GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE: Part 7 - To the Last Jun 10, 2017 1:49:36 GMT -8 AK_Brickster, Sir Caelan Munro, and 3 more like this
Post by Ayrlego on Jun 10, 2017 1:49:36 GMT -8
NEW GLOBAL STORYLINE UPDATE, continued from Part 6 :The Battle of Fýrdraca
———— ~ A Path We Were Destined to Follow, Part 7: To The Last ~ ————
Story by Jayden & Moira and Sir Caelan Munro
Their advance had slowed. The initial push had been brutal but effective. Spurred on by Prince Mark’s determined charge, the combined armies of Garheim and Loreos had crossed the river under withering fire and were now engaged with the enemies. This was quickly proving disastrous. The elephants were the first across and buckled the defenders line in three places, however a counter charge from the Outland war-beasts had slowed the fighting to a bloody stand-still. The lightly armored Loreesi pikemen followed suit. They had been forced to cast-aside their unwieldy polearms in order to cross the rushing water and were struggling against against the heavy infantry occupying the opposite bank. The majority of the Garhim forces had been kept in reserve as they had been the last to arrive and knew better than to fill the narrow crossing with any more bodies.
Now, with Prince Mark nowhere to be found and reports that Sir Thomas had been felled in the initial ambush, something dawned on him. That meant...
“Stendahl!” Ingvar Stendahl turned sharply to face the approaching soldier, “Commander Stendahl! The assault is failing, we need orders sir!”
Ingvar turned to look back at his restless Garhim before returning his gaze to the man in front of him. Upon closer inspection Ingvar noticed something, the knight before him wasn’t of southern Garheim, his heraldry was awash with gold and crimson, not blue. “Why do you ask me for orders whelp?” He barked in response. The man started to respond but Ingvar cut him off, “Bah! I know what it means…”
Ingvar gazed out at the battlefield before him, their forces had barely cut a foothold into the enemy position opposite the river and now that position was overrun by the vicious outlaw mercenaries. As Stendahl watched, a group of scout snipers surrounded and brought down the last terrified elephant. Its death wail shook even him, and at that, their forces fully broke.
Commander Stendahl’s eyes widened. He turned back to the knight, “Quickly, rally any you can. Bring them to me.” He then looked to his second, “Take the Commandos into the river, spread out and cut down any that give chase! When the last man reaches our bank, pull your forces back to me.” At that moment a Loreesi archer stumbled mere feet from the bank. In a flash, a goblin set upon him, tearing at his face and neck with filed teeth and sharpened nails. The archer fought back doggedly but the goblin forced his head under the shallow water. As the last bubbles broke the surface, a Grimfell Commando dragged the archer free of the goblin, and the last thing the outlaw saw was the flash of Stendahl’s axe. With that Commander Stendahl raised his axe into the air and bellowed to the shield wall forming behind him, “With me! We hold to the last!”
"To the Last!" by Jayden & Moira
For over an hour the Outlaws and Lenfels ground away at Stendahl’s position. After the initial counter charge was stopped, the Loreesi attempted to reform to no avail. Too many had fallen and not enough Garhim were present to help refill the ranks. Realizing the situation was hopeless, Stendahl ordered the majority of his force to retreat with the Loreesi to the coast. On that muddy riverbank, Ingvar Stendahl held with a contingent of less than a hundred men against all odds. They suffered through volley after volley of arrows until…
“Shields up!” Stendahl bellowed as the sky darkened once more. At this point the Outlaws simply held back while the Lenfel archers rained hell from the sky on their wavering opponents. Pfft! Thunk! Thhft! Fft! The mud and dead around them echoed the impact of projectiles missing their mark. “Is that the best you’ve got?” The pin-cushion force called across the river, “Again!” They
cried, but an important voice was absent from their determined choir. Stendahl stood silent in their center, even those closest to him had trouble comprehending what had happened. The shaft of an arrow was barely visible protruding from the tangled mess of his beard, buried almost to the fletching in his torso. Stendahl’s eyes darkened, his jaw set. He took one uncertain step, then a
second, and then fell to one knee. His lips parted somewhere deep beneath his beard and blood pooled forth. He slumped over to one side and then was no more.
