1s, but now they were in much greater numbers, trampling over the deactivated ones and dead bodies, making squelching sounds and bone-crunching noises. Behind them were around 1,000 of the Achien military, fully kitted with ion rifles, short swords, and shields. The foresters, after the first wave, only numbered around five to six hundred, and many of their weapons are either damaged or out of ammo.
Nasition himself, this time, led the wave, a proud man, towering above the others on his mount. His dark green armor shone from the reflection of the light, as if he was an angel descending from the sky. Even though the light suggested an angel of Nasition, but the armor itself suggested a frightening demeanor. Fully covered head to toe with his heavy armor and his face concealed by the shadows, Nasition looked much different than in his public attendance: a cold, fierce warrior, like Death himself. A sword dangled from his scabbard, illuminated with a pale blue energy from inside. Adding to the Death effect was his scythe, a gleaming black with a dim, pale glow of red, in which he held firmly with his hands. It was much different than the Nasition that Faresoenn knew: a cool-headed, ruthless, terrifying image compared to the friendly, hot-headed, and youthful Nasition from before.
“Nasition, why are you here?” Faresoenn demanded, “Why attack the Tarevuen?”
“If it isn’t Faresoenn, my old friend, now my enemy,” Nasition coolly replied, “I am not the Nasition you know, Faresoenn. The Tarevuen is a dangerous place that ought to be destroyed. I know there’s a path here that leads to the Rithul rebels. Anyone who dares pass our way will be annihilated, and not even you, Faresoenn, will be exempted.”
“I thought you were dead!” Faresoenn exclaimed.
“Ah, how little you know of me. The guard that supposedly ‘killed’ me was on my side, so I could leave your wretched side and continue on my plans to revive the dead Achien.”
“Who’s the traitor now? You fled Achien and the orders to capture you, so technically you’re an outcast and traitor. The queen coincidentally died when you rushed to her room. Also, I know you are housing threats to our new government which shall be extinguished, and now you say I’m the traitor? I have strengthened the incompetent Achien army back into a strong fighting force, I have removed all traitors to our country, and only you and the one you’re housing is left. I am the Common Leader, chosen among the masses to lead the Achien people. Now, who’s the traitor?”
“The so-called ‘the one’ is none other than Avalel, son of Stasibel and Macrera, true heir to the Achien line! You have forcefully abolished the monarchy, executed all royal relatives, and brutally killed anyone that dared oppose you. Today I stand, here amongst my brothers and sisters, to the death in the hopes of ending your purge of our people!”
“Well, that’s enough talking, Faresoenn. In this battle, we shall see who will create history: you or me!”
Nasition charged towards Faresoenn, and Faresoenn did the same, along with the two armies. The two armies clashed, as the Achien soldiers held the line while the H-1s constantly barraged the foresters. It was bloody, as both sides suffered heavy losses. Nasition managed to punch a hole in the forester lines, and so did Faresoenn to the Achien lines. As the foresters’ crossbows ran out of arrows, they simply grabbed the ion rifles of the dead Achien soldiers and fought on. Nasition with his scythe swung madly at the foresters, cutting down many until he forced a divide in the forester lines. Now separated into smaller divisions, the remaining foresters fought bravely against the flanking of the Achien soldiers, but it was futile. As the ring began closing in, soon the foresters were facing overwhelming numbers, which made their fighting even more difficult. Faresoenn himself suffered a few wounds attempting to reach Nasition. However, he made it, and as Nasition tried to cut him down too, Faresoenn simply stabbed his sword into Nasition’s mount, and they came crashing down. Nasition quickly grabbed his scythe and fought Faresoenn, who now had the advantage.
With fierce slashes and stabs, both tried to penetrate the other’s defenses, but since they know each other’s moves well, they gained little advantage over the other. Nasition swung his scythe while Faresoenn dodged, and Faresoenn managed to find an opening, so he thrust his sword in, just able to stab Nasition’s thigh a little, which produced great pain. However, Faresoenn had also exposed himself, and it proved fatal. Nasition kicked Faresoenn, which caused him to fall back, and he swung his scythe deep into his chest. Faresoenn immediately collapsed onto the ground. When Nasition released his scythe from Faresoenn’s chest, it was dripping with blood, the black blade now stained with red. Blood erupted from Faresoenn’s body, forming a puddle of crimson red. A little white can be seen on both Nasition’s scythe and inside Faresoenn amongst the mass of red. The blood was now gushing with every heartbeat, like a geyser. Nasition now held his scythe near Faresoenn’s neck, preparing to end his life.
