Here are some snippits of Dalarian’s adventures. Enjoy, and feel free to comment…
“Dalarian watched the scarlet stripes of receding day stolidly. For a moment his men could rest. But the peace was a thin façade. Their hopes lay in ruins at the base of Kayga-ata. The banner of the Jimdazan House was tattered and lost, and the Arm of the East was broken and scattered afield.
His armor was chipped. Long scores marred its once polished surface. The chain mesh beneath it was mangled and bruised in numerous places. His amethyst surcoat had been torn from his breast. Most of the men present had followed his helm to their now relative safety. The Blue Otter had ridden high above the throngs of barbarian invaders, driving a vengeful, desperate wedge through the lines of bloodthirsty villains. Only a few, a remnant, had escaped the crush behind him. Most, however, he knew were lost in the undertow of the siege.
“Treeag!” he spat. Not long ago none knew the loathsome name. Now hordes of veritable monsters, a mutated mockery of men, swarmed the land like a pestilence. Knobby hands, yellow teeth, squatty legs, grotesque features… they were the ‘ugh!’ in ‘ugly.’ And now, wherever they had come from, and whatever drove them, they were bent on conquering; and Urren lay before them.”
‘Finally the gully opened out to a wide plain. Dalarian tried to get his men to reform quickly. The brigades were uselessly scattered, but he assembled what order he could. From his own knights, only Turgon, Wivalian, and Roblarin remained with him. The others had spread themselves out through the other gullies to command the men. Dalarian hoped they’d be exiting shortly. He wondered where Graven had gotten to.
“Form them up! What do we have for people?”
“I see pikemen… and swordsmen galore…” Turgon said, strained his eyes.
“And a handful of archers,” Roblarin added helpfully.
“Get the archers over here,” Dalarian ordered, “I don’t want to shout when I want all three of their arrows fired.”
“Yes, sir!” Roblarin rode off.
“Get the rest of the men pikes in the middle, swords on the sides. Stagger them back to be ready for flanking.”
“Yes sir! Ho!” Turgon rode off.
“What should I do, milord?” Wivalian asked.
“Just stay here, Wil,” Dalarian said, “Be my eyes.”
The plain was empty, but Dalarian had not missed the frantic running of the Treeag. They had not retreated. They were skirting the gullies. Soon they would be here, and there would be a party when they arrived. He hoped to be as hospitable a host as possible. He would meet their charge with the kiss of the pikemen, and swing both arms of his swordsmen out to clobber them with a pointy embrace. After they were well acquainted, he intended to serve them some refreshments, starting with the drink of fury, and maybe some crackers—with cheese… and sausage… of… um, death.
Not far from the assembling troops was the second great tower of Fadrien’s Wall. This one appeared cold, and uninhabited. No fire burned from its top.
“I forgot to leave the light on for our visitors,” Dalarian commented.
“Milord?” Wivalian asked.
“No fire burns here,” Dalarian pointed distractedly, “Only that far tower lights the world with the warm cheer of friendship.”
The young knight stared at the Otter, nervously trying to gauge his mood.
“It’s a joke, young sir,” Dalarian explained.
“Oh!” the youth tried to crack an obedient smile. Clearly he was too wrung out to be amused. Awkwardly Dalarian turned away to see how Turgon was doing. Under the direction of the Hollow Standard bearer Dalarian guesstimated a solid 200 sword now flanked their 50 pikemen. Such a grand army… he thought. He blew a fbbbbb sigh out his lips.
Then, off to the side, another group of his footmen began spilling out of the gullies. At their head Dalarian thought he recognized the hulking frame of Malbek. Excellent. “More troops! Get them over here!”
Roblarin had escorted the some-teen archers to where Dalarian waited, and he rode off to meet the arriving troops. They looked like mostly pikemen. That was good. But where was Graven?
As the soldiers headed towards him, Dalarian heard the sick whine of enemy horns. They were not the silver bugles and trumpets of Thimilie, but rather some poor creatures’ hollowed horn. It was such an awful whine that Dalarian imagined it could not be the horn of any mammal. Probably a lizard or something. He turned to see the advancing enemy troop.
Their numbers seemed greater than before. The long line of enemy troops spread out across the plains as they approached from the right. Dalarian rode out, commanding his small group to turn and meet them squarely. As his forces slowly turned, Malbek’s group siphoning into place, swelling their numbers, the Treeag advance abruptly swerved out to the main field. “What?!” Irritated, Dalarian ordered his men to turn back to where they had been. Again the line of footsoldiers slowly pivoted. Dalarian watched the process unhappily. Their lines were not good at all. Again the Treeag turned, and headed back. They were coming closer, but at the same time changing their angle of attack. Dalarian cursed, and turned to face them, sensing his jumble of men were far from ready to catch the oncoming charge. Fortunately he saw no ogres. Lisha had done her job well, but he feared for the Lordéss’ safety. He had not seen the outcome of her contest with the beasts. Hopefully she had survived.
“How are they commanding their troops!?” he said allowed. “They move like a school of fish, yet I hear no trumpet, and see no commander!”
“I don’t know…” Wivalian shrugged helplessly.
Roblarin and the others rode up. Along with Turgon and Malbek were Rigian and Jasburg. “Our ranks swell, sir!” Turgon announced. “I’d say we’ve grown to some fat 500. And 50 archers at least!”
“Indeed. Park the men caddy-corner. But be ready to swivel the line. We’ll catch these dancing Treeag before they charge, and we’ll do it with a decent line too. I didn’t come here to fight a shoddy war!”
“Ho!” shouted Turgon as he rode the lists with the Hollow Banner. The Treeag seemed confused by the forming line of men, not quite facing them. Dalarian nodded in smug approval, but if the invaders didn’t cut back then he would still have to swing his army left to meet them. Time was short, and the Treeag were near.’