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Thread: Birthright story - Part 2/13
09-17-1997, 12:27 PM #1DarkstarGuest
Birthright story - Part 2/13
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Here is the 2nd part of the story I am writing. I will post the rest as
I complete each chapter. Enjoy.
Home Page: http://www.box.net.au/~hoss/birth.html
>From the Darkness we came.
And to the Darkness we will return.
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The Rohrmarch Campaign
By Ian Hoskins.
Book 1: The Fall of Prince Oden.
Chapter 2 (On the road to Kiedel)
Winter had not yet arrived, but already Pieter Oden and his men felt the
cold as they travelled south as fast as they could towards the southern
Rohrmarch capital Kiedel. Behind the prince a long line of tired soldiers
marched, carrying their heavy packs and weapons as they walked. A storm had
blown in off the Suidemiere two nights ago and the soldiers had been forced
to seek what shelter was available in the scattered woodlands of southern
Friedlund. Fortunately for the army though the storm only lasted the one
night, unlike many of the early winter storms that can rage over Rohrmarch
for several days.
Finally just inside the border of Nunkappel province the prince called a
halt to the hurried march. Men in the convoy sighed in relief as they
lowered their heavy packs and weapons to the ground. For the next several
hours the deserted farmland was a hive of activity as tents were raised and
patrols organized. Prince Oden rode a little ahead of his men towards a
small hill that rose out of the fields. It was the only land in the area
that was higher than the scattered farmhouses that dotted the landscape so
it provided the best view over the lands further south.
Kurt Warkinde and General Osternord were already positioned on the top of
the hill speaking with a captain of the Prince Army.
"What occurs General," shouted the prince.
The general turned a shouted back to Pieter. "Our scouts have spotted an
enemy army camped south of us my lord."
"Wait there I'll come up and have a look."
The prince then dismounted and strode up the hill, a small group of royal
guards following his every move as usual.
"So, where are these Alaric scum hiding then." said Pieter after quickly
reaching the summit of the small hill.
General Osternord pointed southward towards a a dark patch on the horizon.
"There my lord, they have made camp for the night outside the village of
Biedenkoft. Captain Darold here reports that there may be as many as six or
seven hundred soldiers, mainly lightly armoured cavalry. We have yet to
discover who is leading them but Darold believes that these could be the
men that Prince Siegfried was leading at the battle of Wendel Bridge last
month. We defeated the prince there but he only had three hundred cavalry
with him then, these are likely the remnant of that army plus new
reinforcements from Alklund, or Edel."
"Does this mean that Alaric has moved his troops south from Edel like Alder
said." queried Pieter.
"Not necessarily, it may simply mean that Alaric had more forces than we
originally thought. We should still be able to crush both this army and any
other he has waiting at Keidel though. It looks as though they are waiting
for us on the fields outside the village, an open challenge. Perhaps they
wish to test the strength of our armies or maybe they are waiting to spring
some sort of trap on us. None of our scouts have managed to spot any other
troops in the area though and apart from a few strands of trees outside the
village the countryside is clear. Even the villages have fled, probably
making for Kiedel, I hear that Alaric has offered safe haven in the city
for anyone who wishes to seek refuge there."
"Just one question, Alaric doesn't have any mages working for him does he?"
"Not that I know of my lord, why do you ask?"
"Well you mentioned trees, I have heard of a trick employed in Anuire by a
mage once. He cast a spell that made his troops appear to be little more
than a strand of trees. The enemy soldiers even walked through the woods
without noticing that they were actually transformed soldiers. Then once
they had past the wizard cancelled the spell and his soldiers attack from
behind killing many of the enemy. But as Alaric doesn't have a mage capable
of casting that sort of powerful spell working for him I think we can
discount that possibility. Captain Darold did your men check out the
"Yes my prince, there is nothing hiding in those woods, I would stake my
life on it."
