Hey guys, I haven't written in a long time and this story is actually something I've recently re-polished. This story is supposed to be a multiple POV fantasy story. I'm hoping to make a decent story, so if you could tell me what you think, that'd be great appreciated! Did the story hook you? Bore you? Was there anything you liked or didn't like? This is my first draft, so I understand a lot can change. I don't mind harsh critique, I can take it. I appreciate the effort people take to read another persons story and for them to attempt to help another individual. (as long as it's not malicious)
Did you find the environment unrealistic? I'm starting to wonder if I should change the environment to something less cold but I fear it'll destroy the heart of my story. I've already written multiple chapters and yes, the fear of changing the environment worries me but if it's a necessity then I'll do it.
I've double spaced the paragraphs so it's easier to read.
Braddur – I
The wind howled with wrath as snow plummeted from the dark sky. It descended heavily onto small trees that were littered over a desolate frozen land. Thousands of men in scarlet clustered around small campfires under the few trees that existed to protect them from the harsh and unforgivable weather.
A large man with brown hair wrapped in a grey scarf struggled to one of the camp fires as he cradled twigs and wood in his arms. “Bloody freezing,” complained Private Pleoh. He dropped some of the twigs and wood into the fire and he watched the flames spiral upwards.
Private Braddur Selwin was fed up of the cold. He was also fed up of the wind but most of all he was fed up of the whinging. Why join the army if you weren’t willing to test yourself to your absolute limits? Braddur was cold just as much as anyone else but there were much bigger dangers here than the stupid weather.
They were in Frostholme and the natives also happened to be the enemy. A lot of his fellow Stormsand soldiers seemed to have forgotten that. They’d rather just moan about the weather or how hungry they were, thought Braddur. No doubt half the men he was with hadn’t even seen a battle, let alone participated in one. However, neither had Braddur but the difference was he understood the main reason he joined the army for. To fight, not to sit and moan like a little girl.
Braddur watched as one of the fires slowly started to die out. “We’ll need more wood soon.”
Pleoh’s eyes flared. “Then, why don’t you get some, eh? It’s always me getting the fucking wood. Have a look around! Do you see any fucking wood?”
“Stop your whining Pleoh or I will have you digging latrines in the snow,” said Sergeant Clover, a red haired veteran of twenty years.
Pleoh sat down as he glared at the ground. Fucking cunt, Braddur accidently listened in on Pleoh’s thoughts. He didn’t mean to but sometimes it just happened as if he was to accidently prowl in on a pair of lovers making love with each other. If he wanted to he could listen in on anybody’s thoughts but he chose not to. He would often hear the most inappropriate things that would make liking people a very difficult thing to do. Other people might like the ability to eavesdrop on others but Braddur considered it a curse. And the less people who knew of it the better. Braddur frowned.
Corporal Tilian Paige grinned at Pleoh. “Cheer up, you fat bastard. Tomorrow you’ll be so busy that you’ll probably hardly even notice the cold. Either way you’re not going to last ten minutes, eh?”
Braddur scowled at Tilian. If there was person Braddur despised, it was this man. In addition to being rude, he was also obnoxious and way too cocky for his own good. Unlike most of the Stormsand soldiers who had bronze skin, Tilian seemed to be as pasty as the snow. He had brown, rumpled hair that fell down to his shoulders. His dark eyes were far apart from each other that he looked more like a frog than a human. The corporal always seemed to be smiling with his crooked, yellow teeth, almost as if he believed everyone was beneath him.
Crazy Darel laughed. “Won’t this be your first battle, Tilian?”
“I didn’t earn my chevrons by luck. I had to earn them. It’s not like I grabbed them out of a bleeding piss pot.” Tilian looked slyly at Sergeant Clover to see if he was watching and grinned when he saw he wasn’t. “Unlike some people.” The pair of them roared with laughter, Crazy Darel the loudest amongst them both.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if you became a corporal by cleaning piss pots your entire life, thought Braddur. He picked up the last pieces of wood and tossed them into the dying fire and saw how it surged upwards. “Hey Sergeant, when are they thought to attack again?”
