The Order of Things


The Battle of Nordstepped Lands

So it was that the wetlands of Riismark were still cold, and the rice fields sparkled with morning frost, when the forces of King Fredrik of Brandengrad attacked not the city of Angengrad, held by the Nords, but the fort of Schultzfield, half a day’s ride north of the city. Horse and human breaths fled metal helm and chaffron alike, mixing with the morning mist as the clarion call of war echoed over river and land; answered the call was, barbarian horns taking up the challenge, and one by one the watchtowers of the camp around the great fort called its foreign defenders to man the palisades. Banners hang lazily against weak winds, faded in the mist but none less strongly held high than under the clearest sun of day or strongest wind.

Two led the charge; King Fredrik, cheered by his own troops by chants of “For the Great! Fredrik the Great!”, and Erich Schur, whose troops knew better than to yell anything but curses and threats towards the enemy, though not revering their own general any less. Their combined forces looked strong and the day would surely be theirs; if they managed to take the fort before reinforcements from the city would arrive.

It was a bloody morning, a morning of steel and death. Little by little, Riismark’s forces gained ground but by noon, the fort was still adorned with barbarian banners. Then horns sounded, and a giant’s cry; for Gudmund could not well afford to lose control of the river north and he had sent his best to keep the fort.

Thus was the deception revealed, when Fredrik’s bannerman signalled to Schur upon hearing the horns and giant’s voice. Schur laughed hard and wildly and sounded his own horn in reply; three, fast cries echoed across the field, screaming, it seemed, with mocking laughter: ‘now, brothers, now, for the barbarians were fooled!” And, like one, as if expecting the call all morning, the men of the Kingdoms withdrew, having cared more all day to keep their flanks clear and the paths open, than to take the fort itself.

A great chase begun then, the Nord reinforcements screaming as they gave chase, spurred on by their exhausted comrades. “Flee now, ye southern dogs!” they screamed merrily from the fort, watching their Konungyr’s best give chase. Erich and Schur smiled and ordered their men flee, splitting the Nord’s forces and leading them down two paths. The fort was lost to them; but not the day.

For half a day’s ride south of them, Everard of the Sword and three dozen of his best would prove enough to take the city. Centuries of festering vengeance was unleashed upon the Nords that day, as the Order of the Sword claimed lives in the name of all their brethren, felled by Svarthgalm and his army during the Red Years. Long are the memories of the Orders, say the common folk, and right they have it. For the Sword fell without mercy and without end, until the city of Angengrad was freed.

By the end of day, the armored hand glistening red from the death it had spread, Everard entered the throne room of Angengrad and picked up the crown from the dead Gudmund. And, as his men told him that Fredrik would arrive within the hour, he tossed the crown aside but sat on the throne to catch his breath.

When Fredrik arrived, the gates were closed and the Sword was the sole banner flying on the City’s walls.

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