The aftermath of the battle
A collab between Roran and Gerontis
The charge had been a bloody one. Then again Gerontis had the bad habit to curse a lot with bloody. Gritting his teeth he pulled out his long blade out of a dead foe. The blade had pierced the right shoulder of the man when he tried to attack one of his soldiers. ''Rest in peace? My ass.'' He cursed as he spit on the man. Looking around he noticed the amount of dead and wounded. He had personally expected it would turn out worse then it had been.
Still not happy with the result Gerontis sheathed his long sword in the scabbard strapped to his back. Checking if he had his other weapons he moved over where the battle had been fought out. The village where the battle had been was pretty much wrecked. Not to say the amount of innocent villagers that were dead or wounded. Knowing this was the village Roran had lived and grown up Gerontis felt bitter for not showing up in time to prevent what had happened.
''Sir, the captain orders us to count the dead and regroup.'' A soldier said, saluting the lieutenant of Roran's forces. With a displeased expression Gerontis sighed and pushed his hood back. Looking around most of his solders were doing well, but he wasn't sure if they were able to regroup and march pretty soon. Their losses weren't that big, but Gerontis was a cautious leader as he decided to go on another path then Roran most likely would've wanted. ''Regroup the man, but don't let them hurry up. Where is the captain?'' Gerontis asked without the usual cursing or his accent as he had became serious.
''The captain is over there, but I heard he doesn't w-'' ''My bloody damned ass what he wants or cares.'' Gerontis mumbled as he walked past the soldier towards where the man had pointed. After a brisk walk he managed to find Roran and waited patiently till his captain would notice him. The serious expression was stilll seen on his face, but he had enough decent respect to simply wait till Roran would talk first.
Roran's face had changed in the few hours that had separated him from Gerontis. The lines in his face had grown deeper, and it was unclear if that was because of exhaustion or what he had seen. His eyebrows were locked in a constant frown. "Lieutenant? What's the matter?" He said grim-faced. He picked up his sword again and cleaned it from mud with the cloth he picked off a dead Majdalan soldier. After sheathing his sword again, he turned around, walking into the extinguished house. The rain had come with a good timing. Even the burning tatched roofs were rapidly extinguished by the heavy rainfall. He motioned he lieutenant to follow him as he walked inside the partially collapsed farm, searching through the rubble of the wall where once the tools were neatly lined on hooks.
Waiting Gerontis heard Roran's voice. Simply following his captain he answered Roran's question. The rain made his report only more grim. ''We managed to drive and kill those bastards, but I've ordered a slow regroup. The lads don't have the moral high enough for us to order them to regroup fast and take another action as we were able in the past. I suspect some of them even want to run away with all the damn things that are happening with the war.'' Gerontis became quiet as he noticed Roran was searching through the rubble. ''So what are we going to do? I too grow weary of this bloodshed, Roran. All I see is that the bloody blue blooded pricks sit on their massive fat asses, while we're crawling in the dirt to fight back those bastards.''
Gerontis gritted his teeth as Roran most likely, and who not, know of Gerontis view point on the noble families, who were supposed to lead and protect them.
Usually Roran didn't mind his friend's way of putting things, but right now, everything annoyed him. "Theoretically I am one of them, since I'm adopted into General Beren's family." He said, rummaging through the piles of burnt wood, untill he finally found what he was looking for, a long item wrapped in a thick leather package. He freed it from the roof beam lying on top of it with some effort, and examinated the leather cover. He remembered it like it was yesterday... The cows had given him a friendly 'boo' as he was helping her find a place to hide the sword. It was worth a fortune for her, easily being more expensive than her house alone. He shook his head to get rid of the visions. It was the past, the painful past. He undid the leather wrappings and looked at the sword. It had been broken in half due to the roof beam falling on top of it. Broken, just like Adele was, because of him. He helf the 2 pieces in his hand and handed them to Gerontis. "That sword... Plant it next to Adele's grave." He said, and upon noticing Gerontis' incomprehensive look, he added: "THe girl I just buried. Plant it next to her grave." A Turner's grave. A simple pit in the cold earth, trampled by the feet of soldiers, burnt by the torches of war. He waited untill Gerontis had leeft the building, and firmly punched against the single wall that was still standing. It hurt his knuckles, and he noticed blood streaming down his hand. His own blood. Drops of them fell on the scorched ground. Mere drops compared to the pools of blood that had gathered around Adele.
Taking the sword without a word he kept looking at Roran's eyes with his serious look. ''I will do this, but we're going to talk old friend. By Boron's bloody beard, I want answers.'' Turning around to walk away to the grave Gerontis looked with a calm look on the grave. Simple and still respectable. Kneeling down he softly stroke with his right hand the fresh grave. ''May you rest in peace.'' He mumbled as it continued to rain. Trusting the damaged blade into the grave he sighed and swept the dirt of his knees. Looking one more time to the grave Gerontis turned around, pulling his head up. Walking back towards where Roran had been Gerontis cleared his throat.
