[Zako fiction] A deal with the Devil

ZakoLover

Casual Client
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Chapter 7: At The General's Camp



They arrived at Cornelia’s camp at midnight. The sky was pitch black with no moon or stars visible. They could only find this place thanks to the vague light from the torches on the wooden wall.

Anastasia saw a dozen of soldiers at the gate, staring suspiciously at the three riders who suddenly showed up at the dead of the night. Their weapons remained unsheathed, but their stances suggested they could draw their swords at any moment.

“Who is there? State your business!” A young woman demanded. Based on the superior armor she was wearing compared to what belonged to the other soldiers, it was obvious that she was a knight and the one in charge of this gate.

Minerva rode forward, greeting the knight. “Long time no see, Adela!”

“Minerva? What are you doing here?” The girl was astonished.

“This is Her Highness, the Second Princess Anastasia,” Minerva introduced. “We need to see General Cornelia immediately.”

“What?” Adela’s jaw dropped, and so did everyone else’s. Their reaction was not surprising. There was no way would they expect a sudden visit of the Queen’s daughter, who was wearing a dirty and torn dress, having only two escorts, and at midnight, no less. Anastasia did not know whether they would believe them. She certainly did not look like a princess right now, and since she rarely left the palace, not many people knew her face.

But Adela quickly regained her composure. She nodded, and dispatched a soldier to inform the general. Then she bowed to Anastasia. “Please come with me, Your Highness!”

They left the horses they seized from Lucia’s party to the other soldiers at the gate and followed Adela to go inside. They went through a path lit by torches on poles, passing by groups of patrolling soldiers, who gave confused looks at them, the weird company walking behind Adela.

“You two know each other?” Anastasia asked. It was not strange for Minerva to have acquaintances here. After all, she used to be in the army before she became a guard in the royal palace.

“Just knowing each other?” Adela giggled. “We fought side by side in the war, Your Highness. I was there when Minerva slew the cow commander, and saw with my own eyes how she rammed her huge-ass axe into that ugly bitch’s cunt.”

“Cow commander?” Anastasia asked, tilting her head.

“The Commander of the Third Tauri Assault Brigade,” Adela replied. “Those bitches are official called Tauri, but I just call them Cows. It is easier to say that way. But hey, Taurus Slayer sounds much cooler than Cow Slayer, doesn’t it? Ha ha ha!”

“So that’s how you got your nickname?” Anastasia smiled, asking Minerva.

“Yes,” Minerva nodded.

“You still keep that bitch’s head, right?” Adela asked. “Have you shown it to the princess?”

“No, why?” Minerva frowned.

“Why not?” Adela grinned, and then turned to Anastasia. “You should see it, Your Highness. You cannot imagine the painful and humiliated expression on that bitch’s face. Seriously, dying while your vagina splits apart? Ha ha ha!”

The girl clearly had no respect toward her fallen enemy. If Anastasia had still been her old self of a few weeks ago, she would have found such attitude quite distasteful. But now she understood. The satisfaction you had when you saw your enemy dying a painful death. When she saw Lucia’s severed head, her heart was filled with joy and pleasure, and she could not help but looking forward to Carmilla’s turn to get what she deserved.

Finally, they reached the large tent located in the center of the camp, in front of which stood a tall woman in sleepwear.

“Your Highness, I apologize for meeting you looking like this. I didn’t have time to change clothes.”

“It is fine, General!” Anastasia replied. “It’s me who should apologize for waking you up at midnight.”

“What brings you here, Your Highness? What happened?”

“Duchess Carmilla has rebelled. Her soldiers attacked the palace. My parents … and my sister … are dead ...” Anastasia could no longer continue. She kept hiccupping as tears flowing out of her eyes.

Both Cornelia and Adela gasped. But Anastasia paid no heed to them. She kept sobbing, as the memory of that night came back to her. Those terrible and bloody scenes, one after another, flashed up in her mind. She saw her mother being surrounded and stabbed by a dozen of soldiers. She saw her father, someone who couldn’t defend himself, impaled from behind when he tried to flee. She saw Lucia smashing her sister’s head with her flail.

“Calm down, Princess.”

Anastasia heard a voice, and then she felt a hand touching her shoulder. It was Lord Ishkur. His hand was warm. His voice was clear. If it had been anyone else, their words would have not been able to reach her, but Lord Ishkur’s voice had, almost magically, helped her regain her composure.

“Forgive me, General. I was overwhelmed by my emotion.” Anastasia said as she was wiping tears away from her face.

