This is my first fantasy epic so I apologize for the slow future updates as I am trying my best to make it work
The Legend of Xian Bei
Call to Dragon’s RoostXian Bei
The Stench of burning flesh, hundreds upon thousands of corpses,rats and other scavengers gathering for a feast. Many times throughout this march across this battlefield had I stepped on a carcass for my foot to break through its charred flesh and be consumed by its rotten innards. Despite the many bodies there appeared to be only one crest; the Gold Dragon on a field of green, the crest of the Rensford Family.
“What the ###### happened here? there isn’t a single Tarly banner insight”, whispered Cheng,
“It seems that the Tarlys have access to a new weapon”, I whispered back,
“What kind of weapon could do this kind of damage?”,
“I don’t know; but we shouldn’t stay here any longer, there could men of Tarly still lingering”,
“You’re right let’s head back”.
Cheng stood up and gave a quick glance around then suddenly dropped onto his chest, he pointed directly in front of us, right at three riders donned in black robes decorated with a strange crest; a red three headed snake on a black field.
“Don’t move”, I whispered.
I strained my ears to hear their faint voices but to no avail; they were too far from us. The lead horseman scanned the area, his eyes hidden by his large plate helmet. Satisfied by what he had observed he turned abruptly and rode back into the fog as fast and silent as they came.
“Who do you reckon they were?”, asked Cheng,
“Perhaps the owners of this new weapon, come on let’s head back”, I replied.
Rising in unison we moved slowly back across the field we had came avoiding bodies and scavengers alike, slowly the land began to incline as we entered the hilly terrain in which our camp was hidden.
“Only half a league north from here then we’re home”, I said,
“Good! after seeing that massacre I could do with some wine”, said Cheng,
“You drink too much”,
“And you don’t drink enough my friend”.
Cheng began to laugh to himself as he walked ahead of me,
“Remember Nene? From Xia?”, he asked,
“Yea, the one with the green eyes?”, I replied,
“She’s the one”,
“What about her?”,
“When we get home I’m gonna marry her”, Cheng proclaimed.
Cheng pressed out his chest and stretched up to his full height, if I had not known him for the past ten years I might have mistaken him for a great warrior.
“Didn’t her father kick you off her balcony?”, I asked,
“Ah yes there is the matter of her father”, He replied.
Cheng laughed to himself again, he really was carefree.
I had no such luxury.
Several days later…
“Curse you Bei! You mercenary, may you dwell in the Circle of ###### Fire for all eternity”, yelled the young noble.
“Now, now my young lord Regis, you are making quite a show of yourself”, I replied, mocking the dark haired youth.
“There is no other way to talk to those who use trickery to attack an unwary foe!”,
“Ah! That! Yes I would be inclined to agree with you, but you see we had no time to waste on a foolish little boy like you”,
“Hah! So it’s true? The Hi Band was crushed? I thought they were just rumours, tales spun by the women on the street, but it’s true! The mighty band of eastern mercenaries reduced to nothing in a single night!”,
Bloody kid, He was well informed.
“What happened to that fool Mou? Did he die? He DID?! The mighty Bird of The East fell in a RAID! Hahaha!”,
Shut it kid.
“And what of the woman? Aoki? I bet her attackers had fun that ni…”.
My glaive glided through the air and when it reached the noble’s neck it reacted as if nothing was there and passed straight through and continued on its flight. The noble’s head rolled forwards off his neck, contorted into a grim smile with the body slumping soon after.
“KIMURA!!!”, I bellowed, summoning the young squad leader.
Kimura came running through the thickets and panting a little, straight to me.
“Yes sir?”, He asked struggling to hold his posture.
“What are losses and kills?”, I asked in turn.
We lost thirty-two from the first unit, twenty-four in the second, thirty-seven in the third and one from your guard, ninety-five in total. Our kills are around three hundred, we were lucky they were militia”, Kimura relayed perfectly.
“Who was it? The one from my guard?”,
“Sir...It was Cheng”,
“Are you sure?”
“He’s nowhere to be found, We think he fell in the forest”,
“Don’t count me dead just yet you cool dudes!”, Came a voice from behind.
I turn instinctively to face the familiar figure and face of Cheng, bloodied and with two arrows sticking from his chest and countless more in his back. The shaking man came forward perhaps two, no three steps before collapsing to his knees and doubling over to cough out an inhuman amount of blood.
“Go get a medic!”, I ordered KImura, who give his full compliance and ran off at top speed.
