Jest of Spring Potrero A.S. XLI

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By Baron Malcolm AlbericRRE

Spring Potrero A.S. XLI

The story you are about to read is true. Only reality has been changed to protect the Dream.'

Once again evil forces from the untamed and lawless lands south of Calafia were threatening the kingdom, forcing the Caidan army to make a stand in that fair barony.

It was morning when the Dreiburgen column entered the Potrero valley. Upon our arrival Baroness Robynne and myself sought out His Excellency Baron David of Calafia for reports of the approaching enemy. These were favorable and to our liking. The enemy was more than a day’s march away, and many columns of Caidan soldiers were already streaming into camp from all over the kingdom. Safe in the knowledge that we had a day’s grace, Baroness Robynne and I aided their Calafian Excellencies in readying the camps for the arrival of the rest of the Caidan army.

The battleground for the initial engagement had already been selected. Our early discovery of the advancing army, combined with their direction of approach, would allow us to take up position in a canyon. A large bridge spanned the canyon walls, and our enemy would need to cross it. Their only other option would be to loose many more days marching around the canyon, allowing Caid time to gather more troops.

That afternoon I visited Master Quinn of the Caidan Royal Artillery Corps to inquire as to their plans for the battle. He informed me that His Majesty and Their Excellencies did not wish to loose the bridge, so the plan was to place some small ballistas on the ridge overlooking it. In that way massive casualties could be inflicted without damaging the bridge. Quinn’s only concern was that he did not have enough troops to properly protect the engines should the blockade of the bridge fail. I immediately told him that I and all that came under my banner would be proud to provide the C.R.A.C. with a defense.

The evening w as spent greeting soldiers as they arrived, preparing the evening meal, and listening to men brag of their prowess on the battlefield. However there was a tension in the air, and the bragging was not as bold as usual, for most of us remembered the year before when we faced the near invincible army of undead Merma…(we knew not their true name). Would we be facing this same evil again or something far worse, if that was possible?

The next morning I awoke to the sounds and smells of our cooks preparing breakfast. After all, an army marches on its stomach, and we wanted to make sure that the soldiers of the barony were well fortified. As we were finishing a rider cantered in, reporting that the enemy was drawing close; it was time to arm up and start forming at the bridge!

With Captain Ranulfr at my side we formed ranks with the men of the C.R.A.C. and stood ready for battle. Our army allowed the enemy to cross more than two-thirds of the bridge before engaging. This provided the Royal Artillery a suitable target for the carnage that they began to inflict.

The battle held there for sometime, with our troops defending the bridge and the C.R.A.C. blowing holes in our foes’ rank and file. But after awhile it became apparent that those holding the bridge were not as disciplined as the men of the Fifth Brigade. Our line started to founder and our enemies of the south, desperate to get out from under our artillery, took the advantage and started a massive charge.

Our men on the bridge collapsed and the wild men of the south evaded the main army, charging up the ridge straight for the balistas. We readied ourselves, but they drove at us like unto a line of raging bulls. We were bowled over, and before we could regain our feet they had reached the artillery. We charged back in and dispatched them, but not before they had finished their goal all the ballistas were smashed.

We alerted the generals that the ballistas were lost; with no artillery our tactics must change. A counter-charge was called, and our army sprinted for the bridge. We started to push them back across in wave after wave of attacks. Good men were being ground up like sausages where the lines met. I moved in to do my part, and was using my pike to knock enemy soldiers back, allowing our wounded to escape. It was then that the man next to me took several spears to his shield; the force of these blows sent him reeling into me. Unfortunately I was standing on the edge of the bridge.

We both toppled over the railing. Scrambling madly, I grasped at the support structure, clutching a beam and rolling onto it under the bridge. The shield man was not so lucky. I watched as he fell into that deep canyon, getting smaller and smaller until he landed with a faint thud and a small cloud of dust. It reminded me of a coyote I once saw, who met with a similar fate while hunting a desert bird. After carefully climbing under the bridge back to our side of the canyon, I met up with Captain Ranulfr. “I thought we lost you there”, he said. “For a moment so did I!” I replied.

Finally we managed to push the enemy off the bridge, and they retreated into the open fields beyond. Caid used this lull in the fighting to remuster the troops. At this point not enough baronial guard or Dreiburgen Irregulars still able to fight remained to form an effective independent unit. Ranulfr and I had begun to look through Caid’s rank and file to decide where Dreiburgen would be most effective, when we met with Lord Ransom Von Ravensburg, a squire of the Sons of the Lorelei. With good will he made known to us that their unit would be glad of the extra men.

