Chapter 133: Gael Jag
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   It all took a u-turn that became hell for the region that was his home. He saw the great vehicles that could glide through the air enter the airspace of the island. It was a spheroid-shaped aircraft that covered the sky. He was holding on to his rifle when he saw. He didn’t understand but the banner became clear. Two hundred airships came to show its might against the Cascadian Nation. He lived in a minor island surrounded by wall-like mountains, and although they were separated to the other islands by a mile long natural bridge.

He saw the airships dropped off the heirs of the War Maiden. He had heard of the people that call themselves Alician and their Matriarch that was known to be the demigod that once saved the continent. Loved by many, she was a Goddess of Victory for the Empire and he knew that the Alician entering the War meant they were in a dire state.

“I can’t panic,” he thought. “I need to make sure to run back!”

So he went into a sprint as he heard the gunfire thundering. He smelled the gunfire and with his rifle in hand, he wended his way to the outpost he was guarding. He readied his bolt-action rifle, lowered his posture to make himself as a small target as possible. He skulked around the gunfire and cocked his rifle and fired.

The exchange of muzzle flashes had made him confused. He aimed, did what he practiced on the drills, and open fire at the enemy. The Alician forces were well-trained. They had a strange aura around them as they fight vigorously without being cocky or too careful. They were suppressing them from the front while the rest were making their way to their flanks.

He worried that they would be overwhelmed. He didn’t falter knowing that this was the enemy. They had provoked the private army of monster slayers into fighting a war they never cared about. Not to mention that they have allied with the Half-Dragon named Kaiser. Messenger, and Ambassador of the Four Ancient Dragons that existed before the dawn of time.

He knew that the Island Nation had made a mistake when they provoked the Empire of Old. It wasn’t long when they came to the island of Cascade in peace. However, when the Emperor of the Empire wanted more than he could swallow. They were involved and not wanting to lose their identity as a nation and as a people. They turned their sights to the Empire, looked them right in the eye, and said no their dreams of making them part of a stretched thin Empire.

He continued fighting. He aimed and fire until he saw the ‘Magicians’ of the Alician fire a smokescreen that allowed the entry of the Alician Forces into the outpost. It was a large outpost and even though it was no fort. They didn’t dare to go easy on an outpost. The doctrine of the Alician forces resembled that of the Bleak Walkers. When they go into battle they intend to expect everything to happen.

“Wise Men shall not have his peace of mind disturbed, expect everything,” he recalled.

Their effectiveness of battle and their air superiority had proven to be the demise of the outpost. They announced for the outpost to surrender, but the Cascadian Soldiers didn’t want to show weakness. They retreated, and he followed his comrades as the Alician Forces slaughtered the retreating men. They had given them three chances to surrender and with them spitting on the faces of the Alician Forces. They were not spared any mercy.

He sprinted across the jungles. Bullets ricocheted all over the place and he heard the death throes of his comrades as he pushes forward deeper into the jungle. He heard the galloping of a horse and when he leaps down a steep hill. He saw a young soldier’s head turned into pulp. His horse ran towards the direction where he was standing. He mounted a horse, and rode past the familiar trail, evading enemy pursuit, and managing to reach out of the mountain walls.

He saw the sea and galloped his way towards the beach. He planned to reach a boat and escape to the other islands. He arrived near the wharves when suddenly a missile spell hit the wharf; lighting it in a fire. The soldiers stationed panicked and as they rush to their boats to escape. They heard the Alician Forces forcing them to surrender.

He wanted to surrender to spare the civilians inside. But the pride of the Cascadians was not quelled, they didn’t bother to reply, and their silence was received as a refusal for surrender. The Alician Forces swept the boats with their long range spells. The magic of old has been slowly been written off from the world. The Alicians, who were supported by Magic held the overwhelming advantage to the point of unfairness.

The boat got shot and he saw the people inside the boat drown or get shot. He tried to swim but alas the waves had knocked him down. When he awoke from his slumber, he saw a steamship anchored, and when he was spotted a couple pulled him aboard, and decided to look after him.

The man who took care of him had a graying black hair, his eyes were jet-black, and he had a pale complexion. The one he was with was bewitching, her black hair was braided, and although she wore a coat, her lithe figure could not be hidden. The two took him into the infirmary. The man whose left arm was wrinkled helped in treating his wounds.

He did not remember much after that. He only knew that he awoke and found himself on the rails of the ship, he was looking at the islands not far from where the steamship anchored.

“Thank you, Sir,” he said.

“No need, war ain’t pretty, as always,” the man said.

“Are you from the Empire, Sir?”

“What if I say yes?”

“I don’t know, Sir. But you saved me, and it seems this ship is heading to Basing?”

“You know it?”

“The Island of Exiles.”

“That’s right. I’ve no clue what the Island is. But, it’s where I’m heading to.”

“It’s far from my island. Neutral waters isolated from every nation there is. It’s a quaint island, Sir. Are you retiring?”

“I am. I want to rest and my partner wanted time away from all of these,” he pointed at the island drowned in terror. “I’ve enough of fighting in this lifetime.”

“Good for you, Sir. I wish that you have a good retirement.”

“You’re going back aren’t you, soldier?”

“I am, Sir. I’ve to go back and protect my own nation.”

“I understand that. This is no mockery but the chance of your nation standing up to Alician is nil. But if you want to struggle, and fight until the bitter end, then I won’t stop you.”

“Thank you, sir,” he said. “You look like a soldier yourself, Sir.”

“Well, I was, not anymore, I don’t want to fight for a while.”

“Sir, do you think I could make a difference?”

“Who knows?” He shook his head. “You’re fighting against a professional army lead by a War Maiden who has a record of defeating the impossible. Her army is also the ones that keep the monsters at bay, and their doctrines make them discipline, and if anything, you are fighting against a family that had its family murdered.”

“They aren’t the only one who lost things.”

“Maybe,” he leaned on the boat’s railing. “But they were monster hunters that are now fighting as an angry family that lost a part of their family. They won’t stop until they bring your nation to heel and either you die or surrender. I won’t say pity or that I am sorry about your nation. Everything is only as it is. Still, you can fight until the end. But, you’re still young lad, and to waste your life for this nonsense. But it is your life to waste.”

“I know that.”

“Good. Still, I should give you something. Give me your left arm.”

He extended his right hand towards the strange. The stranger’s trigger finger grew red.

“I’ll give you the runic tattoo.”

“What for?”

“Well, it is a credo of mine. Everything is only as it is and only a fool would be angry about the things he should have expected. I don’t live it that much now, but it helped me in my dire times and the runic tattoo should have a calming effect.”

“A calming effect?”

“It forces you to view the world from above. See how things really are and how little we are in this damn world.”

“I see.”

“Do you truly?” he smirked. “I don’t know what you’re fighting for or for what purpose you had to die for your country. But if that is your wish then so be it. But if there is a time then stop, think, and asked your own damn self if that is what you stubbornly want. I’m a stubborn man who held a belief in something so firm that in the end, it broke me. I’m here because of that stubbornness. So don’t lose your way, lad, and good luck.”

He nodded his head and went to the boat that he took.

“What’s your name, lad?”

“I am Gael, Gael Jag”

“I see. Good luck, Gael Jag, may your War be swift and remember death, for you might meet him if you don’t stick to the shadows.”

And so Gael Jag left the steamship to face the unwinnable enemy. The figure of the stranger with a wrinkled left arm slowly vanishing from his sight. He looked at his arm tattooed with runic symbols. He thought of the words of a stranger who seems to have seen a lot.

The Desolation of Gael Jag - Arc Prologue...