[RP Episode] The Flames of Change


#21

Redar, seeing the host between him and his city, reformed, and moved to intercept the flanking force that was behind him, hoping to cut his way through and retreat to the Capitol, and the safety of the royal army.

But behind Redar, Redmont was besieged.


#22

Not long after, the raid party in pursuit of Redar came in to view around the hillside and came to a full stop as they spotted him. Their leader quickly grasped his horn, and blew it twice, hard. A scout appeared atop a hill overlooking the both of them, and was about to do the same, but at the moment one of Redar’s scouts appeared in to view and began charging him, and the elven scout had to reconsider to switch and grab his sword instead.

With the elven scout preoccupied with his opponent, there was no one else to signal the larger host of horsemen where to go. The raiding party was all alone, and was half a mind to turn around and flee, when their leader took it upon himself to signal the larger army personally, and began pushing his horse up the hillside as fast as he could.


#23

After a moment’s pause, as the knights commanding the rearguard were taken somewhat by surprise by the sudden appearance of the several hundred hostile opponents, who were grouped a few hundred yards away, the Vahans snapped orders. While they arrival of the horde’s detachment had been surprising, the Redar troops had known that there were foes all about them, and were prepared to fight at a moment’s notice.

Thirty seconds later, and a wave of armored knights swept away from the rearguard of Lord Redar’s army, the sun gleaming off their lances and armor. The ground shook beneath the thunder of their hooves, as they quickly gained speed, and were soon hurtling towards the lightly armored foreigners at a full gallop. There was no room for them to fall back, or move to either side, as the hills prevented them from quickly escaping. Meanwhile, the lone duel on the top of the hill continued, and Redar’s infantry picked up their pace and continued marching as fast as possible away from the enemy horsemen.


#24

The few hundred raiders swiftly equipped their bows and began firing at the charging knights.

The raider’s leader meanwhile, just barely managed to make it atop the hill with his horse, just as the enemy infantry began making their way out of the area, and blew his horn as hard as he could. The army of several thousand horsemen was already in the area, as they heard the feint echoing of his first try in the valley, but didn’t know where exactly to go, but now they did. The army appeared just over the horizon, and the raid leader grinned in satisfied accomplishment, until an enemy scout began coming his way.

This was the same scout that prevented the elven scout from blowing his horn. It seems the elf lost, and now the brave soul was going to make an attempt on the raid leader’s life as well. This elf, however, simply pulled out his bow and arrow, and shot him off his horse.


#25

The arrows began falling amongst the charging knights, and two dozen or so toppled from their saddles or were catapulted forward as their horses died, forcing those behind to swerve to avoid the mayhem. The formation began to lose it’s shape, but those who did make it reformed after the volley, and crashed right through the line of horse archers. Their momentum and weight of their armor combined behind their lance points, and the heavily armored cavalry cut a swath clean through the line of lighter hordesmen. After the initial attack slowed, they dropped their lances, drew their swords, axes, and maces, and began laying about their with a fierce ferocity. In such a melee, their armor and shields, and heavier weapons, took a tremendous toll on their opponents, who had difficult blocking strikes from longswords, battleaxes, flails.

At the head of his remaining knights and infantry, Lord Redar heard the horn blast, and deduced that it was a call for reinforcements. Moving swiftly, he formed his infantry up on a hill, shields in front, spears behind, and archers in the center, with his remaining knights formed around him, ready to burst out from behind the shieldwall. The knights already engaged began cutting their way out of their carnage at the foot of the hill, to regroup behind the shields, but the odds of them all returning were slim. The enemy had bows.


#26

The main army detachment appeared over the neighbouring hillside, and saw the Vahns gathered atop their opposite hill, completely encircling it half way to the top, shields and spears on all sides, knights and arches within. It were a fortress of men, most of which were heavily armoured.

