Chapter 2

After the business with the guard had been taken care of, Din met up with Eva at his cell.

"Ready for the inspection today?" She asked as he changed into a pair of black jeans and a white V—neck.

"Indeed, I'm still playing the role of Koran's son?" Din inquired. Eva nodded. She still felt a bit angry towards the other guards.

"Don't worry, I've read up on his file, he tends to be a bit immature." Din reassured her. Once he had finished, he gave her a tight embrace. After a second or two, he pulled back to look into her eyes.

"C'mon, be happy, it's not every once in a while we get to sneak out." Din said mischievously.

Din joined Koran in the escorted car with Eva following him. She was wearing the standard guard uniform. Koran wore his formal garb; leaving Din feeling somewhat out of place. The doors slammed and the convoy took off. Din reached for one of the canned beverages in the tub of Ice. He pulled it out and examined the colorful aluminum.

"What in the Goddesses name is this?" Din inquired.

"It's called 'Cola', this brand being Super Drink. It's mainly sugar water and caffeine." Koran answered. Din satisfied his curiosity and popped the top. He took a sip and was taken back by the overall power of the soda.

"Eva, can you make a note to stock this in the kitchen?" Din asked. Eva smiled as she wrote something down on her note pad.

It had been a while, 16 years, since he had been outside his corridor in the palace.

"So here's the deal," Din started as he popped the top on his second Cola.

"We're going to inspect the new naval port in Shelby." Koran spoke. Din nodded. He had been to Shelby, named after a friend, a few times. It was a maritime city dipping into the Brostic Sea, and it was vital to the Jeric navy. It was especially important to Eva because many of the Marines that had saved her and her mother, and eventually her home country, came from Shelby, leading her to chose a life in the navy. It was a 2 hour drive south. Once they had cleared the farms south of the city, the smell of the sea hit them. It brought back some memories for everyone in the car.

After a small tour through the Jeric Empire's second city, the convoy arrived at the new Sea-dock. Before stepping out into the late afternoon sun, Eva checked her rifle while Koran and Din checked their side arms that were somewhat concealed. They stepped outside and shuck hands with Admiral Johnston, the Admiral of the Fleet. They began the inspection.

"Koran, It is a pleasure to have you and your son here with us." One of the Marine officers spoke.

"It is a pleasure to be here, Captain." Din spoke. He regretted it when he remembered he was supposed to play the son. The officer returned a nodded and began the tour.

"Ever since out founding in 3400 BCE, Shelby has been vital to the Jeric Navy. Many of the Marines, and even some of the Guard," The Admiral pointed out," Were trained in these very waters." The tour approached an impressive looking ship." This is one of the new Destroyers. This one is 100% Shelby; it is manufactured using aluminum from our mines, it's stationed by Shelbic men, and, and it's even named after the city." The Admiral went on. They toured the Destroyer to see the finest of the fleet. The USS Shelby was a ship that was worthy to be named after such a sea—fairing city. It carried many close defense weapons, and could even take down aircraft. The only thing it lacked was the power of Battle Ship cannons. The group finished the tour on the Deck, staring at the Jeric flag in the setting sun. The flag, originally Din's design, was a green background with two red hands holding up a red star. The tour ended with the saluting and singing of the Jeric national anthem. Koran turned to find his "son", only to find that he was missing. A guard that was traveling with them handed him a piece of note card

"Be back by tomorrow"

-Eva &Din

Koran crumpled the message up. He dismissed the guard and headed back to the convoy alone.

Din and Eva sped down the road in a rental car. Din let Eva show him around, seeing as she graduated from the naval academy. They stopped outside of a food jointed and assessed the hunger situation. After she parked the car, she took off her Fatigue jacket and her tank top, revealing a black sports bra. Din looked at her in curiosity until she donned a black tee-shirt. She took off her hat and boots next and slipped on pair of high-top sneakers. It was odd to see her looking like a civilian, Din thought, with her Bobbi cut and tee-shirt. While she and Din walked into the restaurant, Din began to think that military style clothing was the "thing". A glance at a couple of teenage girls in the paying for their meal proved him wrong. There were three of them, two with blonde hair running down to mid-back, the other a brunette with her long hair tied in a bun, they wore strapless shirts that exposed most of their stomachs, and shorts that exposed most of their legs. When Eva picked out a nice booth for them to sit in, Din chose the time to comment. "It's funny to see how ones culture can reflect on the leader." Din stated. Eva looked at him with a cocked head.

