We'd like to introduce and thank Okita-chan for taking over the translations for OSTK!
When other countries heard that another war had started between Carvelle and Parmia, their reaction was as simple as:
"Ah, they're at it again."
The two countries have been at war so often, that no one cared to count how many times they'd actually fought. Since the very beginning, they've shared this peculiar bond. It all started 250 years ago in the Kingdom of Shadeen, which dominated those lands back then. Blessed with fertile lands, a strong army and brisk trade, The Kingdom of Shadeen was the most suited to unite all other kingdoms under its rule and govern the whole continent.
After all, the ancient Holy Sword belonged to Shadeen. It was said that an Emperor who once unified the lands wielded it more than a thousand years ago. The Holy Sword could carve easily through iron, and is said to disrupt all magic, easily defeating any kind of demon. Even the oldest sages proclaimed that Shadeen inherited the power to unite all lands with this sword.
But one day, two feudal lords revolted. The Kingdom of Shadeen tried to suppress this mutiny, but all was in vain. The lords' armies defeated the troops sent by the kingdom, by force or by persuading them into betraying Shadeen. After that, the lords solidified their victory by stealing pieces of Shadeen's lands and hoarding all they could get. They expanded their rule towards the lands they'd captured and finally established their own kingdoms. That is how Carvelle and Parmia were founded.
The Holy Sword was also snatched from Shadeen by Parmia, which is now known as 'Kingdom of The Holy Sword.'
The Kingdom of Shadeen, however, didn't cease to exist. It suffered a great deal from the rebellion, and after that it barely had any power to thrive, let alone stand against Carvelle or Parmia.
The first conflicts between Carvelle and Parmia began during the reign of their second Kings in line. The King of Carvelle blamed Parmia for stealing the lands that belonged to Carvelle Kingdom, and his counterpart responded with the similar claim. He claimed that Carvelle Kingdom tried to lay its hands upon Parmian lands.
Apparently, this entire dispute began as a result of a controversy surrounding the last wills of deceased first kings. But neither side was willing to compromise. Each of the kingdoms believed that the will of their first king was the true one, and they were adamant in their intention to fulfill it.
Thus, the relationship between Carvelle and Parmia took a turn for worse.
The first kings of both countries were eager to lend a hand to each other, as they both plotted against Shadeen and led it to its demise. They did everything in their power to make sure that they would never have any dispute over lands, compromising and building friendship for their countries. But the relationship of their descendants was nothing but a constant quarrel and dispute. Both kings aimed only for their own supremacy, never trying to reconcile and negotiate. Each was willing to take any measures to make his opponent fall, even if it could bring serious consequences to his own kingdom.
Not a single day passed without a skirmish near their borders, and both of the kings left a bothersome will when they passed away:
"I'll never forgive him."
The third kings in line made sure they executed this will. By the time the fourth kings came to power in both of the countries, each of them saw the other one as an enemy of his forefathers.
Yet the two kingdoms didn't spend the following 250 years in continuous attempts to destroy each other. They did fight most of the time, but they also endeavored to build relationships based on peace and good will. However, each of those endeavors was brief and always ended in another conflict.
At the present time, the relationship between Carvelle and Parmia was in a rather perilous state. No matter how good their trade was and how deeply entwined their cultures were, the same skirmishes still occurred.
Luceide's honest opinion on the matter was as simple as:
"And here we are, dealing with foolish mistakes of our ancestors."
With all that said, all armed conflicts between the two kingdoms have never been anything more than mere disturbances. Both Carvelle and Parmia were strong enough to destroy a country or two, and if any of them ever gathered an army capable of invading its counterpart, the consequences would be devastating. One war would lead to another, and the whole continent would be trapped in its flames in no time. That is why both kingdoms took great care and never dispatched large troops.
But then, another conflict was about to rage on. 20 days before the current events, Vacelius, King of Carvelle, received a disconcerting report. It said that Fort Kisarge, the one located near the border between Carvelle and Parmia, was taken over by the Parmian army. Carvellian troops guarding the fort were overthrown and evicted, and all their arms and armor were confiscated by Parmians.
Parmia invaded this fort for no other reason than seizing it. After all, Fort Kisarge was originally built by the Kingdom of Parmia, then snatched by Carvelle, to which Parmia responded by snatching it back, and the fort never stayed in either one’s hands for long.
The King of Carvelle realized that Parmia, his longstanding foe, would never be satisfied by simply seizing the fort. That is why Vacelius ordered Longueville, head of the Four Generals of Carvelle, to derive a counterplan. The Four Generals were seasoned warriors, sophisticated and well-versed in the art of war, and they were given the right to command the armies of the Kingdom of Carvelle.
