Battle! (2nd Prelude)Submitted by ridiculous at 2010-02-10 12:18:31 EST
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The sky was lightening now but the fog persisted. Sir Perth had returned to his command tent and was forming a basic strategy with Mordarren. The strategy was simple and time tested. Superior numbers would, as always, be the largest determining factor. The field would be theirs and with a minimum of casualties.
“First… archers, then horse, right through them and pikes from the left flank after the first charge. You will pass through and wheel right and charge again from the right flank hammering them against the anvil the pikes create. Swordsmen will support the horse and provide refuge for their mounts if they haven’t accepted terms yet. One final charge and the day should be ours.” The Knight Commander illustrated his ideas in the soft earth with a daggers point as Mordarren looked on. “They are most likely, poorly equipped but remember with light armor they will be faster and will not tire so quickly. It is imperative that you get through them quickly and do not let yourself get boxed in.
“You always give me the best fun.” Mordarren remarked with a smile.
“You were the one who was so fascinated with those smelly beasts that you volunteered to become a lancer.”
“No No, you have that all wrong. What I said was that you are a smelly beast and I wanted to be a lancer to make sure we were never in the same unit.”
“Well I can see how well that worked out.” Mordarren grinned and Perth continued. “I don’t need to tell you that your lance will be critical in this.”
“Tis true, I cannot expect you to win the battle, now can I?” His smile was becoming a grin.
Sir Perth sighed. “Mordarren, there is a time and a place. This is not it.” Mordarrens grin faded.
“I am sorry, m’lord.”
“To arms! To arms! They are taking the field!”
Perth & Mordarren exited the command tent to see the camp breaking around them. Their men, well trained and amply warned could have the baggage train filled and be ready to fight in fifteen minutes and were well on their way to proving it.
Sir Perth, now mounted and with an army behind him checked that his long sword would not stick in its scabbard and with Mordarren and the kings standard bearer alongside he slowly trotted out to midfield. It was protocol for generals to leave behind their swords when moving to parlay but Perth knew that when dealing with Baraccus, anything is possible. As they neared each other he noticed Baraccus had also declined to leave behind the massive bastard sword strapped to his back. Stopping their mounts two horse widths from one another Sir Perth lifted his visor and engaged him.
“Sir Baraccus. The king has issued a warrant for your arrest. Throw down your arms, order your men to abandon the field and surrender yourself now and no one need die today.” The words hung in the air for a moment before Baraccus replied. He did not lift his visor.
“William Perth. You have meddled in affairs that are not your own and annoyed me for the last time. Surrender your army and I shall permit them to live. Without immediate compliance we will slaughter you to a man.”
Perth laughed. “I thought I had instructed you on identifying when your situation is hopeless. We outnumber you, have better equipment, veteran soldiers and you’ve no cavalry. Do you really think that rabble behind you will die to protect you?”
Baraccus’ turned his mount and rode away in response.
“Well, that was pleasant.” Mordarren quipped as they turned their horses in unison and made to rejoin the army.
“Oh shut up.”
As they approached the neatly arrayed rank and file Mordarren galloped ahead removing his helm and shouting. “No terms!” The army shouted a deafening war cry, hungry for blood.
Sir Perth approached slowly, removing his helm and tossing it to the nearest footman he reigned in his horse at what he judged to be the center of the mass. He waited for silence then he spoke.
“Each of you knows why we are here today. Today we come to claim our due from the traitor Baraccus.” There were murmurs of agreement and a few curses at mention of the name. “Today we have come to let him and all those like him know what happens to traitors. That the peoples king will not suffer slight or injury.” There were shouts of agreement. “We have come to let them know that the Kings horde will visit death on any that would plot or act against the empire!” A great cry arose from the soldiers assembled. The Knight Commander waited for it to subside before continuing.
“You men had families and friends at Alderhold. Wives… children… mothers and brothers…” Throwing a thumb over his shoulder Perth continued his voice rising steadily. “Across that field are the butchers who burned your city. The barbarians! Who killed your fathers, brothers and sons. Who raped your mothers, your wives, your sisters and your daughters. Across that field are the men who brutalized your Queen, who stripped her bare and paraded her through the streets until her feet bled. Who made her watch as they raped and killed everyone they could find before they gutted her like a dog.” Again Sir Perth was forced to wait for the cries for vengeance to subside.
“The King has spoken! He has said death to all who oppose him.” He shouted at the horde. “He has said death to the murders of Alderhold! Now is the moment for your revenge! Now is the moment for your families! For the Queen! For Alderhold!” The army roared its approval and would have charged of its own accord if not for strong discipline. “Death smiles at you.” The last was nearly a whisper.
The army finished the motto in unison.
“Death smiles at all of us!”
Sir Perth reclaimed his helmet and steered his horse over to Mordarren who was smiling.
“OK, you were right, but I still think it was too dramatic.”
“They seemed to like it.” Perth smiled and donned his helm as he moved to the hill from the morning for a better vantage.