Revenge of the Ancients Part II: World War
By: Christopher Gourgouras
500 million years had passed since the war of the gods. The Universe had long ago forgotten the battles fought and the only signs of ancient conflict were craters, rubble floating through space and black holes were planets used to be. On a planet far away from the original conflict in Tdonian space, life had evolved and prospered for over 100 million years. The planet was called Dertonna by the inhabitants because the eastern side of the planet had been separated from the western side by a line of mountains and the word for Mountain in the native language was Derton.
For 98 million years no dominate species had evolved on Dertonna until a Humanoid race colonized an island off the eastern coast of the main continent and the first civilized life was formed in the Universe. The island nation flourished until it became overpopulated and was forced to migrate to the mainland. They faced opposition from native tribes and were thrown into a war that lasted hundreds of years ending in the defeat of the native tribes. Millions died in this conflict and few remembered why it had began, all that was known was that now there was now one dominate nation on this planet and they could now began exploring.
As explorations took place on Dertonna and the secrets of the planet began to be discovered the conquerors began to settle down and make villages. As the villages turned into towns and towns into cities the world began to become smaller. Kings ruled the nation for one million years, some evil and some good. The last king to rule the planet was King Soldorian IV. He advanced the nation far more than anyone had in thousands of years, space travel had reached full potential and war was almost unknown. Than Soldorian was assassinated by his brother during a winter festival and the entire nation had fallen apart in that moment. East of the
Xaal had not expected anything to happen today. It was supposed to be another boring Monday; he would work all day in the town hall and handle disputes between the towns people. Then he would go home and sleep or read the news to see how the government troops were doing against the rebels. While at work a recruiting officer walked into the town hall and ordered Xaal outside, telling him that it was important.
“I have been sent here from the frontlines, we have lost many officers in this fight and we need everyone we can get. You know a lot about this conflict and we have been monitoring your conversations and you seem to know enough about strategy, you are under orders to come with me.” Xaal was shocked at this, he couldn’t leave his family to fight in a war that he would most likely die in but at the same time he couldn’t refuse the order and be branded a traitor. He had to go.
“I will go” Xaal said as he followed the officer to the ship, the officer gave him an hour to gather his stuff and say goodbye than they left. The flight to the frontlines was short and Xaal quickly saw that the newspapers had lied; The Imperial Army had not pushed far into enemy territory, the rebels had laid siege to the empires capitol and the war was almost over. They had to act now if they wanted any chance of winning this war.
Xaal walked into the command tent and immediately could see what was wrong. The tent was almost empty; every officer in the main force was either dead or too busy with his or her own problems to worry about what was going on in the war. Xaal also knew what to do in this situation. “Give me command of the main force and have the fleet prepared to bombard this city once it is captured.” “Why would you bombard the capital city of the empire?” “The city will be lost in an hour, they won’t expect to be hit while they are looting, you can still win this war.”
With command of the army, Xaal pulled out of the city and retreated to a safe distance under cover of night. No rebel fleets had been near the city because all imperial fleets were in orbit over rebel territory when a traitor broke away from the empire and revealed a path into the empire that would allow the rebels to win the war. The rebels would be caught by surprise when they were blown away by orbital bombardment.
The rebels were not surprised. As soon as the rebels captured the city they had slaughtered the population and evacuated the city due to the fact that they had detected a bombardment fleet in orbit hours before it had even arrived. The city was destroyed and shortly after the Imperial fleet was wiped out by the rebel fleet that had been hidden in the mountain star bases and thought to be destroyed. The war wouldn’t last much longer.
As the rebels pushed further into the empire Xaal pulled back his personal unit of 1000 soldiers until he reached the coastline. His last resort was to evacuate his men to an island that had been abandoned 2 million years ago by its inhabitant’s for unknown reasons but guessed to be because of overpopulation and famine. They gathered ships and began to sail across the sea to a land never seen by human eyes for 2 million years. The war was over and everyone in the eastern empire was dead. The rebels were victorious.
After 4 months on the oceans Xaal and his fleet reached the shores of a deserted island. This island had ancient ruins scattered across it and was scarred with marks from an ancient war. Xaal and his 100 men began to explore the island to find a place to settle, 900 had died in the journey across the ocean. More would die in the coming weeks.
Xaal had his soldiers scout out positions they could use to defend rebel attacks as he began to search through the ruins. He quickly realized that famine and overpopulation were not the only reason this ancient civilization had left this land, there was a greater power at work here, a power that was just beginning to awaken. At that moment Xaal knew that he had to leave the island. It was not safe there; staying there any longer would anger the souls of the damned who had died there 2 million years ago. Souls lost in ancient wars that were still angry at an ancient battle. His men had noticed as well.