Among them, Longueville was the one whose skills and 50 years of experience in military command were the most widely recognized throughout the Kingdom of Carvelle. For his supreme battle skills he had earned the name'The Silver Sword' from people of the kingdom. And so, answering his king's order, Longueville proposed the following strategy.
First of all, Luceide would take 6,000 men and meet Parmian army in the field. While his troops distract the invaders and prevent them from proceeding, the second army of Carvelle, a troop of 10,000 men led by Longueville, would attack the enemy from behind.
Vacelius wasn't content with this plan at first.
"Listen, Longueville. Luceide is, after all, the Prince of Carvelle. I think this role should be given to someone of lower descent."
"Your Majesty, any General would be honored to lead the vanguard army. But still, even though the task of stopping the invaders may seem easy, it will require the commander to make harsh decisions, so he should have a flexible mind. This is not about winning or losing the battle There is no doubt that Prince Luceide, our resourceful general, who has already brought us so many victories despite his young age, will successfully perform this task. "
Unable to make a decision, the king called for Luceide and asked him directly. The brown-haired prince answered without delay.
"I will follow your orders, Your Majesty. It is my duty as a Prince to perform to the best of my abilities."
In truth, Luceide was more than eager to say that he would crush the enemy with those 6,000 men, but he chose to restrain himself. He understood that King Vacelius, after all, cared about his son. He didn't want to say anything rash and lose the chance to stand on the battlefield, just because the king was distressed.
Two days after that, Luceide left Reicetty, capital of Carvelle, with 6,000 men under his command. The reports from scouts he sent while marching confirmed that Parmian army, as he thought, used Fort Kisarge as a foothold to proceed into Carvelle territories.
And so, the two armies met on Ristion plains.
* * *
Six thousand Carvellian soldiers arranged themselves on the plains of Ristion. Five thousand foot soldiers and one thousand mounted knights made up their ranks. Amongst the five thousand foot soldiers, one hundred were designated to watch over Constance. Another three hundred were assigned to managing the food and supplies from outside the battlefield, so there were around four thousand six hundred soldiers at the actual battlefield.
“Ah, the soldiers are in good spirits.”
Mounted on horseback with his attendants in tow, Luceide emerged onto the battlefield. About half of the soldiers looking upon him suddenly corrected their posture, tightening their expressions, straightening their backs, and clutching their lances tightly. However, the other half did not bother to stand at attention so prudently, knowing that the prince wasn't much one for formalities.
“There is no need to stand so stiffly. By the way, does anybody know of Lysander's whereabouts?”
Luceide kindly addressed his men with a simple question. Upon hearing the answer, Luceide turned his horse in the direction they had indicated, placidly waving to his soldiers as he and his attendants rode onward. Luceide could hear the soldiers whispering things like 'that person is a celebrated commander?'. Upon hearing this, Luceide's expression twisted a little, but he simply scratched his cheek, hiding his expression with his hand.
With his moderate build wrapped in leather armor overtop of his linens, Luceide looked extremely lacking next to the knights equipped with iron suits of armour. Those amongst them who disliked Luceide would tease him with names like 'The Leather Clad Prince', and they could scarcely hide their scornful snickering. However, amongst the forces here now, there wasn't a single soldier who would laugh at Luceide in such a manner. Having amassed numerous victories throughout his career, the knights and soldiers in attendance were resolute in their respect for Luceide.
Shortly thereafter, Luceide glimpsed the man he had been looking for. The prince approached the mounted knight meticulously issuing orders to his troops. When the knight noticed Luceide, he started his mount towards him. With short, golden hair and indigo eyes, his masculine expression carried an air of trustworthiness.
“Your Majesty, if you have business with me, simply summon me and I shall be at your side.”
The knight dismounted in front of Luceide and planted a knee upon the ground. With a wry smile crawling across his face, Luceide, too, descended from his horse.
“It's faster for me to just come and get you. Although the battle still hasn't started, there's no need for you to be dismounted, Lysander.”
The knight called Lysander bowed his head shortly, before rising to his feet. The suit of armor in which he was clad was adorned with splendid ornaments, and was polished to a glimmering white silver. A suit of armor permitted to be worn only by the Four Generals of the Carvellian Army. The large shield over his shoulder could likewise be wielded only by those carrying the title of 'White Silver Shield'.
Lysander had been inducted into the roster of the Four Generals at the young age of twenty-eight. He had been through many battles alongside Luceide, and had quite a bit of respect for the young Prince.
“How are the enemy's movements?”
