Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain, Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 21

Sylvester awoke to a crick in his neck, and the bayings of wolves.

The crick in his neck, he realized was because he was presently lying at a very strange angle on a sack of rotting grain, which explained why he'd been having a dream he was back at his father's brewery, listening to the old man complain about taxes and the Prince.  The baying of wolves was more mysterious, but solved when a bunch of his fellows scrambled by, screaming about Nightfolk.  Somehow, Sylvester felt certain that his help would be needed.  And so he rose from his position, even as his joints creaked and ached, and went to see Sir Georges.

This took longer than he thought it would, because people were running about, and panicking, even as the Flagellants did their best to try and keep order.  He finally found his superior on horseback, staring at the forces that were gathering.  "Sir Sylvester," noted Sir Georges with a nod.  "Good to see you."  He shook his head.  "Probably the only good thing I've seen all day."

Sylvester nodded and glanced at the banners waving before them--three wolf's heads of different colors, and a grey eagle.  "Who are they, Sir?"

"If I'm remembering the tales correctly, these are the Kizak hordes and the Mongranes," muttered Sir Georges.  He spat.  "Curses.  They've sent their cavalry wing to bring a speedy end to the siege.  Seven alone know what sort of free hand they have."

Sylvester stared at the row upon row of horses, some of whom were clad in elaborate turbans and light armor, others who wore heavy plate with what appeared to be wings on the back.  It all looked very strange to him, and quite terrifying.  "So, what do we do, sir?"

"As I said earlier, our duty," muttered Sir Georges.  "I've sent for the armigers.  We've finally got something they can be useful at here.  It may not be much, but if they help us flank these men, we MIGHT be able to..."

Another Eremite approached the pair, rushing up the hill.  He took several deep breaths, staring at them unhappily.  "Sir Georges, Sir Georges, it's..."  He shook his head, and grabbed his knees as he tried to get his breathing under control.

"Is there some trouble with the armigers?" asked Sylvester quietly, with a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. 

His brother Eremite gave a bitter laugh.  "I'll say.  They've fled, sir.  Every man of them.  Ran with their horses and everything they could carry."  He frowned. "As I hear it, they  said something about 'scouting a retreat', the bas..."

"That's enough, Sir Aurelian," stated Sir Georges quietly, turning back to the Nightfolk assembling before them.

"So what now, sir?" asked Sylvester quietly.

"As I said, Sir Sylvester, we do our duty," answered the Acting Archon.  "We do our duty and die."

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