At midnight a horn sounded on the small island and the raiders set forth in a charge against the intruders. As they neared the camp 100 soldiers opened fire at them but failed as there bullets stopped in the air before the undead horde. Waving battleaxes and swords in the air the undead warriors began to descend on the camp, ready to burn every tent and pillage the camp. The warlord leading the charge had an ancient shield in one hand and a battleaxe weighing 100 pounds in the other. He could see the leader of the intruders giving orders and knew that in order to defend his honor he would have to challenge the leader to a duel. He ordered his men to stop the charge until he had talked to the leader of the intruders.
Xaal saw the massive warlord walking towards him. He was at least 7 feet tall and wore heavy armor. His axe was as big as a man and he could easily take down all of Xaal’s men in 10 swings. As the warlord came closer he began to speak in a tongue that Xaal did not understand but he knew what it meant. The warlord was challenging him to a duel and he had to accept or his men would not be shown mercy. Xaal was given a sword and the warlord took off his armor. After 3 horns the duel began.
Xaal took a swing at the warlord’s leg but he dodged it and kicked dirt into his eyes. The warlord quickly retaliated and chopped off Xaal’s left hand. Xaal cried out in pain and with a shout of anger threw all his strength into his blade and chopped off the warlords arm. The warlords axe fell to the ground along with his arm but he refused to be killed. With his shield arm he bashed Xaal, knocking him over than began to walk towards him. Xaal was confused as his head hit the ground but regained his conscience quickly and rose to his feet. He took his sword and swung up at the warlords head, removing it from his neck. His men cheered but there cheers were cut short as a rain of flaming arrows descended on them and they were cut down one by one. The battle ended in defeat but with the death of the warlord, Xaal was spared and made the leader of the army on the island. As king of the undead he was given a suit of ancient armor, a shield, and a blood colored axe with ancient ruins carved into it. With this power he would retake what was his and conquer the Mainland.
5 years later
5 years had passed since the battle that had made Xaal king of the undead. The island had become a thriving settlement with an army 100,000 strong and a fleet of sea bound ships 10,000 strong. The rebels had space but they could never control the seas again. The time had come to cross the channel and take the mainland back as their own. The war that had been fought 2 million years in the past was about to begin again as the island nation again crossed over to the mainland.
The fleet set sale at noon and reached the mainland in two hours. When they got there the land had changed from a forested area to a desert. Once great cities were burned to the ground and populations either killed or enslaved. The tyrants of the rebel empire had turned this once great nation into a pile of rubble and would pay for it with their lives. Xaal ordered the march to the rebel capitol, no one who stood in their way would survive.
The undead horde marched for ten days without rest. When Xaal rested he was carried on a bed by 2 warriors. The dead never tired and would never betray him, they were bound by ancient oaths to serve whoever slain there warlord. On the eleventh morning the rebel capitol was in site, a few more hours of marching and they would attack at once. The city had no defenses because the rebels had no threats on the mainland. The rebel war fleet had been turned into a merchant fleet and the army had been turned into a police force to enforce the laws of the dictators who ruled the empire. To the surprise of the rebel dictator an army was in his streets burning buildings and killing everyone around them. He had no way to stop this, so he began to run to his private ship. Just as he got there was an explosion as a planetary bombardment round hit the ground and half the undead army was wiped out. He assumed one of his personal security ships was still in orbit but he was wrong. Shortly after that hundreds more rounds began to descend on his planet and a fleet of black ships with red skulls painted on them began to enter the atmosphere.
Xaal saw the ships and knew that something was wrong. He hadn’t seen ships like this since the war of the gods and the plague god was still supposed to be asleep for another 500 million years. Xaal, the guardian of the universe, had taken human form 100 years ago to study this planet and find out if he should make them his servants to fight in the war to come 500 million years from now. Now the plague god had already found a host and was attacking the only planet that he believed would produce warriors for a fleet worthy of fighting the evil god. He now also knew what the force on the island was; he had awoken the plague god when he stepped into the ruins of the island with his soldiers. He had doomed the universe to extinction for the second time.
The battle was over quickly, all life on the planet was wiped out and the fleet began to land. Once they landed they left their ships and saw that the battle was not really over. Xaal was standing in the middle of the undead army, who were rising up again and advancing towards the ships. Xaal ordered the charge and everyone was killed, Dertonna was saved and the universe was spared for another 500 million years but Xaal had learned a lesson. He would have to be more careful when dealing with planets until he knew that the plague god was not following him. He left human form and left Dertonna, it was a useless planet now since all life was dead. Although the undead horde was useful they were not smart and could not think by themselves. Xaal left the planet and began to search for another planet. He would be searching for a long time.