[RP Episode] The Flames of Change


#61

Finally the Vahan troops managed to trap the Elven horde at a vulnerable moment, or so they had hoped. A commendable effort, having been deprived of all water supplies from here to Redmont, because the Elves had salted their wells in the city and all the villages and castles they had captured in between, and then power marched through the fair summer sun in their iron armour, only to make it to a river that may or may not be salt water because it goes from coast to coast. The Elves were unsure, were their faces reddened because of their pure hatred for them, because of their fury, or because they were being boiled alive in their tin suits and dehydrating these past few days while the Elves have been chilling out, ferrying people across the river, enjoying their supplies and water of their baggage train. The Vahans had a similar baggage train of their own, but they chose to leave it behind because it only slowed armies down. Now let them hope it was worth it.

A smaller army appeared on the southern bank of the river, it emerged from the dense vegetation the elves were planning to flee to. It seems that those were swarming with these people as well, so a change in plans were forthcoming after the current threat is dealt with. Another much greater force emerged at their north, they too have managed to drag their bodies to face off the majority of the horde’s might, consisting of mainly cavalry, and were still dangerously outnumbered. Considering what they had to go through to get here this fast almost made the Elves feel sorry for them. So sorry in fact, that they were willing to put the lot of them out of their misery, for good. Still, their efforts were admirable at the least.

The southern force emerged from the woodlands like savages, yelling some rhythmic verse while they banged on drums and blowed through their instruments to make it absolutely obvious that they are present there, for which the Elves were very thankful. The Elves decided to use the summer heat to their advantage. Their force gathered up with melee at the front and ranged at the back parallel to the Vahans. The Elven archers stepped forth with their arrows lit on fire and landed shots in to the forest itself. Slowly but surely, after the 2nd or 3rd successive shot, it began to blaze, frying everyone still inside, and trapping those who have made it out between a well rested army and a fire that was slowly pushing ever closer, and burning ever hotter.

The northern army meanwhile held their place, their archers ready to weaken any charge before the Elven counter charge, while they continued to ferry people across.


#62

And as he waited, the mists cleared, the dew melting away under the risen sun. The Vahans could now see the full enemy strength from their position on the hills, the double walls of spears, the cavalry beyond…and the beasts by the riverbank, who stood the height of a man above even the tallest horsemen on the mightiest steed. And beyond them, the entire southern riverbank was aflame.

Darmon nodded in satisfaction. The flames would only serve to drive the Order troops to even greater heights of fury, while making safe the ford beyond all doubt. He signaled his horn blower. A loud braying note rang through the air, and several dozen men on fast horses broke from the Vahan line, trotting forward.

The low slope towards the river was dotted with high grasses, and scattered trees, and the occasional bush. By the river itself, more shrubs and trees were in evidence, as befitted the bank of a large body of water. And it was summer, and hot.

The Vahans were carrying torches and bows. They each carried several long arrows, but instead of a razor sharp head each missile had a bulb shaped clay end, wrap in cloth and soaked in oil. The inside of the clay was filled with more oil, designed to shatter and burst in impact. Trotting forward, the firearchers began taking scattered shots from the elves. It was maximum range however, and none found their mark.

Upon reach a spot just outside of the Elven bows range, the men dismounted. Instead of the short bows that a few of the Vahan cavalry carried, they bore long bows of ash and yew wood, 6 feet long and with a immense draw weight. A dozen archers drew back an arrow, and several of their companions lit the tips with their torches. As one, they released.

The flaming darts raced across the sky, to bury themselves in the growth. After a moment, flames began licking up greedily, feeding in twig, root, and branch. A second volley speeded the process, and a third, and soon a raging series of fires was burning along the riverbank, and beginning to spread to the grass of the slope, upon which the elves were standing. Along with the elephants. All creatures fear fire.

The archers scampered back, pelted by a hail of arrows from the furious elves, cutting down half their number, but the damage had been done. Now both riverbanks were a roaring inferno.


#63

And now both banks blazed. The Butcher looked around him to take in the sight of the inferno, and the screams of the several hundred brothers who’d burned in their treetops, and it only hardened his resolve. The flames kept spreading, and soon much of the forest overlooking the crossing place was on fire.

Ahead, the small force of Elven cavalry they’d managed to bring across the river stood off with his shield warriors. The men were tired, and thirsty, but the Butcher knew all the provisions needed were right in front of them. With the Elves having hemmed themselves in with the fire and cutting off their own retreat as well, they had brought themselves in a very poor position. The shield wall formed up, half a dozen ranks deep, from the edge of the water to where the heat was just bearable. The phalanx of spears would dash any hope of a cavalry attack, while their stout shields would protect them fromt missiles. The men looked like evil spirits, with cloaks of smoke billowing behind them to blot out the sun, and embers and ashes swirling all around them. They would put the fear of Sagonos into the enemy.

At a raised hand, and a blast of drum and bagpiper music, the Order set onwards. The left flank was held by Lord Kaupis, the right by Lord Sagath, while the Butcher himself led the center towards tthe enemy. As they came closer, and enemy arrows began to fall on their shields, he could imagine the dismay the elves would feel at its ineffectiveness. It was a wall of wood and steel and forged spear points, coming to kill. And while the cavalry might be able to retreat, the civilians would not - not with their carts still being used to ferry over elves from the far bank.

And with their slaughter, the Order would obtain all the provisions it required.