Enemy cries surrounded Korn's hearing. What was happening? He had fallen twice in battle, twice! without dying. It was something unheard of in their army. Someone passes out and still survives. But, regardless of reasoning and logic, Korn survived being knocked out TWO TIMES.
His hearing was deafened, his body felt heavier, and his vision was lost. He tried to feel something throughout his body. Nothing, he tried to nudge his foot, move his arms, lift a finger, but, again, nothing. However, something burned inside of him. It called to be used, but he wasn't going to entertain its request, not until every hope of him moving was lost. A minute passed, and his body was seemingly dead, but his consciousness lived, it yearned for him to heal his limbs, but he was a stubborn bastard.
General Khol always pointed out that there were limits to constantly depending on downcasting and finding the right balance, between natural and phenomenal strength. He let out a big large scream or at least in his mind he did. He was physically dead, but his mind floated in the spiritual realm. A place of darkness and nothing else. Something called him, it wasn't his reserves waiting to be used, NO, but something else. Death, yes, it called him to him. Like a mother embracing her child after not seeing him for a long time. He came from nothing and was going to return back home.
His mind snapped, he did it, after internally battling with his stubborn self, Korn finally returned to reality. Someone was shouting at him, calling him to get up. Give me more time, he replied to the unknown voice. It was annoying, the irritating voice still continued to demand that he got up and fought. His replies didn't seem to get passed his lips. He did return to the real world, but, his body wasn't healed yet. He dared to drown in his reserves and use most of them. Suddenly his sense to feel returned. Like being battered with a dummy bat, all his senses suddenly him. It took a moment before he got to recollect his thoughts.
His fingers began to twitch, luckily his body felt heavy. He was under a dead corpse. He twisted his way out of the dead weight and luckily his limbs began to function again. The men surrounding him were being pushed into a circular parameter around him.
"Sir!" one of the men called him "We really need your help," the man said as he blocked a blow from an enemy soldier trying to pressure him.
Korn got up on his feet. He reached for his sheath, but unfortunately didn't find his sword. He looked around; his head pained by the motion, but he had no choice but to fight off the pain. He internally charged his head with downsap, allowing him to heal any headache he had. And, moved the rest of his reserves, charging both his legs and arms. He still didn't feel as energetic as he did before getting knocked out, but he was in far better condition than he was before.
BANG! Another blast shot in an area next to where he was; the aftershock shaking him on the impact. He lost balance and fell to his knees. As his legs touched the ground, he felt metal clang under him. He moved a cloth that covered the strange object, and as he uncovered it he was happy to see it was a sword. He grabbed the hilt and fell into a more calm and collected stance. He didn't want to stretch his stamina to the maximum but also wanted to be able to quickly remove enemies out of his way.
Both his hands held the tip of the sword's hilt, arms stretched and back slightly bent forward. His legs were planted on the ground, his right foot planted ahead of him, while the other stayed at the back. Predstance was the form's name. It favored slow foot movements complemented with quick lunges, it was more defensive than the other stances Korn practiced, but, that wasn't a problem as he was able slightly to enhance it to what he needed.
The enemies around him fell off balance and stumbled to the ground; the men protecting him fell as well. It was a double-edged situation. On the one hand, he could eliminate those in front of him, but, while that would be definitely useful to him, he would be on the enemy's ground with no one to guard him, if he was stabbed from the back, all was lost, there was going to be no third knockout.
Not caring for his own safety, Korn improvised his predstance by carrying another weapon from a fallen soldier. It was a long spear. Something he wasn't experienced at handling, but could still manage using. On second thought, he thought to himself dropping the spear. He wouldn't want to die a stupid death.
Two figures were battling for their lives across from Korn. One of them was struggling while the other tried his best to defend his partner. Korn squinted his eyes trying to identify who those skilled warriors were. But, he couldn’t make their features out, so he quickly hoped on top of one enemy to another and there he made out Teph’s phenomenal skill with the sword as he demolished every enemy that attacked him all while protecting Beth who struggled with the other enemies who fought her. Although Teph was easily destroying his enemies, his efficiency was deteriorating.
Enemy men stood from the ground surrounding Korn. He switched his focus onto them and began fighting them off. He somehow still had to make his way and assist Teph and Beth, whom by Korn’s estimations, had a few moments before they were completely overwhelmed.
He smirked to himself while twisting his way out of an enemy’s thrust. It was ironic. Moments ago he was in the same situation, struggling to make him and rescue Teph and Beth. Two times. Again, Korn found himself in the same situation. Where two of the same occurrences happened twice. What is happening today? He asked himself, hopefully, he would live long enough to answer the question.
Another man lunged his spear at him with careful precision; in the corner of Korn’s eyes, he was able to make out the man closing his left pupil, as he tried his best to aim at him, Korn immediately moved out the spear’s way and stabbed the enemy in his chest. His stance allowed him to draw his enemies to make the first move, while he analyzed their attack and responded accordingly. Problem is, the process was slow and gave other men targeting him an open chance to attack.