I turned Cheng onto his side and gave him a hard slap in the face.
“The ###### Bei? I’m dying here”, He cried.
“Shut up or I’ll kill you myself”, I replied.
“With your glaive it would be a lot less painful, heh?”,
“Quit joking! What happened?”,
“My bloody horse stepped in a rabbit hole and flung me into a tree, when I came around the enemy was all around me in a full a retreat. I was about to get out of there when two crossbow men spotted me, they had that weird crest y’know the red serpent? Well their first two arrows hit me in the chest, they weren’t that powerful and my armour slowed them and I could still stand but when I turned to run…”
Cheng paused to cough up even more blood.
“Then?”, I pressed on.
“They shot again and again and again! ###### it they didn’t even reload they just kept firing! It was impossible !”, Cheng finished.
Impossible eh? A lot of impossible things had happened recently.
“The Medic’s here! An outrider too!”,
Kimura came running up the road with a the medic and an old man garbed in a green coat and black trousers, the uniform of the Imperial Rangers. The three men halted almost at the same time and set about their purpose, Kimura left after a quick salute, the right fist on the heart and a short bow. The medic opened his large leather satchel to reveal an array of blades, needles, vial containing concoctions that I could only imagine their purpose. However the old man remained standing, I took this time to get a good look at him, he was a few inches shorter than me and shoulders were not as wide but his face was covered in brutal scars half covered by the short beard he had.
“Are you Captain of this Band?”, The old man suddenly asked, his eyes fixed on mine.
“Yes, I am Xian Bei”, I answered, Straightening up to my full height and looking down on the old man.
“I am 300-man Commander; Garth Woods of his majesty’s rangers, that is the Imperial Rangers”,
“Greetings Commander Woods”,
“Likewise- I apologise Sir but we have no time for formalities, I bring orders from General Rensford, He requests you join his force south of Dragon’s Roost”, The old man called out.
“South of Dragon’s Roost? Why not at the city?”, I asked.
“The city Sir, it’s outer level is over run by the Tarly’s, only the keep remains free as of when I was dispatched”,
“And what of the Lord and Lady?”,
“Trapped, in the keep”.
I looked up and down the road at my men resting on it’s sides, at best I had eight-hundred men, one-hundred mounted and seven-hundred foot. We were in no state for a large battle especially Cheng. But I might just find one of those red serpent guys.
“We’ll gladly respond to his General’s request, Commander”, I said.
“Thank you Sir, here are your orders”, He replied.
Garth fumbled around in the small leather bag on his belt before finally pulling out a scroll. I took the scroll from his out stretched hand, broke the the red wax seal and unravelled it. The fine yet rough handwriting read:
To the Captain of the Hi Unit
I request your aid in taking command of
the right army now gathering east of the
main camp, which I command.
If you choose to accept my call your orders
are as follows:
To follow the river north,
To engage the force guarding the North bridge,
To take position north of the city,
To prevent any enemy forces from escaping.
All recon reports were collected by Commander
Woods and he shall serve as you require.
“I see…”, I whispered to myself.
By this time old man Woods had fallen down against a tree and pulled his cloak over himself for warmth, a few other soldiers had down the same at other trees an array of black cloaks, long beards and ever longer hair of all shades, some slept, some were enjoying the delights of stale bread and water and finally there were those who were relieving themselves of nature’s call. A lovely bunch; all in all.
Meanwhile at Rensford main camp.
“Sir Do you think it wise to hand over an army to an eastern brigand?”, Asked the Steward.
“You know of the Sleeper Fish Rebellion, don’t you?”, Returned the General.
“Yes Sir, from three years ago? It was a total failure for the rebels”,
“Correct! But what I’m talking about is the legend of the Black Cloaks”,
“The legendary fifty-two men that defended the bridge to allow the rebels to escape, horde after horde of enemies came at them but the stood firm, that was until they’re leader Mou, was struck by an arrow in the neck and falling into the river”,
“Sir what does this have to do with Bei?”,
“Well- After the soldiers saw Mou fall they broke and ran, but he stayed. Bei then fought for three hours straight as story tells before he was finally cut down and left for dead”,
“Left for dead?”,
“Yes! Of course he survived, he was found by his sister who brought him to the city of Xia”,
“You gave him command because he is hard to kill?”,
“No, Did you ever wonder how the rebels were able to get that close to the city undetected and then escape when the time called for it?”,
“I’m not giving him command ‘cause he’s hard to kill, I’m giving him command because he is a genius at war”.