''You done here? Cause I don't want to remind your sorry blue blooded thick head that we got soldiers to lead.'' Gerontis mumbled. He was about to something more, but was interupted.
"Yes. I have to lead the men." He interrupted Gerontis halfway his sentence. He walked outside with a fresheer look on his face. He had work to do. Upon arriving outside, the men had already gathered back in marching formation, having gathered all loot and treated all wounded. he had been sitting down doing nothing longer than he had expected. It really was time to move, h thought, feeling something near guilt. "All right men. Lieutenant. Howmany of us have perished?" He asked with a loud and clear voice. It was time to inspire the men once more. They had done a great job so far. With only a single Company under his command, he had taken out a Battalion worth of enemies. About 5 times as many as his own original force. He knew that most of that was thanks to the element of surprise, but also because of the worth of his soldiers. he commanded a veteran and battle-hardened force of men, fighting against the worst Majdalan soldiers there were, only suited to attack villages and other defenseless targets.
Gerontis mumbled some curses as Roran had interupted him. He disliked it when his friend did that. ''Not many. I wager around so about twenty good lads. Let's hope Boron judge them fair. Still I suspect that many are also wounded considering I think the current death toll on our side can grow to around... '' Gerontis paused. ''I suppose with some luck twenty three, cap. May they rest in peace or else spook the wives of our damn enemy.'' Gerontis told his captain as he was wondering what he would say to inspire the men. Most were weary after the quick strike, some even looking without any sense of life, like they were just a mere shadow of living men.
"Sergeant Roderik, can you give us a detailed report. My Lieutenant apparently had business elsewhere, such as slapping me around." He said upon hearing his friend's long and hardly comprehensible speeches.
"We lost 34 men in battle today sir, and 47 of us have been wounded. Of those there are 6 who won't make it, and 4 who're inable to ride."
Roran nodded in response. "In 2 battles, we lost 70 men, but we killed and captured over 900. Either the Majdalans have no strenght in their arms, no spine in their back and no brainss in their skulls, or we are guided by Soltar himself in a quest to purge our lands from the Majdalans!" He said, raising his sword. He noticed several surviving villagers appear, curious to see their Mardithian saviours now the fighting was over. He managed a grim roar. He wasn't only going to send the Majdalans attaking Mardithia here to Soltar, but also the man who defiled and murdered Adele. That there ould be no nigh
Grunting Gerontis threw an angry glance in Roran's direction. ''Don't piss me off, you damn bastard. By Astarte's tits, I will strangle you if you keep it up like that.'' Gerontis also wanted to say something to Roderik, but simply scoffed as he remained silence for now. That was until Roran mentioned how many they had killed or captured.
''So? does that bring our boys back? We are in no condition to push them back even if they have less then the usual spine in their ugly faces and what not!'''' Turning a bit red Gerontis was getting worked up by what Roran just had said.
"Lieutenant, are you going to make a habit of doomsaying?" Roran added, forcing a charismatic smile on his face like only he could, even despite his mood. "Perhaps we should send you to the enemy camp as an infiltrator, you'd send them home crying at first sight!" He said, before turning towards the entire company again. "Now, we will take a few hours of rest before we move out. We've deserved as much by now. However, be prepared to move at any time, the enemy might be nearby!" He turned around and walked over to the villagers, who had instinctively gathered in a thight-knit group. The contrast between them and the battle-hardened soldiers was enormous. He knew every single one of them, and he noticed with a painful jab that compared to the previous population, there was less than a third surviving.
"I'm sorry for arriving late, we came as fast as we could." Roran started against the man who had appeared to be the leader of the surviving group of Turners. He could have expected Dorik, the thick, crude and charming innkeeper to be in that position. However, saying that only reminded him of his grave mistake, which had costed Adele's life.
Gerontis simply snorted in Roran's direction, but didn't say a word. After he had spoke to the man Gerontis yelled out orders. ''Okay lads, you heard the captain. Rest out and relax, but stay ready. The poor bastards that won't be standing ready will meet Boron's judgement... After eating my fist!'' Some grinned at the language of their lieutenant. Combined with the few, but strong words words of their captain. While they looked a bit better Gerontis was still worried about the morale. If he any source to ale or such he would have them all laughing and high spirited in no time. Also drunk, but he had to admit he was also growing thirsty for a pint of ale. Seeing that the soldiers did what was ordered Gerontis wondered where Roran was, but shrugged. He was probably doing what he thought was right.
