The next day, the city of Redmont was booming with life. The horde had claimed it for itself, and bands of elves patrol the streets. The sound of smiths repairing and forging weapons echoed through the city, … mostly those worked by the elves. And the market teemed with life, … as the elves help themselves to everything that was there. The native Vahans were generally left alone, unless an Elven raider fancied a Vahn girl. Any Vahn who would resist the occupation in any way, would get cut down in public. Everyone else meanwhile, were too afraid to leave their homes. They have heard Elven bands going from door to door, helping themselves to whatever they please. The thought was terrifying.
The gates of the city were opened and well guarded, not to let traffic flow, as there was none, but to prepare for the arrival of their queen. She rode in with her escort of her elite samurai, and elegantly rode through the city streets to the keep in the heart of the city. None but her own thought well of her arrival.
Zhei-Yiang dismounted before the keep in its courtyard and admired the stonework for a bit while she handed over her horse to an aid before making her way through the front door, which was well guarded by her own spear men. She entered the main hall, her footsteps echoing with every step she took upon the stone floor, tables lined on both sides of the hall parallel to the wall with a fireplace behind each, and a lords table at its end, one step above from the rest, with another fireplace behind where the lord would sit. The ceiling was high, and held up by wooden pillars. All was silent as her present warlords were gathered around the lord’s table, awaiting their queen.
She sat on the lord’s chair, conqueror of this city, queen to those who now flood these lands, but she did not feel like a victor. ‘‘My queen.’’ the warlords said as they bowed to her in unison before taking a seat themselves. ‘‘How was the battle?’’ she asked, and the leading warlord of the siege of Redmont stood at attention, ‘‘It was glorious! They thought they could bleed us out by waiting for us to throw ourselves at their wall, but once we’ve shattered it, they didn’t know what hit them.’’ he explained. Zhei-Yiang drummed her fingers on the table in an irritated manner, ‘‘How did you shatter the wall?’’ she asked with a stern voice, which caught the warlord by surprise. A bit nervous now, he replied, ‘‘I uh, i mean we. We used, i mean we let a mage shatter the wall using ma…’’. The queen glared at him, ‘‘Not fell magic, i hope?’’, she asked before he could even finish his sentence. The warlord stood there in silence for a moment, and the queen continued. ‘‘Firstly, you sacrificed a thousand of our own men to fuel that spell to, secondly, make a breach in the walls which now any attacking army can exploit as well. Imbecile.’’ The other warlords nodded in agreement, that he was indeed an imbecile. ‘‘None of ours which died were elves, i’ve put human conscripts and bandits in the frontal assault, they won’t matter. They were untrained and inex…’’, ‘‘They could have been both equipped and trained now that we have this city and access to its forge and armoury. And the breach? Are you going to tell me that won’t matter either?’’ the queen interrupted again. ‘‘My queen, i plead your forgiveness…’’ the old elf began to beg with a much less arrogant voice than he usually uses. ‘‘You will have none.’’ Zhei-Yiang decided, ‘‘You must pay for your crime. How am i supposed to command loyalty, how will anyone fight in my armies if they fear that their commanding warlord will have the permission to suck the life out of thousands of them to further my cause?’’ she explained. The warlord stared at her emotionless, he knew what was coming, he thought about resisting, but he was too old to do much else in his life anyway. ‘‘You must die.’’ the queen decided, and had the warlord dragged to the town square for all to see what happens when someone acts with a disregard to the queen’s plans. On that day, he was beheaded.
That night, a rebellion occurred within the horde. Those who were loyal to the executed warlord attempted to seize the keep and overthrow the queen, but her own supporters were far too numerous, and the keep to well defended for them to make any damage. The rebellion was little more than a bar brawl in the night. Those who took part in the rebellion were cut down right then and there, while those who were part of their warband who did not, were allowed to disperse and join other warbands.
The next day, the queen gave a speech to her men how what she did was necessary, that she will not stand for others sacrificing her men on her behalf like this. She stressed obedience, unity and cooperation, and reinvigorated the spirits of her men by claiming none will be able to beat them as long as they stand together.
The war council reconvened shortly after to discuss the horde’s next move.
A sage stepped forward at the war council to present the queen with a map. They have found a map of the entire lands of the Vahns, but they knew little of what anything meant. What was clear to them though, was where major settlements were, where rivers ran, and that this was possibly only one such city in a far greater realm, which worried Zhei-Yiang. Be it a united realm, or one with numerous states, it made no difference, their own invasion would likely scare the rest in to a combined effort to defend their ancestral lands, and by the size of these other settlements, their combined military might may very well rival the might of the horde.
She had sent out warbands to loot the remaining villages and castles in their general area, a lot of which were empty, their people and goods evacuated as Redar fled west. Those who were too far away though took everyone inside to help defend their castle, and left nothing outside, they even salted the village wells so the elves could not drink from them. Zhei-Yiang recalled her warbands, as the did not want to waste throwing her men at castles at high costs for minimal gains. The Vahans were smart, and Zhei-Yiang dared not push forward with her horde, for she saw it herself, her people cannot fight the fully armoured Vahan forces, they would not stand a chance. The horde now had heavy armour itself, the pieces they found in Redmont’s armoury, and those they could salvage from fallen Vahans, but their weapons and armour would be useless if equipped by untrained men.
She came to a final decision. She needed her horde as intact as possible, and she had been denied any further gains in the west, so she ordered the horde to begin packing up for their leave. Zhei-Yiang ordered to deny the Vahan’s resources same as they had to her, and not only salted their wells, but their fields as well. Men on horseback carried bags of salt they brought from the city to pour atop the arable lands close by.
The main host was still encamped a few clicks from Redmont, and Zhei-ang rode back to it with her entourage to prepare to leave towards the south east, while the city was stripped bare of anything that might be of use. Any iron found was melted down, any food loaded up to be hauled away, and quite a few Vahans were enslaved to help carry the load.