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Thursday, 22 December 2005
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Atop his warhorse, Lord Jean emerged from the dense wood into the clearing. The Yeoman had not exaggerated when reporting the battle between knights and the chaos beasts. His horse trotted forward with an entourage of his own knights from the domain of Lorrel. As he passed by the first casualty, nausea swelled in his belly. The heraldry from the knights of Dissay was all too familiar. His heart filling with dread, Jean looked upon the dead defenders of Bretonnia. He knew that somewhere on this battlefield would lay his brother’s oldest son.

For a time they searched the carnage, but there was no sign of his kin. He turned, facing the nearest rider. “Perhaps he escaped,” Jean said with a sense of desperation.

“It is possible”, Aimon replied with a tone not conveying belief.

The knights fanned out, each making a personal registry of the fallen. When time permitted, they would be buried with honor as all knights of the realm had been in the past. It would be a time to share stories of good deeds and dine with fellow knights. But Jean only hoped that the tales he would tell of his nephew would be delayed.

“Lord Jean,” A knight called.

Jean turned and saw the mounted knight standing next to a fallen horse. Jean proceeded to where the severely wounded steed lay. As he had feared, the coat of arms marking the heir of Raven Hall, and the Domain of Dissay lay draped over Renaud’s warhorse. “Oh blessed lady, take him and make him one with your virtue. May your light….”

“My lord,” the knight interrupted. “Lord Renaud’s horse is here sure enough, but there is no body. Even if thrown from his horse…”

“His body would still be nearby,” Jean concluded.

“We should inspect all the fallen knights to be sure,” Aimon suggested.

“Aye, and let us be swift about it,” Jean said

Throughout the battlefield every knight, whether dead from injury or half eaten, were in some proximity to their horse. The only exception being Jean’s nephew.

“The foul bastards took him. For what purpose I do not know,” Jean said in anger.

“Whatever they did, they were quick to leave from here. Their kind feeds off the meat of men. This would have been quite a feast,” Aimon said.

“I agree,” Jean said. “Their hasty departure from this field shows…purpose.”

When the Yeoman scouts returned from their advance patrol, their warden approached Jean. He then lowered his head in respect.

“What did you find Yeoman?” Jean asked.

“Milord, we found their trail leading through the thick of the forest on the opposite side of the clearing; over one hundred beasts in all,” Jacque roughly reported though he could only count to forty.

“Any sign they were holding captives?”

“No, my lord. However, the thick mud did reveal cart tracks. Aside from that, there is no way of knowing.

“Aye, but there is a way of knowing.”

“My lord? The yeomen replied with a dumbfounded stare.

“It is simple Yeoman…we will follow them.”

“But th..ther..there are sixty or seventy of them at least. We should ride for help and get reinforcements.”

“It is not for a low-born to decide what course of action a knight of the realm should take! Watch that tongue peasant and the way you talk in the familiar or I’ll have it attached to the back of my saddle!” Aimon shouted.

Jean raised his gauntlet indicating for Aimon to stand down. “Yeoman, the horde carries my nephew. The same knight that oversees your village. For some foul purpose I am not aware of, they have removed him from this battlefield and are taking him to some accursed dwelling that only the Lady of the Lake could know.”

“I am sorry my lord, forgive me,” The Yeoman pleaded, his head lowered.

“There is nothing to forgive. If time was not so important your suggestion would have been wisdom. Unfortunately, time is not our luxury.

Last Updated ( Friday, 23 December 2005 )
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