2000-09-24: Britain Under Siege

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Drachenfels Edition

Britain Under Siege

Author: Kael the Royal Guard Published: September 24, 2000

Kael and his guard friend Garwein were relaxing in the guard barracks. They had just finished their latest shift and Garwein entertained Kael by spinning a tale of his last night out and all the ladies he had met. While they were in the middle of a game of cards their captain, a huge middle-aged man clad in full plate and a long blue cape, came in. “Garwein and Kael! Orcs are marching on our fair capital! They have crossed the Britain farms and are laying siege just outside the bridge! Another horde has been sighted to the east, swarming into the streets! The city guards are overwhelmed and you must raise an army. Take to the streets and gather as many warriors and mages as you can. I will instruct the city watch to move the women and children inside our King’s castle. Now move!!” Kael and Garwein strapped on their armor with grim faces.

Garwein told Kael to take the west part and the bridge as he knew Kael’s fiance was a clerk in the bank and if something went wrong he would have a chance to be there. They split up just outside the castle with a small nod and salute. While running down the street Kael saw bodies of orcs scattered around, small groups that had weakened the city guard. He rounded a corner and was nearly cut a head shorter when a brutal orc slashed at him with its scimitar. But Kael’s training proved superior, and with a swift motion he hurled his halberd in an arc that cut the orc in twain.

While heading towards the bridge he rallied the heroes of the realm : men and women, archers, mages and warriors from all walks of life that picked up arms and followed him to protect their fair city. When they reached the bridge Kael issued his orders. “Warriors in the front, keep an eye on your mates to your sides! Archers and mages in the back, keep our flanks clear!!” Cheers for freedom and Lord British rose as the strong force assembled into a line. Everyone was eager to defend their homes and loved ones. Kael patrolled the line, up and down with a proud look on his face. In his heart he knew that war was always wrong, but he could not help but feel his adrenaline pump as he surveyed the collection of warriors that had gathered. Swords banged against shields, the blaze of color and the acrid smell from protective spells filled the air, bows were strung and arrows readied.

With a loud inhuman warcry the first orcs charged the bridge. Kael ordered the line to stand fast, and with those words the first of their enemies crashed into their ranks. To his left and right orc bodies fell with deep wounds. The shouts and screams of war rose as the second attack wave containing ettins and orc lords advanced. Mages conjured walls of death and protection to wound the beasts as much as they could. Kael braced himself for the next wave as the huge two-headed abominations approached.

A charging ettin crashed into their right flank, creating a hole for the following orcs to smash through. Kael ordered the archers to fell anyone who managed to get past. “Friends and allies!! Today, we give no quarter and no quarter will be asked!!” A dozen orcs, armed to the teeth, smashed into the warriors next to Kael and he swung his weapon in wide arcs from side to side. Any orc that came close was brought to the ground in a lifeless heap. Suddenly a warrior from Vesper was overwhelmed by an orc with arms like treetrunks. The orc spat curses at the man and Kael saw his face twist in pain. “Yuh hear dat, hooman!! It is sound of crackin’ bones” The orc growled. “I hear!” said the Vesperian warrior. “But you are wrong orc..’tis nay my bones that shatter, ‘tis thine!!” The man took a bear hug grip around the orc, and with a cracking sound the orc’s ribcage shattered. T’was like a bull trampling on rotten kindling.

Kael cursed as he realized he had diverted his attention a moment to long. He heard an orc scream death at him and he turned around to see a huge axe bearing down on his face. Scrambling to get his weapon up in time to parry, he saw a young lad hurling himself between Kael and his intended executor. With a flash of blood that sprayed the royal guard’s face, the lad was dead, his head smashed open. Cursing the virtues, he sprang forward and removed the orc’s head.

He kneeled beside the fallen youngster - in his right hand the lad had his broadsword, in his left was a ticket, not two days old. The lad had taken a boat from Haven to see his King’s capital. He had not been here one day before he fell. Kael wiped the blood from his face, and said a short prayer to Compassion to lead his savior’s ghost to safety. Wherever it may be.

The bridge battle ended when his captain approached him and explained that the orcs had used the sewers to enter the city - and while the forces where occupied, they had created a defensive hold on the magic shop. Regaining composure quickly, Kael shouted a quick command to the troops to regroup at the tower, to lay siege on the orc force.

At the magic shop they met Gerwain and his forces. With a quick salute, Kael asked of their progress. “Some mages teleport in and barrage them with spells, but we must be able to remove these barricades or we can never win!” Kael nodded in agreement and both guards ordered their troops to bring down the pillars. A group of level-headed men brought forth axes, and with a few good chops the wooden wall was smashed. The army poured inside, crashing together with the opposing orcs who charged out. By sheer force and skill the enemy was pushed inwards, and when there was but half a score left, Kael saw a young ranger from Skara finish it off with a curse. “We shall send thee to whatever dark corner Hythloth hath prepared for thee and thy likes!!”

Garwein, Kael and their two captains marched with the army to Lord British’s castle. The progression ended inside the throne room and the heroes of the realm flanked the sides while the four royal guards took to the stairs. There the captain held a speech and soon he introduced the High Captain, Lord Tristan. Lord Tristan thanked the good folk who had rallied to support the town and he presented them with several gifts from the King’s treasure chests. There was much rejoicing and happiness as the town slowly returned to its ordinary state.

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