Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Siege of the White Mountain, (Volume 1: Raise the Black Banner)--Part 22

The great white walls of Montalban came into view that morning. Gerard had heard that the stone had been quarried from the mountain from the city had gotten its name--but he’d also heard that the city had originally had another name, and had become known as the White Mountain because of the those walls.

In the end, he felt it didn’t matter. He would be smashing through those walls soon enough. He stroked the neck of his horse, as he imagined taking it up the tower, and then riding it through the city’s streets, raining out death and judgment. It would be grand. But for now, he would have to wait, as they went through the long, dull monotony of a siege.

Perhaps they’ll break before we even have to do that, he thought. After all, how well have the Free Cities ever done, without the Leonais to back them up?

“Feeling excited?” said Gilbert de Ruisseau, smiling on his younger fellow.

“Of course n…” began Gerard, then sighed. “Yes.”

“No shame in that,” said the older armiger. “I’m still feeling the blood rise and I’ve been a lot more wars then you, lad.” He shook his head. “For this one especially. Not just a simple battle against a bunch of bandits, or a territorial dispute with the Easterners. This is the real one. The Great War, come again. Light against Darkness.”

Gerard nodded, and considered what to say when a noise intruded, at first rather faintly. But then it grew very loud, and Gerard had to cover his ears to keep it out. It sounded like the flapping of great wings, with an additional sound, that of peals of thunder. “Up above!” shouted Gilbert. Gerard looked up and saw it--a group of evil-looking winged beasts, with riders on them and another, even stranger sight--a woman, flying a mortar though the air, her reddish-gold hair streaming wildly behind her.

“The Dark Lords!” shouted Gerard. “The Dark Lords have come.” As he watched, the group flew ahead, and landed on the walls of Montalban. One of the winged beasts gave out a loud cry, and then they vanished from sight, retreating into the city.

Gerard stared after them, still trying to process what he’d just said. Gilbert laughed. “See! Like I said, the Great War! The Great War at last!”

Gerard nodded.

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