Posted on 04/17/08 @ 11:58 AM (updated 05/31/08
City of Blood
Note: if you don't want to read the story, at least read the background section in the notes (in the story file) to get a sense of whats happening.
Stephen II, Lord of Karhu, woke up. He had been having strange dreams since he had inherited his uncle's castle. He was always watching the execution or torturing of a peasant in the castle dungeon, or seeing the bodies being taken to the smelly pits outside of the city were the decomposing dead were dumped in the old times when his uncle ruled. He felt as though his dreams had something to do with the city's bloody legacy; his uncle's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all cruel, evil men, who taxed the populace to the limit, killing and torturing those who resisted. The city eventually became know as the City of Blood because of the cruel lords' methods of punishment.
Stephen looked out of the window. The moon was still high in the sky. He laid back in his bed. He would have to sleep again, or stay awake for most of the night. He didn't want to see what would happen this time, but he was tired. For most of the past week he had gotten little sleep. He closed his eyes and fell asleep almost immediately.
A man beckoned to him. He had a long, curved sword, and was clothed in black robes. Black cloth covered his face, with only a narrow slit for the eyes. Stephen followed.
The man led Stephen to the old city, the part in worst shape. Stephen's uncle had not repaired it at all, leaving the place rotten with old age. Most of the populace lived here, in burnt out, rotting hovels. The place was a mess of old, crooked alleyways and ruins, but the Stephen's guide navigated through it skillfully, as if he had lived there all his life.
After a few minutes of walking, they got to the town square. It was where the executions were held. There were gallows, a chopping block, and three pillories. Stephen saw scores of peasants being executed. There was a line behind both the gallows and chopping block. A man was led up, executed, then thrown into a wooden cart. After the cart was filled with bodies, it was driven off to the pits where the dead were thrown. Stephen watched with horror. The man turned to him and said, “Stop this.”
Stephen woke up.
He looked out of the window. It was day. Curious about his dream, he decided to go to the old city's town square. He left with several of his knights immediately after breakfast. He took the path to the town square from his dream. What he found when he arrived chillled him with horror.
People were being executed, with long lines behind the gallows and chopping block as in his dream. They were killed and thrown in carts, which went towards the pits of the dead.
“Who ordered this?” yelled Stephen, coming up towards the gallows. “Who ordered this?”
“Why, I did,” said a man in armor, standing near the gallows. He drew his sword. “Why are you wondering? Only Lord Stephen can say that I can't.”
“I am Lord Stephen.”
The man looked surprised. “You are? But.. Yes. I am the city sheriff.”
“What are you doing?”
“Executing the criminals,” said the sheriff, looking even more bewildered. “What do you think?”
“I never said anything about executing criminals.”
“No, but this is my job. The old lord, your uncle, ordered me to do this.”
“The laws are different now. I order people to do things. Not my dead uncle. And I make the laws. Not my dead uncle.”
“No people are to be executed until they are tried by me. No one.”
“All people who were to be executed today shall be set free.”
“Good.” Stephen looked around. “Set them free.”
“Yes m'lord.” The sheriff motioned to the guards, who unlocked the chains keeping the prisoners together. Stephen, quite pleased, went back to the keep. He had done as the man in his dream had ordered.
* * *
Robert waited. All the men had not arrived yet. There were still Thomas and Micheal. He needed all of his captains.
They were going to assault the keep, and kill the new lord, Stephen II. He may have stopped the executions, but a lord on the throne was not to be trusted. He must die. The people must rule the city. Cruel tyrants would no longer kill innocent people, as they had for the past century.
Stephen might look like a good king, but you never know. He could become cruel. Better not to find out.
Finally he turned. “I don't know what has happened to Thomas and Micheal, but we must go ahead with the plan. The loss of two men cannot stop us. We will fight!”
The two hundred and forty men around him agreed, whispering to each other in hushed tones.
“Joseph, David, you can each take half of Thomas' troops. William and Josiah, you can split Micheal's. Now to the keep!”
* * *
Thomas talked quickly to Stephen.
“They are coming to kill you! I didn't want to. You stopped the executions, and saved my brother. He would have been killed as a rebel if you hadn't come. I wouldn't try and kill you. But the others wouldn't listen. Micheal, who was with me, learned of my plan to tell you about the attack, and said he'd tell the others. I knocked him unconscious and left him in the street.”
