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Michaelj
June 11th, 2012, 12:13 AM
Its a fantasy of such but I'm trying to make the magic as small as possible. :)
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White balls plummeted from the gloomy sky as the wind howled with wrath. They descended heavily onto smalls trees that were littered over a desolate frozen land. Amongst the trees were small camp fires where thousands of men in violet coloured jackets clustered together as if to survive the harsh weather.

A large man with brown hair wrapped in a 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 as he watched it ignite.

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 moaning. Why join the army if you weren’t willing to test yourself? Braddur was cold just as much as anyone else but there were bigger dangers here than the damn weather.

This was Frostholme and the inhabitants were the enemy. A lot of the Stormsand soldiers seemed to forget that. They’d rather moan about the cold 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. Braddur hadn’t either but he was a soldier and that was what he joined up for. To fight, not to sit and moan like a little child.

Braddur watched as the fire slowly started to die out. “We’ll need more wood soon.”

Pleoh’s eyes flared. “Then go get some! It’s always me getting the fucking wood. Not like there’s enough wood in this shithole.”

“Stop your whining Pleoh or I will have you digging latrines in the snow.” Said Sergeant Clover, a ginger haired man whose been serving with the army for the past twenty years.

Pleoh sulkily sat down, looking miserable 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 accidently prowled in on his parents making love. If he wanted to he could listen in on anybody’s thoughts but he chose not to. Sometimes he would hear the most inappropriate things that would make liking people a hard thing for him to do. He didn’t like this disability and the less people who knew of it the better.

Corporal Tilian Paige grinned. “Aw cheer up, you fat fuck. Tomorrow you’ll be so busy that you’ll probably hardly even notice the cold. Even if you do then I wouldn’t worry much on that matter either. No useless person is gonna last ten minutes so you’re safe on that regard also.” A few soldiers sat around the camp fire howled with laughter. Braddur didn’t like Tilian. He looked like a pale little creep who loved using his rank to bully people below him.

Crazy Darel laughed. “Because you’ve seen much action, 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, “Unlike some people.” They roared with laughter again, Crazy Darel the loudest amongst them all.

I wouldn’t be too surprised if you became a corporal by cleaning piss pots your entire life, thought Braddur. The private picked up the last pieces of wood and tossed them into the dying fire and watched it surge 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? 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 aswell as our own.”

Braddur didn’t ask for a battle plan that he already knew but he decided to hold his tongue, the sergeant was a stormy man. “Sounds like a stupid plan to me,”

“You scared Private Selwin?” Tilian the little shit grinned, revealing his yellow teeth.

“Our job is to follow orders, not to question them. General Abrecan and his officers have decided that this plan would fool the enemy so it’s our job to have faith in their abilities. 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. Everyone had it on their minds but the sergeant had only reinforced their opinions.

“Why do we have to be bloody used as bait?” Private Pleoh whined.

“Go get some more wood, Pleoh.” Sergeant Clover ordered.

Pleoh muttered something under his breath unheard as he stood up but he seemingly obeyed and sulkily walked away. Braddur considered amusing himself listening in to his thoughts but he decided against it. Sometimes he’d accidently listen in on peoples thoughts and found it difficult resisting the urge to continue doing so.

Private Stefn Lyn clapped his hands and waited until everyone had turned their heads. “This reminds me of the battle of 67’ or was it 68’? No definitely 67’… We tricked ‘em at Ireeli with the same tactic but it was 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 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, he served the army for twenty five years. However he was also known as Tales from the men in the ranks 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. 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 knew of only one officer.

Just when Stefn was about to open up his mouth to spout more nonsense, something caught his eyes. 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 coloured hair up to his shoulders, 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 was clattering on his leg as his horse plodded forward. Braddur couldn’t see his epaulettes as he was wearing a huge greatcoat but it was plainly obvious that this man was an officer. But why did Tales take such interest in the man?

“I think Tales is in love,” Jested Tilian.

