~ Side Story: The memories of an old general (Part 1) ~
[38 years ago in the Albeyater Kingdom]
[Brekkar's point of view]
The journey was long and treacherous, but with my guidance and protection, we had nothing to fear! By the fall of night, we would reach Drakaria, the wonderful capital of our Albeyater Kingdom. Tomorrow was going to be a glorious day for our family, my granddaughter, Seryanna, was going to take the Royal Knight exam and most certainly pass!
Why, I would be a dried up Merion if this wasn't going to happen!
I trained my granddaughter myself, and she had both the skill and wisdom to stand on the battlefield right by my side! This was something I often bragged about to that old lizard tail, Feryumstark!
“Grandfather? Why did you drag me along as well?” asked my my third youngest granddaughter, Thraherkleyoseya.
My son was wise, but sometimes his naming sense felt like it got tossed off a rocky mountain and didn't even try to avoid the jagged cliffs on the way down.
“Because your grandmother was not very pleased with your latest prank. What were you thinking catapulting the captain of the guards into the ladies bathroom like that? The maids nearly had a heart attack!” I ruffled her hair.
“Stop it, grandpa!” she pouted.
I smirked proudly.
This little prankster was never ill intended. We all knew this...
Unfortunately, she awakened as a black-scale. They were some of the most hated dragons because of their affinity with the black arts. Although unbeatable as spies and assassins, theirs skills did very little in proving their worth outside of military and political plots.
When she was younger, she wanted to be a shadow puppeteer, but after she had her heart broken by that lad, Iolaus, things went downwards for my little angel. To make it worse, he awakened as a white-scale, Thraherkleyoseya's complete opposite in elements. And if that wasn't enough, the stupid boy ended up recruited by the Temple of Light, which absolutely despised all black-scales because of some religious nonsense.
Even with my fame and reputation as a general, there wasn't much I could do about it. This was their fate, but if the gods would have it, I wanted to be offered the opportunity to give that boy a good thrashing! One that he would never forget!
Indeed, I was determined to do this! Maybe the next time I saw him, I would punch him right in the face, no questions asked!
“Sister, it was your fault, you know? But you shouldn't despair, we get to see Drakaria! It's amazing!” Seryanna said with a bright smile.
She was a cheerful girl, always filled with energy and the desire to help others. If I were to guess, she inherited this bright personality of hers from her mother, although, instead of becoming a refined lady, she took the path of war like her father.
I let out a sigh and looked ahead at the big capital of Albeyater Kingdom, Drakaria. It was a marvelous city renowned for its resilience in the face of time and feared for the strength of its guards. And there, right at the heart of this city, my granddaughter was going to take her Royal Knight exam and then pledge her loyalty to the third daughter of that old lizard.
[Two days later, after the exam]
“I think she will become a fine Knight once she awakens, Brekkar.” the old lizard remarked.
“I think she is already a fine Knight! Your daughter will be in safe hands, I promise this!” I replied with a smirk.
The two of us were currently in the middle of a small sparring match. Sparks flew left and right as our sword collided. We didn't use [Boost] or any other body enhancement spells besides those needed for defense. We also promised not to use any spells during the match. If we did, we might have accidentally blown up half of Drakaria.
“Still, I wonder... Aren't you getting a bit rusty, you old fool?” the old lizard said with a smirk as he aimed his blade at my neck.
The sharp edge was avoided by a scale's length, and I pushed forward, slamming my shoulder in his chest. He was thrown back by two steps and let out a cough.
“Nah! I feel just fine! Always ready to kick your scaly behind on the field! You might be the King, my friend, but your crown can't save you from getting your ass whooped by me!” I declared with a broad smile.
“Nonsense! It will be you who will end up picking dirt from between your teeth by the end of this round!” the old lizard bragged and took his battle stance.
Well, I might call him an old lizard, but he didn't look aged at all. The Albeyater Kingdom's King was at the peak of his strength just as he was centuries ago, maybe he was stronger. We both were, but in our little spars, we were close to equals... Well, sort off... I felt like the old fool was hiding his true strength because he feared I would stop sparring with him if I knew he was far stronger than me.
Just as we were about to cross swords again, a messenger arrived.
“My liege! My liege! Urgent news from the West!” he said and then stopped at the edge of the training field to take his breath.
“The West? Is it from my domain?” I asked curiously.
“Yes, Sir Brekkar...” he replied, but I didn't like the look on his face.
So he brings bad news, eh? I thought, but not even I could suspect how terrible the news actually were.
“Speak, dragon!” the King declared.
“Yes, your Majesty!” he saluted and stood straight. “The Brekkar Plains have come under attack by an invading human army. Our scouts found out they are being led by a human Breakthrough-er. The fortresses Sendra, Callus, and Thorn have fallen and the army is currently settling in on the territory. The attack was swift and didn't last more than three days. This happened one day ago...” he stopped and then gulped.
