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Here are Nodscouter's tale of the Great Jarl of Wercheg.

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The Stories of the Great Jarl of Wercheg: Chapter 1

Erik was walking down the streets. He was looking down on the ground, contemplating the last few days and the events on them. He ignored the calls and cheers from the people, they loved him and he knew it. He had after all helped them over and over again even before the Assault and capture of Wercheg, and he had proven himself capable of protecting the people, unlike their old Vaegir overlords, but taking the fortress with a lesser force than the garrison. He thought about the assault, how his axe buried itself again and again into the Vaegirs, how the blood had spattered over him and his soldiers as they cut the Vaegirs down, how the enemy arrows had pierced through his men skulls and how his men had fallen over the walls and broken their neck on the rocky ground. He walked down the streets until he came to the castle. There he walked towards the castle, but three meters away from it turned away from it and kept on walking. He smiled a bit at the expression of the guards, but the smile soon disappeared as he recognized one of the guards, the man had gone berserk when he had seen his brother impaled on a lance. A tear slid down his face, before it fell to the ground. He kept on walking, and eventually he got to the walls, the walls he had assaulted himself only a few days ago. The repairs were soon finished, but right now they were vulnerable. He walked up the stairs and sat down on the walls, looking out over his nation. He remembered an old saying: ''Those who take the sword will perish by the sword''. He wondered if it was the same with Nations, this was a nation born out of blood and axes, it wouldn't be too unlikely to say that it would perish by it. But if it would, he would make sure that there was no blood left to perish by when the time came. He sighed and looked out over the fields. The arrows had taken many of his men even before the reached the city walls, those who were too weak and tired or those who were too young and eager to lift their shields, they had been shot down by the arrows and then trampled down by the advancing army. He got up, and jumped down from the walls. He felt a quick sting in his legs, but brushed it aside and walked on. To many, it would look like he as if was just walking aimlessly, but Bunduk knew better. He had seen his Jarl jump from the walls and knew exactly where he was going. He looked down to the papers again and listened to the merchant complaining about not being able to trade with the Vaegirs now. Bunduk sighed. You'd think that a nation born out of blood wouldn't have to bother with the administrative details, at least for a couple of days, but no, the merchants and nobles would of course take the advantage now when the administration hadn't been properly established yet. ''...and the price of skins and hides would go through the roof, and how would your precious army have winter clothing to fight the Vaegirs then huh?'' the merchant rambled on. Bunduk was too tired for this, and he decided to end the conversation now. ''If you don't stop complaining, I will personally push you off the walls and shoot you through the heart if you're still alive. Do you understand?'' The merchant, both shocked and angered by the words, slowly nodded. He knew it was not an empty threat, it had happened before, when a Vaegir-supporting soldier had refused to carry out his orders. Bunduk had beat him down, punched and punched, almost killing him before Firentis had intervened, screaming that he should have mercy. Bunduk had snorted, and said: ''Very well, I will give this man a fine execution'' When Firentis tried to stop him again, Bunduk had kicked him in the stomach and dragged the soldier away, after which he had given the soldier ''A fine execution''. Bunduk had been given a sharp warning from the Great Jarl, much to amusement of Firentis. This had not stopped the townsfolk starting to fear Bunduk, and now his threats did not seem empty anymore to anyone, only perhaps to the Great Jarl. He watched as the merchant walked away, and when he thought Bunduk couldn't see him, he ran as fast as his legs would bear him. Bunduk smiled. ''If only I could do that to everyone'' he thought, knowing that eventually someone would report him to the Great Jarl. ''Ah well'' he thought to himself as he walked down the stairs from the wall.

