Grimgal Of Ashes And Illusion / Grimgal of Ashes and Illusion Vol 3 Chapter 11
LEVEL 3: Even the Best Laid Plans go Awry, but Such is This World
Chapter 11: Warriors of the Frontier
His name was Anthony Justin. He was a dignified and much honored Warrior attached to the Frontier Army’s First Brigade, Warrior Regiment. He wasn’t just some run-of-the-mill fighter though, he was skilled and masterful. Anthony led the Warrior Regiment assigned to assault the main gate of Capomorti Fortress as the regiment’s illustrious captain, staking his honorable name on doing his part in Operation Twin-Headed Snake. And he and his warriors had been steadily gaining ground since the assault began.
Naturally, the most appropriate position for a Warrior of his skill and stature was at the front lines. Thus, he had been leading his courageous men in the charge upon the outer wall at the head of the main army. Deep in his heart, however, there was something about this entire situation that he deeply resented: The person named Ren Waters.
Brigadier General Ren Waters was a cowardly old man who couldn’t hurt a fly. There was nothing Paladin-like about him. He was mainland-born and a spineless pansy. A real Paladin would stand at the head of the army, would be willing to risk his own life to protect his fellow soldiers. In fact, any frontier-born Paladin with any guts at all would do at least that much, but that filthy mockery of a Paladin, Waters, was different.
He had surrounded himself with a hundred other Paladins and several Priests in order to protect himself, positioned himself at the back of the main army, and then attempted to look as authoritative as possible. He was an idiot. A shameless, gutless retard, worse than garbage. He was a member of the well-known House Waters, but possessed none of the family’s qualities. He should just die. Die and rot in hell.
Even if General Graham Lasentora was unavailable because he was leading the attack on Steelbone Stronghold, Brigadier General Ian Latti should have been the one to lead the formidable, peerless soldiers of the regular army in the assault on Capomorti Fortress. Latti was born and bred on the frontier and had a reputation of being a warrior amongst Warriors. Waters should have been left behind in Altana, cowering behind the city’s fortifications like a newly hatched chick.
This entire time Anthony’s men had been taking down the lookout posts and orc camps, braving torrents of arrows while charging the walls, and even now attempting to break down the main gate with battering rams, yet Waters was doing absolutely nothing to contribute. All he had done was cry the order, “Move out!” at the very beginning and that was it. Even a six-year old brat could have done it.
Altana’s Frontier Army was composed mostly of soldiers who were locals of the area. They were rugged and tough, proud of their native roots, and they treated the spineless, cowardly soldiers from the mainland with contempt. Soldiers from the mainland talked big and were always quick to boast, but they couldn’t handle a sword to save their lives. They were so pathetic, they deserved every bit of the scorn and bile thrown at them.
In reality, when it was announced that Ren Waters had been assigned overall command of the Capomorti front, morale amongst the men had plummeted. It was like adding insult to injury, having been assigned to Capomorti in the first place. Everyone knew Steelbone was the main objective and no one wanted to be left with the job of attacking Capomorti, where victory was assured. As soldiers, they would do their jobs and bring the fortress down, of course… but when they won, it would count as another feather in Ren Waters’ cap. And victory was the only expected outcome.
Damn that Ren Waters. Damn him to hell. This was the power of family influence; there was nothing else to explain it because Waters certainly didn’t obtain his position through merit! Waters didn’t have to do anything to move up the ladder, he was simply elevated. That was the way these things worked.
General Graham Lasentora, the unofficial symbol of the Frontier Army, was forty-six years old this year. He was still young, but there was a strong rumor that the mainland was also after his military services. He was offered the position of High General no less than three times, all of which he had refused. Everyone believed, however, that he would eventually transfer to the mainland. There were also rumors that Ren Waters was maneuvering to take Lasentora’s position here after he left.
Three Brigadier Generals served under Lasentora. Brigadier General Ian Latti, Shithead Ren Waters, and Brigadier General Jorrud Horn, who was constantly at Lasentora’s side. Logically, the most obvious successor to Lasentora would be Horn, but the reality was, Lasentora’s and Horn’s relationship was much too close. If Lasentora went to the mainland, then there was a good chance that Horn would want to follow.
In that case, the next person in line would be Ian Latti. In terms of skill and ability, there was no doubt that he was head and shoulders above Waters, but that shithead Waters might already be using his family’s power and influence to take the title of General for himself. It was definitely a possibility. On the other hand, shitheads were shitheads so he might want to return to the civilized mainland. Good. Hurry up and go. A shithead should go back to the world of shitheads where he belongs.
Anthony had never seen the mainland that lay on the other side of the Tenryuu Mountains. He imagined, though, that it was a land filled with dozens, even hundreds of human cities. Its rural areas, too, would have stretched as far as the eye could see, where livestock leisurely roamed the open ranges.
