The man they call Demon
Garonte Vangardforth, a powerful nobleman from the east who managed wealth and a military force comparable to a small country, had the obsession to govern those he considered inferior to him, which for a nobleman means all those who are not.
A question had always been present in his head, since the day his father-general of the Southeast Jagheb forces- led him to his first battle.
Why is Jagheb always on the defensive?
He couldn't understand it, again and again Jagheb was attacked by Iren and was repelled, not without losses. However, there was not a single occasion when Jagheb lost, otherwise it would have long ceased to exist, like so many towns that had been conquered by the Irenit war machine.
He just couldn't understand why they weren't attacking, forcing Iren to take the defense.
"It's because the Generals and their Acme soldiers", said his father every time curiosity and cravings overcame him and he decided to ask.
It's true that in all the battles he had been to, he had never been able to see the famous Iren generals. The army was always commanded by a low-ranking commander and the soldiers under his command didn't wear the famous red armor, which is said to be used by the Acme soldiers.
Still, he couldn't believe that Iren had such strength in reserve. If they really possessed a military power as great as told in his grandfather's old stories, then they would have used it to subdue Jagheb long ago. And yet there it was, 200 years of relative prosperity.
The only thing that stopped Jagheb from ruling the entire east of the continent was Iren. After all, in the last 200 years, small nations and free peoples had decided to become Jagheb's vassals on their own initiative, probably in search of protection against Iren.
In his grandfather's stories, and the books in his family's library, there was a time when Iren indiscriminately attacked everyone within its reach, bringing ruin in its path. It was told a kingdom rose, one that Iren could not simply crush, Jagheb.
They told how that changed the world. Suddenly Iren declared the war officially towards Jagheb and attacked it, ignoring the defenseless towns that were in the way. This brought the opportunity for other peoples to grow and offer resistance.
However, history is cruel. Once these raising nations were on their way to be able to defend themselves, Iren offered the armistice with Jagheb and turned its gaze to them.
From Garonte's point of view, this only meant that Iren feared that another nation like Jagheb would emerge, capable of opposing them. And cowardly offered a temporary truce with Jagheb to deal with the nascent threat.
That was another thing he couldn't understand either. Why Jagheb accept truce without further thought, when that is the perfect opportunity to corner Iren in more than one front.
However, what history tells is that the nations decided to abandon the idea of opposing Iren by themselves and became vassals of Jagheb, so that Iren didn't attack them during the armistices. Because they did not represent any threat, they were not attacked in times of war.
A cowardly, but effective solution. While not perfect.
Over the years, so many villages were annexed to Jagheb, that their territory grew exponentially, to become the largest nation on the continent, with 47 times the territory of little Iren.
This only raised Garonte's doubts. If Iren really was an almighty nation that conquered everything in its path, with the exception of Jagheb, why did it control so little territory?
No doubt it must have lost countless times to be reduced to a small spot almost on the edge of the continent.
The years passed and doubts grew in the heart of Garonte, who had always seen his nation Jagheb, which housed his family and most of the continent's nobles, as the greatest. He doubted the kingdom's decisions were the right ones.
When he ascended to the post of general, replacing his father, he made the decision that he would take advantage of the first opportunity to counterattack Iren, and take the war to their territory. He would teach them what is to see their people's homes burn, and the fear of seeing the enemy army loom over their beloved capital.
Finally, the opportunity presented itself. Once again, like so many times, Iren's army was withdrawing from Jagheb's territory after a failed invasion. It was time they felt the blow.
He hunted the retreating army and tithe it on its way to Iren. But soon he would learn a lesson. And he would understand at last, why the kingdom that had survived two centuries of wars with Iren, never attacked it in its territory.
"Keep going, we're almost done with their army! Don't let them regroup behind their walls, the less we have to face later, the better".
"Sir, news comes from the front. We have almost reached Canaar, apparently there is an army of women stationed in front of the doors".
"They really must be short of men if they plan a defense using women as their defensive force. At last we arrive at the first city, rejoice Lieutenant, today we will walk in the lands of Iren for the first time and we will see for the first time one of its cities, before reduce it to rubble".
"As you say general, but there is something ..."
"Well ... Those women wear red armor ..."
"What you say!?"
“HAHAHAHA, really ... Who would say that the first acme soldiers we would see would be women, this is a lot of fun ... Hahaha. I think we will take more glory than expected, I thought they would speak ill of us for massacring an army of women, but if they were Acme soldiers, nobody can blame me, right? "
Garonte did not even consider the possibility of losing, in his mind those women were already dead. To begin with, they should never do their formation outside the protection of the walls, everything about that little army seemed like a joke. They were women, they couldn't be more than a thousand and they were waiting outside the walls.
However, something unexpected happened and was not those women who did it, but the men who retreated, who suddenly stopped and put genuflected with one knee on the ground, holding in one hand their spears and in the other the shields
For a brief moment, the army of Garonte stopped their onslaught to observe confused such an act of madness.
Why did the soldiers who almost reached the relative safety of the walls stop?
Why did they abandon their chance to save themselves?
Of course the soldiers under the command of the Vangardforth family could not understand it. It was not possible for them, because they did not know the figure that was currently standing on the city walls.
As he approached his forces, Garonte asked his lieutenant for the distant vision artifact.