Erik walked between the graves, taking a good luck at every one of them. He did not pray for them, he knew they would already have gone to Valhalla, they had all been brave men. He kept on walking between them until finally he stopped at one particular grave. It did not differ much from the rest, a small pile of dirt, with a symbol of one of the gods, most oftenly the god that the person had been most alike. This grave had a symbol of Odin. Erik know it from all the others, he did not know how, but every time he walked here, he would eventually wind up at this grave. He brushed off the dust from the name and looked at it. ''Björn Anundsson'' it said. He stared at the name for quite a while, eventually realizing that he had sat down during that time. ''I am sorry brother'' he whispered, as if trying to make sure only the corpse in the grave would hear it. ''I failed you''. He sighed. He took out a helmet from his backpack. He put it down in the middle of the grave. He didn't feel sorry for his brother, if you would go to Valhalla if you died in a battle and had fought bravely, then his brother would have gone to a place above it. No, he was feeling sorry for himself. He would no longer have his older brother and his wisdom by his side, no longer would they fight together in battle, well, at least not on this earth. He sighed again and took off his axe that he had been wearing on his back all the time and put it down next the helmet. It was his brother's axe, the one he had fought with during the assault. It was still covered by blood, both Vaegir and Björn's own blood. When Ymira had found it after the battle, he wanted to wash off the blood, but Matheld had stopped her. Matheld was a Nord too, she knew the traditions. Erik wanted the blood to be kept on the axe, as a symbol of his brother's valour, skill and honour in battle. After some time sitting and thinking, Erik rose to his feet and started to walk away. He looked at all the graves once more, feeling a cold chill down his spine. ''I failed them all'' he whispered to himself. ''I failed them''. After that he started his long walk back to the city. ''Once there is peace, I will build a great monument, one in Wercheg, one here and one in Alburq, to honour the soldiers who fought and died, in both assaults and defences, so that a new nation may be born out of flames and blood. He thought about it for a while, and soon realized that the nation had no official name. The people called it The Jarldom of Wercheg, the Jarldom of Alburg and many other names. The people called themselves either Nords, Werchegians or Alburqians. He realized that perhaps he did not need a name for it. They all knew what it was, and that was enough.

Alayen was standing on the walls. They called the city ''The Rock''. Well, used to call it. As most nobles of Calradia did not recognize the Nations independence, instead viewing the Jarl as nothing more than a petty bandit Warlord, they couldn't believe that Wercheg had fallen, and therefore most nobles had started saying that Wercheg weren't much of a fortress after all. Alayen smiled. ''If they would say that for every City and Castle we will conquer, then there won't be any fotresses left in a year or two'' he thought to himself. He was proud to serve under his Jarl. At first, he had come along for a chance for money and power, and didn't look to Erik as much more than an employer. But as the months and weeks passed, it changed. Now Alayen admired him. His just and genorous personality, his speed and strength in battle, the ambition he showed. It is too bad that all this might be for nothing, now that Erik has become depressed about his brother's death. Alayen never really knew Björn. He had seen him every now and then in battle or in the Commanders tent. He had been impressed by him, but he was nothing much out of the ordinary. A good warrior and a good general, both of them are common in the Kingdom of Nords and Nordland itself. He looked out to the sea, the merchant vessels from Nordland were arriving in the distance. He yawned. It had been a long day. The minor nobles of Wercheg and Alburq were hard to appease, but with Ymira by his side it was far easier to bring them into line. Alayen had really taken a liking to Ymira. Like him she was a Vaegir, and also a very sophisticated girl, despite not being of noble birth. He knew that Ymira sometimes saw that he blushed a bit when she looked at him, and he thought she liked it. Maybe one day when the war is over, if there is an end to it, then maybe his relationship with Ymira could be more than usual flirt.... His thought were broken by a lone man walking in the distance. Alayen didn't need more than one look to identify the man as Erik. ''He's back eh?'' someone asked behind Alayen. Alayen spun around to see Jeremus standing there, smiling. ''Damn it Jeremus, for the last time stop sneaking up on me!'' Alayen snapped. Jeremus laughed. ''I have been standing here for a good five minutes now, I didn't even try to sneak up to you, you just didn't notice me'' Alayen let out a sigh. ''Let me guess, daydreaming about Ymira again?'' Alayen looked up to Jeremus and blushed ''What? No..no... definitely not! I was... umm... looking for bandits'' Jeremus smiled at the attempted explanation. ''Please young man, we have all seen you. As soon as that girl waves to you we can't talk to you for an hour or two. You two may think that no-one notices, but the rest of us think otherwise'' Jeremus ignored Alayen's stutterings and looked over him. ''Yeess, that's definitely our Jarl. Let's go to greet him shall we?'' Alayen nodded, his face almost completely red by now.

''NO NO NO! DO I have to do everything myself?!?'' Artimenner shouted as hard as he could at the servant. He had been put in charge of the repair of the walls and towers. He was not pleased with the servants he had been given. The servant stuttered and mumbled incoherently. ''You're doing it wrong! You're setting the stones too far apart! If the Vaegirs come, they're going to cleanse this tower just by shooting at it, every single arrow would go through the holes!'' ''I'm sorry my lord'' the servant said. ''You better be! And look at these crossbow holes. You can't shoot a crosbow through that. We need every detail to be perfect! DO YOU WANT THE VAEGIRS TO TAKE BACK WERCHEG? DO YOU? BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, IF YOU BUILD LIKE THIS!'' Artimenner shouted. He was extremely furious. After taking a few deep breaths, he calmly explained: ''Now, you are going to have work ten times as hard, and if I'm not pleased, you won't be getting off duty for the next 3 weeks! IS THAT CLEAR?!?'' ''Yes my lord''. Artimenner snorted. ''Good''. He walked down the stairs. If it hadn't been for incompetent servants, this fort would be able to hold off any attack. He stopped by a crossbow hole and inspected it. It was made for the Rhodok crossbows. ''Excellent machinery'' Artimenner thought. As he inspected it without finding any faults, to his surprise, he saw a strange figure closing in on the city. ''Ah, good, it's the Jarl'' he thought to himself. He was already dreaming about new propositions on how to punish stupid servants that he would propose to the Jarl. ''Yes, that would be just perfect'' he said in a low tone, as he thought of a especially good way.

