The defeat of the Dark Lord

Table of Contents

Summary of the war with the Dark Lord and our Quest to defeat him, and all of what I did to make that defeat possible and all the thanks I've received for it!!!
— Isabelle

Isabelle

Isabelle is a young French woman who was brought through a magical portal to Sérannie, hit with translation magic, and told to help the Séranniens beat their Dark Lord. Only, once the questing party triumphed, she was forced back to the normal world. She is rather bitter about that.
  While looking for a way to go back, she writes journal entries about her time in Sérannie to not forget what happened and to prepare for her return, illustrating her notebook by sticking postits with emojis scribbles, drawing, or printing photos.


Summary


Sides

The king with the royal government, the senate, and the royal army. Not sure about the exact numbers of soldiers as this has been varying widely during the war, but the others have been talking about it as if it were very impressive for the rest of the continent.

The Questing Party sent by the King. Included, of course, the Chosen One Romain, who was prophesied to be able to wield a weapon that can go through any shield and so who everyone thought was destined to kill the Dark Lord. Also included amazing me, Isabelle Lafontaine, a foreigner from another world unaffected by the Dark Lord's magic and so who was supposed to guide the Chosen One's hand. And then the rest of the party, led by the king's two children, Princess Jérine and Prince Calendre. They were all there to help Romain and I get close enough to the Dark Lord that we might deal the final blow.


Princess Jérine by AmélieIS with Artbreeder
Prince Calendre by AmélieIS with Artbreeder


The Dark Lord and his minions, aided by rebel southern nobles. People always talk about them as if they are incompetent and few in number, but also simultaneously perverting the hearts of all the southerners into revolting against the king, so it's hard to estimate their real numbers. I think that the only thing I can safely say even now is that there aren't a lot of them compared to the royal army, but that they're greatly helped by the Dark Lord's forbidden magic.
Dark-Lord's-army
The Dark Lord's army by AmélieIS


Dates

This started 3 years before my arrival to Sérannie and only ended after the 10th anniversary of my arrival.

Goals

The King and the Dark Lord want to kill each other and take control of the whole country.
Battlefield by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash



Causes

 
The Dark Lord was attempting a coup d'état. He had some pretext about "freeing" people from a tyrannical ruler or something, trying to portray himself as a revolutionary. All rubbish, of course. Still, it seemed to work with some of the southerners, but only because the nobles wanted to use the situation as an excuse to gain more independence from the king and they had zero care for who got hurt in the process.

The king really started to fight against the Dark Lord from the moment rumours about him began spreading. By what I gathered, normally the king would have tried to negotiate with a new powerful mage to gain their alliance, or at least some understanding with them. However, the king refused to do so with the Dark Lord, no matter how high the human and material prices rose. That's because the Dark Lord was using magic that's taboo in the kingdom of Sérannie and the rest of the world: illusion magic.


That might seem rather lacklustre at first, and I was certainly sceptical when I learned about it. However, the implications of illusion magic are truly chilling. Because of this magic, nobody knew who to trust. Any noble could get replaced by the Dark Lord's minions and he could have the senate full of his puppets, doing his binding. Nobody would ever be able to trust the government so long as the Dark Lord was still alive and using this magic.


It was a right mess, and the king was even forced to suspend all normal governmental procedures and the meetings of the senate. He also ended up barricading himself in his palace as it is protected with strong magic that illusions would not be enough to breach. The situation was impossible and war had to be fought to get rid of the Dark Lord.


Illusion magic by Stefan Keller on Pixabay


The senate by Cesare Maccari (Cicero Denounces Catiline)



Progress of the war



While we were on the Quest, we tried to follow the war as closely as possible since our lives depending on it, but it was not as easy as I would have thought.
The communication network in the kingdom is not ideal, which is really strange given that they all can communicate mentally together! But no, apparently this is too technically, magically taxing, and intimate to be widely used beyond a few individuals.

That allowed us to stay in contact with the king, but that meant that we depended on him for info. And he thought it was a good idea to coddle his children about how bad the war was going.
That and he probably also had troubles getting the right news from his generals. By now, I think I can safely say that a great many of them were spoilt nobles and pretty incompetent at leading a war. They must have themselves not be fully understanding the situation, and when they did, they would have wanted to hide how badly they had messed up.


By what I can tell, by the time a full-size army was called from the population, the Dark Lord and his rebel allies were already holding most of the south of the kingdom. The army itself took position in the main towns and cities along this new border zone and attempted to fortify them.
Thanks to his illusions, the Dark Lord managed to get into the walls of quite a few of them and to capture them, thus continuing his progress north.