Stefn gasped. “It’s him!”

Sergeant Clover sighed. “Captain Garr Bloodwind.”

“Who?” Braddur had to ask.

“The man you see there was a young lord of a rich and powerful family that happened to be cousins to the Godafrid’s. Unfortunate for the Bloodwind’s they thought 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 had no part whatsoever in the high treason crime.”

Braddur felt pity for the captain, he never knew his own family but he could understand how the man felt.

“What were those two dogs with him?” Asked Darel.

Stefn Lyn seemed happy to answer that. “’E’ saved those two dogs on the 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 warm in his greatcoat and sleeping bag.

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 block the upcoming slash. The sword cut through him as if he was butter, the man fell to the floor in a mess of blood, bone and flesh. He was quick to block a slash to his left but all the sudden he was surrounded by three horsemen. They all attacked in fury and Braddur blocked as much as he could. Alas it was too much for him to handle and he felt a sharp pain on the right hand side of his face. He felt panic and before he knew what was happening another dark faced man was dragging him off his horse so he fell flat into the sand.

Braddur woke up instinctively touching 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 best to do. To kill. He fell asleep again.

It was a cool morning and it had stopped snowing. Seven hundred and fifty men were stood in the front rank on the mammoth road and seven hundred and fifty men were stood behind them. On either side of the men were 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 behind all the ranks.

Braddur himself was in the front rank. Braddur couldn’t prevent the thoughts of his comrades flooding in. Apart from the fact that Braddur himself was almost pissing his breeches he was that nervous, all his comrades were no doubt sharing the same feelings. No, must not listen in. I can’t have any distractions.

“Sergeant’s, prepare the men. Have them load their rifles and have bayonets fitted!” Bellowed the colonel from behind.

Sergeant 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. He tilted his banan rifle so the muzzle was pointed upwards. Braddur went into his ammo pouch and grabbed the charge. He tore the top of the charge with his teeth tasting salt and kept the rifle ball in his mouth. He poured the powder into the barrel and placed the ball into the barrel shortly after. He grabbed his ramrod out of his utility belt and shoved it all down the barrel so it was sitting at the bottom. He then grabbed a different type of powder from his belt and poured it into the pan of the rifle. He cocked the rifle. All the training will come to this, thought Braddur. Though he was expecting the two flanks to come in and obliterate the enemy forces, there was still a possibility he and his fellow soldiers may be needed shortly before that.

“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, hearing it click.

After forty minutes, they came.

It looked like 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 was out of line not including the people taking command at the very front. They were all dressed differently also, most of them were wrapped up warm heavily in bleak coloured scarfs and robes. They had their own weapons of sorts also, some had rifles that Braddur had never seen before but most had swords, axes or scythes. However they outnumbered the 22nd and the 25th regiment so much that there weapons could actually pose a huge danger. They were about five hundred yards away.

As they got closer, Braddur heard their chanting. “Mear!”

“Mear!”

“Mear, mear, mear!”

“Mear!”

When Braddur first heard them he supposed they more or less sounded like a horde of cats marching towards them rather than an 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? He couldn’t see them anywhere.

“Stop your bickering! Front rank, get ready!” Sergeant Clover growled. The other sergeants imitated the order.

Braddur aimed his rifle forward. 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 see the blood thirsty desire in some of their eyes.

“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 groans and moans, at least a hundred people were struck down.

“Front rank load!”

Braddur along with his comrades crouched down and started to load his rifle. He knew he had to take it calmly but he also knew had to do it as quickly as possible, just like his training.

“Second rank fire!”

Braddur heard the deafening roar of the banan rifles as the rounds flew overheard. He finished loading up his rifle and stood up and waited for the orders.

Braddur had expected the next order to be ‘front rank fire’ but he soon realised that order wouldn’t come or would come a lot later. He did hear beyond the smoke that there was chaos and panic as men were scurrying about. He 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 forwards 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. While 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 were screaming at them trying to get themselves in order.

