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Defence of the North by BillPN

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    Posted: 28 Mar 2016 at 15:08
Dark, gloomy clouds gathered on the horizon, heralding the arrival of heavy rain and harsh winds. Speedy looked out from behind the emerald walls of Serenity, and sighed to himself. This meant another night down in the stables calming his horse, Swifty. A pure-blooded Elven Thoroughbred, raised by Speedy from birth, with the speed of the gods and the same phobia of thunder that young humans possess. 

With dangers blossoming in the nearby Faction castles, the approaching storm was not a good sign. Barbarian raids and sightings of giant spiders had not sat well for the surrounding villagers, with many leaving, or hiding. Productivity had stopped, and the Lord of the Castle was worried for the people. He had charged Speedy and his legion of cavalry with dealing with the threats, while the Lord went round with the stores of food, sharing it between the peasants. 

Speedy prided himself on being the Commander of the best Elven Cavalry Legion of their Lord, unparalleled in their manoeuvring skills. Even now he was forming battle plans in his mind’s eye, looking over the southwest plains where he would be most useful. His friend Theor’s bows would be placed along the edge of the forests to the east, where they could fire onto the plains without being exposed. Help from the Lord’s dwarf friends would make sure the woods would be stocked with famed dwarven infantry protecting the archers from behind.

Sighing once more, Speedy stepped down from the wall into the courtyard and into the stables, collecting an apple from the barrel outside. Walking past nervous horses he came to the end of the stalls where Swifty was bucking and kicking like a madman, terrified of the distant thunder. Making soothing gestures and gathering his blanket he settled in for the long haul.

The storm broke just after sunrise, leaving skies with just a hint of cloud, covering the sun just enough so that the glare would not impede their efforts later on. Speedy woke to the cacophony of sounds that was the preparation for battle; horns, messengers running and shouting, armour clanking and boots thudding across the ground. The battle was here, it seemed, and not a moment later than expected. Climbing the walls once again, Speedy listened to the various reports being brought to him from the consulate. 

“The Barbarians have massed on the plains to the south, Commander. They appear to be as well-equipped as previously thought, although there is a small unit far to the west of their army that looks isolated slightly. We fear it may be an elite berserker strike force.”

Speedy thought for a second, “Hmmm… have our sovereignty armies suit up in their fastest gear and take a circular route, to come around behind them and crush that Unit. We can’t take any chance that they may disrupt our initial charge. I’ve lost too many friends to these northern scum, I don’t intend to lose many more.”

“Yes Commander. So far we have no sign of these ‘Giant Spiders’, and we have sent an envoy to the Arakvar to see if it was not a patrol of theirs.”

“We have an understanding with the Arakvar that is to our mutual benefit. They know a betrayal on their part is not worth the long term consequences the Lord and the alliance would bring down upon them,” replied Speedy, “Fear not the Arakvar, but fear me if you don’t go and deliver my orders. Move it, boy!”

The messenger dashed off the relay the orders, instantly replaced with the serious face of his aides, carrying his armour and gear.

“Your horse is ready, Commander, you need to suit up.” 

Battle Time, thought Speedy, as they expertly fastened his armour to his lithe frame. Speedy stood by the main gates of Serenity, named for a ship his Lord had seen whilst travelling in another dimension, looking through a magic window down onto the battlefield. The Barbarians were mobilizing, surging forward in a ragtag band of yells, smells and sharp pointy things. Speedy waved to a mage stood nearby, who sent orange sparks into the sky. 

Arrows rained down from the east, thundering into the charging army, breaking up what little cohesion the army had. They didn’t stay down, however, the berserker rage having gripped them to the point of insanity. It was time for Speedy to lead his legion forward. The horde was near to the point of no return, so when the Cavalry burst out through the gates of Serenity they had nowhere to run. Speedy led the charge, his spear perfectly level, body in perfect rhythm with his horse. Only one thing worried him – the Elite Unit had not been broken. There was no sign of the attack from the south that was to remove the Elite Unit.

Too late. The two armies collided with a huge roar and the clash of steel on steel. Uniformity triumphed over pure fury, and the front lines of the Barbarians crumbled. The Cavalry legion plunged deep into the enemy, slaying everything in its path. Until the Berserker Elites stood before them. Howling with rage they leapt high into the air, taking many to the ground, and hacking away as they did. Speedy was tackled to the ground and a spiny bone sword plunged into his chest, shredding his armour. The world went dark and silent.

“Is he alive? Can he hear us?” Voices whispered in the dark around Speedy. He grunted, feeling his chest spike in pain as he moved. Cracking open an eye, he saw Theor and the sovereignty commanders clustered around him. They sighed with relief as they saw the life flood back into him. 

“Whu? What happened?” Speedy groaned. 

“We were delayed slightly, Commander,” said one of the sov leaders, “We saw the barbarians were prepared for a rear assault and had to change our plans. We swapped onto sturdier horses and mounted up with a rider and an archer on each horse. We may have been late to the battle but we didn’t take any losses and we did far more damage far more effectively. We saved your life, and we may investigate this new type of attack further in the future. Mounted archers eh?”

Speedy lay back and sighed.


Illyriad Community Manager / Public Relations / community@illyriad.co.uk
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lifeless Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2016 at 17:39
Woot Woot!!! Finally a new addition. SmileSmile
The Undead God, Lifeless
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2016 at 21:26
Congrats Bill, and a good story.  And great art in the Herald by GM Cerberus!

Edited by Rill - 28 Mar 2016 at 21:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DePaul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2016 at 03:35
A very good read.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheBillPN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2016 at 12:20
/me takes the last dumpling



"Thank you for this high Honour"

Glad you liked it :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sashayne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Sep 2016 at 02:45
I enjoyed reading this story very much. Look forward to more.Star
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