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located in Fódlan, a part of Fire Emblem: Apotheosis, one of the many universes on RPG.

Fódlan

A continent divided into three different factions: The Adrestian Empire, The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and the Leicester Alliance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mercer von Riegan Character Portrait: Cyril Eisner Character Portrait: Vridel von Hresvelg Character Portrait: Sorcha Blaiddyd Character Portrait: Jeralt's Journal
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I.Y. 1186 - Harpstring Moon - Thursday the 1st
The Great Bridge of Myrddin - Afternoon - Sunny
Cyril Eisner


Cyril entered the command tent last of its necessary occupants. His arm had needed a bit of extra work over the last couple of days; Fiona Gloucester's axe had done a number on several of his muscles and ligaments, even, according to Vridel, carving a chunk out of his bone. Apparently he was lucky he had god-enhanced healing capacities or even the Emperor would have been hard-put to fix that over any period of time.

He tried not to take this new information as a reason to be more reckless with himself. Not after he'd talked about half of his former students out of some similar piece of stupidity. Even if he did feel that, next to them, his life was rather... well, expendable, to be completely honest. Cyril understood, of course, that he was an asset, that he had useful advice to give and was good on the field, but he was neither a noble nor the future leader of one of these shattered nations, nor a particularly-capable spy or any of that sort of thing.

He was, basically, what he'd always been: a mercenary.

Taking his seat to Mercer's left, he stretched his legs out under the table, waiting for the others to settle. Once they had, he kicked things off.

“Reynard's managed to confirm that the army at Gronder Field is being led by Gloucester himself. It also contains the biggest and most elite part of his force. We don't have an easy fight ahead of us."

“I had a feeling it was him," Mercer grumbled slightly, running a hand through his hair. “Then we'll just need to be a little more careful. Gloucester may be a man of pride, but even I know he's a capable general."

“Even in our Academy days, he was a skilled soldier. I may have won the Battle of Eagle and Lion, but it was with his strategies that we were able to do so," Alaric stated, brows furrowed deeply as he glanced in Mercer's direction. Mercer nodded his head as if to agree, and sighed softly.

“We know Fiona had a golem with her. Was Reynard able to see if Gloucester has anything of that sort with him? Beasts, golems, otherwise?" Mercer asked. “And has anyone heard at all from Bergliez?"

“Yes, yes, and no, in that order," Vridel said grimly. Reaching up, he pinched the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and thumb, wincing slightly at Cyril knew not what. Perhaps he was in pain? “He's got at least one of everything. I think mostly beasts, but there's a golem. A slightly smaller one than Fiona had but the report says it's much faster, too, which is... worrying, to say the least."

He wasn't wrong. Armored as they were, the only real disadvantage the golems had had so far was that they were slow.

Sorcha frowned, brows furrowed and posture tense. “Was it made of black metal? The golem?"

Vridel shook his head. “Just grey."

She eased a little and nodded. “The upside is the plating on those is thinner. A well-aimed Relic should be able to damage it and open up the core like usual."

“Well, between all of us, there's at least four relics. Teach, Sor's, mine, and Sen's," Mercer spoke, sighing softly.

“Five, Mercer. You forgot the relic of House Goneril: Freikugel," Alaric spoke calmly. Mercer snorted softly, though, and shook his head.

“No, I didn't forget, you just don't use it, Al. Last time you said, and I quote "I don't use axes." Please tell me what's changed?" Mercer asked, quirking a brow in Alaric's direction. The Duke merely shrugged his shoulders.

“If a relic is the difference between saving a life and losing one, well, you can see which I would choose," he responded, eyes hardening for a second before they smoothed out. Mercer slumped his shoulders a bit, though, some tension easing out of them it seemed before he turned back towards Vridel.

“Do we know where he's headed? I'd assume he'd come to try and take back the Myrddin Bridge, but that's not going to happen. If we knew where he was, we could go and meet him out on the field."

“Why don't we lure him to Gronder?" Alaric stated, glancing towards Mercer.

