Battle of Armagdon Short Story

Story Background:

I found this one while going through a bunch of old boxes following our most recent move. It was an early writing assignment from my university Creative Writing class in 1979. I’m not sure why I’m bothering to share it because it is bad.

But still, it is my creation …

 

Battle of Armagdon

By Warren Wojnowski

“What news?”

“Arccaanian minotaurs are making way for Thessaly, my canon.”

“Damn!” LeBa’s granite face looks startled. “Dispatch the centaurs!” He pauses, “Bacchus, what do you suppose Niac is up to?”

Bacchus holds his hairy chin in his hand, his eyes darting away from LeBa’s stern glance. After a moment, looking a the ground, he says “No great mystery, my canon. He wishes to gain control of the Theseion — and he wishes to gain the hand of Juno.”

LeBa is irritated. “she wouldn’t ally with Niac.”

“I doubt he would leave her much choice. We have no other alternative, you know. We must take Thessaly for ourselves.”

“And Juno?”

“And Juno will become queen of Kanen — your wife.”

LeBa stares at the maps in front of him, then up at the tent walls greyer than his eyes. “The Arccaanians have a great advantage; a much larger, more experienced army.”

“Thessaly will put up no defence. We can attack once the city is taken. From the Gatineau Hill on the north bank. Hephaestus will let us know when it is safe to attack.”

“But can he be trusted?”

“A Thessalian may be trusted as well as any Kanenite. Besides, we pay him well.”

Leba sighs. “Very well, Bacchus. You know best. We will send all centaur units to the Gatineaus. Meet me on the Ahtuhwuh’s north bank in two days. And see that Hephaestus is informed of our intent.”

“Well, my canon.” Bacchus bows and leaves hastily to prepare the centaurs for their departure.

LeBa, alone in his tent, fidgets with a torn corner of the map of Arccaan in front of him. “So it has come to this. Just as legend and history dictate. We of the Laurentides again must engage the canaille of the Lowlands.” He sighs, “When will we learn? When will it stop? Surely Niac has not forgotten the Great War.”


 
The Great War.

Indeed, it is unlikely anyone could forget the Great War; it is the very basis of present day Armagdonian legend. At the time of the Great War, Armagdon (according to legend) was divided somewhat similarly to the way it is now. That is, the Lowlands, the Laurentides, and at the time a third area know as the Interior Shield. Tremendous destruction resulted from that conflict. The Shield was left a virtual wasteland, unfit even now, many centuries later, for sustaining any type of life.

Needless to say, the number of inhabitants in Armagdon was greatly reduced. What with the sophisticated weapons in use at the time, which one can now hardly imagine, it is supposedly a miracle there were any survivors at all in this area north of the twenty-third parallel. At any rate, after the destruction of the Shield, those of the Lowlands and of the Laurentides who still remained agreed to a ceasefire.

Eventually, accord was reached and the two remaining sections of Armagdon became united under the rule of Naidanac, a noble warrior respected by both sides. According to legend, Naidanac was the sole remaining son of the mythical Adam. Under his rule, the people of the Laurentides and the people of the Lowlands lived in peace. Naidanac named this newly united land Armagdon. He also named the two sections Kanen and Arccaan. These two sections were divided by the Ahtuhwuh River. As a means of bridging the gap between Kanen and Arccaan, a city was built along the river’s banks. This was, not by accident, the legendary site of another great city which existed before the war, the name of which has been forever lost in the anals of history and legend. The new city was named Thessaly and from that city, in the Theseion, Naidanac lived out the rest of his rule.

Over the next several hundred years, the Theseion attracted many of the world’s most brilliant minds to Thessally. The city became the most famous in the world. According to the legends, a very powerful weapon was developed behind the Theseion’s closed doors which would enable Thessaly to destroy all of Armagdon, if it so wished.

It was at about this point in time that Kronos became the newest ruler of Armagdon. A descendant of Naidanac, Kronos could see the simmering hatred which had grown between Kanen, Arccaan and Thessaly. Kronos saw to it that the city build a wall around itself for protection from possible attack. Then he sought to dispatch his two sons, Anglo and Franco to Arccaan and Kanen respectively. Franco and Anglo were to each assume governmental control over the area to which they had been dispatched. Thus, Kronos had hoped they might be able to extinguish the brooding hatred.

However, the two sons had a violent falling out with one another. What precipitated their falling out is not really known — although legend has it they fought over the hand of Athena, a maiden in Thessaly. Athena subsequently committed suicide, leaving the brothers to blame one another for her death. As a result, once Franco and Anglo assumed control of Kanen and Arccaan, their immense hatred for one another served to fuel the fire of anger already smoldering between the two areas. Kronos consequently was forced to declare Thessaly neurtrally independent. Although technically still capital of Armagdon, Thessaly rather became a third division of the country.

