A Tale of Banners

A Tale of Banners

Status: In Progress

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Literary Fiction

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Chapter1 (v.1) - Our Last Night

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 18, 2017

Reads: 32

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 18, 2017

A A A

A A A

The year is 1558. My name is Reis Ryvius. I'm from Derion,like my father,Lord Theon Ryvius. My father was a prestigious count,owner of the territory Aryv. But,the new chancellor,Nacyf took father's,mother's and the lives of our servants and hundreds of aryvian citizens. Of course the treasury too. We're at war with Valorian,I am on the west front,Lord Albrich von Kravock's city,Avalac,which is currently being sieged by a valori army of 15000 against our 3000 defenders and a few craftsmen who stayed here to help with the defenses. I am the banner carrier of Albrich's army. But,"gladly" the "great lord" Chancellor Nacyf is on his way with his 10000 strong army. This will probably be the last thing i write in my life

If anyone finds this diary,please bury it in the ruined graveyard in Aryv. Thank you.

Reis closes his diary and stood up from the chair. Reis was a tall man,with long,raven colored hair with a light stubble and royal blue eyes. He wore a black gambeson,over the gambeson he had a dark-green hooded cloak. His trousers were brown,studded leather,boots black,hard leather. He sighed and walked over to his bed and picked up a shortsword in it's holster. Reis drew the blade from it's holster and examined it. The blade was rusty and old,the grip was a makeshift piece of wood with string tied around it. The crossguards were battered,the left one broken in half. Reis shook his head and put the blade back in it's holster and placed the holster on his belt. Reis walked out of the battered house and headed for the walls of Avalac when a loud rumble came from the gate's direction.

-THE GATES! THE BLOODY 'LORIAN BASTARDS CRASHED THE GATES!

Reis lifted his head up and ran over to one of warehouses and grabbed a banner from the pile of supplies. Dozens of valori black and blue banners were raised,but in Avalac,there was only one. A poor,young man,holding the red and white derionian banner. Reis rushed to the gates and planted the banner in the ground.

-THIS FLAG WILL NOT FALL! NOT WHILE WE LIVE!-roared Reis and the men of Avalac took up arms and rushed to the gates.

Kravock stood on the backline and looked at Reis furiously.

-RYVIUS! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?! CHARGING LIKE THAT ARE THOUSANDS! I'LL HAVE YOUR HEAD FOR THIS.

-Atleast "your" men are following somebody now,you old bastard.

Kravock was an old,medium-height man in his fifties,clad in blue plate armor,armed with a spear. His hair was already grey from age,despite his old age,he lacked a beard.

Reis turned back towards the field and saw a crossbow bolt headed for his head. Just before the bolt hit Reis woke up and sat up from his bed,sweating and panting.

-Be damned,nightmares.

Reis got up from bed and grabbed his cloak from the ground,and headed for his sword placed on a nearby table. He took the sword and put it in his belt.

Someone knocked on the door of Reis' quarters.

Reis opened the door.

A young man stood there,wearing a light brown colored gambeson and black breeches.

-Ser Ryvius.

-I'm not a knight. Call me Reis.

-Very well,Reis. I am the messenger of Commander Albrich. He is waiting for you on the walls. He has tasked me with escorting you to him.

Reis nodded.

-We can go.

Reis walked outside of his quarters,looking around in the filled streets of Avalac as they walked. House next to house,only a small alleyway or even nothing between the homes. Soldiers,craftsmen swarmed on the street,cheering and spending their night cheerfully.

-We are spending our last night rather cheerfully,aren't we? -asked Reis

-The chancellor is on his way. We will survive.

-Some will,if they are lucky. What's your name,kid?

-Rook.

-How old are you?

-17.

-Will you fight?

-Of course. Even though father doesn't want me to.

-Father?

-Oh yes,Albrich is my father.

-I see. You're a good kid Rook. You should get the hell out of here.