The leader of the smaller raid party regrouped with the commanding warlord of the warband, and quickly came to a plan. They rode swiftly along the hillsides surrounding the Vahns, but never riding forward to attack them. They remembered the last time they tried attacking these armoured men head on, and the costs they suffered. They stayed out of range, and took defensive positions of their own on surrounding hills, and held their spot. Meanwhile, a messenger was dispatched to the main host for reinforcements.

Be it a fortress of either stone or men, it can be starved out. While the Vahns were there, trapped, they could observe the siege of Redmont in the distance.

The attack on Redmont had already begun, same tactic as before. The horsemen rode in and peeled away any defenders or other stragglers in the immediate area before opening fire on the archers atop the city walls. The defenders, of course, returned fire and managed to land shots skilfully. Elven infantry as well as their human underlings were beginning their charge on the walls.


#27

Catapults, trebuchets, and the defenders rained rocks, oil, arrows, and spears down upon their assailants. Hundreds fell, as with no cover other than their shields, boulders the size of cattle and spears the height of men swept through their ranks. Those who managed to get ladders up, and by some chance were not toppled to their deaths, were cut to pieces the moment they reached the summit. The defenders alternated their warriors, and despite their losses hurled by wave after wave of troops. Beyond foot of the wall, bodies, corpses, burning elves and screaming men lay in heaps, while atop the wall itself the wounded were dragged aside and the dead hauled into a pile in the courtyard. Any fire arrows launched by the attackers were quenched by buckets of water from the wells and spring inside the fortress. Redmont had fallen only four times to assault, and twice it had required the legions of the Mendranion empires to spend several months building siege weapons and tunneling.


#28

The battle raged as the attackers struggled to make any progress to breach the city poised atop a hill. With no time to properly besiege the city and build siege weapons of their own, the elves decided to employ a more drastic and dangerous method to overcome the city’s defensive walls.

A mage was brought forward, in chains. They did not agree to this, and his comrades failed to convince him of his necessary sacrifice. ‘‘No! I’m not strong enough!’’ he would plea, but the warlord, who was an old, bitter, and war sworn elf would have none of it. ‘‘Your sacrifice will be remembered in the coming empire.’’ he would reply in a grim voice, but it did not help to comfort him one bit, for he would not live to see it himself. The horde had a greater purpose and end goal that only the highest elven warlords knew, and were willing to sacrifice anything for it. They did not wish to die in this foreign land because they could not climb a wall. So instead, they would shatter it.

The mage was brought before the city, out of range of their archers. He was bound by chains and escorted by guards on both sides, followed by acolytes in dark robes. The acolytes spread out around the mage and began chanting in ancient elvish as the mage mage began to slowly lift from the ground. The mage’s eyes grew green with intensity as power built within him, and at its peak, just before it burns outwards violently, the acolytes directed the energy flow towards the city’s walls. The proceeding bolt of energy that busted from the mage took his life, the lives of the acolytes, and the few thousand of men between them and the wall before it collided with it, draining the lives of any defenders poised atop of it as it used their life essence as fuel, before it seemingly yanked out an entire section of the wall in a massive explosion, leaving a wide gap for the invaders to use.

The attackers however, or those who were to the sides of the event who did not die, stood there in awe and horror for a moment as the dust settled and the gap came in to view. Then, one soul warrior rose his weapon and roared with approval, with the rest following suit, and began surging through the wall.


#29

There was a moment’s silence, as the thousands of elves and bandits rushed forward into the breach , then a answering roar echoed from the inside of the fortress. A volley of arrows raced out of the gap, burying themselves in the front rank of the charging dismounted riders.

As the next rank neared the gap, and began clambering through it, they saw a giant of a man standing in the courtyard behind it. Behind him, a wall of shields and closed spears pointed forward.

The mighty mountain of a man was armored all in blue, white, and steel, with gigantic silver wings curving away from his helmet and feather of eagles decorating them further, adding a foot and a half to his height. In his hand he was slowly spinning a giant double bladed axe like a toy, it’s weight a feather in his palms. He held the weapon out towards the oncoming attackers.

”FENAND AND SAGANOS!!”

