Elaine 13: "Rules of Engagement"

        I stood upon the battlements, watching the approach of the Church's army. I pulled my cloak closer against the early spring wind, chilled despite the sun that was almost overhead. It was a scene that my father had always feared Glorethen might see in my lifetime, and which he, and then I, had fought to spare our beloved home. "The rules of engagement," he once told me, "mean little in the heart of war. Honor becomes an abstract quality that men like to claim, even as they cheat, and cast about for any means of survival. In war, you make your own rules."
       But even as we made our own rules in this fight, I feared I might have to see such a scene unfold before my new home. halting the army at the pass. I felt somewhat bleak. Our collective experience was not much. I had had many lessons, but no practical experience in the arts of war. Christoph was a scientist by trade and training. While his instincts were sound, he had not even the inkling of many of the small details that kept cropping up. Eve, Desire, and the reluctantly revealed Gillian, none were warriors or tacticians. I wished desperately for Harlan's skills in this area, or Joaquim's, but their Trumps remained silent. It was up to us.
       It was only after I awoke from unconsciouness and a splitting headache from the reciprocal rock pelting that I actively involved myself in the tactical battle, no longer able to assist the magical effort. I threw myself into the continual compromise that is the defense of a seiged area. And it was bleak, our forces far too low in number to stop the enemy, I thought with longing of the resources of Glorethien, and realized, with a feeling of both startlement and idiocy that those resources were emminently available to me with a bit of modification of Glorethien's time flow.
        The months in Glorethien passed slowly for me, the weeks between updates from Lira setting me on an edge of frustration and impatience. The story of Sorcha's arrival and subsequent betrayal dragged on for weeks in my frame of reference, and I found myself driven to distraction by my daily tasks, as I waited for news of what I knew was happening with alacrity at the scene of the seige. Even Harlan's arrival did not prove sufficient distraction as I slowly built Glorethiens forces to a war hungry pitch, and connived my advisors and country into believing a very stretched truth. It was a long, and frustrating experience, and I have no idea how it shall affect my home.
        And so it came about that I had a standing army of almost 10,000, convinced that our 'enemy' was allied with the Danjani, spread about the confused knot that was the remnants of Sorcha's mercenary forces and the Church's army of righteous, as a weakened Larik proclaimed my brother the new High Priest, and called for the end of this war, when the Unicorn herself appeared....