The Lord of Stone, Part 4

The battle raged hot all around Dorian, who stood amidst the dust of the fallen Walls catching his breath. His Weaving had drawn far too much energy from him, and it was a challenge to stay on his feet and not let his sword fall; if any of the enemy’s captains faced him as he was, he would surely fall. So he hung back, looking at the slaughter from a distance, and a slaughter it was; the Shining Walls had never been breached before, and as such Illaryon’s defenders had grown lax in their training and recruiting. Dorian’s army met less than one third their own number, and that of half-trained soldiers and inexperienced officers.

Breathing with difficulty, Dorian forced himself to act; a small contigent of the enemy’s soldiers had noticed him, and were closing in, hoping to strike at a hapless officer. The debris from the Walls’ destruction provided plenty of material for Dorian to work with, however, even exhausted as he was; forcing his will upon the world around him, Dorian Wove the flows of Earth on the fallen stones, and lay in waiting. The soldiers came on, unaware of his trap. As they reached striking distance, Dorian closed his fist, releasing the flows; spears of rock and stone rose from the muddy ground, impaling the majority of the small platoon and scattering those that had been lucky enough to survive.

Grimacing as his head began to throb with the effort of continued Weaving, Dorian surveyed the fallen city once more. Few citizens were on the streets – only those fool enough to think they could mount some kind of resistance would risk themselves in the middle of an invasion -, but that was for the best. Illaryon was not to be burned, and its citizens not to be killed; he was on a campaign of conquest, not destruction, no matter what everyone else thought. He had given firm orders that no citizen was to be attacked unless they resisted the invasion, and that there was to be no destruction of buildings and monuments that did not have a military purpose. The penalty for disobeying either order was death.

Sighing, he motioned for one of the War-Weavers standing nearby, “You, Weaver. The defence grid of Illaryon has already fallen, if I do not miss my mark. Enhance my voice so that it can be heard from all corners of the city.” He did not wait for the Weaver’s nod before turning back to the city, flexing his sword-arm. There would be much to do here before sailing out, but he wanted to avoid any unnecessary deaths. He felt the Weaves of Air surrounding him as a sudden tightness in his skin, but he shrugged it off.

“Citizens of Illaryon, hear me out. I am Dorian Belzess, Commander of the Armies of Dusk. Your Shinning Walls lay like rubble at my feet, and your soldiers dead at my hands. Your city has fallen. Avoid further grief and destruction by submitting yourselves to my rule and forfeiting all previous allegiances; none that do so will be harmed.”

Turning around, he walked towards his tent. The last few stragglers would be dealt with by his soldiers and his officers, as would any of the inevitable uprisings, but there was much to be done in the city yet, and much planning to be worked out if the Armies were to get back in schedule. Dorian’s head throbbed and his body felt like lead, yet he paid them no mind, as there were greater matters to be worried about; he would lead his Master’s Armies of Dusk in their hungry conquests, but there was no glory, no honour in it. He only wished to fulfill his part of the bargain, and finally be able to die in peace.

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3 thoughts on “The Lord of Stone, Part 4

  1. A nice continuation!
    My first thought–in all honesty–was a twinge of concern about the way the story was evolving. Dorian is a strong character accomplishing great things, which is fine–but in this chapter I started to wonder if he was suffering from “Hulk Hogan Syndrome.” He never seems to lose, and while the victory is taxing for him, it’s still no matter for him to sweep away his opponents and conquer a city that has never been conquered. It felt, at first, like there was no risk.
    Then I read the last paragraph. Here is where the tension is–a revelation that he’s not doing this because he wants to, but because he *owes* something. Those last two sentences say more about his character than much of the preceding story; they hint at a vulnerability that piques the interest. I’d love to see that develop!

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    Yeah, I realized that Dorian was beginning to look like a Mary Sue, so I figured it was time to add some depth to the character. I don’t want to reveal too much, though, since I plan to explore him in quite a few more short stories and, if I ever get the time for it, my first novel. Either way, a big part of Dorian’s character is exactly the fact that he is so much above the standard for the setting (no wonder he could conquer a previously unconquerable city!), but the struggles and conflicts that I want to explore will rarely have to deal with his power or strength, so it is merely a way of flavouring him and adding some shiny effects in the background. :D

  3. Sounds like a good plan. Having a superbly strong character than rarely loses can be interesting too, if played right. He’s being set up–as far as I see from my perspective–to be insurmountable in most areas, but potentially vulnerable in terms of his sense of duty or honor. That’s where good character conflict comes in.

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