“There is nothing to forgive, Your Highness.” Cornelia replied, her eyes still wide open. “But, is it true? It’s not that I don’t believe you but … but … Her Majesty is dead?”

“It is true.” Anastasia confirmed.

“General, you didn’t receive any news?” Minerva asked.

“I knew that something had happened, but I didn’t know what it was exactly.” Cornelia sighed. “I had sent several scouts to the capital, but none of them came back.”

“They must have been intercepted at Carmilla’s checkpoints.” Minerva said.

“Checkpoints?”

“There were Carmilla’s soldiers blocking the road from here to the capital. But we have taken care of them, so there is no need to worry.”

“You killed them all by yourself? Impressive!” Cornelia gave Minerva an approving nod. “As expected of the Taurus Slayer.”

Actually, it was Lord Ishkur who did most of the work, but of course, they could not tell the truth to other people.

“None survived to go back to Carmilla, so it is safe to assume that she doesn’t know that we have gotten here.” Minerva said. “General, we must move fast. Please mobilize your troops and march to the capital.”

“Agreed!” Cornelia turned to Adela. “Inform the commanders and told them to get prepared. We will ride at dawn.”

As Adela left them and hurriedly disappeared into the darkness, the general told Anastasia. “Please go inside my tent, Your Highness. Have some rest!”

“Thank you, General!”

As they got inside, Cornelia asked. “By the way, Your Highness, who is this man?”

“Oh? This is … Oscar. He is a scribe in the palace.” Anastasia replied. That was the name and role that they had decided for Lord Ishkur. They briefly stopped at a village on the way riding here and bought him some clothes, so he no longer looked like a caveman like when he first appeared. He was still unkempt and dirty though, but so were she and Minerva, so there shouldn’t be any problems.

“I see.” Cornelia turned to Lord Ishkur. “It is very admirable of you to stay with Her Highness even in the darkest moment. I thank you for your loyalty.”

“It’s nothing, General. Anyone would have done the same if they were in my situation.”

“No, not anyone.” Cornelia smiled. Then her expression became serious when she turned to Minerva. “What do you think that will happen when we reach the capital tomorrow?”

“The City Guard is with Carmilla. If they close the gate, it will be difficult to get in.” Minerva replied. “A siege will be very time consuming, and as time passes, more troops will arrive, both the ones loyal to the crown and the ones who fight for Carmilla. This could escalate into a civil war.”

“Yeah,” Cornelia sighed. “Our best bet is to make a swift and decisive assault to break into the city before they realize what is going on.”

“In that case, we can use this.” Minerva said as she took a severed head out of the bag she was carrying.

“This is … Lucia?” Cornelia was astonished.

“Yes,” Minerva nodded. “She led a group of pursuers to chase after us. We fought and I slew her.”

“I know that I have said it before, but I will say it again,” Cornelia grinned with satisfaction. “Very impressive! It is pity that you were forced to leave the army.”

“I deserved what happened to me, General.” Minerva replied. “But we are not here to talk about me, aren’t we? How about the head? Do you think it will be useful?”

“Of course! We will mount it on the spear of the one who will lead the charge. It will have a devastating effect to the morale of Carmilla’s soldiers. They can even surrender without a fight if we are lucky.” Cornelia turned to Anastasia. “My princess, no, I should call you my queen now. Your Majesty, tomorrow we will take your throne back!”
 

Kargan3033

Club Regular
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Nicely done Zako Lover, you are setting up the final reckoning quite nicely.

I'm also interesting to see how everyone corpse raping demi god fits into all this, I'm sure he's going to want some *fun* time with the princess turned queen.
 

ZakoLover

Casual Client
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
The Mavenish - Gothorian War:

Soldiers2.png

The Gothorian War is the most devastating disaster in the history of the Kingdom of Maven, which was started when the Queen of Maven, Katherine the Pious, decided to launch an invasion against the neighboring Empire in the north, even though none of the other leaders in the Alliance supported her plan.

Nevertheless, the High Command of the Army of Maven was optimistic about the outcome of the war. In their opinion, the Gothorian Empire was not as powerful as what it appeared to be. Even though its territory was vast, it was mainly mountainous tundra, and sparsely populated. Moreover, most the Empire’s troops were stationed in the west to defend against the Elven Ecclesia. Maven’s plan was to outmaneuver the cumbersome Imperial Army and scored some decisive victories before the Empire could muster its soldiers to mount a counter-attack, and then, they would use those successes to convince their allies, Baern, Velen and Elidor, to join the war.

Indeed, the Army of Maven actually had the upper hand in the beginning of the war. In the Battle of the Bull, they decimated the Third Tauri Assault Brigade, the strongest unit of the Empire in the south, causing the total collapse of the Imperial defense line.

