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Third Week: Battle for the Mountain Pass PDF Print
Saturday, 22 July 2006

Twenty-one days have passed since my arrival in this rugged land, twenty-one days of incessant fighting and bloodshed, panic and toil, twenty-one days of defending, assaulting and counter-attacks in a land where chaos reigns. A lot of men, elves and dwarves have fallen to the enemy yet we are now into deep to pull back. I have to admit that these lands grow on me: where I first despised and cursed these rugged lands, now there is a growing respect and interest in its primitive nature. One can walk through the windswept plains and waving grasslands and forget that no miles further a battle for live and death is fought. The last empty lands of the Olde World: here lies a mystique and old tranquillity; I’ve rarely felt beyond fair Bretonnia.

At the moment I feel ill at ease: some days ago the Guardians and I encountered a disturbing event. We were just finishing installing the new banners for the pillars when we saw a Kings, horseless, moving with difficulty towards the temple. This in fact isn’t the disturbing part: many a Knight comes seek the tranquillity and healing from the Temple after a battle. However as he approached we saw he was mortally wounded and amazingly through sheer force of will stumbled on. His tunic was blood-drenched and ripped open, he was bleeding from many different wounds, one more ghastly and infected as the other and a part of the left side of his face was ripped off. In his eyes lay a misty emptiness as he continued to stagger over, a trail of blood in his wake. We rushed to aid of course but as we tried to grab him, he pushed by us with an amazing feat of strength and quickly stumbled on. The wooden doors slammed into the walls as he pushed them open, again with considerable strength. The nameless Knight crawled over to the sarcophagus of the forefather of Gilles. In a rasping voice, while he seemed to cough up blood, he said something vaguely as: “Milord, I’ve done as you asked, grant me peace now.” Once again the statue wept and as climax the Knight died. That what held him together vanished as blood now gushed out of his many wound: a large puddle of blood and mud filled the entire of the room. Lady Tiriana left the room pale and sick while the blood disappeared from our faces as well. This could be no other then a bad omen and indeed the days after this gruesome death the forces of evil broke through our lines thrice to this day. Sent a letter to Bretonnia today, I have a bad feeling about all this, may be there is a precedent?

The Council of Light was strained this week for no more then three major breakthroughs of the forces of evil were suffered which cost a lot of resources and lives to turn the tide back. Lady has granted us though that we managed to break through their lines as well. Now all available forces are gathered here: a miles-long column of tent camps situated in cracks, passages and mountain paths along the hard-fought mountain path. The lands beyond our initial defensive line are rough and scarred by the presence of so much evil. A foul stench and the feeling of the corrupting grasp of Chaos still lingers. Stones are far too sharp, making it hard to march on, gnarled trees and dead bushes lie about, dead for weeks for the lack of sunlight and the parching heat, the ground is cracked and dry. It cost our logistics teams a lot of trouble to provide so much water for the troops up here.

I just spoke to General de Montgallion: in spite of our bravest of efforts to keep the gap open, the Guardians are to be redirected towards the sea once more. I’ve sent the necessary orders to the armies under my command to break camp and head on down the long path back down into the plains. Colonel Gueron rode up to me and asked why we were breaking camp at this crucial time. After I told him our orders from the Council, he said that his troops could use the break after a tiring and expensive fight with the foul greenskins further down the mountain path. He spoke with a great hatred for the greenskins and anger flashed through his eyes as he spoke of the strongest of them: the Black Orcs. The young Knight won the battle of course: his impetuous and daring tactics destroying the hordes of goblins and orcs. As we rode at the head of our armies towards the lighthouse he told me of his desire to take to the field against the corrupted elves for vengeance still burned in his heart.

Most of the week I rode alongside the fabled Templars du Lac, heroes of this time, they are becoming legends in Bretonnia. Their zeal and battle prowess has won them many great victories and honour: a group of Bretonnian sons to be proud of indeed. They are led by General de Montgallion at the moment whose wisdom and ingenious battle tactics have more then once won the day. As we rode side by side through the mountains, he told me some of his battles the past few days. As he told me, it was him who led the fateful attack in the Middle Mountains that night which broke the forces of evil. His wisdom showed him a breach in the enemy’s defensive line which he quickly exploited and led the Templars through the breach. His actions that night made it possible for the following Dwarves to widen the gap, forcing the evil forces to withdraw from these mountains. Finally a breakthrough was achieved: the relief and joy was felt throughout the army, strengthening the minds and bodies of the weary men to go into the breach once more. As the sun rose above the cold heights of the mountain peaks, the Banners of Dawn, the allied armies of Good, flew in the morning breeze. A few days later he faces a horde of Lizardmen, blocking their path. It was odd to see that ancient race defend the banner of evil but the corrupting taint of chaos affects us all. To resist its lure one must be strong in mind and stout in heart. The intelligent Templars, aided by the stout Dwarves, destroyed the force of corrupted Lizardmen, ending their toil and pain once and for all. He spoke with high regard and respect of a small unit of Knight which managed to break and force many enemies to flee while being outnumbered and battle weary. Their brave actions forced the general of the enemy army to flee, running for the holy wrath of the Templars. My heart was gladdened to learn that that General de Montgallion has avenged his friend and second Sir Pascal Mourney who fell in the defence of the hidden paths. He opposed the enemy’s foul magic and destroyed all the chaos-tainted, letting the soul of the mourned Knight rest easy at last. Near the end of the week I was standing at the end of a pass, talking to Sir Arthur Ferran when suddenly I was Sir Alain ride down towards us. He seemed confident and worried at the same moment. General de Montgallion was on his way to the Palace where he was summoned. A runner had found him just then with a message that Sir Alain de Montgallion had been promoted to the second-in-command of the Council of Light, a honour and a burden unlike any that a Bretonnian have received for a long time. While his confidence was strengthened, I saw that there lay worry in his heart. To set his mind at ease I jokingly said: “Then now I have to salute you, Lord Marshal of the Realm” and did.

Sir Arthur Ferran is an eloquent and great Knight to talk to. During the week of our advance through the mountains, I get to know a bit better and learn that he is a masterful tactician and mighty swordsman is his own right as seem all members of the prestigious Templars are. With not some proud and boasting in his voice, he told me about his magnificent win against corrupted elves which outnumbered him two to one. He slaughtered the entire tainted elf army and send them back running for their masters with the luck of the Lady. His losses were two mere commoners. This battle was truly blessed by the Lady and the young Knight seemed chosen as a great leader and warrior. Later on his march through the mountains he encountered another force of chaos which he quickly defeated as a bug standing in the way of a charging destrier. Sir Arthur Ferran could not hide his pride as he told me one of his servants Vall the Villain slew a shaman of the chaos-tainted men with the bow. As he pursued the enemy down the road they made a stand once again, aided by reinforcements which were rushed into battle. This time his weary Knight could not break the lines of the enemy and had to retire for the day to recover from the pursuit and rest. It seems that the unit archers under the command of the friend and trusted commoner Vall the Villain managed to prevent disaster by holding the line against all odds until relief arrived during this battle. Otherwise the outcome of the battle may have been grim indeed. In his fourth battle this week, some days ago, he attacked a horde of chaos-beasts and managed to drive them away. Because of the rugged features of the mountainous landscape he deployed in his wisdom more commoners and foot troops as he normally would have. At that moment Marshal of the Realm Alain de Montgallion interrupted us to give me my orders to retire to the lighthouse area.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 July 2006 )
 
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