Once it is settled which forces will march where, our heroes join the Baron and his troops on their advance north. Ser Frederick beseeches his lord for a banner worthy to take into battle and is granted such for dispersion of his patrimony whilst away at tourney. Maxwell continues to weave his web of informers among the southern marching army, while the kings bastard sons, Kael
and Edmund, release the mounting tension by taking to the hunt alongside Rogr Dhariel
In the foothills of the Silverhead mountains, the chivalry of Dhoesone rode out to meet the Blood Skull Barony invaders. It was a cold, clear morning, crisp with the late autumn cool that makes horses and men steam and puts a chill in the bones.
On a nameless plain, the two armies lined out, their banners flapping in the wind. No terms were offered by either side.
Amidst the thunder of war drums and the clarion call of war horns, the two armies charged forward and met in a terrible crash.
Ser Frederick, a dispossed scion of a minor noble house, distinguished himself early with an incredible feat of arms. Seeing his men threatened on its flank, he wheeled his mount, dug in his spurs and met the oncoming foe alone. Riding out to meet him was an Orog champion, bedecked in bone armor and tribal warpaint, a terrible vision out of a prehistoric dream. The two titans closed in on each other, the knight leveling his lance, the orog unlimbering a huge stone greataxe. In a torrent they clashed, the knight giving the better of it. Shivering his lance in his foe’s belly, Ser Frederick drew first blood. The orog spat a mouthful of blood, and as their mounts’ momentum carried them onwards, swung wildly with his primitive axe but found only air. Reigning his horse, forcing the beast to rear and nearly dumping its rider, Sir Frederick drew his family’s sword, Harvester, and turned about to face his wounded foe. The Orog’s lizard, staggered under the impact of the charge, struggled to keep its footing. Seizing the moment, Sir Frederick struck out at his unbalanced foe and his sword found flesh, nearly unlimbering the half-breeds head. Instead, the lizard staggered onwards before regaining a bouncing gallop, the orog’s lifeless body bouncing along, head half attached, lolling about.
It was all over in seconds, and then the press was upon him. Anuirean cavalry received the charging orogs, their horses eyes rolling about in terror at such alien beasts.
On the right flank, Eamon’s knights, the Fists of Haelyn, lined themselves out against oncoming fhmorien giants. They would remain locked in a terrible struggle against the abominations for the entire battle, receiving several charges, giving up only their lives but not an inch of the field.
On the left, Vertico Dhareils knights held their own against the Blood Skull cavalry. One knight in two was killed or fell from his horse, but the unit fought on. For every half-breed that met them, one in three left the field with their life.
At the field’s center, the Skullcrush banner – an ashen pole fixed with skulls of every humanoid imaginable – stood and around it the fiercest of the fighting was to be found. Young half-brothers, Khael and Edmund found themselves in the press alongside Rogr Dhariel, facing down foes tall as two men. The leader of the ogres strode out proudly ahead of his troops and challenged any of the humans that thought themselves a match to try their mettle. Khael, Edmund and Rogr all responded in kind, and met the ogre in a small clearing amongst the carnage. The ogre charged forward, its thick, powerful legs eating up the distance between the champions. In its hands, a tree-trunk sized club swung in wide arcs. Now, a terrible blow to Khael, driving him to the earth, the darkness falling about his eyes. Striking like lions, Edmund and Rogr cut into the ogre. Enraged rather than finished, the beast takes the measure of Rogr and the young warlock, leaving them in a heap in the blood and the mud and the dying men.
Sir Frederick’s light horse were at the heart of the battle and, having seen Khael, Edmund and Rogr Dhariel all fall beneat the ogre’s heavy blows, the knight knew what he had to do.
‘LAAAAANCE!’, Ser Frederick bellowed, extending an open hand. A man in the unit furnished a lance and admonished the good knight to ‘go with god’. And so Ser Frederick rode once more into the jaws of death.
The tree trunk whooshed through the air and nearly crushed Sir Frederick, who reigned his horse out of the way at the last moment, sacrificing his shield, his arm nearly breaking under the blow. Seeing his moment of opportunity, he leveled his lance and sent it piercing through the beast’s neck. The iron tip entered below the jaw and piled through out the back of its head, the darkness falling fast around its eyes.
In the ensuing press, Sir Frederick is felled by his wounds, but recovered by his men.
The press swirled everywhere, and everywhere the cry of the dying, the clash of sword and shield. As when thunderheads come roaring down from mountains over the plains and the very earth shudders under the thunder, so the earth did shake with the armored tread of armies and the air did ring with the iron song of battle. Everywhere one would look, there was nothing but death.
Baron Ector and his bodyguard, seeing Eamon’s men hard pressed, charged to their rescue and delivered smarting blows to their foe, driving them back and giving succor to the knights of Haelyn. The King’s Crossbows, atop a hill, fired their machines into any enemy that revealed themselves, and it is said that the Bloodskull word for the crossbow is the same as their word for death.
The day drew long, the field mired now in a soupy mixture of blood and mud, the snow melted and trampled away in the carnage. Here and there, the leaderless Bloodskullers, bested in tests of arms by the Dhoesone knights, soon followed their fallen champions to the gates of death. At the Baron’s behest, reserves were called forward to relieve exhausted men, and, seeing fresh warriors coming to the field, the Bloodskull forces were broken at last.
Until darkness fell or their horses gave out, the men of Dhoesone pursued the half-breeds, leaving none alive.