-Never. I'm not letting my home burn.

-It will burn either way.

They stopped at the entrance of a tower. Reis looked up to the top.

-Let's go,Reis.

-Mhm.

Reis and Rook entered the tower and began heading up the spiral staircase.

-Did the commander tell you why he wanted to see me?

-No,he didn't.

Reis smiled cynically.

-Probably needs me to help wipe his ass.

-You shouldn't joke with nobles like that.

-Like i give a fuck about "nobles". They can stick their pride and convictions and just causes and whatnot up their asses.

I'm here to kill 'loris,not respect nobles.

Rook gave Reis a surprised look.

-Calm down.

They got up to the top of the staircase,Rook opened the door leading to the walls.

-After you.

Reis walked out the door and looked at the commander staring at the valorian camp in the fields.

-Commander.

Reis bowed.

-Stand up,Ryvius. You're going to be the most important man tonight.

-Why’s that?

-Let me explain. You and two others,namely Mikael and Cyrine are going to get inside that camp.

The commander looked at the valorian encampment.

-And you're going to kill their general. Questions?

-How does the general even look like?

-Good question,Ryvius. Although i have one hint. Valorian commanders usually wear blue feathers on their pauldrons.

-Understood.

Somebody was loudly running up the stairs. A beautiful, young woman with black hair and green eyes came through the door. She was breathing quickly. The woman saluted Kravock. Reis admiringly looked at her eyes.

-Commander!

-Cyrine,you're late. Where's Mikael?

-I apologize for being late,Commander. Mikael fell off a ladder and broke his leg. I was running to come and tell y-

-Calm down. Rook,you're Mikael's substitute.

-WHAT? I don't even know how to fi-

-I don't care,son. We need somebody with Reis and Cyrine. You have an hour to prepare. The entire arsenal of Avalac is yours to use. Take anything you want. See you at the gates.

-Anything else,sir?

-Nothing else,Reis. Dismissed.

The trio said ‘Aye’ in unison and left. Reis opened the door behind them and motioned for Cyrine and Rook to go.

-Ladies first.

-Thank you,Ser Ryvius.

-Just Reis.

Cyrine nodded. They went down the stairs and walked out of the tower at the bottom.

-Reis and Rook,right?

-Aye. Why?

-I’ll go check on Mikael. See you at the armory.

-Mhm. Reis nodded.

Cyrine left to one of the streets right of the tower. The two men continued towards the armory.

-Tell me,Rook. What do you think about her?

Rook paused for a second and looked down.

-Nothing,right now. Just met her five minutes ago. I only know how she looks like. But I can tell you,Reis. She looks damn gorgeous.

-Aye. Just make sure you can focus,eh?

Rook chuckled.

-Don’t worry. I will try.

The streets were full of men and women coming and going,barrels and other supplies stacked around.

-Uhh…..Do you know where the armory is?

-Damnit,you’re supposed to be the one who knows this bloody city. Go ask a soldier or something. I’ll wait here.

-Fine.

As Rook left Reis leaned on one of the barrel stacks nearby and  stared into the crowd. He spotted a tall, white-haired man wearing a chainmail vest with a dark-red greatcoat over it. His trousers were black,padded leather. His crimson eyes collided with Reis’ stare,looking into each other’s eyes for a few seconds. Reis felt something sinister in the man’s stare. The fellow turned away from Reis and started walking in a faster pace.

-Hmm. Strange fellow.

Reis kept looking at the crowd. He noticed 3 hooded figures sorrounded a young-looking dark haired woman. The woman looked at Reis with fright in her azure eyes. Reis’ shined up and he nodded at the woman. He got off the barrels and began heading into the crowd. The 3 figures turned left into a dark alleyway. Reis followed them,knocking people out of his way,getting many comments and insults in the process. He entered the alleyway. One of the figures,now revealed to be a man had slid down his trousers and was standing in front of the woman. She was forced into a kneeling position by the two other men. Reis looked at the trousers on the ground and saw the crossguard and the grip of a shortsword sticking out of a holster.

Reis looked into the eyes of the woman and began talking in a soft and tranquil way.

-Which one of you bastards want to die first?

The half-naked one pulled up his trousers and drew his sword. He was a fair-haired man in his mid-thirties.

-Alright boys,let’s deal with this guy and be on with it?

-AYE!

The two others drew their sword.

-Are you sure about this,scum? -Reis asked of the criminals

-Damn right I am.

Reis drew his sword and pointed at the blond one. After a brief moment he took it back to his side. The fair one charged at Ryvius. His wrist was cut by Reis. Ryvius grabbed the shortsword while it was still in the air and shoved it up the chin of the second one. There was fright in his hazel eyes. The shortsword’s blade pointed out of the top of his head. The body dropped. Reis was onto the next one. The bandit struck at Reis. Reis parried the strike and retaliated with one of his own,aimed at the neck of the scoundrel. One cut and blood squirted out of his neck. Reis’s wrist was painted red from the blood. The body dropped. Reis heard the groaning of the blond one. He walked towards him,blood dripping of his sword. The last thing the blond one saw was the point of the steel sword striking. Reis cleaned his sword with a piece of cloth he torn from his own cloak and wrapped it around the grip of his blade,afterwards he put the sword back into it’s holster. He turned towards the woman who was looking at him,scared to death.

-My name is Reis. I am sorry if i frightened you.

-T-thank you.

She broke out crying. Reis walked to her and grabbed her hand with his bloody palm.

Reis heard the rattling of metal boots. It was getting closer and closer.

-STOP RIGHT THERE,MURDERER! -a shout came from behind Reis.

Ryvius turned around. There was a triumvirate of guardsmen standing in front of him.

-By the laws of Avalac,you are under arrest for the murder of 3 citizens!

Ryvius  drew his sword and dropped it on the ground.

-I helped this maiden. I killed her three assailants,guardsman.

Reis knelt down.

-Murder is murder,you maniac.

Ryvius smiled and extended his hand backwards. He tapped the grip of the shortsword in the chin of the corpse.

-By the authority of the Derionian Law,you are under arrest for murder of your own countrymen.

One of the guardsmen stepped behind Ryvius.

He pointed his halberd towards Reis’ back.

-Stand up.

Reis ascended slowly.

-You two,stop standing there and grab his arms!

The other two guardsman stepped beside Ryvius and grabbed his arms firmly. Reis smiled cynically.

-What are you going to do,oh noble guards? Kill me?

They began walking Reis out of the alley and down the street.

-Don’t think that we’ll grant you death. You’re going to rot in the dungeon of Avalac!

Ryvius laughed.

-For a day,perhaps. Don’t think you’ll survive the ‘lorian siege,you imbecile.

-Watch your mouth!

-Oh,I’m so afraid I’m shaking.

The guard behind Ryvius struck his back with the halberd’s blunt end.

-Shut up!

A wind from the east began blowing. Ryvius looked up to one of the rooftops and saw a figure looking down. The figure had his left hand clenched in a fist. He opened his palms and another figure came next to him. The other figure held a crossbow and aimed downwards. The crossbow fired,hitting the guard behind Ryvius in the neck.

-GET DOWN! -somebody shouted

Ryvius hit the ground. He heard quick footsteps coming towards him.

The sound of steel clashing. Ryvius felt warm blood drop on his neck. The guard’s body hit the ground. The other guard dropped soon after. Reis got up from the ground. In front of him stood the white-haired man.

- Thank you.

- My name is Dyaze Strovoczkiy. I’m from Valorian. I need a rather large…..favour.

- Yes?

- I’m here to open the gates for the army. Can you do that for me? Me and my….colleagues will hold the derioners back for you.

- I’m a “derioner” too.

- You’ve been betrayed,Ryvius.

- How do you know?!

- I have my methods. Open the gate. I will reward you with treasures. You can be the nobleman you always wished to be.

Ryvius hesitated for a second. The crowd began shouting and derionian soldiers began swarming around them.

  • No. I’d rather not do anything for a ‘lorian dog.

Dyaze nodded and pointed his sabre toward Ryvius. It was a beautiful sabre, it’s hilt wrapped in red cloth and decorated with rubies, the blade engraved with runes, in pristine condition.

  • Very well. By law i claim you as my property, a prisoner of war. You are to do my bidding or face execution. Now, would you kindly open the gates for me?

  • I said never. And nothing you say will change my mind you valorian bastard.

The derionian soldiers began circling them. Dyaze grinned.

  • LEONARDE! YVIR!

The slimmer silhouette stabbed a hook in the ledge and let down a rope. He descended on the rope followed by the other person. The first was a middle-aged male wearing a black longcoat with a grey scarf. There was a pocket with a white rose in it on hist chest. He carried a massive blackwood crossbow. The second was towering tall above any fighter on the field. He was clad in shining steel armor. His long blonde hair visible under his helmet,but his face could not be seen. He wore a dark-blue cape on his back and carried a mighty shield and spear.

- Leon,escort this worm to the portcullis.

The crossbowman nodded. He picked up a sword and handed it to Reis.

- If you even dare to think about it,I’ll put a bolt in your spine.

Reis took the blade and sheathed it. Leonarde nodded. The two climbed up the rope to the rooftops.

- Listen,derioner. We make our way around the bloodbath below. We climb up the walls and you’ll get the gate open for our soldiers. Or i’ll make sure you don’t leave this place.

The two continued towards the walls. Reis looked down to see dozens of his countrymen already massacred by Dyaze and his twin sabres. Dyaze seemed crazy with blood while the towering knight, Yvir was tactical and calm, contrast to his comrade. Leonarde looked at Reis.

  • Hurry up,you can marvel at the bodies of your dead later.

The crossbowman moved from rooftop to rooftop with incredible dexterity,often stopping to wait for the less agile Reis.

  • What’s your name,derioner?

  • Reis. Reis Ryvius.

  • Mhm. Name’s Leonarde. Alright, how do we get to the walls?

Leonarde pointed his crossbow at Reis.

  • We can climb down from here and just take the stairs up the rook. You got any more rope?

Leonarde reached into his jacket with one hand,supporting the crossbow with the other one and his knee. As Leonarde searched for rope, Ryvius looked down on the streets. Dyaze was still fighting like a berserker gone mad with at least dozens of bodies before him. The sound of the fight echoed troughout the entire city. Another dozen of soldiers rushed towards certain death. Kravock always sent men to their deaths. Leonarde dropped some rope to the ground and fixed the end of it on the rooftop. He pointed towards the rope. Reis nodded and began to descend with Leonarde following him shortly after.

  • Try and keep a low profile,’lorian.

They moved through the street towards the battlements. Reis saw Cyrine heading towards the fight. He grabbed her by her arm.

  • Don’t.

  • But,Reis there’s….

  • Just don’t. If you don’t want to die get out of here. Now.

Cyrine glanced at Leonarde and then looked at Reis. Reis nodded.

  • Reis. If you survive meet me in Squall’s End.

  • Watch out for yourself,Cyr.

Cyrine left and the two men continued. They entered the tower and walked up the stairs towards the battlements. The spiraling staircase was filled with armed men and women, all heading to their death by a whirlwind of blades. Reis and Leonarde got up to the top of the stairs and exited the tower. The walls were filled with battle-ready soldiers and wargear. An officer shouted at them.

  • You two,get back down there,right now!

Leonarde lifted his crossbow up and shot the officer right between his eyes lightning quick. Reis unsheated his blade. Leonarde reloaded the crossbow and ended another soldier’s life.

