General Quercus looked out over the fields, surveying the army that was now his. It was a task he didn’t want, but it had been his prediction, a prediction that had come true, that had made it happen.
Every year the armies of the Yard empire gathered up and choose sides. It had come, over the years, to be known as the Pruning. It had been coming earlier and earlier each year and this time Quercus and been ready. Ready to protect and defend the Scythian stronghold no matter the cost.
In the distance the yellow flags of the Scythian army fluttered, limp in the non-existent breeze. The day had turned hot, and early season heat wave. It was hot enough to force the General to turn up the sides of the command tent while he gathered with the various military leaders and advisors.
“Sir, you were about to explain your current strategy.” called out Viceroy Apium.
Quercus pulled himself away from watching the wizards practicing their magic, preparing to defend the Scythian capital from the yearly Pruning event.
“I’m sending a battalion of troops to the west to the Hedge Mountains as well as east to the Garden Forest. The rest I am leaving here to protect the city proper.”
“What of our rear flank?”
“We have an HOA in place with our neighbors there.” replied the General.
Viceroy Apium spoke up again, “I’d feel more comfortable with a Watch alliance. The HOA is merely an agreement not to attack, it doesn’t stipulate coming to our aid,”
“I agree with you Viceroy. However ours is not to make policy but to defend our nation for future saplings.”
“Sir!” exclaimed a soldier as he made his way to the tent while the others had been studying the map on the table.
“At ease Private Cerasus. What do you have for me?”
“Sir, a report from Captain Rudbeckia.”, The soldier says, pulling a sheaf of papers out of his backpack, “He says he has encountered the Fescue army just outside the Gates of Fence.”
Everyone around the table looked up, making the Private very uncomfortable.
“Go on, does he say anything about estimated forces? What kind of hardware they have, anything?”
“Yes sir” replied the soldier, licking his lips nervously, “He states there are a battalion of CrabGrass Tanks as well as Dandelion and Thistle Aerial Assault ships. He also mentions seeing Clover transports and a group of Ragweed carriers”
“Very good, thank you private, “ replied Quercusl keeping the shock off his face, “You are dismissed.”
General Quercus turned back to the map and began to again explain “I don’t expect….”. Turning around he noticed that the soldier he had dismissed was still there, still standing at attention.
What is it soldier?
Well sir, it’s just…
“Spit it out son.”
“It’s just… there is chatter from the Squirrels sir. They say they’ve seen Axes and Shears as well.”
Everyone around the table gasped as Quercus covered his eyes with hind hand. “My god, they really are going to do it aren’t they. Well, we will give them a fight they will not forget. This is a Pruning that will be sung about for ages to come.”
The other leaders gathered around the table began to cheer and applaud the General who stepped back, and carefully drew his sword, “For Scythia!”
“For Scythia!” came the rumbling echo.-