With a roar, he leaped forward, running full tilt toward the attackers that jumped to meet him. Behind the SwanKnight, the spear and and shield bearing soldiers formed a wedge and joined him.

The two lines met with a roar, and the Vahans turned into literal demons, who fought with no regard for their own safety. They fought with sword, axe, spear. They killed with hands, feet, and fangs. Their ferocity forex the attackers back OUT the wall, and they began moving down the slope, killing as they went. And above the tumult, the Knight began to sing.

His voice rang out, firm and strong like a indomitable strength. His men rallied around that voice, and it gave them courage. They sang as they fought, they died as they sang. It made no difference. They slaughtered, their blades drinking deep, and it was good, for Saganos was with them, even unto death.


#30

And now that the enemy was out in the open again, they were easy prey for mounter archers. Infantry outnumbering them ten to one were found on all their sides, they fell back as they were pushed from the breach, but as they were weakened by arrow fire, they pushed back in with renewed vigour. The undisciplined tribesmen and bandits would fall easily enough, and the Vahns were seemingly lost in the glorious slaughter, until one of them was suddenly cut clean in half. Elven Samurai with katanas as sharp to cut a feather by merely dropping it upon its blade, it cut clean through the soldier’s armour, leaving only a tub of blood and flesh behind. They pushed forward, step by step, swing after swing, staring down their next opponent through their demonic like masks as they cut down their last.


#31

The battlemadness had them in it’s grip, and they fought until death. Behind the dwindling group, the sounds of a city being sacked filled the air, while the knight’s companions gradually collapsed.

He rested upon his axe, surrounded by a sea of foes. He was a awash from to foot in blood, covered in wounds, and the feathers were missing from his helm, but he seemed to pay it no mind. He called out to the watching elven warriors.

”You fight well. Who is there among you that would end my life?” Blood was trickling off of the corner of his mouth.


#32

The troops surrounded him in a half circle like a wall of angry demons, staring at him though their darkened masks of spiky teeth. Then, they began to make way for another of their own to pass. Their warlord approached, unmasked, and very unhappy. His long white hair fluttered gently with the winds of the altitude, outside the walls, and his pointy ears breached though them to be three times the length of a human’s. His grim scarred face made something akin to a smirk, before he pulled out his sword from his side, kicked away the axe the man was supporting himself on, and before he could collapse, lunged forward and pierced his heart. They stood there for a moment, as the old elf watched the man gawk as his life faded away in his eyes, before he pulled his blade back out again, and the man fell to his knees and was left sat upright.

All around them, warriors still surged in to the city, where screams of panicked townsfolk echoed and fires burned brightly as night was slowly beginning to set in. And from a distance, Redar watched with his men and knew, Redmont had fallen.


#33

“It will be our turn next. And I doubt we will last as long as they did.” He gazed about the hilltop, looking at the surrounding forces. “We’ll punch our way out.” Redar decided.

He once again reformed his units, and began marching a line of infantry forward, aiming directly west. Behind the line of footsoldiers walked the longbowmen, arrows knocked and ready to annihilate any elf in range. Behind the archers, another line of infantry, more archers, and then the knights in the rearguard. Redar intended to use his cavalry as a stalling force, if any army came up behind him, the cavalry could drive them back sufficiently long enough to allow the infantry to set up a another defensive position. He also dispatched 20 men, on the fastest mounts that he could find, wearing dull rainment, to try and reach the King with word of the goings on.


#34

As Redar’s men began re-organising, the elves encircling their position sprung to attention. Their bows at the ready, they saw the Vahns march westwards, and as they began to descend from the hill, the elves formerly directly behind him and now out of their sight, began leaving their own position to ascend Redar’s hill, and overlooked Redar and his men in front of them. Around the sides of the hill, elven cavalry bided their time for the archers to get in to position, and unleashed a storm of arrows upon the enemy, from both their front and his back.