As the front men said, there was a man standing on the city walls. It would be normal if he were an archer and there was more like him, but this man wore red and black armor and carried a sword instead of a bow.
By watching him carefully, his appearance instilled a fear that Garonte couldn't understand. The strange armor looked more like a decoration than a combat equipment, the strange shape it had seemed inappropriate to move with and it didn't seem easy to look at the battlefield with a helmet like the man's, which covered the entire head and from which two horns came out.
When observing it completely, Garonte doubted that was a man.
"A statue?" thought.
But what was there was not a statue, as it moved. Suddenly he jumped down the walls and came to position himself between the two armies of Iren.
What kind of jump was that !? Was he thrown by a catapult !? were natural thoughts.
The figure was now with the Acme soldiers behind him and the men who were retreating in front. One of the women, who had a slightly different armor from the others, with some golden moldings, approached him and for a moment they seemed to speak.
"Soldiers who invade the territory of Iren, know that today thy have served my purposes and therefore go in peace to the next life".
A deep and imposing voice was heard on the battlefield, even Garonte had no trouble hearing, despite being at a great distance.
He had heard before wind magic that allowed to speak long distances, but seeing that everyone in his army had heard the words of that man, he doubted what was happening. The magic he knew should not have such a wide area of effect.
For a moment he thought, not realizing what the man's words meant.
"Sir! Another force has appeared right behind us. We are surrounded!"
As the lieutenant said, another group of soldiers wearing red armor was closing the escape route, suddenly the situation seemed to be bad. But they still had the numerical advantage, if they attacked this new army and broke the closure, Garonte liked his chances of victory.
But this new force remained in place, attacking them on both sides did not seem like their intention. It was as if they were there just so that Garonte and his men could not flee in their direction.
"That the weak prostrate before the strong".
Without knowing why, suddenly his horse collapsed. Although Garonte was unharmed, he could not get up, he felt as if his entire body weighed 10 times more, it was as if a giant hand pressed him to the ground. All he could do was move his eyes to see how his entire army was on their knees, just like him.
"Disappointing, I expected my debut to be glorious. But there is no one with whom I can fight one by one".
As soon as the man stopped speaking, the stifling sensation of crushing disappeared from Garonte's shoulders and his army. But the looks of his men were not of relieve.
The man walked towards them, while Iren's men made way to him without changing their postures, as if they prostrated themselves before a deity that walked among them.
"Get up men! The strange magic he used on us has lost its effect, don't let him have a chance to use it a second time!"
As a general hardened in battle, Garonte gave what should be the right orders. Before an unknown and dangerous magic, it is best to restrict its use as soon as possible and kill the user.
Of course, his sharp instinct told him something was wrong. Why would someone with such magic walk towards the enemy when they had freed themselves from their effects. Fear suppurated throughout his body in the form of cold sweat.
"Sword of conquest!"
Garonte's fears were realized. That man-shaped creature wielded an aberrant sword with black edge, and with a movement of its devilish sword a burst of violet light emanated from the black blade, soaking a hundred men with the sinister light. The blast erupted on contact with the enemy ranks with a deafening roar and an even more blinding light, which when dispelled revealed horror.
With that single movement, Garonte had lost all his vanguard.
"BUT WHAT THE HELL IS THAT !?"
No matter how many times he had seen the great magicians of Jagheb, he had never even heard of a magic capable of ending a hundred men in an instant.
That movement was enough to end his army. His men were no longer soldiers, but ants fleeing for their lives. Perhaps even more men died trampled by their comrades than those who had seen their end in the face of that inhuman attack.
"Men of Iren who had to bear seeing their comrades die while following orders, now I give thy the freedom to take revenge on these vermin".
With these words, each of the soldiers who were initially prostrated stood up and lashed out at the remains of Garonte's army. While women with red armor massacred those who approached them attempting to escape.
Garonte was paralyzed, unable to move from his position, while a bloodbath took place before his eyes, soaking the Irenites who did not cease to mow the lives of his men.
"Haa ... Now I remember. My grandfather said that the red armor of the Acme soldiers was like that because they were always bathed in blood".
For what seemed like an eternity, Garonte watched those who were under his command die. And when the show stopped, he and a handful of his men, who hadn't been able to move a muscle, were the only ones standing.
It was then that man with diabolical armor approached them.
"You who have not tried to flee like cowardly rats, by the authority of the General Demon of two horns, I allow you to live. Tell what you have seen today and never forget what happens to those who invade the territory of Iren".
"Sir, what do I do with the request?"
"Say I accept. I cannot simply ignore a man who can spend so much money like nothing, so much that he even gives his servants comforts that simple commoners could never have".
Ahh ... I got distracted for a second, receiving the report on the movements of Iren's soldiers inside the city always reminds me of that fateful day. Although I am now leading a great guild of low-world merchants, I cannot erase my past mistakes from my mind.
I was a fool. I didn't understand that never attacking Iren is the reason Jagheb has survived for 200 years.
That day I could understand the truth to which I was blind, about the true power of Iren. On the Acme soldiers, who after that occasion, attacked and erased the city of Vangar, which I ruled, from the map. I understood then that those were not women, that only monsters receive the red armors.
That day, I saw with my own eyes the man they call Demon.