However, new procedures and password exchanges were put into place after those heavy defeats, and this considerably slowed the Dark Lord. With a smaller army at his disposal, taking the towns up front was not really possible, and he instead chose to wage a war of attrition. Devastating the countryside and destroying trade while everyone was walled up inside the towns. And every outing the royal army made was the occasion to get illusioned spies in.


This was why the war lasted more than ten years. The Dark Lord would have won too, slowly bleeding the kingdom to death, or at least until the population would have clamoured for a total surrender to him.
And since nobody knew his real identity or even where his fortress was truly located, the royal army was powerless to truly fight him. Instead, all of the king's plans resting on one thing: our Questing Party.
War by Matt Howard on Unsplash
The Dark Lord leading his troops by Jr Korpa on Unsplash
Victims of war by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash



The Quest




During all of this, our Questing Party was indeed attempting to get close enough to the Dark Lord to kill him.


This was a lot more complicated that we assumed it would be at first, and nobody assumed that going beyond the enemies' line and into the Dark Lord's Fortress would be easy. Except maybe Jérine. But then, she has always thought the world would bend backwards to please her, or that otherwise she would twist it backwards herself with her amazing talents.


We did manage to get into the southern lands by disguising ourselves into southerners returning to their home region to support their families during those difficult times. Still, many people were suspicious and unwilling to openly support either the king or the Dark Lord, given how dangerous that could be if the wrong side heard about it.

Getting any information about the Dark Lord was hard, and we had to pretend to settle down in a city and start some trading business so that we could travel around with a legitimate excuse. A few times, we managed to get close enough to local bases and some of the Dark Lord's top minions, but all information we could gain from that was limited. Capturing and interrogating the minions in question also did not really help.
Infiltration in the southern lands by Simon Berger on Unsplash
The whole operation was really feeling like a disaster and a loss of time, but one that was really endangering our lives as we came close to dying quite a few times—and that's really not something that I enjoyed! I have to admit I questioned the legitimacy of the whole quest thing quite a few times.   Did the kingdom really not have any competent spies on hand that could have made the whole thing easier? The spoilt royal heirs, royal mages, and royal guards had powerful magic, great education and certainly some cunning, but we wasted years trying to get them to understand normal commoners' life and to behave in a way that suited our covers.

I'm sure we could have had a far better chance at the start of the war if we had been ready by then. By the time we were making a passable job of it, the Dark Lord and his minions were on their guards for spies and traitors beyond the official fighting lines of the war.
Magical diagram by Ralf Kunze on Pixabay

In the end, I was the one who saved the day. And of course I'm extremely smug about it, given how all of them had dismissed me as yet another commoner, and one without manner because I refuse to bow at their feet. One without any chance of either understanding, let along mastering their magic because I had not been raised with the right education. Well, I showed them all!


I managed to master the complicated mental visualisation necessary to practise magic and reached a level high enough to qualify for a post in the Royal Academy of Mages after the war, even if I won't ever be as good as I would have if I had grown up with it. And I alone pierced the secret of the Dark Lord's illusion magic!

All of them were surrounded by that magic just as much as I was, yet they were too afraid of it to properly study it and replicate it. But I was not and replicate it I did!


And, of course, that was also me who set up our final plans to defeat the Dark Lord.
Illusion magic by Stefan Keller on Pixabay



Final Plan

 

After I revealed my brand-new illusion magic
to our Questing Party and convinced them that, no, I wasn't evil, we laid out our plans. I would put illusions above all of them to make them appear as legitimate soldiers of the Dark Lord, and a new contact we had made inside the dark army would lead us inside the fortress.


We all separated into smaller group, with Jérine and Romain's group going to meet this new contact, and Calendre's group getting some other stuff ready for our mission. And I stayed behind with a small group so that I could fully focus on maintaining the illusions up despite the length of time necessary and the distance between me and the others. That was the real test before the mission. And, of course, something went wrong.

Somehow, the Dark Lord finally found us and capture me and my group and brought us to his fortress, finally showing us where it was.
I'm not stupid, so of course I was well hidden under an illusion to pretend to be some insignificant rebels. The Dark Lord would have imprisoned us all, maybe put us into forced work, or even exchanged us against ransoms. It should have been safe-ish.

But he somehow felt the illusion on me and did not have the troubles he should have had in making the mental leap that someone else knew how to use such magic. He reaped the illusion away from me and also somehow managed to recognise me as the outworlder who could see through his illusions. He then proceeded to torture me to force me to tell him where the rest of the group was.