#35

Redar had anticipated this. His men raised their shields, and continued moving, while his own archers let loose accurate return volleys. The cavalry shifted to the center of the formation, the second line of archers behind them, and the infantry were now last. The Vahan longbows had greater velocity than the shorter weapons of elves, and so were just as effective firing up hill as they were firing down. The archers concentrated their shots on the elves behind them, discouraging pursuit.

They left the enemies directly in front of them relatively unmolested for a reason. When they began moving up the slope of the first hill in front of them, the Vahan infantry roared a challenge, and began charging up the hill. Men at arms, and those knights who had been unhorsed, wore chainmail, occasionally plate armor, bore broad shields, axes, maces, swords, and spears, providing them a major boost in close quarters against the lightly armored warbands.


#36

The leader of the warband quickly realised the futility of any assault. He grabbed his horn, and sounded a retreat. The charging Vahn troops were faced with elves turning around and riding off.


#37

Redar breathed a sigh of relief, while his men both mourned the destruction of their city and rejoiced at their own survival and escapement from the trap… He reformed his men into a marching column, with the rearguard still in formation, threw out screening troops of those few horsemen he had who carried bows or javelins, and sent a force of fifty riders on ahead to find the King, and warn him.

Grandon Redar was lord of Redmont no more, and none of his troops had homes. But they did have their swords, and their lives. He led his men off into the distance, while his outriders occassionally had brushes with the elves that were now farther and farther behind them. After a day or so of putting distance between them and the horde, he dispatched horsemen in all directions, ordering the villagers they found to join up with his column, and their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. The rest would be burned, salt thrown in the wells, and the houses set afire. Redar would leave a wasteland behind him, though it likewise left a sore taste in his mouth.


#38

The next day, the city of Redmont was booming with life. The horde had claimed it for itself, and bands of elves patrol the streets. The sound of smiths repairing and forging weapons echoed through the city, … mostly those worked by the elves. And the market teemed with life, … as the elves help themselves to everything that was there. The native Vahans were generally left alone, unless an Elven raider fancied a Vahn girl. Any Vahn who would resist the occupation in any way, would get cut down in public. Everyone else meanwhile, were too afraid to leave their homes. They have heard Elven bands going from door to door, helping themselves to whatever they please. The thought was terrifying.

The gates of the city were opened and well guarded, not to let traffic flow, as there was none, but to prepare for the arrival of their queen. She rode in with her escort of her elite samurai, and elegantly rode through the city streets to the keep in the heart of the city. None but her own thought well of her arrival.

Charachter - Zhei-Yiang 2

Zhei-Yiang dismounted before the keep in its courtyard and admired the stonework for a bit while she handed over her horse to an aid before making her way through the front door, which was well guarded by her own spear men. She entered the main hall, her footsteps echoing with every step she took upon the stone floor, tables lined on both sides of the hall parallel to the wall with a fireplace behind each, and a lords table at its end, one step above from the rest, with another fireplace behind where the lord would sit. The ceiling was high, and held up by wooden pillars. All was silent as her present warlords were gathered around the lord’s table, awaiting their queen.

