Sunday, 29 May 2016

Paid in Full: KoW Narrative Battle Report

Part One Here

Yevin Wynwarin sat astride his spectral mount as the column of troops moved on by. They weren’t the most professional army the Asrai every mustered for war and in truth what was currently marching past him was whatever spare troops they had in Winterdell Hall. Three days back a messenger from Taegen Wynwarin’s host had showed up at the Hall’s gate, exhausted and bearing grim news from his brother, his army had been bested by the humans who had also recovered the Waystone Fragments Taegen had been sent to retrieve. Upon hearing this Yevin railed what troops he could gather on short notice and set out at a forced march in the direction the messenger had said Taegen went. That had all been five days ago and he had still to catch up with his brother.

It was a testament to how deep he was lost in thought that he didn’t hear the sound of footsteps coming closer and was startled when a voice said.

“Yevin, I have something”

He turned and saw his mage Oacenth looking at him with an amused expression on his face.

“What” Yevin snapped at the mage, partly out of irritation at the mage’s amusement but mostly due to his embarrassment at being so lost in thought.

“I don’t often catch a Wynwarin by surprise, I was just savouring the moment”

“Are you done”



“I found their trail”

This stopped Yevin’s next words dead on his tongue. A moment passed before he asked.

“Where, and how?”

“We are on the right trail” He affirmed “I know this because at least one person leading that host was thinking. The Green Lady left a trail only those who practice Asrai Spell weaving could follow, whats more we are only a day behind them”

Yevin’s annoyance at the mage’s slight against his brother vanished at those words.

“When, today?”

“Yes” he replied “Whats more a steady pace will suffice”

“Can we take another day of forced march?”

“Yes” Oacenth replied with some reluctance. “But I cant vouch for our fighting condition when we arrive”

“But I can” Yevin said, with confidence ringing in his voice. “They are my troops, I trained many of them myself, they can do it”

Oacenth nodded “I will give the order”

As he hurried off to the head of the column Yevin smiled grimly to himself, removed his antlered helm from his mount’s saddle and donned it. It had become a symbol of his family, one that he and his brother had started and so when Taegen first saw him at the head of his relief force it would be with his helm on, sunlight reflecting off the iron antlers and atop his spectral mount. And then the Wynwarin brothers would rout these humans, together as one.

Haera, leader of the relief forces’ Wildwood Rangers regiments had just set the pace for her units as she heard the sounds of heavy paws behind her and turned to see lord Yevin come up behind her on top of his mount. As he drew up to her he spoke.

“Warden, did Oacenth give you the news?”

“He did sir” she replied

“Good, I have a task for you and the Rangers you command. When we reach my brother’s host I want you to stay close to him. His messenger had nothing good to say about the state of his remaining forces or his own condition. Guard him Haera, it is all I ask”

“It will be done my lord”

“Good, I thank you”



“Are the rumours true, was the Hunt banished?”

At this Yevin paused before dismounting and motioning her in close.

“I tell you this because you are among my most trusted officers, only Oacenth has been told before now. Yes it is true, the Humans managed to banish the hunt.”
She stared into the eye slits of his mask, all the unspoken implications of that sentence flowing between them like a fast moving stream. After a long pause she spoke.

“Sir, nothing will happen to your brother. This I swear upon my Oath as Ranger”

“Thank you Haera, your words reassure me greatly”

She saluted as he turned, remounted and rode on ahead. In truth his words had done far more harm then he could have ever known. To her the Hunt was sacred second only to Isha and Kurnous themselves and for mere humans to have, have banished them was the greatest blasphemy they could have committed. As she began marching her she could feel the rage building inside her, Yevin had nothing to fear, the humans however had no idea what was coming for them.

By the time Yevin saw his brother’s host they were down from the snowy mountain glades and into the hilly plains that edged the human’s domain. Yevin might have been impressed that so battered a army had managed to pursue its victorious opponent so far but three things stopped that. First was the ragged state of his brother’s army which was far worse than he had been lead to believe. Secondly was the sight of the fully resupplied and reinforce human army that faced his brother’s force across the hilly terrain and thirdly was the sight of not three but seven Waystone Fragments scattered across the ground throughout the battlefield. This last point would have puzzled Yevin if not his entire being had been focused on reaching his brother.

