Sunday, January 27, 2008

Novel - Day 37 - 3,773 / 42,618

“Sergeant Gamin!” Voler ordered, “You will be in charge of the town while we march on Capital City. Your orders are to use your men to secure this town and prepare it for use as a prison. There will be people who escape Capital City or those who we capture as prisoners. They will arrive here and you will take them in and house them as prisoners. As you will for any who are currently here. Is this understood?”

“Yes sir” Sergeant Gamin said, looking rather disappointed.

“Is there a problem Sergeant?” Voler said, seeing his disappointment.

“No sir, it’s just that I was hoping to be included in the group that marched on Capital City. I wanted to be involved in the battle.” Gamin said.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Sergeant, so I’ll give you a choice. You can either stay here and run the prison or you can become one of its prisoners. You don’t get the choice or a say in what you want to do. Is that understood? And Gamin, if you fail, you WILL become a resident here yourself. That is, if I let you live.” Voler said.

“Yes sir.” Gamin said as he turned and left.

Sergeant Gamin stepped outside, he jogged across the street with a limp; seeing three of his men and called them together.

“Organize the townspeople immediately, I want you to take the men and make sure every window in town is boarded up. Move all of the townspeople into three of the larger buildings. The people are only allowed to take what clothes they have on and a pillow and a blanket for sleeping, nothing else. If anyone refuses, lock them up in the jail, without their pillow and blanket. When you have completed that, you are each to stand guard at each of the buildings. No one is allowed to leave without permission. When they ask, give nobody permission.” Gamin ordered. The men ran off to see to their duties.

Sergeant Gamin made his way to the end of the road where the entrance of the town was. Here two guards stood watch, only allowing those to pass who they deemed fit.

“Secure this entrance.” Sergeant Gamin ordered, “From here on out, no one enters or leaves via this road. I want anything that you are able to retrieve to block this exit. Use whatever you have available to do the job. Make sure that no one is able to get through, whether they are on foot or horse. You will then guard this post to make sure of that.”

“Yes sir.” the guards said.

“Rest assured, if anyone does get through, you will pay for it.”

Sergeant Gamin made his rounds to each of the entrances to the town; he ordered the same thing, except for the road which led towards Capital City.

When Sergeant Gamin approached the guards at this entrance, he called them over, “I want you to leave this entrance open. The Envahir will be leaving by this exit and they will be sending back prisoners for us. This exit is to remain open at all times, unless ordered to do so otherwise. I want you to find what you need to secure this exit as quickly as possible in the case of an emergency. You will leave the equipment to the side and will only secure the exit on my order or that of a superior officer. I don’t care what you use to secure the exit whether it is wagons or trees or whatever, just make sure you can secure it quickly.

Only members of The Envahir are allowed to leave through this exit. Any civilians who come through here are to be considered prisoners. They are to be stripped of any belongings and taken immediately to designated buildings.

The men of the town were finished boarding up windows. They were ushered, under guard back to the three buildings.

“What’s going on here? I want to know.” One of the men asked. Others joined in demanding to know what was happening and why.

“Shut up!” one of the guards yelled at the man who asked the question, whacking him in the back with a club. The man collapsed to the ground.

“Hey! What the hell are you doing?” the other men yelled and started towards the guard.

The other guards watching everything unfold, pulled their swords.

“Stop!” one of the guards ordered.

Unarmed, the men stopped short and dropped to help the injured man up.

“You didn’t need to hurt him; he was only wanted to know what is happening as do we all.” One of the men said.

“Careful or you’ll be next.” The soldier replied.

The men helped him up and they were ushered towards the three buildings.

“It’s like a prison around here.” one of the men said.

“Prison … prison …prison” The word began to spread like wildfire through the townspeople. It took only a few seconds until the townspeople were yelling and screaming, “Let us out … This is our town; we shouldn’t be put in prison in our own town. Let us go.” the townspeople yelled. The guards pushed the people back. One unlucky soldier had his arm grabbed by the townspeople and he was the unwilling participant of a game of tug of war.

