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48. In command again
Tavanika rode at the head of the army and reclaimed command of it. They'd been through hell and back and everyone bore the look of it. Now they turned to her to take charge again. She felt uneasy at being in command again, it had all happened too fast and now were all those lives once again resting on her shoulder. These women and men had fought two battles. The first, where Tavanika was in command, had been – if not a victory, so not a defeat either. In the second battle, she had been replaced by the conceited and imprudent Tinmarothian General Oxtoro and they had suffered a massive defeat. The Gold Knight was now their commander again, like it or not.
She was riding ahead of the large crowd when suddenly one scout on horse-back appeared in a cloud of dust.
"It's Kelisone!" the young woman shouted on top of her lungs. Tavanika rose her brows and picked up her binoculars. And sure, there was Kelisone, galloping towards the marching army ahead of a small group of followers.
"It su
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Literature
47. The hooded rider
"What in the name of the Demiurge are we doing here?" asked Skermon exasperated as he looked around in the ruins of what had once been one of Eastern Arcadia's greatest cities. "I already know what will take place here and I know there's no possible chance to prevent what happens without the timeline skewing off into a radical tangent of unpredictable outcomes. It's too risky."
"Is it?" asked Lord Ganrion with a smug grin on his face.
"Yes, it is and you of all people should know the dangers of messing with this kind of magic, Gold Knight," the Sibling said angrily. "I learned that lesson the hard way when I was first came here and if I had known then what I know now, I would've had second thoughts about initiating this venture."
"You have a point," Ganrion conceded solemnly. "Knowing the road ahead is never a good thing, no matter what happens. Even seeing the road that you originally helped pave become twisted and distorted by those out for their own ends hurts just as much. But that
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Literature
46. The battle in the valley
Tavanika was among the fighters of the Petroken unit when the bullets came. She took two, only her Gold Knight powers saving her. However hundreds of warriors fell across the battlefield. Tavanika cursed as she realized that the Solharans had been expecting them. They had known all the time, they must've had a spy inside the lines of the Demiurge Alliance. Now, that was not unheard of, but that this spy should've been able to sneak out so fast, and get to this place in such good time for a heavy preparation, now that was odd. Unless the spy had magic means of travel or communicate. Magic neither she nor her fellow knights had been able to discover.
However, now was the time for some of her own magic. Some tricks she had learned once and hidden away for moments like this. This was not effortless, far from it, but dire time took dire deeds. She told the nearest two fighters to watch over her and then she crouched low, so that she could reach the ground with her right hand. There she conc
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Literature
45. Live Live Live!
Before Resmandra could move to pursue Valona she heard a low sobbing voice behind her.
"Zardinek! No! You can't die, not now!"
Spinning around, she saw to her horror Levone crouched over the body of a mortally wounded Zardinek, who had been without the protection of an amulet when the dark magic had struck. Splinters of magically tainted steel had hit him in several places and he was bleeding severely. Levone stared up at Resmandra, tears streaking her face, painting black rivulets of make up on pale cheeks.
"Resmandra . . .you can help him . . .can't you?"
The Mother Priestess stared down at her fallen friend, jaw clenched grimly. Rage burned in her, rage hotter than the fires of the Steamgod's smelteries. Valona had done this. And by all that she held dear, the treacherous bitch would pay. She would seek the dark one out, rend her with her Power, and break her on the sword of her empathy.
"Resmandra, please!"
Levone's frantic cry snapped her out of her trance. Rage was forgotten. Rev
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Literature
44. Dark power
Resmandra's teeth ached from clenching them, for the sense of imminent danger was growing as the party rolled on. This all felt so unfair! All those people were having so much fun, they were dancing and singing, amusing themselves. Drinking and singing and carousing. Rejoicing in the manifestation of true love between Zardinek and Levone as well as mingling about with good friends. And upon none of these happy faces did she trace a single tick of fear. But she knew that they would soon all learn it as the madness broke loose. And there was little she could do to prevent it.
It didn't take long before all hell and then some broke out. As Resmandra watched from her place to the side, Lady Valona moved forward, towards the bridal couple on the dais. Her green gown was shimmering, her hands clutching a small package wrapped in glossy, pink paper and a bow in the same colour. She slid up to the newlyweds with all the sinuous grace of a cobra that spies her prey awaiting her on a rock. Resma
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Literature
43. The obstinate general
"I had a talk with a very interesting person." Chonaira told Katalos right off the bat just to see what the cultist's reaction would be. And as expected Katalos raised a brow and blurted out an enquirious 'whom'. When Chonaira told him she thought she saw confusion dance across his face, but it all flashed by so fast that she wasn't really certain it had actually been there.
"Old Ansafar, I assume."
"Then you assume right, Katalos."
"The old triple-crosser! Did he tell you to say hi to me?" the High Priestess laughed.
"No, I'm afraid not," the priestess admitted before sighing heavily. "I have to give that man credit, he's craftier that I realized."
Katalos shifted uneasily at that.
"For what it's worth, Your Holiness, I would never play his game. I'm doing this for the Mother, even if it can be seen as a long shot. I'm still on the hunt for The Promised Child. Even after so many years. I know that one day I'll find her and begin what I know must be done to save the world."
Chonaira no
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Children of Arcadia - starting this all over again.