“He's likely to have to be there at some point anyway," Cyril pointed out. “Reynard says that's where the main body of his army is, and he's running out of room in Leicester otherwise. I say we push him into a corner." Reaching over to the map spread in front of them, he pushed the token that indicated their forces southward, past the bridge and down into the part of the Alliance bordering the Empire. “The only useful strategic point left is the fortress at Gronder, and I'm willing to bet Volkhard won't just let him flee into Adrestia if we chase him this far south."

Vridel shrugged. “Well he might, but he'd probably kill him," he said simply. “He doesn't have much patience for useless people. Never has. He'd give Gloucester the tools he believes are necessary to succeed, but if I know my uncle, he's made it abundantly clear that he better succeed."

“Either way, he has to die," Mercer spoke, though he didn't seem to have any remorse for saying it. “If we're going to keep our advantage, we should probably leave sooner rather than later. It won't give him the time to come up with a counter attack, and he won't be able to come up with a decent plan to take Myrddin Bridge, either."

“He might already, Mercer. You know his mind and how it works," Alaric interjected. Mercer shook his head, though.

“I do. That's why when news reaches him of Fiona's death, he's going to be grief stricken. She was his sister and they were somewhat close. He won't be able to think properly, unless their relationship was strained in the last five years. I highly doubt it, but it's something we can use to our advantage. The only thing is, we'll need to make sure everyone is prepared to take on his army as well. None of the soldiers are exactly equipped to deal with beasts or golems. We don't exactly have the luxury of training them, either, but... if we can at least give them a heads up on what they're dealing with."

Mercer leaned back into his chair, though, and rubbed at his temples.

Next to him, Sorcha sighed quietly. Cyril saw her reach for him, as if to put a hand on his shoulder, but her touch fell away a moment later, and she shook her head faintly. “At this point they've all at least seen what they might be dealing with. We can make sure everyone's equipped with functional ranged weapons, and advise them to spread out upon encountering the creatures. At the very least, that will give them the best chance of surviving until some of us can do something about it."

“We also can't ignore the possibility that they'll be deployed separately, or at least more intelligently." He nodded to Sorcha; the battlefield on which she was the enemy commander had in fact been the only one he thought made ideal use of the fact that she had a golem at her disposal as well as human soldiers. But if Gloucester was as sharp as Mercer and Alaric believed him to be, then there was good reason to suppose he'd maximize his resources in a similar way, and he had more of them. “I think our strategy at Gronder should involve keeping ourselves detached from the main body of the troops, rather than embedded with them. Let the lieutenants and captains you've trained command the soldiers—those of us who are capable are going to need to stay mobile, and be responsive to any unexpected changes. I think once Gloucester knows we're coming for him, he will plan around Gronder as the site of battle, and our march will give him plenty of time to set things up however he wants them."

“That's not a bad call," Mercer stated as he straightened himself out in his chair. “It's a good thing three of us are fliers. We'd be able to move a little easier in the direction we're needed. We can also pick up and drop off, too, those who we're closest to if need be," he continued, taking in a deep breath.

“Those on mounts will also be able to move freely, but they won't have the aerial advantage. We'll just need to keep an eye out on Gloucester and try our best to anticipate his moves. In the mean time, everyone should get a little bit of rest in before we depart. This battle with Gloucester is going to test a lot of our endurance and willpower. We'll need every bit of it if we intend to succeed."

Cyril figured he'd look into borrowing a wyvern from the garrison here, just to round out the number of fliers and make that kind of transport easier, but nodded without mentioning it as yet.

Vridel and Sorcha nodded, and the meeting drew to a close.

“Almost there," Cyril murmured, mostly to himself. If they took Gronder, the Alliance would once again be a free and independent country in its totality, the border with the Empire reestablished. He didn't imagine Volkhard would have nothing to say about that, but a rout of Gloucester's forces would likely mean he wouldn't be able to do much until something changed in Faerghus, and freed up more troops to send across. And the plan was to thwart precisely that as well.

If they could do it, the first hurdle would be cleared.

But that was a pretty big if.