A War Of The Gods
As Richard was occupied with shocking news of his own in Faust, the political landscape in Faelor had changed completely. The worshippers of the three goddesses had been especially uptight over the past few days, having received relentless oracles from their deities commanding them to pick up pace.
The migration of the Goddess of the Forest and the Goddess of the Hunt hadn’t yet been completed. Despite a contribution of 200,000 gold to each from Richard’s end, and their churches being a little smaller than that of the Goddess of Spring Water, the construction of their churches was still ongoing.
For the past few days, Faylen had been flooded with worry. She was the only one who could hear the most important news, and she had holed up in the church building all day as she went through all of the relevant books she could find.
Eventually, she put on a casual dress and rushed to Richard’s camp to meet Kellac, Zendrall and Mito in secret. Within the tent was a lofty general named Andrieka, a completely emotionless person who was always dressed in heavy armour. Nobody knew anything about his identity nor his origin, but he had appeared just before Richard’s departure and Richard himself had instructed that he had to be allowed to sit in on every meeting despite only being level 13.
“We can confirm that a new holy war is on the horizon. It could erupt at any moment, and will be fought between the God of Valour and my Lady. The Goddess of the Hunt and the Goddess of the Forest will also join the fight. I have already studied the movements of the Church of Valour, and I can confirm that there will be action in the secular world as well. Lord Richard will be a critical element in the war, I wish to meet with him at all costs.”
“If this is true, then Neian will have placed at least one Child or avatar to fight us. We might not be able to resist such might. I agree, we will notify Lord Richard right away,” Kellac answered. He had been put in charge until Richard returned, and with no opinions from both Andrieka and Zendrall he had to be the one reassuring Faylen. As a former priest of the Highland Wargod, he also understood how holy wars worked as well.
Faylen nodded and left, after which Andrieka immediately sent an Archeron warrior with two drones off to Norland. Richard had left with almost all of his followers and most of his top-end troops, so although there wasn’t much of a difference in numbers Bluewater was basically hollow.
This was when the huge influx of new citizens backfired. There was no way to keep such movements hidden from the outside world for long, so any potential attackers knew just how weak the city was as well. Richard had believed he had sufficiently frightened anyone who might think to attack, but now the situation had changed.
Once the messengers were sent, Kellac started mobilising the army all at once. He also started efforts to strengthen the defences of the city. However, the news only grew worse by the day. The royal family of the Sequoia Kingdom had allied with the Iron Triangle Empire and were secretly mobilising their armies. The Baruch Kingdom had also gathered a massive force at their borders, with a lot of the surrounding dukedoms being strange as well.
Many of Faelor’s rulers had grown busy over the past few days. For example, the aged king of the Sequoia Kingdom had exhausted himself in a secret meeting with three cardinals from the Church of Valour for two entire days. Normally his heir would have taken on the job, but the crown prince had been killed in Raymond’s invasion. Ultimately, both parties had reached an agreement.
An important reason for the decision to attack was Richard’s sudden disappearance with most of his followers and elites. The Bloodstained Lands only had a single sub-legendary mage protecting it, making it evident that something important must have pulled Richard’s forces away. Without Richard and his terrifying followers, the 20,000-strong army left in Bluewater wasn’t much at all.
All they had to do was flatten the churches of the three goddesses in one go. Once Neian absorbed the powers of the goddesses, Richard would be rendered powerless no matter how strong the deity supporting him was. After all, the fact that this god chose not to extend his influence into the Bloodstained Lands made it clear that there was another large territory where he drew faith from. Something might have happened in that territory that tangled Richard up.
Similar secret decisions were held in various places, some successful and others not so much. The Bloodstained Lands right now were like a young lady stripped and thrown to the streets, and the money that could be made there left many foaming at the mouth. Many were already starting to call the place the Land of Flowing Gold.
Under enormous pressure, Neian eventually blew the horns of war ten days after Faylen and Kellac had their discussion. Ever since the invasion of the astral beasts, this was the sixth time a war between gods had erupted in Faelor.
Within the void, Neian’s divine kingdom approached those of the three goddesses and countless soldiers flew out to attack. The three goddesses, in turn, had temporarily joined their divine kingdoms to suppress him with their combined might.
Thankfully, the Goddess of Spring Water had recently advanced to become an intermediate deity and Neian was currently weaker than normal. The three managed to withstand the first wave of attacks, settling into a war of attrition where each side tried to drain the other of divinity.
In the mortal world, a combined army formed from the Sequoia Kingdom, the Iron Triangle Empire, and six dukedoms separated into four parts and started boring into the Bloodstained Lands. Each lane of attack was incomparably powerful, quickly pushing through the perimeter defences set by Kellac as they headed for the many oasis cities of the Bloodstained Lands.
Kellac wasn’t bad for a priest, but he was in no way an experienced general. Even the battlefront he commanded personally was pushed back, the soldiers left utterly devastated. With Richard not showing his face at all, his subordinates from the Sequoia Kingdom had chosen to watch from the side and left Bluewater with even fewer troops to mobilise.
Andrieka was the most pleasant surprise of the lot. The mysterious general displayed outstanding control of the battlefield, being particularly remarkable in his control of the shadowspear knights to minimise the casualties they suffered. However, even he could only stall for time and delay the pace at which the enemies were advancing. The immense disadvantage in numbers just could not be made up for, and while Andrieka’s coordination was awe-inspiring his tactics and strategy left much to be desired. Some of his decision seemed downright foolish.
In the blink of an eye, half a month had passed. Kellac did all he could, but despite being slowed down the combined armies were slowly nibbling away at the Bloodstained Lands.
Richard remained unreachable all this time. A second and even third batch of messengers were sent to Norland in this time, but the portal remained as calm as a windless lake. Nobody returned at all.
As the situation turned more grim, Kellac’s heart sunk. As he pieced together more information about wars of the gods, he had already guessed that divine activity froze up portals to an extent. This was similar to how Raymond’s forces had been delayed from entering Faelor for a month. Richard likely hadn’t even gotten the news yet!
While Bluewater had lost its peace, a minority of the people suffered no impact at all from the war. One of these unaffected people was Raymond Joseph, who continued his drab life in his yard.
However, one afternoon the door to the courtyard opened not to the attendant who delivered his meals but Mito.
“Magister!” Raymond put down the map in his hand, “Why are you here?”
He ran over to greet the old mage. Although Mito had given in and turned into one of Richard’s subordinates, that did not diminish his fondness for the man. Powerhouses at the level of a saint or grand mage weren’t required to work to their deaths for any families; to only surrender when the war was completely lost indicated just how much effort Mito had put in. Moreover, this grand mage had saved his life multiple times before.
Mito scanned the map on the table and realised that it depicted the Bloodstained Lands and surrounding areas, “You are concerned about the war as well?”
“I just had nothing to do,” Raymond joked, starting to make some tea, “It’s not every day that you get to observe a holy war. I only ever experienced one in my life, and I was so young then that I didn’t even get to join the frontlines until it was nearing its end.”
Mito nodded and suddenly sighed, “Raymond, I’ve come to bid farewell. I will be joining the frontlines this afternoon.”
“What?” Raymond asked in shock, “You’re joining the war too? Is it that bad?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Karen
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA