Event 13 – The Host Marches
June 26, 104AV
5am, a large dale near Trishden
Rusty axles creaked and overladen wagons groaned in the crisp morning mist. Oxen bellowed, whips cracked and banners snapped in the wind. From all the cardinal points they had come; adventurers, mercenaries and the armies of the noble duchies of Meadal. Thousands of soldiers, servants and engineers made up the multi-racial throng. Though they clustered into groups by race or faction their goal was the same. Whether for financial gain or honour or simply for the good of Meadal all had come to ensure the fall of the Von Rindembanes.
The mountainous borders of Bleakmire loomed ahead shrouded in dark and foreboding forests. Within the day they would be in that nightmarish tangle. New paths would have to be cut for the siege train and the endless supply wagons. A solitary horn blast echoed across the gathered host, soon echoed by countless other horns and pipes. With the sound of thousands of pounds of metal grating armoured soldiers rose into their marching positions. Faction heads rallied their troops and mercenaries shouldered arms as they joined into the rag-tag army. Nested in its centre like precious treasures was the siege train itself; 15 battering rams with heads of steel and iron, 24 ballista to hew down the men of Bleakmire and towering above it all like Colossi were 3 massive trebuchets.
They had been assembled in the previous days so as to be ready for battle at the end of the final slog. These trebuchets would be the anvil on which the army would break Bleakmire’s citadels. The rams could break down lesser gates, the ballista could cut swathes of bloody destruction through armies but only the three wooden giants could hurl boulders weighing as much as a ton almost a mile through the sky and send them hurtling into walls to shatter them like flimsy straw. The Trebuchet had been divided along with other siege weapons between the Vanguard, Main Body and Rear-guard. They would have to be protected if the force was to be successful.
By the time all the forces had gathered, assorted Faction Leaders, Dukes, Duchesses, War chiefs and Mercenary Captains all vying for the most forward position the column stretched for nearly two miles; solid living mass of flesh and steel. The sun broke over the horizon, its rays glittering off over 30 000 Spearheads, Swords and suits of armour. Nearly 10 000 supply wagons, piled with feed for the livestock, weapons for soldiers and tools and wood for the sappers and siege engineers trailed behind the soldiers. Further back yet the bellowing of thousands of heads of cattle and the bleating of nearly double that amount of goats and sheep was nearly deafening. This was an army like none gathered during the lifetime of those present. It drank rivers dry and ate entire fields. This was the might of Meadal gathered. This was Bleakmire’s doom.
(Written by Duane Havenga)