Chapter 1: Confliction Arc
Kingdom Legionaries. The bustling city filled with distinct moving figures roaming through the streets, markets, castles and houses. This kingdom is home to many civilians. A kingdom made solely by pure blood and desire. Despite several battles through the years, it has kept its shape and has even adapted from its foundations. A kingdom like this is only made by the smiles of the people, whilst the monarch protects and nurtures. It is their moto. The place feels like a dream to live in. Which is why the military forces attempt to grow stronger everyday, they must not let other powerful groups take control. To the outsiders; kingdoms who look to be as seemingly perfect as this, their eyes appear to show a beautiful paradise. This paradise of a kingdom which could only get better from here. To them, this is Kingdom Legionaries.
Though, their eyes told nothing but lies.
From the outside, it looked peaceful and protected by their strong knights. Impenetrable. But from the inside.. the kingdom is finally at its weakest point. And nobody truly knows until they have the chance to dive into its darkness. But no, the people purposefully look the other way to ignore their own victims. Sometimes, it feels as if they are letting their own paradise fall. Crumble.
Most of the time, the monarchy are the ones that cause it.
But there is still hope. Hope in the form of a new takeover. Either by an honest and trustful higherup, or by rebels who fight their way to the top.
With those two options, they might even be the reasons for this kingdom’s downfall. The inner conflict of their own people will outburst into chaos, someday. It will happen.. And they are unsure if they are even aware and prepared. But they will be warned, because time is now ticking.
“Your royal highness, Sir Luken.. Erm.. May I ask, what are you thinking about? You seem rather stressed, sir.” The servant says with a look of worry, placing down a cup of tea by the table. He stood by the prince, examining his elegance.
The prince of Legionaries, Luken Wolfhart, sat by the balcony of his castle, a section from the Wolfhart palace. He wore lavish embellished tunics with a cloak in red, with golden linings forming shapes throughout it. It was the visual definition of nobility.
He looks away from the beautiful balcony scenery of the kingdom, and he snaps out of his thoughts as his servant came to offer a drink, in which he kindly accepts.
“Thank you, Jack..” He smiles at him, showing a clear respect to the newly promoted man. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking of much. I’ve just been preparing for a meeting. Really. Nothing to worry about.”
“Ah, a meeting for one of your vassals, how could I forget? Are they newly assigned, or already owned by you?”
The servant asks.
“Newly assigned. I know her father very well, he served for me. You might have heard of her, she has been getting quite the praise from recent townsfolks. Kathryn ‘The Impaler’.”
Luken carefully holds the cup of tea with a posh sitting stance, blowing it before taking a sip.
“Kathryn? The rogue Impaler? I see. You seek for counts that will aid you to catch the rogues?” The servant said with a slight change in tone, as he found it surprising that his master is finally taking the right steps to the position of a king. Order and control is a part of it.
“So the rumours are true, my Prince. Were you tasked by your family to clear the rogues, alongside your brother?”
“The rumours are true.” Luken simply replies, but with a rather careless and monotone voice. He didn’t seem to look that prideful about it. Not a hint of excitement at all.. Though, he is usually this gloomy, especially around the Wolfhart Palace. He puts down his cup and looks up at his servant.
“Jack, you must make your way now. I need to form my words before my count comes. Which will be very soon-.. and do make sure the food is ready. We need the favourited breakfast of the second district, fresh meat and potatoes.”
The servant nods and makes no question about the prince’s attitude. He immediately exits out of the balcony, on his way to the kitchen to prepare for the early meals.
Luken turned his sights to the view outside the balcony. Towards the kingdom, which roared its peace and tranquillity. Birds chirping by the rooftops of several homes, with a busy atmosphere from the streets. So many people.. so many lives off on their own adventures.. they all had something to live for. And almost everything was offered here. It almost felt like freedom. Inside the walls of Legionaries, the centre of protection. Yet not all of these people were born the same way.. those outside the walls did not get the same protection.
Hence why several of them were killed a month ago.
A few minutes passed by and there would be an audible ruckus from the outside of Luken’s room. Then, the door slammed open, with the visitor, newly accounted comrade, Kathryn Stark. The Impaler of Rogues.
The guards near the door swiftly went into their combat positions before realizing her identity, in which they reverted back into their statue-like stance.
Fixing her messy dark hair, she wore a uniform made out of tunic, with a slightly heavy leathered armour over her top. She had unusually large boots on, which Luken had guessed that it was to hide her short height. Though, still by a small margin.
Breathing heavily, she looked exhausted. And again, Luken guessed that it was due to the way up the castle. It’s high up, just as he’d want it to be.
“I sincerely apologize, your highness..!! I hope that I am not late!”
She addressed in an obvious tone of sadness, brushing off any dirt on her clothes before closing the door and taking her first direct glance at the prince.
And with her surprise, he kept a brooding stare at her.
Before switching off and letting out a smile, Luken stood up from his chair and gestured for her to take a seat at the balcony with him.
“The daughter of Sir Stark.. Kathryn. You are not late by any means! The time is still tierce. You mustn’t worry.”
She smiled back at him. Before settling in, Kathryn took a quick glance around the room and at its cheaply lit luxuries. It looked like the usual room for a noble. Filled with golden artefacts and treasures, even. Nothing much to expect.
