Prince Cicerio was enjoying himself on the newly conquered throne of Laplace, putting his hand on the head of Lucius, which he was intending to send back to his homeland to serve as a trophy. The scourge on the orange fiend banner of the slave masters was removed by his guards, replaced by the proud four-eye lion on a red theme. A lion he was, he fought as brave as the bravest soldier but fiercer. His red eyes glow in the dark hall, like a great fire, ready to burn his enemies.

The first influential local who showed up to meet the new ruler of the city was Pimpus the Brown. He was short, not even tall enough to reach the Kings shoulders. However, he was fat and didn seem to be energetic; two slaves had to carry him on a small carriage to let him meet the king. And this action troubled Cicerio pretty much.

” – Who do you think you are? Pimpus ” The King spoke out loudly. ” You think that a little help you gave to me is enough for you to behave toward me as if I am a peasant. ”

Before Pimpus could do anything, Cicerios retainers had thrust their spears through the poor bodies of the two slaves, throwing Pimpus off his carriage, and falling to the ground. Then, two hands put him up and fixed him into a kneeling stance. Cicerio put one of his legs on the masters shoulder. The old man could only tremble in fear as he spoke:

- ” Please forgive me, your Majesty. If it is my extreme stupidity that makes you uncomfortable, Im truly sorry. ”

” Release him. ” Cicerio whispered. The guards retreated to the corner of the room and Cicerio went back to sit on the throne. His next words were soft and charming, but they gave the listeners a chill in their bones:

– As promised, I will give you the title Grand Master of this city, submitted to me only for your service in helping my army to get past Laplacian scouts in this war. However, every month you need to provide me with 1000 strong slaves, 300 slave warriors, and 100 more slaves with good craft skills. Also, Lyrion traders will pay no taxes in this city and a Lyrion army will garrison the city, helping you with the populace on my behalf. Any objection?

– No…no..thing, my king. As you wish.

The next week was bloody for the Laplacians, the reign of anarchy was finally over and the Master Councils seats were now occupied by Cicerios officials, slowly establishing imperial rule on the city. The slaves were still treated however their master wanted before, but those who volunteered and qualified enough to join the Lyrion army and fight for at least 5 years will gain freedom no matter what their Laplacian master spoke.

Laplace was a city ruled over by the slave masters, each fighting the other for influence and power. But in general, the city had no rules and the citizens acted toward each other depending on their wealth and military strength. Lyrion laws, when implied, were welcomed by the small and weak masters; but the masters with greater powers didn want to obey. The unrest occurred continuously when the slave masters tried to assassinate Cicerio and any Lyrion soldier they found on the street.

In response to his unruly populace, Cicerio simply put Jetocius, one of his vice-commander, in the position of city watch commander. Jetocius did his job well. Lyrion soldiers rushed into the street, imprisoned then executed anyone they found, or thought guilty. Resisting the Lyrion soldiers was only leading to a more painful and slow death. Cicerios tyranny finally stabilized his newly conquered city after a month. The gates and roads were opened again and traders began to come in and out, seeking wealth.

With Pimpus as a puppet, Cicerios authority in Laplace was absolute. He leaves 2000 soldiers in the city and marches back home, with nearly 7000 recruits, mostly slaves. By developing the military constantly, the Lyrion army would soon be turned into a war machine, with absolute loyalty to their King.

King Theodore of Hollumia was furious after he heard about the fall of Laplace. He had reached the age of 56 this year; however, he didn seem to be a man of his age. The King could fight fair and square against 3 of his best soldiers at the same time. And at night, he could share his bed with his wives and concubines of the same number. Theodore had heard about Cicerios development and his geniuses in Lyria; however, Lyria was officially a tributary state of his kingdom, and he could not bring his army there to end his anxiety.

” Cicerio must die. ” He said when consulting with his trusted advisors. They sent many spies, assassins or so but any attempt ended in vein. Somehow the Lyrion undercover network seemed to be stronger than the network of their Overlord. Theodore could do nothing to Cicerio without an army. Luckily, Cicerios conquest of Laplace gave him a reason. An envoy was sent to Lyria, to summon Cicerio to meet his overlord king immediately.