When the order was given for the army to advance on the enemy, our command was to leave the line and swing around wide to the left with Dreiburgen bringing up the rear. As we moved out I kept my eye on the enemy line. A good thing to, for as we circled out a large unit separated from the enemy line and appeared to be advancing on our rear. “Looks like trouble”, I remarked to Ranulfr, “Better keep an eye on them.” He nodded in agreement. I looked to the knights and squires ahead of us. They did not seem to notice the advancing danger, and stayed upon their course. Ranulfr and I continued to bring up the rear until it was obvious that we would be engaged.

We came up on a slight rise and I called for our men to turn about. The flanking unit thought they could slit our throats from behind, but not any more  the fight was on. We held them there as I called to Ransom, letting him know about our annoying little problem. We continued to hold them off, but just then my pike caught upon something and was jerked from my hands.

I staggered back unarmed and defenseless, wondering what to do next, when a blur of men in white and red belts rushed to our aid. Ransom had heard my call. They pushed the southerners back, breaking both their line and their spirits. By the time I recovered my pike, their main army was in full retreat. It was late and the sun was just touching the horizon, so the decision was made to let them route, post guards, and allow our men to return to the camps for some well deserved rest.


Back in camp, wounds were treated, armor cleaned and inspected; The Caidan Royal Artillery Corps immersed themselves in repairing and testing their engines. The baronial cooks served up a sumptuous banquet, and the evening was given up to much feasting, celebrating, and boasting of the day’s victories. I, however, was not so relaxed. The baronial casualty rates were high, Captain Ranulfr would be unable to return to battle, and we still did not know if we had fully defeated the enemy.

It was then that the King with a retinue of knights strode through our camp and on to the Fifth Brigade camp. He asked for His Lordship Taliesin de Morlet, and upon receiving this good gentle told him that he should prepare himself this very evening, for on the morrow, if His Lordship was willing, the king would bestow upon him the accolade of knighthood. Needless to say it was a proud moment for all of us!

Answers regarding the enemy came with breakfast the next morning. I was gazing across Dreiburgen’s camp into the Fifth Brigade’s camp, watching Sir Edward standing up high on a cooking grate giving a lecture on defensive moves, when scouts rode in reporting that our enemies literally had dug in during the night, building five earthen redoubts with which to defend themselves. All I could think was “Why didn’t those fools just keep running south!”


What was needed now was a team of engineers to dig them out…. or maybe a team with engines! I immediately rounded up what remained of Dreiburgen’s forces and went straight away to the C.R.A.C. camp. The officers of the Royal Artillery were way ahead of us, and were already rolling several more small ballistas out to the battlefield.

Before moving out to where the enemy was dug in, we all paused for Taliesin’s knighting ceremony, an honor well deserved! Then we were all to the business at hand, and marched on to battle where Taliesin joined the ranks of the Fifth for the first time as a knight.

The battle itself was ugly and the day was long! We would pummel the enemy in one redoubt, and a detachment would come out of another and flank us. Several ballistas and their crews fell  more good men lost! But the most horrifying moment came when the king himself took a blow to the head. His helm split wide open and the blood gushed out, but to our amazement His Majesty did not fall right away  he just kept swinging! In his death fury he managed to kill five people before he did fall. Unfortunately they were all on his own side. It was cause for some real tense moments; our only comfort was that the Crown Prince was of age, and therefore the kingdom would be secure.

Finally there was only one redoubt left, so the C.R.A.C. moved into range and fired bolt after bolt into their fortification until our enemy had no choice but to come out and fight or die where they stood. We moved the last ballista back to the safety of one of the redoubts that we had taken; what remained of both armies now engaged in the open. The Royal Artillery kept firing until it was impossible to do so without hitting our own troops. In defending the ballista I received a spear to the head that forced me to fall to the back ranks; our Caidan forces fought valiantly until none of our foes remained. Victory was ours!

That evening we took stock of what was won and what was lost. There was much celebrating of our victory in battle, and much discussion of what kind of a king the Crown Prince would make. However it would perhaps be best if I remain silent in my writing as to the over-exuberant celebrating of Her Excellency, Baroness Robynne, and the resulting distress to her guards.

With the morning the armies packed up and journeyed back to their home territories. In the following week a coronation was held, and a new king was crowned. Our kingdom remains safe and secure.

Thus ends this jest.
Baron Malcolm