Meeting at the Pass of Laz
Saturday, 04 December 2010
With the local tournament in my gaming community coming up, I was required to write a background story to my army. The story is written as a description of a night when the Bretonnian lord needs to prepare his army for war in great haste. Through this mobilization, the lore of the land and of the units is described. I consider this a good sequel to my part of the literature section.
A lone castle stood on a hill, moonbathed lake beneth it, a wood around it, and hills around that wood, as an image from some, most typical, idelistic contemporary painting, found in the lounges and guestrooms of the old world. Enveloped in the calm winters night, apart from the kitchen in the basement, it was only through one of the windows, that the dim light from a dying fireplace broke through. In front of the same, afore mentioned fireplace, in an armchair cushoned with white velvet, sat a knight cloaked in a white and black blanket, bearing his coat of arms, with his mind lingering between the cold night and the distant dreams. His wife was sound asleep, while a small white and brown dog rested drearly beneth his feet. The storms of war, have subsided silenced by the beckoning of sleep. Hooves. Cracking of stone beneath the horses hooves did end this blissful trance, shattering his calm and waking him. Through a small window overlooking the gray mountains, the lord of realm, spotted an envoy making his way through the primary gate. 

When Sir Frondeghast the Green, envoy to king Louen Leoncour of Bretonnia, a knights errant from a noble and well know Quenlassian family entered the gates of the Crac D'Aigle (Eagles Fort, bret.), the afore mentioned and rudly awoken knight, who was infact Ban (Baron) Mislav the First, lord of the Bretonnian Hinterlands, was all ready waiting for him in the entrence hall, wearing his tabard and lordly emblems. After the necessary protocol was satisfied, the excited young knight handed the letter, from the king himself, to the baron. 

"To Ban Mislav I., lord of the Bretonnian Hinterlands

It came to Our knowledge, that the winds and calamities of war weave their grotesqe cloth in the proximity of our holy kingdom. It is at the north of the Gray mountains, on the marches and fields around the city of Marienburg that the warbands and battlelords from both the old and the new, north and the south of our world rally on a crimson mision. Here, at our gates the balance of power shall be smithed by the stroke of sword upon shield. Ride forth, lord of the Hinterlands. You whom we call our strongest shield. You, the bulwark of Bretonnia. Scutum saldissimum et antemurale Bretonnianis.
Fullfill you're duty baron. Fullfill you're oath to the banner of your land, and to the crest of your King, and to the cross of the Lady of the lake. It is up to you to write yet another bloody chapter in our history,
Louen De Leouncourt, by 
the light of the Lady,
King of Bretonnia"