With a few curt orders, and with the aid of his spear, Yevin directed his relief force to take up supporting postions arround what remained of Taegen’s host, comprised of a unit of Eternal Guard, a unit of Glade Guard, The Green Lady and Taegen himself astride the Dragon Ohan. His mixed Eternal and Glade Guard unit joined Taegen’s archers on the hill while Haera’s Rangers took up position in front of Taegen and beside the mixed the unit. The other ranger unit positioned itself by the Eternal Guard and Green Lady while Yevin, removing his helmet and placing it on his saddle horn, went straight to his brother, with Oacenth following at a respectful distance.

He was half way to his brother when he also removed his helmet, placed it on his saddle horn, jumped down from Ohan’s neck and strode towards him. Yevin did the same and they met half way between the two mounts and embraced in wearied relief. After a moment they drew apart and Yevin spoke.

“Taegen, I had feared the worst when your messenger arrived. I am relieved to see my fears were for nought”

“Yevin, never in my life have I been as happy to see you as I am now. We thought this was our last day.”

“And so it may have been had things gone differently” Said Oacenth, choosing this moment to join the conversation, and he and Taegen clasped forearms “What possessed you to attack a reinforced and resupplied army?”

“That” said a voice from behind Yevin “Was my doing”.

They all turned to see the Green Lady standing behind them, a look of tight relief on her face

“Greetings Yevin, Oacenth it is very good to see you”

“My lady” Yevin replied with a respectful bow. She gave him a brief smile and resumed.

“To answer Spellweaver Oacenth’s question I implored lord Taegen to bring the humans to battle. They have paced the Waystone Fragments they took from us with others they possess and scattered them across the field before us. Their mages were in the process of preforming some ritual when we showed up and must have deicide to deal with us first before carrying on. They must have thought us easy prey, until you showed up”.

Taegen nodded in to confirm what she had said. “We had to do something” he said mainly to his brother.

Yevin held up a hand to quell his brother’s next words. “Its alright, I understand. We can focus on what the humans aimed to do with the fragments later, for now we should focus on defeating them. Taegen take command of the left flank and the hill, I will command the right and any central units not on the hill. Oacenth, assist Taegen, my lady I would greatly value you aid”

As was speaking he looked at each of them in turn. On his brother’s face he saw relief that someone else had taken command from his tired hands, in Oacenth’s he saw the mage’s usually mocking smile replaced by grim determination, as if he had some idea of what the humans planed. And in the Green Lady he only saw quite approval. After he was done and they had voiced their agreement he turned to his brother and said.

“Taegen, we will win this and we will both return in triumph to Winterdell. But only after we repay them for what they have done to you and your host.”

At Taegen’s grim nod they each went to their assigned positions, the Wynwarin brothers remounting and donning their helmets.

Taegen watched the human’s draw into their battle line from atop Ohan’s neck. He saw their pike and light infantry form up on in the centre and on the right flank, accompanied by one of their Phoenixes. On the left the large Knight unit waited, supported by one of their mercenary Ogre captains and a smaller unit of heavy infantry, another enemy Phoenix hovering behind them. At last he gaze settled on the figure on the far right flank, the enemy general riding a dragon. He marked this one for it was he who had lead the human’s last time and although he rode a different mount he was still the same human and Taegen would reap a terrible revenge on him. Yes he did now respect the human’s resolve but this did little to diminish the growing hatred he felt for them. Seeing that everything was in position he slightly squeezed Ohan’s scaled neck with his thighs, the dragon responded to the familiar signal with a deafening roar, the battle had begun.

At Ohan’s roar Yevin began to issue curt orders, aided by gestures with his spear. The Eternal Guard and Wildwood Rangers advanced into and alongside the small copse of trees. On the hill behind him the Glade Guard readied themselves while the mixed Glade and Eternal Guard unit advanced to the lip of the hill and, as the words from one of Oacenth’s spells faded and their weapon tips burst into blue flame, joined the Glade Guard next to them in firing a volley at the heavy infantry in the woods across from them. While the arrows did little harm to these humans it was more due to their armour than the skill of archers and a cheer went up from the unit at the sight of so many arrows finding their mark, a cheer that was a little subdued due to the lack of effect but it still gave them something to cheer about.

