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The Dark Battle

"I didn't think I would ever see so much death. Everything smelled like blood, rain, and piss. I slipped in the mud once and found myself surrounded by the dead. I think I recognised one. Then again, I knew a lot of soldiers. I guess I don't know as many now."
-- A soldier, the day after the battle.
  A battle that lasted from mid morning to just before dawn, the Dark Battle didn't have a glorious ending with a champion standing on a mound of bodies. It ended before the sun had risen, blood drenching the fields. There was no silence before the shouts of victory. There was a brief moment where the battle silenced itself, where the unnatural darkness faded and the lower demons fled back to wherever they had crawled from, but the cries of the wounded and dying still went on, ceaseless and unrelenting.   The champion, the one who was meant to stand over the body of the defeated enemy, was not strong enough to stand for much longer. She died fighting, like the rest of her friends, but she still died. Most people did, in the end. Death gleaned everyone equally and without remorse. The cries of the dying stifled the cheers of the living for years.   Instead of celebration, there was weeping and tearing of clothes. The battle had such heavy losses that no one was saved from the pain of it. Even the soldiers who fought in the battle didn't know what had really happened. To them it was simple. One day there was a blackening of the sky and a demon coming from nowhere. The next, thousands of people had died and nothing big had changed. There was anger and grief and pain, but no celebrations came from it. Maybe it was better that such a terrible day was only remembered as terrible, not as great.

The Conflict

Prelude

The demon Zatak* threatened the enslavement of the world, unsatisfied with his already absolute rule over the demon realm. Most of the conflict happened away from the all seeing eyes of the kingdoms. This meant that most of the people fighting this battle didn't actually really know why they were fighting the battle. This created a lot of confusion and quite a bit of general hatred toward the group of people who "started the fight."

Deployment

All four Great Kingdoms had troops there. M'Gomotai had the most, quickly followed by the Walled Kingdom (name at the time TBD). Dalaiksha and Yorosato fell behind, but only by a few thousand soldiers.

Battlefield

The one of the larger cities of the Walled Kingdom, near their southern border. Consider the actual city vaguely large. The city was surrounded by evergreen forests, but the first mile around it was cleared for lumber over the years, with only stumps remaining. As the battle progressed the city quickly fell into ruin, especially since the demons on the other side of the battle were usually as tall as two men, and definitely possessed at least that much strength.

Conditions

A cloudy day quickly devolved into a freezing cold and rainy evening, then a slightly less cloudy sky during the last few hours of the night.

Outcome

Huge population loss for all four major kingdoms. Weeks of mourning, even months in some areas.

Aftermath

A brief period of careful (or easy, depending on the countries) alliance erupted between the four Great Kingdoms.

The Kingdom Becomes Walled

The Walled Kingdom (as it is later referred to) was the most distant and unfriendly during the period of alliance, although relations were still better than before, when they had been more vaguely unfriendly than the other Great Kingdoms. Within a few years, however, they shifted to become incredibly secluded, shoring up their borders with walls and ceasing almost all contact with the outside. Being a large and powerful kingdom, they were able to be self sufficient with minimal repercussions. However, without contact with the other Great Kingdoms, their prejudices and problematic ideals had no way be cut down. So, over hundreds of years, the Walled Kingdom (a new popular name for it) became hateful, extremely prejudiced, and generally too terrible to be anyone's problematic fave.

Historical Significance

Legacy

Known as the largest and bloodiest battle in history. The fallen leaders of the human side became renown in all four Great Kingdoms. Their achievements were heightened and slowly their memory became larger than it had truly been.

In Literature

There are entire books about the Dark Battle, most of them following the woman who finally killed Zatak, the effects of the battle on the four Great Kingdoms, or the military strategy used (by the end, there was none). One controversial book calls the battle fake and the martyrs weak and cowardly, saying they never really died in the battle and instead fled before the fighting had barely begun. This book was written hundreds of years after the Dark Battle took place.

