Aeternum Solis blazed above, its radiant beams illuminating the battlefield as I stood, beholding the formidable walls of Isenvadium. The town stood defiant for days, a bastion of resistance against our forces. It held great significance, guarding the end of the Natunni River and granting immeasurable resources to those who controlled it. The outcome of our campaign hinged on this pivotal stronghold.
Beside me stood General Gordianus Clodianus Rhodosinus, a trusted companion, his gaze fixed upon the fortress with a blend of determination and anger. We both understood the sacrifices demanded by this battle. The Siege of Isenvad would test our courage and skill to the limit.
The siege commenced with the resounding thunder of siege engines assaulting Isenvad's walls, led by General Aelius Clodianus Solambulator and his vanguard. The ensuing conflict was a bloody affair, with our archers outnumbering and outmatching the defenders two to one. By fortune and the relentless battering of stone, we managed to breach the seemingly impregnable fortifications. With a resounding war cry, General Aelius and his vanguard surged into the breached walls, cutting down many defenders in their wake. Hours of unrelenting melee ensued until finally, a foothold was secured. However, a sense of unease settled upon us as a messenger, accompanied by a wounded general on horseback, rushed into the siege camp. It was Aelius, struck by an arrow in the neck. Gordianus dashed towards him, unleashing an anguished cry. At that moment, I knew young Aelius was lost. The accompanying priestesses dismissed Gordianus and began tending to Aelius' wounds, though even they understood the futility of their efforts.
"Foolish boy should have remained in the rearguard, as I advised," Gordianus lamented, his voice filled with grief.
"General Gordianus, restrain yourself. Save your anger for the barbarians," I replied. "Aelius would have wanted you to avenge him, not drown in despair."
"For a whole week, I shall bathe this town in blood. The pyres will not cease until even the Proditores refuse these wretches' souls," Gordianus seethed with rage.
"Mindless slaughter will not win the favor of the populace. We are not the barbarians we fight against, General Gordianus," I stated firmly.
"Damn civility! I want my son back!" he roared, consumed by grief.
"This is not the time of the DeadKings, Gordianus. The old ways have already brought us to ruin. We need not tread that path again. I understand your pain—"
"Do you truly, boy?" he interrupted.
"By the void, Gordianus, as the Master of War entrusted by the Throne of the Light-Bringer, I forbid you from engaging in such devastation! Do you understand?" I asserted.
"As you wish, Master of War," Gordianus replied begrudgingly.
Gordianus turned to his men, ordering them to prepare for an assault on the town now that the walls were breached. Suddenly, I felt a hand grasp my shoulder—it was General Radiantia Eternia Caestria, a member of my Gens.
"The men are unruly, Phaethonius. They seek revenge for the Sunwalker. The time to strike is now," Radiantia informed me.
I nodded in agreement and donned my helmet, turning towards the legion assembled before me.
Closing my eyes, I felt the weight of responsibility settle upon my shoulders as the Master of War. It was my duty to rally the forces of Asrania and lead them to victory, honoring the memory of Aelius and all those who had sacrificed their lives for our cause.
"Soldiers of Asrania!
Today, we stand at the gates of Isenvad—a town steeped in defiance, guarded by our foes' remnants. General Aelius, a valiant warrior and leader, has fallen in the vanguard, but his sacrifice shall not be in vain. We carry his legacy and wield it like a flaming sword!
In the name of Aeternum Solis and the glory of Kingdom of Asrania, we march forth! Our boots shall shake the earth, and our war cries shall pierce the heavens! No fortress, no matter how fortified, shall withstand the might of our legions. The walls of Isenvad shall crumble before our relentless onslaught!
Blood shall stain our blades, and the radiance of Aeternum Solis shall once again bathe this town! Its defenders, blinded by false hope, shall witness the fury of our wrath. We are the storm that shatters their feeble defenses, the unstoppable force that crushes their resistance. Today, Isenvad shall become a testament to our might!
Forward, my brethren! Charge with the fury of a thousand suns! The hymns of victory shall echo in our wake, and tales of our triumph shall resound through the ages!
We are the Scions of the Sun, and today, Isenvad shall fall!"
The deafening roar of a thousand men filled the air, and with determination, I raised my sword high above my head, uttering a war cry. The soldiers around me responded in kind, their voices merging with the clash of blade upon shield and the thunderous symphony of battle. We charged forward, a wave of steel crashing against the defenders of Isenvad.
Amidst the chaos, an Isenvad defender—a former archer turned swordsman—lunged at me. Swiftly, I parried his attack, feeling the reverberation of metal through my arm. With a decisive counterstrike, I impaled the defender on my sword, blood splattering my face and momentarily blinding me. I couldn't help but acknowledge the ferocity of these Lowlanders—credit where it was due.
"Secure that street!" I commanded, my voice cutting through the cacophony of war. The soldiers nearest to me heeded the call, rushing to reinforce our position. From atop the captured battlements, I surveyed the battlefield, witnessing the siege engines continue to rain fiery destruction upon the town—projectiles falling like stars against the war-torn landscape. Victory seemed within our grasp.
Hoisting my sword high in triumph, I turned to the remaining Asrian soldiers outside the walls, beckoning them to join our ranks. The battle was far from over, but the tide had turned in our favor. Together, we would surge through the streets of the settlement and bring an end to Isenvad's resistance.
Yet, even in the moment of triumph, my thoughts turned to Aelius. His epithet, "Solambulator," the Sunwalker, had never been more fitting. I believed his spirit, now among the celestial cosmos, watched over us, guiding our every move.
As the sun bathed the battlefield in its warm glow, I raised my arms high in supplication, offering a prayer to Aeternum Solis, beseeching the sole divine to embrace Aelius' fiery soul and grant him eternal peace.
And so, the Siege of Isenvad raged on, an arduous struggle that claimed lives and inflicted both seen and unseen scars. Yet, we pressed onward. Only when night fell and the ancient battlefield of Lunaris revealed itself once again did the final defenders succumb.