Book 5, Chapter 39

A Historic Land

Richard fled like lightning, chuckling hoarsely as his hands clutched at his chest. Right across his torso were two long gashes from his brief clash with the two skaven. His heart was beating like a war drum as he tried to steady his pace; he was in no position to take on even two more, but there were six chasing behind him!

Thankfully, Beye had taught him to optimise his running speed. The screeches of the skaven constantly rang out behind him, but he slowed down to a point where his recovery could at least compare to the loss of stamina. His vitality rune was beginning to get to work as well, slowly closing up the wound. Although he couldn’t run forever at this pace, there would be enough time to escape so long as he didn’t meet another Daxdian along the way.

He followed a huge arc to turn around, eventually returning along his route towards the Unsetting Sun. Although the number of Daxdians in the vicinity actually exceeded the number of Norlanders, that was still territory under their control. There was at least some chance of meeting an ally along the route.

……

It took a few hours, but he eventually ducked into a small rock formation after shaking off his pursuers. He almost collapsed to the ground, taking in big gulps of air as he tried to steady himself. Thankfully he hadn’t met any more enemies along the way, but the long trip had forced him to discard some of the heavier items he had harvested. His ribs were throbbing wildly with pain, causing him to groan with every searing breath. It felt like the air was filled with tiny knives that ripped into his lungs.

However, this was life in the Battlefield of Despair. There was always a chance of coming across perilous situations and pitfalls; just as the Norlanders were constantly looking for the weaknesses of Daxdus, the Daxdians were lurking around in ambush. This was a war that would only end once the portals were pushed all the way out or the plane itself died. Every century in such a war was like a second on the clock.

Richard reached down towards his ribcage, but even the slightest of contact caused him to clench his teeth. When he pulled back, yellow pus was sticking to his hand. The claws and teeth of the skaven were extremely toxic; even with his sturdy physique, he was left on the verge of collapse.

He couldn’t battle any longer. If he ran into any more Daxdians, he didn’t even have the strength to flee. However, staying in such a dangerous area wasn’t an option either. Resting for a few hours to recover his energy, he eventually struggled to his feet and jogged towards the capital of the Unsetting Sun.

……

Two days later, the city was finally in view. Richard was still running, but it took every fibre of his being to pull his screaming body towards the entrance. Small dots were rushing down from the mountaintop some distance behind him; the number of skaven in pursuit had gone up to eleven.

Thankfully, the enemies dispersed at the sight of the city walls. Despite several kilometres to go before they were truly within the city’s firing range, the chance of Norlanders being around grew exponentially as they approached. Eventually, the skaven just squeaked for a while before scattering reluctantly to search for their next prey. They did not possess the power to fight close to forts.

The capital of the Unsetting Sun was much larger than a normal city; even the paths leading uphill terrifyingly long. Richard eventually slowed down to a walk, his feet starting to drag behind him on the ground. It wasn’t long before his body fell as well, vision blurring and throat so dry that just breathing made it feel like his insides were being ripped apart. By this point, he couldn’t even feel his abdomen anymore.

His vision suddenly shook, the city turning upside down completely as a muffled thump sounded in his ears. No longer possessing any strength to resist, his eyes faded into darkness.

……

The number of battles around the Unsetting Sun had dropped to a minimum over the past few days. The only ones fighting here were the weaker saints who didn’t qualify to enter the war for the Fort of Dawn.  However, the Fort of Dawn wasn’t nearly as grand as the capital of the Unsetting Sun. Merely a castle built atop a small mountain, it wasn’t a city of the aboriginals but a military base built single-handedly by the Norlanders.

This was one of the very first locations where Norland and Daxdus had fought. This small mountain had been the only advantageous terrain within a thousand kilometres, and when the forces of Norland and Daxdus first fought the result was beyond the expectations of both sides. They had each suffered heavy casualties from the very first skirmish, causing them to rearm and start a series of bitter battles to the death. It took some time for both armies to realise that they were facing another primary plane and not the aboriginals, causing them to call for help.

The war had thus exploded. Millions of soldiers died around this mountain, experts as common as the clouds in the sky. Fresh blood of all colours seeped into every inch of the earth, to the extent that all of Norland had been alarmed.

The then-famous Sunlord of the Millennial Empire had personally paid a visit to the plane, fighting a dazzling battle that almost crippled the Daxdians in one go. Norland had thus gained control of this mountain, building a small castle on the very top. The castle had named the Fort of Dawn to commemorate the achievements of the Sunlord in this war. Thus, as the plane’s core was eventually damaged in the continuous war, the plane came to be called the Land of Dusk.

The Fort of Dawn had expanded constantly as the war with Daxdus continued, coming to occupy the entire mountain. Moreover, the few hundred metres of height had been almost doubled by legendary earth mages as well. However, the Norlanders had slowly been pushed back until Emperor Philip’s father eventually lost control of the fort during his reign. The utilitarian yet beautiful construction of the Norlanders had been warped into something chaotic and twisted, coiled spiked running all over the now-black walls. Random resting pits for the creatures of Daxdus littered the area, and there was no order to the buildings at all.

The top of the castle had been opened up into a large nest of sorts, the construction an absolute mess with the bones of unknown beasts littering the area. Ash-grey fog covered the sky around the nest, extremely thick and resistant to the powerful winds at the high altitude. If one went in, they would see that the fog came from sculpted beast heads made of a similarly coloured stone.

Just like with the Norlanders, every fort owned by the Daxdians was defended by at least one legendary being. However, the Fort of Dawn was special in the fact that it was defended by a ferocious beast from the depths of Daxdus called Maranos the Brain Eater. Nobody knew where this creature came from, nor could they even tell whether it was native to Daxdus, but one couldn’t underestimate it as a mere beast; this creature was so cunning that even some higher-level legends had failed to deal with it. A powerhouse of Daxdus had lured it over using the bones of another legendary creature as the price.

The Fort of Dawn was a recent mark of shame for Norland, but to the Daxdians it marked a historic defeat. Still remembering their humiliation at the Sunlord, they had decided to put Maranos here to preserve this place. Countless powerhouses from Norland had become the creature’s food over the past few decades, and there were incidences where those from Daxdus had been ‘accidentally’ eaten as well.

However, this fearsome creature was now out of its nest, sprawled out right in the middle of the fort with countless wounds dotting its body. The proboscides attached to its hammer-shaped head were chopped up all over the place, and powerhouses from Norland were guarding the body vigilantly.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Gem

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA