Chrono Trigger: Times of War Prologue
580ad, North of Zenan Bridge
The sun rose slowly over the cold battlefield as the general surveyed the line of troops that were readying themselves for battle. The remains of campfires were still a glow as the army of Guardia was waking from what was probably going to many of their last nights of rest.
While the great War Host of Guardia would have been a mighty sight for any common onlooker, the grim reality of it was not the same. General Darien knew that his troops feared the enemy, and when you fear the enemy, victory can never prevail. The many skirmishes against the Mystic forces had not gone well. Most of the spies sent in had either been killed, or returned to scared by what they had seen behind enemy lines to speak of anything else.
Word had returned last week against the failed skirmishes in the Cursed Woods. The information had made it to the troops within a few days, killing their moral any further from what it already had been lowered to.
The Guardia Army had only met in major battle against the Mystic forces once before and it was had not been the most uplifting of events. General Darien shivered at the thought of it. The kingdom had lost nearly four fifths of it's standing army that day. The Mystics had no chivalry. They had no ethics of battle. Troops were cut down where they stood even after raising a flag in surrender. The only survivors were those who had managed to flee without getting run down. Most of the mounted forces had been taking out, leaving Guardia with a lack of horses and a limited time to train a new army. That was five years ago.
What stood on the battlefield now was an army that knew it's enemy was stronger, faster, and more skilled then them. No army could win when they had the mindset that they would loose. In addition to all of the other factors, the mystic army outnumbered them nearly two to one. Their army was comprised mostly of fallen warriors risen from the dead by foul necromantic magic to do battle again the name of Lord Magus.
That was yet another problem the humans had to deal with, the Magus himself. He was rarely actually seen on the battle field, but everyone knew he was there. The stories of the demonic wizard who killed for the sheet enjoyment of seeing human blood spilled was a story known by every citizen of Truce. The people feared him, even though there is little actually record of him being seen.
His castle was off to the southeast of Truce, located on an island that he used as his base of operations. No one ever ventured to that island less they wished death brought on them. The foul energies that were emitted from that hellish place were inhuman and evil, or so was what every human thought.
Porre was on the verge of being taken as it was. The garrison there was living in constant fear of what was being attacked in the middle of the night by the forces of the Mystics. Currently, the enemy had already taken most of wooded in the central area of the southern continent. Spy reports showed that the Mystics were started to cut down the Sacred Woods, probably for fuel or the creation of war machines. As much as this angered the human population of the world, nothing was being done about only because nothing could be done about it. As it was, San Dorino had already been captured and Zenan Bridge had been crossed. The Guardia forces needed to worry about protecting their land before they started to worry about a bunch of trees.
Now that the bridge had been captured, there was not much left as for the line of defense leading up to the actual castle. While the Castle of Guardia was designed with resisting a siege in mind, most of the Guardia generals didn't want to find out if it could hold out. If the battle was lost here, there wasn't much more place to go. This was the strongest portion of the standing army as it was. If they were defeated here, there wouldn't be enough troops to hold off against another attack, or one on the castle for that matter.
General Darien shifted in the saddle of his great white horse Cerion. They had been though many battles together during the great civil war many years ago. The Sundering had been a difficult time for Guardia, and he was only a captain back then. He was old now, and not fit to lead an army. He had proved himself as great and charismatic leader whom all of his men would selflessly die for. That was the problem though, as many of them would die today. Guardia needed a Miracle. Someone who would rise up and lead them to victory. Darien himself had known for some time now that it wasn't him who would be this leader, but the leader would come. That was all they could hope for, and they were running out of time.
Darien gave a nod to the trumpeter on his right, signaling him to blow his great horn and announce the coming of battle. With the scream of the horn, the men rose from their sleep and prepared for battle. The sun was beginning to clear the horizon now and the enemy became clear to see in the distance. The battle would begin soon.
"Yes," General Darien said to himself. "Today would be a good day to die."
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