  • You don’t have to kill,Reis.

An armed men swinged his sword from upwards towards Reis. Ryvius parried the blow and kicked the man in the chest,knocking him down. Reis stood over the man and shoved the tip of his blade into his throat. He pulled the blood-covered blade out of the throat. The man looked Reis in the eyes. His eyes were filled with anger,regret and fear.

Reis turned away from him and looked at Leonarde who had killed 8 men already.

  • Open the bloody gates already,Ryvius.

Reis ran into the guard room above the gate which held the lever that controlled the gates and the portcullis. Kravock and 2 guard were already in there.

  • Let me explain!

One of them lunged at Ryvius and Reis expertly parried it and retaliated with a slash from the right aimed at the man’s neck. The other guard wielded a shield and a mace. Reis looked at Kravock,when suddenly a crossbow bolt pinned the shieldman at to the wall. Reis headed towards Kravock,bloody sword in hand. Kravock unsheated his sword and slashed at Reis. Another crossbow bolt flew in and it knocked the sword out of the old commander’s hand.

  • Sorry for this,old man.

Reis stabbed Kravock in the  chest,impaling him on his sword. Ryvius dropped Kravock on the ground. As the commander bled Leonarde entered the room and pointed his weapon towards Reis.

  • Gate,now.

Reis dropped his blade and pulled the lever,only lifting the portcullis. He suddenly jumped towards Leonarde who was caught off guard and they fell on the ground,knocking over a burning brazier. They wrestled on the ground for until Reis grabbed a nearby blade and stabbed Leonarde in his stomach. Reis stood up just as a boulder from a catapult hit the walls. Reis looked out of the guard tower and saw that the valorian horde started charging towards the gates as ballista bolts,burning balls of wood and boulders flew towards Avalac. Reis exited the tower and faced the soldiers who wanted to kill him.

The one right in front of him wore shining,battered set of plate with his helmet visor turned down. His voice was deep and furious,like thunder.

  • Your last wish?

  • Wait.

  • Why should we listen to you? You just killed the commander!

  • I was forced to do it.

  • I don’t bloody care! You betrayed us!

  • Just listen to me,please.

The soldier drew his sword and pointed it towards Reis.

  • Come at me,then. If I am a traitor then kill me. Come on. Try it.

The soldier hesitated.

  • Now,listen to me. Avalac is lost, the commander is dead. The only thing we can do is hold the gate look enough for the citizens to escape. Is there anybody brave enough to stand with me at the gates?

The soldiers began to talk to eachother. The one with his sword drawn sheathed it and turned towards his comrades.

  • This man may be a traitor,but he is right. There’s nothing we can do now. If you won’t follow him,follow me into battle.

The soldiers cheered. The man in plate turned towards Reis.

  • How could you get them to follow you?

  • I’m their leader. I’m Captain Barikonen Cylean. I lead the Eagles. Albrich hired me to protect Avalac.

  • So you’re mercenaries?

  • Aye. And who’re you?

  • Reis Ryvius. Just a commoner,stuck in this shit.

Somebody pushed the guards in the back away.

  • Reis?

  • Rook.

  • What’s going on?

  • I killed Albrich and 2 soldiers.

  • Y-you killed Albrich?

Reis nodded.

  • Why?

  • I was forced to do it,by some valorians.

Rook drew his blade and started running toward Reis. Barikonen grabbed Rook by his hand and disarmed him.

  • Stand down,boy.

  • He killed my father! MY FATHER!

  • I know,but you don’t want to die,do you?

  • N-no,i don’t.

Reis moved next to Rook and looked in his tearfultteyes.

  • Then go,get out of here. Go to Squall’s End. Tell everyone you see to get out of Avalac.  Cyrine will be there. I hope.

Rook nodded. Barik let him go and Rook left.

Reis grabbed a red and white banner. Barik picked up his heater shield. It was all black,with a golden Eagle on it. Barik turned towards Reis.

