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Saturday, 04 December 2010
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Meeting at the Pass of Laz
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The Baron rode wildly through the untamed north of the region, that was interwoven with chapels and hermit cottages, inhabited and defended by the grail knights. He had found Pellinore in front of his wooden house by the small lake, rather a pond, enveloped in many blankets, gazing at the stars. “I wish I could say, that I saw it in the stars… Saw that you were coming, I mean. But, alas, I but stare bluntly in them, knowing not how to translate their messages”, said Pellinore and joined his general. They rode from one sacred place to another, and knights joined them, when they finnaly arrived at Lamoraks chapel. It was no architectural masterpiece, like those one would expect to see in the rich towns of the Empire. Nor was it a rude exaggeration like the monuments to the Chaos Gods. It was in its core, that what it is. A small forest chapel, made from stone, with a wooden roof. It was modest but utterly in accordance with its surrounding. A humble altar, to a mysterious deity in a secluded forest, that’s what it was. When its abbot, the grail knight Lamorak, opened its door, ten knights awaited for him. “Ah, its time, my friends. The flames of power collide, and so the embers of this great bonfire have to measure their might in the cold senescent wind of this winter of ours. Let us go than forth brothers and play our grim role in this Theatre of power. Let the lance and ride of the grail knight, fulfill its reputation, and let it all happen beneath the banner of our mothers soil, our Land, that now substitutes her gentle embrace and caress. Yes, my brothers, let our war banners add a wrathful note to the silent decorum of this night. Let us go forth”, said Lamorak and joined his regiment, which was galloping now towards the ancient meeting and departure point. The Pass of Laz.
And as the night approached its demise, awaiting the swift inferno of a winters dawn, the snow started to fall from the dark blue sky whose pale bluish master, had spread his moonlight  over the pine trees amongst which the knights rode. Lances held high, glorious garments waving in the cold air, with the standard of the Hinterlands held high by Sir Aggrawain. Through the trees and over wooden bridges did the stride with wrathful ardor at last reaching the main hinterlands road. They did not spare any noise nor effort as their armors and the hooves of their steeds thundered the land beneath forming a symphony of steel and ice. At the foothill of Sohodel, they noticed a column of archers marching.


Five hours have all ready passed since midnight, and the archers from the township of Zabok were nervous. It took them a while to prepare for the campaign, and a series of unfortunate accidents slowed their preparations. First the their councilman, Yeoman Felix, arrived late after his horse had slipped crossing the Topličina river. Than, the towns locksmith Gustav, was not able to open the lock on the village armory. The lock was frozen. It took them some time to break the firm door, made by the craftsmen from Klanjec. Now they were running late, and shame kept them marching in this frosty night. Alois, the standard bearer of this outfit, had been concentrating both to hurry and in the same time to restrain himself of thinking how cold it is. They have just passed the peak of the Sohodel foothill, an enchanted place that has always provided the folk of this region with occult and mysterious lore. He was happy both to have passed the peak of this formidable hill and to have escaped the place where witches gather. Suddenly  he felt a tremor and heard a noise. The others have heard it as well. The seventh Zabok regiment of the army slowed its pace and formed battle lines. Few strong young men, in the first ranks, raised long pine stakes. The tremor and noise became louder and it was obvious that its origin was on the other side of the Sohodel peak. This is their land, and they were determined to stand their ground rather than scurry away into cowardice and oblivion. They were peasants, but also men. They were no cravens. The light of the moon was at its peak. The peak of Sohodel was illuminated with white and blue light as if some arcane cantrip had been cast upon it. The company was ready to let loose the arrows. In a moment a regiment of knights crossed the highest part of the hill. The moon behind them illuminated their armors and lances.
It seemed to the archers as if they rode down from the sky. At one point it seemed to Alois that he saw the Lady of the lake in the bleak moon reflection from the knights countenance. The deity had spread her arms as if she was protecting her champions. Her face, astonishing, beautiful but not arousing lust, her eyes mild but inspiring fear, her expression benevolent but evoking awe… Her image a phantasm but so, so real. As the knights passed the hills highest point, the moment came to the end, and the moon was again only moon, and knights only knights. The archers lowered their bows, now recognizing the baron and his grail knights, letting out a spontaneous cheer, partly out of the loyalty and love for the lord and his knights, partly glad that it was their feudal lord with his regiment and not the afore mentioned witches. Barons company now slowed their gallop and proceeded slowly, in front of the archers, deciding to reach the meeting point with them. Alois turned to his company ordering them to follow the cavalry in front of them, adding a short remark: “Well, you can say what you want, and think what you will, but Sohodel never disappoints…”.
