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Offline Lord Palatine

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The Bloody Axe
« on: November 29, 2008, 06:36:12 PM »
It was a miserable time of the year to travel, cold and rainy, the time before the first snowfall covered the land.  Thankfully the roads were good, armies had moved tens of thousands of men and horses, wagons and countless tons of supplies followed them and so fortunately did the engineers to put the roads to right again.  He constantly studied his surroundings as he rode, even riding fast as he did now, a special pass signed by a marshal insured he had a fresh mount waiting every three leagues at the courier stations.  He pulled up and slid from the saddle and stretched stiffly as his saddle and kit were transferred from one mount to another, gratefully accepting a tin mug or steaming tea and a chunk of bread ripped from a fresh loaf.

“Your name Centurion?” the station master asked, his quill poised over his report book.  He was puzzled at the lack of a reply until the husky sergeant at his side threw an elbow into the officer’s ribs.  Newly promoted from the ranks he reckoned.

“Centurion Garvin Reese,” he presented his pass, “First Squadron, Scouts, Fifth Army Staff.”

The entry duly annotated in the book he looked to the shorter man beside the officer.  “Sergeant Bren Vandt, I’m with him.” He replied before shoving the rest of the heel into his mouth.

“Your last change before you reach 5th Army Headquarters,” the hostler sergeant reported.  “Not that they’ve moved since the war started.”

“Good,” Reese fixed a hostile eye upon the surly functionary, “that means they waited for me like I asked.”

He didn’t get where he was by questioning battle-scarred officers of low rank that still spoke like sergeants, and this man didn’t look to have much humor about him this day.  “You’ll find the waiting for you, Sir.”

Reese tossed him the empty mug and mounted up, he checked the dispatch pouches before nudging the horse forward.  “Pissworm,” Reese growled.  “If he knew the Marshal he’d never make wise about him sitting still.”

“He ain’t a patient man for sure,” Vandt agreed as they quickened their pace.  “And that bugger was wrong on one point, the front line ain’t moved maybe, but the rear has, he’s tightening the lines.”

“I hate winter fighting,” Reese grumped.

“Reckon we’ll wait till spring?”

“Better not,” Reese looked grumpier.  “I hate sitting on my arse and freezing all winter even worse.”

 “Hard to please,” Vandt laughed as they let the horses have their head.

The camps were close together now, closely congregated around the north and south passes down the vast escarpment that marked the western border of Talmarii Province.  Headquarters for the 5th Army lay between the two, a few days hard march from either and overlooking the occupied lands below, and in the distance the imperial armies that held them.  They reported to the command pavilion to drop off the dispatches and letters and were surprised to find themselves hurried in to see the marshal himself.  Ramon Telbrantil towered over them both as he rose to greet them.  He was half their age but his strength and manner had long since earned their respect.  “Will you take a whiskey?” he offered.  “Dwarven, good stuff to drive out the cold.”  The fiery liquor was accepted and consumed gratefully.  “I’ve need of you,” Ramon said quickly.  “You’re both Palatine now, proven men in a time that I need real soldiers over all.”

“We take the offensive?” Reese asked boldly.

“We drop the bloody hammer,” Ramon assured them as he stepped over to a map table.  “But twenty leagues behind the imperial line is a problem that I think I find the solution for in you.”

“Brescane?” Reese looked down at the map.  “Not much of a place, its mainly earthen stock pens.”

“Exactly, each of those pens holds around a thousand cattle, stone and earth to hold them penned in.”

“No cattle in them now, are there m’lord?” Vandt asked.

Ramon shook his head.  “People, our people.  All prisoners gathered to be sorted.  Captured soldiers and militia to be executed, women and children shipped south as slaves and the remaining men worked to death supporting Basdred’s armies.”

“How many Imps holding the place?” Reese looked down with interest.

“A battalion of heavy infantry,” Ramon replied.  “Two cohorts of Ogres, two of Garesh Zerig, one of Garesh Kirit.”

“Cavalry?” Reese asked as he studied the diagrams of Brascane.

“Two squadrons patrolling a radius of ten miles around,” Ramon replied.  “They are spread thin and mainly meant to carry a warning back if a threat is sighted.”

“Orders?” Reese asked.

“First, sew these on,” Ramon tossed a set of two white stripes on the table before him.  “You’re a tribune now, commander of the Highland Raiders.”

“Never heard of them,” Vandt wondered aloud.

“Its been built for me by Color Sergeant Galandorn, five hundred picked soldiers.  All veterans of combat, tough bastards that’ll fight a forest fire with a tea cup.  You’ll be meeting them soon, they won’t be pretty to see, but they’ll fight.”

“Galandorn, you say,” Reese smiled at that.  “And after I meet these berserks?”

“You’ll take Brescane and hold it until relieved,” Ramon said firmly.  “No quarter to the troops holding it, and you’ll arm all that you can and use them to help in the defense.  You’ll be the opening move, if you keep to my time table you’ll attack Brascane at the same time that I unleash hell along the entire west.”

“Sixty miles behind enemy lines,” Reese said as he studied the map.  “That’s a long way for relief to come, through occupied territory.”

“I’ve picked your relief force carefully,” Ramon winked.  “Do you think that the First and Second Corps of the Palatine order under Baron Tigre and Lord Galen will suffice until the 16th Corps can fight through to you?”

“I do at that,” Reese allowed, “How many are held at Brescane?”

“Ten thousand, give or take, all on short to no rations.”

“And we can’t carry in enough to feed them all either.  So we’ll need to drop the hammer, seize the supplies there, and feed and arm all that we can until relieved.  Three days at least until relieved and longer until we get any real replenishment.”

“If it was easy I wouldn’t need you,” Ramon reminded him.

“I’ll see to it, m’lord,” Reese assured him.  “How long do I have?”

“You have all night to eat and rest from your journey, you’ll take command at dawn and march two days later, I expect you to be in possession of Brescane ten days from now.”

“All the time in the world,” Reese replied, his bravado matching that of his commander.

“Exactly,” Ramon grinned.  “See you don’t bugger things, off with you.”

“Sir,” Bren looked Ramon dead in the eye.  “Are they killing our lads yet?”

“A few thousand so far,” Ramon nodded.  “Axes.”

“Bastards.”

“Your orders are clear?”