She sat on the lord’s chair, conqueror of this city, queen to those who now flood these lands, but she did not feel like a victor. ‘‘My queen.’’ the warlords said as they bowed to her in unison before taking a seat themselves. ‘‘How was the battle?’’ she asked, and the leading warlord of the siege of Redmont stood at attention, ‘‘It was glorious! They thought they could bleed us out by waiting for us to throw ourselves at their wall, but once we’ve shattered it, they didn’t know what hit them.’’ he explained. Zhei-Yiang drummed her fingers on the table in an irritated manner, ‘‘How did you shatter the wall?’’ she asked with a stern voice, which caught the warlord by surprise. A bit nervous now, he replied, ‘‘I uh, i mean we. We used, i mean we let a mage shatter the wall using ma…’’. The queen glared at him, ‘‘Not fell magic, i hope?’’, she asked before he could even finish his sentence. The warlord stood there in silence for a moment, and the queen continued. ‘‘Firstly, you sacrificed a thousand of our own men to fuel that spell to, secondly, make a breach in the walls which now any attacking army can exploit as well. Imbecile.’’ The other warlords nodded in agreement, that he was indeed an imbecile. ‘‘None of ours which died were elves, i’ve put human conscripts and bandits in the frontal assault, they won’t matter. They were untrained and inex…’’, ‘‘They could have been both equipped and trained now that we have this city and access to its forge and armoury. And the breach? Are you going to tell me that won’t matter either?’’ the queen interrupted again. ‘‘My queen, i plead your forgiveness…’’ the old elf began to beg with a much less arrogant voice than he usually uses. ‘‘You will have none.’’ Zhei-Yiang decided, ‘‘You must pay for your crime. How am i supposed to command loyalty, how will anyone fight in my armies if they fear that their commanding warlord will have the permission to suck the life out of thousands of them to further my cause?’’ she explained. The warlord stared at her emotionless, he knew what was coming, he thought about resisting, but he was too old to do much else in his life anyway. ‘‘You must die.’’ the queen decided, and had the warlord dragged to the town square for all to see what happens when someone acts with a disregard to the queen’s plans. On that day, he was beheaded.

That night, a rebellion occurred within the horde. Those who were loyal to the executed warlord attempted to seize the keep and overthrow the queen, but her own supporters were far too numerous, and the keep to well defended for them to make any damage. The rebellion was little more than a bar brawl in the night. Those who took part in the rebellion were cut down right then and there, while those who were part of their warband who did not, were allowed to disperse and join other warbands.

The next day, the queen gave a speech to her men how what she did was necessary, that she will not stand for others sacrificing her men on her behalf like this. She stressed obedience, unity and cooperation, and reinvigorated the spirits of her men by claiming none will be able to beat them as long as they stand together.

The war council reconvened shortly after to discuss the horde’s next move.
A sage stepped forward at the war council to present the queen with a map. They have found a map of the entire lands of the Vahns, but they knew little of what anything meant. What was clear to them though, was where major settlements were, where rivers ran, and that this was possibly only one such city in a far greater realm, which worried Zhei-Yiang. Be it a united realm, or one with numerous states, it made no difference, their own invasion would likely scare the rest in to a combined effort to defend their ancestral lands, and by the size of these other settlements, their combined military might may very well rival the might of the horde.

She had sent out warbands to loot the remaining villages and castles in their general area, a lot of which were empty, their people and goods evacuated as Redar fled west. Those who were too far away though took everyone inside to help defend their castle, and left nothing outside, they even salted the village wells so the elves could not drink from them. Zhei-Yiang recalled her warbands, as the did not want to waste throwing her men at castles at high costs for minimal gains. The Vahans were smart, and Zhei-Yiang dared not push forward with her horde, for she saw it herself, her people cannot fight the fully armoured Vahan forces, they would not stand a chance. The horde now had heavy armour itself, the pieces they found in Redmont’s armoury, and those they could salvage from fallen Vahans, but their weapons and armour would be useless if equipped by untrained men.

She came to a final decision. She needed her horde as intact as possible, and she had been denied any further gains in the west, so she ordered the horde to begin packing up for their leave. Zhei-Yiang ordered to deny the Vahan’s resources same as they had to her, and not only salted their wells, but their fields as well. Men on horseback carried bags of salt they brought from the city to pour atop the arable lands close by.

The main host was still encamped a few clicks from Redmont, and Zhei-ang rode back to it with her entourage to prepare to leave towards the south east, while the city was stripped bare of anything that might be of use. Any iron found was melted down, any food loaded up to be hauled away, and quite a few Vahans were enslaved to help carry the load.


#39

After four days, during which time the royal army prepared defenses along the river, Celdar had had enough waiting. He summoned Lord Darmon.