He was about to turn his attention back to his own troops when a shout from the hill brought him back round, just in time to see the Ogre Captain, moving impossibly fast slam into the front of the mixed unit, throwing elves into the air cleaving one in half with a single swipe of his blade. However, the unit recovered quickly as elves behind front line thrust their spears at the towering humanoid, finding easy marks for spear tips. One daring archers ducked under the swing of the Ogre’s blade and quickly notched, drew and fired and arrow right into his exposed arm pit earning a bellow of pain from the beast. Feeling satisfied that the situation was under control, and if it wasn’t he was sure Taegen and Ohan would make it so, he turned back to his own units and the slowly advancing human line.

As the battle was joined Taegen urged Ohan up on top of the hill, just in time to see the Ogre captain, reeling from an arrow protruding from his left arm pit, stagger back from mixed unit on the hill’s edge. His relief at seeing this was momentary as the small unit of heavy infantry, who had used the Ogre’s initial charge as cover for their advance, charged the mixed unit revealing in their ranks handguners who opened fire at point blank range, cutting down many Asrai whose light armour was no barrier to lead shot. This foe was far more formidable than the Ogre had been, their heavy over lapping red plate armour turning aside all those but the most well aimed spear thrusts and Taegen, his mind slowed by days of fast travel and the preceding battle, watched in shock as the daring archer whose shot had sent the Ogre reeling was first impaled on a great two handed weapon then shot straight between the eyes by another human. He was about to intervene, when a shout from his left caused him to turn and see something far worse.

Glade Captain Fayeth had been impressed with the skill her archers had displayed so far. Their disciplined volleys of arrows had been a reassuring sight for her lord’s wearied host and she had felt pride swell in her chest as her unit slew humans who had thought the Wood Elves easy foes. It was when the enemy general, who had been slowly advancing down the right flank, had taken flight straight for her unit that her pride for her archers grew tenfold. She was a veteran of many battles and had seen all sorts of foe beset the Asrai, from rotting and decaying undead to barbaric and blood soaked greenskins. So it was when the dragon began its flight towards her troops she simply gestured with her bow and said.


The beast drew nearer, flying over lord Yevin and his troops, the former tracking the beast’s flight his face hidden behind his grim helm.


Everything else faded from her mind but her training and the enemy general, eagerly waving his sword with a grimly satisfied look on his face.


She narrowed her gaze further until all she could see was that face, the look of grim satisfaction now edged with smug arrogance, the fool.


She didn’t even need to consciously let go of the bow string, her training was so ingrained, so well-practiced that her fingers released the same second as the word left her mouth. In the seconds before the dragon impacted her unit she tracked that arrow as it flew through the air, over the dragons scaled head and scored a crimson path across the enemy general’s left check. Then the dragon hit and it was only the inherent speed that all Asrai shared that saved her as a massive talon swiped the air where she had been second before. She landed and saw the dragon, its face and shoulders peppered with arrows tearing a read ruin through the front ranks of her archers, whose display of point accuracy had been their only real response to the dragon’s charge. She was about to issue orders to withdraw when something hard slammed into her left side and she was thrown to the ground. Dazed she regained her feet to see that what had hit her was the body of one of her archers thrown, it was revealed, by the Ogre captain who had take advantage of his initial victim’s distraction to charge the flank of her archers. At that moment she knew there was no retreat and she unsheathed her blade, she would die today but she would ensure she died well.

Taegen’s mind was a river of mud. The initial defeat at the hands of these humans, the shock and psychical damage felt at the destruction of the Wild Hunt followed by the days of weary pursuit had taken a sever toll on his mind and now, as the last of the mixed unit died to the sword and shot of the humans beside him, and the Glade Guard were charged by the enemy general and Ogre captain in front of him, he froze his mind simply unable to process all that was going on around him, unable to comprehend that he may well be witnessing the start of a second defeat for him, this time with far worse consequences.

