60 Civil War
"Your Majesty, your guest has arrived. Shall I open the door for him?" Said Albert as he informed the King of his guest's arrival. His service skills amazed Clay repeatedly that even after he finished leading him, Clay was still nodding his head and praising the butler Albert over again in his mind.
"My King…" Clay bowed and curtsied as he continued his introduction, "… I am Clay, a pleasure to meet you. Finally. How has your health been lately?" Asked Clay as his curtsy finished and his back was straitened. He no longer had that subservient air around him like a humble man. But of a tyrant looking over the horizon and claiming all the lands his. He looked at the king as if looking at his subordinates when he seriously talked to them.
"No, it is my honor to finally meet the savior who have given me back my health and even some of my youth. To you Hero, Clay, I am most grateful." Said Gracius. His initial response has already put Clay in a good mood so he hoped that he would still acquiesce on the things that he further needs to take care of.
"King of Acadria, I did not come here to check up on you or your health. You must know this. I came to collect debt and to fulfill a promise once made. Your debt is your life that you owe me. To compensate me for that, what do you think is the most appropriate price?" Clay asked mysteriously.
In fact, Clay did not plan to do it like this, he did not even want to ask for payment, but would the king in his position in politics think that someone can do something as big as saving a king's life without price? The answer would be no. So, Clay played this role so that he would think of this as a charity case and then when he comes back later, he'd collect with interest. That would be detrimental to everyone but Clay.
The King shut up and thought for a long while. And when he was ready to answer Clay, he said, "In all honesty, I cannot think of anything at all except my throne to offer you, yet even a man such as you, I know you do not want to be tied down in one place. So, the throne is not what you would want. I am at a loss, hero Clay."
Why are you thinking so hard old man? Clay grumbled in his mind. However, he had to maintain his position in this discussion.
"In fact, King of Acadria, I came to elevate your daughter to the throne and leave you to work behind the scene to support her. Of course, I'm not going to take any more than that. If you say yes to my request, then I will consider your debt to me paid in full. However, if not then I will have to resort to other means. The easiest way for all of us to have a win-win is to abdicate the throne and give it to your daughter. For her to reign with you working alongside her in the shadows. How do find my proposal?"
Clay laid out some of his plans to the King. As he continued to talk, the King's complexion turned three different colors and then back to normal in the end. It was as if he was going on a roller coaster at speeds that a human body barely tolerates and then come back to the ground to breathe a sigh of relief. However, a question remained in the head of Gracius. It was,
"But, who among my daughters do you mean?" Asked Gracius sincerely.
"Ah!" As if realizing he had forgotten to mention her name even once in the conversation, Clay exclaimed. Then he continued his answer,
"That would be Giselle. I want Giselle to take over. Remember what I said earlier about collecting debt and fulfilling a promise? Well, I made a promise with your daughter to give her the throne as queen. So, as your debt, just abdicate the throne and give it to her officially without any fuss. Silence every opposition to it with sheer force if need be, I need to fulfill my promise to her." Clay then paused another two seconds while holding his hand out as if to stop anyone from responding and continued, "AH! What perfect timing. A civil war is floating around the corners of the Kingdom. If we use that as pretext to eradicate the opposition, then there will be no problems anymore! How remarkable!"
Clay clapped to his realization and directed this clap to no one.
Gracius and Sunshine both had faces that said, what the hell. We thought we were the only once who knew the movements of the opposing faction, yet this man already knows at least inside information that should not be available to any one now. How frightening!
"This… This, is going to be harder than you think, Hero Clay!" Gracius exclaimed and continued to say, "I understand that Giselle is an excellent child, worthy of the throne, but if she ascends the throne in a situation where we just finished a civil war, then her rule would be fraught with resistance and danger to her life. I cannot give her that lifestyle!" He defended.
"Well, how about we do it this way?" Clay came closer to Gracius and told him all about the plan he has cooked up. With the civil war clouding over Acadria now, and the rebellion of his son, the previous crown prince. With that position not occupied right now through his power to veto on giving the title to another prince, he avoided having anyone directly inheriting the throne when he died.
Clay's plan was not fail-proof, but with him as their strategist, what could go wrong? So, the king entrusted Clay with having command over his soldiers and knights through out the kingdom. However, Clay refused to do so. They had to do everything on their own. He only offered to advise them of their next move. Success of failure all depended upon themselves.
With Clay's plan centered around giving information about the enemy and their fighting strength, it was already as if this battle has been won before it even began. It was late at night when they finished talking. At an unknown time, at the chamber of the King, even Sunshine showed himself to participate. Clay certainly did not mind, and Gracius also felt relieved over that. Knowing that Clay had known Sunshine's whereabouts even before showing up, gave him a certain sense of fright after all.
