Topic: Brigandia 6: For death or Glory
Joined Tue 09/06/11
It was night when they came. With no moon to shine down upon them, they seemed invisible. They seemed ungodly. As if they had come from the pit of perdition itself.
The village was struck without warning. Devilish horseman carrying lighted torches, setting fire to the homes. When the panic-stricken people ran, brutal swords struck them down.
There was no resistance.
Resistance was futile.
Charly and his friend Grant had been summoned to the king’s chamber to hear a terrifying report.
As they gazed upon the shaking six-year-old girl with the golden tassels, they sensed absolute terror.
The king turned grimly.
“You had better hear this captain.”
“Tell us again child.”
The child raised her tear-marked cheeks and told the awful story.
“I was in bed with momma when it happened. We heard screams and she pulled me outside. Everywhere that I looked, there was fire. Then I saw them. Hellish steeds that glowed in the dark. Upon those steeds and carrying torches rode skeletons.”
“Momma screamed and told me to flee. As I ran, I saw momma being struck down with a sword.”
“I managed to dodge them and made it into the woods. I slept till dawn and made my way here.”
The story shocked everyone to the core. For Charly, something far worse had happened.
“You asked for a report sire without making her comfortable? Damn it man! This child needs water and sustenance.”
The king gave him a grim look, but ignored the criticism.
“You heard it for yourself captain. What is your opinion?”
Charly gritted his teeth.
“Tell me child. Did you really see skeletons?”
The child simply nodded.
“That’s just not possible,” Grant said.
“I’m afraid it is my friend,” Charly replied. “Obviously the steeds were coated in florescence. As for the riders well. They wore dark garments with skeletons painted on with fluorescent liquid.”
“That explains it then,” Grant commented.
“I do not understand,” the king said. “You are saying her account was real?”
“It was to a certain degree sire. How far is this village?”
“Less than six hours ride why?”
“That is rather unfortunate sir. I fear that we are next on their list. As for this child do as I ask. She is in desperate need of food, water, and warmth.”
The king at last agreed.
“Take her to the wise woman for looking after.”
As the child was being led away, she stopped.
“There is something else that I remember sir.”
“What is it child? Pray tell.”
They were led by a black knight.”
The king’s face suddenly blanched.
“This means something to you sire?”
“Yes captain. It was such a knight that gave me the sapphire rings. Had I known then what he would do, I would have killed him myself.”
Charly glanced at Grant.
“At least that is one mystery solved then.”
Once the child had been removed, the King said,” If you fear an attack by these demons, you must plan for it.”
“That is exactly what I intend to do sire. With your permission?”
The king nodded and they headed for the courtyard. As they stepped outside Grant asked, “How serious is this?”
Charly suddenly grabbed him violently.
“About as serious as it gets mate. Don’t you know? We are facing the army from hell!”
Charly suddenly released him and collapsing to his knees screamed, “Why me!”
“Are you okay mate?” Grant asked.
After a moment Charly said, “Assemble the troops my friend. The time for war has come.”
When the troops had been assembled, Charley's address began.
“The first thing to do is to drive stakes around our east wall at a distance of thirty feet. Behind this, two lines of pike men shall deploy.”
Then Charly glanced at Grant.
“You have no armour mate. Grab yourself a pike eh?”
“I will lead two lines of knights beyond the stakes to meet them in open combat. We will carry maces and swords.”
A voice suddenly chirped up.
“What about the archers sir?”
“The bowmen shall be our final line of defence. If they break through the pike men they shall cut them down.”
“Is everything clear?”
The assembled troops answered with a united voice.
“So snap too it. We ride at sunset.”
Throughout that day, the carpenter made the stakes as pike men drove them into the ground. As night approached, Grant found his friend stroking his mighty steed.
“What’s wrong Charly? You do seem out of sorts.”
Charly turned as tears fell.
“We know who gave the king those rings now.”
“This black knight, what of it?”
“Any man who can create that technology is a formidable enemy indeed. I truly fear that we shall be utterly routed.”
Grant shook his head.
“Not with you in charge mate. Pull yourself together eh?”
