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Battle of Dershire
Jonathan Lezdain looked out from the hillside, his battalion lay stretched out on their stomachs, observing the flats of farmland below the foothills where they were camping. It was in northern Mondea that they awaited their guests, the Trinacians. People from the Sea Of Infinity, on the Barren Islands.
They had begun their attacks early on in the year and for five months now had been bombarding the border to break the Forces of Mondea. The line had held; however, and at the front of the line was General Jonathan Lezdain. People now, from all over the world new the name the instant it hit their ears. Clad in armor, and soaked in sweat, he peered from his lookout point knowing they were there. He just had to catch the tiniest speck of movement and he would have the advantage. There was no possible way that had spotted his men yet.
Then he caught it, out in the distance he saw the flash of steel. Before he considered himself at an advantage though, the army had risen to its feet with an ear-splitting battle cry.
“Sir?” The young lieutenant Jeffery Citile said, propping himself up with an elbow. “Do we move sir?”
“Not yet. Hold the lines. If we can stay above them we will have the advantage over them until the end.”
“Yes sir. Hold the lines,” he passed onto Thomas Ridford, another high-ranking officer.
The wave of black cloaks and armor came charging along the plains, a great mass, numbering at least twenty thousand men. General Lezdain was in front of twenty thousand of his own, but it was who would run first that was important; not the numbers. Who would turn and retreat home first?
Jonathan would ensure that it would not be his men.
“Archers at the ready!” Jonathan shouted back to bow master Eric Sallaman.
Eric raised his fist, and awaited Jonathan’s next order.
“Hold! Not yet!”
They came closer, now within one thousand yards.
Five hundred yards.
Two hundred yards.
“Sir, this is suicide!” Thomas shouted trying to calm his men and keep them from charging, or running.
“Hold still longer!”
They were fifty yards and approaching now at a fast sprint, some so close as twenty yards.
Eric dropped his fist as if it weighed more than a mountain, and arrows took away the vision of blue to replace it with the dense mass of death. They whistled and shrieked through the air, and then landed hard into the flesh of the charging onslaught.
“Thomas, lead the charge with your men!” Jonathan ordered.
Thomas jumped to his feet and raised his sword.
“Forward!” He screamed, and his men echoed the cry.
“Eric, send in the next barrage!”
“On my signal!” Jonathan heard Eric’s voice call out as he turned to Jeffery.
“Take your men,” he was shouting over the commotion of Thomas’s battle crying men and the clash of arrows to skin, “and go around to strike them in their sides! I will send Micah’s men to flank them on the western wall!”
“Aye aye sir!”
“Try to meet up in the middle to cut the army off!”
Jeffery saluted once more and Jonathan turned to Micah on his other side.
“Same orders to you. Take your men around and strike the west flanks of the force!”
“Yes sir!” Micah turned to his men. “Iron Battalion! Move out!”
Jonathan turned to look for his next man to send. He found them waiting at the top of a low valley.
“Herin and De’Bol!”
They cam riding over atop their mounts.
“Send in the cavalry!” Jonathan was yelling at the top of his lungs, his voice already becoming shot hoarse. “Charge dead center at the front and lend your support to Thomas and the Lead Battalion!”
They saluted and retreated back to their awaiting two thousand men on horseback.
“For Mondea, honor and life after death!” Came the cavalry’s famed shout.
Jonathan ran to his own mount and climbed on; looking back he could see the large blots of his men, clustered throughout the hillside. He raised his sword and kicked his horse to jump on its hind legs.
“Charge!” He cried as loud as he could, and the foothills lit up with life as the men all rose to their feet at an instance and began running towards him. “To battle men! For the king!”
And with that he sent his horse into motion straight into the heart of the fighting, right where he liked it most. Men all around were falling, some his own, some the Trinacians. He lashed out at everything in black, blood spraying his face. With one hand gripped firmly on his reigns and one gripped firmly on the handle of his sword, he managed to glance from time to time to see if his men had broken the front barrier of the force at all, however, all he could see was a mass of forty thousand men.