Bunduk, Alayen, Jeremus, Artimenner, Firentis and Ymira had gathered in front of the gates, waiting for the Jarl to come. Alayen smiled as he saw Ymira, and then quickly looked away in fear of her looking back at him. Ymira did look at him, and she saw a very red face. Jeremus had been standing behind them and had been smiling all the time. As Artimenner came down he just rolled his eyes and grunted annoyed. As Bunduk saw Firentis coming, he shot him an glance. Bunduk knew that Firentis was a weak man. When the Vaegirs would come Firentis would let them get away, only to get stabbed in the back by them. War was War, if you can't kill a man, you're not a soldier, and therefore you shoudn't pretend you are one. As the Great Jarl came through the gate all the persons gathered in front of the gates stopped whatever they were doing and greeted the Jarl. Erik looked up at them and then sank his head back down. He brushed them aside and walked past them, mumbling ''Not today''. Firentis walked up to him and started saying ''Eri-''. Erik looked up at him and said ''Not today!'' in a far louder tone. Firentis was shocked, as were the rest of his friends ''And Bunduk'' he thought to himself and walked up to Erik again and said: ''Erik, pleas-'' Erik said ''No''. His voice was growing louder. Firentis followed him once again and put his hand on his Jarl's back. Erik reacted in a millionth part of a second and punched Firentis in the guts as hard as he could as he screamed ''NO!''. Bunduk looked upon amused, but as Artimenner turned his shocked gaze towards him, he stopped smiling again. ''Poor man'' Jeremus said. ''Who?'' Bunduk asked, still trying to hide his smile from the rest. ''Both'' Jeremus responded. ''He can't go on like this. We need him, the city needs him, the men need him. We can handle the city now, but if the Vaegirs come we must be unified with a strong leader!'' Alayen, just returning from his state of shock, said ''There must be something we can done'' ''Oh that's easy'' Artimenner said, the only that weren't shocked by the event. ''Just bring his dead brother back to life, and there you have it. And we get another soldier while we're at it!'' Firentis walked back to the group, looking like a humpback. He spat some blood on the ground and then sat down. ''This isn't a time for jokes Artimenner'' Ymira said angrily. ''I agree with Ymira'' Alayen proclaimed. Jeremus whispered behind him ''Of course you do''. Alayen shot him an irritated glance and Jeremus stepped forward. ''From what I know, he has no more family left here in Calradia right now'' Several of the persons nodded. ''We know he came from Nordland with his brother, which means he might have more family there'' Borcha walked in on the group and said ''I remember him telling me that his father was a soldier, fighting in distant reaches of Nordland'' ''Then there's not so much a chance that's he's alive is there?'' Firentis interuppted. ''Never mind finding him'' Artimenner went on. ''Well, there goes that idea'' Jeremus mumbled. ''There's nothing we can do, either he'll recover on his own, or he might abdicte or worse...'' Artimenner said. Bunduk responded ''Ever the optimist eh Arti?'' Artimenner looked annoyed at Bunduk, Bunduk knew he hated that name. After some time thinking they all said goodbyes and walked away. Alayen stayed behind and then walked after Ymira.