“They are,” Reese assured him.  “We kill the pigs and hold till relieved.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:00:20 AM by Lord Palatine »

Offline Lord Palatine

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2008, 04:15:23 AM »
As an officer Garvin was supposed to have a tent separate from Bren but they’d served together too long through the ranks for that to seem natural for him just now, especially with such a daunting assignment before them.  Left to his own devices he’d scout Brescane himself then lead the attack in, but now he had the reports of other scouts that he’d have to act upon.  As many had acted upon his in the past.  With that realization firmly in his thoughts he studied the map carefully. 

“They’ve burned off everything for more than a mile in every direction,” Reese pointed out.

“Night fighting,” Bren nodded.  “Main force straight in with a squadron flanking to either side?”

“One squadron rides up to the gates, a patrol coming in for replenishment, and they take the gates and the rest pour in behind,” Reese nodded.  “We’ll take that for the plan for now, we’ll know better when some of our own eyes are in place.”

“And we have our eyes on those picked men,” Vandt reminded him.  “Something doesn’t strike me right about all of this.”

“Agreed,” Reese grumbled.  “Find a runner and call the officers here.”

“Aye, Trib,” Bren saluted jauntily.

“Get stuffed.”

Reese was a veteran, which set him apart from a great deal of the 5th Army these days, he was also a combat veteran, which made him that much rarer.  The Marshal was trying to build an army from the remnants of another.  Seventy thousand men killed outright in the Battle of Kerandor Plains, forty thousand more lost in the rearguard from their fallen ally in Wisnore.  Thirty thousand more that would never take the field after wounds or the abuse of a grinding withdrawal.  Forty thousand veterans and one hundred and sixty thousand troops ranging from seasoned survivors from Wisnore to green boys straight from the farm.

This was the army that held the west, a green and seasoning army that held by virtue of its position more than anything else all approaches from the west into the heart of the Realm.  All pressed for action, but young though he may be Marshal Telbrantil stood firm and relentlessly drilled and trained his troops.  His advantage, soldiers like Color Sergeant Galandorn, a veteran of fifty years or more and a drill sergeant like no other.  If Galandorn trained this Battalion then his curiosity was well-piqued indeed.  Talmaran was not too far to their rear, and its academy had trained nearly every officer of the Realm for the past thousand years, and now they left no stone turned in their efforts to prepare the rebuilding Fifth.

“Sir,” Vandt stepped back inside the tent.  “Centurion Deale Delbant, adjutant commander; Sergeant Jella Kourdale, battalion quarter master; Centurion Wende Galt, Commander of the 1st Squadron; Centurion Yance Tuscorrah, 2ns Squadron; Centurion Carlon Teage, 3rd Squadron; Centurion Arial Chander, 4th Squadron and Centurion Dorek Halder, 5th Squadron.”

Reese nodded to them each in turn, rising from the map stable covered with orders, charts and papers.  “Ladies, gentlemen,” he greeted them.  “I understand that you’ve had several weeks to get to know each other, I won’t have that luxury with you.  Tomorrow morning I assume command, I trust you’ll forgive my presumption in gathering you here tonight to lay the groundwork for a campaign that’s longer on hope than chances of success.”

He waited for any to gainsay his choice of timing then proceeded.  “Tomorrow morning at dawn I will assume command of the Highland Rangers, from that moment you have two days to insure your individual commands are ready in all respects to take the field, because that morning, at dawn we ride.  We will be in battle ten days from then, far behind enemy lines and unsupported until the army can fight through to us.”  He looked them over sternly.  “We’ve been selected above all others to this task, we ride to free thousands of our people and kill every soldier of the Empire that we come across.  We take no prisoners, we stop for nothing, we ride, we kill we free we hold and protect until relieved, am I clear?”

Centurion Delbant, a tall and sober man regarded his commander carefully.  “What is our target?”

“For the ears of those in this room only,” Reese said firmly.  “We go to Brescane, it is held by an imperial battalion in the village and two squadrons of cavalry in the area.  We have to loop around to a gap in the lines, then move with all haste, and take the city on the tenth day of the march.  That is the day that Marshal Telbrantil unleashes the Fifth Army, and that information is not uttered until after it happens, or after we’re dead, whichever comes first.”

He paused to insure that sank in.  “We carry nothing extra, minimum kit.  The uniforms and armor on our backs, one cloak, one blanket, and thirteen days hard rations, all we’ll have to work with is captured stores when we take Brescane.  As far as any will know we’re marching to train with the new commanding officer, we tell them the first night of the march.”

Delbant leaned over the map, his long face looked predatory.  “With your permission, Sir,” he glanced at Reese.  “We hammer it into the sergeants and corporals, no extra weight.  Hard rations are no fun but every ounce we carry is a tax upon the horses as the days pass.  I think this goes without saying that officers will ride under the same restrictions.”

“It does,” Reese agreed.  “With the sole exception of the haversack, I’d hate to think that I’d deprived any of you of the opportunity to keep up on your reports by stripping you of your hip secretary.”  He ignored the gimlet stares and returned their attention to the maps.  “To get sixty miles behind the lines we’ll be riding five times that, we’re going small and discreet to insure that they don’t speed up the pace of the executions.  Rest assured that they are executing soldiers taken behind the lines, fortunately they are doing it at random for now, the moment that they think that action is undertaken to free their prisoners, they slaughter them wantonly from that instant onward.  We’re in the distasteful position of moving with deliberation and caution while knowing that our comrades in arms are paying for the time we take with our lives.”

There was muted fury around the table.  Centurion Arial Chander put their frustration into words.  “Why aren’t we there now?  Why wait ten days to get into the war?”

