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Author Topic: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]  (Read 7162 times)

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.4]
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2007, 05:11:13 PM »
Rika-chan no Majoko Biyuuden! Lol, liking this already.

Offline Arcadia Victis

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.4]
« Reply #41 on: April 25, 2007, 02:45:47 AM »
Long delay because I had to work out a general plotline.

I promise there'll be glorious violence and rabu-rabu later, but please bear with the numbing exposition. It'll set the stage.

Also: I crave acknowledgement. Leave comments and/or suggestions. The latter would be better.

----

[Act I, Chapter V - Reflections]

Hitomi cut a rather dashing figure as she conducted an inspection of her Legion the following day. Newly clad in shining plate armor and riding astride a chestnut brown warhorse, the general looked like a recruiting poster for the Royal Army. The scowl on her face, however, disfigured her otherwise idealized figure.

The reason for the general's displeasure lay bare before her on the dusty parade grounds five miles west of town. Yoshizawa's Third Legion, or what remained of it, was assembled on the flat dirt plain, its many tall banners fluttering limply in a gentle breeze. Yossie rubbed the back of her neck with a gauntleted hand while the men and women newly assigned to her command mustered to attention listlessly, apathy glazing over their eyes. Their officers too, Hitomi noted sadly, were equally dejected – there was a heaviness to their cadence as they tried to get their legionaries into military order.

At last the troops were called forth. They slouched in their rows and columns, shields and swords and limbs dangling loosely from their body. Proud eagles topped the flags denoting each cohort, or subunit, of what was supposed to be five hundred men. It bespoke a sad irony; the gleaming brass seemed to mock the demoralized soldiers who followed the standard below.

The general could feel tears prickling in the corner of her eye. What happened to the brave, spirited legionaries Yossie knew just one year ago? She fingered the golden chevrons that adorned her pauldrons. They seemed to weigh slightly heavier than they used to. Suddenly, General Yoshizawa felt very tired, discovered a strange weariness that crept up from the stirrups of her horse to the top of her head. A gray sky hung oppressively over her as she slumped in her saddle.

Yossie's melancholy was abruptly broken by a voice behind her.

“It wasn't that great for those of us left behind either, my lady.”

Yossie stared off into the distance, not responding.

“Cheer up General.” said Makoto lamely. “For all of our sakes.”

The mounted officer wheeled her horse around. Mako stood there before her, carrying a letter bearing the seal of the Third Legion. It seemed like deja-vu from just a few evenings ago, except the courier was liveried in silver chain mail and dressed for war this day. Mako put a fist to her chest in a salute, which Yossie returned briskly before taking the papers.

“Thanks, Centurion. At ease.” said the general while her eyes passed quickly over the document.

“You won't be thanking me once you finish reading that, Yossie.” Mako shrugged her shoulders in resignation.

Yossie grumbled silently as she tore off the wax seal. Her aide-de-camp was right, nothing but bad news presented itself in the letter. The general gritted her teeth, trying to keep her temper under control. Again and again she read the parchment, her mouth dry with shock. Finally, she looked back up.

“Makochan,” began Yossie, “you've got to be kidding me. How the hell did the Third lose half of its effective strength in one year? Why do we have some units with more officers than legionaries? What the hell happened damnit?”

The centurion bit her lip. “Forgot a bit, didn't you General? A lot of the men resigned in disgust after you got kicked out.” Yossie rubbed her temples with her left hand, while Mako continued. “I almost did too, remember?” she added in a barely audible voice.

Yossie sighed. Yes, she did indeed remember. Memories bubbled up from the hazy fog of the past...

---

The wide oak doors of the courthouse creaked open with a loud groan as General Hitomi Yoshizawa was led unceremoniously inside by a rather short balliff. The contrast between the two figures made for a rather comical scene; the jailer hurried along, trying to keep up with the taller girl's longer stride.

Yossie was livid. Every step she took on the polished marble floor echoed through the chamber with her anger.