Blood. It was everywhere. Marnid looked down on the farmers corpses. He felt anger. Great anger towards the one who did this. 50 innocent men and women had been slaughtered like pigs. Their heads had been cut off and their bodies had been cut until there were no recognizing them anymore. They could not receive a burial. No-one could know who they were. ''Bastards...'' Bahehstur muttered ''Who would do this? Bandits wouldn't attack farmers. They know that the Jarl would strike them down. Besides, what is there to gain? Nobody would pay more than 10 denars a piece for a farmer-slave and they didn't seem to be loaded with goods either'' Marnid slowly nodded. Baheshtur jumped off his horse and started looking more closely at the farmers. ''They were coming back from Wercheg to their Village'' ''How do you know?'' Marnid asked. Baheshtur smiled. He had waited for that question ''Well, there are other tracks over there. They are old, but they are still deeper than those over there'' he pointed to the road towards Wercheg ''Meaning that they had been loaded with goods, sold it at Wercheg, and was going back towards... Ruvar'' Marnid looked up at Baheshtur. ''These farmers had on them a special woolen coat that is only made in Ruvar'' ''Ah, I see'' Marnid said. He looked at them for a while, then started going back towards the horses. ''Well, it's time to report to Wercheg eh?''. Marnid did not get a respone. ''Baheshtur?'' he looked around to see that Baheshtur completely frozen. His face were as snow and his eyes were focused on a corpse with an arrow in it. ''Baheshtur?'' Marnid repeated and rushed over to him. ''L-look'' Baheshtur stuttered. Marnid looked, and he saw it. He froze instantly too. ''No, no that's impossible. They are too occupied with the Khergits'' Marnid refused to believe what he saw. ''Then how do you explain that then? This is one of the finest Vaegir arrows, only made for Vaegir lords and the like!'' Marind put his hands behind his hands and mumbled ''No, no, no, no. They wouldn't leave the Khergit war for one small city! Last month they had barely a 100 men stationed here, why would they suddenly care about it so much now?'' ''It would be a sign of weakness to leave us alone...'' Baheshtur sighed. Marnid's anger had been replaced by fear and shock. Suddenly Marnid shook Baheshtur as hard as he could. ''WHERE DID THEY GO?'' Bahehstur looked up at him and suddenly realized something. He ran to his horse and rode up to a hill. The grass had been flattened down by boots and horseshoes. ''Alburg...'' Baheshtur said. ''Go to Wercheg'' he shouted at Marnid. ''NOW!'' Marnid did not delay any further and got up on his horse and rode like hell to Wercheg.

''There must be something we can do'' Firentis said worried to Jeremus. He still felt the blow, but he did his best to ignore it. Jeremus ignored him and said instead ''That might grow to a good bruise you know'' and pointed to Firentis stomach. Firentis looked up at him. Jeremus seemed to believe that this was somekind of wound or disease he could cure with a good operation. Firentis knew better. He knew from experience how it was like losing a brother. But he felt much worse. He remembered that fateful night, his sword going into his own flesh and blood and his brother looking at him with large eyes and whispering ''Brother...'' before finally slumping to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Jeremus woke him up from his thoughts pointed out to the horizon and said ''Look''. From the way the man rode, it could only be Marnid, but he seemed worried, perhaps even fearful. ''Come'' Jeremus said and Firentis followed him down to outside the gates. Marnid saw them, but rode right through them without a care in the world, pushing them both down. ''GODDAMNIT! I have always said we should never have given him a horse!'' Jeremus shouted, both to Firentis and Marnid. ''I don't think that he wanted to hurt us, neither was he that bad a rider. He witnessed as Marnid turned the horse towards the castle. ''We should follow him'' Firentis said. ''Yes...'' Jeremus muttered.

The Stories of the Great Jarl of Wercheg: Chapter 2

''...and then the Rhodok pikes will protect the flank from the cavalry, while the Vaegir archers and Swadian gunners shoot the cavalry that tries to turn around'' Artimenner went one, but Erik just couldn't care. Large map were rolled out on the board, showing maps of the different areas of the peninsula, with small figurines depicting different troops. He watched as Artimenner moved the pieces around, all while telling orders. Erik smiled, most of Artimenners tactics always failed during the battle itself, yet the Werchegs always won. As Erik watched Artimenner move the pieces around, he heard shouting outside. He soon identified it as Marnid and he shouted to the guards to let Marnid in. Marnid stormed past the guards as soon as the door opened, yelling: ''My Jarl! The Vaegirs, are coming from the south-eastern part of the peninsula, they slaughtered a group of peasants!''. Erik and Artimenner stared shocked, but soon they regained awareness and Erik asked ''Where are they now?'' ''Baheshtur said that they have proably regrouped just outside the border, but are now coming to back to Ruvar to take it'' ''Where is Baheshtur now?'' Artimenner asked ''He's warning the Alburqians and informing Visjarl Tredian'' Erik looked away to the windows. The Vaegirs, the horror is coming back. Erik looked back with eyes wide open ''But... wh-what about the Khergits?'' Marnid shook his head ''We don't know'' Erik sighed and looked at the maps. Ruvar, a small village in the Southeastern parts of the Jarldom. Erik looked at a messenger ''Call the Council'' The messenger was in shock like the others and looked at Erik ''NOW!''. The Messenger hurried out. ''Well Artimenner, your tactics better work now'' Marnid said. After that there were complete and total silence.