And the order Braddur had hoped to come, came. “Charge! Get the bastards!”

Braddur along with everyone else screamed as they sprinted towards the enemy, their faces full of shock and dismay. Horsemen galloped ahead to get to their prey before everyone else. There was barking and howling in the background.

Braddur found his first victim who was trying to drag a fallen comrade away from this mess. The man rather than attacking held his rifle in the air in hopes of blocking any fore coming attacks that might befall him. Braddur at first feigned the rifle, swinging it. However he redirected it and speared the rifle under the enemy soldiers own rifle, digging his bayonet deep into the poor man’s throat as blood poured out.

Some men were trying to fight back but the men who once outnumbered the Stormsand forces now were finding themselves outnumbered three to one. Braddur saw one of his own soldiers blow a round point blank into one of the enemy’s faces, blood spattering over the snow.

Braddur heard something behind him and quickly turned as a bearded soldier held an axe high towards him. Braddur jumped backwards just as the axe missed him by a hair and thrust his bayonet into the bearded man’s chest; he pulled the trigger and watched as he flew backwards with a trail of blood.

Braddur faced right and saw Private Pleoh get impaled by a sword as he got lifted upwards by perhaps the biggest, most hairy man he had ever laid his eyes on. The man was using only one arm but had no trouble lifting up Pleoh as if he was perhaps a little toddler being thrown about his own father. The hairy man dropped Pleoh onto the ground and screamed a war cry as he lifted his bloody sword into the cold sky.

A horseman galloped behind the hairy man with his own sword in hand ready to strike him down. Unfortunate for the horseman, the hairy man was quicker and in a cat like reactions, struck the horse’s legs making the horse and the horseman both tumble headfirst into the snow.

It took Braddur only a second to realise that the horseman was Captain Garr Bloodwind!

The hairy soldier screamed another war cry and held his sword in the air as the sun reflected off the steel. Braddur sprinted towards him in a state of blind rage, he didn’t know why he felt rage but he felt compelled to save the captain. Just as the hairy soldier was about to finish off Garr Bloodwind, Braddur was able to bulrush the man, with his rifle still gripped firmly in his hand.

A small shiny stone fell out of the man’s pockets but Braddur tried not to be distracted as he gradually stood up. The hairy man stared at Braddur in a state of amusement and said something in a foreign tongue that Braddur could not understand. The man held his sword towards Braddur and started to jump on his left leg. 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 realised that he was on his own and that he had to fight this beast of a man himself. All his comrades were too busy to help him.

The hairy man swung first in a hope of cutting Braddur in half but he was able to leap backwards. The hairy man 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 eviscerating him but the hairy man parried the rifle away with his bare hand. He swung again. This time in an upwards to down movement but lucky for Braddur, he was able to avoid the blow by stepping aside.

Braddur thrust again. This time instead of the hairy man parrying with his hands, he grabbed the rifle and yanked him towards him. The man kneaded Braddur in the stomach, driving his breath away. He then used the hilt of his sword to smash Braddur’s nose, causing his nose to erupt. The hairy man pushed him to the floor so he was looking at the clouds.

Braddur feeling dizzy and disorientated looked at the hairy man as he laughed one last time and as he held his sword with both hands into the air.

It wasn’t his time to die today. The hairy man gurgled and spat blood. In shock he looked down and saw a sharp sword go through his chest. 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.”

He picked up the stone and saw how the sunlight radiated a purple glow

Jackelberry
June 11th, 2012, 08:17 PM
I love it so far! I like how you're trying to minimise the amount of 'magic' which we see far too much of in today's fantasy. Also the names, in my opinion, are well chosen, I think they add more 'culture' to the writing, if you understand what im trying to say!
Keep up the good work.

don'tmakemeblue
November 7th, 2012, 01:03 AM
I like this, although it does feel like you're feeding information in regard to the mind-reading, and there is some awkward grammar. But a good read, and compelling. Nice work.