“We are in the war, Centurion,” Reese replied.  “Or had it escaped your attention that Basdred hasn’t walked down this bit of road toward the midlands or the capitol beyond?  I don’t begrudge you the time you spent training while I bloody walked all the way from here to Basdred’s own tent, stole back one of our own officers and walked all the way back.  Neither do I hear the soldiers on the line fighting every day to hold the lower passes complain when they buy you the weeks and months it took to train you into a cohesive unit.”  He looked at them all, feeling the heat of his frustrations boil up.  “Four of every five soldiers in this army had to learn to be a soldier, to learn in weeks and a few scant months what it took some of us years to learn.  If you want to be worthy of those stripes at your shoulders then think with your bloody heads.  How about I hand you a hundred clodhoppers, a green as the grass stains on their feet, and I’ll send you into a fight against the Imps.  They have all of those blooded legions, a million bloody men down there and we sit here with a fifth of that, and of that fifth only a fifth were fit for action.  Now he’s built the army, and he’s moving his forces carefully to avoid attracting attention, and mustering the last of what he needs to wage a sustained campaign.  He’s done all that it takes to wage war, against an enemy that dwarfs us, so let us concede that anger is no substitution for knowing what you’re talking about, and we’ll further concede that a Marshal in the service of the King might have more to offer than his very junior officers.”

There was silence at that.  Garvin Reese was at least twice their age, a decorated combat veteran and Knight of the Palatine Order.  Moreover he knew Marshal Telbrantil, served on his staff, undertook missions into the belly of the beast for him.  Reese was given command of this mission, and them, because he was too good to fail, he might lose and he might die, but he would never fail.  And that strength poured from him now.

“You have until I take the flag of this Battalion into my hand to remember who you are and why you’re here,” Reese said sternly.  “If I have to lead this men with nothing but sergeants and corporals then I will.  Get out of my sight, you’re dismissed.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:00:51 AM by Lord Palatine »

Offline Lord Palatine

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 02:44:56 AM »
“You landed hard,” Bren observed when they were alone.

“Had to,” Reese sighed as he sat at the camp table; he picked over a plate of bread, cheese and sausage as he thought for a moment.  “Did you notice the uniforms on some of the officers were militia?”

“Baranadell Province,” Bren replied with a nod.

“So some of this hand-picked force is from the very province that we’re going to pull this rescue, that means its personal, and men with personal stakes are liable to take long chances and not hear orders,” Garvin Reese dipped a piece of sausage into a small bowl of mustard sauce.  “Tomorrow I’ll look the rest of them over and I’ll probably land hard again.  We need to work as soldiers, if discipline fails then so do we.  I need to make sure they know that.”

“Good thing you have me watching your back,” Bren sighed, seeing a list of potential problems flash before his eyes.

Reese poured ale from a pitcher into an empty mug and slid it over to his comrade.  “Good indeed.”

[hr:1nra49tp][/hr:1nra49tp]

It was a ride that none had ever even heard of, let alone make themselves.  There was some debate over the more unusual, the circumstances or their commander.  They turned out on parade to receive their colors and commanding officer, long gleaming lines of men in perfect uniform to see Tribune Reese arrive in battle worn field gear.  He accepted the colors and passed them wordlessly to the scarred sergeant behind him and summoned the officers forward and pounced on them for turning out the command in a state unprepared for battle.  Their dress uniforms were packed away and turned in for storage by the quartermaster.

They were never certain when he slept in the time of preparation, he ate with his officers at all meals but there was none of the solemn formality of the mess.  Every meal was planning and long tersely worded lectures about his expectations.  Word filtered through the battalion as they prepared to march, and then when he finally disclosed their mission.

“We are leading the assault in the west, as we attack Brescagne the Fifth Army will attack and drive into Baranadell.  We are the largest force that can be sent with a hope of success, yet remain undiscovered by our enemy.  We’re making the deepest strike of the war, but this is not a vengeance ride.  We are the Scouts Battalion of the Fifth Army or the Royal Army of Selnendrin, we are soldiers and we will act as soldiers.  We will not be discovered, we will evade where we can and fight only where we must until we reach Bresagne, and then we’ll kill every mother’s son of them that we find.  We cannot hold Brescagne and the people held there and guard prisoners at the same time.  We will kill every last enemy we find and hold until relieved.  We only have two options, we win or we die.  If there are any that can’t stand the thought of dying you were a damned fool to volunteer.”

Three hundred miles through the cold and rain, then the cold and sleet.  Scant comfort, no hot food, pushing and babying their mounts because to lose a horse was to lose a man and there was nothing or no one to spare.  And yet there was always Reese, riding along the columns and encouraging them onward through the mud.  Feet were always a worry, let a man’s or mount’s feet be neglected and they were lost.  And at long last their objective was in sight and the plan went into effect.  In the rain men on horses looked like men on horses, their cloaks hid their uniforms, their colors hadn’t been uncased during the entire ride.  Garvin rode with fifty men toward the gate of the hastily erected stockades in the darkness, they rode slowly and looked for all the world like exhausted soldiers returning from patrol for supplies.  He resisted the urge to look around to see if the rest were staying out of sight.  He’d given his orders and an unusual caveat with them.  “If any of you do anything stupid, anything at all, I won’t waste the Crown’s time with courts martial, I’ll personally kill you.  Hack you into bloody steaming meat and piss on what’s left of you.  Am I clear?”  He smiled at the sober nods, they weren’t sure if he was serious, but the strength of his convictions fed their confidence.

They came closer to the gate and two torches were set atop the wall, his scouts had watched Brescagne and learned the signals for night approach.  From his column two torches were lit at the front one in the middle and two at the rear.  The correct countersign, and they fit right into his plan.  The approached the gate at a clip.  “Feed for my horses and whores for my men!” he shouted up to the men on the wall.  His men laughed and cheered his order and the gates creaked open.  The first twenty five men dismounted and ran for the ladders and gates under Vandt’s charge, swarming up to contend with the guard and prevent the gates from being closed.  The torches were thrown outside the gates and the remainder of the battalion rode hard for the gates while Reese and the remaining twenty five mounted rode for the prisoner pens.

His plan relied on speed and confusion, they would secure the gates so the rest could attack the garrison force, and Garvin, with his small detachment would shield the innocent.  The prisoners were held in a series of stock pens surrounded by an earthen wall.  Garvin and his standard bearer rode up to the top of the bank wall and the colors streamed loose in the wind.  “People of Selnen, to me!  To me!” He roared at the top of his lungs as a few of his men hacked at the makeshift gates as the rest unlimber bows and cut down everyone in imperial uniform. 