Well after sort of running into the wall with my steam fantasy tale Children of Arcadia I took it down from here a while back. Then I've rewritten most of it, cleared out a bit side stories and characters that were never going anywhere and concentrated on the main history and lesser persons. Because it never got epic, just complicated. And now with this second try I actually feel it's getting better than before. 

So here we go again - enjoy Children of Arcadia reloaded - lol! oroladian.deviantart.com/art/T…

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Tavanika rode at the head of the army and reclaimed command of it. They'd been through hell and back and everyone bore the look of it. Now they turned to her to take charge again. She felt uneasy at being in command again, it had all happened too fast and now were all those lives once again resting on her shoulder. These women and men had fought two battles. The first, where Tavanika was in command, had been – if not a victory, so not a defeat either. In the second battle, she had been replaced by the conceited and imprudent Tinmarothian General Oxtoro and they had suffered a massive defeat. The Gold Knight was now their commander again, like it or not.

She was riding ahead of the large crowd when suddenly one scout on horse-back appeared in a cloud of dust.
"It's Kelisone!" the young woman shouted on top of her lungs. Tavanika rose her brows and picked up her binoculars. And sure, there was Kelisone, galloping towards the marching army ahead of a small group of followers.
"It sure is," Tavanika grinned. She knew at the very least, this very Knight could lift the spirits of her soldiers.

Not much later Kelisone approached Tavanika and the blonde woman extended her hand, welcoming her fellow Knight back into the army.
"Where's the damn Tinmaroth General?" Kelisone asked without further ceremonies.
"That fool was last seen surrounded by the Army of Solhara." Tavanika responded. "He had a chance to escape, but he foolishly charged Rania. Naturally he bit the dust. The rest of the army barely made it."

"Listen, Tavanika, you're looking at this as a total defeat," Kelisone said quietly so the others couldn't hear her. "Don't do that. Speak to the army. Call it a rear guard action; use it to rally the fighters…"
"I hadn't thought of that. Thanks!" Tavanika nodded. The two warriors saluted each other once before Tavanika urged her horse forward. When she was in front of her warriors she turned her mount and stared into the defeated eyes of the army before having her herald sounding his horn.

"Listen… We've suffered a terrible trounce. But… we are not defeated." The soldiers looked at her with surprise as Tavanika continued. "The mistake was made, but it wasn't by any of you. No, every single one of you people did your very best, you gave it all, your heart. You stood when the time counted. The defeat was our own. However, the Tinmarothian General Oxtoro saw his error. I saw him as he looked around at the slaughter, but he didn't give up. No, not at all. You are saying he foolishly threw his life way, and that is what the leaders of the Solharans are probably saying right now. Calling him the fool of Tinmaroth. But that isn't what I saw. I saw a man who knew that he had to save the army that he'd endangered. So, Oxtoro bravely clasped his polearm and he charged at Rania himself! Why? He knew he wasn't going to defeat the Solharan, that wasn't meant to be. He did it for one reason."

"Because without his action," Tavanika went on, "the entire army would have been surrounded and destroyed. Mistakes were made, and I'm honest about them. But, Oxtoro gave us the chance to try again, and we will try again. This war isn't over, and we aren't defeated. Yes the hour is dark for Arcadia, but it has been dark before. And before, just like now, the people of Arcadia stand strong, and I stand with you. And most of all, the Demiurge stands beside us! Oxtoro's sacrifice won't be in vain, we still have a chance to win this war."

