“I hope what I’ve said will not hurt your campaign,” the young man told the general.
The two men stood upon a hill, overlooking the Tyrian army’s camp. Thousands of soldiers worked on setting up tents, fences, stakes and fire pits.
The Tyrian general smiled, “No, young chieftain, do not worry about your words. I understand,” he lightly clapped the young man on the shoulder.
The two men could hardly be more different. The chieftain had a short beard, his hair tied in a braid behind his back. He wore polished leather armor which shined in the afternoon sun, with only his gray fur cape suggesting any kind of nobility. On the other hand, the Tyrian general wore lamellar plate armor, mimicking the tough scales of the native wild beasts. He looked over the camp on his war animal, with its long, muscular tail that helped to move like a giant snake, which slowly rose to form a body supported by two powerful upright limbs. The chieftain had never seen such beasts before, and the speed at which they propelled themselves in a slithering sprint made him uneasy.
“You must understand that this is the wish of my people. They do not want to spill any more blood,” the chieftain said.
“Of course. Do not worry, if your warriors do not wish to join us in the Empire’s campaign here, we will continue onwards anyway. Look at my men there,” the general paused for a moment to let the chieftain observe the nearly finished camp. “Those men will carve out a colony for the Emperor, and nothing on this continent can stop them.”
The chieftain didn’t reply for some time. His people were tired of fighting with the neighboring clans. Joining the new conquerors was out of the question. Such a mistake would have been the last as chieftain of Dagaland.
“I would like to invite you to meet the elders of Dagaland for an upcoming feast, if you may. If you come and show you mean no harm to Dagaland, it would make it easier for me to persuade the elders to aid you in the future,” the chieftain finally said.
The general nodded. “Certainly, I will see the elders. When is the feast?”
“In three days. It will be a celebration of fire and water.”
“I will be there.”
“Thank you, general. Until we meet again,” the two men parted ways, and the general’s warbeast carried him down the hill smoothly and quickly, kicking up grass and dirt.
One of his young commanders greeted him at the camp, “Sir, the camp is ready. What are your next orders?”
“Fine work you’ve done, lad. Keep your battle group here to defend the camp. Summon the other commanders; we’re going to march on Dagaland. Tell Captain Stolmark to have two of his segments scout and return quickly—there will be a feast in three days, and it would be a shame if we miss it. I’m feeling hungry already,” the general said.
The commander grinned. “Yes, sir. The men were beginning to wonder when we would fight. I’ll go share the good news.”
From a small pouch, the general took out a map of the continent. He took a pencil and began to redraw the borders to his liking.