Stephen listened quietly. “Your loyalty will be rewarded. Bring your family. You will be safe from the rebels here.”
Thomas thanked Stephen, then quickly and quietly went back into the streets. Lord Stephen talked to himself.
“About six score, hmm. Untrained peasants, too. Their only hope was in an ambush. Ha! My men will deal with them easily.”
* * *
Robert walked quietly through the streets, followed by his twenty men. He knew they would succeed. They had to! They were so close, inside the new city, where the rich people lived. Soon Lord Stephen would be dead, and the city would be owned by the people!
Suddenly a man screamed. He had been hit by an arrow. More clattered around the ground and against the walls.
“We've been found,” whispered a man. “We've been found!”
“RUN!” yelled Robert, racing back towards the gate, his men following. Arrows flew at them. Man after man was shot down. A group of swordsmen suddenly appeared, blocking Robert's path to the gate. Robert rushed forward, yelling. He swung his sword. It split a soldier's head wide open. He pushed his way through the armored men, swinging his sword. He managed to get through, but lost several fingers in the process. Screaming with rage, he swung his sword and brought down a soldier. Then he turned and ran, followed by two men, the remainders of his troop.
* * *
Joseph and Josiah were to merge forces, making an army of about sixty men. They were supposed to storm the keep, killing anyone in their way. They ran forward, yelling and screaming. Suddenly a volley of arrows poured into their troops, killing about twelve immediately. Eight others fell, wounded by the arrows. Another volley poured in. Another ten were lost, and seventeen fell wounded. After the second volley, the rest of the troops broke up, running in groups of two and three back into the old city, where the maze of alleyways would protect them. After the failed attack, both of the captains lay dead.
* * *
William and David were supposed to help Joseph and Josiah in the storming, but William changed his mind after seeing what happened to the two other captains.
“You go ahead,” he told David, “And any of my men that want to die with him, you can go too.”
David looked at William angrily. “And if any of my troops are spineless cowards like William, stay,” He said angrily.
Nine of William's men went with David, while four of David's troops stayed.
“When this is over,” David told William, “I'll tell Robert. You won't be in a good position when Stephen the Fool's dead, oh no.”
“I doubt that 'Stephen the Fool' will die today,” said William.
“Coward,” said David, who then turned to his troops. “Attack!”
Five minutes later, David lay dead with Joseph and Josiah.
“Fool,” said William. He then turned to his men. “We're leaving this place! Let's find Robert!”
* * *
Robert sat in his hovel with William, listening to Micheal's story.
“He betrayed us all! We must kill Thomas!”
“Yes,” said Robert. “He has to die. But only a fool would stay in a place where his enemies hold power. He won't be here.” Robert stood. “And neither will we.” He paced the floor. “Duke Richard VI wants the city of Karhu. And so does the Caliph of Anakar.” Robert smiled. “We shall go to them. Lord Stephen II must die!”
* * *
William looked behind him. His men were tired and thirsty. The desert was not a nice place to travel in. He turned to look in front of him again. Karhu! It was there! They were saved!
Soon William had reached Karhu. “Stephen,” He said. “I need Lord Stephen. And food and drink. Quickly!”
Lord Stephen arrived quickly. He looked suspiciously at the rebel captain. “What do you want?”
“Richard VI and the Caliph of Anakar. They're coming! We wanted their help to kill you, but they betrayed us! Robert and Micheal are dead, along with many of the others! Now they're coming. My remaining troops and I want to help you fight them. They betrayed us!”
Hey everyone, this is my newest map, City of Blood. It's an invasion with total war, i.e. theres no building or anything, nothing to do with your economy, its pure war. Hopefully you wont even get a "The castle has held firm" message until you've won! I hope it'll be a challenge, if anyone needs hints, just tell me and I can email you them.
And thanks to Subindxsubin for playtesting.
There are more holes in the walls, enemy attacks are stronger, you get less men, and you get 1000 of both meat and bread (no more starving peasants :))
A new signpost, slightly stronger enemy armies, lions, an immediate knight attack, cow farms, 1000 of bread and cheese instead of bread and meat, and a redone plateau!