The Council gathered soon. The people part of the council were the following: Great Jarl Erik Anundsson, Visjarl Tredian de Rousillion, Klethi Rurikovich, Lezalit Árpady, Jeremus MacLothian , Ymira Gediminovich, Marnid al-Amiri, Borcha Genghisid, Firentis van Groningen, Deshavi Fatimid, Rolf Stenkilsätten, Baheshtur Timurid, Bunduk Kerne, Katrin Halfdansdottir, Matheld av Munsö, Nizar Seljuk and lastly Alayen Borisovich. Each person were informed by a soldiers of the events that had occured when they entered the council chamber, each one seemed more shocked than the last. Jeremus looked around and saw that Alayen were still standing up near the wall of the room, for some reason not seated yet. He looked on baffled, until finally he understood. As Ymira entered the room and seated herself, he saw that Alayen finally started moving and seated himself next to Ymira. As the last person entered, Baheshtur, the Great Jarl stood up and let out a sigh before starting to speak: ''Friends, we all know what has happened, the Vaegirs are on the move. They are coming from the southeast and are slowly marking their way towards Wercheg. The informants tell us that this is roughly half of the Vaegir army, lead by Yaroglek himself and a handful of his lords'' ''Some of who are my friends'' he thought to himself, before continuing on: ''We will have to engage them eventually, to protect Wercheg itself. We should wait a few days, when the Vaegirs are exhausted we will strike'' Nizar and Alayen rose up, both for different reasons. Nizar took the word first: ''We should not flee, we have defeated them over and over again! We can't risk the lives of the villagers and farmers. If we do not engage them directly the will burn and the Vaegirs will destroy every settlement they come across and then salt the fields. They want only revenge!'' ''Enough, Nizar, you've made your point.'' Matheld said ''If we do engage them directly, we will lose many soldiers. Far more soldiers than the farmers that would be lost if we did it our way!'' Lezalit took the word ''The Vaegirs will plunder and slaughter the cattle, and they will rest in the villagers' houses before they burn them. There won't be any difference if we engage them now or later, only it will buy us more time if we engage them now!'' Klethi muttered ''Believe me, the Vaegirs will not rest until they reach Wercheg. Yaroglek, short may he live, will forcemarch his soldiers and whip those who fall!'' Borcha shouted ''We have to whittle them down, if we surround them with Khergit horse archers and Swadian Knights tearing through their ranks during the nights, we can take them down when they reach Wercheg'' ''THAT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG!'' Marnid shouted ''THEY WILL BE HERE TO SOON FOR IT TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!'' ''Calm down Marnid!'' Deshavi said with a bitter tone ''We have to engage them now, before the rest of their ''lords'' rally to that bastards banner!'' As several members were about to yell out their arguments, Lezalit shouted ''That is true, but where? Most of the peninsula are plains, where the Vaegirs would use their numbers and bows to their advantage.'' Rolf, who had been ignoring most of the arguments so far, suddenly rose up. ''I know a place'' all eyes turned to him ''Some time ago, I passed through a pass here on the Peninsula. It's called Therm of Pylaes pass. It is a long and narrow pass, where quality will win the race, not quantity. Therer are many great cliffs that the crossbowmen, the archers and the gunners can be positioned in. It lies on the road from Ruvar to Wercheg.'' Visjarl Tredian rose and said ''That may be good, but how do we get the Vaegirs to use the pass? They might as well go around it'' ''What we need is a diversion, a trap. I have a group of good brave Rhodoks that would do it. They could try to engage the Vaegirs' army and then run into the pass, only to be followed by the army!'' Bunduk shouted out excited ''Why would the Vaegirs follow a group of meager soldiers?'' Alayen asked ''We need someone important to go with them.'' ''I was afraid of that, but it's my men, and I shall go with them'' There were no protests. As much as they wanted him to stay, they knew there was no other option to be found. ''Good, then Borcha will take his Khergits and Tredian his Swadians and they will harass the army until when they reach the pass, where they will leve into the forests. Bunduk will be there waiting with his men, who will taunt the enemy into following them down the pass. The main army will stay here'' Erik pointed to a point in the pass around a small corner. ''The Archers willl be waiting in the third line and above the pass.'' The talk carried on for some time, but the main strategy had been laid out. The council disbanded in the afternoon, each man going out to gather his men.