“Let me go. Ow, let go.” The soldier screamed. This went on for a few seconds with the poor soldier continuing to scream to be let go, until one of the soldiers pulled his sword and put it to the throat of one of the townspeople.

“Stop or he dies.” the soldier with the sword threatened.

The other townspeople saw this and began to quiet down and let go of the soldier’s arm. Realizing that without weapons, they were outmatched, the townspeople quit putting up a fight. The soldiers were able to push the townspeople back far enough to shut the door and barricade it. The guards then stood watch over the buildings.

Inside the buildings, the townspeople struggled to see with limited light. Everyone was talking, trying to understand why they were put in here. Everyone was trying to find their spot in the crowded rooms.

“They can’t leave us in here forever; they have to let us out at some point.” One of the townspeople was saying. Others were agreeing with him.

Someone else spoke up, “What makes you think they will let us out? Look around, we’re in a prison and there is no way out. I would guess if they tire of us, what would stop them from killing us?”

This caused an argument to break out.

“EVERYONE SHUT UP!” Sam yelled above the crowd, standing on a chair he had been using to sit on. “Yes, we are prisoners, in our own town. But if we work together, we may be able to take back our town. I have a plan.”

The next morning, all of The Envahir, except for Sergeant Gamin’s squad, left the town for Capital City.

“Lieutenant Epier.” Voler called.

“Yes sir?” Epier asked, moving to the front of the line.

“I want to pick up some speed. Have the men march double time. I want to arrive at Capital City and be in position by nightfall. We begin the attack at daybreak.”

“Yes sir, Captain Voler.” Epier said.

Epier issued the command and the soldiers marched double time towards Capital City.

After they had been traveling for sometime, Epier approached Voler.

“Sir the men need a rest, they have been keeping up this pace since we left. If we take a rest and then continued on at a normal pace, we will still make our positions by nightfall. The men will be no good to us if they are worn out or injured before we arrive.” Epier suggested.

Voler looked as though he was going to cut Epier open with his sword. He paused and looked at Epier, “Very well, you are right, give the order, we’ll take a break and then we’ll continue on at normal march.”

Epier ordered the army to stop and take a break. He heard many sighs of relief; he too breathed an inward sigh of relief, keeping his comment to himself. After a short period, Epier called for other officers, “We divide up here. Squad one, you will skirt the city and move to the north entrance. Squad two, you will place your men at the East entrance. And squad three will continue on with us towards the southern entrance. Remember, you will keep your men out of site until daybreak. On my signal, after daybreak, you will secure the entrance to Capital City. You are to let no one enter or leave unless by my order.

On my second signal, you are to open the gate and your men are to take the city. Remember to leave enough guards to secure the gate. If there are any changes, I will inform you directly or send a runner. Once the battle begins and your men have entered the gates, they are to do what they can to take the city and force a surrender.

Any questions? Seeing none, take your squads and move out.”

“Squad one, move out!”

“Squad two, form up on me and move out.”

Each of the squads arrived at Capital City before nightfall and made camp, keeping out of sight. At daybreak Voler, Lexa and a young man entered Capital City and made their way through the city towards the government building. Voler looked through the city, observing the layout and formulizing plans.

As they entered the government building, Voler didn’t stop at the secretary’s desk.

“Where are the council members?” Voler asked as he walked down the hallway.

“Wait, wait, you can’t go in there.” the secretary called, running after him.

Voler reached the first room and opened the door to the small office. The small man behind the desk was startled as he opened the door.

“I presume you are one of the council members?” Voler asked.

“I’m sorry sir, I couldn’t stop him.” the secretary said.

The council member waved a hand at her. “Yes, yes I am but what is the meaning of this?” he asked. “If you wish to meet with me, you must make an appointment.”

“Sir, I do not have the time nor the patience for meetings and appointments.” Voler said, “I have come here for a purpose and I would encourage your help. There are any things which I know about you and your city and how it is run. Things which you would not want your public to know. Now, we can make this very simple or it can become very difficult. You can work with me and do what I ask or you can choose to go against me. If you go against me, I can guarantee that your life, family and career would be over. Yes, you may still be alive but, you will wish you were dead; when you come to me and beg for relief, you will find that there is none.”

