It had already been almost two months since the first ambush that began the battle of this ongoing northern war. The frozen earth of the Northlands was drenched in blood that belonged to not only the human hosts but also the uninvited beastmen and elves.
"Conquer all of Sleuweir within ten days, conquer the Northlands within a month, and slaughter all the way to San Antonio within three months!"
The arrogant words that the beastmen had said after the success of their first ambush were now never to be brought up again. The tribe leaders had never expected the human resistance to be stubborn to this degree.
The abnormal success of their first ambush had pulled the wool over their eyes. The dullness of the Sleuweir Kingdom's higher-ups had given them the mistaken impression that the battle would end quickly.
To nullify the humans' resistance, the beastmen chose to completely slaughter every resident of any city that fiercely fought back against them. They had used the Wolfriders to massacre all the villages and had adopted a scorched-earth tactic, but this decision had now proven to be the most foolish tactic of all.
The massacre hadn't wiped away the humans' will to resist. On the contrary, the cries of their relatives and the vicious manner in which they were slaughtered had helped heat the Mist People's blood and rage to the boiling point.
"Can you watch your newlywed wife be tortured to death right in front of you? Your elderly father being hanged to death because the invaders wanted to save on food? Your baby being impaled on a spear by those beasts just because of crying? All of this is happening right now! Are you all still men? If you are, then take up your weapons and fight to the bitter end. What's there to be scared of? It's just death! Will that really be worse than living like this in such suffering?"
After the awful news about the slaughters in the conquered areas spread, the fires of rage hidden deep within the Mist People's hearts were finally stoked. Even without their lord and king's summons, the Mist Tribe would have gladly sacrificed their lives to protect their families and friends.
"The Mist shall never surrender" may only be a saying, but it was an indisputable fact that the People of the Mist had never been conquered by foreigners in the past thousands of years. Even in front of butcher knives dripping with blood, the Mist People were just like their ancestors who had never bowed to invaders, with their thousand-year-old bloodlines awakening instead.
The young husband Aima kissed his newlywed wife goodbye as he joined a citizens' brigade without actual combat ability or guarantee. Armed with only a dull woodcutting knife, his only reason for fighting was so that his future children wouldn't have to grow up filled with the worry and fear that they would become the enemy's "glorious" sacrifices, impaled on their spears.
The elderly soldiers held their spears as they marched towards the frontlines. Perhaps it was true that their bodies had already weakened and that they had retired for many years, but their wisdom and experience helped the newer soldiers to avoid the most dangerous traps, helping them quickly increase their skills amid the constant battling. They weren't as ridiculous as that legendary old king who took his own coffin to battle, but they had already resolved themselves that there was a chance for death on the battlefield.
"I'll be satisfied if my experience can help a few young fellows stay alive and return. If I'm slowing everyone down, please don't hesitate to abandon me. I'll let those beast bastards know what the will of an old soldier really is!"
If the Red Maple defense line and Antuen could be considered the two lighthouses of hope, then the countless number of resistance organizations and citizen militias were the wildfires burning brightly on the plains. And when all these fires were lit, it would be next to impossible to extinguish them.
"Who's afraid? It's just death; it's f**king worse to live under such suffering." Perhaps this sentence was rather vulgar, but it was a testament to the hardiness of the northern people who were used to living in a meat grinder.
"Damnit, there's resistance organizations and guerrilla troops everywhere! Those guys are insane!"
In the cities that the beastmen had taken over, any beastmen soldiers that went out by themselves would never return. Even the strong Wolfrider teams were gradually beginning to vanish.
Those citizens who didn't have any armor or sharp weapons learned how to ambush their enemies using the terrain and lure the vicious beasts with bait through the continuous battles. Not only did the vicious slaughtering not scare the People of the Mist, but it did the opposite instead, adding fuel to the flames of the desire for revenge.
"They're literally insane! Have you ever seen a head that would still keep staring at you after you cut it off? Have you ever seen a legless beggar suddenly cling on to your leg and tell his comrades to pierce through you together with him? They're basically a bunch of crazy bastards!"
The beastmen that were so fond of battle had now become afraid. After witnessing the humans' maniacal and suicidal attacks just so that they could perish together with the beastmen, the beastmen that had viewed dying in battle as the greatest honor had now become afraid. The humans' blood-red eyes and stares even after death caused the beastmen to become frightened!
The beastmen finally realized why those weakling humans had successfully blocked their invasions for thousands of years and even forced their strong ancestors back to the northernmost plains countless of times.
"We can't keep going on like this! We have to destroy any hope they have for resisting and hit their most critical spots with one attack."
The beastmen abandoned their original combat strategy of steadily conquering all the areas, and quickly gave up on the outer cities. Instead, they focused all their energy on destroying the two "lighthouses of hope."
And so, the Sleuweir Kingdom's capital, Antuen, met with an emergency situation, and the human's allied forces' main headquarters, the Red Maple defense line, brought up the rear. The beastmen tribe leaders knew that unless they were able to take out these two annoyances, this battle might never end.
"Antuen has surrendered; King Feimer has surrendered!"
After this astonishing news began to spread, there was disbelief at first, which was soon followed by painful howls of crying throughout the entire country.
An old soldier in the last years of his life had lost his son, grandson, and son-in-law in this battle but didn't shed a single tear. He would always feel his mustache and smile in pride when talking about his family members that died in battle.
"They're all very fine people; they didn't shame Old Philly's name. Since they're now dead, this old fellow shall continue fighting in their place, and when I'm dead, my granddaughter and daughter will continue fighting! I refuse to believe that we can't get rid of those goddamned beasts!"
