This is an excerpt of a novel I am working on about the fictional kingdoms that my wargames take place in. To set the scene, the kingdom has learned of an imminent invasion by a powerful foreign empire. However no one knew where the invasion fleet would land. When the story begins the invaders have already made land and defeated a rearguard force that happened to encounter them as they were making their way through a mountain pass.
The rearguard was part of a larger muster that was heading to the castle of one of the nobles to consolidate and then move on to the King’s Castle. As Chapter 1 opens the rearguard has been all but defeated and the commanders of its remnant are trying to decide whether to make one last stand or fall back and warn the rest of the army and the rest of the kingdom that the invasion has begun!!
Chapter One: Invasion
Malice had broken through Chindar Pass.
Sergeant Forn and Rear Commander Tain were cut off from the main army.
Prince Quellen would have received word of the breach by now, but he would not come to their rescue. His orders were plain. Keep the main army moving at all costs. Do not engage the enemy at the invasion point.
“Malice is less than five hundred metards ahead of us, Commander”, said Sergeant Forn, as he rode up to the Rear Commander and removed his bloody right gauntlet to wipe dirt filled sweat from his forehead.
“Have our scouts numbered his forces?”, asked Commander Tain, looking sternly ahead as if he could pierce the billowy night fog with the strength of his will. ‘Curse this hell-spawn fog!’ thought Tain, ‘not only did it cause my rear guard to fall severely behind Prince Quellen’s army but it wholly concealed Malice’s approach over the Nettin Mountains.’
“Their number, Sergeant?” Tain inquired once more this time looking at his field commander directly.
“Of the five scouts that have returned not one reports spying a force less than 300,000 men… including mounted fighters and war machines.
“300,000 men!!! That’s not a tracking party Sergeant, it’s Malice’s whole bloody empire!!”
“Yes sir, it is.”, answered Forn in a gruff but matter-of-fact way indicative of the fourteen years of his life he had ransomed to battle and war.
“The invasion is beginning here at Rellong Valley – over seven days ride from Banton Castle and King Banton’s armies! What the men want to know now sir, is do we form ranks and prepare to fight or break off and sound retreat.”
Tain slipped his helmet over his head and locked it in place.
Form ranks Sergeant, and signal my knights to the fore. The battle is joined.”
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