The army reaches the border of Klaeon’s lands, setting up camp a good distance away, readying for their first attack. In the distance, creating a strong wall against Ime’s forces is the Blood Army. Scouts are sent ahead to gather what information they can on the opposing forces.
While waiting for the scouts to return the allied leaders meet with Ime at the center of the camp. The large tent easily fits the group comfortably even with Farrow Klighdan’s simit sitting next to her.
Ime holds a map drawn by Lyrrel’s Seers of Klaeon’s castle and the surrounding lands. “Our original guess was most of the forces would be focused on the northern entrances. But we were unclear how far north he would place his first wave.” Ime traces his finger around the northern edge of map. “From what we can tell, the army standing before us is numbered anywhere from seventy-five thousand to one hundred thousand. With the total Blood Army at five hundred thousand, I think we should expect this to be the most concentrated of his border guards. But that could be a ruse and he may have one hundred thousand men ready at any given point. Which leaves a far lower number stationed at his castle.”
“The main focus now is should we attack or try to find a less guarded entry point into his lands,” Deven asks.
“With five hundred thousand men I don’t think there’s going to be a less guarded entry as Ime stated. Wherever we try to force our way through, the rest of his forces will gather there,” Pilian Grout says.
“And if we split our forces, it will leave us weaker to any reinforcements that arrive to assist those we attack,” Herbart Slayer says.
“Splitting our forces also makes it harder to communicate efficiently. It gives Klaeon easier access to interception and learning of our plans while we remain in the dark of his moves,” Marin Varth adds.
“Although, if we send small groups to perform surprise attacks from different directions, the actual location of our main army may be misconstrued,” Pilian adds.
“But the men standing in front of us have more than likely already reported our location,” Jada Boor says. “For that plan to work, we’ll still have to fight this garrison before enacting the surprise attacks.”
“How quickly can we mobilize our full forces?” Ime asks.
The allied leaders stare at him, curiosity filling their faces.
“If pushed, I’m sure two hours is possible,” Deven answers.
Gradyen Hutch glares at Ime with disbelief. “We’ve been marching for several weeks. Do our men not even get one night to rest?”
“Are you planning on attacking tonight?” Aryd Candok asks.
Ignoring the questions, Ime looks at Kordeaux Fellet. “How many mages do you have that can create illusions?”
Kordeaux glances around at the allied leader’s confused faces before returning his attention to Ime. “I have about a dozen with differing levels of skill. Why?”
Pointing to Herbart and Marin, Ime hands the map in his other hand to Deven. “Pick two dozen of your most trusted men and women and have them meet with Kordeaux’s mages here in one hour. Everyone else, pass the message that we’ll be leaving in two hours. Leave the camp as it is, but gather all food, weapons, and other essential supplies.”
Marin is about to speak, but Herbart grabs him and immediately leads the man out, a large smile on his face. Kordeaux soon follows, still unclear as to what Ime’s planning. The rest of the allied leaders stay where they are.
“What are you planning, Ime?” Farrow asks.
“Pilian is right. Wherever we enter Klaeon’s lands, his army is going to gather. I’ve given you orders, now go before we lose too much time.”