Standing and lying on the ground, screaming in triumph and screaming in agony, the fight went on. Jonathan was always aware of what was right around him, always trying to keep his attention centered on his surroundings. It was an hour into the fight that the machines began to come to aid; catapults, trebuchets, ballistae, war chariots; everything. Suddenly Jonathan’s immediate surroundings weren’t so crucial.
Large boulders were being cast into the heart of the battle, oil-soaked tightly clustered balls of hay were lit on fire and sent overhead, with the trebuchets firing away stone, and the war chariots running over comrades left and right, Jonathan’s senses had to strengthen even more or else he would join those among the dead.
He chanced a glance around to see his lines were thinning awfully fast.
“Sir we have to pull back!” Jeffery called from his side. “We must retreat to Dershire! We can put up a better resistance there!”
“I am General Jonathan Lezdain! I do not retreat!”
“Today you do!”
Jonathan flustered, reined his horse around and called a retreat to his men. There were nine thousand men from Mondea left once they had retreated back into the mountains and into the city of Dershire.
* * *
Evening rolled around and by now it seemed like half of the world new of Jonathan’s retreat.
“General Lezdain,” De’Bol called, bloodied up with cuts all across his face and his sleeves. “Slow up a bit so I might have a word with you.”
Jonathan slowed his stride to allow his officer to catch up, and soon De’Bol was at his side, panting heavily.
“It comforts me, De’Bol to see you standing at my side. We have lost a lot of men today.”
“Ten thousand at the moment sir, and counting. We’re still trying to figure out who’s not here.”
“Now,” Jonathan said halting altogether and turning to face the shorter man, who’s face was just like Jonathan’s and all the rest of the men there during the battles; hard as a rock, “what is it you wish to discuss, I’m very distressed and if it can be made quick then do so.”
“Right sir, well I have received word from the king, sir.”
“You have received word from the king?” Jonathan asked with a raised brow.
“We have, sir. He is very displeased with our retreat. The infamous General Lezdain has finally been defeated, and he demands your immediate visit to the Rothian Domain in Carron.”
Jonathan swept his dark brown hair out of his eyes and clenched and unclenched his jaw, staring at the dirt road where he ground his heel in.
“That’s a six hour trip there and six hour trip back.”
“I know sir, my apologies, honestly.”
“But if they strike tonight I will not be here to lead.”
“Whether you’re here or not, you will not be leading us.”
“What do you mean?”
“King Andrew has demoted you to officer. I’m the commanding general now.”
Jonathan’s head lowered and he could hardly bare that he did not pick it up; and furthermore that he allowed himself to be comforted by one of his old officers.
“Well,” Jonathan said. “You can tell the king I won’t be returning until I see that we have defeated these Trinacians.”
De’Bol opened his mouth to protest but Jonathan did not let him.
“And you can not make me go either, De’Bol, and you should know that.”
“Yes sir. Well then, I shall see you in the morning I expect?”
De’Bol gave him a quick salute and Jonathan returned it with a nod. He walked slowly through the streets now filled with aid stations and bedraggled soldiers.
“Looking for the sleeping quarters?” A young solider, who seemed to be not even old enough to be shaving asked.
“Down the road, take a left at the cross section and you’ll see a bunch of soldiers with mats around the door. That should be obvious enough for you.”
Jonathan looked back at the soldier.
“That will be all solider. Get some rest.”
He continued onward down the street and sure enough found exactly what the young man had described to him. He climbed over the mats to find a place to unroll his own. There was an empty area near the corner of the building, where the entire floor had been covered in a sea of blankets and what seemed to be individual forts of their own.
He unrolled his own and crawled in, suddenly realizing how sore he was and how weary his body felt. Exhaustion set over him like a thick warm blanket and before he could even close his eyes he was fast asleep.
* * *
Screams floated in through the waves of Jonathan’s sweet dreams.
“They’re in the city! The whole army is pouring in!”
