Thought I’d post the first section of a story I’m working on for submission to a fantasy anthology. Now, not to interfere with rights and what not I won’t be posting the whole story, but here’s a little taste 🙂
***Breaking the Unbreakable***
“Nostalgia?” Arcedh’s paper thin voice cut through the turmoil wrapping Rolant Quinn’s mind. The Unbreakable, as he was known, turned to look at the priest. The priest was skeletally thin and wrapped up in robes and cloth so only his eyes were visible. Not that it seemed to matter much in the priest’s case as both eyes were milky white orbs. Arcedh never had an issue seeing though, and more often then not he saw far more than any other man Rolant had met. A gift of Theosis no doubt.
“You know me well,” Rolant said, his voice rasping. He looked away from the priest, out over the wide grassy plain. He focused on the walled city far to the west. “Halsaland, I was born there. Raised in the church after my parents passed in the plague. I accepted the gifts of Theosis and pledged my life to his eternal service in the chapel in the town square.”
“You will not hesitate, when the time comes?” It was more of a command than a question.
Rolant shifted his weight on the warhorse’s back. The plates of his armor gave audible evidence to his every move. “There is no doubt then? The scouts have reported back in?”
“Yes,” Arcedh said. “The force we met two days past was out of Halsaland. You saw them, they bore the Broken Horn standard. They serve the House of Duskgem.”
“Yes,” Rolant said. “But, I had hoped…”
“Hope,” Arcedh said, spitting the word out. We are not in the business of hope. Only
heretics and betrayers stand against us on the field of battle, and it is the will of Theosis that they be cast down.”
“So be it then,” Rolant said. He snapped the visor shut on his aged and dented iron helm. All his armor matched it. Once, years ago, it gleamed as bright as steel, but as it had been with the man, nothing remained perfect and pure. Age and war marked everything.
Tugging on the reins Rolant faced his army; fifty cavalry, five thousand heavy infantry, and one thousand archers. “Today I come home, only to find they’d turned their backs upon Theosis. Our one true god stands tall, yet they choose to kneel and scrape with the pagan masses. Today we shall purge the land of their filth.” He drew his sword and raised the steel blade high above his head. “Today we retake Halsaland for Theosis!”
The gathered army cheered, hoisting their weapons tot he sky, pledging their blades to Theosis.
Rolant looked his army over, his lips twitching into a smile. Pride burning in his chest. But… Something… Something was out of place. He knew his army, the role every man filled, yet today it seemed larger, as though another thousand men had joined in the night. He pushed the disquiet to the back of his mind. There it stayed, refusing to go away.
“After you my lord,” Arcedh said motioning toward Halsaland.
“Forward march!” Rolant cried out. His standard bearers echoed his call with clarion blasts from their horns.
The army began to move. Halsaland’s fate was sealed.
9 days left to Cold Lunch.
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*Image Credit: Vladmir Buchyk @ artstation.com