Ian is a writer from the mountains of Colorado, He has been writing since he was a toddler and his passion has not since faded at 30.
The Jovinus Uprising
The fires crackled warmly; the ale splashed about without regret for that plenty was about. The children ran about the tables as warriors, farmers, and townsfolk alike came together to celebrate yet another full cycle of the moon without unnatural death. The atmosphere of the Great Hall was one of gratitude and generous bounty. A group of young boys racing around the hall came zipping about the King's table, to which the man barked playfully. None the less, the sound spooked the young children causing some to speed up and one to trip on the cloak of an older man.
The Storyteller laughed a big and room-filling laugh. To which the King matched him and they locked eyes in glee holding their bulging bellies, "Go on, tell us a tale!" Boomed the King. "I shall," replied the Storyteller in his mystical voice, magic dripping from each word.
"Tell that one about Tancred," asked the boy who had tripped on the old man's cloak and was still on the floor. The hall shared another laugh, but a hush fell when the storyteller threw crackling powder onto the central hearth fire.
"Tales of TanCred have spread far and wide, as you all already know." The storyteller began, "It is said that many of his feats are but a myth. This one is true, for I witnessed it from horseback on the front. Sitting next to the General himself, in the formation known as..."
The hall replied, cutting him off, more than likely not the first time they had heard this opening; "Tancred's Hammer!" Cheering, drinking, and merry-making soon followed those words. As the Storyteller continued his tale, "They called this rebellion, the Jovinus uprising. So-called for their leader, who as cowards do, escaped during this battle." A few jeers came from some listeners but quickly quieted.
"The reason for the uprising was for lack of a city-state recognition by the Fraunki empire. So Tancred ripped away from his chance to meet his newly graduated captain of the 5th regiment, his nerdy come of age cousin, was called upon to lead the counter-offensive against the rebel incursion.
When the army of 2,000 men reached the plains, they could see the force of rebels camped on the outskirts of a pine forest. Most of the tension of over-hyping the strength of their power came to an end when the 1,000 main force consisted of primarily peasant forces with no artillery of any sort came into view. In response, the dual shield wall formation was abandoned, and the men were given a wider berth to fill more space for the archers to shoot behind.
The formation moved into their final places, and as accustomed, Tancred addressed his men. "Today, we face a dangerous foe. A wild bunch of hungry men looking for an excuse to fight, the hunger fueling their rage. We are soldiers of the Franunki, elite trained fighting men sent here to quell these so-called men and remind them of the mistakes they made farming this year!!"
"Ahhhh!" the men shouted out in laughter. Smacking one another on the back, some hitting their shields in appreciation of humor at such a time, and still, others focused on battle and staring down the fields ahead, picturing themselves in glorious combat. What moves they would use to cut this man's head off, followed by a lotus over water to slash this other man's buckler. And so forth, the dance of battle rang off in their heads.
"Today," Tancred continued, " Let's move slow, our might is apparent. Let the archers do their work and rain arrows amongst their ranks. Ax-men and Mercs,' addressing the groups of hired swords,' move into the forests. Keep them out of the trees and away from our flanks. Spears, maintain a line, and do not. I repeat, do not engage the enemy unless they charge you! Archers, prepare yourselves. If your arm is not sore tomorrow, you should have shot more arrows! Calvary on me, form..." "THE HAMMER!" the men called out in unison.
"Formation!" Tancred bellowed, "Formation!" The order echoed down the line. "Move!" The drums beat a slow melodious boom but gave the men the speed in which to move. They marched slowly forward; the grass was wet from the earlier rain. The mists of the storm still filled the air around the forested marsh area the rebel force made camp. Though it was apparent, they heard the drums, "Boom-ba-Boom... Boom-ba-Boom..." they large drums beat on.
"To arms," shouts could be heard from the camp, "The Fraunki army is here!"
The archers were in range before the opposition had their lines formed. "Archers, rain arrows upon them!" Tancred bellowed his orders, "Send them to the grave they have so desperately sought!"
The sight was both uplifting and gruesome. The arrows picked the enemy forces to pieces, devastating the lines and causing mass panic and disorder amongst the men. The clear dew on the green blades of grass became stained red, and the arrows continued to fly. zzu-t. Za-ut, az-ut, by the thousands of shafts and bladed tips, tore away at human flesh. Screams of agony from the camp began to drain out the sound of arrows filling the air.
Yet, the order was to continue to fire. No movement forward, no strength from the opposition to counter in the forest. The army just stood back and watched the slaughter and tormented deaths of a thousand men. "Fire!"
Tancred's voice rang over the men, snapping them out of the shock they must have felt at the massive slaughter. It was wrong but ordered and deemed necessary by King Jhojan. The carnage came to a halt when a simple informational shout out began to ring out, "Quiver out!" It echoed in the still wake of the aftermath. "Hammer!" A roar rang out from the Calvary, "RA! RA! RA!" they chanted, beating on their shields, horses rearing in anticipation for the finishing blow. "CHARGE!"
The rest of the force stayed put holding the line drawn on the field. The mercenaries groaned at the lost chance for glory. The last vestiges of rebel infantry were no match for the charge, as the hammer smashed through it without losing momentum. This caused Jovinus to startle and flee. While his men, filled with more honor and heart than their leader, charged the overwhelming odds of the hammer and fought valiantly to the death. To this day, no one has heard, seen, or had a whiff of the man since. "
"Some say he fled over the sea to escape the truth of his treason. Others say he grew a beard and shaved his head to hide amongst us. To forever walk amongst us like a shadow," The storyteller slowed his roll, bringing everyone back to the present. "Of course, now he would be but an old man such as myself." The tavern blew up in applause, children called out questions that were to be left unanswered, but by their imaginations. The storyteller shuffled over to his table and took a swig of ale.
"Tell us another," squeaked the voice of a small girl perched on her rather humongous man of a father's shoulders. "Well...