The wild tribes in the south remained unconquered and defiant of the authority of the Aravakia Kingdom, but they were not a major threat. On the infrequent occasions that conflict did break out, it was rare for the kingdom’s soldiers to actually die in battle. In fact, the wild tribes were too preoccupied fighting each other.The Aravakia Kingdom sometimes even stepped in to mediate the inter-tribe disputes. It was almost as if Aravakia was a compassionate father and the wild tribes were its quarrelsome sons.
Industry was well-developed, the people loved arts and entertainment, and they enjoyed the favor of the God of Light, Luminous. It was a society overflowing with happiness and prosperity. Altana and the mainland shared the same currency (the coins were minted in the mainland), but something that cost one gold on the frontier was as cheap as ten silvers on the mainland. The mainland was so highly developed that anything and everything was available at the markets. Even the poor could obtain meals and clothes quite easily by begging and even the most wretched beggars on the mainland lived better than soldiers on the frontier.
Shitheads. They were all goddamn shitheads.
Did any of the mainlander shitheads think about what made it possible for them to continue living their shithead lives? The blood of soldiers like Anthony, here on the frontier, that’s what. If Altana fell, then it would only be a matter of time before the earth-dragon tunnels running under the Tenryuu Mountains were discovered. Masses of invading orcs and undead would flood in. Even if there was never a full-scale invasion, the threat of one would always be there.
The mainland had built their riches and prosperity on the corpses of people like Anthony. It was like building a castle on a foundation of quicksand.
So no matter how great and wonderful the tales made the place out to be, no matter how much of a paradise it was, the mainland was still a stinking pile of fucking shit. To be completely honest, Anthony would rather invade the mainland and plunder their riches than fight then orcs and undead out here. He had the right, after all. He was the one protecting their wealth by doing his duty, and because he did his job, they were able to continue acquiring wealth. They owed their prosperity to Anthony and the other soldiers out here and it wasn’t an exaggeration when Anthony said that all of the mainland’s riches belonged to them.
But of course Anthony wouldn’t do any such thing. It wasn’t just the impracticality, it was his pride as a soldier. As much as he liked wine, women, and luxury food, he knew the domain of real men was the battlefield. Real men fought their fights here on the frontier.
“DIE REN WATERS!” Anthony shouted, making it his battle cry.
The men manning the battering ram responded as one, combining their might as they grinned and responded with shouts of, “Rot in hell Ren Waters!” or “Die shithead Waters!”
If Waters heard them from his position at the rear, it would mean trouble afterwards. But Anthony didn’t give a damn. They would do their jobs because it was their duty as soldiers. Their pride as warriors was on the line.
“Three, two, one, CHARGE!” Anthony yelled, waving his sword. “Three—”
Deafening roars of rage split the air. The god damn orcs! They were jumping off the walls directly into the fray. The southern wall was more than twenty feet high. That was NOT an insignificant distance from the ground. But the orcs were fearless; they leapt off the wall without hesitation, even crushing some of the soldiers unfortunate enough to be positioned where the orcs happened to land.
Those shithead mainlander soldiers constantly tended to underestimate orcs and other enemy races, but Anthony was true frontier bred and born. He had no such bad habits. He was wary of the daring and audacity of the orcs; they were unparalleled in both physical strength and toughness. The ten—no, closer to twenty—men at the front of the formation who weren’t expecting the attack from above were instantly cut down. Actually, not down, back; they were sent flying into their fellow soldiers in the deeper ranks.
It happened in an instant. The men manning the battering ram were dead even as they stood slack-jawed at the unexpected angle of attack. These were all veteran soldiers and they weren’t prone to carelessness, yet they had been cut down with ease. Anthony refused to give the orcs more opportunity to surprise them.
The front gate was still shut, so the orcs who had jumped down had no retreat. They had no option but to charge forward. They were a suicide squad and would die to the last orc. The orcs were, literally, deathly desperate. Come to think of it, Altana had launched this offensive because victory was guaranteed. They would succeed because failure was unthinkable. Everyone knew it for a fact. But the orcs never thought that they would die this way. Their will to fight was completely different and entirely inferior.
“Steady, men! Steady!” Anthony commanded.
He engaged a nearby orc, locking blades with it and looking for an opportunity to use [SPIRAL SLASH]. The orc, however, saw through him. It leaned in, not giving an inch, then sprang back and out of range.
“Surround them! We’ve got the numbers, surround them now!” yelled Anthony.
While some of his men obeyed at once, a large number of others hesitated, looking bewildered. They were paralyzed by indecision, unable to move even if they wanted to. Arrows descended from above again. The confusion in the ranks deepened and spread.
“We should retreat for now!” a soldier yelled.
“Don’t be a fool!” Anthony exclaimed angrily, fending off an orc’s slashing sword at the same time. “Our warrior’s prides are on the line! This is that shithead Ren Waters’ fault, but we’ve got no choice but to cover his sorry ass! Rise, Warriors of the Frontier! To me! To me! We’re going to break down that gate!”