Metagore, The Battle For

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: House of Ghosts

The Senturian army tries to take the Kingdom of Talean once more.

Chapter 48 (v.2) - The Mark

Submitted: October 07, 2016

Reads: 159

Comments: 3

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Submitted: October 07, 2016



In the early hours of the morning---just before the dawning of a new day---the Senturian knights closed in on the kingdom of Talean, riding in three groups.

Zeke led the group of four hundred fifty recruits towards the south-eastern wall of the kingdom. He glanced to his right, where he could vaguely see the light emitting from the torches of the group of fifty knights that were being led by Ser O'Bryon. Turning his head towards his left, he was unable to see Ser Dagrus and the third group of men waiting for the attack---even though he knew that they were out there, waiting for their strike.

Dagrus had told Zeke at the camp that he and his men were just fodder. Their goal was to draw the Taleanics away from the protection of their archers on the battlements. Dagrus and O'Bryon would then command their archers to rain their arrows down on top of their enemies---risking the lives of their own men just to conquer the kingdom. Zeke supposed it was what they were meant to do, now that they were part of the army and their lord had wished to take Talean.

Zeke sat nervously on top of his steed. Being thrown into the face of battle just after only a couple of short weeks of preparation and training wasn't the best situation that he could see himself in. And the feeling of unsettledness by the decision of his commander---and not wanting to be in the middle of a crossfire of arrows by his own men---made him wish he had been born a female. Nonetheless, he knew what would happen to him if he detoured from the discussed plan of attack; and he wanted to die honorably and to make his family proud of his courage.

Zeke glanced behind him to the group of recruits. In his best attempt at a pep talk, he began, "We are not knights. We are not even fighters. Today we shall die, but we shall die honorin' our lord. On 'tis day, we shall put our stamp on history, so that women and children will sing our songs for years to come. May thy gods guide us, and may they watch over our souls. For on 'tis day, Sentries will prevail with no shame brought upon names."

He stared at the frightened group of men who sat upon their mounts behind him. No cheers nor cries came from them, just an unsettling silence. They all knew the battle plan was a suicide mission for them. None of them had any experience fighting---most were bakers and ironworkers, even a couple of sales merchants.

They were not given strong weapons like the other knights, just old, warped blades that had been laying around the barracks for decades. The armor they were given were extras intended for archers on the battlement. They did not consist of any metal plates to protect them from deadly blows---merely made of just padded leather with thin cloth sleeves.

Zeke turned his large head back towards the kingdom's wall, where he could see the bright lights of torches bouncing around on the battlement. He was sure if he could see their lights, they could see his. Nonetheless, he quickly nudged his mount with his heels as he led his men towards the wall with their torches still burning strong. Their mounts galloped towards the city---dust clouds building behind them from their hooves.

As they drew closer to the kingdom---just like Dagrus had said---the gates opened and a flood of three thousand Taleanic knights stormed towards them. Arrows from the battlement flew past the foot soldiers and struck some of the recruits---their bodies tumbled off of their mares as others were tossed off by their frightened mounts.

Even though the initial attack took just a few minutes, Zeke and his remaining men felt as if their death took hours to come upon them. They fought as hard as they could, making it seem as if they weren't meant to die in the onslaught; but their weak blows and inexperience did nothing to help them against the golden army.

After the group of Senturian recruits was surrounded by the Taleanic army, the other two groups of knights closed in on them, and the air was filled with the sound of hundreds of metal bolts cutting through it. In the midst of the storm of arrows, Zeke was faced up against an equally massive minotaur who was swinging his mace towards the troll's head. Zeke parried the strong blow with his sword, but his arms grew weak to the point where he could barely hold up his own weapon---but he somehow managed to keep a tight grip on it and block more of the mace's sudden swings.

The troll's body's weakness increasingly grew, but he refused to give in to the pain and numbness that had begun to spread through his limbs. All around him, Zeke could see the large numbers of the Taleanic forces dwindling down; but at the same time, he could tell he was one of the few recruits left. All around him laid the bodies of his once neighbors and friends.

As Zeke continued to fight for his life, he felt a quick pinch in his side. His eyes darted away from the minotaur and down to see three arrows sticking out of him. He quickly removed them from his torso, then turned his attention back to the minotaur---only to see the weight of the mace colliding into his skull, killing him instantly.

Dagrus and O'Bryon seen their plan as a grand one---sending the recruits as decoys, and shooting them and the golden men down like jackalopes in a cage. The ambush was quick; and as the last Senturian arrow hit the ground, the civilian recruits and the Taleanic soldiers had all fallen.