Prisoners, captured soldiers of the Royal Army rose, and though starved and weak they attacked the guards at the gates of their pens with their bare hands, some ran to their death knowing it would come, but shielding with their bodies those behind, arrows in their bodies wouldn’t stop those following them, some grasped spears and held them in their own bodies so their comrades could attack the man at the other end.  As the gates broke Garvin rode back down the slope and through the gates, leading his men to clear the guards, leaving five men to hold the gates.  Reese fought the anger that rose within him, now was the time for cold anger and calculated rage.  There were a hundred men in the pens, twenty on each of the five massive holding areas, and Garvin rode to the one where the fighting was fiercest.  He reared his horse, its hooves crashed a lone guard into the gates, but they did not give, he kicked the bar from the gates and rode through, great sword in hand.

Garvin Reese was proud of many things; high on that list was his ability to fight dirty.  He rode down one man as his blade flashed down and split a man from crown to sternum.  He kicked the man off of his sword as he slammed the edge of his shield into the face of another.  “Selnens to me!” he shouted waved his sword over his head.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:01:19 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 11:52:45 PM »
Bloody, remorseless, savage fighting.  The Imperials knew that they were dead no matter what, they’d executed hundreds of their enemy, many of them had participated in rape, maiming, murder and theft.  They were invaders in this land, and there was nothing resembling mercy in the faces of their prisoners or the tactics of their enemy.  Sergeant Vandt and a squad had captured the headquarters of the enemy, situated in the home of the mayor, and the command staff with it.  Garvin limped heavily through the village from the pens, his saddle and gear over his shoulder.  Pity, it was a damned fine mount that fell.  He ordered it and all other fallen mounts butchered for the people held in Brescagne.

He met Vandt on the porch of the house.  “What’s the butcher’s bill?” he asked, his voice deep and ragged.

“Seventy dead, nearly twice that wounded.” Bren sighed.  “In a pinch you can field three squadrons, more if any here are fit to serve, but I hold out no hope there.”

“Heaps of the dead,” Garvin said tightly.  “They put hundreds of our men to the axe.  It’s a violation of the laws and courtesies of war.”

“We have the officers,” Bren reported.  “And one hundred and eighty prisoners, most of them wounded.”

“Assemble the prisoners here,” he said after a moment’s thought.

“Even those with the surgeons?”

“The surgeons deal with Selnens,” Garvin looked to his old friend with tired eyes.  “Nothing Imperial will long benefit from the surgeons’ ministrations anyway.  I’m trying them all right here, right now.  Two squadrons will gather everyone that can work and fortify this place, the rest will supervise the prisoners.”

Bren knew what he was saying, they would execute their prisoners.  But, this would be different to what they’d found here.  There would at least be the formality of a trial conducted.  “I’ll round them up.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:01:43 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009, 03:07:47 AM »
Reese was tired, hungry, cold and aching, but duty was a stern taskmaster, one thing more he must accomplish this day he reflected, but even then he couldn’t rest.  Defenses were in work, patrols were out, many of his men were dead and dying, or down and hopeful to mend.  He ignored the gathering of enemy troops before the building that would soon serve as his headquarters, even when the imperial officers inside were dragged out.  A scarred corporal stood silently beside his tribune, and shortly Reese turned his attention to the man.  “Report.”

“This is the axe they used to kill our men,” the grim instrument was handed over.  Double-bladed on a four foot tall haft, capped at the lower end with a blunt cone of steel.  Blood stained the blade and had even soaked into the wood of the haft.  Reese took it from the offering hands and finally looked over his prisoners, and the crown gathered behind the soldiers guarding them.  At his signal those standing were forced to their knees.

“I call you to good order,” Reese said loudly, surprised that his tired voice seemed to carry through to the whole crowd with no effort.  A subtle Palatine ability, but one he appreciated greatly just now.  “I convene the general court of the Fifth Army Scouts Battalion, I, Tribune Sir Garvin Reese, Knight of the Palatine Order shall preside.  You the accused are charged with unlawfully entering the lands of the Realm, this illegal entry was made under arms and with malice, you have waged bloody war upon the people of the Realm, and engaged in theft, banditry, rape and enslavement of the free peoples of the Realm.  Under the laws of the Realm and it’s Articles of Unification I exercise the legal prerogative of the Realm empowering the Palatine Order to render summary justice in cases so grave and far from courts.”

He paused and let these words sink in for a moment as he saw the faces of the prisoners pale, and nods of approval from those who had so recently been prisoners themselves.  He held up the axe they had used to execute without trial or justice his own countrymen.  “As you are charged, so are you found guilty, the proof of your guilt is in the witnesses that stand here against you, both living and dead.  The law and freedom that you stripped from them is restored, and will be confirmed by my sentence.  You are all guilty, and the penalties for these crimes is well known and richly deserved.  Death.”

Reese strode to the enemy commander and kicked him in the chest, sprawling him on the ground, the axe rose and fell, the spike ay the foot of the shaft drove through the man’s chest, pinning him to the muddy ground.  “Execute the sentence,” he ordered, and listened to the sounds of swords drawn from scabbards.  His men struck swiftly and in the space of a few minutes the dead were heaped high.  Reese’s face was flat and expressionless, but inside he felt the full weight and magnitude of his order.  Never should one be forced to give such an order.  But the heaped dead was much smaller than that of their victims.  He stood alone for a short time, but then felt a hand on his leg and looked down into the bright green eyes of a little boy. 

His face was gaunt and cold, his clothing soaked.  Reese reached behind his back and slipped the regulation cape from the straps holding it to his belt and knelt as he wrapped it around the boy.  “Do you have anyone?” he asked quietly.

The boy gravely shook his head and pulled the warm wool closer about himself.

“We’ll see to you,” he promised.  “We’ll see you all.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:02:26 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2009, 12:53:37 AM »
Tribune Reese studied the fortifications carefully, noting the cloud he exhaled with every breath.  It was cold and getting colder.  Thousands of freed prisoners and less than three hundred fit men to protect them.  Fit soldiers,” he corrected himself as he noticed a woman with corporal’s stripes walk past in a Talmarii Militia uniform.  That’d take getting used to.  The dead horses of his command and the oxen of the Imperial supply depot were butchered and now roasted as his cooks, supplemented by their charges prepared the first meal many had seen in days, supplemented by supplies of the Imperial Army.  A third of his command was out scouting for the enemy, good news traveled fast, but bad news flew, and soon he’d be hip deep in a counterattack that his tired soldiers men and starved and exhausted people scrambled to put in order. 