I managed to hold up long enough for the rest of the party to infiltrate the fortress and come close to us. Then I told the Dark Lord whatever he wanted to know so that we would prepare to leave. And right there in the courtyard, the party joined back with us and attacked the Dark Lord while he was completely unprepared.

And it was only because despite everything I still managed to rip the illusion from him,
that Romain was able to find his true position and hit the killing blow.


So I can safely say that I was the one who did the most work and also sacrificed the most for this victory.
I, a foreigner for another world, who was not even asked for her opinion in going to Sérannie and joined the war.
I who they insulted from the start from not being a noble and who had no real stakes there beyond saving my own life.
I who did not even know any magic or sword-fighting or anything useful before the end of our Quest.


All of this was only possible because of me.
camila-quintero-franco-mC852jACK1g-unsplash.jpg
Ripping illusions away by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash



Outcomes

 
The Dark Lord was killed and without his leadership his forces were weakened and easy to defeat by the royal army. Most of them died during the last battles or disappeared back into civil life. With the defeat of the Dark Lord at the hand of a party led by the king's two children, the royal family's popularity has exploded and peace has fully returned to the kingdom.

Everyone in our Questing Party was dutifully rewarded with fancy titles and posts at court and in the Royal Academy of Mages. In addition, the end of the war was especially celebrated by the marriage of the Chosen One, Romain, with the heiress to the throne, Princess Jérine.


And, during all of this, I was refused the opportunity of marrying Calendre for being a commoner, never mind that Romain was too before he was "miraculously" discovered to be the long-lost heir of a minor noble family. My own admission in the royal Academy of Mages was postponed while they were all "thinking" about how to adapt the qualification tests to an outworlder like me. As if I could not have passed their fancy tests with my eyes closed after all that I went through during the war!
  I thought that was just their way of rubbing in my inferior status and pretending that I did not really have the right level to join but that they would all do it for me a favour anyway in thanks for my help during the war.


But, of course, no. They were just buying some time until the royal marriage. And then they used the occasion to publicly betray me and chuck me back through the portal to the normal world!!! All problems solved in one go! No need to reward me and endure my presence at court that way! No need to share the honours of defeating the Dark Lord and the appreciation of the public!


Magical portal between worlds by Stefan Keller on Pixabay


But if they think I will just bow to their will and accept all of this without fighting, they have it coming!

Revenge

Revenge by AmélieIS with images from Pixabay and Vecteezy




Cover image: The Dark Lord's army by AmélieIS

Comments

Author's Notes

The sticky notes images are from lukpedclub on Vecteezy.


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Dec 27, 2021 16:13

This is my favorite setting of yours, and I'm very grateful for the summary of the war. I hope you share more of Isabelle's past and present!

Dec 27, 2021 19:10 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks! I have the novel set in this world to revise soon, so I do need to make a lot more articles set there. I've been procrastinating on doing that for a year, but I think with this article I've really managed to find the right tone for Isabelle, and it was really fun to write. This has really reawakened my motivation, so I might write more soon!

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
Dec 27, 2021 18:19 by jyliet of the house

choosing to do this in character works really well here. this does such a great job establishing both character and tone. great work!

Dec 27, 2021 19:06 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks! I really had a lot of fun writing this article and I'm glad this worked :D

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
Jan 13, 2022 16:12 by R. Dylon Elder

I love this. Isabelle has such a cool personality that radiates from the writing. She comes off as a little arrogant at first, but her bitterness shines through. She was in this world for quite some time. I'd be upset too, especially if I had magical skill to lose.   The way you approach the conflict is also really cool. Any other story would be told from the chosen one's perspective and it's really cool to see how, what seems like the lancer of the party, thinks of the whole thing. It subverts expectations in a lot of ways and hooked me immediately. Well done!

Jan 17, 2022 21:27 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks for the comment :D Yes, I like arrogant judgmental POV characters! They're just so fun to write XD   I like to play with expectations when prophecies and quests to defeat dark lords are involved :D I have another story that is from the POV of the teacher of the chosen one :p

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
Jan 21, 2022 04:20 by Bart Weergang

I'm rooting for Isabelle! let's go get her back to Sérannie.

Jan 21, 2022 14:55 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Don't worry, she is ready to do anything to go back, and she is going to succeed and enjoy teh consequences :p

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
Jan 25, 2022 00:11

As always a great read Was cool to see the story told from the perspective of Isabelle

Jan 30, 2022 10:19 by Amélie I. S. Debruyne

Thanks :D It's very fun to write from Isabelle's POV with how angry and bitter she is at everything. And I love putting angry emojis everywhere XD

To see what I am up to: my Summer Camp 2024.
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