For one terrifying moment the battlefield was silent and then as if ushered forth by the spirits of those who had already fallen around them, the tiny force charged. One or two of them screamed Stendahl’s name, a few were as silent as the fallen themselves, but most let out gut-wrenching wails of anguish as the terrible calamity of this day finally became evident. The unintelligible screams drowned out the twang of bow strings as a first, then a second, then a third volley of arrows poured into the on-comers. The final volley had no arch; the archers cast forward, for some, the fourth or fifth arrow to pierce their bodies. The last man to fall wasn’t Garhim. A Loreesi knight, the same who had called on Stendahl for orders, was the last man to fall that day. And he muttered, as life escaped his body, “T-to... the… last…”
Three hours later…
Hans Zarkan stood frowning at the collection of wounded and defeated Loreesi and Garhim who had been corralled into the field before the old tower by his own victorious Emerald Wolves. They were the last of the bunch left alive, between three and four hundred soldiers; some dazed, many sullen, a few visibly angry, most bleeding, and more than one anxious as to what would happen next. They had fought valiantly, with no sign of cowardice, and the last bunch of Men from the North had fought to the last man, successfully preventing the allied Lenfels and Outlaws from pursuing the retreating Garhim. As a result, the victory was both costly and for the Lenfels, left unfinished. A victory, yes, but with so many Garhim getting away, how long would the victory last?
“These wounded are inconvenient,” he muttered, staring angrily at them. The darkest of men, his stare was enough to make most others wither away, even his own lieutenant, Alwyn.
Standing next to him, Baron Locklear, leader of the Outlaw factions which had fought at Fýrdraca, stated casually, “I’ll have my lads off them for you then. A copper a head, shall we say?”
“What?! Are you not satisfied with the number of dead today?”
“You said they were an inconvenience. We Outlaws know how to deal with inconveniences…”
Zarkan was beginning to think they never should have agreed to terms. First, Locklear takes all the treasure from the temple for his Outlaws’ participation as his fee, and now this. “I meant the wounded will be a challenge to keep alive long enough to get some ransom from their relatives.”
“Oh…your problem then,” Locklear concluded and walked off with his staff.
Lieutenant Alwyn just shrugged.
Glaring at his charges, Zarkan suddenly bellowed at them, “Now listen up you miserable lot, we are going to ransom you off to whomever wants you, one hundred Draken per officer, twenty per sergeant, ten per archer and five for you lowly scum of soldiery. And you, your nobles or your families better pay up or you get this!” He suddenly drew his own brutal black sword, having recovered it near the river where Mark of Falworth was forced to drop it. Holding it up for them to see, he boomed, “And if no one pays for you, you will pay with your own blood!”
Alwyn visibly grimaced. When Zarkan glanced at him he objected, "That’s a bit dark sir — even for you…” His reward was to be grabbed by the scruff of the neck and dragged out of earshot range.
“You dolt, they won’t pay if they aren’t scared!” Zarkan hissed into his ear. “We’ve lost so much on this venture, do you suppose we did it just for army-wages? In order to make our ransom money, we must make them feel the fear.”
Alwyn got it now and turned back toward their prisoners, swinging his own sword wildly. “Ahhhhh ‘at’s right! You all pay up or you’re dead!!” …but his acting wasn’t exactly play-worthy.
Zarkan suddenly turned away so they could not see him, mumbling, “Don’t kill him….bad form to kill one of your lieutenants in front of your own men…self-control….”
Across the battlefield on the other side of the river, Corporal Graeme Blair stood silently alone, exhausted, pensive, feeling outside himself. He had lived through his first real battle. Before this day he had fought in half-a-dozen skirmishes, even some where he had witnessed people die. But this….this was nothing like he had expected. No wonder why the veterans never spoke of battles very fondly.
Like a lost child, he had returned to the location of his last clear memory — the place where he had taken down his first kill at this Battle of Fýrdraca. He stood looking down at the body of the young Loreesi noble, a man cut down in his prime. And he had not even been Blaire’s real target.
Hearing some noise behind him and assuming it was the detailers coming to retrieve fallen Lenfels, he asked to no one in particular, “Does anyone know who this man was?” He was surprised out of his stupor by the sound of a woman’s voice.
But it wasn’t a soft, lady-like intonation. The voice was direct and all-business. “Sir Thomas of Torith, I believe.”
Blaire glanced over at her and the sight made him grab the hilt of his sword in alarm. She was in her mid-twenties, dressed in a dark green cloak and armed better than he was. “Who are you?!” he demanded.
“Relax. I’m a Lenfel just like you. And the name’s Skye,” the blonde girl said, reaching down and searching Sir Thomas quickly, snatching up a pouch from his vest.
“You’re a thief?!” he asked indignantly.
“Worse,” she mumbled, pulling papers out of the pouch and rapidly reading them, now very pleased. Holding up one in particular so that he could see it, she flashed a grin, “Battle plans! — I’m a spy, if you are wondering. It’s how I knew who this fellow is — was. Except one of you Scout Snipers got to him first. You lot have all the fun.”
Blaire considered. “If you knew of him, was he a good man?” he asked, hoping that he wasn’t. No such luck.
“Spotless reputation. One of the best of them, really. See you around Sniper,” she added, walking off towards the headquarters tent.
This would not help Blaire sleep that night. He sighed deeply, and decided on a final gesture. He reached down and plucked a handful of colorful red & gold flowers which were growing nearby. Then he placed them quietly on the fallen warrior’s chest, and silently walked away.