"I mean, when people knew me and when a religion was established in my name, many thought that it was inappropriate to show ones shoulders. Now-a-days, with that "president" we have, people think it's inappropriate to not show ones shoulders." Eva took this into consideration as they placed their orders. When their drinks came, Eva resumed the conversation.

"I agree, I think that it's supposed to be a signal to men." She stated. It was now Din's turn to look confused.

"It means they're easy." Eva explained. Again, more confused look from Din.

"Ya'know, like... sex." Eva whispered with somewhat of an embarrassed tone.

"Oh, I guess that makes sense. This might explain the sudden increase in birth but a decrease in happiness. They're all giving it away without meaning. Why, in my day—" Din started, but stopped when he realized he was acting more like an elder than a date.

Eva giggled, however, and urged him to go on.

"Well, uhm, when I was in hiding, I took an assumed name near the old Songhai boarder. I had a wife and a decent job, but it wasn't long before they found me. Askia I mean." Din said in a hushed tone. Eva looked at him in amusement.

"You mean you were actually married? How did they find you?" She asked. Din cleared his throat as he put down his drink.

"It's hard on the wife when she looks like she's dating a sixteen year old." Din explained. Eva nearly spit her drink due to the comedy of the situation.

"So you knew Asakia?" Eva asked.

"Indeed. it was somewhat of a long time ago, when we first met. It was 3,700; many people revered me, and other civilizations to their respectful leader, as the rightful ruler placed by the Goddesses. There was even a religion, the Followers of Din, which believed I was a God. Well, I guess they still do believe; seeing as that is Jeric's primary religion. Anyway, 3,700 BCE, we had met with Germany, America, Russia, England, Arabia, Spain, Rome, And of course, Songhai..."

"3,700 BCE... we had just researched Horseback riding and were making our way to blacksmithing. We had embassies from England, America, Germany, Russia, Arabia, and Songhai. We didn't have Rome, mostly because they did not have the technologies to build one. Jericho had vastly grown, with Shelby and Maron on the verge of greatness..."

"Din, we need you for a meeting, the German ambassador ha a deal he wants to strike." Gloshia, the new Global Advisor spoke. Din put down his book and pen and walked out of the room, being shadowed by his advisor. After a short ride to the residential portion of the city, he entered the German ambassador's house.

"Ah, Wilhelm, how are you?" Din warmly greeted the German ambassador.

He held out his hand for a hearty handshake.

"Ah Din, Germany needs your help! Bismarck has laid the plans for a grand invasion." Wilhelm bellowed. Din was taken back a bit. He knew the Germans were a feisty people, but he never had thought they would go to war for no reason.

"Who is the target?" Din asked.

"Those Roman barbarians over the River. Din, Jeric is in the perfect position to strike! They insult us by polluting the land we inhabit." Wilhelm encouraged. He clasped his hand over Din's shoulder.

"Bismarck asks for your sword, sir Din. The civilized world needs you." He said with a silver tongue.

"Give me a bit of time to talk this over with my Generals. I'll get back to you. I do agree, however, that we can make a much better use of the land." He said,

"Excellent." Wilhelm said. "I will tell my league immediately." He finished. Din ordered for a messenger to call all his military personal to his war room.-

Din entered the War Room with Korat and many high level members. Din looked around the room.

"Korat, tell us what we are capable of." Din asked.

Korat looked over to his assistant.

" The Jeric military consisted of 3 warrior divisions and 2 Archer divisions." He spoke.

"How could this war turn out for us?" Din asked.

"So here is how the campaign should play out with maximum effectiveness and minimal loses." Korat, one of Koran's early ancestors, spoke. He pointed to the Roman territory that stopped just short of the Jeric-owned Red River. It wasn't called the Red River at the time; it would soon get its name, however.

"Germany has given us two additional Swordsmen units that have trained in rough terrain and marine combat. We use these for the initial assault and bring up the rear with our archers. The Romans have three major cities; Rome, the capital, Atrium and Medina. If we capture these three, the Roman Civilization will fall."

Korat spoke with a dignified greatness.

He went on," We start off storming the shore connecting to fortifications that lead to Medina . From there, our Swordsmen will hold ground while our archers and warriors make their way towards Medina. We siege the city and hold for reinforcements. The Germans have dedicated 5 Swordsmen units, 2 Horsemen units, and 3 Composite Bowmen units. Arabia has promised 35 gold to use every 5 years of conflict. Songhai has pledge to watch our flanks." Korat finished. Din looked around at the others in the room. Some stared at the board, but a majority waited for Din's voice.

