After giving some thought to what I wanted to do next for this blog I decided to put up sections of a larger project I have been slowly working on.
The story about Clyde did what I wanted to do it got me back into writing more often. I am disappointed that I didn’t devote more time to developing Clyde as a character but I thought it was still a fun story. I at least had fun writing it.
So here is what I think of as a prologue of sorts despite its brief length.
The troops moved uneasily. They had already been in place for an hour, their muscles no longer primed instead they were loose and hanging like a wet cloth. Cliff stood with them, as one of them in the shade of the big trees on the Eastern edge of the clearing.
The night before, spring rains had soaked the future battlefield, now sunlight shone brightly down on the green grass causing steam to rise up off the ground. On the windless day the steam hung mere feet off the ground blanketing the field in thick fog.
“Patience, Marcus. They’re there.” said Cliff, although he doubted it himself. The rebels had consistently out smarted them. Winning battle after battle with superior strategy and an uncanny knack for catching the King’s Army unprepared. The rebels had gained support after each victory until now, after a year, they had the full support of the South and outnumbered those loyal to the King.
Cliff’s shoulders were heavy despite the light armor he wore he felt as though he was in full plate. Everyone of his soldiers had left their battle armor behind in favor of light weight chain mail. Speed was their goal.
Three blasts of a horn raced across the field in front of them. The hanging fog seemed to quiver with each blow of the horn. A long blast, then a short, capped off with another long. Cliff’s muscles hardened again, his stomaching jumping up into his chest. His troops stood frozen. The rebel response came quickly one long horn call.
And then the battle began.
Shinning steel and rusted iron appeared on either end of the field the fog masking the numbers of either army but Cliff knew they were outnumbered. The grass that grew there would be trampled by nightfall and rain or no the ground would once again be soaked.
The first volley exchanges shatter the stillness in the air. Muffled grunts on either side drifted through the fog accompanied by the odd scream as the first men of the day met the Maker.
Cliff’s face began to boil as blood rushed up into his head. Both armies were progressing at a rapid pace, the dark amorphous shapes twinkling through the fog grew closer and closer. The main body of both armies was on pace to meet right in front of Cliff and his men.
“We have to move, we’ll be slaughtered if we go in head on.” advised Marcus.
“Quiet.” Said Cliff, irritated. Marcus was right, the whole plan was to wait for the rebel host to pass, and only then attack from behind, cutting through their archers and cutting off a retreat.
Another set of volleys through through the air. Once they had either led another man to the Maker or come to rest in the soggy earth a rider cloaked all in black and wearing black armor raced across the front of the King’s army bringing them to a halt. Cliff could feel the blood leave his face and his muscles relax slightly. Roland would never have made such a simple mistake. Cliff should have known better.
He watched another volley spill across the King’s men as they formed up in a defensive pattern, shields up and pikes pointed forward with swordsmen waiting to rush in after the first wave of men broke upon the pikes.
Now that Roland had stopped the progression of the King’s Army the rebel host passed by without noticing the men waiting to ambush them. The audible clink of their armor and the soft squish as their boots found the liquid earth of the fog covered field. Another blast from the rebel horn blew out followed by the guttural battle cry and the clang of steel as hundreds of men left civilization behind.
“Now.” Roared Cliff, rushing forward. The damp air hard to breath as he led his men into the unsuspecting rebel archers. It only took a matter of seconds to reach them but it felt as if it had happened instantaneously. The sound of battle was all around him, so loud he could barely hear the cry as he cut down the first rebel.
The rebels had organized their archers into multiple small groups of a score each rather than one large group. That way their arrows came down at different angles making it harder to protect against. Cliff’s men had torn through the first group and had made it halfway to the second when the archers began to notch their arrows pointed right at them. “Shields up!” He called. He may have forgone heavy armoring but taking on archers shieldless was folly. Every one of his men had a lightweight wooden shield.
He crouched down and covered as much of his body as he could feeling the rough impact of the arrows colliding with his shield. Three of his men went down, unable to get behind their shields fast enough. Sweat poured down his body, stinging Cliff’s eyes as he waited for the break in arrows.
Glancing back he saw Roland scrambling to reform his lines to defend against the cavalry that was about to burst through his defense. He got the reserves over just in tim to stop the attack. Just as the first horses crashed into Roland’s lines a volley of arrows flew into the side of the attackers. They dropped like flies in a rainstorm before their leader broke off the charge.
Green arrows whistled after them taking more lives as the rebel cavalry reeled. A whole new legion came out of the fog creating a ripple that rushed across the battle field as if a boulder had been tossed in a once still lake. Pale and fully clad in green plate armor their drums beat a relentless beat out the noise of battle. The pale warriors charged into the rebel host shattering it as they joined the front line carnage.
Boom… Boom.. Doom… Boom… Boom… Doom… The drums beat.
And so ended the final great battle of the civil war.