King Yaroglek sighed. He was tired of all these wars. He had had to abandon the Khergits just as he were winning, and march down here to deal with a petty warlord claiming Wercheg for his own. ''Anythign wrong my liege?'' Boyar Nelag asked at his side. ''No, I'm just thinking if the nations would ever agree to a long truce. An end to all the war'' ''I doubt it my lord, Calradia was never made for peace'' Nelag responded. The King looked at him ''You're right, but one can wish'' Nelag smiled. ''Yes, yes you can. But I abandoned wishing a long time ago. It never brings you anywhere, and only disappoints you in the end'' Yaroglek smiled at his vassal's philosophy. ''We're crossing the border now'' Boyar Vlan said suddenly. ''It was here we slaughtered the traitors yesterday''

Francisco looked out over the field. He could see every now and then a Knight or a Khergit running out of range from the Vaegirs, but then turning back. They were close now. He looked and suddenly he could see figures appearing out of the mist. He suddenly understood what it was. ''Captain! Vaegirs coming from south-southeast!'' Bunduk looked up instantly. ''Yea, that's them allright. FORMATIONS!!!'' he shouted. The Rhodoks formed what did not look like a planned formation, but was actually a trick to make the Vaegirs fall into a false sense of security. ''AIM!'' he shouted. He held his arm high in the air, waiting for the right moment. Francisco looked tenseely over his crossbow. He still saw the knights and khergits. He watched his commanders face. It was compeltely devoid of other emotions than anger. Suddenly, the cavalry retreated into the forest. Bunduk saw his cue. ''FIRE!!''. A rain of crossbow bolts fell down on the army. Franscicso heard several screams of anger and pain from the advancing horde. Bunduk muttered ''Damn'' ''All right men, reload, but do it slowly, try to let the bolt drop to the ground a couple of times, we need them to be in a false sense of security'' Francisco did what he was told, he wasn't happy about it, but he did it. Another shower of bolts hit the Vaegirs, this time several of them intently missing the Vaegirs. Suddenly however, during the reloading, as shower of Vaegir arrows came down. He heard one of his men grunt as he fell to the grond gurgling. He had been hit in the throat. ''SHIELDS UP GODDAMNIT'' Bunduk yelled. He advanced to the hit man with his board shield above his head, and checked the pulse of the man. He grunted a couple of times as the shield was hit repeatedly, but finally he shook his head and left the man. He went to another soldier, who had also been to slow. He checked the pulse before yelling ''RETREAT!'' The soldiers heeded the order and ran. As Francicso tried to run, a strong arrow knocked his shield off his back, and soon after another hit him in the leg. He fell as he tried to run. He tried to scream for help as he crawled, but only weak sounds came out of his month. Suddenly, a arrow hit him in the side and all went black. He heard footsteps, a distant voice mumbling securing words, Bunduk shouting to the man as he felt himself being dragged away.

''Move! Move! Move!'' Bunduk's voice echoed in the pass. ''GODDAMN IT ROBERT, MOVE!''. Robert pushed himself over his limit, and he knew it. He didn't know if he would be okay if he survived the battle, but if he saved this man he was dragging right now, it would be worth it.

''Are the archers positioned?'' Erik asked. Artimenner answered: ''Yes my Jarl''. ''Are Bunduks men retreating?'' ''Yes my Jarl'' ''Are the Vaegirs following?'' Artimenner smiled at the last question. ''Yes my Jarl''. ''Then it's time'' Erik said as he walked out of the tent and picked up his axe and helmet as he went. He walked past the lines, and stopped in the first line. Artimenner knew better than to try and stop him. Erik looked at his friends around him. Ready to fight, ready to die. He smiled, the first real smile he had had for weeks now. It was time to see if the saying was true. A nation of blood, steel and flesh. He looked around to see his men cheering quietly. They would be part of one of the greatest battles of all of Calradia's history. It was indeed time.