Sergeant Clover studied Braddur with his dark eyes. “How many times have we been through this, Braddur? The scouts have reported that a large enemy force is on route and should be here in the early hours of the morning. Our regiment and the 25th will muster on the Mammoth road and will be used as bait but the bastards will get surprised attacked on both flanks by the remaining forces. They’ll get destroyed. No prisoners unless they are commissioned and no mercy for any men from the ranks. We don’t have enough rations for their army as well as our own.”
Braddur didn’t ask for a battle plan that he already knew but he decided to bite his tongue. “Sounds like a stupid plan to me.”
“You scared Private Selwin?” Tilian the little shit grinned, revealing his yellow teeth.
The Sergeant interjected. “Our job is to follow orders, not to question them, Braddur. General Abrecan and his officers have decided on their own accord that this plan is good enough to fool the enemy so we as their subordinates are supposed to have faith in them. But yes in my opinion, it’s a damned awful plan and I am sure to pray to the gods that the enemy is foolish enough to walk into our trap.”
The few people sat around the campfire shuffled awkwardly when the Sergeant said that.
“Why do we have to be used as bloody bait?” Private Pleoh whined.
“Go get some more wood, Pleoh.”
Pleoh muttered something under his breath as he stood up before trotting away. Braddur considered amusing himself by listening in to his thoughts but decided against it. If he was to tempt himself this time, what’s to say he wouldn’t do it another time and take advantage of the situation?
Private Stefn Lyn clapped his hands and waited until everyone had turned their heads towards him. “This reminds me of the battle of 67 or was it 68? No definitely 67… We tricked ‘em at Ireeli with the exact same tactic but it was entirely my idea! I told General Penrith my idea, god rest his soul and he listened to it and said ‘that’s a great plan, Private! We shall use that!’ we won the battle but the general took the bleeding credit for it. The damned bastard.” Stefn looked offended. “I imagine that’s where Abrecan got his plan from.” Stefn Lyn considered himself an old dog within the army and that he was as he served the army for twenty five years. However he was also known as Tales for the past twenty five years also.
“I’m surprised you’re not at least a Colonel by now,” said Crazy Darel.
“I should’ve earned a battle field commission in 58 but I wasn’t a Sergeant so they offered me money instead,” explained Stefn Lyn with a sad face.
A battle field commission was a rare occurrence in which a man from the ranks could get promoted to become an officer. He had to show valour and bravery in combat but also needed to be a Sergeant or above to meet the criteria. Braddur only heard of one person who was able to achieve this.
Just when Stefn was about to open up his mouth to no doubt spout more nonsense, he saw something and froze. When Braddur turned his head to see what he was looking at, he saw a tall man on a white horse being trailed by two menacing looking shaggy dogs with black fur. The man sat on the horse had sandy hair which fell down to his shoulders and despite his long hair there was a visible horrendous scar where his right ear used to be. Under his thin eyebrows, he had hazel coloured eyes that looked angry and resentful. His sword scabbard clattered against his leg as his horse plodded forward. Braddur couldn’t see his epaulettes as he was wearing a huge scarlet greatcoat but it was plainly obvious that this man was an officer. But why was Tale’s so interested in this man?
“I think Tales is in love.” said Tilian.
Stefn gasped. “It’s him!”
Sergeant Clover sighed. “Captain Garr Bloodwind.”
“Who?” asked Braddur.
“The man you see there was once a young lord of a rich and powerful family that also happened to be cousins to the Godafrid’s. Unfortunately for the Bloodwind’s they believed that high treason was a good idea to win the throne. Every member of the family was executed apart from Captain Bloodwind over there who was sentenced to join the army until he died. The only reason he escaped execution was because he was believed to have no part whatsoever in the high treason crime.”