  • Let’s go,shall we?

The men headed town the walls. A few dozens of mercenaries,their leader,Barikonen and the banner carrier,Reis. They stood before the gate as the battering ram pounded it. It was close to breaking. Finally,it broke. The vanguard of valorian forces stormed in. Reis planted his banner in the ground.

  • THIS FLAG WILL NOT FALL. FOR DERION!

The mercenaries shouted in unison as the battle began. A few dozens of men against an army. How long could they stand? Reis fought valiantly,cutting down a trio of valorian men that attacked him. A soldier struck Barikonen’s shield multiple times with a mace. The captain countered,pushing the mace away with his shield and stabbing the assailant straight in the neck. Reis spotted something. Somebody.

A stunning blonde maiden. She danced so gracefully amongst the warriors with her bastard sword. She wore white cloth around her bust and hips. Her face was hidden by a veil. Reis stared at her,amazed. Suddenly,he felt a push. It was Barikonen.

  • I know she’s beautiful and everything,Reis but we have to go!

  • Not yet.

Reis charged through the fight towards the warrioress. He toppled her to the ground and lifted up his blade and prepared to deliver a killing blow,when a sharp pain hit his right calf. He knelt to the ground and looked up. Leonarde was leaning on the walls in the guard room,crossbow in hand and his stomach bleeding. He prepared another shot. Barikonen rushed to Reis,took him off the woman and blocked the crossbow bolt with his shield.

Barikonen carried Ryvius out of the battle as they retreated to the alleyways with the remaining 17 mercenaries. The valorians breached the gate. Barikonen set down Reis.

  • We can only hope that Rook got out of here. It was a pleasure fighting alongside you,Barikonen.

  • Same,Ryvius.

  • Sir,if I may.

  • Go on,soldier.

  • There are other exist out of the town just this way. At the end of this alley there’s a tavern with a hatch behind the counter. That leads out of the city.

  • Thank you soldier.

Barikonen picked up Reis and they continued through the alley with the mercenaries. They reached the tavern and entered it. They found Rook and Cyrine leading dozens of people out.

  • Reis!

  • Cyrine,Rook.

Cyrine looked at Barikonen.

  • And who are you?

  • Barikonen,captain of the eagles. Albrich hired me and my men to defend Avalac.

Cyrine nodded.

  • What about the tunnels,Cyrine?

  • They’re chock full of citizens who are escaping. We have to stay here for a while if we want to go. Come with me,I can treat your wounds. Barikonen,can you protect the tavern while the people flee?

The captain nodded.

  • One of you, head out and found every Eagle and tell them to come here. We need everybody if the valorians attack the inn.

One of the mercenaries nodded and left. Cyrine carried Reis up the stairs and into a room. She laid Reis down on a bed. Cyrine pulled the crossbow bolt out of Reis’ leg. Reis ground his teeth to hide the pain. Cyrine washed out the wound with a strong spirit. It stinged Reis’ wound. Then she bandaged the wound with a piece of cloth.

  • There. Can you walk?

Reis sat up on the bed and stood up. He walked out of the room and back in. He was limping,but he could still move. And fight,hopefully.

  • Cyrine,where is that fellow,Mikael?

  • He’s in the tunnels on a cart,with the other wounded.

Reis nodded.

  • I’ll help the Eagles with the defense.

Reis headed down the stairs. The windows were barricaded with crossbow-armed mercenaries crouching behind the barricades aiming outside.

  • Anything so far,Barikonen?

  • Nothing Reis. By the way,just call me Barik.

  • Fine,Barik.

An armed men entered the inn,wearing all black leather. He was rather young,with short brown hair and eyes. He had a scar on his left eye.

  • Captain Barik!

  • Ah,Lieutenant Tyndell. Report.

  • Your messengar gave us word that you’re here. I arrived with all of my 28 men intact.

