Days Before Breakdown
76th day before the breakdown
Oranar knew the forest well. He walked on this land since his childhood; the trees, streams, hills and cracks were his good friends. As well as the herbs, trees, the fragrance of the flowers and the animals who lived here, their hunting ground and the watering place on the bank of the nearby brook which increased to river a bit further. He started to walk here and learnt to swin in the cool mountain lake, played war and battle of stone with his fellow youngsters, he captured his first prey here and he was together with a woman here the first time. But now Oranar only was watching the rock what was before him and he knew its all crack, projection and rift.
But now there was a several meters wide and long crack in the cliff. A crack which should not be here. Oranar was watching it with disbelief and tried to check more parts from the darkness which was inside the hole. He tried to use his all senses. They did not alarm and he was curious so he collected his bravery and took a deep breath then made a step. The creature what was in the deep of the hole only was waiting for this.
The black colored, thick hair covered, panther-sized and flexible moving beast started to attack noiselessly. It ran quicly and jumped with great power to Oranar’s chest. Oranar fell. The attacker went to left and Oranar turned his head toward it instinctively to measure his opponent. He looked into its ruby-colored glowing eyes when the creature opened its sharp teeth-fulled jaw to consume its prey with the demonic fire of the hell. Oranar did not have time to scream. He burned into ashes and only a human-formed body was lying in the grass movelessly.
A rattling sound was heard bye Oranar’s attacker then behind it more frightening cretures appeared to view the sun bathing and peachful landscape with satisfaction. The demons have arrived from the deep of the hell to conguer the inhabited and human-dominated world!
50th day before the breakdown
Aldagor was watching the tide of the hell beasts hiding behind the thick foliage of a tree. The different-looking monsters were running towards their target: a small nearby sentinel post was their target where a few guards were fighting persistently. It was clear they do not have a chance but they knew what their obligation is. Furthermore, they protected their nation, homes and family. They knew if they fail, the loved ones will be the prey of the monsters. They did not want it so fought until their death.
Aldagor almost fainted because of the fear, his feet trembled as his legs clambered into the tree. If he could do it, he would like to melt into the tree to hide from the seeking look. News said for some days that fearful creatures of the underworld were walking to the surface through demon gates. They destroy everything and everybody, both human and animal. Aldagor and his companions could not see the trace of it at the outpost but they were careful. They did more patroling every day and were watching the region. If the news are real then they wanted to be ready for fighting.
He and his tree companions started their patrol to the forests on the surrounding hills early in the morning. It was usually a routine task, but now they were very careful. Despite the carefulness they were not prepared and alert enough. The monsters attacked them from the bushes. The attack was a surprise but they had many years of fighting experience. They could halt the first attackers but the beasts had numerical superiority. Some moments later, Aldagor and his companions ran for their life to the outpost.
Aldagor changed his direction after a short time, jumped into the thicket and hoped the chasers will lose his track. He was running for some minutes – while spikes and thorns rended his dress and skin – then he caught a branch, draw on himself and hid in the foliage. It happened a half an hour before, thence he was watching hundreds of the walking monsters under himself with amazement and dread. He knew his companions in the stronghold does not have chance. Their fate was sealed.
After a short time, there was smoke over the trees on east as the stronghold caught fire. Fire was the main weapon of the hell’s offsprings. Aldagor blinked some to wash the tears from his eyes then he climbed down from the tree. The creatures left some time ago. He knew he has only one chance to survive if he reach the main city called Janagurt which was surrounded with a strong stonewall. Where the men can fight successful against the monsters, it can be only the main city which is strengthened and filled with soldiers.
42nd day before the breakdown
First a strange vibration appeared at the foot of the rocky mountainside. It seemed, the air thickened and started to wave on the surface as the weak wind ruffles it. Then the gap which opened to the hell started to take shape in red color.
The demon lord stiffened for a moment waiting for the vibration to disappear. Then he shouted one and watched with pleasure that the hell’s servants with lower rank were running through the demonic gate to the unprotected and sunny surface. They were ignorant and silly creatures which lived for the destruction and carnage, their actions were managed by instincts or they did what they leaders said. The demon lord set them free and they took the opportunity to kill everybody and defeat everything which they met.
Foremost the fast hell hunds and demon wolves were running. Everybody can hear their howling from afar. The desire for destruction drove them, the promise of death gleamed in their red-glowing eyes. If they slowed down, then the bull-headed hell servants slapped them with a fiery whip to urge them to run faster and fight.
Meanwhile under the foot of demon lord, big sized demon snakes were gliding. They wormed noiselessly and went very fast, only the steel-hardness demon scales grated on the walls of the cave. On the surface, this noise will be sucked by the soft ground and vegetation. So snakes can pounce on the prey unexpectedly and without noise.
