Battle! (Dawn)Submitted by ridiculous at 2010-02-11 10:21:11 EST
Rating: 2.0 on 12 ratings (12 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
2nd Prelude: http://www.ubersite.com/m/124425
Sir Perth dismounted, handing the reigns and his helm to a waiting page he surveyed the field before him.
It was just after dawn now but the sky was still a dark grey as was typical for this country. Grey cold, foggy in the morning and in the lowlands no wind, that was to be expected. He looked across the field to the enemy and assessed them. They were not more than four or five hundred, no file to them and seemingly devoid of consistency. Some carried axes, others maces and swords. Mostly clad in mail or hardened leather they carried anything they could lay their hands on, a hide buckler or one of wood. He saw several kite shields though none with any discernable heraldry. There were also several standard bearers among them. A quick look at the flags hanging limply in the gloom told him they were signal banners and nothing more.
“Archers!” His bellow carried down the hill and was carried along the lines. The front ranks of swordsmen, pike men and axe men in unison stepped to the right allowing the archers from behind to move up. He waited for them to steady themselves.
“Ready!... Loose!” at his command the sky darkened as two hundred arrows simultaneously flew in a great arc raining death upon the enemy who attempted to shield themselves.
As soon as the sky was clear it was filled again with a return volley and the cries of the wounded and dying. Once the enemy’s arrows were midflight, as one, they charged.
Perth could see beyond the charging enemy, the dead they left behind in their rush. The archers awaited command as the enemy rapidly closed in.
“Here we go…” Mordarren said to no one in particular as he gripped his spear, raising it out of its rest and hoisting it over his head he yelled: “For the Queen! Charge!” A single kick sent his destrier leaping forward. Mordarren set the spear under his arm and aimed carefully for the shoulder of the first of many he would kill today.
As the horse closed with the closest man Mordarren smiled when he watched the unfortunates shield come up. His spear landed on the shields center, its blunted tip driving the shield back into the mans chest and spinning him around. He slumped to the ground unconscious and was trampled by the lancer behind. Mordarren didn’t see it, he was already past and steadying himself for his next victim.
He aimed the spear again, tucked under his arm he prepared for the impact as he had done a thousand times before. This time he caught a soldier distracted by another of the Lance. The spear landed low in his chest and lifted him from the ground as it penetrated the leather jerkin and slid into the mans abdomen, impaling him. The extra weight on the spear made Mordarren lower it, the point driving into the earth the spear bent and snapped in a spray of splintered wood and blood. Dropping the shattered haft he rode on, reaching for his long sword.
Perth watched the carnage erupting before him. He watched as the green grass turned red, men dead and dying cried. Begged for mercy, or for their mothers. All of them were drowned out by the ferocity of those still on their feet. He had already ordered the Pike men to engage the left flank and now saw a wall of bright steel pushing back Baraccus’ force. Mordarren’s Lance was half way through the enemy and were progressing well.
One of the enemy had managed to snatch the reigns of a lancer. Pulling him down Perth watched as the soldiers mace caved in the helm of the fallen. Blood swelled up through the visor. The Lancer twitched and then moved no more. The enemy soldier quickly mounted the horse and began to turn it only to receive a sword cleaving into his chest from the fallens comrade. The stroke lifted him from the horse and threw his body back into a mass of swords, shields and axes. A great arc of blood flew into the air and settled in a red mist.
Mordarren swung his sword in arcs from side to side as he pressed his horse onward. Cleaving head and helm, mail and arm he was covered in blood and his sword arm was going numb from the jarring impacts. He was tiring and every attacker was getting closer to him. He took a mace to his shield, fighting to keep his balance he reached over the top with his sword and drove it down into the hollow of his assailant’s neck. The ill fated soldier clutched at his throat as he dropped to his knees gurgling a scream.
He fought harder. Kicking his legs again his horse, also a veteran, plowed through a knot of soldiers. Mordarren could hear the snap of bones as the horse trampled those caught before the massive animal. Dispatching one last foot soldier who held his shield too low the Lance Commander broke free from the rear of Baraccus’ army.
Grinning his elation at having survived he turned to see the majority of his Lance, just behind him, also clearing the enemy. Turning back to the front he pushed his mount into a full gallop and prepared to begin the turn into a flanking assault.
The earth heaved up at him from beneath his horse.
“What in the name of God?” In an instant a great plume of fire and earth came up from the ground behind the enemy. Half of Mordarren’s Lance vanished in the smoke and flames. A terrible cry came from the enemy as half of their number spun and charged the remainder of The Lance, instantly trapping them between a wall of men and steel and a wall of fire. The panicked horses screamed in terror, many of them throwing their riders. The enemy swarmed over the Lance and those that had fallen were dead before they ever rose. Several of the scared animals bolted directly into the flames. The Knight Commander watched in horror as the remainder of the Lance was hacked apart.
Sir Perth watched the last of the Lance die, pierced by a sword between the cuisse and the tasset. He watched the victim pulled from his saddle and he realized: Mordarren… His oldest friend, was dead.
Baraccus smiled as he watched the remainder of the Horde set running across the field. Turning slowly in his saddle he lifted his armored hand.
Owen saw the Generals signal and turning to the standard bearer he nodded. The standard bearer began to frantically swing the blue banner. “Retreat! Pull back to the Woods!”
Owen turned his own mount and caught up with Baraccus, riding abreast they moved down the embankment and into the wood. “The witches burning powder worked.”
Baraccus snorted. “You doubted?”
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