Thaen spit a long stream of black Tabac juice, it fell to the frozen ground steaming. Sunlight broke over the eastern rim of the valley. Evergreens, majestic in their coat of green, covered with snow were slowly illuminated.
Smoke rose from the fires in the Donnthral's encampment below. A thousand hide covered tents sprawled across the valley floor. Thaen gripped his sword in anticipation. Bloody barbarians. They would die this day.
"Ser." A voice behind Thaen stirred him from his survey.
"The units are mounted, waiting your word."
"Second company in position?"
"Give the signal."
Kaes moved away. A silent ripple passed through his regiments. Five hundred mounted Royal Falcons moved to the rim of the valley. Thaen raised his hand, spat once more, dropped his hand and the world erupted.
April 10th, 2006, 10:42 PM
Incredibly, Donnthral's encampment slumbered on as the mounted riders rode down on it, growing ever closer as they tried to trample the early morning fog down - never seeing the eyes that stared out from the edges of the forest around the camp.
"Civilized, eh?" the grizzled grey-beared warrior grimaced, watching the troops riding towards their doom. "Thinks we're blind and stupid."
"Donnthral, what have you done?" Mya asked. She gripped her sword impatiently.
He nodded with his chin. "The outer ring of tents hide horse pits. When they try to ride down them down, they'll fall on the spikes. The others will stop - and that's when my archers fire. We're going to eat them alive!"
"He's got more men, Donnthral!"
"So do I, Mya! So do I."
April 10th, 2006, 11:07 PM
The battle cries of the Royal Falcons cascaded down the valley. The high pitched shrieks rang out along with the scrape of metal drawn from scabbard, the rattle of plate and chain armour, and the thunder of two thousand hooves pounding the brittle rock of the slope.
On the right flank the royal archers ignited the pitch and and tar on their arrowheads. The archery masters barked out the commands.
They knocked the arrows to their bowstrings. Three hundred of the king's finest, all raised from birth to be part of the single deadliest weapon known to the realm of man.
The one-hundred pound draw weight strained the yew of the bows. The wood squeaked and stretched, gathering the energy of a roaring bonfire and channelling it by the magic of man into three hundred points of light. The archers took aim, adjusting for the gentle breeze. And they held it. Perfect discipline. These were Thaen's men.
A hail of fire came down onto the tents of the barbarian camp. The unsuspecting vermine still asleep from their celebrations into the night. The fools hadn't even posted a guard, not even a small watch.
They deserve to die, if for lack of discipline alone, Thaen thought. As the archery masters repeated the drill to get in another volley, as the crude fur tents and crude wagons and lean-to shelters took flame, Thaen sipped the last swig of his tabac juice, swishing the gritty liquid through his teeth. In the excitment, he itched to be out there, leading the charge, but he wasn't stupid either. There were a thousand young knights itching to charge into combat and earn fortune for their names and houses. Thousands more would follow them. The true conqueror just points them in the right direction.
He climbed onto his mount, a black warhorse with silver plated armour. On its forhead, where some men spike the the armour with the horn of a unicorn, stood fashioned a falcon, its wings swept back in a dive, its beak cutting through the air, ready to tear into its prey. Fine crimson fabric draped out underneath the animal's polished barding. From atop the horse he could watch his complete and total victory conclude - a single perfect stroke.
He expected some of the barbarians to rise from their tents. The fabric was bruning. There should have been shouts of panic by now. His archers stopped loosing their arrows as the the cavalry crossed into the camp. The Royal Falcons, swept into the tent city, but rather than the clash of steel, Thaen heard only the empty whoosh of air and the random cracks of the fire.
"Kaes!" he beaconed his squire. "Where in the seven hells are they?"
Kaes too was atop a similar, although less elabourately armoured warhorse. The young man eased his mount closer to the rim. "I'm not sure, Ser," he said, pronouncing the word Sir with his odd Martinian accent.
There must have been a thousand of them down there. They were camped in a valley. There was no where for them to have gone. He'd had his scouts watch them through the night. But they were gone, none-the-less.
April 10th, 2006, 11:11 PM
Curse the pre-emptive post! I thought I had something there. Serves me right for procrastinating on my own writing to do something else.
April 11th, 2006, 12:56 AM
Donnthral smiled, the right side of his face contorting oddly where the scar tissue pulled it into more of a grimace. He screamed, "for Valen!".
The burning tents fell apart. Rude bridges of logs strapped together with leather were thrown over a dry moat that almost completely surrounded the barbarian encampment.
More men than Thaen could hope to count rushed out from tents further in. A hissing sound filled the air as a storm of arrows filled the sky. The sun fully broke over the ridge and Thaen sent prayers to any Gods listening. Suddenly the snow covered trees didn't look so peaceful.
Screaming from his own archers contrasted with the shrieks and moans from men dying in the pit below.
"Falcons, to me! Form rank, we have to get across that moat. Archers, pin them down, now!"
In a desperate rush they stormed the moat.
Donnthrall would never understand platemail. Pretty enough, and sure it gave you protection but it made you slow. "Borro, get your spearmen to the bridges, recieve charge!"
"Aye!" Two hundred spearmen dug in, just inside the moat.
A screaming of horses followed the keening of metal. Fifty Falcons fell. Donnthrall saw the leader in his armor decorated with falcons leap off his horse. He narrowly evaded the pit, teetering on the edge before cutting down a spearman and pressing further into the camp.
"That's right, come to me you pompous fool." Donnthrall didn't even have to issue a command, two hundred beserk axemen followed him into the fray.
April 5th, 2008, 11:21 AM
Donnthral stood, unsure of the sight before him. So many enemies - where had they been just minutes ago? He had little time to ponder his fate, though, as his head was jerked swiftly backwards by the force of an arrow entering into his right eye, and then the soft brain beyond. While he had scant seconds to contemplate the gathering darkness, and then the approach of the bright, shining light he had hoped for - he realized that *someone*, someone was killing collaborative heroes on this forum. Heroic epics were dying......and he could not prevent it....