“Goodbye, Faresoenn,” he whispered, and prepared to strike. However, just at that moment, a shockwave erupted from the arena, shattering Nasition’s scythe and caused explosions in the H-1s. Shocked and terrified, Nasition began retreating with the Achien troops, not even bothering to finish off Faresoenn. Fearing for retaliation, as the Achien troops retreated, they fired a few shots to prevent any counterattack, but there was none. The foresters remaining were without a leader, and they were too exhausted to even attempt one.
In the arena, Avalel was still weeping, alone, when he heard a small voice. The foresters are in trouble, help them with your powers, it whispered. Now that his emotions are under control again, Avalel forcefully removed the Anapadeia from the ground and rushed to the forester defenses. When he arrived, there were already many others, but none was celebrating. Although the Achien invasion was repelled, almost all the forester warriors in the defense were dead, numbering more than half the male forester population.
The scene was filled with blood, some splattered on the ground or on trees, some grouping as a puddle from several bodies. The forester medics came with many stretchers and tents for the wounded, but they found little who survived. Workers came to the battlefield to collect the H-1s, or what was left of it. The entire battlefield was littered with carcasses, faces of those gasping their last, painful breath. Those who survived will forever live in shock and depression, for no one in the Tarevuen had ever seen combat before this. The foresters quickly built a pyre to burn the dead, and to remove the stench and horror from the scene. Wives, sisters, daughters, companions came and wept over the dead shell of the foresters that lay there. Some carried the dead back to personally bury them in the formal fashion, for those are still in good shape, but others reluctantly allowed the workers to stack up the bodies on the pyre, for they were near unrecognizable, and still others cannot find or recognize the bodies, for they are reduced to bones and meat.
Avalel searched through the battlefield to find Faresoenn, and before long, he found him, surrounded by medics, workers, and bystanders alike. Rushing to his side, he almost gagged with tears when he first set his eyes on the now dying Faresoenn. Blood trailing from his chest to the ground combined with the fading heartbeat, it was as if he was brutally stabbed multiple times. His fingers are shivering, twitching from pain and are smeared with blood. His skin was now so pale it was virtually bled dry of blood. It was clear he’s as good as dead.
“Hey, Lel,” Faresoenn whispered, too weak to even speak for long.
“Dad!” Avalel cried as he leapt into the body of Faresoenn, regardless of the amounts of blood splattered there. Tears mixed with blood on Avalel’s tunic, and as Avalel was released from Faresoenn, Faresoenn’s blood dripped from Avalel’s tunic.
“Lel, stop crying,” Faresoenn gasped, his sounds now barely heard, “I got something to say. Something important. Come near… COUGH!” Hacking up more blood, his expression was in agony.
Knowing that it must be Faresoenn’s final words, Avalel choked on his tears and leaned closer. “What is it, dad? Whatever you say, I’ll listen,” Avalel whispered back, interrupted with sniffles.
“Stop calling me ‘dad’. I am not your father,” Faresoenn heavily sighed. He knew his time had come, so he must hurry, “you are destined to leave the Tarevuen. You are a special person destined to be great, for you are...COUGH!” Hacking up more blood, his heartbeat now racing, he uttered his final words, “The Heir. Of. ACHIEN!” With that, he violently shook, and rested, his heartbeat abruptly stopped, never to beat again. His fingers were no longer shaking and shivering, for he had ended his journey in this world.
“Dad? Dad!” Knowing that Faresoenn had died, Avalel was overcome with grief. His vision blurred, his mind spinning, his body shaking. Many friends of Avalel and Faresoenn now came near Avalel and tried to comfort him but to no avail. For a child who is aged only eight, a dwarf amongst his peers, he was now destined to be alone, or so he thought. Just days ago he was celebrating his eighth birthday. The happiness, the surprise of everyone when he presented the Anapadeia, all those he kept in his memories, for it was the last birthday he would celebrate with Faresoenn, his adopted father.