“Slow down, General,” hissed Mari Yaguchi as she prodded Yossie along, or tried to. “I don't like this any more than you do, but making a scene won't help.”

The general ignored her advice, and stomped forward to the central podium, her heart pounding with rage. Numberless eyes peered at Yossie from the audience stands all around her. She was unfazed; she merely glared above her defiantly, as the presiding judge took his seat in the booth above.

The aged judge had a rather throaty voice, like that of a bullfrog. “This courts-martial is now in session. On this day begins the trial of General Hitomi Yoshizawa on charges of dereliction of duty and failure to obey lawful orders.” He turned his broad head towards the right row of seats. “Advocate for the defendant, step forth.”

Makoto Ogawa left her chair and stood next to Yossie. “Your Honor,” began the girl uncertainly, “no one here denies the factual basis of these accusations. It is true that Lady Yoshizawa refused to fulfill the Queen's command for deactivation of three cohorts in the Third Legion, but-”

“Enough, Centurion.” interrupted Yossie. “I am more than capable of conducting my own defense.” Mako looked a bit shocked. She turned to look at her friend and commander, whose eyes burned with cold fire. Even chained by the wrought iron manacles, Yossie radiated a hatred that profoundly disturbed the younger girl; Mako had known the general for nearly a decade and half prior, back when they were first enrolled as cadets in the Royal Army's prestigious officer corps, and never in all those years had Yossie ever acted so badly. Mako sighed quietly.

The judge raised a wrinkled brow. “Oh? Let the record show that General Yoshizawa has forfeited her right to counsel and shall conduct her own testimony.” A scribe on the man's left hunched over and scribbled the information as Yoshizawa began a long-delayed tirade.

“Since time immemorial,” growled Yossie, “the family of Yoshizawa has served the Lilac Kingdom with faith and honor. As you and the esteemed gentlemen gathered today well know, my esteemed ancestors were the among the first to pledge their loyalty to Prince Michishige's struggle against the injustice of the Rose Empire. Centuries passed and so the mantle of duty fell to my humble person to execute. This I have done proudly since the very day I was born on the beloved soil of the Kingdom.

I remember well the oath I swore on the sword that now hangs at my side. I pledged, like so many ghosts of past heroes in my bloodline, to uphold the Lilac Kingdom against all enemies.”

Yoshizawa's voice cracked a little, but she continued on.

“I have given everything to fulfill this joyous duty. I have sweated, I have wept, I have bled for the Lilac Kingdom in the endless war for the survival of our people and our country. On the altar of our great nation, I have sacrificed my mind, my body, and even my love to prove my loyalty and service in the Royal Army.

But these seem trivial in comparison to the costs borne by the common soldier. For his is the highest price; that of his life. It has been my greatest honor to lead our courageous volunteers into deadly battle against the enemies of the Kingdom. Each of them gives the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

And it is this reason that I refused the Queen's command. My oath of service demanded absolute commitment to the Kingdom. To dismiss these heroes of the Lilac in such great numbers would lead to the nation's detriment. Loyalty to the state precludes all other ties.”

“Be that as it may,” replied the judge coldly, “you have still failed to obey the command of the lawful sovereign. As such-"

"Lawful?" snarled Yossie. She wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye. "That fool may well be the Queen, but only by right of blood. Her incompetence and naivete will be the death of us all."

A sharp crack of a wooden gavel resonated through the room. "Silence! You do not deny the charges laid against you, then?"

"I do not." said Yossie.

"So be it. By the power invested in this tribunal, the defendant Hitomi Yoshizawa is hereby relieved of command and rank for the crime of failure to obey lawful orders. Further, the defendant shall be stripped of nobility and discharged from the Royal Army for dereliction of duty."

"If the General is to be discharged, I wish to resign my commission." said Mako, standing up with fists clenched.

"No!" cried Yossie as she turned to face the shorter girl. "The Lilac Kingdom cannot afford to lose any more good soldiers. For the sake of our country, you must stay in the Army."