The two remaining Senturian groups slowly approached the city---picking off the archers placed upon the battlement as they drew near. A faint sound of a horn blasted, once they marched through the open gates of the city; but the sound was quickly cut off as an arrow impaled into the hornblower, causing his body to topple over the parapet.

The knights and their squires stormed through the streets of Talean, slaughtering any civilian they seen outside. After witnessing just a few innocent deaths, the townsfolk all realized that they needed to take shelter quick, or they too would suffer such an awful fate.

Once the Senturians had reached Azreal's manor, a small group of the knights entered; while Dagrus and the others stayed outside on their mounts, patrolling the courtyards. Inside, O'Bryon and eleven of their best knights split up into four groups of three, as they went and checked the many rooms of the golden palace.

As they explored the manor, O'Bryon and his men came upon an empty chamber room. The room had a foul, stale smell to it. In large patches upon the floor, walls, and even parts of the ceiling there were faint burgundy and brown stains. Some of the spots of color held deep gash marks embedded in the stone surfaces they covered as if some great animal had made a kill in the very room. Looking closely, one knight noticed fragments of clay and wood in one corner of the chamber.

"What could've made this?" asked one of the men as he ran his fingers along one of the gashes.

"It could have been a number of things," O'Bryon responded as he glared at the destruction before exiting the room.

As they wandered down one of the corridors, O'Bryon noticed Marquess Solaris. His complexion seemed to be gray, and he looked unfocused as he moped around---touching random items along the walls as he went. O'Bryon nodded towards the two men and motioned for them to grab the djinn, who made no indication of having noticed the soldiers coming upon him. They each grabbed an arm and forced him to turn around as O'bryon drew a sword and pressed the tip to his throat.

Before he could be questioned Solaris began to laugh---a crazed and hysterical sound. His white eyes were almost completely red from irritation. Much to the Senturians' surprise, Solaris rambled out, "Kill me if you must, I will die soon anyway. My lord is not here. Duchess Anina is dead, and I will join her soon. So spare me the wait, and kill me now."

Solaris' legs gave out from under him---his body only staying upright from the two soldiers' grasp on his arms. The three knights looked at each other, stunned by the djinn's words, before he continued with a shriek, "Do not let me die like she did! Please, just kill me now!"

O'Bryon slowly lowered his sword and motioned for his men to release the djinn. Solaris raised his collapsed body up onto his knees and hands. His eyes---stinging in his skull---looked up at the sword the djinn in front of him was holding, then up to his white eyes.

"Kill me!" Solaris screamed, but O'Bryon denied his request and returned his sword to its sheath. "Come on, you piss stained bastard! Fucking kill me!"

A slight smile crossed O'Bryon's face as he knelt down. "Who, or what, are you so afraid of?" he asked curiously.

Solaris' brow furrowed as he spat onto the yellow djinn's face.

O'Bryon wiped the saliva from around his eyes as a small chuckle escaped him. "You made a deal with the gods and failed to uphold your end of it. Am I correct?"

Solaris hung his head low, not speaking a word.

The two knights standing behind him made an X in the air with the hands, then in unison, they chanted, "Remove thy scent, and cleanse thy touch. Protect thee from the debt of the dreshdis. To Nya and Afria I plead."

O'Bryon glanced over the crouched djinn, and upon the two knights. "What are you doing?" he asked condescendingly.

"Ser, if he is marked by the dreshdis, we risk takin' upon their mark onto our backs," one of the knights stated with hesitation and fear in his voice.

"Dreshdis are monsters---I will give them that---but they hold no stronger power than I with this blade," O'Bryon told his men as he glanced back down at Solaris. "I shall spare my blade of your foul blood." He paused for a moment, then let out a slight laugh. "After all, you can not hide from the shadows."

Solaris stayed poised over as O'Bryon and his men left the corridor. As they made their way out, screams and cursing could be heard coming from Solaris, followed by the loud sounds of crashing and banging of Solaris flipping over tables and knocking pictures off of the walls.

Once O'Bryon and the eleven other knights regrouped, he met with Dagrus and the others. "Lord Azreal is not here, and Duchess Anina is presumed dead," he told them. "Marquess Solaris is inside, but is cursed by the dreshdis. We need to keep him confined within these walls, and await Lord Azreal's return."

© Copyright 2018 D. L. Stewart. All rights reserved.


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