The Battle At Mariamne

PART ONE: THE WAR

Barely a week had passed since Zuri and her family had been safely relocated to the Dyson Sphere when their greatest fear was realized. On a seemingly peaceful, bright and shiny Mariamne morning, there was the sudden appearance of portals, spread out throughout the Island country.

A dome-like barrier was suddenly erected and enveloped Mariamne ominously. Anything caught by the boundaries of the dome was obliterated and any attempts made by any creature to escape from within the dome met the same grim fate.

In no time, there was the sound of war drums and then the appearance of the Emperor’s vast army riding triumphantly on battle beasts including genetically engineered wolly mammoths bearing battle armor. There was a collective Gregorian chant as the sound of the drums punctured the air as even more soldiers emerged from the portals.

Despite the Mariamne army’s best efforts, they could not contain the threat of Brodus and his massive army invading their country. They were soon left with only option which was trying to find a way to evacuate its citizens safely which was proving impossible due to the impenetrable dome-shaped barrier the Emperor’s army had erected.

The flow of time was excruciatingly slow as the minutes dragged on. Eventually, the Emperor himself emerged from a portal, flanked by his most powerful defenders. By this time, the sound of war drums was near deafening and the sound of the collective chanting and humming filled every Mariamne citizen with dread and despair.

The Emperor signaled for silence and his order was absolute. The eerie silence echoed across the land that had been vibrant with the sound of war mere seconds ago. The Emperor appraised the Island Country using the extra-sensory abilities he possessed. In a few minutes, his generals came forward and briefed him on all Intel they had gathered from the ground.

Brodus smiled and then stated in a voice that was amplified to be heard all across the country, “Queen Areneas the second, it is a pity that we could not be introduced to each other under more pleasant conditions. I do not wish to destroy such a beautiful country that is legendary even from my Timeline…”

“I only have one request to make of you and really of Oracle Zuri, whom I am sure can hear me. Surrender Oracle Zuri to me and I shall spare Mariamne and all its people.”

He waited patiently and the Queen soon responded by stating, “You have made a declaration of war, Emperor Brodus and make no mistake about it, Mariamne shall defend itself to the last dying woman. Oracle Zuri is a daughter of Mariamne and she shall be protected by its people.”

Brodus laughed at the Queen’s bold declaration. “Resistance is futile, Queen Areneas. Surely one life that has already been given in service to the people cannot justify the pointless massacre of thousands of innocents and destruction of such a beautiful Kingdom. Oracle Zuri, I urge you to see reason and surrender yourself peacefully. I give you my word that not one person shall die today if you come along peacefully,”

“As I have already stated, Brodus, Zuri is a daughter of Mariamne and we shall defend her to the last dying woman,”

Brodus was more amused than upset by the Queen’s immovable stance.

“Very well, as a fellow Monarch, I respect and even admire your brave stance. Just know that I shall turn Mariamne upside down until I find Oracle Zuri, dead or alive. Troops, onward!” he declared.

A collective ‘Yes my lord’ was heard from his army and the war drums and Gregorian chanting and humming resumed even as the troops began their assault on Mariamne. However, the war drums were soon drowned out by the sound of music emerging from the Temple of Mariamne .

The music had detrimental effects on Brodus’ army and as a result, Mariamne’s own army were able to cut them down. The mammoths and other war beasts of the invaders became as docile as any other animals within Mariamne and further weakened the might of the Emperor’s army.

Brodus was impressed by the power of music generated by the famous Royal Family of Mariamne. For generations, the descendants of Areneas and her sister Sage Serea had gained in their ability to use music to influence their subjects in whatever way they pleased and yet he saw just how dangerous this same power was even against an army as mighty as his. His interest in Mariamne was piqued and he considered colonizing the Island country once Oracle Zuri was safely in his custody.

“Begin the Ritual!” he instructed his most powerful casters.

“Yes, my lord,” they chorused. They began to chant and the dome began to absorb Aura from their intended targets, the Royal Family present at the Temple of Mariamne along with the Clerics present at the Temple who assisted them through channeling.

In no time, the effects of the music began to wane despite the Royal Family’s best efforts. The dome prevented Prana Energy from being absorbed and converted into the much needed Aura and further chi required to cast magic and therefore, the Royal Family began to give out, one after another, their magical energy circuits almost entirely depleted.

