Hey, I wanted to try my hand at some fanfiction.
Here we go, first part!
Some days, you just wonder why you bothered waking up that morning.
John’s breakfast rations popped on the nightstand next to him, and the smell was what woke him up more than anything else. Bacon and eggs, and chunks of sausage. A hearty breakfast by any standards, and the dirtamancer ate it there quickly, expecting he would be called soon by Grace for a meeting. Time was, he would eat breakfast with the King and Chief Warlord. Those times were gone, along with John’s juice and peace of mind, nearly every day. Zill’s war against Felis was hard and fierce, and was picking up in the last half dozen turns or so. It was nice of them to let him get in some extra sleep, though. Helped him concentrate when he did his work.
He had just about finished breakfast when their Thinkamancer summoned him to the Meeting Hall as expected. The caster wolfed down the last bit of Peeg sausage and stood up, rubbing his eyes, and straightening his back. The Chief Dirtamancer of Zill had an image to keep, exhausted or not. John picked up his Toolbox as he walked out the door, smiling faintly as he gave it a shake and listened to its contents rattle. It was a good sound, an honest sound.
If only the rest of Erf were that honest.
Well, the first thing John noticed when he came into the meeting hall was that everyone was staring at him. Grace was there, standing next to King Duke as usual, and so was the serious-looking Grumper, their Chief Warlord. Even Cassie had come out of her lair in the dungeons, presumably at the behest of the King. And all of them watched John enter the meeting hall with an ominous silence. The dirtamancer sat down at his seat, putting his Toolbox on the table in front of him with a clank, and looking between the others there with a frown. “What’s all this then, fellas? Did we lose another city? Somebody important croak?”
There was another brief silence in which the King’s eyebrow twitched, before he finally cleared his throat and spoke. “It seems, Dirtamancer Deere, that we have finally discovered why Felis has brought so much pressure on us of late. And why they have made demands to surrender you in exchange for a peace treaty.”
Well, this was news to John. No one had told him Felis was demanding him in exchange for stopping hostilities. If anything, they were getting more
hostile. Obviously the King had not seen fit to have anyone mention this little detail to him until just now. Were all the casualties his fault then, for not joining Felis? John’s voice tightened slightly, but he maintained his courtesy. “That’s... right good of you to tell me, your highness. What’s going on, then?”
King Duke rolled his shoulders, giving John a frown. Well, that was pretty ominous in itself, there. The King almost never frowned, especially not like that, like he was puzzled somehow. When he spoke, it was slow and careful, like the King was trying his best to sound neutral. “Are you aware of the Royal Crown Coalition, John?”
The dirtamancer rubbed his chin thoughtfully at the apparent subject change, but he did remember that name from hearsay a while back, and he nodded. “Mmm, I reckon I do, your highness. Ain’t that the big alliance a buncha royals put together way over in the west to take out the feller with the Arkentool? Didn’t seem right to me, everyone ganging up on a feller like that, but I reckon that’s old history now, and he’s long gone.”
The King nodded, smiling faintly, and very briefly. He folded his hands in his lap, looking at the table in front of him, as if he was having a hard time meeting John’s gaze “Yes, that’s correct. But... news has finally reached us about that war, and it seems it has also reached Felis. You see, the Royal Crown Coalition is gone. It was completely destroyed in one turn.”
John just stared at his King, at a lost for words, awed at such an idea and wondering what it had to do with him. He didn’t like where this topic was going, because it apparently concerned him. “Arright, your highness. I guess that Arkentool was pretty darn powerful, then, to end a battle that quickly.”
Everyone looked away from John at that point, except the King, who shook his head. “Actually, it had nothing to do with the Arkenhammer. From what rumors say, it was a single spell. A Dirtamancy trap.”