Every kingdom and city around the area was shocked and did anything they could to know more about how the Lyrion King would respond. Most of the kingdom of Hollumia was attacked by the Hollumian King and forced to pay large tributes every year. If Cicerio decided to go against his grandfather, many would rise alongside him and denounce Hollumia.

The Hollumian envoy didn have the honor of meeting the Lyrion King. They met the Kings steward and father of the Queen, Lytus the Cunning. After listening to the envoys words and experiencing his ignorant nature, Lytus simply said a word: ” No ”. Angered, the envoy screamed at the Lyrion steward, went as far as insulting the Lyrion royal family, and threatened to burn Lyria to the ground. Another simple action of Lytus ended his anger, Lytus waved his hand. Lyrion guards burst into the meeting hall and slaughter any Hollumians presenting, excluding the envoy, who would be hung by the next in the town center the next day.

The Lyrion execution of the Hollumian character was barbaric and went against any unspoken rules of war. Lytus was ordered to meet Cicerio immediately right after the King reached the city gates. No one knew what happened, but Lytuss impatience, which brought war to Lyrias door, was not very welcomed by the King. Nonetheless, Cicerio was Lytuss son-in-law so he did not give any punishment aside from sending out some harsh words.

War was coming. News about Theodore sending orders to his governors across Hollumia reached the ears of Cicerio every day. The newly Lyrion army, although well-trained and disciplined, could not be compared with the Hollumian legions in terms of equipment and experiences on the battlefield. A military advisor of Cicerio had an idea: striking at Hollumia before Theodore could do anything.

On the battlefield, Hollumian heavy infantrymen would easily defeat lightly armored Lyrion soldiers. But the Lyrion army was much more professional in maneuvering and fighting cooperatively. Cicerios talents did not only stop at warfare and governing ship; he was also a good diplomat. He sent letters to Theodores vassals, urging them to rise against their king in exchange for gold, women, and land. Many agreed and many didn ; which led to civil war right inside the Kingdom of Hollumia, delaying Theodores forces gathering greatly.

On the last night of the year 476, 6000 Lyrion Calvary passed the river of Octupus and marched into the land of Hollumia. Half of them were initially slaves, recruited into the Calvary for their talents. The man leading this vanguard was Krato, the advisor that gave the idea of striking instead of waiting for Hollumian troops to come. He divided his army into groups of 60-100 riders and began to raid villages, caravans, and towns of Theodores loyalists land in Eastern Hollumia.

The raids caused great havoc inside the realm of Theodore as he was still consolidating his forces and the lack of Calvary in the Hollumian army made it very hard to counter Lyrion light cavalrymen. However, the talents of Hollumian generals were to be reckoned with. To return Lyrias favor, Theodores loyalists forces also split up and trap Lyrion Calvary many times. Sometimes the Lyrion raiders attacked the Hollumian caravans, they found no wealth but wagons full of armed soldiers. And the Lyrion raiders started to face heavy casualties from the Hollumian generals traps and plots. Theodore personally led his army to fight the rebels inside the kingdom, politically and on the battlefield. Before winter ended, the glorious Theodore had managed to destroy his rebels and began marching toward Lyria.

When acknowledging his plot has failed, Cicerio was busy. He ordered Krato to pull back his Calvary out of Hollumia. Then, he sent another general, Memmus to lead 5000 heavy-armored soldiers to build a camp on the bank of Octupus River, while forcing every blacksmith he could find to work day and night to forge heavy armors for Lyrion troops. Also, he sent large amounts of delegations to rival kingdoms of Hollumia, asking for alliance and to form a coalition.

Before any kings or queens could send Cicerio a response, Theodores Grand Marshal, Xenon of Hayster had led the vanguard of the Hollumian army, 30000 strong, putting up camps alongside the West Bank of the Octupus River, facing 10000 combined forces of Krato and Memmus. The battles that dictated the flow of history in the next 100 years were going to come.

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