''Oi, you there! Don't think I hadn't seen that. Give me a swig of that flacon, you miserable bastard.'' Gerontis called out to a few soldiers who had managed to find a flacon with wine, passing it around the little group,
Roran noticed the villagers merely nodding a response, scared by large amount of soldiers nearby. He knew they'd be afraid of any large unit of soldiers, no matter what nation. They always brought bad news. "Alright, considering the damage to the village I can only see 2 possibilities: Either you stay here and rebuild it, and I will finance a part of that, since I come from here and you took care of me when my parents died, or you join my company and help me rid these lands from the Majdalan raiders. As you've heard, we slain 2 of the 5 enemy units already, 1000 of the 2500 men. Together we can stop them from raiding any other villages and towns around now they're defenseless without their masters nearby, and ensure nothing like this will happen to anyone else. You have a few hours to decide and pack your gear. you'll be given a horse and proper equipment, which you can keep. I'll see you at noon." He added, before finding his horse again, and trying to snatch some sleep before the next march. He was a soldier, and every unspent hour would go to sleep. Rest was a rare thing in the army.
Gerontis took a swig of the flacon again and grinned. ''Okay lads, that was enough for me. You bastards shouldn't drink it all up, cause I will want some on the march or else I will make you scream harder then Astarte when I had the chance. Hah!'' He mumbled some more words as the soldiers grinned and laughed after the comment of their lieutenant. Gerontis saw to his surprise some of the villagers readying themselves and even being giving equipement. ''By the beard of the gods and the tits of the goddess, you got to be kidding me.''
Displeased Gerontis searched around for Roran and after finding that his captain was trying to sleep Gerontis grunted and kicked, though not too hard, his captian. ''Don't dare to sleep bastard, ya got something to explain. Else I will make you talk. '' The man said to Roran with a low toned voice.
Roran cursed and turned around to see who had kicked him awake. "What?" He said, still drunk with sleep. "What is it..." He asked as soon as he recognised Gerontis, and while he was rubbing in his eyes. He reached for an apple now he was awake.Might as well eat something too. He always kept some dried apples in his saddlebags for eating something sweeter while marching. It was way better than the usual food on the march, dried meat as tough as leather, dried bread as tough as bricks, or nuts and raisins when on a forced march. Raisins and nuts were expensive but a great energy boost when it was needed.
Slowly crouching Gerontis frowned as he looked at Roran. ''Why are some of the damn villagers joining our ranks? You do realize they are in greater danger when they will follow and join us, don't you? And don't give me the bloody crappy answer that it's their free choice. You've either given them permission to join us or else I need to beat the living crap out of our soldiers for accepting those villagers.'' Gerontis paused as he wanted to explain why he was against it.
"They are indeed. I've accepted them in our ranks. Think of it. We have about 120 men left, and we're still suree that there are at least 1500 more Majdalans in this area. We need every able man we can get, even if it's just a farmer. They're defending their homes, and as long as we don't throw them into an enemy formation even a farmer in armour with a big poleaxe can take on a Majdalan legionaire, unless he's particularly skilled. We're fighting an enemy that solely trains its troops for formation warfare. In a duel they're worthless, in a fotion they're undefeatable." He explaind to his second in command, handing a second apple to him.
Scoffing he took the apple, but before taking a bite he explained why he was against it. ''Those men don't know the hilt of a sword to the pointy end. Bloody gods Roran, we will need to train the bastards, which will cost us more time. Don't forget that our enemy isn't that worthless.'' Gerontis pointed to his scar he had over his left eye. ''Everyone with a weapon can be dangerous, don't you dare to bloody forgot that.'' He mumbled.
"Don't think that I'm stupid, Gerontis... Let me know if you can find some 500 professional soldiers hidden in an orchard." He replied with a snappy and annoyed tone. He just wanted to sleep now. It was hard to keep acting as the charming leader now Adele was dead... Because of him... All his fault...
Suddenly Gerontis grabbed Roran by his collar. ''Roran, you damn bastard. Remember that those men rely on you. If those villagers die then this village will only get more damaged. I will let you decide if those lads are going to stay or not, but I will curse by Boron's beard that I will rip of your ears if you don't listen to me when I say this.'' Gerontis paused as his two coloured eyes glared with a dangerous glance at his friend. ''Don't forget what we're fighting for. It's not simply for the king, may Boron shove his mighty fist through his mouth, but for the people. So that our people can sleep safetly at night, not fearing some bloody invaders try to rape, murder and pillage as they go.''
Letting go of Roran he rose up and started to walk away. ''May the gods watch over you and get a good night rest. Even for ya I'll have no mercy in the morning when we will march.'' He told Roran as he marched away.