Prologue - Paladin
The skies above the field roared and raged with powerful storms. Lightning bolts crackled and streamed across the clouds in burning majesty. They splintered and strayed into multiple paths like the branches of a tree. Striking at cloud clusters like thrusting daggers. The rain fell steadily from the clouds. As they fell. The whistle of arrows flew among the drops. Piercing through the falling water with flaming steel tips in a flight upwards before a final decent downward. The whistle stopped for but one instant. Then as they pointed down and fell, the whistle of the shafts and the slight flap of the feathers at the back ends of the shafts began again. But with more momentum than before.
The air caught against the steel tips, streaming between the sharpened edges. The gusts of air seemed to push the rain drops away from the arrows. The shafts cut with their steel tips through falling water and moist air. Falling fast, falling true. Yet without true destination or certain targets. The shafts fell faster, making the shafts catch the rain in the wood. The air above was moist enough to nearly cause the wood to swell. Yet, their resistance to the waters of the sky held true.
The arrows streamed down fast and fierce. The arrow tips caught in their steely gleam the lights of burning ordnance that had taken flight, flung from catapults. As the ordnance flew low and fast. The light caught in the tips flowed away from the steel and went away forever. The arrows caught something else instead.
The misted reflections of thick figures waving arms baring steel longer and sharper than the steel tips that reflected them. The reflections in the tips grew closer and closer to the tips. Narrowing the images reflected. The images and figures narrowed in the tips. Becoming simply the reflections of miner details. Until they finally pierced through tunics and cloaks of many fabrics, and plates and rings of iron and steel. Bending and breaking what was meant to protect. As though they were nothing. Now they pierced flesh, muscle, and bone. Cutting deep, carving true, and making hundreds bleed.
Some were strong in will and simply pulled them out. Continuing the fight without delay. But others had taken shafts to the head, the heart, the groin. These unfortunates were either the dead or the dying. Who suffer wounds that continue to be cut wider by the steel arrow tips. The blood flowed from their bodies and stained the once brilliant green grass. The piling bodies carpeted thickly in areas of the field. Almost linking together in blankets of macabre patterns.
Those that still stood worked to add to the carpet. The fighting would not stop. On the field, one man wearing thick plate armor bearing the heraldry of a silver eagle among purple mountains before a grey field raised his large bastard sword above his head and brought it down onto the head of a man who wore piece mail armor over a red tunic. The man who was done through let lose from his hand the gladius sword and let it roll from his fingers and to the bloodied soil. Where it would be trampled by others who would fight.
Another man who wore thick piece mail armor engraved with ornate designs who carried a large shield bearing a Golden Eagle eclipsing a shining sun put his broad gladius sword through the heart of a man wearing simple iron chain mail beneath a brown tunic bearing a white griffon. The sigil of the kingdom of Dekmire in the center of the Heartland. Then, whilst he was on his knees. He twisted the blade with haste. The blood seeped into and between the chain links. Then it turned the brown tunic a sickening dark red. The piece mail warrior pulled the sword from the mans body as swiftly as he had thrusted it in. The wounded man stayed sitting up on his knees. But the piece mail warrior took his large shield and bashed the wounded mans face in.
His nose had cracked and retracted into the wounded mans skull. The bone of his eye sockets had broken and misdirected. Most of his teeth were gone. But the eyes were truly ghastly. They had become cold and lifeless. No movement, no spark. The gaze of death had veiled his sight. And as he plummeted to the ground. The air left in his lungs forced its way out upon hitting the bloodied soil. This soldier of Dekmire would be no more.
Though the soldier was soon to die. There was life enough to see what happened around him. As he laid upon the ground. His blood drenching the soil. He could see a knight walking towards him. A knight adorned with leather piece mail armor with one red pauldron and red greaves. The armor had seen much of war and battle. The blemishes and scratches surrounding the insignia of a Rising Sun above a Red Scythe on his breastplate were proof enough. As the knight walked towards the soldier, he bashed a Ramian Legionnaire with his broad ornate pauldron.
Another Legionnaire tried to run the red knight through from the side. But the knight swung his arm around the blade and let the Legionnaire rush him until his arm was beneath the knights. Then, while the Ramian was close and trapped. The knight bashed him in the head with the hilt of his sword. Then he took hold of the pommel of the Legionnaires blade and pulled it from his hand. Then ran his sword through the Ramians throat. The red of the Ramians blood was not enough to stand out from the red of the knights sword.
The Legionnaire coughed and curdled his own blood as he fought hard to take a breath of air, or swallow the blood in his throat that he choked on. But the more he moved his throat, the more the Red Steel of the knights sword cut his throat further.
The knight heard the shouting of another Legionnaire that was rushing at him with his sword in the air. The knight pulled his Red Steel sword out of the throat of the Legionaries throat. The blood exploded from his neck like water through a bursting dam. Then he quickly picked up the sword of the Ramian he had slain and defended the on coming Ramians attack. Wielding both his Red Steel sword in one hand and the Ramian sword in the other. He parried and pivoted against the Ramians attacks. The Ramian fought hard, but the knight was a superior fighter.
The knight had been fighting the Ramian legions for a long time. He knew their tactics, their fighting style, and their weaknesses. He knew this enemy well.
In combat. The Ramian Legionaries are best at exhausting their enemies munitions with their shielded formations. And spearing or cutting down any that get close to the formation. But in single combat, they specialize in rushing the enemy and discombobulating the standing of the opponent with a shield bash. But if their sword is diverted away from a controlled direction. The tide of battle turns.
The knight knew this, and did just that. The Legionnaire didn’t stand a chance. The knight parried against another strike, and with the Ramian sword. He cut off the Legionaries hand, and with the Red Steel blade, hammered the edge into the Legionaries chest. The Red Steel cut straight through the armor with no resistance. And when the knight pulled it out. Not one scratch laid upon it. And the blood seemed to glide off the crimson sheam.
Yet again this knight heard the shouting of another rushing Legionnaire. But he looked to the soldier. He then took the Ramian sword and threw it at the Legionnaire. The blade landed right into the Ramians head. Flesh and skull torn and broken, the brain within turned to a runny mesh within the Legionaries head. With a blank expression, and a death rattle, the Legionnaire collapsed to the ground and gave no sign of life. He was no more. Yet a lively blue fire seemed to burst from his eyes and mouth. And when it extinguished. The eyes and mouth became blackened voids.
The knight sheathed his sword, still confused from what he had just seen. And rushed to the soldier who still clung to the faintest breath of life. Then he took hold of the soldiers hand and gripped it tight. The fighting seemed to rage behind the knight. The Dekmirians were gaining ground.
The Red Knight began tracing a sign with his hand. Waving the index and middle finger up, downward to the left, and then upward to the right. The sign became alive in blue light and then the soldier wounds began to close. First with the tissue and bone. Then the flesh closed as well.
The soldier was marveled to be healed. He was peasant born. And had never seen the wonders of magic. But of this knight he knew his profession. Warriors who could summon the power of divine mana. To either heal, or cast out wicked powers. This knight. Was a Paladin.