"Good because at the battle tomorrow I want your men stationed in the
trees, take the few archers we have with you. Before the sun has risen
tomorrow I want your men well hidden. Sleep in the trees if you have to,
but you must not be seen. Go now get started. By the time I get back to
camp I want you and your men gone. Wait until dark before moving south to
the woods though."
"Yes noble prince, I will leave immediately."
The young captain turned back to camp and ran towards the tents where his
men were camped. Pieter Oden and his two chief advisors watched the hurried
preparation below as the scouts and archers backed up their tents and
prepared to move off the road towards the small woodlands to the south.
Finally as the last of the captain's small force was leaving General
Osternord turned to the prince and said, "Ok, I give up what do you want
our only archers in the forests for."
The prince smiled. "You will see Otto, you will see. I only hope the young
captain doesn't give away his position to early. Come let us dine in my
tent and discuss your plans for the battle tomorrow."
"You think Siegfried will stay and fight then."
"Yes, I think he will. I suspect his troops are here to slow us down or
wound us so badly that we will be force to turn back before we can attack
Kiedel. Alaric must be worried about losing the city to risk his son
falling in battle."
"I agree my prince," spoke up Kurt Warkinde who until that moment had stood
quietly watching the sun setting in the distance. "It is likely that King
Alaric is attempting to slow us down here long enough to bring in his main
army which is stuck in Edel province. He must know that if we break through
and move against Kiedel before he can reinforce his positions we stand a
good chance of taking the capital and with Alder bringing the Rohrgaard
army south into Friedlund his only remaining army will be virtually trapped
"Which is the reason we embarked on this campaign in the first place if you
remember." said the general. "If we win the battle tomorrow the war will be
over and we will have won. Alaric will have no choice but to surrender his
realm to you, my prince."
"Then we will have to see that we win tomorrow, won't we." the prince said
with a smile. "Anyway let us be off this cold and damp hill. I have a fine
bottle of Sendoure wine in my tent, let us discuss tactics over a glass of
good wine and a meal than out here where we are exposed to any enemy spies
that might happen by."
"Good Idea my lord, Kirche knows that a fine wine is good for the soul."
"Well then let us go, sergeant to the command tent." Pieter called to the
head of the royal guard who stood a respectable distance away.
Much later that night Captain Darold found himself perched in the branches
of a large Coulladaraight Oak trying desperately to manoeuvre his body into
a position where he could at least get some sleep before morning. In the
other trees around him and under some thick bushes near the edge of the
small woods the rest of his men rested, either asleep or on guard. Darold
looked around. It seemed that he was the only one who was not already
"Typical, " he thought. "If only I had become a minstrel like my father,
then I wouldn't have to be stuck up this tree with some sort of furry
animal scratching the bark and keeping me awake."
He pulled out his short sword and banged the branch above him a second
time. "Be quiet you dammed creature."
"Don't worry Darold, it only a squirrel. You're lucky it could have been an
Elf, then you would really be in trouble." called out one of his men from a
nearby tree, the captain could not see which from here.
"Captain Darold, Captain Darold." a voice called from the ground below.
"Be quiet you fool, I'm on my way down. Just stay where you are." whispered
back the captain.
Darold then swung his feet over the branch and dropped lightly to the
ground next to the startled soldier. The man handed him a sheet of paper
and stood waiting for the Captain to read it.
"I am supposed to read this am I," the captain asked. "I don't think a
light would be a good idea at the moment.
"Sorry captain the prince asked me to pass this on to you. He said that it
is your orders from tomorrow's battle. You are to read them as soon as it
is light enough."
"Which will be in two hours, meaning no sleep for me tonight then. Tell the
prince I stand ready to carry out his orders, as do my men."
With that the soldier hurried off thought the night, nearly bumping into
several trees on the way out of the woods.
"Fool," thought Darold. "Well at least he isn't in my unit."
"What's up captain," whispered a voice close to his ear.
Darold glanced around and saw Sergeant Kiel and several of his men gather
around his tree.
