Release that Witch Chapter 911
Four days later, Roland had assembled all the leading staff that was campaigning Hermes and the Northern region. An emergency meeting was held in the First Army's campground within the suburbs of the Holy City.
Despite everyone feeling the great urgency of the meeting, no one panicked. Both the General Staff and the military officers of the Western campaign were making conjectures as to whether His Majesty had had new plans in mind. The murmuring of the discussion did not cease until the king entered the tent with a long face.
"I call a meeting, to those present." Roland tapped the desk. "We must return to Neverwinter at once."
A commotion between the staff instantly broke out after this curt announcement.
Ever since Roland had first received the encrypted letter, he had his doubts. The source of this information was questionable at best. Although the news was shocking, there was not a single shred of solid evidence corroborating Lorgar Burnflame's statement. There weren't even any details about when and how she encountered these demons. The threat of an entire demon army couldn't be ignored, however their whereabouts are still unknown and there would still be unrest in this region if the current operation changed dramatically. Roland remained hesitant.
Waiting a few days however, Roland received no shortage of rattled animal messengers that directly flew from the Western region. There must be no doubt a state of emergency has been declared in Neverwinter.
The letters confirmed this. He had details about Lorgar's injuries, the demon in delirium and the problems extended to internal conflict with the arrival of Sleeping Island witches. These letters should have been arriving at his desk chronologically, where the most recent mail should have been the last to reach him. The reality however, was a complete reverse.
The messages that had the most urgency also used some of the largest birds. As a consequence, he had received the most recent encrypted mail first.
After reading all the letters, Roland had developed a rough idea of what had happened. He had learned from the third encrypted letter that Lorgar had actually used Lightning's map to locate Taquila ruins, intending to train herself and improve her combat skills by fighting demons and large demonic beats.
After talking to Lightning, he had confirmed the validity of the news.
And at the same time showed a favorable impression towards the wolf girl's persistence.
Roland wondered if he had been too harsh on her when they first met.
Fortunately, Lorgar had survived with the help of Nightfall's Seed of Symbiosis. With the statements Lorgar has given. If he returned to Neverwinter in late autumn, his enemies would have already established themselves on the Barbarian Land.
This is indeed a great piece of intelligence. Roland thought she even deserved a Special Award for the Service of Neverwinter. Maybe he should also fulfill her dream of becoming a top-notch warrior and equip her with a full set of heavy weapons. That sort of support would further her combat development immensely.
"That's the situation we're in now." Roland relayed the key information of the encrypted letters to the people on the floor and surveyed the audience gravely. "We have to suspend our current plans in this region. As of today, all companies should start making preparations for a retreat. I'll withdraw first and restore the situation in Neverwinter as fast as possible."
Tensions in the room increased dramatically. Most of the people on the floor had heard about demons and knew full well that they were the biggest enemies to the entirety of Graycastle and a threat to mankind. Despite being knowledgeable about the rumors, none of them actually faced a demon. The leading staff was not quite sure on how deal with the current situation and the whole tent fell deadly silent.
Roland understood that the news caught everyone off guard, they needed time to adjust to the matter at hand.
After quite a long silence, one of the officers of the General Staff, Sir Eltek, raised his hand. "Your Majesty, can we trust the information we're getting?"
"It isn't easy to forge Soraya's mark or Honey's animal messenger," Roland answered positively. "Although I haven't double checked yet, I think we can treat the situation as a special case because after all, it isn't easy to handle matters with demons."
"True... but what about matters with the Kingdom of Dawn?" The Duke of Evernight asked the most important question.
"We'll save him for sure. Graycastle won't abandon any of its allies." Roland cast a glance at Andrea who looked pretty worried. "The King of Dawn will have to pay for what he's done. The wrath of Wimbledon might be late, but it'll come sure enough. I'll make other arrangements, however the First Army won't be involved."
Nobody raised objections after seeing Roland's determination. The general staff was thus ordered to draft a proposal for the troops.
The First Army was familiar with an emergency operation. The troops knew the objective at hand. They could launch an attack and retreat in an orderly manner. Therefore, Roland wasn't too worried that he's leaving control.
The secondary city hall in the Northern Region supervised by Duke Kant would be responsible for the provision of supplies and allocate staff to the new and old Holy Cities. Isabella, together with the New Committee of Nuns and the garrison in the Northern Region, would stay behind until the transfer was completed so that the dregs of the church would not have the opportunity to resurge. The Hermes Plateau had been thus, successfully annexed to Roland's territory.
As to the New Committee named by Roland. He had it had been instilled with a new doctrine of ideas that pushed for loyalty towards him and ease pressure off the witches. Roland believed he would leave the assessment of the organization to the future and decide whether it could replace the previous church and function as a tool of political propaganda to help with his ruling at some point later. His current top priority was to re-establish the order in the Holy City so that it would not be a deserted land before the arrival of the Battle of Divine Will.
These policies had indeed been more or less implemented before he had received the encrypted letters. Now he just had to expedite the process. The only thing he needed to do now was to continue the war against the Kingdom of Dawn, but with different means.
After the meeting, Roland asked Andrea to stay.
"Without the support of the First Army, we'll need a change of plan." He went straight to the point.
"Please don't worry. Princess Tilly and the witches from Sleeping Island will make sure nothing happens to Neverwinter." The blonde witch comforted him, although she looked a little apprehensive. "You've done your best. You don't need to force yourself if you really can't."
"You're wrong..." Roland shook his head. "Without the First Army, we can opt for another solution I had in mind. Do you think Appen Moya's castle and knights can save him if I aim for his head? And, If we forego the open battle, we can even probably save Otto Luoxi as well. If this goes to plan, we can overthrow the king and take control the region much quicker than we had originally anticipated."
"Faster?" Andrea was confused. "Are you planning to..."
"I am." Roland curled up his lips. "It won't be easy to persuade them, for they're now so close to having their final confrontation with their lifetime enemies, the demons." Roland paused for a moment. "50 God Punishment Witches are as powerful as 50 Extraordinaries. You can never underestimate them even in the age of the Union. Nobody but I can stop their effectiveness in a battle. Neither God's Stones of Retaliation nor the swords of knights can effectively protect them. Appen is living on borrowed time."