Tales of General TanCred; Siege of Gelder (Part III)
The Burning City
"Sit, everyone sit." instructed the old storyteller, who by now was fully engaged in his tellings. The Ale was crisp and his pipeweed uplifting. Plus, "Tancred's ride," was one of his most enjoyable tellings.
Boof, pop, crack... The storyteller tossed various color bombs on the fire. The flames of the main hearth crackled like that of the gatehouse as the gray smoke gathered closely to cast a city wall and the various other mixtures cast the illusion of city buildings within the tavern hall. "The gatehouse had been burning for over two hours but collapsed all the same. This was the moment that TanCred had been waiting for and in anticipation of the debris ordered for a battering ram to be built just for this occasion. The rams head was given a shovel to push the burning pieces out of the way of the cavalry.
'Remember men, remember what instruction you have been given. We have but one chance to do this cleanly. General Ovard, take your men and secure the governor and his family. Alive if possible.' TanCred reminded the general and his men, 'Sir.' and they formed the head of the hammer. ' General Shofu, take your men and secure the armory and barracks. Free any horses to prevent any counter cavalry action.' He gestured to the mounted archers. 'Sir,' and they rode to form the handle. 'Remaining cavalry, you are with me. We have the honor of facing the final stand of the Saxenmarks. We attack the town square, where scouts tell me their wealth and power are to be found. We are to deliver the final blow, for we are the final swing of the hammer! Together we will win the day, together we will defeat all foes, TOGETHER WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS!' TanCred bellowed with all his heart, 'CHARGE!'
And like a whip crack, all the horses jumped to life and the ground shook as nearly 500 cavalrymen poured into the small burning city. Flames shot up from everywhere, the heat was ferocious but the men and horses moved forward through the flame. The governor's mansion had been hit by a catapult and lay in ashes, with no hesitation. General Ovard rejoined TanCred. General Shofu captured the barracks and armory without a fight, but everything had been removed, and as Ovard reacted, so too did General Shofu. Reunited, the hammer refitted, TanCred commanded a slow advance. This city.. .the way it was burning. Something was not right. The force moved slowly till it reached the center of the city and met an equal cavalry waiting. (Indistinguishable shouts and commands.)
"You hear that!?" scoffed TanCred, "They prepared this all for us! How touching!" Many of the horsemen laughed heartily, others out of nerves.
The came to the final building to reveal the formations, the Saxenmark cavalry was lining up in a dual wingtip formation. Nearly impossible to stop a charge and indefensible. They nearly completed the reformation when...
In response, even before the city guard could react and charge to their advantage." Poof, another well-placed smoke bomb planted a dark blue starry magical atmosphere. A twinkle was caught in one of the wee ones by the fire, 'Charge, dual spearpoints! Now! Before they can react. Like that of Vickorsport. Ride men, do not hesitate, seize this victory!'
The men split, Shofu and Orvard took the right spearpoint and TanCred the left. Just like in Vickorsport. The points slashed through the wings, driving the horses into one another. Advantage the Fraunki, whom already drawn their swords during the charge, while many of the Saxenmark men were caught with swords sheathed.This gave the Fraunki the edge needed, for the fighting was intense. Each Saxenmark man fought with passion in defending their homes. Neither side backed down from the other, 'fire,' a command from Shofu cleared the noise of all else, followed by the brisk whooshing of arrows flying. TanCred charged the honor guard but was halted by a massive explosion from an adjacent building. The structure collapsed causing massive confusion throughout the lines, but the right conditions for TanCred to find the King of the Saxenmarks. Oliander, once a nobleman of the Fraunki-noblemen alliance. had betrayed the wishes of every nobleman of the alliance and attacked the Western Trinity Empire city of Galvenard, which led to this counter-aggression agreed upon at the annual negotiations held there at the city of Galvenard.
TanCred found him at the base of a burning statue of himself, his mount wreathed in flames as it reared a hundred feet in the air. 'You remember when your father gave me this statue?' Oliander called to our hero." some of the children, and a few women gasped. A little boy looked hypnotized by the telling. A quick sip of ale, 'You were but a boy, as I recall,'
A quick sip of ale, 'You were but a boy, as I recall,' Oliander continued to antagonize TanCred, ' and you said so sweetly, 'I want to fight like you.' and so here we are. Fighting like one another, I had you at the gates..." He stared daggers into TanCred, who sat composed on his mount, as they were cut off from the rest of the fighting. The quiet was enough to have the roars of battle to be reduced to humming in the background. 'As I recall, my father warned me there after. Warned me to never trust men like you.
'As I recall, my father warned me there after. Warned me to never trust men like you and that he feared for the necessity of force up here in this beautiful country. But now, we have been forced to burn your city and name from the earth and the history books.' and without any warning or hesitation, TanCred charged pulling a spear from his saddle and like lighting, threw a strike into the heart of the once nobleman. It flung the man off his mount and into the flames of his statue.
TanCred turned his mount, looking back at the burning statue. Sparks spiraling into the air, flames reaching for anything combustible, he turned and rode back towards the fighting. The battle had been won and so ends the tale of TanCred's ride."