Toadland was a very strong side, the strongest member of the named coalition “Nintendia” other than its overall ruling side PokePoke.  Her Ruler Peach had an unparalleled talent for recruiting the Shoomers, creatures that resembled walking, talking mushrooms, as natural allies.  They were mostly useless in battle, but having a large number of them in towns vastly reduced city upkeep and improved normal per-turn treasure generation.  They also mined gems very efficiently, a combination of traits that allowed for an extremely large standing force and even swift city upgrading. 


Toadland had a good number of warlords, but other than Mario the Chief Warlord and Luigi, very few were notable.  They compensated for this by having a whopping ten casters on their side—more casters than almost all the rest of Nintendia combined.  Six of these had been popped by the side's capital—an unusually high number that got rumors circulating that that city somehow had a much higher probability of popping casters when dedicated to popping warlords than most cities.  Another four had been acquired from the days before Nintendia, when Prognosticasia, a side that had a Predictamancer for a Ruler, failed to predict their own dismantling at Toadland's hands.  The Predictamancer Blecch was croaked, but they turned its other three casters and a Dollamancer, Smithy, that had led a mercenary barbarian force that aided Prognosticasia.


One of the most renowned casters was Lady Rosalina, a Master class Findamancer.  Having her on their side not only rendered most Foolamancy useless against them, but with a standing order to find all enemy forces within a few turn's march of the border city of Rosen, there was no need for any scouting.  It was a bit costly in juice, but the coalition forces fighting against Finality where the heavy fighting was taking place were doing fine without her.  She was more concerned about Kuppa, a side that many times had allied temporarily with Nintendia, but seemed obsessed with taking Toadland.  Lady Daisy, a Florist who was usually steward of the city, had left her in charge of Rosen while she aided the coalition.


She felt her juice return.  "Turn's start," she said, "thank the Titans there's been nothing since Lady Daisy left thirty turns ago.  Radarga!


Unlike the previous thirty turns, her senses were flooded with information.  There was a sizeable force of Muturtles, natural allies that the ruler of Kuppa had a talent for turning to his side, but even those plus the other troops led by Kuppa there dwarfed the total forces she saw arrayed against them.  Though it cost her all the rest of her juice for the turn, she cast again, expanding the range further.  As she suspected, the total army was so vast that her initial probe hadn't captured the full scope of it.  Hex upon hex of the Kuppa/Toadland borderlands were occupied by these forces.


"This can't be," she breathed, "what...IS this side, is it another named coalition?  Who in Erfworld is...Malevola?!"




Finality--Battle of Baa-lamb


"I'm recalled to Rosen?  This had better not be one of your jokes, Dimentio!"


"Ahaha...of course not.  I'll be taking your place in the coalition forces," said Dimentio, a Carnymancer that had been captured with the fall of Prognosticalia, and trust between him and the other casters was low.  "Besides, orders are no laughing matter.  I am always deadly serious.  Especially when it seems like a joke, as I know you know."


"Fine, let's have it...Malevola?  What the heck?  No way...did someone finally get one over on Kuppa?  Be careful out there not to get yourself croaked Dimentio.  Squill Lionheart is putting up quite a fight.  You'd just hate to make me happy like that, I know."


"Ahaha...ciao, my desert rose."


"I'm not YOUR anything."  Daisy mounted her Gwiffon, and she and her personal escort crossed hexes in a direction away from the battle.


Two turns later, she arrived at the capital of ToadLand, called by the same name as the side officially, but was usually called Toadland City.  Peach greeted her there along with Mario, Luigi, Rosalina, and O'Chunks, a high level warlord that had also turned with the destruction of Prognosticalia.  "I'm afraid the situation has changed, Daisy," said Peach, "it's taken a turn for the unusual.  Rosen was totally destroyed, they burned it to the ground rather than capture it.  Rosalina only just managed to escape alive.  Which frankly, is very suspicious."


"Suspicious, why's that?"


"They had more than enough troops to make any plans of escape hopeless," said Luigi, "but they attacked with a much smaller force than they could have, from a single direction.  Only around a tenth of the force Rosalina observed was fielded in the battle.


"Illusion copies?" said Daisy.


"Impossible," said Rosalina, "they wouldn't have fooled my Findamancy.  We think they wanted me to escape, to report what I saw.  There were troops consistent with Mobs-r-us forces and Darkland as well as Kuppa."


"That can't be right," said Daisy, "Eggman and Ganon, cooperating?  And BOWSER?!"


"There was a fourth force," said Rosalina, "but none of it participated in the fighting.  It was composed entirely of units I've never seen before that my Findamancy IDed as "Infernals".


"It's-a obvious what they're trying to do with this stunt," said Mario, "By destroying the city instead of going the obvious route by taking it, they're concealing their true objective.  Whoever is behind these infernals, they're-a sending a message that they brought three of our enemies under their heel.  It's pure intimidation."


"Well," said Peach, "If intimidation was the goal, I'd say it pretty much worked."


"We have to move to defend ourselves," said Luigi, "with Rosen demolished, the next target will likely be Has-Bean.  I'll deploy a portion of the elite defense forces and my own personal stack to back up Peasley."


"A change in your standing order will be needed, Rosalina," said Peach, "concentrate on the position and makeup of these Malevola forces within our own borders."


"Will I be helping with the defense as well?" said Daisy.


"I have something else in mind," said Peach, "they're fielding such a large force that they can't have much left for defending their own territory.  I'm sending you, O'Chunks, Wario, Mimi, and...I'd better send Merlon as well to try and maneuver around the enemy army and attempt to strike at whoever this mastermind who brought our usual enemies together is.  You should make separate ways through enemy territory, taking relatively small but powerful strike forces.  Mario, let's prepare a more detailed briefing by dusk."


"You-a got it, princess."  Peach favored royal raiments and signamancy heavily emphasizing pink, but only ever referred to herself as a princess out of respect to the true royals of the Original 99, of which she was not.  Her pretty face concealed surprising cleverness by which she'd built her side, and a good thing too with what lay ahead...


    • Red

      Not bad, Lheticus. You might consider making Rosalina a Lookamancer, which sounds more appropriate for what she's doing.

      • Lheticus

        Yeah, the difference between "looking" and "finding" is one I internally debated over.  It doesn't help that there's very little canon to work with--though there WAS a lookamancer and the effect of her linking would seem to support your point.  All right, I think I'll go with that yeah.