“So,” General Fararia sighed, “Let’s get to know one another.”
They had no dedicated war room, not even a tent, so Fararia had simply spread her map on the ground. The other commanders had gathered a little closer to see, breaking their reserved distance. They'd been ordered to rendezvous in this portion of the forest, and in the half day that followed had barely spoken a word. Ideal allies they were not.
"I'm Fararia, and this is Sasha." At her side a mountainous grey Wolfos raised its head and huffed a greeting. "We've led mixed-race armies before but I'm told you two haven't. Don't worry about integrating our forces, just play to your own contingent's strengths and let the others cover your weaknesses." She was trying to keep up eye contact with the other commanders, but it was clear that one of them had lost focus and was staring blankly.
"Uh, milady?" The commander in question, a Lizalfos of the Song-Sayer caste, blinked as she glanced back at Fararia.
"I am sorry, General. My name is Kadokura, I was chieftain of the guard at Doodlewee before I took up the hammer. My people are tired and rations are tight but they are yours to command." Kadokura took an appraising look at Sasha's muscled flank. The great Wolfos yawned in response, a calculated gesture - he was showing contentment or even sympathy with the reptilian priestess, while also baring a lot of teeth. The Lizalfos flinched. "I command one hundred Dinalfos Footmen and eighty Tree-Hoppers as scouts. They will be the... meat of your infantry. Ugh..." She hung her head for a moment, took a slow breath. Food was unbearably scarce among the Lizalfos tribes these days, and the effects were felt at every level of society. Fararia made a mental note to watch for deserters, or her own soldiers going missing, if they were all as badly affected as their commander.
The third leader cleared his throat, a broken and reedy note he clearly assumed was imposing.
"When you are finished," He crowed. This commander was barely four feet in height, one of the plant-like Deku Scrubs, and wore a false beard of ivy leaves that obscured most of his face. "You will meet the rightful master of this army. I am chief Ta Ma Dook, mark my name, and I bring three hundred of the finest Battle Scrubs the world has ever seen. I, ah, I also have the singular pleasure of introducing my retinue of Bombardiers, this shall be a great victory for the Deku Tribes. And, ah yes, and also for your, 'esteemed provinces' I expect. Shall we begin planning our victory celebrations?" Ta Ma Dook gestured at the map. While he spoke the Scrub's fierce eyes burned with excitement and the clearly fake beard rattled against his bark.
"We should focus on the victory first." Kadokura was gazing at the map, but whether she was losing focus again or actually making plans remained a mystery.
"So with my fifty Wolfos Riders and forty Emerald Archers, we're ready for anything." Fararia let the positive statement hang in the air for a moment before beginning her briefing. "Today we're hunting down loggers."
"Ha ha!" Ta Ma Dook made a little jump in celebration. He punched the air at the apex.
"You probably know about the deforestation committed by Labrynna, especially in eastern Faron Woods. Well now the Ordonian Federation is doing the same in South Faron and western Kokiri Forest." Fararia drew a shape in the ground that roughly resembled the borders of their woods, and just next to it Lake Hylia. As she continued the Kokiri general drew more lines to mark certain routes. "Lumbermen from Ordona are cutting down the trees, Hylian or Gerudo caravans ship them north to Airu, then they are shipped to Outset Island to make into ships for New Hyrule. The important thing about this operation of theirs is that the Federation hasn't yet learned to guard their loggers like Labrynna has. That's why we are here.
"Maybe an hour south of here is an access road between Timberfell and its major production camps. The road is patrolled every hour by a column of armed peasants, at least six hundred of them, and up to a hundred Gerudo Rangers. We can't sabotage the road without the farmers clearing it up, we can't engage the farmers without the Rangers picking us off, we can't trap the Rangers without getting caught in an attrition fight which the next patrol in line will join in with. Timberfell has enough trebuchets, cannon and crossbowmen to make a pitched battle impractical, and if any of the riders escape an ambush they'll bring reinforcements in short order. I think you'll agree they have a very efficient system."
Fararia glanced at her co-commanders. They were attentive, Kadokura more anxious but Ta Ma Dook as eager as ever, so she decided to try to involve them.
"So what do we do about that garrison?" There was a pause.
"Can it involve acid?" The Deku hazarded. They ignored him.
"The garrison is the key..." Kadokura muttered, more to herself than anything. She looked up shamefacedly and made a stab at contributing to the discussion. "Peasants are fodder without their reinforcements. We separate them and strike."
