Episode 12: Battle for Seastride
The Lightbringers moved towards Seastride from the east, while the defenders of the village, the Etherian Guard, moved out from the west. We neared from the south. Miriam watched the two forces clash from up high. I told her not to make any moves yet because the moment the Lightbringers learned of our presence they would push their forces toward us and we needed the element of surprise. They had not yet seen us. We abandoned the road and instead travelled through a nearby forest. It would conceal our approach further and allow us to strike after studying the battlefield. I dismounted along with Kaiden and watched from a hill near the battlefield. The Etherian Guard was defending the village well. Their strength matched that of the Lightbringers and it seemed like a stalemate. Then, in a moment’s notice, a flare of light struck the center of the guardsmen and knocked them away from the blast center creating an opening for the Lightbringers to move in and strike them down. This was our chance, they believed to have an advantage. Ilyana was ready to charge in with Kaiden. Meanwhile I prepared a protective spell to quickly shield the downed guardsmen. “Go!”, Ilyana rode with Kaiden at top speed towards the battle. Miriam let our a screech from up high and unleashed a spell that created towers of dark energy in a line splitting the Lightbringers’ battalion into two separate forces. I unleashed the spell I was working on protecting the guardsmen from lethal blows that were about to be dealt by the soldiers of the church. Miriam expanded her spell to attack some of the soldiers launching them into sky and away from the Etherian Guard. Ilyana entered the fight slaying enemy knights that were on the side of the guardsmen. Their captain was perplexed at our intervention but grateful nonetheless. He rallied his troops and pushed the Lightbringers back. Kaiden bombarded the enemies with dark orbs that exploded on the ground. I warned him from the hill to conserve some energy and he reduced the frequency of his attacks. It was after that when I saw her. The general of the Lightbringers, Catalina. She wore a heavy, enchanted armor suit that made her stand out clearly. Without hesitation the general rallied her troops and ordered them to charge forward. Miriam continued to knock down the church’s soldiers and one of her pillars caught the general and threw her off her horse. In a fit of rage she unleashed a blast of light energy that turned into a multitude of rays that rained towards every direction. It did not harm her soldiers but she was able to hit many guardsmen. Miriam was hit twice and she lost control of her shapeshift. Before she fell to the ground I caught her with a levitation spell. Despite the distance I was able to gently land her on the ground. She was still conscious, but had little energy to go on. Kaiden and Ilyana were able to protect themselves as did many of the Etherian Guard. Some of the Lightbringers began to retreat, but their general refused to surrender. I began my descent from the hill wary of any attacks from some of the soldiers who would think me easy prey. My hands swirled with dark energy, ready to strike at any foe who would dare confront me.
A clash of fierce swordsmanship between Ilyana and Catalina showed why the general was both feared and respected. She was also very skilled with light magic. In the end she was not ready for what came next. I faced her after she blasted away soldiers, Ilyana and Kaiden. The light energy lingered much like in Lilyfield. “I suspect you led the attack on Lilyfield?”, I asked. “You are correct, and you are?”, I could see her crazed eyes inside the helmet. “My name is Balthazar, court mage to the king of Lyre. I suggest you surrender, few of your soldiers remain”, she let out a scream and charged at me. As I mentioned her soldiers had mostly fled. Only a few remained and were slowly being overrun by the guardsmen. I deflected her charge and put a curse on her blade. It became extremely brittle and when she tried to strike again, she missed and hit the ground where the sword shattered. “I hate you so much, you will pay for this!”, she screamed again and threw the hilt, which was all that remained of her sword, to the side. Her hands radiated light and she gathered the energy between her palms. I knew that if I allowed her to continue we would be in trouble, but striking her down would be detrimental to our plans. We needed to capture her. As she raised her hands holding the ball of light I began casting my own energies towards her. The shadows at her feet grew and began to surround her. From behind me Kaiden cast a large dark crystal which split her accumulated energy and dispersed it. The distraction allowed me to finish my attack. I had constricted her with dark energy. She could no longer move.
“I have blocked her connection to the Ether. It will not last forever but for now she will have no energy to cast spells”, I told the captain of the Etherian guard. “Miriam are you alright?”, Kaiden was worried, he had seen her taking a fall but not when I caught her with my magic. “She will be fine. The spells the general uses create a lingering aura of light, it will affect her ability to access the flow of Ether, but I can dispel it with time”, I reassured Kaiden. Ilyana was tired form the fighting but wanted a debriefing from the captain of the guardsmen, “How did this come to pass? We know the Lightbringers attacked Lilyfield and destroyed it but surely the information didn’t arrive so quickly”. “My lady, our forces had been aware of the battalion’s presence for some time. They only needed to make a move. A day ago a courier arrived from the capital with news of what happened at Lilyfield. They said that a caravan arrived late at night and told the grandmaster what happened”, the captain said. “So the caravan arrived safely, that is good to know”, I was tending to Miriam while listening to the conversation. “Your intervention here was most timely. If it weren’t for you we would have had a difficult time defending the village”, the Etherian Guard had only a handful of mages that could repel the magical attacks of the Lightbringers.
Before returning to the village with the general as our prisoner I suggested to the captain that she be transported to Lyre for questioning and as a bargaining tool in case the church wanted to negotiate a ceasefire. He agreed especially considering how dangerous she was. The Lyre Royal Guard would be better suited to handle her. Tomorrow she would begin her trip to Lyre. Meanwhile we received news from a courier that another Lightbringer battalion was readying to set sail. The informant told us that their city was on the western continent of Daltrith. I had read about this continent before. Engulfed in a war for many years it is said the rise of the church stalled the conflict, but the old hatreds remain. I believe that our destination should be the seat of power of the church, by this time tomorrow we should have charted passage on a ship to take us there.