"I have just received our orders. Pass the word as quietly as possible, I
want all the men ready for battle in two hours time. It will be light then
and I will read what the prince has planned then. With any luck it will be
something that keeps us out of the fighting as long as possible."
The sergeant and the men slipped off into the night to find the rest of the
small force gathered nearby. Darold was left alone holding the message from
Less than four hours later both armies met in the fields outside
Biedenkoft. Prince Siegfried himself was leading the southern cavalry,
while Prince Pieter Oden and his generals led their own cavalry from the
centre of the rest of their army. Around him was gathered over a thousand
infantry and mounted troops.
As his army marched towards Biedenkoft, Pieter leaned over to General
"Remember what we discussed last night. I want you men to move around on
the enemy from the west. With any luck they should be driven east towards
the forest. Then they will be trapped and our archers can have some fun."
"Yes my lord, I won' fail you."
It was only two hours after sun rise when the armies finally came to blows.
With a scream to their god Haelyn, the southern army charged the massed
northern infantry. The ground shook and over five hundred horses galloped
at full stride towards the steady line of infantry. As they neared there
targets the men on the backs of the horses slowly lowered the long spears
that served as lances in the Rohrmarch armies. Some in the front rows of
Prince Oden's army shook as they watched the enemy approaching, a line of
steal spikes pointed towards them.
Pieter Oden wasn't about to let his armies be slaughtered so easily though
and ordered his own mounted troops forward into the fray. In an almost
perfect manoeuvre the northern cavalry rode easily through the infantry
and rode out to meet the enemy, there own lances lowered to meet the
charge. After the horses had passed the infantry began moving to the right
out of the line of the charging horses.
The two armies met with a crash as loud as thunder. Men, horses and weapons
were tossed into the air as the cavalry tore into each other. Over half the
men on both sides were dismounted in the first few seconds of the clash,
and nearly a hundred of them were dead or wounded. Those still able to
stand quickly drew their swords and began slashing at the enemy soldier,
horses or any thing else that looked like it was dangerous. Those still on
horseback also discarded their lances and drew their swords before moving
to attack any enemy still standing.
Pieter Oden could see that his cavalry would not last long against the
superior enemy numbers, but that was not important, all they had to do was
hold out for a few minutes while Osternord moved his infantry into
position. The Prince looked to the west and saw the infantry were nearly
ready to attack. All he was waiting for now was the signal from the
While the prince waited the fighting in front of his continued. Most of the
men were now on foot, having lost their horses or been tossed from their
saddles in the initial clash. Prince Siegfried however still had his horse,
the yellow plumes on his helm a banner to the rest of his men. The young
prince swung his sword like a seasoned veteran, mowing down any of Oden's
men who dared to match skills with him. Several other of his men near him
also were still on horseback, and protected the southern prince from any
who tried to strike him from behind or his side.
Prince Oden felt someone tugging on his shirt. It was one of his guards who
was frantically pointed to the west. The prince looked in that direction
and saw the General's standard flying high above the infantry gathered
there. Quickly Pieter pulled out his hunting horn and blew two long, loud
notes that carried over the noise of the battle. Those cavalry still
mounted spun around on their horses and fled the battle. The rest also
pulled back, slowly retreating while still attempting to hold off the enemy
cavalry. General Osternord lowered his standard and his infantry started
running as fast as they could towards the enemy cavalry still engaged in
Prince Siegfried's men soon saw the infantry rushing towards them and
realised that they stood little or no chance against six hundred infantry
without their horses. Those still able attempted to flee south. It was then
that all of Pieter's trap became apparent as another two hundred soldiers
under Kurt Warkinde's control emerged from behind the village where they
had moved early that morning, just before the battle was to begin. With no
where to run the southern army now had no choose but to flee east, towards
a small woodland area.