I clenched my jaw and squeezed the hilt of the sword so hard it felt like the metal deformed in my grasp. My whole family was settled in those three fortresses. The King's adoptive son, Coshun, was there as well last I remembered.
If they had been conquered already, then... what about them? Are they still alive? I asked myself, but if anything, I knew I was praying for too much.
“Why is the news of an invading army four days late?” the King asked with a glare.
The messengers in the Dragon Kingdoms were dragons who were known to be among the fastest in flight. From The Brekkar Plains all the way to Drakaria, it shouldn't have taken him more than a day.
“They killed off all the messengers as soon as they took flight. Groups of adventurers hidden in the forests took them out. I had to take the ground route until I was far enough to assume beast form.” he replied.
“Such a thing... How was it possible?” the King asked in anger.
I placed my hand on the shoulder of the old lizard and then told him “Let me have my revenge.” I requested.
I didn't need to ask again. My old friend would have flown himself on the battlefield if needed be, but considering the situation, I couldn't allow him to take such a risk. There were many other ways a King like him could help me without facing the heat of the battle by my side.
Still... How was I supposed to break the news to my granddaughters?
[A few hours later]
The Brekkar Army, what was left of it anyway, was assembling on the outskirts of Drakaria. Messengers flew in all directions to send word to my troops of the upcoming battle. They all either rushed here or headed towards a place where they might meet us. I planned not to waste even a single second idling about while waiting for the army to gather to its full strength. Besides, on the order of the King, the other general lent me several of their troops as well.
My army's battle power once we reached The Brekkar Plains was going to be of 27000 strong dragons. Half of the Brekkar Army's original strength, but with me at the front, it was worth more than a 70000 strong one.
“Grandfather... mother... father..” Seryanna said with tears in her eyes while clenching her fists.
I let out a sigh and gently patted her head. “You are to stay here, young whelp. Your battle is not this one to fight. As a Royal Knight, you have the responsibility of standing by your lord's side and shielding her from all those who bear her harm will. Do you understand, Sir Seryanna?” I asked, letting my intent be known.
The child nodded her head, but the tears didn't stop.
Seeing her angry expression made me realize just how much I treasured her innocent smile. It was unfortunate that she would have to go through something like this, but such was the fate of the gods... Maybe the fact that these two children were spared was also their will?
Alas, I was old enough to know how to hide my own anger...
I closed my eyes and thought Sendra... I'm sorry I wasn't by your side. I pray that you escaped the fires of war and that we will meet safely somewhere... I opened my eyes and then donned my plated armor.
General Brekkar Draketerus was about to step on the battlefield once more, but this time... the blood of humans would turn the ground red!
[Two days later, after conquering Thorn]
The horns of victory sounded over the black battlefield, yet I was deaf to it. Dragons cheered for they had won and raised their arms to the sky as if to praise the gods above, while the bodies of humans littered the grounds around them.
All of them had either been chopped in half, ripped apart, burnt to a cinder, frozen and shattered, slashed by swords, cut by light, smashed by blunt weapons, or faced some sort of other horrible way to die. Even I held in my right hand the ripped out spine of the general who claimed this fortress.
My own body was drenched in my enemy's blood. My sword had ended the lives of countless humans, yet I felt nothing for them.
Neither rage, hate, or anger was in my heart.
There was nothing there... Or maybe it was better to say that I had felt despair to the point where my emotions had shattered to pieces and made me unable to feel anything.
How could I? No, what was I supposed to feel when looking at the bodies of my beloved children and grandchildren? What was I supposed to feel when I saw nothing but... pain?
Tears tried to form in the corners of my eyes, but nothing poured down on my cheeks. I gulped, yet I couldn't feel the spit in my mouth.
The bastards... they murdered them then hung them on the walls like criminals. With a single glance, I could see that their end was not a pleasant one. They suffered. They were tortured for the sake of it... for fun.
These humans... they were worse than monsters... worse than animals.
This was why, we, The Brekkar Army, murdered them all in cold blood. We left none escape our scaly grasp.
“Was I too late?” I dared ask in the end.
“No, Sir Brekkar, they had been dead for almost three days now. They never intended to keep them alive.” Decizor, an honorable commander, replied as he came forth with a towel, so that I may wipe off the blood of my enemies.
The dragon was in half-beast form, wearing his coat of brown scales and looking back at me with respectful black eyes.
“I see... Any survivors?” I asked.
“None.” came his reply.
The dragon closed his eyes and lowered his head. “My condolences, Sir Brekkar.” he said.
“Yes...” I mumbled then looked back at the hanging bodies of my children.
Could a father feel a pain more horrible than this one?
It was a question which answer I did not wish to hear...
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
Technically, this should have been the second Side Story, but as luck would have it, I was unable to finish the first one, and since this one is easier... well... better than no post, right?
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