"How can we stand against the waste numbers of the Solharan?" a voice in the crowd was heard.
"We can because we must." Tavanika continued. "But we won't stand alone. I won't allow the Steamgod followers destroying this land that our people have built for thousands of years. I won't allow Solhara to do to all of Arcadia what they did to Sarentakar. Will you stand with me?"

The people stood motionless. No one wanted to react. They each doubted within themselves the ability to fight. The uneasiness of Tavanika grew as the army did not act.
"I'm with you," a clearly ringing voice was heard in the silence. Tavanika now saw Othiardan emerging from the crowd. She waited, and then came another voice. "I'll stand with Tavanika and Othiardan." It was Dersarende.

Soon the two Zekaran tribes raised their rifles and their swords. Emboldened by the stand of the Zekarans swords and rifles went up one by one at first, then finally the rest of the army raised their weapons each declaring that they would stand by Tavanika.

Tavanika had commanded the army because she'd been appointed by King Salendar, and she'd lost it just like that. In a way, she never really commanded the army, not until now. Because now the army had chosen her and hence they were now finally and truly behind her, it wasn't a desperate plea to her to save their lives from the doom of Solhara; instead it was a pledge of honour. They would rally beside her against the enemy. The Demiurge Alliance would stand, and it would fight!

***

A hand on her shoulder made Resmandra start.
"I think you'd better sit down, dear." Levone ordered quietly, but with a commander's implacable tone. "You're white as a sheet. Healing Zardinek can't have been easy. You need to rest."

Resmandra allowed herself to be led to a chair. She slumped gratefully into it. Levone sat down next to her, a tired wrinkle upon her forehead.
"I know I don't have to say this, but... thank you for saving Zardinek. If I'd lost him..."
"I know." Resmandra laid a soothing hand on the other woman's shoulder. "Believe me, I know. Erkander..."
"You love him, don't you?"
"He's the other half of me."
"Then why don't you..." Levone halted, blushing crimson. "I'm sorry, it's none of my business. Sometimes my mouth runs ahead of my brain."

"Why don't we do something about it?" Resmandra finished. "It's a fair question. But... He's a married man."
"He doesn't love his wife," Levone snorted. "Their marriage was one of convenience, a business deal. He needed the money, she needed the glory a senator's wife would add to her business legend. These are the things memoirs are written about. But not – love. Why do you think they have remained childless all of those years by the way?"
"As you said earlier, that's none of my business. Besides, after what I did to him five years ago, Erkander no longer trusts me."

"But Zardinek told me you had no choice, it was the will of the gods that you left him then." Her friend protested. "You made a great sacrifice."
"True, I just wished I had been able to tell Erkander about it. Tell him that the Mother called me to her, because I was with child and the Mother has special plans for this child. Plans which included keeping her safe the first years, because there were evil people out to get her. The mother wanted to save her. It was only that, I never got the chance to explain."
"Men! Question is if he would've understood. They think they hold the monopoly on sacrifice! Let a man do what you did, they'd fall all over themselves calling him noble and a hero. But let a woman sacrifice herself, now that's another story. Someone ought to pour a bucket of ice water over his head. Maybe then he'll see sense."

"Maybe I'll try it."
"Try what?" Zardinek asked, sitting down beside Levone. Resmandra was pleased to note that the colour of his cheeks was much better.
"Pour buckets of ice water over certain people's heads." Levone answered.
"Not mine, I hope. I've had just about enough for one night."
"I'd never do such a thing to you!" Levone looked horrified. Then she added slyly, "Not right away, anyway."
"Thank you so much, beloved. And speaking of thanks..." he turned to the priestess.

"Don't please." Resmandra held up a hand. "It is I who owe you an apology for Valona ruining your wedding. If I'd acted sooner..."
"Don't be ridiculous!" Zardinek scolded. "Her actions weren't your responsibility. She chose her own path, as did we all. You of all people couldn't be hold responsible for her choosing the wrong path. You weren't even in Arithinea when she started down that road, for Steamgod's sake! Besides, I haven't been to a wedding yet where there hasn't been some kind of brawl. Last one I was at, the kitchen caught fire. Now there was a real disaster! So I'd say this one was almost... ordinary."

Before Resmandra could reply, she heard a familiar voice call:
"Zardinek! There you are, thanks to the Steamgod!"
"What?" the bodyguard swirled around, facing Cirek who was pale in the face.
"It's Erkander, sir! He's been shot!"

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