Through a wall of glass, God looks on – Part 3

Part 3

With the Olympian leaders dead and the Enoksen army, plus Daniel’s group, surrounding them, the Olympian army had no choice but to surrender. No word had come from the other front, but from what they had heard, that side of the battle had been a complete bloodbath for both side. In contrast, more than eighty percent of the fighting force that faced the four Draconian remained alive. Given their numbers, it was definitely still possible to fight on, but the recent defeat of the Aegis was still fresh in their minds, and their moral was crushed by continued defeat.  

There was still some soldiers in high spirits, though they were a small group, and they tried to rally their comrades into fighting on. However, with these around them laying down arms, and no clear command structure left they too soon either gave up or were put down. With the last remaining fires put out the field was cleared for medical staff from both sides to start sorting through the bodies.

When the highest ranking soldier was eventually sorted out and made acting commander, the leaders of both armies met to sort out arrangements for formalising the surrender. Since the agreement would be important for the mission going forward, Daniel inserted himself and Leah into the conversation. While the leaders were meeting, Arian and Loralei joined the medical staff in treating the wounded.

Even if Daniel had been using a non-lethal attack, everyone else in the battle wasn’t. As such, the number of dead and hurt was still substantial, even if the army was mostly intact. It was the first time both Aria and Loralei had seen a battle and their responses were somewhat different. For Loralei, who was raised in a town that was predominantly Human, her Draconian instincts had been dulled slightly and she found the battle to be a terrible waste of life. For Aria, who was raised by a battle hardened Draconian matriarch, the battle was incredibly arousing. When she saw Daniel force enemy soldiers into becoming traitors then shooting the distracted leaders, she had wanted to push him down then and there. When those he controlled were killed by their allies, only Leah’s hand firmly squeezing her shoulder stopped her from following her instincts.

While halfheartedly throwing healing spells at the wounded, and thinking about the battle, Aria noticed that she gained a level during the fight. When she went to boast about it to her cute little-sister-in-law Loralei told her that she had gained two levels.

It was a crushing blow for Aria; not only had Loralei gained more out of the battle than her, with that, they were the same level. Having both reached level five, Aria felt her credibility as an older sister start to slip. With that she was determined to gain more experience from treating the wounded. If she could get another level through that, then all would be right for her.

If she had thought about it though, the difference between their power was far more than simply levels. Even if they were both level five, the Storm Mage Loralei had 720 mana units and a fifty percent prana efficiency while the Sage Aria had a capacity of 1,820 and an efficiency of eighty-five percent. Realistically, comparing the two was entirely unfair. Even though they were both pure mage type classes, Loralei was an entirely normal class while Aria was one of the rarest and most sought after. Even if the difference was pronounced, when the time came from them to take an advanced class, the difference would likely exaggerate further.

Unlike Aria, Loralei was entirely aware of the difference between them. She knew that not only was she a worse class, she was also a worse variant. Even if she was half silver, she was still half white. As much as Aria was starting to grow on her, as the reliable older sister she had always wanted, the sunlight was too bright and she had spent too much of her life hiding from it.

As the wounded were being treated, Daniel was argueing with a self-righteous Elf and a too nervous to be helpful Human. The Elf was the acting representative of Enoksen and the human was a soldier from Ares’s Spear who had suddenly jumped up four ranks and lacked the experience required for the job. As such, the discussion wasn’t making any real progress, with the Elf taking the time to talk himself up, to no one in particular, and the Human simply listening.

Both Daniel and Leah were nearing the last of their patience when Anna, still dressed in blood soaked armour, entered the tent. Her expression was that of someone trying to work to avoid thinking about something, but she quickly took control of the meeting. The Elf seemed to question her authority, but it seemed that there was some kind of battlefield appointment, and she was representing someone else.

She seemed far more reasonable than when they last met, though there was still a glint of hate in her eyes. It seemed she still suspected that Daniel killed her sister, but was at least thankful enough for saving her that she wouldn’t let it interfere with her work. With her, slightly, more calm disposition, she allowed Daniel to fully explain his meeting with Tyr and what happened at Springhill and Locke. By the end, the hate in her eye had calmed down considerably. While she still seemed a little sceptical, Anna seemed at least willing to act like she believe him. Though she would certainly have a plan for if he were lying.

Having grasped the situation, Anna left to organise a report to the Celtic capital city. Much like Vatican city, each pantheon had its own Theocratic city state somewhere in the world. What’s more, Each one had been protected against the falling sand, and remained mostly unburied. Despite that, the Theocracies were places where the Glass Tower system didn’t function and the power of the particular pantheon that was worshiped there was at its strongest. Usually, the location of the theocratic cities was tied strongly to the pantheon that resided there. For example, despite the Norse pantheon having control over a lot of europe, the Olympic Pantheon governed a small city, or large town, on top of Mt. Olympus in Greece.

