Jest of Great Western War A.S. XXXIX
Continued from The Fall of war part I
The Fall of War Part 2.
Great Western VIII A.S. XXXIX
Time was short and I had already dismissed the troops. Quickly I dispatched riders to the four corners of Dreiburgen to recall them -- there was much to do and the hours fled before me. Next, I called upon the Armory to alert our armorers to prepare for long hours at the forge and anvil. It was there I found Damashi of Tora. As quartermaster of the La Villa A Broka he was arranging for repairs of equipment as per our contract; I ordered our smith to provide all that he required posthaste. Informing Damashi of the army which pressed close upon us, I asked him to most earnestly request Captain Connor to up anchor and sail from Lake Evans to Lake Prado. I would rendezvous with them soon for further orders.
On then to the river docks, where I sought to engage ships to move supplies down river. I found only one, a new ship, so new in fact that her main mast was not yet in place and other fittings as well had yet to be supplied. Her name was the Skull and Compass and I laid before her captain, a man named Vincenzo Pasquale d'Anza, my urgent need for transport. He responded with much sadness, as the ship was just off the track and in its current state, could not be ready in time. I countered, offering him use of our baronial shipwrights to fit her with a mast and have her seaworthy ahead of schedule. Captain Vincenzo agreed with much gladness, and so I made arrangements with the shipwrights to give the Skull and Compass top priority. The next two weeks were a fury of activity -- armors, shipwrights, cartwrights, blacksmiths, and all manner of workmen filled our castles’outer wards, and all toiled with but one goal -- catch the enemy in the Prado river basin before they reach our cities.
|Mast being made for||the Skull and Compass||at the Dreiburgen Armory|
I road into the basin with the Dreiburgen column expecting to confer with Brigadier General Gregory de Saville. When I found the Fifth’s camp empty and heard the sound of fighting over the ridge, I ordered my men to make camp by the lake and spurred my horse on to ascertain for myself what was afoot. There was the Fifth, at the base of a hill attacking a small enemy force. Gregory shot me a salute as he led his men up the hill. I surveyed the situation and spotted Captain Conner; he and his men were moping up and Conner was obviously enjoying it. I called him over to me for a report since Gregory remained engaged in battle.
It appeared that a small brigade had arrived sooner than expected, and General de Seville wished to take it out so that no one could report that we lay in wait. I circled the battlefield making sure that no man escaped. When the battle was over I sent scouts down river and to the south, trying to ascertain the location of the enemy’s main army and the rest of our own king’s army, which should still have been in pursuit from Calafia.
I returned to camp. The La Villa A Broka was anchored at the pier and I could see the mast of the Skull and Compass on the other side of the peninsula. “So far so good”, I thought to myself, “Now how many”, I wondered, “how many others had answered the call?” In camp I was pleased to find a significant number of nobles, including Count Jehan de la Marche, Lord Darius von Tannenberg, Captain of the Baronial Guard, and Lord Hrothbeorht Matheus. All had brought their households, providing a substantial force. We feasted and bedded down not knowing what tomorrow would bring.
It was early morning when scouts returned out of the mist reporting enemy soldiers on the west bank of the Saint Ann; the royal army was moving to engage them. I sent word through the camp to arm up, and Lord Fearghus prepared the wagons of weaponry. We mustered with the Fifth on the east bank to find the royal army already engaged in battle on the west bank! We had to cross quickly. Boats were secured, but not enough. Oarsmen were hard pressed rowing back and forth bringing us across in small groups. Captain Connor offered me space on his long boat and his men rowed swift across the current. On the shore the fighting was chaotic. The Caidan line was broken; the opposing line was broken. It was difficult to determine in which direction to move – there was fighting everywhere! I held Dreiburgen’s banner high, spied the red tabards of the Fifth, and formed on them. The rest of our troops rallied to the banner and we charged a large group of enemy soldiers.
It was during this action an enemy pike man hit me in the shoulder. He knocked me back off my feet, but unfortunately for him it caught under my arm and the pike was ripped from his hands leaving him unarmed. With Sir Jehan on my left and Hrothbeorht on my right he did not have a chance. I am not sure, but I think they filleted him. By the time I returned to my feet the fight was over. It looked like we would have a long break in the fighting, but no sooner had I popped my helmet for a breath of sweet air then a cry went up! More of the enemy had come upstream by boat and were landing behind us.
Gregory called the Fifth to form up, and Edward asked the Irregulars to form on the right; we moved in unison to the attack. To my right Connor’s men fell back, giving the illusion of a hole in our line. The enemy took the bait and charged. We enveloped them, the Fifth Brigade wheeled right, and as one we smashed them! A group of boats landed on the shore, and to them we turned our attention. Our line was solid; we pushed them back into the water. Those that were not swept away by the current were lost in the sucking sands of the Saint Ann, as the guidebooks say, “more commonly known as quick”!
With the troops in front of us annihilated, I turned my eyes to the rest of the Caidan line. Our other units were not fairing as well. They had been pushed back and had wheeled 90 degrees, and were now facing south instead of east. A small force had broken through and was heading for the officers. It was then I noticed King Brand was open and alone – two enemy soldiers were heading right for him! I did not shout commands, I did not think, I just raised my pike with Dreiburgen’s banner and ran! I was just two steps away when they engaged his Majesty! They swung, He blocked, I fired my pike over the king’s shoulder. It was then I realized that I was not the only one to come to His aid; there were at least four others trying to protect His Majesty. Where they came from I had no idea, and I wager they thought the same of me. The two attackers were slightly distracted by the extra weapons that had appeared from nowhere, but tried to keep on the King. But it was all in vain. His Majesty swung his sword once, twice, and they were on the ground dead.
The King moved back with his officers and I turned back to the line. It was swinging east towards the shore, and it would be only a matter of minutes before all of the opposition was dead. Gregory observed that more of the enemy was coming our way, but we had some time and he ordered hats off and told us to get water. That’s when Darius found me and said “Hey boss, I promised Baroness Robynne I would bring you back in one piece! Now how can I do my job if you run off like that!”
Reports came in that the enemy’s last brigade was getting close. “Hats on”, came the call and our men lined up. Hot and tired, yet excited in the fact that we had won every battle, we marched to our objective.
We met them in the open near a small village. ”Maintain the line!”, came Edward’s order. The privateers fell back again forming the same illusion of a weak spot. Zounds, it worked again. They charged in and found themselves pinched, being ground up like sausage by our weapons. In desperation they slammed us trying to make a real hole. At that moment the shields in front of me went down -- I was caught! My pike was up, the enemy was too close, and no time remained to reposition. I barely had time to think, “This is not so good”, when Darius pushed forward guarding my right and Count Jehan charged in on my left and dropped him who threaten me.
The enemy was now distraught and ran for cover in the village. “Let’s finish it!”, commanded General Gregory de Seville and we charged in. Now I will spare your eyes from reading in great detail about the long task of rousting them from their hideouts, but I must say it seemed to take forever with Chirurgeons treating the wounded and sending them back into the fray. Finally, we cleared them out. I dismissed the Dreiburgen forces, and sat in the shade to catch my breath while the Fifth Brigade marched back. I picked up my gear, and myself, Count Jehan and Lord Fearghus made the long march back to camp. The day was won and the day was done, and the night was filled with feasting and celebration of our victory!
Dreiburgen and Caid are safe. Winter is coming so there is little chance any will challenge our borders before spring.
Sleep well Dreiburgen!
Baron Malcolm Alberic