Very few of the southern soldiers survived the slaughter that followed, as
Oden's archers and scouts opened fire with their bows. Perhaps as many as a
hundred and fifty fled the fields and down the road towards Kiedel. Others
had been captured, but still over three hundred lay dead on the fields. The
prince and his generals, walking the fields in the hours after the battle
were however dismayed to hear the King Alaric's son had escaped with the
surviving southerners. Prince Oden did not waste any time worrying about
the escape of his enemies son, and set about preparing his soldiers for the
march on Kiedel city.
Far from this battle in the fiery hills of Kal-Saitharak, the Gorgon was
receiving a visit from el-Hadid, the new ruler of the Chimaeron. Once a
powerful guilder in Anuire el-Hadid had been deceived by the words of a
priest of Rournil and was now cursed by the foul taint of Azari's blood.
This had twisted his features and forced him to flee his holdings in Anuire
to make a new home in the Iron Peaks. After a battle with the Chimaera
herself el-Hadid now claimed rulership of her lands which he renamed the
Iron Hills. So it was on the Gorgon's invitation that the cloaked figure of
el-Hadid, now known as Mohammed Bakazour, found himself climbing the narrow
road that led to the edifice known as Kal-Saitharak.
Inside the imposing fortress the Gorgon watched as his guards led his
visitor towards the castle gates. "The fool came," he though. "I guess he
is more greedy than frightened. Good, the greedy ones are always easy to
It was more than an hour before el-Hadid was bought into the throne room.
Also present were the Gorgon's chief advisors, including the priestess
known as the Hand of Azari. The Iron Hills ruler was alone, no guards or
any others had made the journey with him.
The Gorgon watched with interest as he was led into the chamber. Word had
reached his ears of this man a few years back when he attacked and captured
the free city of Endier. He had managed to remain in control of the city
for many years, until the truth about his tainted blood was finally exposed
to the other rulers. As one they had invaded Endier and were still
squabbling over who should take el-Hadid's treasury while the guilder
himself was fleeing east by boat, with much of that treasury. The Gorgon
had been worried that he may not be as easy to fool as the others had been
in the past, but once word of el-Hadid clothing first reached him he knew
it would be easy. The guilder was dressed in the finest robes. Laced with
gold and gems, they were the clothing of a man who valued his personal
appearance above all others.
As the guilder entered the room even the Gorgon was a little surprised. He
had expected a creature, twisted by the blood of Azari, much as he had been
over the centuries. The man that stood before him looked perfectly normal
however, not even a trace of any changes in his appearance from that of a
normal human. The Gorgon glanced to his left toward the Hand of Azari. As
his gaze meet her she pointed once towards one of her fingers.
The Gorgon frowned. "What is she trying to say."
Turning back towards el-Hadid he looked over the guilders body again. It
was then he noticed a ring on one of the guilder's fingers was glowing
slightly. He looked again and thought, "where have I seen that ring
Then he remembered, the ring was very similar to one he had seen on the
hand of an Elven assassin who disguised as an Orog warrior, attempted to
break into Kal-Saitharak and kill him. A ring of shape change, it enabled
the wearer to hide his true appearance.
The Gorgon smiled as it looked as though this guilder was going to be even
easier to fool than he thought. The man was obviously only concerned in his
appearance. All I need to do is offer him what he wants, and he will take
it, then both him and his realm will soon be mine.
El-Hadid walked to the throne and bowed lowed before the Gorgon before
straightening and boldly meeting the ancient Awshegh's eyes.
"Greetings mighty Gorgon, I am here at your request."
The Gorgon nearly drew his sword and killed him there. He was not used to
being called the Gorgon to his face. If one of his servants had called him
thus he would have dispatched the servant and most likely the servant's
family as a warning that he prefer the title of Prince Raesene.
"Please sit, noble guilder we have much to discuss." The Gorgon said
instead. "I have need of your services. It seems that a recent accident has
left me without a guildmaster to run my economy. As I have heard so much of
your skills in this area I thought I would invite you here to discuss you
taking over the guilds and merchants here in the Crown, and Mur-Kilad. I
don't ask much in return for such an honour, just that you allow me to
station a few Dwarven troops in your kingdom to protect against invaders
and the like."