Upon his death, Kronos’ daughter Juno became ruler of Thessaly. Juno had been born much after the division of Thessaly from the rest of Armagdon. At the time of Juno’s birth, both Franco and Anglo had already had sons of their own: LeBa and Niac. LeBa and Niac also assumed control of their respective areas from their fathers. Since their coming to rule Kanan and Arccaan, LeBa and Niac have both been plotting to take Thessaly and Juno for their own.


 
“LeBa has dispatched the centaurs for Thessaly. They plan to attack from the Gatineaus once we’ve taken the city.”

Niac’s black brow twitches. “From whom did you receive this information, Ares?”

“From Hephaestus,” grins Ares.

“And can this Hephaestus be trusted? I have already heard he merely sells to the highest bidder.”

Ares smiles, revealing two blackened front teeth, “We are the highest bidder. Hephaestus will tell LeBa when it is safe to attack. LeBa will expect us to be in the city making way for the Theseion. In reality, Hephaestus will wait until we have gone ’round into the Laurentides to the north.”

Niac thinks for a moment, his tiny black eyes lifeless. “What about patrols?”

“LeBa has been careless,” Ares laughs. “He has dispatched all his centaur units to the Gatineaus. There is no danger of being spotted. Our minotaurs will crush the Kanenites.”

Niac is pleased. “And I will take Juno and the Theseion.”


 
“Madam, may I enter?”

“Yes, of course, Hephaestus. Come in.”

“Madam,” Hephaestus; bland eyes are darting back and forth around the Theseion, “I have received news that the Kanenites are at the north bank in the Gatineaus.”

“What?” Juno’s innocent face is deathly pale, her ruby lips quivering.

“I’m afraid so, Madam. LeBa is disregarding our neutral status.”

“But he would never attack without reason.” She pauses, “What armament?”

“All centaur units,” Hephaestus says matter of factly.

Juno looks around wildly, her quivering face even paler than before. “What of the Arccaanians?”

“They have kindly offered to defend us and at this very moment Niac and all his minotaur units are making way to ambush LeBa from the Laurentides to the north,” Hephaestus says, smiling broadly.

Juno is in a fit. “Are you crazy? Niac will surely attack Thessaly once he’s done with the Kanenites! How could you be so naive?”

“Madam –”

“You sold out to him!” Juno looks horrified. “Do you realize what you’ve done? If Niac gets his hands on our weapon, he’ll try to destroy the world! We’ve already had one war!”


 
Bacchus approaches LeBa, who has just arrived on the Ahtuhwuh’s north bank just outside Thessaly.

“All is ready. We await Hephaestus’ signal.”

LeBa nods, “How will he signal us?”

Bacchus smiles as he looks out across the river into the fading day. “It will soon be dark. Hephaestus will waive a lantern from the wall when it is time. We will pass over the wall and down to the river. From there we make way for the Theseion to cut off Niac and his minotaurs. They are attacking from the south.”

LeBa is concerned. “Are you certain?”

Bacchus nods reassuringly, “I have Hephaestus’ assurance. The plan is foolproof.”

LeBa appears convinced, stands up and looking down at Bacchus, says, “Good. Let’s await the signal.”


 
“LeBa and the centaurs are awaiting Hephaestus’ signal.”

“Good.” Niac looks menacingly at the Gatineau hills below, “They are down there sitting like pigeons.”

“Dead pigeons,” Ares remarks coldly.

“Yes,” says Niac. “Well, look! The signal! Let’s attack!”


 
Juno is sitting quietly with herself in the Theseion.

She has been thinking of her father Kronos, of the legends and of the weapon. She studies the launching panel, eyeing the flashing lights and the many buttons. Then she focuses intently upon the large red button above which are printed the letters L-A-U-N-C-H.

Two men rush into the Theseion; Exodus, Juno’s main assistant, and Damien, a sentry.

“Forgive us, Madam,” blurts out Exodus, “but the Arccaanians have wiped out the Kananites on the north bank just outside the city!”

Damien is in a panic. “From what we’ve heard, LeBa is dead. Niac killed him himself.”

Juno looks up from the panel, her face pale, her dead eyes looking out past Exodus and Damien. She says calmly, “It is to be expected. Niac has always been the more ruthless of the two. Will we never learn? Arccaan and Kanen are two apparently incompatible areas. They’re both so caught up in the history and legend that they can’t see things rationally. If Niac gets his hands upon the weapon, it will be the end for us all.”

“But how are we to stop him?” asks Exodus. “We have no army.”

“Niac must not get his hands on this weapon. There will be no hope for man. Armagdon’s time ended with the death of Kronos.”

Juno looks up solemnly at Damien and Exodus. They both look at each other and then nod at Juno. She sighs and then pushes the red button.

End