However, as the soldiers of Maven continued to march north, they faced the same problem with their enemies: stretching too thin in a vast area, and the fact that they were the attackers put more burden to their logistics. There were no significant battles in the next nine months, as the Imperial Army kept retreating while using the scorched earth strategy to deny the invaders' supply. The hostile terrain and weather also played a role in delaying the advance of the Army of Maven.

On the other hand, at the core Imperial provinces, the production facilities kept working with full capacity and after half a year, the Empire had raised an army of two hundred thousand Lepi. They mounted a counter-attack and overwhelmed the Mavenish with sheer number. The Empire did not only manage to push the invaders back but it was also able to conquer Maven’s northern land.

Ten thousand soldiers of Maven perished during the war, and another ten thousand were captured. The Gothorian did not treat their prisoners of war kindly. In order to show the world what would happen to anyone foolish enough to invade their land, they disarmed, literarily, every prisoner, no matter whether they were nobles or commoners, commanders or foot soldiers. After all, these women would live the rest of their lives as breeding slaves, so they would not need limbs. The prisoners were then taken to their designated breeding camps, and once they got there, their legs would be amputated as well.
 

ZakoLover

Casual Client
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Intro_05_Cornelia.png

The next character introduced is: Cornelia, the Reformer.

Cornelia is one of the young commanders of the Army of Maven that were promoted to General after the Gothorian War, who quickly rose to become the leader of the military faction in the court.
Unlike Carmilla, who wants to depend on the Kingdom of Bayern to rebuild Maven's economy, Cornelia believes that building a strong army in order to be able to be independent from the influence of other countries should be Maven's top priority.
She also has a burning desire to make the Gothorian pay for what they have done. It's not only because of her duty for her country, it's also personal.
 

wj1905

Club Regular
Joined
May 26, 2015

The next character introduced is: Cornelia, the Reformer.

Cornelia is one of the young commanders of the Army of Maven that were promoted to General after the Gothorian War, who quickly rose to become the leader of the military faction in the court.
Unlike Carmilla, who wants to depend on the Kingdom of Bayern to rebuild Maven's economy, Cornelia believes that building a strong army in order to be able to be independent from the influence of other countries should be Maven's top priority.
She also has a burning desire to make the Gothorian pay for what they have done. It's not only because of her duty for her country, it's also personal.
Quick question, where is your avatar from?
 

ZakoLover

Casual Client
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Chapter 8: Shattered Hope



Of all the rooms in her family’s manor, Priscilla’s bedchamber was the most beautiful. The floor was tiled with marble; the walls were draped with embroidered fabrics; and in the middle of the room stood a spacious bed made of carved ebony.

Even though Priscilla was not a princess, she had always felt like one. Her mother and sister had always pampered her. They had given her a lot of attention, and allowed her to do whatever she wanted, never imposing any restriction upon her. Moreover, as she was the second daughter, she was not burdened with the duty to the family like Lucia. Her mother also had no intention to arrange a marriage for her to secure alliance with other families. After all, her mother, a Duchess and the Queen’s advisor, was one of the most powerful women in Maven. It was the other people that needed to curry favor with her, not the other way around.

As the result, once Priscilla reached the age of adolescence, she had always been surrounded by boys from other noble families. She did not know whether they sincerely liked her or they just did what their houses’ matriarchs ordered, but it felt good to always be the center of attention wherever she went.

However, everything had changed. Now there was a heavy atmosphere thickening in the manor. Her mother rarely talked to her. Lucia had gone for days and had not come back. Her courtiers, who used to be always with her and told her how elegant and beautiful she was, had all disappeared. Even her own room, the place that should make her most comfortable, had become colder and darker than usual.

“Everything will be okay,” Priscilla told herself.

Yes, she did not have to worry about anything. Soon, her mother would go back to normal; Lucia would return home; and her house would be full of joy and laughter again. She should not worry. Worrying would not solve anything after all.

Instead, she should support her mother. Yes, that was the right thing for her to do. She may not agree with what her mother was doing, but mother was still mother. They were family. Her mother needed her, especially now, when she had been abandoned by almost everyone.

Priscilla’s train of thought was abruptly cut off by the heavy knocks on the wooden door, and at the same time, she heard her mother’s voice from outside.

“Priscilla! Are you there? Open the door!”

‘What happened?’ Priscilla pondered. There was a tint of panic in her mother’s tone. She rushed to the door and opened it, and found her mother and the woman named Laeticia standing right in front of her.