In the end it was Ohan, whose bond with Taegen was second only to that with his brother, that saved him. Perhaps sensing his friend’s state of mind, or perhaps incensed at the sight of the slaughter visited on the Glade Guard, Ohan leapt forward not bothering to take flight and landed with a earth shaking thud behind the Ogre captain. He then brought his mighty jaws down the brute engulfing him from chest upwards and threw his head back while shaking it from side to side. The Ogre’s muffled screams were cut short as bones snapped and flesh tore, at last Ohan opened his jaws and the ragged body of the Ogre sailed through the air to land in ragged, bloody heap on the ground behind the Glade Guard. Taegen, his moment of panic over simply reached down and touched his friend’s head and said.

“Thank you my friend”

Ohan’s answering rumble was all the reassuring he needed

Haera ordered her unit onto the hill. She had seen the fate of the mixed unit, seen too Lord Taegen’s panicked inaction and Ohan’s charge. She had murmured a prayer to Kurnous when the dragon had thrown the broken remains of the Ogre to one side and said thanks to Isha when Taegen seemed to regain himself. But now she had a job to do as Ohan’s charge had exposed his flank to small unit of heavy infantry and the large unit of knights. So she took the hill as the human heavy infantry charged her Rangers, just this time they were ready. Instead of bracing for the charge as had the mixed unit she and her Rangers leapt forward, glaives flashing in the sunlight as the humans, who had not been expecting the Wood Elves to meet their charge with the same, faltered, which was all Haera needed as this allowed her Rangers to reach the handguner’s behind the front row of heavy infantry and thus deny them the volley that had so shattered their fellow elves’ defence. All around her was flashing steel, she parried a vertical swing from one great sword, deflecting the blow into the ground and caught the wielder a ringing blow across the helm with the top of her glaive, this caused the warrior to trip and fall where she severed his neck with a quick downwards blow. And then as soon as it had begun it was over, the humans pulling back in haste, leaving their wounded in their wake, and for the briefest second she thought that they retreated in fear of her and her Rangers, that they had so bloodied them as to break them. Then she felt the ground shake and the sound of many, many hoof beats reached her ears. She turned to see the Knights bearing down on her unit. All around her the Rangers turned to face this new threat, none needed her command to do so knowing that to do anything else other than brace was to die poorly. She closed her eyes as they drew closer and whispered a prayer to Kurnous, Isha and her ancestors, and finally in the second before the charge hit she cursed Yevin and his damned order that had seen her throw her Rangers into the path of these knights and the heavy infantry before them. Then she opened her eyes and faced death.

The sound of horse and lance striking Asrai flesh sounded clearing across the hill yet only Oacenth had the time to notice it. He winced and felt fury build with in him as he heard the Rangers die beneath the hooves and blades of the knights. In front of him the Glade Guard struggled with enemy general and his mount, both man and beast reaping a terrible toll on the archers while between the archers and Rangers lord Taegen as beset by the heavy infantry, though they had little success they drew Taegen’s attention away from plight of his troops to more immediate danger. With a shout he cast a spell, feeling the power flow through his out flung arms and into the weapons of the Glade Guard as they simply tried to survive against their foe. He readied another spell but knew that unless help came fast this hill, and all who stood on it, would soon be lost.

The sound of four units colliding sent a almost physical impact through Yevin as his Eternal Guard and Rangers meet the enemy light and pike infantry, this sound of impact was almost instantly replaced by screams and cries as the dying began, but instead of turning to help his troops and join them in battle something caused him to turn and look back at the hill where his brother fought, and what he saw froze the blood in his veins. The hill was assailed on all sides and was becoming slick with corpses, he could see the Glade Guard fighting the enemy general, his brother and the heavy infantry locked in battle and on the far end of the hill he could just make out the forms of Haera’s Rangers among a far larger number of enemy knights. He surged his mount towards the hill even though he knew that he would never make it time to save his brother, either the Glade Guard or Rangers would fall and Taegen would be attacked on all sides. A scream born of frustrated fury built in his throat, and died just as quickly as on the hill something caused the knights to reel back, and hope began to replace anger as he urged his mount forward at a dead sprint.