Braddur looked at the Captain with sad eyes. He never knew his own family but he could truly understand how the man felt.
“What were those two dogs with him?” asked Darel.
Stefn Lyn seemed ecstatic. “’’E saved those two dogs in the battle of 74. Since then they have become his loyal companions and fought by his side in every battle ‘e’s had since. Some say he killed their previous owner, some say he summoned them from the hells itself.”
Tilian eye-balled him. “You do talk some shit at times.”
There wasn’t much else for Braddur to do other than to sleep. He was getting fed up of the moaning, the made up stories and the cold and the wind. He also felt a ting of nervous excitement about tomorrow’s battle. He wrapped up in his sleeping bag and closed his eyes.
He dreamt he was on a horse galloping forwards. He lifted up his sword and swung down at a dark faced man who held his arms up trying to shield himself from the oncoming slash. The sword cut through him as if he was butter and the man collapsed to the floor in a mess of blood, bone and flesh. He was quick to parry a slash to his left but all the sudden he was surrounded by three horsemen. They attacked in fury and Braddur parried as much as he physically could. Alas it was too much for him to handle and he felt a sharp pain on the right hand side of his face. His heart started to race and before he knew what was happening another dark faced man was dragging him off his horse resulting in him sinking into the sand.
Braddur woke up and instantly touched his right ear. It was only a dream. When I’m fighting I won’t be on a horse, I’ll be in the front rank and I’ll do what I’ve been trained to do. To kill. He closed his eyes again.
When Braddur awoke the next morning, the snowing had stopped but the cold air still stung his face. It had been a two hour march to the Mammoth road, yet he still felt tired and groggy from last night’s sleep. Seven hundred and fifty men were stood in the front rank on the road and seven hundred and fifty men were stationed behind them. On either side of the men rose steep snowy hills that would have been difficult to run up if anyone was foolish enough to desert. There were junior officers and Sergeants at the very front of the ranks and the most senior officers were behind both ranks on their horses.
Braddur himself was in the front rank. He struggled to prevent the thoughts of his comrades flooding in to his own mind. Aside from the fact that Braddur himself was almost pissing his breeches, all his comrades also appeared to fear for their own lives and could only pray they’d get out of this situation alive. No, must not listen in. I can’t have any distractions.
“Sergeant’s, prepare the men! Have them load their rifles and have their bayonets fitted!” bellowed the Colonel from behind.
Clover was one of the Sergeants. “Alright, lads, you heard the Colonel, load!”
Braddur did what he was trained to do. All the measurements were prepared the day before. Tilting his banan rifle so the muzzle pointed upwards, Braddur scrounged through his ammo pouch and grabbed the charge. Tearing the top of the charge with his teeth, he tasted the salt and bit down on the rifle bullet. He poured the powder down the barrel and spat the bullet into it shortly after. Braddur then grabbed his ramrod out of his utility belt and shoved it all down the barrel so it was sat at the bottom. Finally he grabbed a different type of powder from his belt and poured it into the pan of the rifle. Braddur cocked the rifle. All the training comes down to this, I can’t be scared thought Braddur. Though he was expecting the two flanks to charge in and obliterate the enemy forces, there was still a slight possibility he and his fellow soldiers may be needed to help in the battle.
“Private Pleoh, quicker next time! Alright lads, fix bayonets!” ordered Sergeant Clover.
Braddur took his bayonet out of his utility belt and slid it in place on the top of the rifle so that it clicked.
After forty minutes, they came.
It seemed to Braddur that there were thousands of them. A mass of vagabonds marching steadily towards sixteen hundred or so men. Unlike the Stormsand army, they didn’t seem to have any discipline. Almost every one of them was out of step and out of line. The people who were in command were striding at the very front of the ranks at a quick pace with red girdles tied around their waist. All of the Frostholme soldiers were dressed in various ways too. They were wrapped up heavily in a variety of different bleak coloured scarf’s and robes, colours Braddur didn’t even know existed. The Frostholme soldiers had their own weapons of sorts. Some had rifles that Braddur had never seen before but most carried swords, axes or scythes. However they seemed to outnumber the 22nd and the 25th regiment by so much that their weapons could actually pose a huge threat. They were about five hundred yards away.