The baron, took his time, holding the letter, far longer after he read it, pretending to not have finished yet, so that he could gasp his thoughts. It was not the lack of courage, but rather an overwhelming sensation, of a veteran warrior, confronted with a vast task. He had lifted his head and gazed at the young knight who waited in anticipation. “You know my answer Sir. Do not look as if another possibility ever existed. We will mark the damp fields of Marrienburg Stadt with blood. It is up to the Lady to determine whether it shall be our, or the blood of my adversaries. Go on now. I have an army to raise.” said the baron. The yeoman guard closed the door and Ban Mislav went slowly to the kitchen. The peasant women were already finishing the meet stew for the field workers, guardsmen and knights alike. It was about midnight. The women stopped talking when they spotted the barons figure moving down the narrow stairs. He greeted them politely and asked whether he could have a saucer or two of this gulash meet stew. The cooks gave him a full plate, making sure that it was abundant with chunks of beef. The baron hurried not with this meal, for it would probably be the last calm meal in a long time, or just the last calm meal. After finishing he thanked the cooks and went to the main tower of the castle. 
His pace now quickened and determination substituted somnolence. The Bretonnian Hinterlands, his region were a very peculiar place. A secluded region besieged by high mountains and interwoven with green hills, on the borders of the dukedoms of Gisoreux and Montfort, with the foothills of the grey mountains serving as an outer ring of this emerald fortress. In the old days, this geographical position discouraged the dukes of Montfort and Gisoreux to extend their sovereignty to the Hinterlands. It was only formally a part of Gisoreux. However, whenever the knights of Bretonnia went to battle, a few Hinterland regiments would appear at the battlefield and fought alongside them; organized by their village chieftains, without coercion or mobilization, the folk of the realm gathered to fulfill their sacred duty to the king, land and lady. Some of this common born warriors sought their luck in the ranks of the armies of the dukes of Bretonnia, both in defense of Bretonnian borders and Crusades. Some of them rose to the title of a knight. One in particular, who started as a man at arms in the ranks of Gisoreux, continued as a knight in the army of L’Anguille, at last became the first Hinterlander who was elected Duke, Sir Mislav of Gisoreux. He abandoned this post, when he set forth on the grail quest. When he returned a grail knight, it was he, who led the regiments from the region in to battle. The rabble became a regiment, and regiment became an army. And this army, presented itself at the pass between the Gray mountains and the Pale sisters, eleven years ago, bearing its own crests and colors, and facing the chaos army of the Blood god, led by a crazed Arabian warrior. They did not win the day, but they crippled the invaders enough to prevent them moving onward. Since than the Hinterlanders bore the Bretonnian colors through sand and snow. Due to this, the Bretonnian King and the Hinterland Lord formed a pact. As his direct vassal, Mislav was awarded lordship of the Hinterlands. He in return vowed that he would forever defend the north of Bretonnia.
It was precisely because of this reminiscence, that the baron was preparing for war. He entered the armory, and enclosed his mortal body in steel, taking the heirlooms of his lineage to aid him on his quest. Sensing that something irregular is occurring, his dog joined him in this lonely hour of the night. Armed and armored the baron made haste to the guardhouse of his castle and loudly entered the yeomen barracks.


Ten men jumped from their beds, woken by the barons inconsiderate entrance. These were the council representatives of the ten settlements of the Hinterlands. Heads of their villages. Banded together here, under the same banner, neither knights nor peasants. Fast outriders, the barons eyes and ears. All strong men in their early thirties. Sores from hard field labor on their hands were hidden now by cuts and bruises from battles. The villages they represented were: Laz, Zabok (Dersalut, bret.), Pregrada (Barmur, bret.), Klanjec (Gorgot, bret.), Bedekovchina (Loudralie, bret.), Stubica (Ainsille, bret.), Bystrica (Clairerou, bret.), Radoboy (Hereux de Batre, bret.), Kojnschina (Chevalville, bret.) i Andrashevecz (An’Dreville). “Ride to your native hamlets and ring the town hall bells, with such ardor, that the blow of bronze upon bronze wakes the mountains that surround us. Bash down the doors of our arsenals, and let those who yesterday plowed, now bear arms of dismay. Ride, and be driven by the shadow of failure that reluctance brings”. The men heeded the barons words, equipping themselves with haste. Fire now burned in the lords eyes, and awareness grew where sleep not long ago was. He proceeded now to the main hall, tearing the nocturnal silence, with his loud metal walk and commanding voice.
From the main hall he hurried upstairs, trying but not necessarily succeeding to run, up the steep stairs. He knew that there was one more person insulting the solitude of the nights sky apart from him and his faithful dog. It is this person, whom he needs to ride with him to the north. Upon reaching the stairway to the platform of the highest tower, he found his predictions to be true. A young woman, in her mid twenties, in a metallic copper gown, was gazing at the moon and chanting. It was Anna of Carcassone, one of his wives apprentices. Anna was originally from the far south of Bretonnia. Where green hills are here, rocks and modest grass stand in her native region. Baron of the Hinterlands took her in, as a favor to her father, the Battle standard bearer of the duke of Carcassone, due to the fact that her native castle was not a safe homestead for her anymore. The resistive damsel, had seduced an asrai warrior, meeting him on few occasions on the outskirts of Athel Loren, using his benevolence and infatuation to gain insight into the lores that the elves practice. The price of her new gained arcane knowledge was an enamored elf noble. The haughty girl, decided to get rid of her admirer. This did not end well, and here she was. “Good evening, lady Anna. Would you be so kind to prepare for a long journey, and when finished, meet me and my army at the Pass of Laz.”, asked the baron politely, as did both his religious and knightly beliefs require. “I will be there, when Your army passes my lord, and there I will join it”. The baron nodded in a manner that could also be interpreted as a light bow and headed back down stairs. He yelled loudly calling for the chambermaid, and when she arrived he ordered her to complete two tasks. First was to inform the stableman to ready his horse Baiard. The second, to wake Lady Floriana. He was perhaps her General and lord, but it would still be unimaginable that a knight would enter the lady’s chamber in such a manner at this time of the night. He headed to say farewell to his wife, the Baroness. Their talk was short, as she was half asleep. The baron thought it to be better that way. The modality of their parting would not affect the possibility of their reunion. Clapping his hands loudly while hurrying to the courtyard he inadvertently gave the stable master a warning that he is coming. He mounted his steed, and put his broad helmet on. Before taking the lance he noticed a young blond women standing at keeps doors, holding a blanket and shivering. The baron, taking his lance, and finally catching sight of Damsel Floriana, spoke gently: “Go back inside but get ready. There is a war, and we are summoned as its clergy. From this winter paradise I am taking you to the cinders destruction. For this I bid your forgiveness.” The lady nodded with affirmation, as the baron rode out of the caste courtyard.