She ducked the first lance that sought her, surprising the knight who became even more surprised when she lashed out with her glaive, taking both front legs of his mount off at the knees and pitching him face forward into the blood soaked dirt. His surprise ended abruptly when the horse, whose forward momentum hadn’t been slowed by the loss of its limbs, landed with a sickening crunch on top of the knight. Haera didn’t have time to nocte this last detail as she was already locked in combat with another knight who met her blade to blade, his lance having already claimed a Asrai life. She parried his blade but didn’t see his gauntleted fist as it drove into the side of her head, protected by little more than cloth, and she fell to the ground dazed. She would have died there had it not been for the body of a heavy infantry man, flung from their combat with Ohan and Taegen, sailing through the air and colliding with the knight throwing him from his saddle. She regained her feet, albeit somewhat unsteadily, unsheathed her dagger and plugged it into the fallen knight’s neck between armoured collar and helm. She picked up her glaive and looked for a new foe but couldn’t see any, confused she looked around to see her Rangers, ragged, bloody and few in number, rally around her as the knights drew back. Spiting blood she asked the nearest one.

“What happened”

“I don’t think they expected us to be so hard to kill, sir” He repaid with a manic, slightly unhinged grin on his blood splatted face. “Must have through we would just lie down and die, shows what they know”

She nodded dumbly but in truth had barely heard his last words. She had expected to die, had made peace with that fact but instead of dying she was somehow alive. Not for long, she reminded herself as she saw the knights readying another charge, but she resolved that with these few precious minutes of life she had won back that she would make them pay dearly.

The bond between the Wynwarin brothers had always been strong. Sure there had been the usual sibling rivalry but when one of them had been threatened by a outside threat, be it another Asrai, wild animal or some other type of threat then other would quickly arrive to assist his brother in driving it off. This hadn’t changed when Taegen and Ohan had bonded not had it changed when Yevin received his spectral mount, a gift from Orion himself. Their bond had only grown stronger when Taegen had been blessed with command of the Hunt’s Spectral aspect and so it had been that when that same aspect had been banished Yevin felt the pain as keenly as Taegen himself, although without same psychical effects. So it was when Yevin saw Warden Haera and her Rangers deny the Knights their sweeping charge and hold fast in the face of their attack all it took was a single surge of desperate emotion to cause Taegen to look from his own battle, witness Haera’s bravery, understand Yevin’s plan and agree to it. With a single leap Ohan sailed towards the knights, scattering the heavy infantry in his wake and collided with the flank of the knights at the same time as Yevin’s own mount, having built up speed in a charge a that started from the other end of the battle line, smashed into the rear of the unit. The brothers and their mounts expressed their personality through their fighting style, Taegan and Ohan were a furious blur, Ohan sweeping aside knights with fore claws and jaws while Taegen leapt from his mounts neck and was among the knights, striking and slashing with such speed that the men he killed had little time to register that they were dead before they even struck the ground. Yevin however remained atop his mount and used its height to meet the knights on their level, his spear puncturing breastplate and piercing mail while his mount used its bulk to simply flatten knight and horse both. Regardless of how they fought they made short work of the knights who were not expecting an attack from the flank let alone the rear. It took no more than a minute and by then the ground was covered in corpses of knight and horse. Taegen and Yevin both then turned and saluted Rangers and, Taegen remounting, turned back to the battle.

Haera sat down hard on the boggy ground and stared at the red ruin that had, until a minute ago, been a large unit of knights that had intended to kill her and her Rangers. A hand on her shoulder caused her to look up and see the ranger whom she had spoken to earlier, his face now plastered with a manic, wild grin.

“Sir, you must get up. Its not over yet and we still have work to do”

As he spoke he pointed to where the human heavy infantry, many picking themselves up after Ohan’s charge had knocked them off their feet, stood with their flank exposed to the Rangers. As she watched the mage Oacenth came into the scene directly before the humans and, before her numbed brain had time to process his arrival, threw a ball of blue fire into the ranks of the humans turning any attention they might have paid her and her rangers right onto him. She stood up, a grin speeding across her face, and addressed her troops.

