A short story a wrote a while ago, the precursor to The Legend of Xian Bei.
The Two Kings
Romulus was once a peaceful realm ruled by an old and wise king. He ruled with a firm grip, under his rule there were few bandits in the hills and the peasants pockets were filled with coppers and silvers, their harvests healthy and their children strong. One fateful day nineteen years ago the king’s wife gave birth to twins, two heirs to the throne.
The king once declared war on the mighty southern kingdom of Alamur, he raised his banners and marched south from his capital; Barrowmarch, through the Old Wood and across the river Castamere towards the barren desert. By this time he was fifty-two years of age and his son’s seventeen. The King although his body was old and dull, his mind was sharp. The Alamurites were defeated and driven across the desert from where they came. However the King’s frail body betrayed him, he fell from his horse and struck his head on a road stone. The once great king died on a road side.
By now the princes had become very different men, Davos had followed the way of the sword and spear, he fought from horseback on the frontline leading his men by example. He commanded the respect of the warrior families and the northern tribes men. Gendry followed the way of scribe and scroll, he lead troops with great strategies and cunning plots. Gendry had the support of the noble families and the western tradesmen and their mercenaries.
There was a shaky peace between the two brothers for a year during which they divided the kingdom between each other. The north and east went to Davos and the west and south went to Gendry. However the peace talks fell apart when the topic of the capital and the surroundings lands came up.
The first battle took place outside Barrowmarch, Gendry had 20,000 foot and 4,000 horsemen, he took the high ground by the walls and lined up his horsemen on his right flank. Davos had 18,000 foot and 3,000 horsemen, he put the river to his back and put his horsemen on the frontline. The flow of the battle initially lent towards Gendry, Davos’ horsemen forced his brother’s infantry up the hill but once they lost momentum they were forced back down with heavy losses. The battle creeped on and soon night fell. Both armies withdrew for the day, Gendry lost 3,000 foot and 1,000 horsemen and Davos lost 3,000 foot and 1,500 horsemen.
The second day began the same way as the first, Davos’ men forced Gendry’s up the hill and they were forced back down, however Davos suddenly appeared on the field, on the frontline no less. His men’s morale rose and with their high spirits they broke the enemy lines and poured through. Gendry was forced to retreat taking only his reserves with him. By the time the battle had ended Gendry had lost another 12,000 foot and 2,500 horsemen, Davos had lost 8,000 foot and 1,000 horsemen. Genry had escaped with only 5,000 foot and 500 horsemen.
Gendry retreated south through the forest towards his holding Dry Rock, however Davos was hot on his tail and would soon catch up. In his haste to battle at Barrowmarch Davos had not brought enough supplies for a long campaign and his men began to grow weary of marching.
Realising his brother’s troops morale was failing along with their health, Gendry turned his forces around and smashed his brother’s army. The casualties of Davos’ army are unknown it is only known that the survivors were less than a thousand.
Minor skirmishes filled out the rest of the year as both sides built up their forces in anticipation of the final battle. It was the summer of the second year of the war when the two forces met again. The battle took place on a huge open plain, Gendry was able to raise 85,000 foot and 25,000 horsemen and Davos brought 100,000 foot and 10,000 horsemen. Davos lined his foot against Gendry’s and his horsemen faced the enemy horsemen.
The huge armies clashed in a moment, within minutes thousands died. The line moved back and forth but suddenly Gendry’s centre once again collapsed, his infantry retreated leaving a huge gap. Davos took most of his horsemen and charged into the gap, his men followed but Davos soon realised his mistake. Gendry’s foot held the centre as the flanks surrounded Davos’ army, Davos was about to turn his horsemen around and break out the rear when Gendry’s unoccupied horsemen plugged the gap. Davos’ men were now fully encircled.
Gendry was sure of his victory but he underestimated Davos, Davos and his men launched a last ditch assault towards Gendry’s position. His men broke through but Davo’s banners fell and both sides believed Davos dead. Gendry believing the threat of Davos gone sent his personal guards to drive back the breach. To everyone’s surprise Davos appeared behind Gendry’s headquarters, he rode up behind his brother and cut him down where he stood and scattered his officers. Seeing Gendry’s banners fall his men lost heart and retreated to the hills. Davos had snatched victory, but the cost was high over 60,000 of his men died.
Davos ascended to the throne, he crushed the rest of his brother’s supporters and united the remaining lords. Davos spent most of his reign waging war on the surrounding kingdoms, He made Romulus the most powerful state in the midlands for many generations however several decades after his death the Rose Republic would destroy the once mighty kingdom.