Grant left then to collect a pike as his friend stroked on.
With Charly at the head, the knights rode out for battle. The standard-bearer rode aside the captain and as they left, the king watched the army depart.
“I wish you victory this day.”
Beyond the line of stake, the knights waited. As the dark hours passed, the pike men shivered with cold.
Then lights appeared in the distance and Charly gave the command.
“Knights, charge. For death or glory!”
The troops followed their brave captain as the enemy came into full view. They stared in horror at the blazing torches and the ghost like steeds. They stared in horror at the terrifying skeletal riders.
With maces swinging and swords raised, they charged into the enemies open flank.
As the sound of clashing metal filled the air, the flank suddenly opened and Charly realised that he had rode his army into a well-planned trap.
As the knights entered, the flank closed around them.
At their head, Charly sat utterly aghast.
“What a ruddy fool I’ve been!”
The enemy struck with their double-edged weapons, weapons that could slice through armour, like a hot knife through butter.
“Hold your position!” Charly screamed as chaos erupted.
A skeletal horsemen tried to ride him down, but the captain was quicker than that. His horse reared and twisted as his mace swung hard.
The enemy soldier screamed as his head was torn off, before crashing landward.
Screams filled the air as the king’s knights fell like ninepins.
Charly knew that only one response might save their lives.
“Form a circle now!”
At this terrible command, the remaining knights dismounted and slapped their steeds away. They stood shoulder to shoulder now with shields and swords raised.
The standard-bearer stood at the centre with Charly right next to him.
“Can we get out of it sir?”
Charly smiled sadly at the armour-clad youth.
“Can pigs fly?”
The enemy stood back for a moment as heartless laughter filled the night air. Minutes passed before a new voice shouted, “Take them! Charly is mine!”
The knights braced themselves as the enemy struck hard. Their metallic protection was useless against these weapons. Sword slashed through it, sending arms flying toward the ground.
An unlucky knight was rapidly beheaded, and as the body fell, his body was pierced by countless sword points.
Charly watched his men being decimated with horror.
The question was where to? There was no place to run.
A line of skeletons smashed through at last, charging the standard.
The brave youth swung his sword as a well-placed blow crushed his skull.
Charly slashed at the rider as he leaned down to grab the flag and yelled when he fell. The captain reached the fallen man and screaming to heaven sliced his head from atop his heavy shoulders.
As blood pumped out, Charly swung round and screamed, “Whose next?”
Then he fell silent.
Around him lay the bodies of his men. The enemy were jeering at him.
The lone survivor of this bloody massacre.
Charly stood waiting as blood trickled down his gleaming armour suit.
“What the hell are you lot waiting for? Get it ruddy over with!”
The invincible enemy parted and the black knight rode through.
“You have come for me then?”
“Of course I have. Who else could have defeated you Charly?”
“I would like to see the face of my killer first.”
The visor opened and a familiar face stared back.
Charly stood in absolute shock as the blazing steed suddenly rode at him. As if in slow motion, Charly screamed with his raised sword swinging wildly. He ran forward, desperately attempting to cut the distance.
The sword of the black knight caught his side savagely and the captain’s body twirled and fell.
As the black knight rode on, he grabbed the standard and led his victorious army away.
At the line of stakes, the pike men waited. They had heard the clash of arms and now silence had fallen. As the distant lights vanished into the darkness, Grant had had enough.
“We must go to them.”
“We have our orders sir.”
“To hell with orders mate. I’m going now, alone if need be.”
The others watched as the brave man ran toward where the sound had come from.
Shrugging their shoulders, the pike men broke rank and followed.
It did not take long for them to find the grim scene of battle. As they gazed upon the sea of broken bodies Grant shouted, “Charly!”
When there was no response of course, he ordered a search. As Grant checked the north side, a call reached his ears.
“Over here sir!”
Grant ran over and found the pike man kneeling at the side of a downed knight. The weary pike man glanced up.
“Sorry sir, I think he’s dead.”
Grant stared aghast at the still body and the open visor. He stared aghast at the closed eyes of Charly.
This was the season finale...