Yawning softly Floriana headed to here chambers. She heard a quick pace from the other side of the corridor. It was Anna, wrapped in a light blue cloak, hurrying down. She barely noticed her colleague, let alone offered to wait for her. This did not surprise Floriana, for Anna’s ambition was all but new. She changed her clothes and had put on a light blue dress which she particularly liked. After taking the bare necessities she proceeded to the vestry of the castles chapel. There in a cabinet made out of pure gold, she took the Prayer Icon of the Lady of the Lake, an artifact that would surely come to use in the days ahead. After reporting to her teacher, she rode out through the gates of Crac D’Aigle, as did Mislav and Anna before her.
Meanwhile, the baron rode with infernal hurry towards the hamlet of Stubica, more accurately towards the castle that overlooked this village. He needed to wake his Battle Standard Bearer. Galloping through the village he paid little attention to the weary peasants who were arming themselves. Arriving at the afore mentioned castle he found his Battle standard bearer armed and ready. “Go, summon the Brotherhoods, I know everything. We will meet at Laz”. Without a word, Mislav turned his horse around and headed towards the ghoul haunted forest of Humlug.


Sead and Mislav met one infernal afternoon in Araby. They were both young rankles warriors back then. Their regiments had slain one another and the two were the only ones alive. They stood motionless, staring at each other, waging whether to fight on or talk. Both of them saw it unnecessary to charge one another in an battle without armies, banners and cause. After long deliberation, Mislav spoke clearly: “I have a manor, far north. It has room for one more knight.” He spoke only this and turned his horse around. Without uttering a single word Sead followed him. They never discussed this moment in time, and just went on, as if they met upon entering Bretonnia. Since than, Sead always bore the Barons banner. Perhaps it was this old anecdote that made the paladin smile for a moment. But not for long. A task was at hand. He was to ride with lightning speed and summon the knights of the Realm one by one, knocking on their gates, by blowing his horn or any other way that he could find adequate.  He mounted his horse, assisted by squires and took upon his arm the most sacred of all banners. The Banner, which in the Hinterlands version was a cross representing the cohabitation between the noble and the common folk. It had a strong metaphorical meaning. The shorter represents the common folk, who even though are not of noble birth play a crucial role in this ensemble. The longer bar represents the nobility, the knights, who perhaps superior in position and power cannot exist without the peasants. There is another interpretation of this symbol, which states that the nobility are actually represented by the shorter bar, because they are far fewer in numbers. The pole of this cross was made out of that pole which bore the Banner of the Lady, when she first blessed it, in the forest in front of the Grail companions. Sir Mislav, came to possession of this heirloom in an interesting manner, but that’s another story. Mislav and his Grail knights agreed how it would be a blasphemy to cover such an artifact with plain cloth and decided to keep the pole the way it is. They did themselves right by that judgment for the pole itself had the same ability as the the Banner. With this, most sacred banner, Sead rode down towards the village which was all ready illuminated by torches of the man at arms that were getting ready for battle.