Trenches widened and deepened, picks sometimes making only scratches in ground that was freezing even as they worked.  Others were piling stakes to present a sharpened hedge toward the enemy.  One encouraging report told him that he had nearly two hundred engineers among the released prisoners; they were directing the construction and moving engines into place, catapults and ballistae would help balance his numbers.  It took fewer to defend a fortified position than to take it, but he’d succeeded on luck and feeble fortifications designed only to contain prisoners.  He’d have to make do with trenches, stakes and banked dirt.

The supply depot was another source of relief.  He took down the tents and moved them to cover the pens, the people would be safer there, and the canvass shelter was better than open sky above them, they tended to this themselves as the soldiers were all gainfully employed elsewhere.  Huge bundles of arrows, crates of swords and shields, bales of imperial uniforms, barrels of food and even wine and beer.  There was also enough brigantine to outfit enough men to at least allow them the chance of standing to duty, many women were already stripping imperial insignia from the clothes to prevent confusion later.

Fate gave the 5th Army Scouts four days of harsh labor to prepare, then reports returned that a legion of heavy cavalry was on its way from the north, another of infantry from the west, and two legions of siege engineers from the south.  He had three hundred fully fit soldiers and twice that of sick and weakened to stand against four thousand, and his command was light cavalry, facing heavy assault troops.  It was a race, and the survival of Brescagne relied upon the Palatine winning that race.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:03:02 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2009, 03:32:29 AM »
It was a bold and decisive series of moves, days before Reese had led the scouts out General Cecil Bragg led thousands of dwarves down the face of the Talmar Escarpment, a few hundred feet straight down on a dark and moonless night.  By the next night fifty thousand occupied recaptured lands in the very center of the eastern border of Imperial occupied lands.  Mainly Dwarven mountain infantry and engineers.  Adding to the fear, each of the dwarves had two massive dwarven mastiffs, war dogs of fearful reputation.  This had forced the shift in enemy lines that allowed Reese and his battalion to slip through the lines and take Brescagne.

News of the capture of Brescagne was of secondary importance when it arrived at the Emperor’s headquarters, his problems were many-fold.  Bragg was attacking out from the center, thousands of dwarves and twice than many dogs moved boldly, even recklessly, in another night assault that started the war and crushed everything set before them.  Routed Imperial forces, many times the number of their foes fell back trying to rebuild their broken lines, but the dwarves fought all night, through the next day and into the night again before they too paused to consolidate their lines.  Bragg, a military historian, had created a strategy that would be studied by many that followed him.

In the north twenty thousand cavalry led the breakthrough, the infantry followed and relieved the long-besieged fortifications holding the approaches to Blood Canyon.  The Cavalry continued to exploit the breakthrough, spreading through the enemy’s rear and capturing or destroying thousands of supply wagons as the infantry began a slower relentless advance, forcing the northern Imperial flank toward the center, adding to the confusion and panic.

In the South the Palatine Order as a whole led the assault, twenty five thousand strong, all the finest and most decorated soldiers of the Realm, they obliterated a force twice their size and barely paused as they raced off to relieve Brescagne as thirty thousand more cavalry continued the assault against the shattered and demoralized southern flank.  Fifty thousand infantry followed them, a brutal hammer than pressed the flailing and uncoordinated enemy.

Two of the greatest men in Selnen history led the Palatine in their lightening assault.  Lord Denschlep Tigre VI, Baron of Selnendrin and commander of the Palatine Order led the First Corps while Galen Chaliese, himself over a thousand years old and the First of the Palatine of Selnendrin led the Second Corps in a blocking action to keep the enemy from the First Corps as they rode hard to Brescagne.

Tigre was an indomitable spirit, he would not falter or fail in any task.  Imperial formations, upon seeing the flags of the Palatine and his standard retreated without making contact, trying to move north to join with the center to consolidate the lines, they retreated right into the Second Corps, and the banner of Lord Galen Chaliese, and while they feared the Tigre, Galen’s name filled them with horror and ounce again retreat turned to rout.

While The Palatine made what was turning into a ride to glory, Lord Ramon Telbrantil, freshly promoted to Marshall of the Royal Armies of Selnhendrin, took command of the drive on the center, fresh forces pushed past the exhausted dwarves.  Marshall Messiese Chadnore, now Commander of the Fifth Army commanded the action in the North, and General Marcus Corrandon, second in command of the Fifth, exploited the breakthrough in the south to link with the Second Army.

Commanders on both sides strove to pull order from the mayhem of battle, but the task was easier for the attacking Fifth Army, though they faced five to one odds they held the initiative on every front, they pushed onward despite weather, exhaustion and losses to keep their enemy off-balance and flailing to recover.  In one stroke Ramon Telbrantil had shifted the course of an entire war.  But in Brescagne they didn’t know this, they were waiting grimly to face an enemy, determined to hold, this would be a stand to the last drop of their blood.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:03:26 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2009, 09:09:47 AM »
It was nearly dawn, and no one slept in Brescagne, the defenders manned the earth and wood “walls” though they were spread thin.  By Reese’s order every man, woman or child capable of bearing  arms did so now, even those in the walled enclosures that once served as their prisons.  Messengers, the craftiest and most devious troopers Sergeant Vandt could find were sent back along the route the Palatine would likely take to relieve them.  They’d better come soon, Reese thought the words he would never utter aloud.  He had his orders, and more importantly he had his responsibilities, thousands of them.

He stood atop the mayor’s house, his captured headquarters, and watched the advancing lines.  As he expected the they were concentrating toward the bridge that crossed the trench to the gate, they knew the layout of Brescagne, but they didn’t know he’d doubled the depth and width of the trench, and the size of the wall as well.  They also didn’t know that the bridge had been withdrawn inside the defenses.

“The idiots are sending up the cavalry,” Vandt scoffed.  “What good will that do?”

“They’ll scout us out and test the range of our defenses,” Reese said thoughtfully then sipped his steaming tea.  “Pass the word, we do not engage the cavalry.  They can’t jump the trench, and they can’t ride through it, we’ll let them have their look and wait to gut the infantry when they come forward.  We wait until the infantry is at half range, we’ll try and draw their engines in close enough to bleed them dry.”