"We need only burn Timberfell to the ground,” Ta Ma Dook grunted. “That sounds quite easy I must admit, should we make it harder, just in case?”
"Timberfell is effectively unassailable. Forest Alliance resources don't stretch far enough to both attack it and hold back the Labrynnians too."
"I think we should slaughter the convoys, yes."
"Good idea. Once they lose their seasoned veterans, the recruits will not stomach a pitched battle."
"I like your enthusiasm, your battle lust, but should we really sit aside and wait for the, pitiful loggers to come to us?" Fararia grinned to herself. They'd just about worked it out.
"That's just what Command thinks. We've committed to a series of sudden raids against every target the Timberfell garrison protects, all striking at around the same time. The garrison will be swamped by requests for reinforcements and will be forced to abandon most of the lumber yards or else water down their forces until they become useless. From there the strategic initiative is ours."
"And what does that mean exactly?"
"We choose when and where to fight."
"Yes. So, the strike is planned for tomorrow morning. We need to have picked and prepared a battleground by then."
“Ah, Well…” The Deku Scrub was smiling again, or at least quivering happily.
“What is it?”
“I did take the opportunity to send a few dozen scouts this morning. Some of them have returned, others, uh, must have gotten lost I suppose.” He muttered something, to which Kadokura snorted. “They did find a pair of useful fords very close to here and a clean road connecting them. The fords are easily swamped, which will slow down any chance to retreat.”
“Why would they Ordonians be slowed?”
“Because we’ll swamp them with the Bio Deku Babas we saw on the riverbanks.” The Deku shook himself. “Sharp-fanged weeds. hundreds of them, all in a row… Can we use them for a victory parade?”
Fararia had eventually beat some form of flexible, coordinated strategy from her fellows. She would command her smaller contingent as a reserve, ready to pour fire-infused arrows into unprotected cavalry or to counter any flanking effort with a rush of long knives and lupine fangs. As such, the actual timing and good judgement had to come from the other contingents. They would assault the enemy from both sides as they passed by, one after the other - first the Battle scrubs make the first strike from the southern treeline, forcing the enemy to attack what they believe to be a screening force, then the Lizalfos infantry would advance from the north to start cutting down the main body of peasantry from behind. Around the armoured reptiles would come their lighter Tree-Hopper cousins, turning a vulnerable line into a slightly safer concave crescent. Meanwhile the Scrubs would attack in waves, focusing on suppressing the riders and keeping the farmers from spilling out over the Lizalfos.
She had the advantage in terms of battleground, advance planning and adaptability. She also had far better warriors (‘men’ wasn’t appropriate in the situation, ‘mammals’ was out too, and even ‘animals’ didn’t cover the rest of her army) and equipment. By rights, she should have nothing whatsoever to worry about. But her Kokiri were very few in number after everything that had happened to them, the half-starved Lizalfos were weakened at the best of times and would be exhausted long before the Ordonian peasants, and many Deku Scrubs were little more than angry cowards.
“Too little,” she growled, careful not to wake her fellow riders or their Wolfos. The farmers could probably carry the day on weight of numbers alone, which was why their resource-strapped overlords had chosen not to send a cadre of tougher Lumbermen or old Hyrulean Knights instead. But it was the Rangers she really didn’t want to fight. Gerudo longbow specialists, trained and blooded in the unforgiving western deserts, each riding a warhorse whose ancestry led to Epona herself. If they timed things even a little early or late, those riders would break free and tear both the Lizalfos and Deku contingents apart from an uncanny range.
And worst of all, everything now depended on the flair and good judgement of Ta Ma Dook. Fararia groaned and burrowed into Sasha’s fur. Tomorrow was going to be a very long day.
|A forest child, a carnivorous reptile and a somewhat militant shrub walk into a strategy meeting... A Hyrule: Total War fanfic with a very off-canon scenario.|
Super quick question about our fictional shadowy overlords.
Whats your favourite fictional conspiracy?
More to the point, what's your favourite backstory/origins for a conspiracy?
Is there anything about conspiracy tropes that really annoy you, or is there a conspiracy plot you really want to see someone do something with?
(you know, it's been 2 years since that last journal, time to at least pretend I'm active on here...)
A grumpy, more-or-less employable Writerhermit of a Brit with bad hair.
Expect military-flavoured science fiction, attempted deconstructions of high fantasy settings, fanfic for things too obscure to merit fanfic, and the occasional play around in Sketchup. Please leave your standards at the door.
Current Residence: The Toon