As they got closer, Braddur heard their chanting. “Mear!”
“Mear, mear, mear!”
If you were to hear them you would suppose they sounded more like a horde of cats marching towards you rather than the great army of Frostholme.
“S-shouldn’t the flanks be here by now?” Somebody from the ranks asked.
“Yeah, where the hells are they?” Somebody else screamed.
Braddur wondered the same thing. Where were the flanks that were supposed to surprise attack the Frostholme forces? They should have arrived by now. He felt his heart begin to beat as his body began to quiver.
“Stop your bickering! Front rank, get ready!” Sergeant Clover growled. The other Sergeants imitated the order.
Braddur aimed his rifle. Okay, must keep calm, thought Braddur.
“Aim low and wait until my command!” yelled the Colonel.
They waited and waited and still the flanks didn’t arrive to save the day. They were getting dangerously close now and Braddur could even see some of the enemy soldier’s smashing their fists against their chests.
“Fire!” screamed the Colonel.
The seven hundred and fifty men of the first rank pulled their triggers. There was a crackling roar as the muzzles of the banan rifles were set alight.
The butt of the rifle slammed into Braddur’s shoulders, he was used to the kickback from months of training so it didn’t seem to hurt him much. He did however have trouble seeing past the smoke fog that the banan rifles caused. He wondered if he had struck anyone but judging by the screams, groans and moans, at least a hundred people were struck down.
“Front rank, load!”
Along with his comrades, Braddur crouched down and started to load his rifle. He knew he had to remain calm but he also knew he had to do it as quickly as possible. Just like the way he had been taught in training.
“Second rank fire!”
Braddur heard the deafening roar of the banan rifles as the rounds flew overhead. He finished loading his rifle, stood up and waited for the orders.
Braddur had expected the next order to be ‘front rank fire’ but when the order ‘second rank load’ didn’t come he soon came to realize that he wouldn’t be ordered to fire. Beyond the smoke there was screaming and panic as men were scurrying about. Enemy gunfire was going off beyond the smoke but the rounds were flying way off target as all rounds flew overhead. Braddur glanced to his right and saw Sergeant Clover grin.
“Forward!” yelled the Colonel.
Braddur didn’t expect that order.
Braddur, along with the rest of the 22nd and 25th, marched slowly through the smoke with their rifles aimed ahead and still in line. Braddur had wondered if he was to be struck down by a smirking soldier ready for him on the other side but what he saw, he just couldn’t comprehend.
It was complete and utter disaster on Frostholme’s behalf. Whilst hundreds of their soldiers lay dead on the floor, most of them were running away! Or trying to at least. The Majority of them were tripping themselves up or tripping up over dead bodies. While only a small number of them screamed at each other trying to get themselves back in order.
And the order Braddur had hoped to come, came. “Charge! Get the bastards!”
Braddur screamed along with everyone else as they sprinted towards the enemy, the enemy soldiers faces were full of shock and dismay. Horsemen galloped ahead to get to their prey before everyone else. Braddur could hear barking and howling as he ran.
Braddur found his first victim, a man who was trying to drag a fallen comrade away from the mess. The man, rather than attacking, held his rifle in the air in hopes of blocking any forthcoming attacks that might befall him. Braddur at first feigned with his rifle, swinging it downwards. However he redirected it and speared the rifle under the enemy soldier’s own rifle, digging his bayonet deep into the poor man’s gullet causing blood to pump out of his throat.
Some of the Frostholme forces were trying to fight back but the men who once outnumbered the Stormsand forces were now finding themselves outnumbered three to one. Braddur looked to his left and saw a comrade fire a round point blank into one of the enemy’s faces as his head exploded into clutter of skull, hair, blood and brain onto the snow.