The councilman studied Voler for a short period, “How do I know what you are saying is the truth? How do I know it’s not some kind of joke?”

Voler motioned to the young man who came with them. The young man stepped forward and gave Voler a parchment. Voler opened the parchment and showed it to the councilman. The councilman’s jaw fell open and his face turned white.

“How, how could you know this? How could anyone know this? It’s not possible. that’s just not possible.” the councilman said.

“Now, I assume you will work with me and do what I ask?” Voler asked.

“No, no I can’t. I just can’t.” the councilman said, “I’ll buy this information from you. I’ll make it worth your while. You don’t have to do anything, just forget.”

“You don’t seem to understand sir,” Voler said, “This is not negotiable. Besides it is not your money I want. It is something else.”

The councilman got up from his seat and started towards the door. Lexa blocked the door, pulled her sword and pointed it at his throat.

“You would do well to sit and finish listening.” Lexa said.

The councilman slowly moved back to his seat.

“You must forgive her, she is a bit protective.” Voler said, “As I was saying, your choice is to join us or we will begin destroying your life, career and everything you care about. We will begin by sharing this information with your wife and then your city. You won’t be able to leave the town alive.

If you join with us and do what I ask, this information stays nicely packed away and nobody will ever find out.

Now how does that fit you for negotiations?”

The councilman paused for a bit and pulled at his hair. He stood up and paced behind his desk, not moving too far away for fear of Lexa’s sword.

“Very well, I will do what you ask. I can’t have this information out there and I can’t afford to lose my family. What is it that you want me to do?” the councilman asked.

“It is quite simple, an easy task for you. You are to lower the flag of Capital City and raise a flag of surrender. In one hour, you will lower that flag and raise the flag of The Envahir. You will then turn over complete control of the city to me.” Voler said.

“I .. I can’t do that.”

Voler motioned for the young man, “Find his wife and show this to her and then make the announcement across the city.”

“No wait, don’t do that!” the councilman said.

The boy started out the door.

“OK, OK I’ll do what you ask, I’ll hand control of the city over to you.” the councilman said.

Satisfied, Voler stood and left the room.

As Voler was walking towards the south gate, he glanced back and saw the flag for Capital City lower, in its place was raised a white flag of surrender. Voler smiled.

Voler motioned for the young man, “Inform Lieutenant Epier that he is to have his squads in place and the entrances to the city sealed off in one hour. Have him send in a small entourage of men from each entrance to join me as I take control of Capital City.” The young man saluted and ran off.

Kiri was watching as the flag of Capital City was lowered and a white flag of surrender was raised in its place.

“It has begun!” Creance announced.

Creance signaled for the Network to move into position near Capital City. From their position in the woods, Kiri could see The Envahir.

“Why don’t we just take them here, before they make it into Capital City?” Kiri whispered.

“Creance explained, “Out here, they would be able to surround and defeat us. They would have the upper hand, and they are only limited by the distance they can send their men. Once we have them within the city, we can separate and weaken them. We can block their defenses. We would be able to contain them and deal with The Envahir in smaller fights rather than one large battle.

We have the upper hand within the city and besides, they are not expecting an ambush once inside the city.”

“What if we can’t contain them or defeat them?” Kiri asked.

“Then there will be nothing left of Capital City to be saved nor will there be any need.” Creance said.

“I don’t know if I can do this. I don’t know if I can lead the Network and as my first act, I am leading them into battle. How do I know this is the right thing?” Kiri questioned.

“Well, it’s a little late for these kinds of questions now. But I will tell you a secret about having the right decisions when you are a leader. You don’t know, you never know if the decisions you make are the correct ones. But you have to make them and you make the decisions that are best for all and that will accomplish that which you are trying to achieve.

You are young in your leadership and your training has just begun, but already, I see the traits of your father in you. He was a very good leader but if what I have seen is any indication, you will become a Great leader.

You did not choose this battle. This battle was developing long before you accepted your position. Even if you had declined the position and chose to go on your own way, this battle would still have taken place. The only difference is now that The Network has its leader, they have hope. With the work you have already done, it has helped The Network, your Network in its battle against The Envahir.”