"Let me ask you gentlemen… is this war worth the blood of our brothers?" Din asked. He looked into the eyes of his generals and lieutenants. He made his decision. He placed his arms behind his back and began to stroll around t the room.

"We out number the Roman army by 3-fold,"

"4-fold, sir," an aide spoke out.

"4-fold. We have advanced technology along with superior

troops... We have been placed here by the very Goddesses. Gentlemen, Sic semper Tyrannis." The room erupted in applause. Din reached for his sword and thrust it in the air.

"To Jeric, We Fight!"

German-Jeric Markus Kliensmen rode in the boat that was about to crash unto the shore. He gripped the hilt of his sword tightly, and pulled the shield up to his face.

"Ready now!" The commander called out. Markus turned to see a teenage boy stand on the steeps and turn.

"Gentlemen, we are about to liberate the civilization known as Rome. We are the spearhead of the attack, and we will serve our cause well. I salute you brave men." He stepped down as a few shell shocked men applauded.

"That's the leader we follow." Whispered the squad leader.

'How can a boy be a leader? 'He thought. He didn't have time to think, however, as the boat crashed against the shore.

Screams of war rang out from the landing units as they jumped off the boats and clashed with the enemy. Din, the now recognizable leader, crashed against an enemy warrior. Blood erupted from the stomach as the warrior cried out in his native language. Another came up to Din, but was met with his shield.

A direct stab to the throat caused the new challenger to collapse to the ground. Markus watched in amusement and wonder until a cry of fear and anger exploded next to him. He threw up his shield as a club clashed with his shied. He mimicked his leader and stabbed at the throat. He missed, however, and was hit in the head by his assailants club. His helmet dented, and he fell to the ground. His foe stood over him. Before the warrior had a chance to finish the blow, another swordsman tackled him. While on the ground, the swordsmen lifted up his sword and stabbed the warrior in the heart with both hands. Markus stood and wobbled a bit before his savior steadied him.

"Don't worry comrade, for I know you would have done the same for me." He spoke.

'Would I have? 'Markus questioned. He turned again and began to walk up the beach.

Din walked with his shield held as a volley of arrows pounded at his position. The fort was going to be tough.

"With me, comrades!" He hollered. He broke the arrows stuck to hi shield with his sword as others ran up the hill. He reached the fort with enough of a force to storm it. He ran inside with five other swordsmen at his back. He met an archer who threw down his bow and cowered. Din held no remorse as his sword went through the top of his skull. He turned around when an arrow hit him square in the heart. He felt the head move through his chest. He fell to his knees as the archer ran up and readied another arrow and aimed it at his head. Din shot up and pushed his sword through his attacker's sternum. The archer muttered his dying words in Roman while Din pulled the sword out of his attackers chest. He grabbed the arrow and pulled it from his chest. He would have questioned, but the adrenaline of battle had taken affect. His vision turned red as he charged to the next potential victim.

Korat stood on the bank of the river, watching the smoke bellowed from the forts that stood on the edge of the plains next to the shoreline. The beach was tinted a deep red with the blood of the fallen. It leaked into the river, giving it its infamous name.

"So begins the downfall of a nation..." He whispered in the setting sun.

The initial casualties were minimum, to say the least. There were 33 deaths out of 2,400 men, along with 142 minor casualties. Needless to say, this laid the way for the rest of the campaign. The rest of the designated force moved towards victory without any resistance. The Romans were even kind enough to build roads from their installations to the first target, Medina.

"Archers, prepare volley!" The general stationed with them bellowed.

"On my command, fire!" Came the order, shouted from the commander. 2,400 arrows blotted out the sky as they found their mark in the city. The Roman counter returned their own, but it was rather ineffective. Only five men were struck and 2 were killed. The Swordsmen rested on the rear flank of the strike force while the Warriors spread around the city in a pincher movement. Din stood with the left arrow looking towards the archers placed on the hills to his rear. He had long discarded his helmet, but he still held onto the blood-soaked armor. He had seen a medic in the Warrior Unit, but the inflicted wound had disappeared. The archers released another volley as plumes of smoke slowly drifted over the city. Din stood when he saw flames like the tops of building. He and the warriors began to march into the city. The dead city only increased the sense of dread in the warriors. Finally, the tension snapped when they heard a young women scream.