"But-"

"No buts. If not for the Kingdom, then for the legionaries. The men will need leadership, and in my absence, you must provide it."

---

"General, you ok?" asked Mako.

Yossie shook her head. No, she wasn't ok. She had spent an entire year in disgrace and shame, acting as a lowly mercenary, while the Royal Army rotted from the inside out. Now she had to command the crippled, demoralized troops that stood assembled before her on the bare grounds in battle against the hordes of the central plains. If she failed, the Kingdom would fall.

An epiphany struck her. The weight of her beloved country rested on her shoulders, symbolized by the shiny chevrons that lay there. That was why they seemed so heavy; the responsibility the golden trinkets represented was hers to bear. But how could she do so, when the resources she had were so wholly inadequate and the challenge so insurmountable?

Yossie bit back her insecurities. She had to be brave, not just for the men she led but for the Kingdom she defended.

"I'm fine. Looks like we've got some work to do."
« Last Edit: April 25, 2007, 11:10:50 PM by Arcadia Victis »
Rika <3

Offline JFC

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #42 on: April 25, 2007, 05:38:37 AM »
Quote
I promise there'll be glorious violence and rabu-rabu later
WOO HOO! Glorious violence and rabu-rabu!!!! ;D


Quote
Yossie bit back her insecurities. She had to be brave, not just for the men she led but for the Kingdom she defended.

"I'm fine. Looks like we've got some work to do."
And THAT sense of "never giving up" is the sign of a true leader.

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline ferrar1

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #43 on: April 25, 2007, 05:44:14 AM »
And the fightback begins. I want more inspiring speeches in your fic, like those in brave heart etc :p
Quote from: Arcadia Victis
"Lawful?" snarled Yossie. She wiped a tear out of the corner of her eye. "That fool may well be the Queen, but only by right of blood. Her incompetence and naivete will be the death of us all."

Wow she lived even though she said that  :o lol

4th Pic of Eri courtesy of t-motion's gallery ~ Sangokushi Taisen anyone ? http://sangokutaisen.blogspot.com/ ~ Lame attempt at a personal blog ~

Offline katatsumuri

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #44 on: April 25, 2007, 09:33:19 PM »
Your fic successfully transported me into another realm. :kneelbow:

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2007, 03:07:35 AM »
Yay for set-up! How many characters are you planning to introduce that make a difference? Biyuuden, (or rather, Rika and her sidekicks) Momusu, (In roles suited to them so far) former Momusu, (obligatory short person appearance) and who else?

You know what? Nevermind, I know you would just say wait and see so I'll save you the trouble of acknowledging my questions.

Anyway, set-up chapters are necessary to any plot and it did give some background, so it wasn't really mind numbing. More like mind servicing really. Or mind, uh, mind... It was informative...

Hope you update again soon!

Offline Arcadia Victis

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2007, 03:43:04 AM »
JFC - Yup. Looking forward to that. :D

ferrar1 - She did indeed live, for reasons to be explained later. :o

katatsumuri - Awesome, thanks. Hope you enjoy your stay. :D

rndmnwierd - I've got major characters down as follows: momusu, W, Biyuuden. Couple of cameos by other H!P as well.
Rika <3

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2007, 03:50:24 AM »
rndmnwierd - I've got major characters down as follows: momusu, W, Biyuuden. Couple of cameos by other H!P as well.

You had me at Haro! (Or W, but really...) With that little mention, you've gained yourself a follower. And also 120 exp.

Offline Sukoshi

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2007, 11:40:00 AM »
I like the atmosphere of this story, it's very captivating  :heart:  The battle seems to close now  :o I wonder if more characters will be showing up soon?

Offline Blizzard

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Re: A Kingdom's Lament [Act 1, Ch.5]
« Reply #49 on: April 29, 2007, 06:06:57 AM »
If your "numbing exposition" is this good, I definately can't wait to get to the action and drama! 

Looking forward to the next chapter! 

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