The Great War

by RandomPerson


Brynja sat at her desk, her claws clutching a quill as she scribbled her signature across a piece of parchment, rolling it up and stamping it closed with her seal before she gave it to a waiting courier. She took another scroll from the waiting pile, opening it and skimming over its contents. She was about to sign it when one of her bodyguards open the door, bowing his head before he spoke.

“Your Highness, the Delegates have arrived.”

“Ah, finally.” She responded rhetorically, setting her quill back in its inkwell and sending the courier away.

She got up quickly and followed the guard down the hall towards the courtyard. She had known it would be somewhat of a challenge crushing the Human armies completely, but was confident in her massive military nonetheless. She, however, could not entirely deal a killing blow without getting rid of as many of their oil providers as she could, that’s why she had invited the delegates to her Kingdom, to do what she could not.

She pushed open the large wooden doors that led to the courtyard and there they stood on a stone pathway at the base of the concrete steps.

“Welcome, Ambassadors, to the Empire of Gryphonia,” she proclaimed, descending the few steps from the door to the ground. They both nodded towards her respectfully, which she returned.

“I trust the trip from Saddle Arabia was a pleasant one?” She asked.

“Indeed, though my wife has never been one to travel by air.” He chuckled, recalling the air balloon trip across the small sea that separated the two continents.

“Wonderful. If you would come with me, we have much to discuss.” She turned and began to ascend the steps again, the two delegates in tow.


Brynja led the two Saddle Arabians into a large stone room, barren if not for the wooden table at the center. She sat down with the delegates and offered them some water from a refreshments platter before speaking.

“Now, I understand Saddle Arabia has been locked in a long conflict with Zebrica about a province of land along their coast that both of you claim is your own?” She questioned, knowing the answer already.

“Ah yes....for several decades we have quarrelled over that would be so much simpler to just seize it once and for all, but the Sultan does not have faith in our military.”

The edges of Brynja’s beak curved up into a grin; the conversation had gone right where she wanted it to go.

“That is why I requested to meet with you both. I have a proposition.”

“What sort of proposition, Empress?” Alozza, the female delegate questioned.

“I am willing to commit a quarter of my reserves to aid you in an invasion of the province.”

Ahmad’s eyebrows rose in suspicion. “An offer like that...I assume you have your own interest that you wish for us to help carry out in return?”

“Indeed.” Brynja responded.

“And what would that be?”

“I need your help fighting the Human Republic. By conquering their main oil supplier we can stop their army dead in its tracks, rendering their machines useless.” She answered nonchalantly.

Both of the Delegates eyes widened and they shared a stare before returning their attention to the Empress before them; Ahmad cleared his voice.

“And what on Earth makes you think we would attempt that?”

“Because, there’s a bigger profit in it for your homeland if you do. A lot bigger.”

She leaned forward and took hold of a glass of wine “You will receive thirty-five percent of the Human lands, seventy-five percent of Zebrica, as well as secure water routes and cheaper trade tariffs between our countries. I can make Saddle Arabia wealthier than its ever been before.” She smirked a bit.

This peaked the delegates attention very quickly. The idea of assisting their ally sounded a lot more reasonable now, but Ahmad still tried to press it a bit. “That offer is tempting Empress...but there is still much at stake if this conflict does not turn in our favor with our assistance. Give us half of your reserves, and all of Zebrica, and we promise you we will do our best to sway the Sultans decision.”

Brynja was hesitant. She didn’t want to threaten her own Empire by strengthening another. Allies or not, she had to be wary of that possible future.

“If you are to receive all of Zebrica, then I must retract my offer of thirty-five percent of the Human Republic.”

Ahmad thought for a moment. “ may be simpler to sway the Sultans opinion if the land he is promised is easier to hold. So, do you accept the new terms?”

Brynja was silent for a few moments, contemplating if what she was about to do was a step in the right direction for her Empire. “Yes, I do.”


The sun was beginning its slow descent towards the horizon. Through the slowly darkening waters, a thin metal tube protruded from the surface of the water about two feet high. Lieutenant Hartwin peered through the periscope, scribbling his observations of the single island part of Aichi. Since the Island had fell out of the Republic’s control the week before, this had been the HRS Hammerhead’s job; to observe and document what the island was being used for, how many ships were docking and leaving daily, what they assumed to be the cargo of said ships, and how well defended the island was. Seeing as how most of the coastal guns were still in their original places, Hartwin documented the island as heavily defended.

Once he had finished writing, he locked the periscope back into place and took his observations to the submarine’s communications officer.

“Transmit these to the Vickers immediately.” He laid the pad down before the officer before turning to go find the Captain. It was a cramped walk through the three-hundred foot sub, and he often had to duck under girders and step over pipes just to walk through the narrow opening down the length of the sub. Submarines were not a new technology in the Republic’s military. The first functioning submarine that had been built and tested before the turn of the century and they had been experimenting and perfecting the original design every since.

“Sir,” He quickly saluted, “Today’s surveillance notes have been documented and are being transmitted to the Vickers.”

“Very good, Lieutenant. Are we ready to surface?”