“Wake up! Everybody arm yourselves!”
But Jonathan took it as a part of his dreams. Such works of the imagination were often odd at times, and that’s all Jonathan took it ass; a part of it.
“Jonathan wake up! Wake up!
The nagging voice began to cut through like a knife, and soon it was right in his ear.
“Jonathan wake up!”
Jonathan sprang to his feet, wiping the sleep from his eyes. He looked at the private standing next to him.
“What’s going on?”
“They’ve flooded the city! The Trinacians are right now, coming down the main road! Come on!”
Jonathan threw on his armor, and strapped on his sword, charging out into the street. His horse was further back in a stable, and he made is way their immediately. He hurled open the stable doors and ran to the stall his horse was situated in. Throwing on the saddle, he mounted and was away.
The entire city of Dershire was in complete chaos as the army of the Trinacians had managed to get through the gate barrier and was now pouring into the streets like water in a hole in the boat. Jonathan dashed through the paved roads with no one in particular, but with himself in mind. Men around him were being slaughtered. Half the remaining army of Mondea was still asleep, even being killed in such a position.
“Jonathan, fall back!” De’Bol called to him from a little ways down the street.
Jonathan reared his horse into the air and turned on him, his eyes met his ablaze with anger.
“Never! I am General Jonathan Lezdain! Never again will I fall back!”
Men around Jonathan hurried past to reluctantly obey De’Bol’s command, but Jonathan pressed onward. He was all alone now. Looking back he saw a deserted street aside from one man; De’Bol. His eyes were full of sadness and concern. Jonathan shook his head.
“Go back, De’Bol. Your time will come, just like my time has passed.”
De’Bol did not budge. Jonathan glanced the opposite way down the street to see the charging army, their faces now in plain view.
“Go back!” He screamed.
Slowly, he turned his horse around and finally kicked it into a gallop. Jonathan drew his sword and licked his lips as they came near to him.
“Today I die alone. Ah!” He screamed as he kicked his horse into a headlong gallop.
He picked out his first target to kill, and ran his horse straight for the man. Screaming his lungs out he plunged into the masses, his sword spearing his target, lodging in his ribcage, hurling Jonathan from his horse. He was quick to jump back to his feet, retrieve his sword and continue on.
Spinning and slashing he made a circle of space where no other man was aloud. Bodies fell left and right as Jonathan’s shout echoed through the streets. Men approaching him were cut down in two, and he gave them not a second glance.
One man from the right!
Jonathan’s sword was through his throat.
An attack on the left!
Jonathan’s sword licked his face.
A charge from behind!
Jonathan whirled around and ducked down, bringing his sword through and making a clean cut through the man’s legs. He toppled over in agony, clawing at his face.
Attacks from everywhere.
Jonathan would not stop. He fought what seemed to be hours until finally, there came the deafening blow. A sword was cleanly rammed through his shoulder. He doubled over in agony, but even upon his back he fought them off; only for a short time. Another strike came across his face, and then through his leg and then his chest and soon he didn’t feel anything. There was a fire in him as he saw the end of his life coming, and he wanted to go out with a blaze.
He jumped back to his feet, his blood splattering around all over the Trinacians and ground, he soon could not tell which was his and which was the enemy’s. He would not stop. His body was black and blue with bruises, his arms were heavier than lead but he would not stop this fight!
Suddenly the attention was diverted from him as he heard shouts and cries in a more familiar language. He turned his swollen eyes toward the commotion to make out De’Bol leading the charge with Citile, Rollen, Sallaman and Ridford; his leading men and friends at his side. The entire army had regrouped to fight them off. And as Jonathan’s shoulders were growing ever heavier, he collapsed on the ground. The last thing he heard, as well as for the last thing the army of the Trinacians would hear roared through the streets.
“For Jonathan Lezdain!” De’Bol cried, and the entire army of ten thousand outnumbered men echoed; and it was there in the streets that Jonathan went unconscious, and the army of Mondea defeated the Trinacians at Dershire.