It wasn’t long after The Envahir began to leave to march on Capital City that Sam and Ted started to put their plan into action. They were able to steal peeks out the windows between boards. They noticed that there was only one guard watching the building they were in. They rummaged around in the closets and were able to find enough clothes that resembled something like an Envahir soldier’s outfit. They asked for someone to try to get outside of the town. A boy stepped forward who wasn’t much more than a teen.

“What we need you to do once you’re outside of the town is to keep anyone from entering. Meet them further up the road and stop them. Once you have enough, we want you to surround the town or at least find someway to weaken the guards and put pressure on them. We will be doing the same from here and if all works well, we will be able to get our town back.” Sam said, “And whatever you do, don’t get caught.”

They went to the back window and as quietly as possible, removed the boards. They lifted the boy through the window. He hid behind the house until he saw a couple of soldiers running by and he joined in behind them. His heart was racing and he thought that the decorations which were so hastily sewn on would fall off at any moment. He ran behind the other soldiers, past the guards and out the town gate. Once he was out of site of the gate, he slipped into the woods and hid until The Envahir were gone.

Many of the people of Capital City had begun their day and looked up at the government building and noticed that the flag had been removed and a white flag replaced it. Rumors abounded as to why a white flag was flying above the government building. It wasn’t long before one story began to prevail about The Envahir taking control of the city. The rumors turned to facts as the news spread and people were ordered to remain indoors and secure their households.

It was an hour after Voler had his meeting with the council leader. Voler, Lexa and a small group of soldiers from each of the entrances entered the City. The soldiers gathered behind Voler and they walked down the main street towards the government building. Voler stopped and watched with pride as the white flag lowered, as if on cue.

Voler watched as he saw rise up the flagpole, not the red flag of he Envahir but instead the blue flag of The Network. Anger shot through Voler.

“Someone will die for this joke.” Voler said marching towards the government building.

All of a sudden, the road in front of him was cut off. He spun and looked behind him as the exit that direction was also cut off.

“Ambush!” Voler yelled.

A volley of arrows whizzed past them from the rooftops. The soldiers instinctively raised their shields and backed against the buildings to find protection.

“Return fire.” Voler ordered the soldiers who were carrying bows. He motioned for some of the soldiers to get to the rooftops. Voler yelled out to have Epier send in more troops, the noise of the city and the walls drowned out Voler’s cry for help.

The arrows from above had stopped and it wasn’t long before Voler and Lexa were engaged in a sword fight.

It appeared to the small number of The Network who was there, that they were beginning to overpower the small band of soldiers. Then they saw The Envahir’s leader pull out a small horn and blow a signal. At this point, the men watched as a wave of the Envahir’s soldiers came rushing through the city entrances. The soldiers came so fast that The Network’s men almost didn’t have time to raise the blockades which separated the soldiers, breaking them into small groups.

Kiri watched and listened as The Envahir entered the city and the sounds of battle broke out. She was ready to follow them in.

“Wait. Wait for it.” Creance said, “If we go to early, we will just be stopped at the doors.”

“Why don’t we just kill the ones at the doors and force our way in?” Kiri asked.

“That will bring the fight outside. We will not be able to get the help inside which we need. If we bring the fight outside, we have the same problem we would have had we attacked earlier. Be patient and let Epier do his job. You must have faith in your people and in the plan.” Creance said.

It was at about this time that Epier rode his horse up to his men at the gate.

“Get in there, they need your help.” Epier said to his men.

“But sir, the gate.” One of the men objected.

“Look at them son, they need your help, they’re losing in there. Captain Voler is in there. Do you want to be the one to tell him he was wounded and had a difficult time in the battle because you had to watch the gate?”

“No sir.”

“Besides, who is going to leave? Everyone is too busy fighting. Now get in there. That’s an order.”

The soldiers saluted and ran into the battle, leaving the gates wide open.

“That’s it. Give the signal.” Crenace said as a horn sounded behind them.

Kiri began to run alongside Creance, leading The Network into battle with The Envahir. Creance slowed near Epier.

“Close the gates behind us.” Creance yelled and rushed through the gates towards the battle.

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