I did not really end up writing much more yesterday after I crossed the 40,000 word line. However this morning I have been up and writing for awhile now. I just knocked out one chapter so I thought I would post it really quick. My intent is to write another one here in a few minutes. The final action is starting to play out and I think timing wise things are going to line up just fine. Give me enough time for the conflict resolution and a chapter to hint at things to come. The only problem I have is I have not been able to kill off any characters. I like them too much… I know the whole kill your darlings bit, but it seems cruel. The more I think about the more I think I will probably remove the very limited cursing so I can target the young adult market.
Here is the story so far, for anyone wanting to catch up. As always completely raw and unedited.
- Shadowed Stone
- Little Giant Girl
- Birthday Wishes
- The Gifts
- The Incursion
- The Watch
- Rough Landing
- Dragon Bone
- People of the Storm
- The Lady
- Cambridge Beneath
- Prisoner of War
- Parting the Veil
- People of the Earth
- The Pack
- Brittagus Escape
- The Lightskimmer
- The Nightlords
23 – Best Laid Plans
“What do you mean they have an army?” screamed Baigan and the cowering gobbley advisor. Firg visibly shaking at this point repeated the news. “General the scouts report that there is a force amazing on the other side of the wall at Hagengarde. It appears to be a combined force of Valkore, Sasquatch, and Eflen. The group has coalesced over the last few days starting only with the Valkore and quickly being joined by a large group of Sasquatch and Elfen.” Baigan beyond livid screamed at the quivering Gobbley once more. “How could this have happened and it went unnoticed? This was not supposed to happen. These races have no treaty or pact, they have no reason to fight together.”
“Oh but Baigan you are wrong, they have every reason to band together.” Another voice spoke up from the corner of the room. It was of the gorund advisor that Mogo has left here when he returned to House Bain in Tjorba. As Mogo put it, it was his assurance that everything go smoothly. Baigan thought the intruder was here to undermine him, but up until now he had remained quiet in his opposition. “You have taken too long, and shown your intent. Our forces have been in place for weeks letting everyone in the wildlands know our intent was to attack. Now these people have done what any logical people would, band together against a common enemy.”
“Sir there is more..” the gobbley continued feeling a bit strengthened by the comments of Firg. Baigan stared at the stammering advisor as though he was going to make him explode by the mere act. “Well then? What is this more? What other bad news do you have for me whelp?” Baigan had lowered his scream to somewhat but was no less frustrated. “There is a keep to the west, that contained a Nightlord Assassin of Lord Bain. A strike team has disabled the keep, and as far as I can tell has killed the Nightlord Khaloth. They are heading this way now as well, bringing with them a small army of wildfae.” The gobbley advisor finished waiting for the anger to return.
Baigan mulled this news over for a moment. Why did Bain have a Nightlord waiting nearby and not tell him. They were trying to undermine him, steal his glory for themselves. Everyone was conspiring against him, he had to be careful now, he had to make sure the masters will was done. He wanted to flay the gobbley and gorund with his stormfire, but he could not. He needed the big dumb brutes to fight against this so called army. “This is what you Trogjan are supposed to be good at right? Waging war? Then we will wage war on two fronts.” Baigan said without delving into his suspicions.
“We will array our war machines to the west to face the smaller force, and bring the weight of our Ort Backbreakers down to bear on the larger force from the south.” Baigan pronounced having decided this was the best course of action. “I will ride out to give the machines support with my magics, and you Firg will command your Ortan army.” The gorund admitted surprise, this was in fact the best course of action given the disparity in the sizes of the groups. The machines were better suited for the west as it gives them the high ground to attack down from. Maybe this impudent mage did know a thing or two about making war.
The gorund stepped forward from his chair in the corner. “I agree with your assessment. It is better for us to fight meat with meat and focus the bulk of our numbers to the south.” He stepped around to face baigan, his long flowing royal blue cloak trailing behind him. He was every vision of a general, broad shoulders encased in a rugged body armor. “I will now go prepare the troops for the assault. It could come at any time. Your magic will be most useful supporting our gobbley machines. I look forward to reporting our victory to Lord Bain.” He gave a mock salute and walked out of the main chamber.
