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Gods, Kings, and Utopias: The Tale of Humanity One week later,

thousands of black uniformed soldiers march across the bridge leading to Robert’s castle. King Franklin rides on his horse in front directing his army. He shakes his head in disgust at the thought of him once calling this place home. He remembers Robert and him splashing in the fountain and eating in the courtyard as children. He clutches his fists and flushes out the memory. 

Robert of Normandy stands tall in front of his army before the city walls. His soldiers stand behind him, all with a white feather on their helmets. Archers stand atop the walls and catapults are ready to launch at any moment.

Out of habit, Robert feels for his pocket watch, as it is his normally his time to go pray. He looks at his brother’s soldiers and sees the same ghostly expressions on each of their faces and identical clothing. Their lack of individuality frightens him.

“I give you one last chance to accept immortality,” King Franklin yells out to his kin, riding near the city gates. “Follow me, brother! Imagine, we can both be glorious together!”

 “For as long as I live, I shall never follow you.” Robert yells back, holding his sword high into the air. “Men of Normandy, stand together!”

 Robert of Normandy’s warriors give a battle cry and rally around their king.

 King Franklin’s eyes stare furiously at his defiant brother’s army. His hopes of a clean surrender are shattered by the battle cries of Normandy. King Franklin holds out his sword and commands the charge of cavalry, mounted archers, and siege towers to commence.

 His riders make their way across the plains before the castle walls. The sound of hoofs thunder through the air and hundreds of horsemen let out furious yells in the elation of battle. Siege towers slowly follow, being pulled by countless large war horses.

 As they approach closer and closer, men stationed at the catapults watch intently for Robert’s signal. Sweat drips from their foreheads, steaming up their helmets. Finally Robert raises his arm and makes a fist. The castle trebuchet’s swing swiftly and release their ammunition; followed by dead silence among the ranks. All of Robert’s men watch the projectiles with awe and anticipation.

 King Franklin stares into the sky, with a mixture of confusion and horror, as giant flaming spheres come scorching downward at his lines. When they hit, something occurs which no one in their world has ever seen. The flaming orbs frantically burst and expand on impact. Metal scatters. Fire blazes. Smoke billows from the plain. Humanity’s front lines are decimated by the explosions. Neither Franklin, nor any other man on the battlefield, has seen such lethal warfare in action.  

 Unbeknownst to Franklin Meads, Robert of Normandy took heed to his brother’s words all those years ago that scientific advancement is important. He convinced the church to support crown-sanctioned research and invention. From medicine to warfare, Normandy slowly progressed in its technology. The existence of numerous mines in Normandy, with minerals not located in any other realm, gave them a swift advantage in the development of gunpowder.

The attempted siege of Robert of Normandy’s castle only lasts one week, and King Franklin and his army fall back. Severely weakened and demoralized, they retreat for regrouping and reinforcements. 

 The tides of technology have turned. The war and arms race has begun.

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