IS, V5, Chapter 2: Pride Part 2

Although it was easy, it wasn’t quite as simple as I might have made it out to be…

“Everyone, rally! Get your asses over here and stay behind the mana-barriers or treants! Sick, injured and non-combatants need to head over to Hithu! We’ve lost enough already, I don’t want to see anymore of you dying!”

The first thing I did when I snapped out of my illusion spell was give out some orders, telepathically. In such a chaotic battle, it was the only way to force them to hear me. Of course, even if they heard what I said, it didn’t mean that they would all stop what they were doing. The Warbeasts were especially bloodthirsty and wanted to tear the elves apart, even if they had to die in the process.

Hell, even the Pale Goblins, Pixies and Mice were enjoying themselves. For their entire lives, they were all suppressed and abused. The few who fought back, had always been on the losing side… Fighting a hopeless battle for freedom. My ‘Seals’ also helped a bit. Along with the increased mana-density, giving them a boost in strength, it was the perfect environment for them to finally show off their superior physiques to the utmost extent. They even had weapons and armor to give them a greater advantage against the Wood Elves.

The full force of Lum’s military was converging on us as we proceeded deeper into their territory. Even if I killed their God, it wouldn’t make a difference to the Pope, Sar-Lum. Or any of the Cardinals, Bishops, Archbishops and other Lumean scumbags.

They already received orders to come and destroy us beforehand. Lum confessed that he was just trying to trick me into letting my guard down, during our illusory lifetimes together. Still, I have to admit that I was genuinely happy.

Violence and bloodshed tend to do that to me… There’s a reason why I’ve been considered a God of War in so many incarnations. Even with Ares remaining sealed in Beatrix, I still craved the conflict. The domination and destruction. No matter what that hypocritical children like to preach, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a bit of vengeance every now and then.

One-hundred and fifty miles. In a straight line, it might not seem that far. However, that chunk of territory was at least the size of a small state or country. There were about six major cities, one huge capital, dozens of towns and hundreds of villages. Over twenty-million Wood Elves in total. Only about a third of them were actually in the official military, but there were militia and every Church or Temple of Lum was filled with devout believers… Who were willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of their Goddess.

“Follow me and stay close! Don’t break formation!” Our first battle was pretty straightforward. I took out my staff and acted as a mage, mostly blocking or countering the ranged attacks of our enemies. They had plenty of field artillery, cavalry and heavy infantry but… Obviously that didn’t mean shit against giant treants, angry Warbeasts and tiny Pixies with poisoned weapons.

Our numbers were small, yet our individual power was far greater than theirs. Even when they sent forth ancient Wood Elven generals and mages, I singled them out and cast a few fancy spells for kicks and giggles. Morale is always the most important aspect of war after all. If they just died in a normal manner, then I wouldn’t have been able to terrify their allies.

What were they the most afraid of? Being abandoned or betrayed by their own deity. I didn’t have control over Lum, but it wasn’t that hard to make Hithu’s branches and vines turn from blue to green. Then I would shoot a few of them out of the ground, piercing through the bodies of those ‘famous’ leaders and transforming them into giant trees. Those plants would act as proof, that we conquered a region.

Each of them would release copious amounts of mana into the area and also worked as waypoints. No matter how hard they tried, the Wood Elves couldn’t destroy them. We also had no need to build any sort of fortifications, because we could simply teleport back to Karaville or Hithu whenever we wanted.

Like I said before, our enemies numbered in the millions. We only had a few thousand, not including the tiny Beast Tribes that were far too individually weak to be useful. Sure, I could’ve sacrificed thousands or millions of Yuri Mice, but that would’ve been pretty pointless. Besides, even if they couldn’t be of much help in that era, I knew that once we got into the Computer Age, they would completely dominate all of the other races. Even before then, they could perform delicate, small-scale tasks that would be impossible for the larger Beast Tribes. They could also live much more luxurious lives, for far less resources.

Anyway, a war is much more than a single battle… And it’s impossible to win without losses. Even just doing training exercises, people can die. That’s how life goes. It can end with a bullet, a bomb, or with a drink.

Unlike me, everyone else took breaks. Even the treants needed to stop and return to base in order to recover their strength. I never rested for more than a few hours though. Although I let Kara, Angelica and their forces fight favorable battles, I never let anyone come with me to siege fortresses or cities. Not only would they have had heavy casualties, but there was also the danger of letting them become too frenzied and uncontrollable.

My goal was to defeat and conquer Lum. Not the total extermination of the Wood Elf race from Salvation. I also needed to physically capture and take control of the world tree, Lum. If had given them enough time, it was entirely possible that the Pope or one of the Archbishops would have been able to replace that blue brat.

Even if all evidence was pointing towards their ‘Goddess’ abandoning or betraying them… The Lumeans saw it as a test. The overwhelming majority of them were so devout and overzealous that they were willing to sacrifice themselves, along with their entire villages, in order to fight against us. Fortunately, there was still a small percentage of people who had been disgruntled or secretly rebelling against their sycophantic neighbors.

Only one third of a village or town would remain, while everyone else would rather die fighting or they did surrender, but were executed for their crimes regardless. In the small-scale, it wasn’t hard for me to telepathically interrogate and judge the weaker Wood Elves. Things became much more difficult once I moved onto the cities though.

Some of them had millions of citizens. The Capital alone, had over a million troops stationed there. Abaddon almost tempted me into just wiping them out completely, in order to save myself the headache that would definitely come later on. However, Karma definitely wouldn’t condone genocide for the sake of convenience… And neither would I.

If I wasn’t going to slaughter them all, then how could I possibly sort through millions of people and figure out who was guilty or innocent?

****

“Okay, so the trick to telepathic scanning is to first place someone into a state of fear, anger or arousal. Then they’ll remember things… Usually in flashes or short audio replays. These thoughts drift off pretty easily. I don’t expect a deep-scan from any of you, since that’s dangerous and a lot more difficult.”

I was giving a lecture to a few thousand Yuri-Mice. It had been a few weeks since the start of our crusade and most of the Lumean forces were turtling in their castle-cities.

Unlike Hithu, Lum never really gave her people much direct assistance. Instead, she taught them a bit of basic engineering and construction skills, along with magic. Then let them do the rest on their own. Instead of using a bramble-wall of giant trees, branches and vines, Lumean cities were made of stone and sometimes had steel reinforcements. There were castles, fortresses and huge towers, which all had plenty of siege weapons installed.

“You have one week to practice. Everyone will form groups of twelve Jurors. Unfortunately, we don’t really have time to waste… So when you go through the captives, the twelve of you will scan a person three times each. If they happen to remember raping, enslaving or committing all the various other atrocities that you’ll be exposed to, then they’ll usually be put to death. I don’t have time to be the Judge or Executioner personally, so there will be someone else assigned for every case. It’s important that you aren’t too hostile or friendly towards the captives though, which is why I chose your kind, over the others.”

Considering my options at the time, the best I could do was entrust the Yuri-Mice to be temporary Jurors. They weren’t particularly amazing at the mind reading part, but it was good enough… At least it was better than just massacring everyone or torturing the truth out of them.

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