She took off her leather armour and other placements of protection, and hung them nearby the door, then would make her way towards the balcony. She took a deep breath upon talking to the prince for the first time. She had dreamt for this to happen.. To impress her family, and her father. Because she had always wanted to prove her father wrong. And now, she is going to be the prince’s newly appointed vassal. Although her drive to get here was immense, she had never really expected it to happen so fast.
She had rehearsed for this very moment. And so, Kathryn sat down by the other seat and straightened her posture. Looking at the prince, she had noticed everything the others have said about him. The charm, the elegance, the respect. It was written on his looks.
Luken swept his blond hair back and turned to the other way, towards his other servants, raising his hand in a certain gesture. Then they were off to the kitchen.
“So, straight into the subject of matter.. What brings you here, Kathryn?”
“To be appointed as-”
“No, truly, what brings you here? To be appointed as my vassal? To have earn your nickname, ‘The Impaler’?” He questions, keeping his smile doing so.
“Due to my father being one of your counts, sir.”
“You’re stating the blatant obvious, Kathryn. Speak true to yourself.”
It felt as if he was pressuring her to say the right answers. But there weren’t any right answers.. it is just all on her. And as Kathryn started thinking, she went through her past struggles. Many memories of hard work to get to this point. Where did it all really start? There was nothing much to it.. She began to think about her words for quite a while.
“It’s fine, take your time-” Luken insisted before getting interrupted unusually.
“Growing up as a girl, I’m sure you know that it was very unusual for me to tell fellow nobles that I wanted to be someone’s vassal, and to own and lead my own army of knights. I was exposed to a higher education and studied subjects such as duelling, stewardship and other normally noble pursuits like hunting.. And years afterwards, I was enrolled in a officers academy where I studied tactics of leaders, and I succeeded to a high rank in the military. As you know, I spent most of my military service chasing down isolated rebellions and crushing them through their countless bandit attacks.. And I proceeded to line the county border in impaled rebels.. Which pleased and shocked many lower nobles in the county. Even a duchy. This gave me the brand ‘The Impaler’. I was finally given a small group of knights to manage and to keep me from protecting this kingdom from our own common people.” Kathryn spoke out with her lengthy answer, keeping a straight face.
“I wanted to prove everyone wrong, and most importantly, protect the kingdom-”
Luken stood up, his seat creaking against the floor, completely interrupting Kathryn. He had a stern look to his face. He stretched his legs, taking his cup of tea and walking over to the edge of the balcony, where he continued to stare at the streets of the capital, and the walls of the kingdom afar.
“That is enough about your past. I can see the pride in you, but may I ask one more question.. What is life to you, Kathryn?”
“Depends on whom, a soldier whom would lay his life to protect his kingdom is the noblest of all. But a rebel whom betrays the kingdoms moto is worth not even a quarter of a life.”
“Indeed.. but how much are YOU willing to sacrifice, for the sake of the kingdom’s future?”
“In all fairness, my Lord. I would kill half the duchy to prevent it falling into the wrong hands whether rogue or not, as you probably know I’m responsible for destroying multiple villages that had cooperated with rebels in the past year. If you are worried about me not putting in effort, I can assure you, I WILL complete the task.”
“That-.. That is good to hear.”
Luken smiled, turning back to Kathryn.
“This week, we’ve found a corpse, hung up around the capital. The corpse of a guard.”
“That is such blatant disregard for the Kings men, by law that counts as high treason have the men been executed yet or did their heads get caught on a pike!!” Kathryn yelled without a care for respect, rage filled her eyes.
“For who these rebels may be.. It can be a rogue noble, or a commoner.. I’ve gotten news that the outskirt slums are missing it’s people.. It could just be another attack with the giants, or the recruitment of the military.. But it’s possible that some of these missing commoners could be the rogue rebels. We just don’t know where they are located at.” He said with a cold tone of voice, sipping on his tea soon after.
“So you want me to find these rebels? I can hunt them down. I assure you. But two questions plague my mind. Firstly, I only posses a small squad of knights and I would need to request management of multiple professional soldiers and not levies, and what part is my power limited? am I allowed to look into the militaries of all the counts and am I forbidden from burning villages?” She asked with a look of experience. She showed no remorse based on the situation.
“You are indeed forbidden from burning villages or any townsfolk, that’s a rule I must keep.. I mustn't go that far. You also may look into the military and see if there are any signs of the rogues whereabouts. I’ll assign more knights with you, but not too much. Just those that are fairly experienced.”
Luken replied whilst sitting back down.
“I can agree to these terms. I hope the next time we meet, it is admiring a view of an execution ceremony for the rebels, have your vassals sent your taxes to you or are they late to pay up, I can always head to their keeps to pay up on my way home.” Kathryn nods at Luken, both pleased to agree and setting stone their plans to hunt down rogues. Both were ready to prove people wrong and show control over the kingdom in their own ways..
Though, Kathryn's plans to exit by that agreement had failed, as she had to stay for the food. Multiple servants came by to serve the breakfast, topped with rare and freshly cooked meat from the second district.
"Before you get too excited, you must fill your stomach up. Feast, Kathryn. There is a long day ahead of you."
Luken said, straightening his robes, his long blond hair drifting by the winds.
"You will need the energy, my vassal."
-TO BE CONTINUED-