By Anna Garthwaite | Posted: Monday June 6, 2016
By Michael Crosson
Aeddan felt the all too familiar feeling of fear as the short, stocky man in front of him charged at Aeddan with his vicious axe.
The man was a Zargian, with his black beard plaited and parted into two points, and his long black hair was pulled back in a similar fashion. His huge axe, grotesquely carved with horrible shapes and images, was a favourite weapon among his people. He carried no shield, as most of his people did, and wore no armour, save a horned helmet.
Aeddan blocked and parried with his sword, starting to feel like this was it, but then he felt a change in the strokes. They were weakening. He waited for the moment he could strike.
There! The Zargian had swept a side cut at Aeddans ribs, and when he pulled out, Aeddan’s opponent was a fraction slow getting his guard up.
Aeddan took the opportunity and his sword flickered in and out, taking the man directly in the chest. For the first time his face showed emotion. He screamed and fell to the ground, then choked as his mouth welled with blood. He looked up at Aeddan, making a sign. Aeddan didn’t understand to start with, then he realised. The Zargian wanted his enemy to kill him. Aeddan drew back his sword, then stopped as his heart hardened. Not after what they had done to him and his family, he thought, was he ever going to repay one of these kind. Instead He brought his boot up and kicked him, hard, in the face. The Zargian’s eyes welled and he groaned.
Aeddan took the brief lull at in the battle to look around.
The Vaddonese had pushed back the Zargianese after Zargia had decided to raid Vaddon. After charging to King Tringads capital, Syvwlch, the king rallied together his army and led them in a desperate charge against the Zargians, who were pushed back out of Vaddon.
As the Vaddonese army pushed back the Zargianese army, more peasants and country men joined them in the charge against the enemy.
Tringad pushed them out of Vaddon, but not content with leaving them out of their borders, where they could remobilise and launch another attack, he had pursued them until they were on the Jargas Plains, where the Zargians did all of their farming and had all their crops.
In some places though, there could be vast areas desolate of rocks and no nutritional value in the soil. It looked like a wasteland.
Aeddan’s family lived near the borders of Vaddon, and in the early days of the war, his parents had been killed and their farmhouse burnt down. Only Aeddan and his brother,Deiniol, had escaped. Aeddan felt a black rage and hatred towards the people who had caused him so much pain and sadness.
He looked at the two armies fighting each other. As his gaze swept around, he saw one Vaddonese warrior surrounded by four Zargian infantry. He recognized the warrior instantly and started sprinting towards the scene. As he did so, he saw one Zargian fall as a poleaxe welded by the Vaddon took him in the shoulder. As he tried to free it though, it caught and his whole side was exposed. one of the infantry saw the opportunity and pulled back his axe for the death kill.
Aeddan acted without consciously thinking. He pulled back his arm and sent the sword flying over the ground and it thudded into his enemy’s chest. He looked incredulously at the sword sticking out of him, then the light faded behind his eyes as he crumpled to the ground.
At the same time Deiniol whipped his poleaxe free and with a lightning sweep smashed his axe blade through into the remaining two Zargians. It stuck in one man’s side, and as it did, Deiniol pulled his dagger out and rammed it in the remaining Zargian’s heart.
The two brothers reunited as they picked up their weapons and rested in another lull in the battle, embracing briefly.
“Good to see you, brother,” shouted Aeddan above the din of the battle. Deiniol nodded and then looked towards the pile of Zargian bodies beside them.
“Thanks for helping me out,” he said simply. Aeddan nodded as well. There was no point in saying anything else. Then he swept his gaze out where the remaining Zargian army had rallied.
“Looks like the beggars are on their last legs. One more push and we’ll get them.”
But Deiniol shook his head grimly.
“Not with Tringad leading us. Killed leading a charge against a group of pikemen.”
Aeddan looked at his brother in disbelief. Then he shook his head sadly.
“We’ll miss him sorely. Was a good leader. I assume Aglovale will take his place?” Aglovale was the general of the army. But Deiniol shook his head again.
“Aglovale is dead as well. Blathaon, Tringads son, is leading us now, but I fear he may be too rash and young for this role.” Aeddan nodded agreement.
Then he looked up as a messenger on a chestnut horse came up to the pair.
“Blathaon has ordered the army together for one last charge. Assemble with your platoon and prepare for the signal.” Suddenly he was away again.
The brothers looked at each other. Then Aeddan broke the silence.
“I’ll see you after this is all over.” Deiniol nodded, then started to walk away.