Chapter 26 Blood War

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One hour later, an attack occurs on the Blood Army. Reports sent to the other garrisons asking for aid tell the story that during the early hours of the night they were overrun by Ime’s army. The attack begun with sneak attacks, destroying weapon storages and food supplies. Following these a wave of hysteria moved through the camp. Fifty thousand men claimed to see lights floating around the camps.

After the lights disappeared, the men claimed there were men sneaking around and attacked many of their own comrades. Two hundred were killed and many of those afflicted by the hysteria were placed into cells.

Once the hysteria passed a second wave of attacks occurred. This time unseen archers hiding in surrounding trees sent wave after wave of arrows into the camp. The seemingly random arcs of the shots made it difficult to locate where the attackers were.

Two of the enemies were found and taken prisoner while three others were killed on the spot. The two were questioned, but before any information could be garnered from them, the three that were killed reappeared as corpses and killed a number of men. The two managed to escape in the confusion and set fire to many of the camp’s tents, killing hundreds more.

Similar attacks continued the entire evening, not allowing any of the Blood Army to sleep and to remain alert. When morning broke, twenty-seven thousand men were dead and Ime’s army pulled back.

Every night the attacks continued. For an entire week, the Blood Army is attacked, unable to perform its own method of fighting.

At the end of the week, most of the Blood Army is gathered at the northern entrance to the Blood King’s lands. As soon as they arrive they attack Ime’s camp only to find it empty and the army long gone.

Ime’s army is marching with little interaction from the large forces of the Blood Army. They make it to Klaeon’s castle by the end of the week and prepare for battle. The men who remained behind would rejoin them in a few days, but by then the war will already have been going.

The army surrounding the castle is two hundred and fifty thousand strong, an equal size to Ime’s army. When announcements ring out through the Blood Army about the approaching enemy army, the soldiers scramble. The surprise Ime had been hoping to achieve has worked.

“I’ll be damned. I had little doubt this would actually work,” Herbart admits. “What are your orders?”

Ime draws his sword and aims it at the castle with Tanith growling excitedly beside him. “Attack and leave none alive. But if Klaeon is found leave him to me.”

The army races forward and fights soon fill the battlefield. Ime and Tanith press forward through the battling armies, searching for Klaeon.

The Blood Army keeps Ime’s forces back. They try to fight their way closer to the castle, but Klaeon’s soldiers refuse to lose any ground.

Ime charges through the battlefield. He helps his men and women when they’re overpowered. He assists the Healers by clearing paths through the fighting for them to reach the wounded.

While helping Tristan and Skara maneuver several severely wounded, Ime is surrounded by the remnants of the Shadow Watchers. He’s able to get Tristan, Skara, and the wounded away, but the Shadow Watchers circle him and cancel out his magic, making him powerless. He’s forced to fight with his sword, slaying many, but they still overpower him. Shadows trap Ime and his sword falls to the ground.

Before the Shadow Watchers can strike the final blow, Gaeren and Berk surprise the group, easily fighting against their shadow magic. Handing Ime his sword, Berk sneers at him. “Don’t make my defeat at your hands more embarrassing by dying before you even reach Klaeon.”

“Afraid to face him if I die?” Ime says, taking his weapon.

Berk tightens his grip on his sword, but Gaeren places a hand on Berk’s shoulder. “Even if Berk won’t admit it, I’ll do it for everyone. Yes, we’re afraid we’ll have to be the ones to fight him. None of them will admit it, but his magic frightens us.”

“And so does my magic,” Ime adds.

Gaeren smiles. “Anyone who says they aren’t are lying.”

The three return to the fighting and Ime focuses his efforts on locating Klaeon, but there are no signs of the Blood King anywhere on the battlefield. The sun sets on the first day of fighting and no sign of Klaeon can be found.

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