Braddur heard the crunch of snow behind him and urgently turned around as a bearded soldier held an axe high towards him. Braddur jumped backwards and the axe missed him by an inch. He thrust his bayonet hard into the bearded man’s chest and forced the bayonet through a gap in the ribcage. Pulling the trigger, he heard the thundering roar as smoke almost consumed him. Braddur struggled to yank the bloody bayonet out of the dead body, the smell of burnt flesh almost made him gag. The dead soldier slumped onto the floor in a muddle of blood, bone, tissue and flesh.
Braddur heard a cry and faced right to witness Private Pleoh being impaled by a sword and then being lifted upwards by perhaps the biggest, most hairiest man he had ever laid his eyes on. With only one arm the man had simply lifted Pleoh from the ground as if he was perhaps a little toddler. The hairy man dropped Pleoh onto the ground and roared a war cry as he lifted his bloody sword toward the cold sky.
A horseman galloped to the hairy man with his own sword in hand ready to strike him down. Unfortunately for the horseman, the hairy man was quicker and struck both of the horse’s front legs as it tried to evade the blow. The horse and the horseman both tumbled headfirst into the snow. Braddur saw how the majority of the native forces were struggling to defend themselves from the onslaught of invading soldiers.
As the rider struggled to move, it took Braddur only a moment to realize that the horseman was Captain Garr Bloodwind!
The hairy soldier screamed another war cry and held his sword in the air as the sun bounced off the steel. The hairy soldier then held his sword with both hands in the air, ready to hack down at Garr Bloodwind. Braddur sprinted towards him in a state of blind rage. He felt he had to save Captain Bloodwind from this man, he just had to. Just as the hairy soldier started slashing down to finish off the captain, Braddur was able to tackle the man to the ground, his rifle still gripped firmly in his right hand.
A small shiny stone fell out of the man’s pockets. Braddur looked at his opponent as he gradually stood up. The hairy man stared at Braddur in a state of amusement as he said something in a foreign tongue that Braddur could not begin to fathom. The man held his sword towards Braddur and started to hop about on his left leg mockingly. Don’t be scared, don’t be scared, thought Braddur.
He jumped on his left leg towards Braddur slowly and clumsily as he started to cackle manically. Braddur looked around quickly in hope of help. He realized that everyone was occupied and that he had to fight this beast of a man himself.
The hairy man swung first trying to cut Braddur in half, but Braddur was able to leap backwards. The hairy man then said something else in a foreign tongue and laughed so loud that the gods were bound to hear him. Braddur thrust his rifle forward in a hope of goring him through the guts but the hairy man parried the rifle away with his bare hand. The hairy man swung again. This time in an upwards to down movement but lucky for Braddur, he was able to avoid the blow by stepping aside as the sword made a thunderous bang in the snow.
Braddur thrust again. This time instead of the hairy man parrying with his bare hand, he snatched the rifle and yanked it towards him, yanking the bayonet over his right shoulder. The man kicked Braddur in the stomach, driving his breath away. He then used the butt of Braddur’s musket to crunch his nose, causing his nose to erupt into a bloody mess on his face. The hairy man shoved him to the ground so Braddur was facing the clouds.
Tears streamed down Braddur’s face as he struggled to breath, feeling dizzy and disorientated. He looked up at the hairy man as he cackled again and as the hairy man held his sword upwards.
Before he could bring the blade down, the hairy man gurgled and spat blood. In shock he looked down and saw a sharp sword through his guts as his intestines began to spill onto the snow. He fell to his knees and looked at Braddur one last time before collapsing.
Braddur looked up and saw Captain Garr Bloodwind looking tired and bloodied. “I believe this is yours.” He threw a shiny stone towards Braddur. “I believe it fell out of your pockets when you tried to save my life.”
Private Braddur Selwin picked up the stone and saw how in the sunlight it radiated a purple glow.