"So, with that, in the coming days, you will deal the final blow and the last straw for the opposition. In effect they will be so peeved by it that they will start to act even more recklessly. If all goes well, the rebellion will take place sooner than later. And their troops would mostly be mercenaries that they've hired all over the place. Soldiers who have no coherence at all. While you would face them with unified soldiers and knights with confidence at their side."
"While that is cooking up, I know Giselle will also do some covert operations using her own troops stationed all over the kingdom as well. They will surely target the supply center of the enemy forces while the civil war is yet to be underway. Giving us advantage over supplies. I will stay here to remotely see the overall situation of the battles."
Clay reminded them as well that he will not be personally getting involved in their war. They had to resolve it without jeopardizing the citizens that are innocent. So, they had to silently evacuate the towns people whether secretly or overtly.
"Since this is going to be a rebellion, they'll surely be invading the palace as their goal. They want to behead you for passing laws and policies that don't benefit them at all. And so, your head is the price. There will be 6 families that will majorly be taking part in this rebellion. Excluding the Dukes, the Count of Cord, Viscount of Lamet, Marquis of Vernan, three Barons and some other knights that have considerable number of army men, have joined their cause. Their overall numbers should be at about 800-900 knights, foot soldiers numbering about 4000 and mercenaries to be canon fodders numbering about a thousand hires, would give us about 6000 troops give or take. While we have about 500 royal knights, 1200 ordinary knights, 3000 heavy infantry units and 500 archers, plus the Duke's forces if they choose to join us, 500 elite knights each giving us a total of 6200 troops of well balanced proportion, so defending the palace should not be so bad. Depending on the placing and positioning, things could even go so well that none of your soldiers die."
Clay laid out the information he gathered through extending his senses to encompass a few hundred miles away from the Castle. The troop size was comparable and only slightly advantageous for the defending troops, but who's to say that everything goes according to predictions in war? That's why Clay had to plan and give them a sense of urgency in preparing everything before everything else becomes chaos.
A few weeks later, the preparation of the opposition had already entered its final stages and Clay had waited long enough for them to attack. If they still stayed their hands after this week, then he would have already attacked them himself and ended this farce. Clay, Gracius the King and Sunshine convened inside the King's Chambers. The chamber was renovated to accommodate the planning and delegation of tasks with Sunshine and his group as relays. The bed was moved to the side and a big table took its place with maps and floor plans on top of it.
"King Gracius an attack is coming from sewage system. A troop of 100 strong lightly armed infantry are using the exit of the sewers to move in the direction of the palace. And a troop consisting of knight cavalry and foot soldiers are approaching the west gate." Clay suddenly spoke and informed the King who was waiting in the room while walking back and forth the same spot.
Without waiting for the King's orders, Sunshine relayed the order to his troops who were on standby inside the room, staying in the shadows. It wasn't as fast as mobile phones, but it's still faster than giving out letters as orders to them. Clay found the convenience of mobile phones and missed the technology. He could also design something akin to it, but his priority was not set on it and he put it at the back of his mind.
The troops of the biggest shot doing the rebellion was the Count of Cord, although he made his knight cavalry and foot soldiers to wear different uniforms, Clay's eyes could not be deceived. Just looking at them and their affiliation reveals itself in front of him. The lightly armed troops inside the sewers were mostly mercenaries. They were tasked with doing the dangerous task of blowing the gates by sneaking up inside the palace. Of course, there was an exception to them. Among them was a noble, one of the Barons that aligned himself with the rebellion called, Gustam. Gustam was a small-time Baron who owned a tiny piece of land west of the capital. He was assigned that land via bribery and underground work. The businesses he had raised up in that land were mostly of farming, but beneath the farming was slavery. It was not that he wanted to rebel because his underground dealings were being threatened, it was that his greed got the better of him. With Guilbert's influence, the soldiers and knights were replaced with unscrupulous and corrupt men. The noble knights the king assigned in the capital were assigned to remote places so they could not respond to an attack to the capital in time.
The King, Gracius, had a hunch that this rebellion was orchestrated by Guilbert behind the scenes. He may not be at the front but who among the nobles would benefit most from a rebellion they know they would be fighting so hard for, even with prospects of the future if they won… but would they win with the troops they had on hand? As a wise king, he knew that Guilbert must be sending reinforcements from somewhere. He wants to watch the dogs fight over a bone until they are wounded and tired and snatch the bone from them easily right after. It's a good tactic, certainly for a schemer. However, with Clay on Acadria's side his plans will not come to fruition.
With the forces of the Count of Cord, and the evacuation of the citizens inside the palace's protection, the Civil War started on Acadria.
The Gates were left open and the streets became empty. The sound of marketing and noisy children running around the streets have disappeared replaced with the sharp sound of metal boots contacting the paved roads in the capital from the soldiers marching towards the Castle's Gates.
