weapons and caught their breath. The
retreat had been fast and hard in their armour.
Coupled with the fighting the knights were already tired. Oscar had no such luxury though. As soon as the first line was safe he was out
on the front, looking over the second line.
He was thankful the Hand appeared to be a good tactician. He was tired and would have missed some of
the gaps that were now covered.
“We’re as ready as we’ll ever be.”
Oscar turned to see the Hand approaching. The man was in his battle armour, the
distinctive yellow cloth crown immediately drawing the eye.
“What about the third line?”
The Hand grimaced, “Still working on it. Some of the soldiers here are from the third
line. Too many are lost in the archives.”
Oscar nodded. “We’ll
just have to hold them here then.”
“Well said the bone hand in first supported by as many BPs as
we can get through. The ebon hand know
their job already. The red hand will
stay in support, refreshing the BPs when they fall. The Darkstalkers will follow directly behind
the bone hand and strike targets of opportunity as they see fit. The followers
will protect the red hand and act as a reserve to reinforce the line for
defence or to bolster an attack. Any
questions?” Drake looked around, seeing
only nodding heads. His plan was good
and maximised the skills of their men. “Good
then. We march in 10 minutes, prepare
The other generals moved off to their armies but Avrik
stayed behind. Drake looked at him questionably,
although no expression could be seen behind his helm.
“… this is it Drake.” muttered Avrik, “Don’t die.”
Avrik marched off leaving Drake bewildered.
“You have the arrows?” asked Abel.
“Yes milord. They are
sure to do their job. But I could only
get 10 and the targets may be too strong.”
“If you fail Shadow, then the Stalkers will condemn you as a
traitor.” Abel turned to Laplace, “Don’t miss.”
The assembled army was massive, thousands of troops packed
into the opening rooms of the archives, the crowding only made worse by
hundreds of phantom hollows reinforcing their numbers. Dead knights stood next to assassins. Pyromancers supported necromancers. And a single sorcerer stood aloof from the
Drake looked over the army, his army. He smiled thinking how far he had come from a
suicidal plunge. Now he commanded the
greatest army in Lordran. “Bone Hand,
Avrik looked upwards and called to his crows, “To the skies
with my brothers!” A great flock of
crows burst into the archives, a jumble of black feathers and snapping beaks. The Ebon Hand was covered by the flock, who
lifted them high into the air, disappearing into the rafters.
“Today we fight for freedom brothers.” hissed Abel, “Slay
all of the god’s puppets.”
The swarm of living, dead and incorporeal marched on the
The ground rumbled before the second line. Carts of books shifted on their wheels, while
unloaded ones drifted across the aisles.
A black shadow emerged from beyond the walls, reaching across the
battlefield. Knight’s backed away from
the malign presence, the room filled with the chiming of armoured men in
motion. Cleric knights advanced on the
shadow, their holy light pushing it back.
The lifehunters stood stoically, dispersed among the Knights
lines. They had been allied to this power
in what seemed like an age past, they knew it was nothing to fear. But the Knights had not seen the full force
of the Gravesworn before. After this
war, they would know it.
Oscar looked over his men, seeing their fear. He marched out in front of them, walking into
the largest shadow emerging from where the enemy moved. The darkness cast his golden armour in an ugly
light. The shining gold perverted into a
dirty brown. He raised his talisman in
defiance and a burst of light flared from it.
The darkness shrieked and fled its light, unable to withstand his power.
“My Noble Knights and allies!” he cried turning back to his
men. “Our foe seeks to trick us with
petty tricks and illusions. But these
hold no power over us! See how it flees
from the light? True power is measured
in our strength of arms, and our bonds of brotherhood. Look to the man to your left, to your right,
to your front and back. Today he is your
brother, today you will fight for him, and die for him. When the dogs of the Gravesworn emerge we
will give them no ground, give them no mercy.
These dead men pervert nature and deserve nothing but true death for
their sins. Today they have entered our
land, and will pay the price.” He took a
breath before going on, “Today we end their menace, the first step for Lordran’s
true release starts today!”
“Let them come.” He whispered, the knights continuing their
chant in the background. “Let them end