Luckily, he had downsap on his side, and as much as he hated depending on it, it was saving his life and he was thankful. Time was dragging as he fought the enemies swarming him. He quickly made a choice. He moved all the downsap in his head and drove most of it to his leg, the rest unconsciously made its way to his arms.
As the last man from the current wave dropped, he sprinted to where the two generals were fighting. He broke into the lines of men attacking them and entered their circle. Apparently, another man was defending Beth with Teph.
His back was towards Teph’s. He felt strange energy get lit inside of him. It wasn’t downsap, but something else, something Korn hadn’t felt for a long time, excitement. The two experienced soldiers were like a force of a whole battalion. No one was able to tag them, their forms were aggressive, and they fought not caring about the damage they received, throwing swings and thrusts. This was the thrill of war, the intimate feeling that fueled you during your weakest hours, and the two friends before generals used it to decimate whoever crossed them.
“Here for the rescue. Again.” Korn said to Teph as he engaged three men in front of him. Teph took a while before he replied.
“Save this talk for later. What the hell happened?” He asked. Before Korn could reply he heard the cannon blast again. In a millisecond he found himself staring at the ground. The impact’s location was close by.
Korn forced himself to stand up but was unfortunate to see that on the hill that stood ahead of him, artillery cannons were set up. And, they were directed at him and his group. What the hell is that? A man stood next to it operating the strange weapon of destruction. Korn stood tall and in defiance, knowing that moments later he would pass into the afterlife. Beth and Teph stood up moments later, they noticed what he was staring at and said nothing. This is it, he told himself, the moment that every man and woman thought they were prepared for, yet wanted to delay as much as they possibly could. Every person wanted to go to heaven, but no one wanted to die. The three comrades used their downsap to hold their stand. Men that surrounded them were all fallen, some died but others couldn’t stand up, you damned magic, thanks for assisting me when I needed you most. The man handling the cannon raised his hand into the sky carrying a stick that faintly glowed; it was fire. And, slowly he moved it towards the large weapon and before it made contact, Korn closed his eyes. He was ready.
He waited for a second, and it passed. He waited for another, and it passed. Maybe the third? It passed as well. What had happened?
He opened his eyes and was blessed to see a figure in blue Morshan plate slay those who operated the artillery cannons. Mort! You damned bastard, Korn smiled at himself. What a bloody coincidence this was! Mort had abandoned HQ when he wasn’t supposed to, but Korn was blessed to find him standing tall and proud.
It didn’t end there a large force joined the battle and Korn teared up when he saw Jack leading them. It was working, they did it, they survived damnation. After all, they went through, everything began to set itself in place.
Trent watched with his jaw dropped. Men embraced him and he felt tears trickle down his cheeks. Jackson actually made it in time! Trent and the others at HQ thought of his arrival, but they didn’t know that he was going to charge back with his full army. It was one of two explanations. Jack finished his task and received little to no casualties or Mon had charged with all of his men and left some at his camps to confuse them; which he did. But, Trent didn’t care, and neither did his men, for now, they celebrated Jack’s arrival.
The battle had ended, Mort explained that he claimed Mon’s head in a duel, which in return depleted his men’s morale. Jack and his force were able to clear the rest of the battle, needing no help from the other armies that were already exhausted. Teph was disappointed in his performance. A year ago he fought men with his fists, today he couldn’t defeat Mon with his sword and squad. But, all he could do was train and hope that next time he would be better.
Three more thousand lives were lost to the original four bringing the death toll of their army to a staggering seven thousand men. Even though Mon lost, he didn’t lose as many lives as he did; his men surrendered an hour after Jack’s arrival.
He was called to an urgent meeting by Trent, they were supposed to rest, but when Teph heard it was a message from General Khol, he forgot all the pain and arrived at Trent’s tent first. Slowly everyone arrived; Trent was last as he got some equipment and set everything up for their meeting. And, when Khol’s username showed up on the screen, silence.
“Hello everyone,” the general said, his voice hadn’t changed, of course it didn’t you dumb ass. “I commend your efforts. I wouldn’t have handled the situation better myself, but, that is not to say you could have reduced the lives lost,” they all looked down in shame. They sat at the rectangular table; there were six seats but one was taken to accomodate the screen that showed the general Khol’s disappointed face; so, Jack stood up behind Teph.
“I would love to discuss the details and hear from each and every one of you, but I don’t have the time. Listen to what I am about to tell you. It is very important, but I have bad news."
"I am becoming," he took a deep breath "President.” Everyone looked up shocked at what they had heard and the General continued. “I will see you next week in my office at the presidential house, but for now, I cannot reveal anything as I don’t have the time to, details about why I got such a position will be revealed by then, as for now take care, everyone.” The screen turned off leaving everyone to process what they just heard.
END OF PART ONE
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