These men, who were preparing for battle, were the members of the oldest and perhaps most renown commoner outfit in the Hinterlands. They were the first ever commoners to join the barons army and managed to make their banners famous. They were known by many pseudonyms such as the Giant-slayers, due the battle of Herbert’s Crossing where ten of them slew a giant, and also Twilight of Chaos, when a flank charge from this regiment broke and destroyed a unit of ten Slaanesh chosen knights. This regiment took pride of its history, and had always taken into account their past exploits when on battlefield, striving not to shadow what they have achieved. Few years ago, the second regiment was formed in Stubica, mostly due to the fame of its predecessor. But the doctrine of war changed, and the two units were merged as one, leaving some, in the first regiment unsatisfied with youngsters frolicking under the banner whose worth did blood pay.
Johan the Mad was yelling and instructing the men, hurrying them to complete the preparations as quick as possible. He was a good and brave man, who had however terrible manners. He was loud, abrasive and blasphemous. The baron liked him that way. A loyal savage is better than a treacherous king. “Hurry, you need not to look good for death, it really takes everyone. Speed up your pace. I want to be at that Pass even before those half fey floozies (referring to the damsels). Move. Men in the front ranks, children in the middle (referring to the those of the second brigade)” The regiment was formed, command group at the front and it started its march towards the Pass of Laz.
Some few miles to the north of this column, Baron Mislav, slowed his gallop. He had reached his destination. The ghoul haunted forest of Humlug. The pine trees were standing erect as if the were blades of grass reaching to the moon, this antithesis of the sun which uncovered his white gown this particular night giving the forest a pale visage. Despite of its name, which it had acquired long ago, Humlug was not really infested by ghouls. A knight could bump into a solitary lair, but the fact was that those ghouls were more afraid of the travelers than the other way around. This fear became justified now more than ever, because a band of questing knights was adventuring through these parts and their main task was ghoul-hunting. It was that band of knights that the baron was looking for.