“This isn’t over yet, let’s go help that mage”

The battle had turned, that Oacenth was certain of, and he didn’t mean just the bravery of Haera and her rangers. While that had been unfolding another, and arguably more inspiring act of courage had taken place with the Glade Guard. He had been throwing spell after spell at the unit, giving them every ounce of assistance he could muster when the unit’s musician had been thrown to the ground by the dragon. The elf had been instrumental to the unit’s maintained courage and it had looked like they may have just fled there and then when he fell, their spirt crushed along with him when the unit captain strode between the dragon and elf, arrow already nocked and drawn. As the Dragon’s head reared back to unleash a burst of fire the captain had shot, the arrow catching the dragon in the back of the throat causing it to rear back in pain, thrashing about trying to dislodge the arrow. At the point Taegen and Oban and charged the beast from behind and soon they became a confused mess of thrashing limbs and teeth. At this point Oacenth had turned back to where Ohan had been to see the Rangers, no longer under threat from the knights but in danger of the heavy infantry regrouping for charge that would surely finish them. It was at this point that he had decided that he would do all he could to keep them alive an so stepped up to the humans throwing balls of fire at them while also screaming insults at them in passible Reikspeil. And so he was more than a bit surprised when the humans charge was interrupt by a handful of bloodied Rangers charging them in the flank, in mere seconds this handful of rangers had cut down the greatly reduced and batter heavy infantry. Grinning he walked over to Haera and, laughing, embraced her. After a moment she embraced him back. As they drew apart he spoke.

“You do a poor job of being dead, Warden”

All it took was for the opportunity to be there for a second and they took it in a instant. Ohan and Taegen, fresh from the slaughter of the knights had been taking a moment to survey the battlefield when the sounds of combat and a pained roar drew their attention around to the enemy general and his fight with the Glade Guard, the foe was distracted and his mount appeared to be in some sort of pain, but this was all the opening they needed and Ohan and charged forward into the rear of the enemy beast. Before the impact Taegen had leapt clear of his friends neck, knowing that his place in this duel was to be seeking a opening for his blade on the ground as the two dragons clashed. He was turning as he fell and landed facing the fight, Ohan raking the other dragon’s back with fore claws while savagely biting its left back leg. He saw his opening and leapt towards the melee, arm and blade full extended as the limp form of the enemy general flew past him thrown from his mounts back. Taegen’s blade found its mark just as Ohan brought his jaws about his foe’s neck with a forceful bite. Taegen’s blade lanced deep into the dragon’s body cavity but in truth it was a unnecessary wound as, with a mighty crack the reverberated around the hill, Ohan broke the beast’s neck and dropped the corpse to the ground. He then lifted his great scaled neck and let loose and roar that shock the hill, the trees and most of the battlefield.

Across the battlefield things were not going so well. Moments before lord Yevin had left them the Eternal Guard and Wild Wood Ranger units under his command and executed a charge against the enemy pike and light infantry units arrayed against them. While the Eternal guard had meet with success the Rangers had not and were quickly cut down by well-placed pike thrusts. Now as the Eternal Guard, having suffered many causalities at the hands of the light infantry, were finishing off their foe their flank was unguarded and they would have faced slaughter, had it not been for her.

As the enemy unit readied itself to charge she stepped in front of them and, with arms fling out to either side she summoned the power of the goddess whose aspect she bore. As they charged the humans found a that their feet had become entangled in a mass of thorns and vines that had suddenly grown around their feet. This did not stop one flushed and eager young human pike man who, falling face first as he did so, thrust his pike in a wild attack at the Green Lady. Though he didn’t see the effect of his attack its result was felt as the pike blade cut deep into her left arm at the shoulder and was then wrenched down with such force that it severed the limb entirely. Screaming with pain and bewilderment the Green Lady collapsed and would have quickly been slain by the Pikemen had it not been for the return of Lord Yevin. 