As expected the cavalry ringed the city, raining down arrows which the defenders grudgingly weathered, they knew the reason why but there wasn’t a single line in the King’s Regulations and General Orders that said they had to like it.  One advantage they had was the preponderance of cavalry in the enemies order of battle.  They’d come forward with only half of their infantry and engineers rather than waiting to consolidate their strength.  Cavalry was the bane of infantry on open ground, but barring trickery such as they had used, it was useless against deep trenches and sharpened stakes.  It would take infantry and engineers to cross the trenches and break the defenses.

There was a pause as the cavalry made its report, then they resumed their advance.  “They still want the gate,” Reese observed.  “I think it’s time to taunt them a little.  Show them a little contempt.” He grinned, and the order went out and the captured flags were waved defiantly over the makeshift battlements as the men screamed and gestured defiantly and profanely.  Then the captured shields of the dead officers were hung over.  Soldiers have a surplus of pride, which worked for and against them, in this case the defiance served to goad them, needle their sensitive pride as here stood a challenge to their conquest, a mark against their pride and honor, a mark they would either remove or pay a grim price to an Emperor unforgiving of weakness or mistakes.

The order came and the archers advanced before the infantry, the engines rolled up behind the lines of foot.  They’d sweep the walls clear and then rush and swarm them.  As the arrows fell the defenders hunkered down and rode it out, relying on their officers and spotters to finally let them retaliate.  The Imperials advanced with caution but grew bolder as the barrage squelched all signs of life from the embankment.  The officers began to push them forward, they had to remove this threat to their rear, the Emperor himself had demanded it be done with all haste as this little spot could soon be a focal point in reconstituting their lines as the Selnens had them in full rout all along the western theater.  Those were orders that had life and death implications for the commanders.  The lines were closely packed, they could swallow this place up with numbers alone, so long as the men didn’t falter.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:03:53 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2009, 08:54:33 PM »
“They are ringed in, my Lord,” the scout reported.  It’s an archer’s battle now, they tried sending in the infantry but they left a line of dead fifty paces from their outer works, our lads are in a tight spot.”

Tigre nodded and absently rubbed his horses neck as he walked beside, they were resting their horses for the ride into Brescagne.  “Reese is a good man, he’ll hold them together.  He won’t need to for long.  How long until the Imperial’s reinforcements are up?”

“Their vanguard’ll be there before us, but not in time to deploy and join in the attack,” he reported.  “But the engineers’ll be pounding Brescagne before either side gets there.”

“You said the line of dead was at fifty paces?”

“Yes, my Lord.”

“Clever,” Tigre nodded.  “He’s drawing in their engines.  What has Reese for engines.”

“We couldn’t see,” he replied.  “He has high walls of embanked earth and timbers.”

Tigre nodded and ordered the scout to make the same report to Galen and the Second Corps.  He refined his strategy as he walked, he planned for everything but enemy survivors.



“Barricade the gate,” Reese ordered as a stone landed just short of it.  “Build up a rampart and if they rush the gate put pikes in place to hold them back.”  He studied the placement of the engines.  “They’re moving them up again, the archers will be back at it soon.”

“Garv,” Vandt pointed.  “Center left, bridging.”

Reese lifted his glass and studied the enemy and swore foul sulfurous oaths, with great enthusiasm.  “They’re coming,” he said tightly and glassed all points of the compass.  “We’re in the shite boyo, they’re getting desperate.”  He passed the glass to Vandt and turned to his signal corporal.  “Signal general action, all points.”

At the sound of the trumpets the archers rained death down upon the walls from all sides, under the shelter of the arrows hundreds moved forward.  “Signal the engineers to stand to, oil and arrow.”  He waited for them to close to one hundred paces and gave the order to “loose the wolf.”  Flaming casks and large bundles of arrows and javelins arched high into the air, they each had their ranges set for certain aim points, insuring a wide swath at different ranges.  The ballistae were shifted by winch and pulley up wooden ramps to the top of the wall, their javelins tore through the first and second ranks, the crews warded in the front and above by large shields held by nervous bearers, as the engineers cranked frantically to cock and reload.  Archers scrambled up to provide more cover, they aimed specifically at their opposing counterparts.  The catapults rained down fire and barb over the ranged archers and the engines moving forward, ugly gouts of flame burst along the lines, spraying over the packed ranks.

“Garv, they’re charging!”  Vandt shouted as on all sides the engineers rushed under long wooden bridges toward the trenches.

“Worse,” Reese said tightly.  “Their reinforcements are here, they’ll be in place in under an hour.”

Vandt looked around and laughed.  “More of them to feed the crows.”

Reese smiled and turned to the signalman.  “An extra rum ration for each crew that takes out an engine, or the bridges.”
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:04:16 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2009, 05:36:52 AM »
The men at the gates slumped to sit on the makeshift rampart, the third attack turned in under an hour and already they formed for another.  Reese leapt up to the rampart and looked over the battlement.  Ogres and Kirit-Zereg.  He stared grimly and contemplated his options.  The Zereg were the dwarves of the enemy, well in the greater part at least.  The Garesh were a mix of all races, the Zerig’s blood being more dwarven than the other strains.  They would be a problem, much as the dwarves on his side were to the Imperials, but Ogres were altogether another problem.  Nine feet tall and more than a thousand pounds each, clad head-to-toe in steel and armed with heavy hammers they would be directed at the gates itself.

Through judicious use of the healthier soldier freed from the pens he had one troop, fifty good, tough soldiers he’d held back for this, ready to jump in where they were pressed the hardest.  He’d put two squads here and hold the remaining thirty for emergencies, and didn’t doubt it would come.  He watched the men here at the gate down a ration of rum before washing it down with a pint of water each.  He grinned as a few urinated over the wall, that was the sort of spirit that raised his own.

“They’re coming,” one of the men observed.

Reese nodded and signaled two squads forward.  Rest as you can,” he told the rest, “fresh men will greet them this time, the rest of you freshen up quickly.”

He saw the furtive grins and hopped down lightly and watched the archers form up a dozen yards behind the gates, they’d shoot blind, directed by a sergeant on the walls.  Reese mounted the wall further down to watch, Vandt beside him and his Colors nearby.  The enemy advanced with long plank bridging to cross the trench.  They closed fast, trying to reduce their time under the arrows of the defenders.  First they had to brave the engines and the great gouts of flame that swiped away whole squads at a time.  The Imperial engineers were bringing up more engines to replace those destroyed and Reese looked down to see a few hundred dead, half-frozen meat in the mud.

