“We’re going to do what now!?”
“I thought that I had made myself quite clear, Avran. You are to take your men and participate in our assault on the demons’ lair in the Obsidian Mountains.”
“That’s madness, you know it as well as I do! We might, just might be able to defeat them if we had the full power of the Haram Empire’s military behind us, as well as our counterparts the Ivral. But they would never agree to this damn scheme, and I have to say I’m with them on that much at least, the demons have not even provoked us! Besides, now is hardly the time!”
Commander il’Var stared at the impudent lieutenant with a gaze that had settled many a diplomatic dispute. The man - boy, the commander corrected himself, for his opponent was young and hardly dignified - could hardly hope to win this argument, and il’Var was certain that he knew it. And yet, there was a certain clout behind his words. Avran il’Cor was easily among the Asaril’s strongest mages, although few of the others would admit as much. He chose to tread carefully.
“We have good reason to believe that the demons are planning an attack on us. If we are to defeat them, we must have certain advantages on our side. Surprise is a valuable friend, Avran, you would do well to remember that.”
“We can win this, but we need you. I trust you will not abandon your comrades in their hour of need…?”
There was a slightly awkward pause, as Avran appeared to consider doing just that. Commander il’Var knew him too well, though, he could not betray his friends.
“…No, of course not. However, I ask that upon arrival in their territory we at least attempt to reach a peaceful resolution with our… ‘foes.’”
“Very well, I can grant you that. But I doubt that our barbaric enemies shall be so willing to listen to reason.”
“You’re underestimating them, Commander. Considerably so. Assuming we do nothing rash I’m sure we can solve this with minimal casualties.”
Commander il’Var sat back in his comfortable chair as Avran took his leave and left the room. It was true, he had to admit, that his own heart beat with fear at the very mention of the demons. But with the Asaril’s superior tactics and valor, how could they lose? It was necessary, he told himself for the thousandth time. The Haram Empire could never be secure as long as such an enemy was so close to its heart.