The Palace only had one entrance and it was fortified to the brim with siege weapons in concentration. It was all to defend this position without fail. Clay devised this plan from a defender's point of view. He wanted them to not tire their soldiers out by marching around and chasing after the rebels. "Let the rebels come to us." Said Clay to the King of Acadria. The king also followed what he said and ordered the evacuation and fortification of the castle walls. Archers were stationed in squads in all four directions four squads of 125 trained archers and all the supply of arrows they procured from merchants inside and outside the capital. Defensive battles were less stressful to the defenders if their supplies lasted. And Clay made sure about giving them the advantage.
The troops inside the sewers were getting ready to burst out of the sewers and assault the people inside the castle courtyard where the sewage line ended, but a surprise waited for them where they reared their heads. Once they opened the cover of the manhole, a flood of flammable oil gushed towards them and some died from drowning from it already. The bigger bad news was that a single fire-arrow shot towards the hole and set them all up on fire. Right after, the hole was once again sealed up. All this happened quietly so that the troops outside the castle did not know what happened to their advanced troops.
Certainly, the troops of Count Cord were waiting for the fighting to start inside, and that would be their signal to attack the castle, however, as time flew by, their signal never came and the wait was making Count Cord's face to be flowing with sweat. Having no other choice that to think that the attack failed, he decided to order the attack to commence already. However, before he could give the order, sounds of struggle coming from inside the castle's courtyard resounded and this pleased him to no end. Resolutely, he ordered his men to mount on the momentum of their advanced troops to assault the gates.
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On the other side of the wall, were the soldiers waiting for the assault to happen. As the fighting did not happen even when the Count's troops were already outside, they were growing anxious. However, when the time came, an order was given to them to perform mock battles with as much struggling noise as they could make, while also clashing with their swords and shields. This order confused them all, but they followed, nonetheless. Soon, they sparred and kept on making loud noises that they made when they struggled with something. As if heaving heavy objects to lift, they groaned and whined like little children. Some even shouted battle cries like "Ah!" and curses like "Die!"
Obviously, their tactics were effective as the troops outside started to move according to their orders. The order was to commence the attack. The archers who enjoyed the struggling noises their comrades where making, finally stood up from their hidden positions and started shooting the troops of Count Cord as they marched closer. The foremost knight cavalry knew magic and they relied on him to destroy the gate with his fire magic in one shot. However, they did not need to do that at all. The gate was closed but it was neither locked nor reinforced to keep them out. If they only knew this, they'd have saved up time to try to destroy the gates and troops that died from arrows above.
The foremost cavalry knight chanted his magic and casted his fire magic towards the gate, blowing a hole at its base enough for their troops to come inside. Seeing this opportunity that their magic cavalry knight gave them, the troops behind him gained morale and the intensity to fight increased in them.
What happened next was a slaughter.
The arrows continued to fall on them and killed more armor than the guys wearing it but heck it was good as distraction. The moment they rode towards the arch of the Gate, was the moment they felt hell coming down from the heavens, or at least just above, from the gates.
Just like those Christian Music chanting "Fire fall down, your fire fall down, on us we pray" wanting the Christian God, to send fire down on them presumably from heaven. That's how hell is brought down on people. That's an experience that surely Christians don't want to experience at all. And right now, the soldiers of Count Cord were experiencing hell of their own. Literally falling on them. This fire was a chemical concoction by Clay. It's combined chemistry and magic to create an unquenchable fire that spreads infinitely if there is fuel to burn. And the fuel to burn was human fat. That's why those who handled it wore special material clothes that prevented them from being burned by that same substance.
Screams and the smell of blood permeated in the air as the blood was burnt and fat was turned to fuel, the fire that was burning became hotter by the minute. No soldier was able to come inside the gates and they could only jump and roll around to try to extinguish the fire to no avail. The arrows continued to rain on them. Horses died, bringing about the death of their riders. Just like the Literalled trailer of a popular assassination game. "Kill the horse the rider falls down; kill the rider the rider falls down…"
The Count Cord had to massage his jaw after this battle is over, after all the things he had seen, he kept his jaws wide open the entire time. By the time, the enemy forces had dwindled to the single digits, Count Cord had in his mind to retreat. Seeing that the fire burning through the gates were inextinguishable, the enemy also had no way to give chase. However, his hope for escape was cut down as the horse received arrows and threw him off it. As a noble, he was strong enough to defend himself in a fight. He had equipment that made sure of his survival. Armor under his robe and a sword to defend against other weapons. He was trained in military arts and combat as well, but in the face of an army, one man, really accounts for nothing after all. Some of the troops that were laying in ambush outside the gates, hiding in the empty houses, captured the Count and brought him somewhere unknown to him. He lost consciousness when he was hit with a sword's pummel from the back. The first day of the Civil War ended like that.