The Pass of Laz, was a landmark in the Hinterlands, even more so for the warriors of the realm. It was a swirling path through a dense forest, which ended with a complete panorama of the Hinterlands. On the other side, a narrow road led through the Grey Mountains towards the passage between those mountains and the Pale sisters. In this, afore mentioned, dense forest, there was a clearing, which was precisely the spot where Sir Sead formed a meeting point. The grail knights and the archers were last to arrive. Although many a knight and peasant alike was engaged in helping the great trebuchet wagon climb the hill.


Klanjec was a village in the north west of the region, buried in a deep dale. It was renown for its carpentry and craftsman skills, and all the young boys of this community were taught those the ways of those professions. It was the only township capable of making war machines, but its main assignment was to build throughout the Hinterlands. Because of this specific trait, the law of the land required them only to send crew for their war machines to war. It was this crew that had so many difficulties with transporting the vast trebuchet. Bretonnians were not good at building lumbering machines, and innovating, hence their trebuchet was like a wooden indolent behemoth who was not able to move, but was rather assembled near the battlefield and only pivoted. The Klanjec crew transported it, unassembled in a goat wagon.
The baron, seeing, how even the Trebuchet is almost ready for the departure headed of to the command tent. In it stood his commanders: Sead Ibn Ismet – the army battle standard bearer, both Ladies : Anna of Carcassone and Floriana, Joseph of Brionne, the standard bearer of the Order of the Swordbearers, and the field marshal of the cavalry echelon, Count Marian, paragon of the Swordbearers and the marshal of the first battalion. Sir Pellinore was also here as the marshal of the 2. battalion, along with the commoner Alois, the marshal of the 5. battalion and the field marshal of the artillery echelon. The last two men in the room were John of Stubica, the field marshal of the infantry echelon and Felix of Zabok, the marshal of the 3. battalion. It was obvious that the fourth battalion needed a marshal and that it would probably be one of the mages, who would perform this duty. The baron dismounted and entered the tent. “The army is assembled”, said Sead instead of a greeting, while surveying the war maps on the table. Mislav put his helm on the table and examined the maps. While they were engaged in examining the war plans, another man entered the tent. It was an imperial scout, armed with a Hochland long rifle, native to the soil where the army is to travel. He was a trusted confidant of the Baron, at least in times when The Empire and Bretonnia waged no war.
After the formal greetings the scout Werner, proceeded to tell the army’s staff  how things were: “Our latest expectations tell us, that the hordes of chaos, which actually exist of several armies, but are now traveling as an amorphous rabble, will regroup into their outfits three days from now, but that they will not push directly towards Marienburg, while the High elf ships landed to the north of the city. They will not risk an open battle with the elves before they regroup. Thus, they will make a round maneuver, in an attempt to avoid the elves before they reach the walls. This will bring them into contact with the Imperial troops that are rushing along the main road. You will come from the south and the undead and orcs from the southwest. If this occurs as it seems, the battle will be here…”, said the scout and pointed his finger on a spot and the map, which was there merely called site 313. The general of the Bretonnians asked: “Is there a town or a village nearby?”. The imperial scout examined his maps, and compared them to those of the baron, and exclaimed: ”Yes, in fact there is. Just a kilometer to the north of this spot is the Imperial free city of Agram”. “Indeed, I see it on your map. What is this broad field, beside it?”, replied Mislav. “It seems that this is the Field of Agram, more often called The Arena, due to its round shape”, replied the scout consulting his atlas. “So, it will be this winter, at the Agram Arena, where this terrible affair will be resolved. Very well. You have helped us a lot. You may be on your way now. We will be there in three days. The moment arrived for the general to choose which Lady will accompany the army, Floriana who was trained in manipulating the skies, or Anna the mistress of the beasts. “Lady Anna, I am sorry for the inconvenience. You may retreat to the castle. We will be fighting beasts there, where we now go, but it will take the help of the heavens to defeat them.”, said Mislav. Anna bid everyone farewell and left. And thus, the army was ready.
The baron and his commanders left the tent, mounted and gave the orders to lower officers to assemble the regiments into traveling columns. Suddenly another rider approached the camp. After a short moment, the baron recognized the young knight. It was Sir Frondeghast the Green, who had delivered the message from the king. The Hinterlands army was silent, letting the young knight cope with his thoughts. After delivering the message to Baron Mislav, the knight errant sought an inn, where he slept. It was his plan to ride back to Parravon today to inform the King, that Ban Mislav received his commands. Little did he know, that the news he was about to bring were that the Hinterlands army is all ready departing for war. It was assembled while he was asleep. The army and the courier, left the Hinterlands together. 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 December 2010 )
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