“What happened, Mother?”

“I … I …”

A mix of multiple emotions appeared on her mother’s face. Shock. Fear. And anguish.

“You are never able to speak when it counts the most, aren’t you?” The hooded woman chuckled. “We are in deep trouble, young lady. Princess Anastasia has returned, with an army behind her back. Cornelia’s army. At least five hundred riders were entering the city, and behind them, a host of two thousand infantries was marching toward here.”

“And … Lucia … Lucia is …”

“What is it, Mother? What happened to Lucia?” Priscilla asked. Her intuition told her that something terrible must have happened.

“She is … dead.”

“No … no … It can’t be …” Priscilla felt like her ears were bleeding. Her hope that the normal life would come back to her family had been mercilessly destroyed.

“It’s true, young lady.” Laeticia said. “Your sister’s head was mounted on the spear of the knight leading the cavalry.”

“Why did this happen? How could this happen?” Her mother sobbed, and Priscilla wept with her.

“I am sorry but now is not the time for mourning,” Laeticia grabbed their shoulders and shook them. “The City Guard had given up without a fight, allowing the enemy to enter unchallenged, and your soldiers just, well, crumbled. The riders cut through them like a hot knife through melting butter. They will get here soon.”

“What … can we do about it?” Her mother asked.

“What can we do? We flee, of course.” Laeticia laughed. “Don’t worry, Carmilla. My girls will get us out of the city safely, and then we will take you and your daughter to Baern. You two will be safe there. Even though the plan has failed, Queen Valeria won’t forget what you have done for her. She will protect you.”

Going to Baern? Priscilla was aghast. The thought that they would leave everything behind and go to live in an unfamiliar place dreaded her. But she knew that much worse things would happened to them if they stayed.

“I appreciate the offer, Laeticia,” her mother replied, “but I can’t go with you.”

“What?” Laeticia was shocked. “Seriously? Why do you still ignore my suggestion even in this situation? Come on, Carmilla. Hear me at least once! Why don’t you trust me?”

“That’s not it.” Her mother shook her head. “Not trusting you is my most terrible mistake I have ever made. I was too stubborn. I apologize, Laeticia. You are right and I am wrong. It is all my fault that everything ends up like this.”

“Then why?”

“You think what everyone will talk about me if I flee to Baern?” Her mother smiled weakly. “Cornelia has always been calling me a dog of Baern, and I am not going to prove that she is right.”

“Who cares about other people? Everyone has already abandoned you. Does it matter what they talk behind your back?” Laeticia was staring at her mother in disbelief. “Fine! Not Baern then. Where do you want to go? Velen? Elidor?”

“Who is going to give shelter to a regicidal traitor?” Her mother sighed. “The Princess will never forgive me. She will send people to hunt me down. She will put a bounty on my head. The entire world will be my enemies. You think how long can I hide from them?”

“So, what are you going to do then?”

“I will stay here.” Her mother replied firmly. “I am going to tell everyone that everything I did, I did for Maven. And I will meet the Princess and receive my retribution.”

What was she saying? Priscilla’s mind went blank. She couldn’t comprehend what her mother had just said.

“So that is your plan? Just give up and die?” Laeticia sneered. “How about your daughter then? You want her to stay here and die with you?”

“About that …” Her mother looked at Laeticia. “This is very selfish of me, as I have always treated you coldly, but can I ask you a favor? Can you take Priscilla to somewhere safe for me?”

“No! I will not go without you!” Priscilla broke in with her protest.

“Don’t be childish!” Her mother yelled. “Listen to your mother! You will die if you stay here.”

“We will go together, or I will stay with you!” Priscilla shouted back. She would not give in, especially after she had decided to stay by her side no matter what happened.

“Oh please! We don’t have time for this.” Laeticia grunted. “Fine, Carmilla, I will do this favor for you. Young lady, sorry about this …”

“Huh?”

Before Priscilla could react, she saw Laeticia’s right hand chopping down on her neck, and then, everything went black.
 

Kargan3033

Club Regular
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Nicely done Zako Lover, I can see this turning into a long running blood feud between the two families, lots and lots of assassinations over the years between the two families and all the while the enemies of Maven gather for the kill.
 

romulus0124

Potential Patron
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Good storytelling and interesting setting! The characters are well motivated and the countries have good distinctions. I think this story has the potential to become a good fantasy by itself.
 

ZakoLover

Casual Client
Joined
Feb 19, 2018
Thank you! I'm glad that you like this story!
I had some other stuff to do so there has been no updates for a while, but I will post the next parts soon :))
 
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