Luceide asked of Lysander once they were both mounted once more. The short golden-haired knight let slip an expression of nervousness as he answered.
“We received word a short time ago that the enemy forces had been spotted about three myure off. They number around five thousand.”
“We slightly outnumber them, how fortunate.”
Luceide muttered mirthlessly. There was a little over three hours until sundown. As Constance had mentioned earlier, it would be best if the fighting came to a close before sunset.
“We shall mobilize if they approach within two myure. Do you know who is comanding the enemy forces?”
“It seems to be Princess Falshella, as we expected. Our scouts are saying that Flags sporting a gilded crescent moon have been spotted amongst the enemy forces.”
Luceide's expression stiffened. A gilded crescent moon upon a white flag represented Falshella and her forces. The Prince forced a smile onto his face.
“So she is in attendance. Good, if it wasn't her then all this effort would have gone to waste winning a trifling battle.”
“Do you actually intend to employ the strategy that was discussed?”
Lysander asked, faltering slightly. The corner's of Luceide's mouth raised up into a smile. It was the 'scoundrel's smile' about which Constance had been teasing him.
“They should also be aware that I am in command of these forces. There's a possibility we'll have to employ some resolute decision making. Let us brand the Armiche with a crushing defeat.”
“... Understood. However, please don't do anything rash.”
“Don't worry, if it comes to it, preserving the lives of myself and my forces is my top priority, no matter how shameful it becomes. I don't intend to die in a place like this.”
“If you would be so kind as to do that for our sake, it would certainly lighten our moods.”
Upon hearing Luceide's words, Lysander's composure waned slightly as he put on a wry smile. Just then, a number of soldiers approached Lysander with reports. After hearing their information, he began giving new orders. Luceide waited until Lysander had a moment, then suddenly mentioned to Lysander something that had been on his mind.
“I realized this while I was overseeing the soldiers, there are some that are quite beneath me, and yet others who are not even that.”
“The order to gather six thousand soldiers from amongst those in the capital was quite sudden. However, All those gathered have plenty of battle experience, so there's no need for worry.”
“Ah I see... well I wasn't really worried; I was simply curious about the soldiers's fighting ability.”
Hearing Luceide tell of what he had seen, Lysander took on a pensive expression. For the time being he simply turned to the next scout with a serious look on his face.
“Now that you mention it, we've just received word from General Longueville. The general's soldiers will arrive on time, three days from now.”
“If he wanted to, he could have his forces here by tomorrow, that treacherous old man.”
Luceide spat spitefully. Even still, he kept a slight smile upon his face. Lysander acted as if he hadn't heard what Luceide had said. Presently, Longueville was leading his army of ten thousand soldiers to the battlefield. Since the plan was to have Luceide's forces engage the Parmian army to buy time for Longueville to arrive, everything was going according to plan.
However, Luceide had no intention of waiting. To put it bluntly, there was enmity between Luceide and Longueville. Luceide had served under him before, and they had engaged enemy forces side by side, but Luceide found Longueville's command to be bothersome. The celebrated general had, on occasion and for believable reasons, reduced the forces under Luceide's control, and made Luceide engage enemies with greater numbers, or left him all alone with the enemy altogether. He had also stolen credit for some of Luceide's victories.
The part that irritated Luceide the most was the fact that Longueville had amassed many victories commanding in such a manner. 'In pursuit of victory, there are things that must be done.' was a phrase with which no soldier would disagree. Even Luceide had thereunto been unable to spot a fault in this point. However, Longueville had taken every opportunity to humiliate Luceide.
It had happened when Luceide and Longueville spoke with the king after achieving one of their victories. In front of the King, Queen, and all of their attendants, Longueville spoke to Luceide with laughter in his voice.
“His Young Majesty can be quite untactful when commanding on the battlefield. Battles are like women, simply expecting to overwhelm them will never work reliably. Oh, I'm sorry, that example probably doesn't mean much to a prince who has never been with a woman!”
This was a serious insult. Longueville was sneering about the fact that the daughters of the nobles made a point of avoiding Luceide. Saying that he was untactful was also an insult that couldn't be taken in stride. Especially because Luceide had surpassed the Fourth General in deeds of arms.
King Vacelius vehemently scolded Longueville, but the the celebrated commander who had been given the title of Fourth General showed no shame, and, of course, did not apologize to Luceide.
Combined with Longueville, the current deployment of the Carvellian Army stood sixteen thousand strong. Three times as many soldiers as the enemy; and Luceide would end up seen as having acted under Longueville's leadership. The title of 'White Silver Sword' was well known and feared even in Parmia, since even the men under his command liked it better that way.
“I'll end this before it comes to that”