Warlord

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
The beginnings of a story. with enough options to elaborate on. I want to explore and develop the hero of the book with all the characteristics of a standard hero.Fearless,strong and an unflinching leader of men.But with a core of ambition,heartless with a spattering of brutality.

Submitted: January 31, 2012

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Submitted: January 31, 2012

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WARLORD

The warlord stood and gazed  at the scene. A slow smile began to form, It had gone well, the dogs had been slaughtered and their riches taken. The woman had been raped by his men then put to sword after as per the orders he had given. There was no prisoners, no need. It wasn’t worth the trouble of selling them to slavers. Although he knew many slavers who would have gladly paid. Slaves would hinder his war bands movement. The riches from this ambush had been enough to justify the killing. His men had grumbled at some of the prettier girls not been taken along as play things. But they obeyed, they knew better than to openly voice their displeasure too much. His reputation for ruthlessness and discipline was well known.

The caravan had made its way up the mountainous path and into the ravine. The war band had waited a couple of days. He had been expecting it; His connections in the city had betrayed the caravan’s route. His band of cutthroats, thieves, savages and mercenaries had come howling from both sides of the ravine. The armed escorts had no time to react. Barely drawing their swords before being cut down. His force had been outnumbered, but the speed and ferocity was enough. The escorts were obviously not being paid enough they broke and ran almost as soon as the first blood was spilled. He had planned well. Foreseeing this, cut offs were in place at either end of the ravine. Nobody escaped to raise the alarm. The closest outpost was many miles away but it paid to be cautious.

‘Hurry up bastards, now is not the time for fucking drinking.’  He had shouted. Wary that if given time they would be all over the wine cart and drink sodden and uncontrollable in a short time. The men quickened their pace everything of value was taken. There was a tidy sum in gold; he would get the biggest share. But some would have to be split between the factions. He had to be known as a gold giver to keep them loyal. No man would follow blindly. Well not these men. The soldiers of the cities were different, they had loyalty instilled in them. He could understand that since he had once been a soldier. Mostly greed fuelled his men. he knew that, but for him it was a pleasure.  To put this band of efficient killers together, to make them fight as he ordered, slaughtering all who stood in his way, then swim in the plunder. His band was unique, there was no other like. It was held together by the force of his will and presence. The warriors came from all over. Mercenaries from the northern wars, wild men from deep in the forests where none civilised dared to venture, barbarians from the mountains, heathens from the great sands, horsemen from the vast expanses  of  plains to the east,  a number of thieves, murderers and adventurers. Of course he had his own inner circle of men, captains and fighters who had been with him since his the start. They had turned to banditry and raiding after the army he had fought in was disbanded when peace was brokered among the warring states.

The northern mercenaries aside from his men were the best armed and equipped, kitted out with the best chainmail, helmets, swords made in the north from the finest steel. The north was known for its superior quality swords skilfully crafted and durable. The wild men from the forest were tattooed from head to toe in swirling patterns. They wore only loin cloths, wolf or bear skins. No armour. They were known to file their teeth like animals. Fearless in battle, in a charge they would howl guttural noises to intimidate the enemy and  it worked. Only hardened warriors would stand against them, it was rumoured they were eaters of the dead too, but he cared not what they did as long as they fought and obeyed. The warlord could speak their tongue. Something he had picked up in the long years in the army fighting the savages when they chose to raid the borders he once protected.

The barbarians were similar to the wild men but a little more civilised due to the greater contact with the City states they had traded in times gone by. They came from the remnants of displaced and subdued tribes. Few in  number but brilliant trackers, huntsmen and scouts. Also they had proved their worth in the mountains. Knowing the terrain, they had provided the information as to the location of an ancient abandoned stronghold that he had taken over and rebuilt.

The heathen’s from the great sands, Bearded, dark skinned men who worshipped one god, and called on their false god in battle. Archers mostly, they abstained from alcohol and prayed to their god too much for his liking. Pious men, but not above the violence required to survive in the war band. Although they would not fight men of their own religion. That posed no real problem as they were far from home and they hadn’t raided into the deserts yet. The others left them alone, they feared the power of the mysterious god. Who was said to reside above the sky and decided the fate of your afterlife. He had laughed at that, He knew he had power and through that the sword he held had power. But did not believe some scrubbing’s from mad men who told of a higher power, only one god and gave men guilt in life. Guilt was for the weak minded

The last largest group in the band was the horseman. Said to be born to the saddle, slit eyed and yellow coloured skin. Bow legged from riding for so many years. They dressed in leathers and lacquered iron armour. Their helmets horned and masked in a style that gave them demonic looking faces.  Although bandits their code as warriors made them formidable, never had he seen them flee from combat they would fight to the last of that he was sure. Although the code they lived by sometimes gave way to a prickly sense of honour. Forever duelling over points of honour was a minor problem, but a problem none the less.

That left his own men, fewer now, numbers dwindled over the years by constant combat. They were still the core of his small army. The men he used to promote to Captains. Tried and trusted men, All battle hardened, disciplined, fully armoured, heavy shields, javelins and short swords. They kept their armour and weapons immaculate. He didn’t need to worry about them. They could be left to act by themselves, use their own initiative and follow any orders given.

The remainder of men, the thieves, murderers and adventurers were not much use in real fighting. They could so if needed, He used them to their strengths. Preferring to use them for spying, sabotage, misinformation and assassinations. The network of spy’s providing the last piece of intelligence on the caravan. The assassinations useful for reaching an official in the city who got too greedy in demands for bribes or took too much interest in his activities.

Every so often a few men needed to be hung or beaten to death by their own comrades. It was the only way to keep control and order amongst the factions. Hard men only responded to harsh punishment. They had to fear him more than the will to disobey and run riot as they normally would if left to their own devices. If need be he would fight in the pit to prove his right to command through martial skill and strength. By doing so he showed that he endured as the men did and it was used to dissuade many from challenges to his power.

‘Move you fucking motherless son’s of whores, I’ll be opening the nearest mans throat with a rusty blade if you don’t get fell in and ready for marching’ this shouted threat got the point across. Men started to form up for the march. The front position given to the wild men then his own men followed by the archers then, mercenaries. The horsemen were sent as scouts far to the front and some also stayed in the rear as an early warning for any follow ups. The barbarians raced ahead and kept between the main body and horsemen as a secondary scouting party in case the horsemen missed anything, which was rare as the plains men had keen eyes but it was a precaution learned from experience.


© Copyright 2020 Hank. All rights reserved.

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