Above the snakes, giant scorpion demons walked. Their chitin armor which covered their body can defend them against almost every kind of physical attacks. First limbs ended with human-sized scissors which were able to crush the armors made by humans. Their tail attacked the prey as a huge lance, then the green-glowing poison kills the surviving opponent in moments.
Far ahead, storm demon went forward almost crossing the gate. There was a swirl around him as he is walking in a small tornado. He defeated his weaker opponent with thunderbolt which only paralyzed the stronger ones, then he ripped them into pieces with his gigant claw paws.
Near to the demon lord, there were his most strongest servants, the bone demons and the incubus demons which protected their lord. Bone demons did not have flesh but their bones were harder than the steel and were sorrunded by fire aura. Incubus demons had almost infinite vitality and were able to survive almost every kind of damage. If they can cause damage on their prey, they steal their power immedately and even the most stonger fighters collapses before the feet of incubus demons. This skill came from hellish ancient magic.
Demon lord checked his servants again then he started to move too. He shouted one to let the creatures of the surface know that he arrived and prepared for the destruction. He knew that also another hordes have started to attack the unprotected world with the leadership of demon leaders, demon lords and demon princes.
34th day before the breakdown
Hiang Su, the leader of the imperial armies leant with his hands on the table and was watching the marks on the big map with care-worn look. In Emperor Waganir’s palace, several commanders, leaders and warlords gathered to discuss the possibilities and decide on the strategies which they will follow. Here and now, the cooperation of everybody was necessary, the ancestry and the past did not matter! Only the fighting knowledge and the experience!
‘Let’s hear the report!’ Hiang Su turned to the messenger who had arrived some moments ago. The messenger took breath fast, his face was covered by dust, his cloth was sweaty and dirty after the 2-days long riding. He looked up and started to recite the report with Hardanal, the leader of the sent armies, entrusted him.
‘Demonic hordes crossed the border of the empire 5 days ago. They arrived in the night, surprised the Seventh Imperial Legion which we arranged only recently. The legion consisted of inexperienced voluntaries. Their equipments were excellent but the moral, the hardiness and the bravery was on very low level. Demons defeated them during a few hours. It was not a battle, only a massacre. The survivors scattered, gathering of the the soldiers and reorganize them are impossible and unnecessary,’ the messenger looked up timidly, he was not happy that he have to tell these news.
‘Continue!’ the commander said.
‘In the same time the Sixth Imperial Legion was attacked too. This legion consisted of voluntary adventures who had fighting experience and enlisted in the army some days ago. They did not receive military training but they were qualified fighters who had chance in the fighting against the demons. They retreated in small groups while they caused serious damage to the attackers. It seemed it is not enough, the demons had inexhaustible resupply, they were swarming out of the gates. According to the calculations, the legion retreated to the main city and the monster are on their track,’ the messenger stopped speaking and gulped one from his cup to make wet his dry lips.
‘What happened with the First Imperial Legion?’
‘The First Imperial Legion was surrounded by the hellish creatures. By the lead of Hardal, the veterans who were forged in battles, after they entered into deffensive formation broke out from the circle of enemies at the eastern side. They retreated to the capital as fast as they could to participate in the defense of the city. Their casualities were minimal but they caused horrible casualities to the demons which attacked without thinking, strategy and plan. As Warlord Hardanal said, they will arrived in three days. They had to leave the resupply and the spare equipments behind so they will need food, drink and newer weapons and armours. The members of the legion are exhausted because of the continuous fight so they have to take a rest for 10 hours at least.’
‘Thank you for the report, you can take a rest,’ Hiang Su turned toward the leaders who were around the table and gave them the instructions. Everbody knew what to do and that they can not make mistake because they will not have a chance. Maybe they do not have any… The four legions which are in the region gather on the Dragon Field and take battle formation. Recharge their supplies, the imperial treasury, the armoury and the smiths of the city are at their service. The first Imperial legion are allowed to rest for 12 hours. During this time they must recharge their supplies and then move to the Dragon Field and take battle formation in the centre. Recruit new soldiers from the imperial guards. If we lose the battle, the guards will not be needed anymore. Gather the members of the Sixth Imperial Legion, reorganise them and increase their numbers with the adventurers in the region. Then the legion move to the Dragon Field and join the right wing of the Third Legion. Healers, mediwitches and priests be prepared to tend the wounded - the leader stopped the talking, glanced through the participants to search for any sign of fear or weakness. If a leader does not believe in himself/herself, and doubt are in the mind, it can be fatal. Nobody likes the weak-handed and uncertain leaders in war time. Hiang Su nodded with satisfaction and finished the conference on softer tone:
‘Lords! We can not lose this war! If it happens, then our empire and civilization will be defeated and our women, mothers and children will be the prey of the demons, our city will burn down. Emperor Wanagir trusts in us, we can not lose! Go and prepare the soldiers for the final battle! And everbody pray! We need the power from above.’