The Saga of the Gwandorlings - 54
Harvar to Argrath
And so it came time for the combined hosts of Sartar to fare forth and do battle with the Tarshite army. Kamour and his scouts shadowed the northrons and reported their progress to Dragonfriend. It seemed that they were marching on Dangerford.
One curious thing to note, at the end of the meeting in Boldhome, Sharpsword stood and renounced rulership of the Kultaine tribe. “They are of Sartar, not the Volsaxi,” he said.
Now Kallyr had named Dragonfriend the Champion of Sartar and upon him fell the mantle of leadership for the army – if such a rabble can be called an army.
Kallyr rode beside Dragonfriend with her warband, 300 wapenthegns. With her rode 400 fyrdmen and wapenthegns from the Kheldon. The Culbrea fyrd numbered 500. The Malani a measly 400. The Colymar 400. The Aranwyth sent an insulting 300, though Dragonfriend maintained his serenity and greeted them well. The entire Hidden Gale war clan, 100 berserk wapenthegns, and the Bulls of Urox with another 100 joined the host. The Lismelder, worried about Delecti, sent 200. The Loceam musted 400 under the Dragonfriend’s banner. 300 Sambari hurlers came along with 200 each of Balkoth and Balmyr fyrdmen. Three-hundreds of city militia came from the great cities of Sartar. Whitebull brought two clans of Poljoni riders, 1,000 horsemen. He also had 300 bison riders in his Bollock Regiment; 200 humakti Sword Brothers; and 100 Agimori Twin Spears. 450 zebra-mounted cavalry, the Pavis Royal Guard, also rode under Whitebull’s banner. Sota Lamplighter brought 800 templars from the Sundome and 400 from Prax. Maniskisson, as ever, brought too little and boasted too much: ten-score Grazers and 300 wapenthegns. Dragonfriend had his 500 knights and his warband. To give an additional strike capability, Dragonfriend divided his warband into two: 250 warriors, including the Dragon’s Shadows, were to fight on the ground; 150, including the Storm Dragon Guards, were all flying thegns and would attack where they would do the most damage.
When the last grazer finally rode from Boldhome Argrath led an army of just over eight-and-a-half thousands.
When the host arrived at Jonstown, Kamoar awaited them with more news. As the fyrds moved by, beating the road to dust, the catman related what he knew of the foe.
It seemed that a Phargentite, Jordhill Gatebreaker by name, had the command – Fazzur was to have commanded the force but rumour said he refused after a quarrel with the king. Now this phargentite was a renown siege expert, though little did anyone know about his field abilities. “We shall soon find out,” said Dragonfriend.
Now Jordhill marched at the head of an army that was nine or ten thousands in size. He marched with 900 of the Bagnot Foot and 800 First Furthest Garrison Foot. He had 900 Goldedge Foot, the Dinacoli fyrd and the Alda-chur fyrd with 1,200 between them. The Tarsh Heavy Foot marched with 950 men; the Tarsh Light Foot with 900 and the Alda-Chur Sun Dome with 500 hoplites. The Retired Veterans and Phagentites Horse each numbered 400 cavalry while the Yarandros Chargers provided 350 heavy horse. Now Moriades had not been happy with that. The Army of Tomorrow had hired three-hundreds of foot and a like number of knights to the king. Harvar also sent his mercenaries, 300 Servants of the Cleansing with the army. Finally, Kamoar saw the Moriades Philosophers – a band of 150 military priests in the Imperial tradition.
Kamoar smiled grimly, “I hope you don’t want to speak with our prisoners. They aren’t in any shape to converse with any but Ty Kora Tek.”
Dragonfriend turned to Venharlsson, “We needs harry these invaders. My March Wardens bleed them now. I want to bleed them further. Can you help?” Venharlsson nodded sagely, “It will be done.”
The rest of that week was a journey into torment for the Tarsh army. Their forage parties vanished; their scouts were found strung from trees; and stragglers were hamstrung.
And so Dragonfriend took his host to Dangerford to await the Tarshites. When he arranged his battleline, Maniskisson loudly demanded the place on the right. “That honour is mine!” Dragonfriend smiled and replied, “I would never seek to keep you from the right. Take it.” Maniskisson nodded as though there never was a question and looked about benevolently before leaving the conference.
Dragonfriend laid out his battle plan in whole. The heavy horse and assault forces were all placed on the left. Once the meeting had broken up Dragonfriend spoke with the Companions. “We will smash their right with the knights and berserks. The right will be weak, Whitebull’s Sword Brothers are there in reserve to rescue Maniskisson when his flank buckles. There were satisfied grins all around.