Firg shuddered at the thought of the alternative. He knew that if they were defeated, Lord Bain would expect Baigan’s head as tribute for his offenses. The lord had expected him to fail, and in doing so he would finally be rid of the shades from his court. He could use this act of Baigan as a greater sign of the weakness of the shades and purge the Trogjan empire of their spindly filth. There was a time during the Winter war that they were needed, but that time has long passed and they add nothing that cannot be made up with machinery. Firg made a mental note to assign one of his assassins to the western front. In case of defeat he would need to capture Baigan’s head quickly and retreat with it to Tjorba.
The news about Khaloth was the most troubling as he walked out the castle to the southern front. Who had the power to destroy a Nightlord? They were beings of pure shadow, that resisted all known forms of attack. This combined with their almost unique code of loyalty to complete a contract at all costs and never turn upon the contractor made them absolutely terrifying opponents. Khaloth was their contingency plan, a way of getting through the sunwall if Baigan failed. He was to find a weak point in the wall and slip through as the main battle was going on and strike them from behind. He wondered if the Nightlord had in fact already breached the wall, but with the impending strike against Fort Kraken he could not risk sending someone out into the countryside to check. Anyone who could have bested Khaloth and his reavewolf pets is someone to certainly be wary of.
“This is not going as planned, none of this was supposed to happen” Baigan thought to himself as he left the throne room and descended into the bowels of the keep. The farmhouse had gone better than planned, how was he to know that this would not? In all the centuries since the Summerwall was raised, never once had the Elfen lowered themselves to associate with the Sasquatch primates or these Valkore scum. Someone was conspiring against him, that had to be it. Someone wanted him to fail, wanted him to look bad in the eyes of the master. Who could possibly be his rival, who would have the power to oppose him from behind the shadows. The gorund was far too brutish to carry this level of deception out, someone would have to be working behind the scenes bringing together these forces against him.
“I will get my answers” Baigan thought as he strode into the dungeon. He stopped in front of the cell of Benjanatos Waxwood, the Woodsblade protector of the queen. If someone was conspiring against him, it would likely be one of his companions from the council of seasons. As he entered the cell, Benj was slumped against his chains bound by his hands and feet to the wall. “Benj my old friend. You are going to give me some answers.” Baigan said cloyingly as he crossed the room to stand in front of the slumped man. “You… have never… been my friend. I have no answers for you” Benj mustered with as much force as he could put behind his words in this current weakened state.
Baigan thrust his arm out grasping the mans neck and squeezing slightly as he stared into the other man’s eyes. “Why are the Elfen cooperating with Sasquatch, Valkore and Wildfae?” He squeezed a little tighter “Why have they raised an army to defy my will?” the loosened his grip letting the mans head fall back down. “We have no army, but any free man would oppose you if given the chance.” Benj gasped, his voice barely a whisper. “They will retrieve the queen and free her, and destroy you in the process.” Benj summoned his strength and lifted his head to stare at Baigan, and with as much strength as he could muster spat into the others face.
Baigan screamed madly coalescing his rage into his palm coating it with shimmering ice. The pressed his palm into the other man’s bare chest and almost immediately there was a sizzling sound of flesh being burned by the cold. Benj scowled in pain as he writhed against the chains trying to back away from the icy cold, only finding a wall pinning him in place. Baigan sneered as his palm drove into the flesh of the other man, causing Benj to start panting as it applied pressure to his lungs cutting off his air supply. Baigan removed his hand, and the other slumped against the chains once more. On his chest a bright purplish scar began steaming as the flesh warmed to the temperature of the cell.
“No matter how badly I want to kill you. You will live Benjanatos.” Baigan said forcing himself to calm down. “I want you to see how futile this little rebellion is. I want you to watch as I take the heads of your alliance for trophies. I want you to see as the summerwall falls and the wildlands are ours.” Baigan leaned in close to the other who was now writhing in pain “Your suffering has only just begun”. Baigan crossed the room, and strode out of the cell, leaving the other hanging there suffering. He would crush this alliance, and in turn all of the races of the wildlands. He would further the masters plan, and be elevated as his greatest champion. Baigan Derrow would be a name feared everywhere.