Then began the archers, sheets of angry shafts darkened the skies above their enemy as the fell among them.  Reese ducked behind his own shield and felt an errant shaft from the enemy struck the boss of his own shield.  “They’re not stopping,” he said quietly.

“Stupid lumbering sods,” Vandt replied.  “Look at their cavalry.”

He looked over and saw that all the cavalry they could muster were deployed to the east and all of the infantry was approaching the trenches now.  “The Palatine are close,” Reese said thoughtfully.  “They’re trying to break through and use Brescagne as an anchor for their own defences.”

“They have less than a fifth the number of the Palatine and are trapped in the open,” Vandt added.  “We just need to hold.”

Reese looked to the planking dropped over the trench, less than a quarter of the bridging had made it this far.  He drew his sword and moved along the wall toward the fighting as his enemy swarmed over to meet him.  Easily a thousand this time, and he had scarcely a hundred to meet them.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:04:42 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 12:48:07 AM »
The deep thud of massive mauls battering the gate throbbed in Reese’s head; he hadn’t two consecutive hours of sleep in days and felt it dragging him down.  His hands checked over buckles as his orderly fussed over his armor; if he was going to die it would be in his best battle gear.  At least he’d force somebody to the trouble of cleaning his blood from it rather than capturing it useless from his packs.  The engineers were fighting a losing battle to reinforce the failing planks of the gates, even the hinges were bending out of shape now.

“They’re coming at all four sides now,” Vandt reported.  “Color Sergeant Tagan was killed at the rear wall, we’re almost out of officers and warrants now.”

Reese nodded and held out his hand.  “Your duty book.”

Bren looked at him oddly and took the small leather book from inside his arming jack.  Reese made a short annotation in it.  “You’re color sergeant now, hold the rear for me, I’m about to be balls deep in bastards in the front and I’d rather not be bled from the front and buggered in the rear.”

Vandt dropped his hand heavily on his old friend’s shoulder.  “At least when you die you join the order,” he sighed.  “Where I’ll not see you again.”

Reese sighed heavily.  “I’ll find you, they’ll need good scouts,” he assured him with dark humor.  “They’re almost far beyond too late.  We stand to the last man, at least while we fight we by time for the rest.  To the last man and the last drop of blood Color Sergeant.”

“To the last of everything, Tribune,” he assured him, then turned and sprinted toward the back side of town and the staggered defenses there.

“Sell yourself dearly,” Reese shouted, then smiled and laughed as he clapped the visor less helmet over his head.  “Smile you bastards, you’re going to make history today.  The last stand of the 5th Scouts.”  He turned to the color guard that stood around the colors.  “Build a fire, we’ll not leave a drum or a flag for the enemy to taunt our memories with.  “Bugler!  Sound last blood!  Let the bastards know we know what’s coming and we meet it with honor!  Burn the colors, and all men stand to duty, behind me lads, when I start swinging I don’t want to cut a friend in my wrath.”  There were grim smiles at that.  “We hold them here as long as we can, if we are broken withdraw to protect the people, form again at the inner bastion and hold to the last man.  Last blood!”

“Last blood!” The shouted as the flag of the Realm was again raised, now in flames to taunt the enemy, to let them know they had nothing left to fear in this world.

“Trumpeter, last blood, play it loud and as long as you may!”  The gates cracked hard and buckled inward, Reese drew his sword and swept off his muddy, bloodstained cloak, he wore the deep blue surcoat of a Knight of the Palatine Order over his blue enameled armor.  He kissed the hilt of his sword and raised it high as the gates swept aside and the ogres barreled through, still wielding the huge mauls.  He swept his sword down and the last of the archers mowed them down.  “I hope you’re watching lads,” he murmured to the Palatine that fell through the centuries.  “I’m coming with a damned fine story and I don’t want you to think I embellished.”

He reached deep within himself, to the place within him touched by the Star of Selnendrin when it created him Palatine, he called upon the Wrath, the rage against injustice, the fury for deaths unavenged, the contempt for those that trod on the soil of his nation, that shed its blood.  “I am Palatine,” he said through clenched teeth.  “Come to me and taste death!”

His first cut sheared the edge of a shield and smashed in the helmet behind it.  He twisted the blade free as he turned his body, twisting low as his bloody blade sheared the legs of another through the knees.  He rose up, chest to shield with another as his blade came up behind it, the point driving through the chin and twisting, he swept the standing body aside and drove a mailed fist into the visor of the man behind him.  He felt a sharp pain and glanced to the side and saw the legless man on the ground twisting a needle sharp poniard in a seam in his armor.  His fury was beyond pain, he raised his sword but small hands drove a hatchet into the upturned face.  Reese stepped forward to protect the boy he’d given his cloak when they’d freed Brascagne.  “Get back,” he said quickly and cut down another, the hilt of the knife still sticking from his side.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:05:03 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 01:30:31 AM »
A low ridge hid the First Corps of the Palatine Order from Brescagne, they were arrayed a mile wide and at Baron Tigre’s order they rode over the ridge, he could see the burning flag rise up the flagstaff and heard the haunting bugle calls.  “Last blood,” he said tightly, gauging the distance to the city through his glass before tucking it back into his saddle pouch.  Then he felt the tug at his heart, something… “Who commands in Brescagne?”

“Tribune Sir Garvin Reese, Knight of the Palatine Order,” one of his staff replied.

“He’s called the wrath,” Tigre’s face hardened.  “He expects to die with his entire command.”  He rose in his stirrups.  “Forward at the canter,” he ordered, and ten thousand horses increased their pace.  “Sound the Wrath,” He bellowed in a voice that was heard even in Brescagne, two miles away, then the drums rolled and the trumpets played ominously.  “Palatine, forward to Brescagne, we ride to free our people!  Charge lances!”  At his order a forest of fourteen foot lances rose up, then descended toward the enemy.