Conflict Type
Battle
Battlefield Type
Land
Conflict Result
Humans won, but with devastating losses. It almost couldn't be called a victory.
*Zatak is the name used as his true name is unpronounceable by most, if not all, human.

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Comments

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1 Jul, 2019 19:36

I have to say your opening paragraphs are by far some very interesting writing, with a lot of emotion and soul poured into it. I absolutely love what you did already, but from there...I feel like this article could use some work.   The sidebar feels a tad empty, you could turn the asterisks into tooltip [tooltip], the editor's notes are noticeable everywhere and I feel some of the titles can use some filling. I would honestly call this a bit unfinished and sloppy to the point that some parts seem to pull me back out. I would highly recommend some quotes as well, links, etc.   I want to give more, but to be honest right now I feel like this article has been published a tiny bit too early, making it hard to get invested. There's potential, but it's best to work out some of the details. Still, if your article can have that writing like the first paragraphs, it can potentially be an amazing conflict!

2% story, 98% non-related lore | Tales of Fabulae | Twitter
1 Jul, 2019 20:38

The opening quote is very strong and gives a sense of what kind of world it is. Definitely getting some Warhammer Fantasy: the RPG vibes from it.   The actual battle bits is a little less engaging. I found it hard to follow where the actual battle started and who the different parties where. A demon who wants to rule the world and people who don't want to be ruled by a demon? The four great kingdoms only helps me if I already know what that means in your world.   I would consider rewriting the battle bit to give it more of a story-structure (as someone quoted me the other day: story is structure). Start with a clear end, a middle and an end. I don't personally find the headers useful here, but you might.. So use your own best judgement in how to use the.   It's also missing some personalities. Big battles are all well and good, but it's really the people in them that give breathe life into it and makes us engage with it. The only name we get is the Big Bad, but we don't know anything about him other than his name and that he wants to rule the world. Who was the champion? What was she like? What's her most badass moment when she suplexes the demon lord into a volcano?   If you lean into the more evocative opening that you have and add a bit more structure and personality to the battle itself, I think you can tell a very compelling story here! Good luck and see you around the Summer Camp! :D

yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
1 Jul, 2019 20:54

The article does a great job filling out the horrors of the battle- though I do think the subsections of the template could be better utilized to provide narration instead of Prompt > answer response. And I'd loooveee to see the sidebar content better filled out- especially the belligerents / strengths / casualties / objectives sections, which I think'll really add some much needed hard information to really round out the article and better illustrate the horrors of it.   Otherwise it's good, and I really enjoyed the tidbit about his name being one given to him because people can't actually pronounce his name. It's a very fun little thing that I don't think people consider much when dealing with otherworldly languages in fiction!

1 Jul, 2019 21:58

While the idea was engaging and left me wanting more, the article is perhaps, as Endrise said, published a bit too early.   It's very difficult to stay engaged in the idea and the world while we read your notes everywhere, which jets the reader out of their imagination and back to the page.   Aside from the note, there is a few things that are not clarified:

  • Why did the demon end up leaving? Or did the demon end up dead? There are a couple of contradictory ideas in between different paragraphs.
  • Who is the books' author? Is it you or are the books within the setting and you are telling a different story? (since your comments are sometimes written in the first person, it's sometimes difficult to disentangle what's what)
  • Where did the battle actually happen if not on the kingdoms? And how did the kingdoms manage to move their armies around in the span of just a day? Did they move the armies around or did they happen to be in this undisclosed location?
  • You mention that "nothing changed". I think this deserves a bit more of an explanation, seeing how banishing/killing a demon from the land seems like a big victory.
  • There are some really good sentences like "The cries of the dying stifled the cheers of the living for years." which I think do a lot to set the setting and the mood. But then there's a lot of repetition on the same topic or ideas. I think in this case less is more.   Overall, I think it has the potential for a great article.