Lucia ran from her assailant with the fastest speed her legs could muster. Her attacker, standing at 12 hands high, had breached her home and was attempting to breach her. She ran down the hall from her mother's room with the man in tow. She had seen what he did to her mother and hoped to escape such a fate. She flew out of the hut and looked for an escape. Riots had taken most of the inner circle, chaos had ensued. She ran down in-between her house and her neighbors. She ran into the back door of the proposed sanctuary. Her neighbors, brutish looking people, were not home. She noticed a barbarians' club in the stone mantle of the fire place, however. She ran and grabbed it and turned to face her attacker.

"Heheh, I like it when they fight back." He growled in a low, lustful voice. She readied the club and swung, but the man was too quick, and the weapon too heavy. She destroyed a flower pot, but left herself completely open. The man took the opportunity to strike. A knee to the stomach forced her into submission. He picked her up by her hair and slammed her against the wall. A paralyzing punch to the stomach gave him the opportunity to tear the dress with a make-shift knife. It fell to the ground in a futile resistance. Tears streamed out her eyes as he readied himself. He was torn away by a gloved hand, however. She watched as a boy stabbed the man two times, then push the body to the floor. Lucia got a glimpse of her savior through blurry eyes. Long, brown hair with sky-blue eyes. All she could remember was him catching her and whispering foreign but soothing words to her.

"I think we made it in time, c'mon, get her out of here." Din ordered as he held the girl. The medic that had examined him lifted her. Din threw the cloth that was once her dress over her bare body. He walked out to hear two other warriors describe grizzly scene that had occurred next door. Din looked toward sky.

Medina had been won, but it was going to be a long time before there would be peace. It would be much longer, however, than he would have ever thought.

The city of Atrium was a much harder nut to crack. It had walls set up around the city along with an actual archer unit stationed within the bowels of the inner circle, the area that was key for the campaign. One of the swordsmen units was with Din, crouched behind their shields, cursing the archers for not firing. A messenger ran up to him from the north.

"Sir Din," He reported," The archers are unable to fire due to the lower terrain they have been placed in." He finished. Din cursed under his breath as he looked around towards the other units. They had surrounded the city on five sides, the composite archers occupying the space by the foothills. Unfortunately, they were not able to fire shot due to the unyielding terrain. He looked at the warriors, now all swordsmen, and gave the order.

Someone had to take this city.

Din surveyed the area he was about to assault. All along the walls enemy militia were arming themselves. He knew that somewhere in the city, enemy archers were doing the same.

He raised his sword to the sky as he called out," To Jeric, We Fight!"

The other Swordsmen followed suite as Din began to charge. Ladders where thrown against the enemy walls as Roman Militia cried in both challenge and fear. Din was the first of many to clear the wall. As he jumped to his feet, he turned to engage the vermin that was momentarily stunned by the sudden charge. Din chopped through his light armor to his neck. It didn't make a clean cut, but it was enough to throw a stream of blood onto the brick that made up the waist-high wall. Din didn't stop to view his art, however, as he made way to his next target. He blocked an arrow with his shield, and then discarded it to thrust his sword, with both hands, into the militiaman's stomach. He was hefted up off the ground as blood ran down Din's arm. He dropped his now dead enemy in time to block a blow from a club. He threw it off of him as he engaged the man now in front of him. The new opponent back-peddled until he tripped over Din's shield. Din made no waste as he leapt into the air and landed with his sword skewered through his enemy's heart.

He stood, cleaned his weapon on his slain foe's clothing, and watched as sections of wall were torn down.

The enemy made more of an effort this time to keep control of the city. More militiamen were stationed on the outer circle along with archers on top of the huts. Once the Swordsmen, however, made it over the hurdles, the assault on the Town hall was rather easy. The guards usually keeping order in the building were out dying, so the heads of the city went without complaint. At the end of the day, Din stood on the balcony that overlooked the city. He looked out into the west and saw his next target:

Rome

The next day, Din was awakened by a shrill rapping on his door. He tiredly sat up in his glory and walked over to the chest he had stored his things. The rapping continued. He barked a harsh "Hold on" as he threw on a white shirt and brown pantaloons He threw open the door, somewhat irritated that someone disrupted his well earned sleep. His face changed from anger to glee when two newly appointed militia men entered with new battle armor. It shone like sterling and felt as sturdy too. His sword was an articulate beauty; it was two times the length of a normal blade, and the center portion had been cut out to reduce wait and give it a unique look. The militia men placed the armor down gently and waited for further orders. Din quickly dressed in short undergarments and was instructed on how to pull the armor on and how to move with it. Of course, the men helped their new leader. After it was done, Din finally looked like the leader the men needed.