There is more than a title to the Knight Commander of the Palatine Order, the Baron of Selnendrin carried with him the might of the order, its strength, its skill and its fury.  As he raised the wrath with himself and it rose in every Palatine for miles in every direction.  Reese felt it within the city, it flowed from the person of Denschlep Tigre into his entire command, the horses drawing strength from their masters and the pace picked up as they crossed the desolate field.  “Vengeance!” Tigre roared and every voice rose with his and again the trumpets blared and the pace increased yet again, and at a half mile from the line forming to meet him came the order to charge, the colors of the Realm and the Order pointed toward the enemy and the thunder of their hooves shook the ground.



The ground at his feet was slippery with blood but his feet never lost their hold, his steel never stopped moving, bright beneath the crimson rivulets that flicked from the sword on every swing.  He felt the strength rise within him, the Palatine had come, he stood a chance after all.  His concern wasn’t for his own life, but the thousands of lives that he shielded with flesh, blood and steel on this grim ground.  Fewer were around him now, but he noticed a few fresh faces, fleeting glances as he moved from fallen opponents to those still coming forward.  They were the wounded consigned to the surgeons, even they answered the call to duty.

Behind him the surgeons worked furiously, crouched behind shields held for them by small boys as their older brothers joined soldiers from the pens that could scarcely walk advancing as a line of spears into the arrows of their enemies.  All of Brescagne would fight that day.



Color Sergeant Bren Vandt stood at the top of the wall, sword in one hand mace in the other, fighting to hold as hundred climbed each other to get to him.  There was pain everywhere in him, the knowledge of his death was upon him but he died in good company that day, there was a breakthrough somewhere and he and a few others were all that remained, surrounded and attacked from every side.  They fought in twos, guarding the backs of their battle partners.  So few now.  He’d started with thirty and six remained. 

“To the rear Sergeant!”

Bren looked back quickly and saw the black armor trimmed in silver and the glossy silver shield emblazoned with the dragon and skull of the Imperial Knights Invincible.  If he was to die then no better way to spend his life than to take one of Basdred’s elite with him.  “He’s my meat,” Vandt growled and strode out from the protection of the group to meet him.  The Invincible swung a hard blow toward his head, devious Bren caught the blade on his own and twisted his wrist hard, catching the blade in the cross guard and holding it immobile, the six-flanged mace crashing with a resounding din upon the shield as it moved, the Invincible brought the edge down hard and snapped Vandt’s sword off just above the hilt, the shield then swept and drove Bren back a few stumbling steps.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:05:34 AM by Lord Palatine »

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Re: The Bloody Axe
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2009, 02:14:48 AM »
The Imperial forces found themselves between hammer and anvil, their attack upon Brescagne had trapped them to that attack and little was left to place before the Palatine, not that General Gasharan felt he had any hope of stopping the bloody Palatine, a few of them was a disaster, a whole corps was devastation.  Then the trumpets brayed to the north and a second corps appeared, this time under the colors of Galen Chaliese, and he knew all was lost, as his men lifted him up to the walls he knew the battle was over, his only hope was to make their victory empty, if there was no one left to rescue he still won, after a fashion.  Now he looked over his shield at a lone sergeant, not even an officer, but it was a start.



Chaliese led his men in fast to the north wall, the main fighting was along the east and the gates and the western wall, a full dismounted legion now climbed the walls, aided by ropes tossed down by women and children, their terrified faces pale as they urged them to come faster, they were being slaughtered.



Tigre cared nothing for subtlety, he hadn’t the time for it, they pushed back the enemy with sword and lance, the bodies of the dead ground under the sharp hooves of their mounts as the hammer crushed them against the anvil.  The Baron himself led a dismounted legion through the gates, hacking down all they saw.  He saw the commander he’d come to save, the dead a grisly pile about him as he drove his sword into the guts of what would be his last opponent, the blood sprayed down the blade as he twisted it hard, the point emerged from the dead man’s back in a gout of blood and ground bone.

Reese had no voice left when Tigre reached him.  “Save them,” he pointed toward the pens where the people hid from the enemy, he turned and shambled toward the back wall, his sword dragging beside him as those few left followed as best they could.

Tigre pointed and ordered half to go to the relief of the pens as he and the rest followed Reese, Tigre hurried to catch him and two of his men moved to help Reese walk.  “You need a surgeon,” one said to him.

“Back wall, he croaked, “They broke through the south and flanked them.”

Tigre nodded and left at a trot, leading a relief force, they stopped short when they saw Bren toss aside his broken sword and charge his enemy, brandishing a mace.



“Don’t grin on my account you bastard,” Vandt’s own smile was wild with fury and bloodlust.  He charged forward his mace battering at his enemy as he cursed him with every blow.  “You… sheep… shagging… baby… killing… ghoul!”  His fury forced Gasharan to fall back, his shield absorbed the blows but it kept him from putting his sword into play.  The blows and curses continued, he was fighting a maniac!  No sane man could muster such fury.  He’d been in the Imperial Army for forty years and never heard swearing so eloquent, he could almost admire it if it wasn’t directed at him.

Six pounds of steel will hurt anything it comes in contact with, after a while, the shield buckled with the force of the blows, but then, after his opponent had begun to anticipate the pattern of his blows Bren changed up and reversed direction in mid stroke, leaving him open.  Vandt kicked with all that he was worth, the steel cap of his cavalry boot connecting solidly with Gasharan’s armored codpiece.  Steel or not when anyone takes a blow that solid in that area it has a pronounced effect.  Bren ignored the sword that pierced his thigh, the point struck bone then slid off and cut through the back of his thigh as Bren’s mace crashed down on Gasharan’s helmet.  One blow led to many and Bren didn’t stop even when the general fell, blood pouting from beneath the helmet.

Bren ripped the shield from his dead opponent and raised it high, his victory cry was a guttural sound of rage and triumph, he heard hundreds join him and staggered as he looked down to see friendly uniforms.  He lowered the shield to his side and went to take a step and then noticed his leg wasn’t responding.  “What a bloody nuisance,” he gasped between hard breaths.  “Bugger skewered me.”

“Serves you right,” Reese said hoarsely from the base of the wall.  “If your Mum heard all of that she’d do the other leg.”

Vandt smiled as the strength left him and he dropped on his good side to lay on top of the wall.  “Tribune,” he reached down and took his friend’s hand and squeezed it hard.  “I beg to report that we held the wall.”

End
« Last Edit: March 15, 2014, 01:05:59 AM by Lord Palatine »

 

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