  • Marvelous. Did you see any others of our band?

  • No,sir.

  • Very well,get everybody into the inn. We have to protect it until we can leave.

Tyndell looked at Reis.

  • My name’s Tyndell.

  • I’m Reis Ryvius.

  • I know,the messenger told us about you.

Tyndell and Reis shook hands. The lieutenant called his men inside.

  • Archers,crossbowmen,take the windows and the balcony. Everybody else stays down here.

An ‘Aye,sir.’ was shouted in union by the mercenaries. Barik took off his helmet and sat down at a table. His hair and beard were greying. He had multiple scars on his face.

  • Sit down,Reis.

Reis sat down in front of the old captain.

  • I’ve led my men for 20 years already. I’ve lost and fought many battles,but to be honest,I’ve never seen a man who killed his own commander,then dozens of the enemy in the same hour. You are a man with strange ways,Reis.

  • Thank you,Barik.

Reis looked around the tavern. Terrified and desperate looks on most of the people. Mothers holding their children,armed men saying goodbye. There were a few paintings on the walls. But one in particular caught Reis’ attention. A man clad in iron plate,with two wooden poles on his back,decorated with feathers to give the impression of wings. He held a sword burning with blue flame. Reis stood up and moved to take a closer look.

  • Reis?

  • A moment,Barik.

The armored man had flaming blue eyes and long black hair,much like Reis. Barik grabbed Reis’ shoulder.

  • Fancy that painting?

  • Mhm. It’s like I see somebody I know,but I can’t quite remember who it is.

  • Reis.

  • Yes?

  • Who are you?

Reis gave Barik a confused look.

  • Where do you come from?

  • That’s a story for a better moment,Barik.

  • I want to hear it now Reis.

Reis shook his head.

  • Too long. I’ll tell you when we leave.

A large crossbow bolt flew through the window and pinned a soldier to the wall. Reis drew his sword and rushed to the door. Barik grabbed his helmet and his weapons and joined Reis with some of his men.

  • REIS! WAIT! - Cyrine called out to Reis.

  • What?

  • You can’t go out there in your shape.

  • I’ll be fine,Cyrine. I’ve been through worse.

  • REIS! BLUE EYES! OR WHATEVER YOU’RE CALLED. COME OUT. MY GOOD FRIEND LEONARDE HAS SOMETHING TO SETTLE WITH YOU.

Reis opened the door. Dozens of soldiers forming a semi-circle around the tavern with Dyaze,Leonarde and the warrior-woman standing in the centre. Reis gripped his blade and went out of the building and stood in front of the valorians,alone. Archers and crossbowmen aimed at the valorian forces. Dyaze noticed them and chuckled.

  • At least you could stop being scum when we’re negotiating.

  • What do you want,Dyaze?

  • Me? Nothing. Leo here wants a talk.

Leonarde coughed up blood and drew his dagger from an inner pocket of his now blood-soaked coat.

  • You bastard…. Attacking me is something. But nobody’s living through going after my love.

  • Leo,please. - the woman chimed in - You can’t fight like this. I can handle him on my own.

  • Are you done with the chit-chat? - Reis interrupted.

Leonarde started coughing and Dyaze took him behind the lines. The woman raised his blade and pointed towards Reis and started closing in on him. Reis readied his blade and they started circling each other. The woman struck towards Reis from the left. Reis parried the strike and elbowed the lady in her face. The blow staggered her and Reis took this opportunity to trip her and put his blade to her neck.

  • Not in the view of your man. What’s your name?

  • Angeline Wolfe.

  • Married. Bloody shame.

Reis knocked her unconscious with a kick to the face.

  • SORRY ABOUT THAT,WOLFE!

Reis turned around and started going back to the tavern. A crossbow bolt flew by next to him. Then the soldiers raised their shields and advanced towards the tavern under the cover of their archers. Reis ran into the tavern and locked the door.