''...and then the Rhodok pikes will protect the flank from the cavalry, while the Vaegir archers and Swadian gunners shoot the cavalry that tries to turn around'' Artimenner went one, but Erik just couldn't care. Large map were rolled out on the board, showing maps of the different areas of the peninsula, with small figurines depicting different troops. He watched as Artimenner moved the pieces around, all while telling orders. Erik smiled, most of Artimenners tactics always failed during the battle itself, yet the Werchegs always won. As Erik watched Artimenner move the pieces around, he heard shouting outside. He soon identified it as Marnid and he shouted to the guards to let Marnid in. Marnid stormed past the guards as soon as the door opened, yelling: ''My Jarl! The Vaegirs, are coming from the south-eastern part of the peninsula, they slaughtered a group of peasants!''. Erik and Artimenner stared shocked, but soon they regained awareness and Erik asked ''Where are they now?'' ''Baheshtur said that they have proably regrouped just outside the border, but are now coming to back to Ruvar to take it'' ''Where is Baheshtur now?'' Artimenner asked ''He's warning the Alburqians and informing Visjarl Tredian'' Erik looked away to the windows. The Vaegirs, the horror is coming back. Erik looked back with eyes wide open ''But... wh-what about the Khergits?'' Marnid shook his head ''We don't know'' Erik sighed and looked at the maps. Ruvar, a small village in the Southeastern parts of the Jarldom. Erik looked at a messenger ''Call the Council'' The messenger was in shock like the others and looked at Erik ''NOW!''. The Messenger hurried out. ''Well Artimenner, your tactics better work now'' Marnid said. After that there were complete and total silence.

The Council gathered soon. The people part of the council were the following: Great Jarl Erik Anundsson, Visjarl Tredian de Rousillion, Klethi Rurikovich, Lezalit Árpady, Jeremus MacLothian , Ymira Gediminovich, Marnid al-Amiri, Borcha Genghisid, Firentis van Groningen, Deshavi Fatimid, Rolf Stenkilsätten, Baheshtur Timurid, Bunduk Kerne, Katrin Halfdansdottir, Matheld av Munsö, Nizar Seljuk and lastly Alayen Borisovich. Each person were informed by a soldiers of the events that had occured when they entered the council chamber, each one seemed more shocked than the last. Jeremus looked around and saw that Alayen were still standing up near the wall of the room, for some reason not seated yet. He looked on baffled, until finally he understood. As Ymira entered the room and seated herself, he saw that Alayen finally started moving and seated himself next to Ymira. As the last person entered, Baheshtur, the Great Jarl stood up and let out a sigh before starting to speak: ''Friends, we all know what has happened, the Vaegirs are on the move. They are coming from the southeast and are slowly marking their way towards Wercheg. The informants tell us that this is roughly half of the Vaegir army, lead by Yaroglek himself and a handful of his lords'' ''Some of who are my friends'' he thought to himself, before continuing on: ''We will have to engage them eventually, to protect Wercheg itself. We should wait a few days, when the Vaegirs are exhausted we will strike'' Nizar and Alayen rose up, both for different reasons. Nizar took the word first: ''We should not flee, we have defeated them over and over again! We can't risk the lives of the villagers and farmers. If we do not engage them directly the will burn and the Vaegirs will destroy every settlement they come across and then salt the fields. They want only revenge!'' ''Enough, Nizar, you've made your point.'' Matheld said ''If we do engage them directly, we will lose many soldiers. Far more soldiers than the farmers that would be lost if we did it our way!'' Lezalit took the word ''The Vaegirs will plunder and slaughter the cattle, and they will rest in the villagers' houses before they burn them. There won't be any difference if we engage them now or later, only it will buy us more time if we engage them now!'' Klethi muttered ''Believe me, the Vaegirs will not rest until they reach Wercheg. Yaroglek, short may he live, will forcemarch his soldiers and whip those who fall!'' Borcha shouted ''We have to whittle them down, if we surround them with Khergit horse archers and Swadian Knights tearing through their ranks during the nights, we can take them down when they reach Wercheg'' ''THAT WOULD TAKE TOO LONG!'' Marnid shouted ''THEY WILL BE HERE TO SOON FOR IT TO MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!'' ''Calm down Marnid!'' Deshavi said with a bitter tone ''We have to engage them now, before the rest of their ''lords'' rally to that bastards banner!'' As several members were about to yell out their arguments, Lezalit shouted ''That is true, but where? Most of the peninsula are plains, where the Vaegirs would use their numbers and bows to their advantage.'' Rolf, who had been ignoring most of the arguments so far, suddenly rose up. ''I know a place'' all eyes turned to him ''Some time ago, I passed through a pass here on the Peninsula. It's called Therm of Pylaes pass. It is a long and narrow pass, where quality will win the race, not quantity. Therer are many great cliffs that the crossbowmen, the archers and the gunners can be positioned in. It lies on the road from Ruvar to Wercheg.'' Visjarl Tredian rose and said ''That may be good, but how do we get the Vaegirs to use the pass? They might as well go around it'' ''What we need is a diversion, a trap. I have a group of good brave Rhodoks that would do it. They could try to engage the Vaegirs' army and then run into the pass, only to be followed by the army!'' Bunduk shouted out excited ''Why would the Vaegirs follow a group of meager soldiers?'' Alayen asked ''We need someone important to go with them.'' ''I was afraid of that, but it's my men, and I shall go with them'' There were no protests. As much as they wanted him to stay, they knew there was no other option to be found. ''Good, then Borcha will take his Khergits and Tredian his Swadians and they will harass the army until when they reach the pass, where they will leve into the forests. Bunduk will be there waiting with his men, who will taunt the enemy into following them down the pass. The main army will stay here'' Erik pointed to a point in the pass around a small corner. ''The Archers willl be waiting in the third line and above the pass.'' The talk carried on for some time, but the main strategy had been laid out. The council disbanded in the afternoon, each man going out to gather his men.