Two weeks. The road to Rome was two weeks of bloodshed and hate.

The Jerics knew they were close to victory due to the fury the enemy had displayed. It was both a blessing and a curse to Din. He had not discarded his old sword. To the contrary, he wore it proudly sideways on waist, his new sword rested on his hip. He had already stood out with his armor, but it also showed a strong side to carry two swords into battle. They had lost a lot of men on the initial move back into Rome Territory, however. A unit was almost extinguished, for they now rested back in new-found Jeric borders. That left the strike force four swordsmen units and two composite archer units. The Roman forces had exhausted all of their units defending the outskirts. The units stationed inside the city limits, however, were the Legion, the best of the best in the Roman army. They were a fitting match for Din's new weapons.

It was dawn when Din called the attack. The City wall had been breached by ladders and later by the sheer number of pounding all together. Jeric swordsmen clashed with Roman Legion as blood flowed in the streets. Both Roman and Jeric arrows killed faceless soldiers. It was a bloody mess, but the Legion was out numbered four to one. It wasn't necessarily tactics, but just sheer strength. Before too long, Din stood on the steps of the Roman Palace. Inside, Augustus Caesar was awaiting him to decide the fate of the Roman World. Caesar's Throne room was lush and extravagant, to say the least. It was filled with everything the Roman Empire had to offer: Copper, gold, and silver eatery and weaponry hung around on the tables and walls, silk banners hung on the back wall, fruits of all strange origins sat in bowels of Oak. Caesar himself sat upon Marble steps in a lavish throne. Din took little appreciation for the works as he spilled the blood of two elite Roman Legion all over the floor. Din stood before his final opponent,

Ready to fight or Die.

"Ahh, Sir Din... I see you've met my men." Caesar said with an unusually cool tone.

"Your barbaric ways are over, Caesar. That throne belongs to

me." DIn growled.

"Hah, You call me the barbarian? You invade my home, kill my citizens, and demand my throne!" He scoffed.

"Any leader who would not die for his own is not fit to lead." Din spoke through gritted teeth. Augustus replied by grabbing a sword. Caesar thrust his sword in Din's direction. It was parried. Din countered with a vertical slice. Caesar blocked and struck again. Again, it was blocked. Caesar was taken back, and Din did not waste such an oppourtunity. A clean, red cut under torn flesh and cloth signified to Din to begin his next attack phase. He swung at Caesars' weapon, effectively disarming the stunned enemy. In one swift motion, he dropped his broadsword and pulled his long sword out. He thrust into Caesar's stomach. Din pulled back and watched the defeated ruler fall to his knees.

"So this is how it ends? I never saw it coming." He whispered.

"We needed to rid the world of scum like you." Din sneered.

"We?" Caesar asked, holding his bleeding stomach.

"Germany. We had no intentions, but they showed us what was needed to be done." Din said, standing tall over the crumbled man.

"Ha! Fools! You do not realize the hell you have submerged yourselves in. In a matter of years, months maybe, you will be in my position." Caesar mocked him as blood ran down his chin.

"Just remember this feeling when he stands over you, bloodied sword in hand." He said, then fell limb. His corpse littered the marble steps as blood pooled at the bottom. Din sheathed his weapon as he replayed Caesar warning. He heard the clack- clacking in the hallway as Bismarck appeared with two Landsckhets

"Congratulations to you sir Din, on your military Conquest." He spoke in an uneasy tone. Din was about to return a thanks when Bismarck said,

"Good luck on your next one." Before turning around and quickly walking towards the outside. Din hesitated, then ran to the balcony connecting to the throne room. Outside, Fires and smoke blew with the wind into the west-bound sun. German banners littered the plains as shouts of cry and attack rolled into his ears. He gripped the handrails. Jeric was under attack.

"So that was the first Jeric-Germanic war?" Eva asked, hunched over her drink. Din sipped his and nodded. Eva looked around at the empty restaurant. The candle between them that was full at the beginning, had dwindled to a small orange flame. Most of the chairs were up on the tables as a janitor mopped the area.

"We should probably start our way back to Jericho." She quietly said. Din nodded in agreement as he downed his 4th cola.