Mislav rode slowly, adjusting his eyes to the darkness. He knew he would find them here, sleeping around a large fire. These knights were not champions of stealth. After a while, he noticed a light coming from the north, and rode towards it.
As mentioned earlier, there were some warriors from this region, that sought their luck in the crusades. They are known here as The knights of the Old generation. Some of them ascended to knighthood, and were given domains in the Hinterlands. Their domains were scarce but domains nevertheless. However none of these old, stubborn, xenophobic lords ever took up the Grail quest. As the barons father, once put: “I would really have to be a fool to go from my warm castle, eat leaves and snails, wandering randomly throughout the world, without any particular goal, waiting for an elf witch to grant me a glass of water.”. These knights believed the Lady of the Lake being an elven trick, orchestrated by the Fey enchantress to whip the folk into obedience. After his son, returned a Grail knight, with undisputed divine powers, the barons father and his companions were shocked. Now these madman who were approaching or were already deep in their seventh decade, took upon old weapons and armor, and had set of on the grail quest. Old, crazed knights. Slow yes, but veterans who knew every trick of the trade, joined in the Brotherhood of the Swordbearers. They quested only through their native region, which they adored, too stubborn to acknowledge any other natural beauty. The ventured further, only when war would take them in that direction. Nowadays they were hunting ghouls (one might say fishing for them) because a fully equipped, armed to the tooth regiment of elite knights is a bit too much for a group of two ghouls, three at most. Another knight, the barons battle brother, Joseph of Brionne, was traveling with them, serving as their standard bearer.
Baron Mislav approached the encampment. The knights were sound asleep. Three hours had passed since midnight and these old men were never accustomed of being up late. As for young Joseph, it was perhaps the warm wine and monotone conversation that forced him to the land of dreams. The baron, tied Baiardus to a tree, and stood amongst the knights, intentional making a racket. The knights woke with a frightened roar, their tired lungs gasping for air, and old eyes seeking a sword. When they identified their visitor, the tension calmed down. “Don’t do that Mislav, you shouldn’t come unannounced, our sentries could have wounded you.” – said count Marian, the Lords father.  The baron, refrained from laughing. “I am sorry brothers, but I am in need of your steel in my ranks. We ride to war. There is a great battle to be fought at the outskirts of Marienburg…” started the baron but was interrupted- “Let them fight their own battles, when did they ever help us”, “Why don’t they defend themselves when they are so autonomous?”, “Is it not enough that we serve one master, now we will have to serve the Kaiser as well?”. The baron knew, that these knights made it their profession to be unsatisfied. But there was really one thing that they praised more than criticism – the Lady. “What you say is true, but if this force from the north, compiled from the slime of life and undeath, marching in vast ranks with their Tyrant banners raised high, if they reach our borders we will have no chance whatsoever to defend ourselves. Mountain streams will become mines, forests will be cut for timber, and the folk massacred so that their skulls might make a throne. Ponds and chapels of the Lady will be defiled. We ride not, while we want to. There is really no other way”. The knights were standing up slowly, arming themselves and mounting horses, still rumbling all kinds of counter arguments ranging from: “Its late” to, “Why don’t we join the other side if they are so strong”. The baron had no doubt of the outcome of these negotiations. Also he had no dilemma that these old men would murmur against the idea. Joseph was smiling, finding this ritual which he had witnessed many time, still laughable. “We will meet you at Laz”, whispered Sir Grliach, who could not speak well, due to an old arrow wound to the neck. The knights took their time to get ready, and one of them, Sir Barlowich, actually woke up, a moment ago. The Baron left the questing knights to prepare and rode towards the Grey Mountains, where the Monastery of Saint Michael stood. He needs to gather as many pilgrims as he can.
Sir Leon the fat heard strong periodical hits on his castle gate, which urged him to open his eyes. Pale moon beams were lighting his chamber floor as if some luminous milk was spilled on the cold stone blocks. He grabbed his sword and stepped out on his keep balcony. He saw his armies standard and Sir Sead on a rampant warhorse. He let out a loud roar waking most of his manor along with the peasant girl in his bed. “Yes, yes, let the trumpets of war bellow. My shield for my Realm Paladin. Wait for my presence, you will not wait long”, yelled Sir Leon, getting ready for the campaign ungainly but quickly.


The Hinterlands are divided into estates, namely fifteen feudal domains, with woods, rivers and mountains left undistributed while they belong to the Lady and her followers such as Grail knights, Damsels and Pilgrims. These fifteen knights of the realm gathered into two guilds: The Knights of Upper Oroslavje (Eagle's Fort) and The Knights of Lower Oroslavje, depending on the geographical position of their estate. Those north of Oroslavje belonged to the first and those south of it to the second organization. Sir Sead was gathering the older guild, the Knights of Lower Oroslavje. Banging on their gates, sounding horns and ringing bells, the knights gathered. These were loyal battle frenzied warriors who had always formed the backbone of this army. They were at the Battle of Pale Gorge, against Naser of Khorne. They charged the fields of Marienburg against En’Althain, and rode against the army of Horta on the Field of Sudden strangers. Their yellow and black garment symbolized the presence of Hinterlanders on the field of battle. Castle after castle, the regiment grew under the holy banner of their deity, friends and battle brothers reuniting as they did so many times before. The immaculate column rode quickly through the icy night, galloping through frosted mud roads of their homeland. Near Karivarosz junction they met up with Warden Johns Stubica Brigade, who was now at full strength after it gathered its men in villages through which they passed on their way to Laz. The knights slowed their pace, and slowly rode behind the commoners.
At the other part of the region, at the foothills of the Gray mountains, the Baron was navigating a narrow mountain road. His destination : the monastery of  Sankt Michael, and the brotherhood of the Purple cross.