Thought had no influence on what he did. Having just come away from the slaughter of the enemy knights, and having ordered Haera and her Rangers off the field, Yevin had turned to see his flank in disarray, his Eternal Guard in a desperate fight to finish off their foe and the Green Lady standing alone against a full strength unit of Pikemen. His mount, a spectral aspect of the Wild Hunt similar to those his brother had commanded, was linked to him in a way more ingrained than the bond between Ohan and Taegen, even Taegen and himself, could ever be. So it was when the first stirrings of his plan began in his mind, fuelled by desperation, that his mount charged forward, unleashing a eerie howl as it carried him straight into the enemy lines. He was among them then, slashing down with the long blade of his spear, kicking out with his booted feet while all the while his mount crushed skull and bone beneath its claws. One human, a young man, flushed and with triumphant grin on his face, lunged at Yevin with his short gutting sword having lost his pike. Yevin’s spear was currently buried on the chest of a human on his mounts other side so he simply kicked out at the man, landing a blow squarely in his wind pipe throwing the young man on is back. Yevin turned his mount around and heard the mans terrified scream moments before one huge, green and faintly glowing paw crushed his chest. And then they were pulling back, in full flight. He halted his mount there and watched them run as what remained of his Eternal Guard unit drew up around him. The unit captain approached him.

“Sir, we thank you for your intervention. We just needed a few more moments to deal with the light infantry and you gave us them”

Yevin nodded in reply and then, looking around the battle field asked.

“How many of your unit remain alive?”

“Under half sir”

Yevin nodded once more, but in truth he was shocked. The Asrai could never maintain such loses if every battle went this way, something had to change.

The four figures stood on the hill, the same hill where the fate of the battle had been decided, and awaited the coming of the enemy general. He was helped up the slope by two of his soldiers, chosen by him from among the prisoners the Asrai had taken during the course of the battle. They stopped before the four and Taegen, his helmet removed to reveal a pale, narrow and deeply tired face, spoke.

“I commend you and your men for their skill, courage and resolve commander.”

As he spoke he drew his sword and came forward right up to the enemy general.

“But some messages can only be written in blood.”

With this he drew back his arm and, with a single cut, decapitated the enemy commander who he had caused him and the Asrai so much trouble. He then addressed the two who had carried him up the hill.

“You and your fellow prisoners are free to go, the Asrai have no use for slaves and the ground around here is well fed on blood as it is. But take his body” and at this is pointed with his blade to their general. “and ensure that it reaches your baron, king, emperor or whoever it is who rules you. And let him know that this is the fate of all those who dare threaten the Asrai”

They blurted out thanks as they collected their commander’s body and retreated down the hill. Taegen returned to his fellow commanders. As he reached them Yevin spoke.

“We said brother, but do think they will heed your warning?”

“Unlikely” snorted Oacenth “They never heed any warning given them, or if they do they forget in a generation or two”

“I feel I must agree” replied the Green Lady, her features pale and drawn from the pain of her wound. “While I respect their resolve and aptitude for warfare it is only matched by their stubbornness. Only repeated defeats of a extremely unbalanced nature would cause them to pause in their ever outward expansion”

Taegen nodded in agreement at her words. At this point Yevin spoke up.

“Brother this defeat will not dissuade them. The victories that the Lady speaks of cannot be won this way, our losses are significant. Haera’s Rangers are almost gone, the mixed unit is gone as are the other ranger unit, most of the Eternal Guard and all the Glade Guard”

Taegen winced at that last one, killed by a enemy Phoenix as it flew overhead in retreat, incinerating the last of that brave unit in one breath. He looked his brother in the eye and said.

“How would you propose we change this?”

“It is simple, Yevin replied. “The Human way of war works because they breed faster than we do, it is simple fact and this is why they their method of war, with huge losses on their side, works. Because there is always another two humans to take the place of everyone that falls.”

He paused and saw that he had their attention, and on their faces he saw that he was merely giving voice to thoughts they had all had since the battles end, but he also saw hope that maybe someone would be able to solve this problem. He carried on.

“We can’t win fighting like humans, we don’t have the numbers and we would lose too many. No if we are to drive them from our lands and ensure they suffer losses so bad as to make them take notice of the danger we pose and thus come nowhere near our lands we must abandon the Human way of war”.

They were nodding know, their thoughts traveling the path his already had taken while being content for him to give voice to them. He looked them all in the eye before settling on his brother’s.

“If we’re are to win this war then we must fight like Asrai, not humans. It’s time for us to remember the Asrai way of War”.

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