But when he heard this piece of news, he ended up crying like a little child, collapsing on the floor as he pointed with a trembling finger towards the north and began spewing insults.
"My sons, what did you all die for? Such a bastard country is not worth us sacrificing our lives for. Your deaths were worthless."
This was also why Roland had been in such a rage. Even when the country's citizens hadn't given up, why was the king, who was supposed to be their protector, giving up?
At the very least, the Roland from that year long ago would have performed his duty of royal protectioneven from the grave, like a skeleton or a ghost carrying a grudge from hell.
Along with their unyielding battle spirit, the story of the twin brothers helped the People of the Mist remember that their people would never give up! They only recognized kings who also never surrendered!
"False King Feimer! He doesn't deserve to be king!"
Although there were angry denunciations and doubts among the people when the news of the surrender had started to spread, the beastmen had indeed achieved their goal of landing a vicious blow to the Mist People's morale.
Right after that, there were much fewer resistance movements than before. Feimer's surrender represented the first time in history that the Mist Royalty had ever submitted, and it was as if the people's backbone had received a massive blow.
*Snap!* The backbone that represented the unyielding nature of the citizens was cracking pitifully, and it was almost to the point where it seemed to be broken. The people's spirit of bravery and resistance was almost at the breaking point as well, but luckily
"The previous King Roland appeared and executed Feimer Carson right there on the spot, as he declared the surrender to be invalid. He then passed the kingship on to the only daughter of the previous generation's king, Princess Glina Carson! The Mist Royalty hasn't surrendered after all, nor has our flag fallen! Antuen's battle still continues, and our king is still battling!"
Fortunately, Roland's appearance re-ignited the sparks of resistance into flames that were even stronger than before. His oath also brought a new era upon the People of the Mist.
"Our Mist Tribe never enjoys war, so we swear that we shall never start a war of our own volition!"
Old Philly also shouted that very oath as he jumped off a cliff together with an enemy. He had already learned of his daughter's and granddaughter's deaths, but this time, he did not shed a tear, and instead nodded while smacking his chest proudly.
"They did in two beasts before they died? Excellent job, as expected of Old Philly's family! Go ahead first, I'm coming soon. We promised to meet each other again in heaven!"
"But if war comes to us, we're going to teach the invaders how sharp our swords are!"
Aima was now at only the combat level of an ordinary soldier, and he had written that sentence in a letter to his wife. After Aima's death, a fellow soldier would pack up his belongings and mail out this final letter to his wife. Aima had already carried out his promise.
"We don't like war, nor do we enjoy war, and we now declare our national church to be that of the Law God! We swear that we shall never start any war of our own volition, but if war is truly unavoidable, then we shall spend every last breath to protect our home! We swear that our tribe shall forever exist in the Northlands!"
Such a short oath carved a brand-new path for the entire People of the Mist. Not only in the Sleuweir Kingdom, but even those in the nearby East Mist Communal Country who were also descendants of the Mist Tribe were repeating this oath over and over again.
"We shall spend every last breath to protect our home! We swear that our tribe shall forever exist in the Northlands!"
One hundred and seventy-four knights were riding on young Frigid Nightmares. Under the guidance of the senior Lion King, those young Nightmares, which had hatched prematurely, had already signed new contracts with the young knights, and the new generation of Aurora Knights had completed their final training under the flowing battle flag of the Mist. Today was the day for these young knights to head to the battlefield to assist their fellow Mist People.
Under the watchful eyes of their family members and with the guidance of the undead veterans of the Aurora Knights Order, each silver-colored battle horse had begun their long flights. Although there were still traces of naivety in the expressions of the young knights, their arms were as solid as rocks as they wielded their spears and looked towards the distant sky. In the distance, they could see their fellow Mist People bleeding fresh blood, and they all wanted to rush there as quickly as possible to end this war.
"Let them witness the strongest aerial cavalry unit on the continent! Allow them to see the pride of the Mist People!"
When they finally entered the northern battlefield, they were destined to become the new center of attention. Without a doubt, the Aurora Knights, who were the pride of the Mist, would stoke the fires even further.
And when all these oaths connected together and the oath to "never start a war of their own volition" awakened the Sacred Sword that carried the will of the Gods, the Mist People's oath finally received a response.
"I, the Law God Wumianzhe, declare that I shall protect the People of the Mist."
When holy, silver light descended from the clouds, the Mist People finally received the protection of their own True God. And with the increasing number of believers, Wumianzhe also underwent an evolution, and he received a new divine job titlethe Guardian God of the Northlands.
"As long as the masters of this land obey the principle of 'never starting any wars,' I shall protect them. I bless them that they shall never be conquered, and I bless them that they shall"
With the descent of a guiding path of light, the souls of the People of the Mist Tribe now belonged to Wumianzhe's domain. The brave warriors who had sacrificed themselves for the Mist would become heroic spirits, and not a single True God would be able to steal the Mist Tribe's souls away from Wumianzhenot a single one!
Why was I so certain? That was because
"Roland, that big rock's too difficult to deal with!"
"Just do the best you can; I have something more important over here! Ah, where was I? Right I bless them that they shall walk towards the peak together with victory; I bless them that they shall enter the Hall of Valhalla after death! May a fair sky forever stand above the Northlands!"
My voice synchronized with the voice in the sky as we finally took this step after oh so many sacrifices!
"I, the Law God and Guardian God of the Northlands, Wumianzhe, swear to remove all invaders! You don't accept it? Then, let's battle!"