King Yaroglek sighed. He was tired of all these wars. He had had to abandon the Khergits just as he were winning, and march down here to deal with a petty warlord claiming Wercheg for his own. ''Anythign wrong my liege?'' Boyar Nelag asked at his side. ''No, I'm just thinking if the nations would ever agree to a long truce. An end to all the war'' ''I doubt it my lord, Calradia was never made for peace'' Nelag responded. The King looked at him ''You're right, but one can wish'' Nelag smiled. ''Yes, yes you can. But I abandoned wishing a long time ago. It never brings you anywhere, and only disappoints you in the end'' Yaroglek smiled at his vassal's philosophy. ''We're crossing the border now'' Boyar Vlan said suddenly. ''It was here we slaughtered the traitors yesterday''

Francisco looked out over the field. He could see every now and then a Knight or a Khergit running out of range from the Vaegirs, but then turning back. They were close now. He looked and suddenly he could see figures appearing out of the mist. He suddenly understood what it was. ''Captain! Vaegirs coming from south-southeast!'' Bunduk looked up instantly. ''Yea, that's them allright. FORMATIONS!!!'' he shouted. The Rhodoks formed what did not look like a planned formation, but was actually a trick to make the Vaegirs fall into a false sense of security. ''AIM!'' he shouted. He held his arm high in the air, waiting for the right moment. Francisco looked tenseely over his crossbow. He still saw the knights and khergits. He watched his commanders face. It was compeltely devoid of other emotions than anger. Suddenly, the cavalry retreated into the forest. Bunduk saw his cue. ''FIRE!!''. A rain of crossbow bolts fell down on the army. Franscicso heard several screams of anger and pain from the advancing horde. Bunduk muttered ''Damn'' ''All right men, reload, but do it slowly, try to let the bolt drop to the ground a couple of times, we need them to be in a false sense of security'' Francisco did what he was told, he wasn't happy about it, but he did it. Another shower of bolts hit the Vaegirs, this time several of them intently missing the Vaegirs. Suddenly however, during the reloading, as shower of Vaegir arrows came down. He heard one of his men grunt as he fell to the grond gurgling. He had been hit in the throat. ''SHIELDS UP GODDAMNIT'' Bunduk yelled. He advanced to the hit man with his board shield above his head, and checked the pulse of the man. He grunted a couple of times as the shield was hit repeatedly, but finally he shook his head and left the man. He went to another soldier, who had also been to slow. He checked the pulse before yelling ''RETREAT!'' The soldiers heeded the order and ran. As Francicso tried to run, a strong arrow knocked his shield off his back, and soon after another hit him in the leg. He fell as he tried to run. He tried to scream for help as he crawled, but only weak sounds came out of his month. Suddenly, a arrow hit him in the side and all went black. He heard footsteps, a distant voice mumbling securing words, Bunduk shouting to the man as he felt himself being dragged away.

''Move! Move! Move!'' Bunduk's voice echoed in the pass. ''GODDAMN IT ROBERT, MOVE!''. Robert pushed himself over his limit, and he knew it. He didn't know if he would be okay if he survived the battle, but if he saved this man he was dragging right now, it would be worth it.

''Are the archers positioned?'' Erik asked. Artimenner answered: ''Yes my Jarl''. ''Are Bunduks men retreating?'' ''Yes my Jarl'' ''Are the Vaegirs following?'' Artimenner smiled at the last question. ''Yes my Jarl''. ''Then it's time'' Erik said as he walked out of the tent and picked up his axe and helmet as he went. He walked past the lines, and stopped in the first line. Artimenner knew better than to try and stop him. Erik looked at his friends around him. Ready to fight, ready to die. He smiled, the first real smile he had had for weeks now. It was time to see if the saying was true. A nation of blood, steel and flesh. He looked around to see his men cheering quietly. They would be part of one of the greatest battles of all of Calradia's history. It was indeed time.

Comments
SkyDog13 Author
SkyDog13

Why is the text all black you might ask? Well please don't cuz I don't know.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
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