And indeed there it was, built in accordance with the disorder of the cliff top, oddly shaped, with grim stone walls and broad but low domes – The monastery of the purple cross. A pallid haze was enveloping it, due to a full and strong moon, that shined brightly and graciously as if it had banished the clouds around it, curious of the events happening down below. The night was at its darkest peak, and the baron felt the sting of frost through his armor and garments. He dismounted and proceeded to the grand copper double gate, knocking on them very loudly. A man, dressed in a brown paupers robe opened the gates, holding a lantern. He saw the knight, and leaned forward, illuminating his coat of arms. Seeing the black and white quarterly with two towers, the monk realized who this was. A sudden tremor and a silent exclamation  occurred as the light that was beaming from the lantern started to dance on the night wreathed surfaces . The Baron appreciated that the monk, in most respects, kept his calm, despite the fact, that in his mind, he opened the gate for a deity. This is why he respected this brotherhood. They were loyal but without letting their zeal suffocate their reason.
Without exchanging any words with his host, the grail knight entered the monastery, marching through its orange hazed corridors, illuminated by modest torches. The distinct metal clap of a knights war-boot against the crude rock in the corridors had awaken the other zealots of this lonesome abbey who were, following the guard forming a procession behind their visitor, who was, knowing the layout of this zealous bunker, heading towards its most holy place, the Vestry, where the body of Saint Michael (Mihovil) was kept. The brothers of the purple cross, were worshiping his holy remains and went into battle, carrying his catafalque,  with the sacred bones of this knight still in the suit of armor in which he had fallen. They were not a wandering rabble, like some pilgrims in Bretonnia, who carry forth the skeletal remains of a random warrior, based solely on the merit that at one point in his life he received a blessing of the Lady and has sipped from the most holy of all chalices. They were a clerical brotherhood, dedicated to preserving and worshipping the bones of a specific saint. In this case, Sir Mihovil the Old, the second grail knight of this region, and also, the Barons grandfather. Upon reaching the vestry the baron halted his pace. Behind him, a crowd of pilgrims gathered. The knight took of his helmet, and approached the catafalque that was placed in the centre of the oval room that was the vestry, under the very centre of the vestry’s dome. The bones of his great ancestor were well taken care of, still suited in his armor and wrapped into a clean sheet. The baron kneeled and the zealots with him, as if he is asking his grandfather, rather than the band of his worshipers to follow him to war. After he uttered his prayer the baron turned. “I am riding forth to war. Over the mountains, that are our guardians, into the bogs and marches of the Empire. I need your steel and will beside me.” There was no negotiating with this monks, as their purpose was to follow the grail knights into battle. The pilgrims started to make quick preparations, with a silent and solemn song lingering through the cold air. As the duke mounted his steed, the procession with Sankt Michael was all ready leaving the abbey. “Meet me at the Pass of Laz, brothers” shouted the baron and rode away from this brotherhood.
When his standard bearer instructed him: “summon the brotherhoods”, the barons aid de camp, had three brotherhoods in mind. The Order of the Swordbearers which the baron gathered at the forest of Humlug was the first. The Brotherhood of the Purple cross, which the baron gathered at the mountain monastery was the second. In order to persuade the third brotherhood, mentioned earlier, the baron needed to go from chapel to chapel, from pond to pond and from a forest cottage to forest cottage, individually summoning its members, for the third brotherhood, were The Grail Knights of the Hinterlands.


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 )