“Aye, Sir.”

“Excellent, alert the men we are about to surface.” The Captain and Hartwin saluted each other before Hartwin took to his next order, alerting the crew.

In several minutes, the sleek gray hull of the the sub broke the surface. As the water drained off the sides, a hatch near the bow was flung open and several men clambered up a ladder onto the deck. Locked into place on the deck sat a 3”/20 Deck Gun. The men quickly removed the pins that locked the gun in its submerged position, one of them setting down several small crates of ammunition. The Hammerhead had completed its reconnaissance mission and now it was off to rendezvous with its sister submarines, Triton and Greenling, for its next assignment.


“Smoke lights out!” Someone down the temporary defensive line shouted.
Immediately men began smothering small fires they had built and putting out cigarettes. The sun was beginning to set and they knew they couldn’t have any lights out during the night. Gryphons eyes were very keen and under watch the smallest flash of light could give away their position. They hadn’t seen any enemy forces for the two days they had been dug in but it was still protocol.

Kurt leaned back against the wall of his foxhole, slipping his helmet off and popping his neck twice. They had been sitting in these foxholes for two days, waiting for the 2nd Artillery regiment to drag their guns to their positions via very slow haulers. Having to weave through the thick forest they had made it through probably wasn’t making things any easier for the 2nd.

The sun finally dipped below the horizon, leaving the thinning woods they had currently set up their defense line in dark and shadowy. Richard checked the machine gun over, having nothing better to do at the moment. The frigid night air began to wisp around the men.

“So Kurt...” Richard leaned back and whispered. “Isn’t this your last year in the Army?”

Kurt scoffed a bit, “Yeah it’s supposed to be, but now that this war’s going on they’ll probably write me up for four more years of service no matter how long this thing last.”

Richard thought for a moment and then chuckled, “Hey, let’s hope its over before New Years eh?” He said only half jokingly.

“Yeah I hope so”

The two whispered back and forth to each other, trying to kill time before they could rotate their watch shift and get some sleep behind the line. About half an hour before their shift was to end, a snapping sound echoed through the otherwise silent forest. All the men within earshot froze, listening closely as some made sure their weapons were near.

One of the squad leaders listened very closely. Whispering just loud enough to hear, he uttered the friend or foe phrase, “thunder” of to which the proper response was flash. For a few minutes, the forest was dead silent.

Thwack! Something whistled through the air and connected with the man. He howled in pain before a second noise silenced him.

“Contact!” Someone shouted. Kurt lurched forward, grabbing the handles of the machine gun and pressed down the paddles. The silent night was immediately turned upside down, the repeating crack of machine guns and rifles ripping through the air. The muzzle flashes lit up the forest, and what Kurt saw charging towards them through the trees terrified him. It looked like hundreds of Gryphons were charging at them through the trees, axes and swords drawn. He concentrated his fire on a large group of them, trying to cut the numbers charging at his section of the line.

He was suddenly hit by something hard, throwing him up against the wall of the foxhole. A Gryphon he hadn’t spotted in time had dove into their foxhole on top of him. He quickly went for its arms, fighting near blindly in the flashing lights of their weapons. It was suddenly kicked off of him, two quick cracks and it ceased its movement. Richard had shot Kurt’s attacker twice with his sidearm. Kurt lunged back forward grabbing the machine gun again. Just then a bright flash caught their eyes, the woods were illuminated as a bright burning light slowly descended. Someone had managed to fire off an illumination flare.

Now that the men could see, volleys of fire were returned on their attackers much more accurately. This did not remedy the fact that the Gryphons were drawing closer to them with each passing second.

“Grenades!” Kurt heard someone yell over the gunfire. He knew what the order meant, quickly ducking his head below the edge of his foxhole. A thundering series of explosives detonated ahead of their trench line. The men sprang back up, sending several volleys of rifle fire into the darkness, the machine guns that lined the trenches still spitting their walls of lead.

“Cease fire! Cease fire!” The same voice as before shouted, straining his voice over the continuous cracks of gunfire. The light from the flare before was beginning to dim, the shadows and darkness that had surrounded the men before slowly creeping back to them. A second flare was fired in the air, lowly hissing as it burned away it’s charge.

The whole forest was quiet again, as if the cacophonous engagement had never happened. The rhythmic chirp of crickets slowly returned as each man’s hearing returned to him, near deafened by the gunfire.

“Clear!” Each squad leader shouted down the trenchline, doing a head count of their men.

“I need a body count!” their commander shouted. “Someone get me a runner! I need our second line notified immediately!”

Kurt slumped back against the wall of his foxhole, his chest heaving as he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Reaching over beside him, he felt around until he found Richard’s arm.

“Hey, you alright man?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. I think one of em nicked me on the shoulder.” He grunted. “Doesn’t feel that bad though.” He chuckled.

Glad to know his friend was okay, Kurt nodded and leaned back again. Pushing the sleeve back on his left arm, he strained his eyes at the dimly glowing numbers on his watch. His shift had been over thirteen minutes ago. Kurt grinned, finding it funny for some reason. He then closed his eyes, and fell asleep.