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Tuesday, 11 July 2006
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Chaos Rising
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A tale from the Twilight War.

                                                         CHAOS RISING    



Alain De Montgallion was tired. Bone tired. He couldn’t remember when last he had slept. Was it two nights ago, three, was it more? He couldn’t quite remember. His memory seemed fuzzy, events were blurring into one another in his mind. He suddenly shook his head and took a deep breath. His concentration was wandering again. He had to pull himself together and stay focused. He stared down again at the map in front of him. All around him in the battle tent was hectic activity. Knights coming and going, squires and retainers rushing about carrying messages and reports, questions being asked, arguments about deployments and orders being barked.


This was a fine map he had been given by Narmo Eressea and his Hunters of Kurnous. The wood elf scouts had produced an exquisitely detailed map of central lumbria which he had found invaluable in planning his campaign.


Alain de Montgallion swayed on his feet slightly and cursed under his breath. His mind was wandering again! “Come on”, he thought, “this is ridiculous”. He had to focus, concentrate!”


He looked at the map once more, his finger stabbing at Littleton, tracing the path of the north road from the town towards Brightwood.


Littleton was falling, that was now obvious and inevitable. The battle here was no longer a defence, but an evacuation. The north road was the last remaining open route from the town. Somewhere along this road the hordes of darkness would strike to cut off any retreat. If this happened it would be a massacre. He could not let that happen.


Alain had already deployed his Templars in small screening forces at intervals along the road to scout for any signs of enemy action. Once he had confirmation it was his intention to rush his forces to that area, confront and defeat the flanking force and hold the road open to let the survivors of the sack at least have a chance of escape.


Suddenly there was a flurry of activity at the opening of the large tent. Two muddied knights burst in supporting a third between them. His armour was dented and blood stained and he carried a deep gash down one cheek which was bleeding freely.


As they approached the map table Sir Alain recognised Sir Godfrey Hotspur, Knight of the Realm Gallant commanding one of his far flung screening squadrons.


Sir Godfrey slumped against the table, gasping for breath as he clutched his chest, wheezing slightly. He coughed painfully and a fleck of blood splattered the maps surface.

“Sir Godfrey, report”, barked Sir Alain.

“My Lord”, he gasped, “Khornate cavalry, two miles north of Littleton....here”, his bloodied finger stabbed the map indicating the location of his encounter, smearing a bloody fingerprint onto the indicated spot. “We dealt with them Sire” he wheezed, “but they were just a probing force”. He looked up at Sir Alain, his eyes glazed slightly, “they are coming my L....” Suddenly he groaned and swooned. He would have fallen, but for his two companions who grasped him gently but firmly, supporting him between them.


“Get him to the healers at once” ordered Sir Alain. Then, as Sir Godfrey was led from the tent, he turned to his retainer. “To the Herald. Order the muster to be sounded. We ride at once!”


Turning back to the map he started issuing marching orders to his lieutenants’.

Moments later as he headed for the tent flap, clutching his helm, the flap burst open again and he found his path barred. Blocking his way was a young warrior, his blonde hair, unkempt falling across his face. His piecing blue eyes fixed upon Sir Alain, who halted, glaring with indignation.


“What is the meaning of this?” he growled. “We do not have time for such foolishness Sir Parsifal, step aside at once!”

“My Lord” retorted the young Knight unabashed, “we are coming too! We have been here a week Sire and have not been permitted to see any action. We want to fight my Lord, not act as dry nurses for peasants!”


Sir Alain felt anger rise within him, and as suddenly it was quelled. He smiled inwardly to himself. It was like it was yesterday that he remembered himself as a brash impetuous youth impatient for battle and glory, irreverent and disrespectful of authority. How could he be angry with a Bretonnian for acting like a Bretonnian? The corners of his mouth curled ever so slightly as he suppressed the smile. It had only flickered there for an instant, but Sir Parsifal had spotted it. His face broke into a wide grin. He was going to ride to battle and glory after all.


“My Lord, with your leave I shall go rouse my companions” he said as excitement sparkled in his azure eyes. He turned on his heel, reaching for the tent flap.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 July 2006 )
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