While Daniel didn’t know exactly where the Celtic Theocracy was, he knew that it was somewhere in the vicinity of Britain. From what Daniel gathered, Anna would somehow send a report to the capital where someone with a direct line of communication would try and ask the gods about it. When they got a response, they would send orders back to Enoksen. Depending on the communication methods available to Enoksen, reporting could take anywhere between minutes and weeks.

The Olympic soldier also organised a report, though the fastest communications method was a long distance runner. The runner was a member of the Order of Hermes, whose blessing boosted a runner’s speed, and the individual had trained almost exclusively on spells that increased speed. He even had a rare class, Postman, whose class skills further increase speed while delivering items or messages. It was embarrassing to the other orders, but her devotion to her order had landed her several promotions without ever having picked up a weapon. With such a person running, it was possible to reach the nearest Olympic city, where the message could be transmitted with magic or technology, in less than a day. Even the Southernmost Den’s, now broken, hovercraft couldn’t boast that.

While the situation was being reported, the Olympic soldiers were tasked with sorting their dead for burial or transport. If they were still waiting beyond that, they were to work the quarry in exchange for food. It was a better offer they they would have given the losing side, so they couldn’t complain, and they were willing to go along with that as a short term solution. Daniel’s group was asked to simply stay within radio range of the city, but otherwise didn’t have any constraints placed on them.
After Anna was saved by Daniel, near the start of the battle, she noticed that her side was starting to gain the upper hand. With that in mind, she handed field command over to another order, and preceded to check on the condition of the other front. By the time she got there, she was faced with a terrible sight. Nearly the entirety of both sides had been wiped out and only six people were still alive.

Her adoptive mother, Kat Anaon, was surrounded and completely fatigued. The other soldiers were in as bad a shape as she was, but they still had numbers. She knew that Kat was a very high level soldier, but something said came to mind. “The tower system is a little strange, and it can only do so much to bring out your talents. Once you hit a certain amount of power, you stop getting as much out of each level.”

Even though she had nearly double the level of anyone else on the field, Kat’s class was a Soldier, one of the most common classes there were. With a class like that, she hit the upper limit very early in her career, and leveling beyond that netted her next to nothing. For Anna, she hadn’t ever understood how that could be. Kat seemed like the most powerful person in the world to her, someone who took down the strongest monsters without taking a scratch. But the scene before her eye’s brought with it a definite realisation. One near dead soldier within a sea of dead soldiers. That was all that she was. The only difference between her and the bodies strewn around her was that she was still standing.

That didn’t last long, however, as a spear entered through her side, cracking the armour she had always worn with pride. With Kat’s body fallen, Anna finally arrived within shooting range, and quickly shot the tired soldiers. As she tried to tend to Kat’s wounds, she could hear the distant cries. It seemed their side had won.

Not wanting to waste any time, Anna started to pull Kat’s body, slowing only to push aside bodies that slowed her struggles. With her arms looped around Kat’s, Anna had a clear view of the many scars that covered her body. Over the years, when Kat returned from battle, it wasn’t that she returned unharmed, but that she didn’t let them see her hurt. When they were young, having lost their parents, seeing Kat hurt would have been too upsetting for them. As they grew older, she’d become something they’d aspired to be, and Kat wanted them to aspire to return home safely.

By the time they reached a medical tent, Kat was looking beyond pale. Her skin was clammy, her body cold, but she was still somehow alive. The medical staff didn’t think that she had particularly long to live, but would do what they could. Leaving them to do their job, Anna could only wait and see.

The leader she had put in charge noticed her return, and immediately insisted that she take control of a surrender negotiation that was taking place. Apparently, a particularly proud noble had insisted upon being the negotiator and the unknown third party that had saved them was starting to loose their patience. In order to ensure the powerful fighters didn’t turn on them, Anna was temporarily given Kat’s authority. To her surprise, the third party was Daniel, whom she had assumed had fled. Taking into account his impact on the battle, and that he saved her, she decided to at least put aside her feelings and hear him out.

After hearing his full story, or at least all of what he was willing to say, she got the feeling that he was leaving something out. With her position in mind, she knew that she had no choice but to compile a report and wait for orders from the capital. It wasn’t unheard of for reports to not get responded to for at least three days, or even unnoticed by the capital for a month, so she made plans to keep the Olympians busy. Furthermore, she knew she really couldn’t control Daniel’s group so she simply asked that if they leave the city, that they remain within radio communication range.

Only once everything was sorted could she let herself collapse. As she lay on her bed, tired but unable to sleep, she started to dread hearing the sound of her radio. Each time it went off, she was worried it would be the medics looking for her. She worried that they would tell her she was too slow. She worried that they would tell her the worst news.

 

 

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