The Darmons of Erestimion were the descendants of the first Vahans, and the old customs had never completely died out in their lands. They rode horses in battle, wearing boiled leather armor and half plate, wielding swords, spears, axes, and shortbows. They were superb riders, and spent more time in the saddle than firm ground. The lands of House Darmon we’re rolling plains, where vast herds of horses roamed, and were tamed by the fierce men who swept there. They had no castles of stone, but dwelt in large fortresses of wood and dirt, riding out to keep watch upon their herds and lands.

”Our scouts have reported that the horde has remained at Redmont, but is moving away from the city, heading slightly southeast. They either intend to move into Veldarion’s lands, or move to the kingdoms east of here.” Celdar nodded to the Lord in question, a tall Vahan with a perfectly arranged set of clothes. ”You will take our horse, leaving me five hundred. Find, and follow the Horde. I will retake Redmont, and seal our borders. Harry them out of Erestimion, and smash their army if you can. Our foot cannot keep up in such warfare. Keep me informed of all movements by you or them. If they turn west again, hammer them against the river. If their trail goes south, make sure to get word to Lord Frandor. His levies can defend our southern most borders.”

The remaining details took half the night, but it was settled. Darmon would be the spear of vengeance that Celdar hurled at the elves, but he would also be outnumbered 2 to 1 in a pitched battle.


#40

Meanwhile, Lord Ermanarikis, the Order marshall of the eastern forces, gazed out over the hundreds of cooking fires that ringed his holdfast.

Over the past few days, the trickle of refugees that had sought their refuge in his holdfast had turned to a river. They brought with them tales of endless swarms of horsemen, of demons armed with swords that would cut right through a man, and of foul magics that stole the lives of those around them.

Lord Ermanarikis was not a man to lend credence to such flights of fancy. He preferred to confront the problems in front of him here and now. Namely, how to protect his garrison of four hundred shield-warriors, and the several thousand refugees whose cooking fires he was currently regarding. The initial wave had passed them by, and by now, they were well aware of the enemy that was upon them. So the Lord had ordered all food and cattle from the nearby villages and towns to be brought into his castle so as to deny them to the enemy, He’d ploughed the fields, salted the wells, burned any shelter, and generally made a prolonged stay in the area as unattractive a proposition as possible.

They would not last a siege. They needed to force the enemy to attack them here, where they held the advantage of a strong position. For, despite being made of wood, Burh Ermanarikis was formidable. Its hill was crowned by a great wooden tower surrounded by smaller buildings and the mustering hall of the garrison, and beyond that lay the first palisade. It had been erected on a mound of earth with a ditch in front of it, so the enemy saw themselves confronted by a steep slope of earth, a man’s heigh tall, topped with the wooden palisade that was twice as high as the mound. The palisade was in reality two pallisades, a man’s height apart, the space in between filled with dirt from digging out the ditch and covered in rough wooden planks to form fighting platforms from which his men could rain axes, arrows, and throwing spears at the enemy. The enemy would have to climb the mound’s slick mud, then scale the palisade, and then face the swords and axes of his men.

Outside that palisade, there was a more open expanse. It held courtyards, more barracks, room for training exercises and drills, stables for horses, the castle forges, and a chapel to Sagonos. Both the inner and outer courtyard held deep wells, so they would not lack for water. Ringing the foot of the hill was another double palisade, similar to the first, but reinforced with tall wooden towers that served as vantage points for archers and the small ballistas called Skorpiòi. He’d levied the men and boys among the refugees and armed them sparingly with what weapons were available. They were poorly armed, untrained and would probably break at the first sign of trouble, but any man can throw a spear and if the enemy was truly without number then it’d be harder to miss than to hit once they crowded beneath the palisade. They would man the first wall, with a few experienced Order fighters among them to stiffen the resistance. He’d also set them, and the women, to creating barricades out of thorny wood and vines, and placed those beyond the first ditch to provide a further obstacle. In a shed among the buildings, finally, waited one more surprise for the invaders, should they make it that far.

The Lord knew that, if they were attacked by the full might of the enemy force, they would not hold. But he was resolved to sell his, and his warriors’, lives as dearly as possible.