The Gorgon watch el-Hadid closely while he talked, keeping a close eye on
the guilder as he listened. The guilder seemed very interested when he
spoke of the guilds, and a little worried when he mention the Dwarves.
"Do not worry my friend, the Dwarves I speak of will be under your command,
not mine. I mealy want to ensure that nothing happens to my new
"And what may I ask, mighty Gorgon, is the price for all this assistance."
This question caught the Gorgon by surprise, he hadn't thought of asking
el-Hadid for a price. Thinking quickly replied.
"Nothing major, I will require that you turn over half of the money that
you make in my lands to me, and that should I require your assistance you
will help to the best of your abilities."
"Then we have a deal." said el-Hadid.
The Gorgon frowned slightly, this was too easy. Even he though the guilder
would take a little more convincing that this. The frown didn't remain on
his face long however as he rose and offered the guilder his hand in
friendship. El-Hadid also stood and shook the Gorgon's hand. Then the two
new allies walked towards a table by the windows looking out from the upper
levels of the castle. On the table was a treaty paper which the Gorgon had
his priestess create the previous week. After signing the treaty the Gorgon
offer el-Hadid a tour of the fortress, surprisingly el-Hadid declined.
"I apologize my lord, but I must really be on my way. I would like to get
back to my kingdom as soon as possible before my lieutenant makes a total
mess of my affairs."
"I understand completely my friend, but before you go perhaps their is one
small favour I might ask. Nothing major, just a small problem I need
removing before my current plans can proceed. I am sure someone with your
abilities would have no trouble completing the task I ask. And when you
succeed I will consider our alliance complete."
Two hours later el-Hadid left the castle clutching a large rolled up map
under one arm. As before he was led down the road by an entire unit of the
Gorgon's best soldiers. In the throne room the Gorgon and the Hand of
Azari, watched him riding down the road, surrounded by the Orog soldiers.
"What was on the map you gave him my Lord," the Hand asked. "You did not
mention it, or any favour that el-Hadid would perform for you before."
"Something I want taken care of. If he succeeds then it will make our
invasion all the easier. If he fails, well it will make taking his kingdom
all the easier. I wonder why he was in such a hurry."
"Perhaps my lord it had something to do with that ring of his, I have heard
that magic like that can only be used for a limited period of time a day. I
would say that the guilder is in a hurry to get out of the castle before
the spell fails and exposes his true appearance."
"Perhaps, who knows. I am glad he didn't stick around, he might have
spotted our plan. I'm not sure I trust that one. Most human merchants are
easy to read, they are only after one thing and that is money. This one
though seems more interested in acquiring territory. I only hope that
Kiras's Dwarves do their job when it is time, has he left for Mur-Kilad
"Two days ago my lord. He is preparing a suitable force to send south with
the merchant now. The last message from Mur-Kilad yesterday mentioned that
he had arrived and was moving some of the miners there into several new
divisions of the army there."
"Good, then every thing is ready. All we have to wait for is to see if our
merchant friend succeeds in the task I have set him or if he fails. Then we
can begin our little war. It will be good to leave the castle again, it has
been too many years since I went to war and now look like as good a time as
"Indeed lord Raesene. The enemy armies will soon be crushed and their heads
in a pile at your feet, and with any luck we will kill off enough of your
own troops that we won't have to feed them over winter."
The Gorgon almost laughed at that comment, turning to sit and watch the
volcanos out the throne room window. The eruption of the western volcano
seemed almost joyous, a match for his own mood. The eruption soon died down
and the Gorgon and his high priestess moved once more to the war room to
plan the final preparation for the coming war. Outside and to the south, as
night fell once more on the landscape the guilder and Awnshegh known as
el-Hadid stepped into the shadows of a particularly leafy tree and
vanished. His escort spent the next five hours looking for him, but no
trace could be found. Resigned to their fate the turned and headed back
down the path to Kal-Saitharak to face the Gorgon's wrath at lossing their
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