On Water Day, the Tarshites arrived before Dangerford and moved directly to the attack. Dragonfriend arrayed his forces before the fortified island. The Poljoni skirmishers launched flight after flight of blue-fletched arrows into the ranks of the Light Foot and the Servants. The Servants broke and fled the field while the Tarshites held – for a short while. Before long the northron skirmishers had been forced back upon the Tarsh battleline and the Poljoni showered the waiting lines of infantry with squalls of arrows.
Jardhill held his place for nearly half-an-hour. Then the horns rang. Thousands of voices arose in song and the Tarsh line advanced. The cowards from Alda-Chur and Dinacoli lagged behind the best.
Argrath nodded at his signallers and the horns of Sartar rang out. The phalangites from the Sun Domes stepped forth with the rest of the line. The Bollocks charged and crashed into the Yarandros Chargers; the Tarshite cavalry broke and fled the field.
The Poljoni raced around the flank of the Tarsh line and showered the faltering footmen with more arrows.
The lines met with a resounding crash. The Tarsh Heavy Foot smashed into Maniskisson’s warband and pushed his flank back. The allied horse broke the remaining Tarsh cavalry and chased it from the field.
In the centre, the phalanxes came together with a jarring crunch. A brilliant flare erupted as Sota met Ogunjar in personal combat. They traded blows and Ogunjar fell. The Alda-Chur phalanx staggered back and the entire Tarsh centre bowed. Ogunjar was carried off by his templars.
Dragonfriend and the Companions led the flying warband over the battlelines and landed amid the Moraides Philosophers where they began killing. Gudny lunged at Jardhill. Humakt screamed in his fist and clove the general’s bodyguards. Jardhill hacked at the stormpriest with his glowing scimitar. Gudny turned the blow on Arran, his shield. He set his shoulder under the general’s stirrup and threw him to the ground. With two quick blows of his sword he slew the phargantite. Gudny leapt over Jardhill’s horse and, hewing down the general’s bannerman, took his standard in hand.
With that, the Tarsh forces broke and fled the field. Dragonfriend unleashed his knights who rode down the fleeing troops in their thousands. When the rest of the cavalry returned, they joined the chase. When all was counted they thought that four in ten of the northrons had joined their ancestors that day. Little more than seven-score of the Sartari had fallen that day.
Now there was a man, a telmori, named Murrab Four-Scars. He was a short warrior with greying hair and one eye. He had been a telmori raider for thirty years. Now Murrab belonged to the Black Wolf clan and was an envoy of their new chief: Turrog Two-Wolf, Dragonfriend’s man.
Murrab was waiting for the Queen when she returned to Boldome, as was Jolmes Wulf. Both had come to swear fealty to Kallyr.
There was a resounding wapentake when Dragonfriend walked into the room with his Companions. Gudny approached Kallyr on the throne and presented her with Jardhill’s banner, and head.
Before all the lords of the realm Gudny said these words and gained great honour for himself and Dragonfriend:
Arim’s brood was arrogant and apostate 
They marched on Sartar and sealed their fate
Wyrmlord mustered and marched the men 
Humakt’s swans sounded and sang 
Ducklord backed 
Goldlord attacked 
Stormlord reaped a northron Bloodswallow 
Sartar’s brood settled the score.
Then Harvar Ironfist walked into the room to general shock. Silence settled like a shroud of fog. “What doth this turncoat seek here?” demanded Dragonfriend. “I was loyal to our glorious Liberator, Kallyr!” Harvar declared. “Jardhill held my family hostage and demanded that my troops aid him.” All remembered that Harvar had not, in fact, been at Dangerford. In addition, Harvar declared that the Alone Confederation could rejoin Sartar is they wished. “I thank Queen Kallyr and her loyal people for helping me keep my people free from imperial tyrrany!”
So now the Companions travelled through Alone bringing them word of their freedom from Harvar. They all asked for Dragonfriend as a new lord.
When that news arrived at Boldhome Kallyr held another council. She named Dragonfriend Lord of Alone. For his valour in the battle, Gudny was named Eorl of Jonstown. Erdhar No-Horse of the Fire Bull was acclaimed King of the Enstelos though he refused to join the Fire Bull to the tribe.
Dragonfriend named Orgovalt as Senshenal of Alone. Most of the Orgovalti returned to their homes in the Alone Confenderation leaving few people around Sky Fall Lake.
 Arim was the first High King of Tarsh.
 Wyrmlord = Dragronfriend
 Ducklord = Maniskisson
 Goldlord = Sota
 Stormlord = Gudny, a bloodswallow is a banner.
<< Previous | Part 54 | Next >>