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[Crowslayer's Vow] The Breath of Battle

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CROWSLAYER’S VOW EVENTLINE

BREATH OF BATTLE

Vidarr

 

Spoiler

 


 

The Breath of Battle – that was what Bralt’s pa had called it.

 

That moment of silence before the charge, when the air hummed with electric anticipation, when a man’s teeth chattered with sheer adrenaline more than the chill of the seaward wind. That heart-racing moment when a warrior’s mind churned with exhilaration of the fight to come, and anxiety of what they stood to lose if they fell – of who they would leave behind. The latter had never been as prevalent to the Scyfling wildlings who had originated from the ruined continent of Athera, defined by a culture of warfare and violence as neighbours raided each other for food just to survive. That kind of culture demanded the romanticization of violence and fighting – just so people who would have the stomach to fight to survive, bloodshed became the cornerstone of Scyfling culture. To die in battle was a good a death as could be, and to kill was to grant someone the honour of a good death. People died all the time; friends who shared your table one night would be dead the night in some meaningless raid to steal some cattle, and there was nothing to be done except to shrug and get on with it.

 

That was the Scyfling way.

 

But that was why Bralt the Boar had united the Scyflings and led them to Athera to fulfill the ancient Crowslayer’s Vow – some ancient, nonsensical prophecy that claimed however killed the descendant of the old Lord of Siegrad, ancient nemesis of the Scyflings, would unite them forever and lead them into an age of prosperity. Bralt did not believe in any divine power, but the Scyflings believed the prophecy, and if Bralt could fulfill it, he could finally stand to lead the Scyflings into a future of peace, not one of constant infighting.

 

The Breath of Battle made hairs stand on end when he considered that, and he knew things had changed for his Scyflings too. At first, coming to Arcas and burning their way across northern Haense had just been some great raid, a chance to pillage lands richer than ever before. But no, not anymore. That had changed – Bralt could sense it. The Scyflings knew they were not fighting to stay fed for the next few months. All this time finally united against their kinsmen who they had fought with all their lives, the Scyflings now knew there would be no returning to Athera – they had staked everything on Arcas now, and their fleet was mostly destroyed. They were fighting for a future, now. They were fighting for peace, and a home. They were fighting for the same dream that Bralt had harboured for so very long.

 

As the Breath of Battle hung in the air beneath a blanket of faint, cloud-marred stars, Bralt looked down his Scyfling lines. Normally, the Breath of Battle was echoed by war-cries, chants and horns as warriors riled themselves up, but this Breath was pure silence. Anxious eyes glanced towards Bralt through the faceguards of their helmet as they lined themselves up slowly along the riverbank, near where the northern river of Almanland fed into Lake Milena. The gentle rushing of the river seemed so very loud in the presence of so many silent warriors. They held their painted shields out, decorated with visages of slain crows and longships mounting waves, and their breaths seeped out from their helmets in the form of icy plumes of mist. No one said a word.

 

Rolling his tense shoulders, Bralt stared back ahead, to where the lights of New Reza glimmered faintly in the distance. Not too far ahead, he could hear the distant shouts and drills of Haeseni soldiers as they prepared to meet Bralt’s own force. He cursed silently under his breath. He would dearly love to bowl into them now and get it over with; he couldn’t stand the tension of the Breath of Battle any more, and needed to exhale. But he had no choice but to wait for the signal from the east and the west, where his other forces would attack to stretch the Haeseni thin enough for Bralt to shatter them.

 

He glanced again down his line of warriors, at their anxious eyes as they too felt the weight of the Breath of Battle. Most of them, he knew, would die before this was all over – that was part of the plan. But Bralt had long since dispensed with the need to save a few lives to secure the future of the many. Besides, his death would be chief among them. He sighed again, and squinted towards where the Haeseni would be forming their own battle-line in the distance. He wondered if the King Crow would be among them. When he had first arrived on the shores of Arcas, Bralt had compelled the stubborn king to surrender himself, so that this war might end with a single drop of blood. For that, Bralt thought, was the duty of a King – to protect his people at all costs. His own life was a trivial, fickle thing in that regard. If the King Crow would not fulfill that sacred duty, though …

 

Bralt closed his eyes, and sighed softly. The duty would fall to him.

 

He opened his eyes as a peel of warhorn rolled over the riverside from the hills to the west. The signal. The Battle for the North had started in the west.

 

His Scyflings stiffened at the sound, but Bralt showed no such nerves himself. He was committed to fulfilling his final plan to secure a future for the Scyflings, whatever the cost. Nerves would not change that.

 

Slowly, Bralt raised his axe, and pointed forwards.

 

“FORWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD!” he roared, his bellow shattering the tension of the silence, exhaling the Breath of Battle as his Scyflings took up the cry in a hoarse bellow. There were no words in their screams, but there didn’t need to be. Each hoarse voice was laced with determination, hope, anxiety, and fear. No words could have expressed that so clearly as their overwhelming, intangible war cry. Behind Bralt, they began to march forward, screaming all the while.

 

“FORWAAAARD! BY MOON AND FIRE, FORWAAAAARD!”

 

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Aleksandra Ludovar polished her sword that had been dirtied by Scyfling blood. Her eyes gleamed with blood thirst as she prepared herself for the imminent battle.

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*He'd be polishing his armor and sword, hammering out dents, grinding away curves, all that was demanded of typical maintenance, his time would soon come, as well as any poor bastard who got into his way*

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Posted (edited)

Manfred Barclay had just finished cleaning the blood from his sword, his men gathered around him in Metterden after their successful battle in the valley below. “The end is near.” He said as he sheathed his sword on his belt. “We ride for the forward command post, prepare your horses.” He ordered his men with a faint grin, as they had already tasted victory in the first of many field battles to come.

Edited by Coolcod77

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Still recovering from his last battle wounds, Brandt Barclay made to sit himself up from his bed with a light groan of pain. The man then made to slowly unwrap the eye bandage which covered the place where his left eye once stood. Reaching for some of the spare blissfoil on his nightstand, the Barclay covered his wound with it, easing his pain before wrapping another bandage around his lost eye. Gathering the strength to then go down Reinmar, the young smither approached the newly built smithy, and sat on the grinding stone. Unsheathing then his Hummingblade, as he called it... with clenched jaws and a resistance to the pain, Brandt began to sharpen his arms and armor, mentally and phyiscally preparing for the fight to come as sparks of metal would pivot from the turning stone.
 

Spoiler

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Vorion lies in the hospital as a certified vegetable.

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Spoiler

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Silently, an armored figure would prepare for the fight ahead. Dull, listless eyes studied the road to Haense, it was to be a long journey...

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“Raise the chains!” Ser Ivan would shout at his men as he finished setting up the chain to halt to Scyfling Fleet if they came “Are you ready for the battle Ser?” asked one of Ivan’s men, to which he only replied “You ever just want something so badly that you sometimes obsess over it over and over again?” Ser Ivan would finish sharpening his longsword Vanquisher as he spoke to the soldier “I’ve been ready for this for years, lad.” In Ivan’s mind he only had one objective. There had always been only one man who he’s wanted to kill the most. There has only been one man who has taken two of those closest to him and many others. There was only one man, and Ivan was going to kill him...

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