  • What now,Barik?

  • We pray. Then we kill them.

Barik’s archers started firing on the valorian but their shields deflected the arrows and crossbow bolts. Valorian men started banging on the door and breaking the windows.

  • STOP THEM FROM GETTING IN. KILL THEM BY THE DOZEN! - Barik barked at his men.

Reis stood in front of the door with raised sword and as Valorian axes begun breaking down the door he delivered swift stabs through the breaches and his sword begun drowning in the blood of the enemy. They broke through the door and Reis slashed at the chest of the first valorian that entered. The next one lunged towards Reis,but Reis parried and countered with a stab of his own,straight through the neck of the assailant. Suddenly,Reis felt a sharp pain in his lower back.

  • This is for my father,you bastard.

Rook turned the blade in Reis’ back and shoved Reis to the ground. Barik stepped in and struck Rook in the head with the pommel of his sword and blocked a blow from a valorian soldier with his shield and countered with a horizontal slash killing two valorian men. Reis struggled to get up from the ground. Barik sheathed his sword and helped Reis up as his shield blocked the attack of the valorians. Barik begun retreating with Reis on his shoulder.

  • Madam - Barik called out to a woman - get this young lad out of here. He’s been stabbed from behind.

The woman nodded and took Reis from Barik and carried him down to the tunnels that led out of Avalac. Barik drew his sword and joined the fray once again. Tyndell’s arrows rained on the valorians from the second floor,taking down the soldiers one by one with deadly precision. A mercenary armed with a crossbow approached Tyndell.

  • Sir!

  • Yes?

  • We’re running out of bolts and arrows. Can’t hold for much longer.

Tyndell let another arrow loose. The arrow hit a valorian officer right between the eyes.

  • Very well. I’ll speak to the captain.

Tyndell went down the stairs,killing the valorian fighters while moving. The Eagles were being overwhelmed by the enemy and he couldn’t get down to the others.

  • CAPTAIN BARIK! - Tyndell called out to get Barik’s attention - CAPTAIN!

Barik was busy fighting three soldiers at once,blocking two blows at the same time while killing the third warrior. Tyndell let two arrows loose swiftly,killing the remaining foes.

  • Thank you,Lieutant.

  • Sir,we can’t fight much longer. My archers up there are running out of arrows. We have to go.

  • Very well. EAGLES! WE’RE LEAVING.

Tyndell ran back up the stairs to find that most of the archers have been slain by Strovoczkiy. The survivors were already escaping to the ground floor. Tyndell was shocked for a moment,but he regained control. He aimed an arrow at the valorian and let it loose. Dyaze parried the arrow and chuckled. Tyndell turned and ran down with the others. Barik and the other Eagles were pushed back to the entrance of the tunnels.

  • Archers! Focused volley at the tunnels!

Tyndell and his men aimed and fired in sync,killing some of the enemy,easing the burden on Barik. Tyndell and the others ran towards Barik,pushing through the valorians.

  • Shields! Open the wall,let the archers in!

The shieldbearing Eagles loosened up their ranks,allowing the marksmen to get behind them and fire from behind them. The shieldbearers closed their ranks. Dyaze walked down the stairs,while sheathing his sabre. He looked down on the conflict and shook his head.

  • WE’RE LEAVING, MEN. LET THOSE RATS FLEE THROUGH THEIR HOLES.

The valorians separated from the mercenary line,moving out of the tavern with their commander. The derionians also begun their retreat through the tunnels,turning away from the valorians. Barik sheathed his blade and took off his helmet. Tyndell ran next to Barik.

  • Captain!

  • Yes,Tyndell?

  • What do we do now?

  • We pray. For Derion,for ourselves.

The two walked quietly next to eachother.

  • Tyndell?

  • Mhm?

  • Did you spot any derionian flags outside?

  • No,why?


© Copyright 2017 R. A. Leslie. All rights reserved.

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