The music from the Temple suddenly stopped and the very moment it did, the Emperor’s Army advanced, once more gaining the upper hand in war due to their sheer numbers and magical might.

Mariamne continued to put up its best fight despite the huge losses it experienced against the Emperor’s Army, using the most modern weaponry it possessed to try and even out against the invaders. Unfortunately, the Emperor’s Army far outmatched them even in weaponry and the Mariamne army continued to suffer heavy losses.

“Enough!” cried out a voice that echoed across the land.

Brodus looked around the Island searching for the source of the disembodied voice.

“Call off your troops, Brodus and I shall surrender peacefully as is your wish,” the voice continued.

“Show yourself and I shall consider,” Brodus asserted.

Oracle Zuri appeared right in the eye of the storm, her Protector in tow. Brodus smiled upon seeing them and stated, “At long last we meet, Oracle Zuri.”

“Call it off. Now!” she demanded.

“Not so fast. How will I know that you shall truly surrender?”

“You have my word that I shall, Brodus. I shall come peacefully if you call this whole thing off now,”

“You are not in any position to make any demands of me. Look around you and see that your beloved country is doomed unless you truly move me. Get down on your knees and pledge allegiance to me, your new Emperor,” he stated, smirking maliciously.

Zuri’s protector, Jaali practically growled on hearing the Emperor’s hideous request calling for humiliation of his charge.

“An Oracle must always place the lives of the ones she serves before her very own. You must therefore humble yourself and get down on your knees, Zuri,”

“I do not bend my knees for anyone but the Creator, Brodus. You have lost your chance to take me peacefully,”

Brodus laughed mockingly. “Do you think that you can defeat me and my army? How arrogant of you!”

“You have grown too full of yourself, you pompous jerk. Your army shall soon be defeated for the forces of evil shall never overcome the forces of good,”

“We shall see,” he asserted, calling to the spirits of dark Oracles past.

“Rise and serve me, your new Master. I command thee, possess Zuri’s body and drive her spirit out! May her body serve as a vessel to carry out my divine will!” he ordered.

The spirits of Dark Oracles past all rose to serve their Master, quickly trying to possess Zuri’s body physically by trying to gain control of her subtle bodies…

A fierce battle of wills soon emerged when the light spirits of Oracles past fought their evil counterparts for control of Zuri’s body. Protector Jaali bravely defended Zuri while her past lives battled it out for supremacy, supported by the spirits of his past lives.

The Emperor’s Army continued gaining the upper hand until the dome he had erected suddenly came crushing down.

“What- what is the meaning of this?” his angry voice thundered across the land.

A brilliantly shining star soon broke out in the sky producing an ethereal, blinding white light that grew stronger as it drew nearer to the eye of the storm. Soon the light enveloped Zuri and knocked the Emperor and his defenders back several kilometers away from her.

“What- what is this?” he thundered furiously.

The music generated by the Temple resumed and the Mariamne army was soon able to regain the upper hand, using the confusion generated by the dome suddenly coming apart to strike down their enemies.

A few moments after the barrier went down, Mariamne’s allies from the North (the Royal Family were direct descendents of Sage Serea, the half-sister of Queen Areneas the first), West (the joint dryad army from Nymphadora and Ambrosia) and from Avala (where the Queen of Mariamne’s niece, Queen Ravenna ruled) who had been held back by the dome, all joined in the war to support Mariamne.

The combined force of the armies were sufficient enough to quell the invaders’ assault just as Zuri’s light gained the upper hand, the light Oracles spirits overcoming the assault of the dark Oracle spirits. She cautiously headed towards Brodus in his confusion and knew what she had to do but hesitated…

For years to come, the deaths of all who had died that day in her name, would weigh heavily on her conscience but was she justified in killing Brodus that day? Was there truly no other way to defeat the dark Emperor that did not involve becoming the very thing she wished to destroy- a murderer? Or was killing him truly what was just?

TO BE CONTINUED…

Shall Zuri become a murderer and end the Emperor’s life or shall she find a way to defeat him without darkening her own soul? Stay tuned to find out!

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4 thoughts on “The Battle At Mariamne

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