I whipped my horse as hard as I could to reach the glorious town of Ildock. I rode for two weeks, nearly killed my beast from constant pushing its guts to haste more than it could. Dirt roads were somewhat good, but with a lot of curves around the hills that stretched along the desert border, they were not of any help, so I climbed the least traveled road and cut through the farms and fields of sun-canes. Gratnians would hated me for doing it so, but war was not waiting for the late knights. Day and night passed dodging the Zarian arrows, Konian spears and flying beasts the Royal Mamluks had in their armory. Those creatures of sharp claws, wings like sails took part of my horse in a fly by, leaving it to bleed for days.
At last, the Sun winked behind the hills held by Ildock, a black city of mercenary Kingdom. Grey clouds glided due north and a warm breeze combed my horse’s hair. It also brought a stench of rotting flesh and cry of crows, feasting on the dead. High grass rustled beneath heavy stomps of the beast I traveled on, gently touching my knee caps hidden in iron.
– Oh, Aramon be gracious. What have happened here? – I spoke to myself, disgusted by what I see.
Spotted mounts were steaming with smoke where a smaller ones were keeping it company. Those anthills were dead soldiers, brave warriors of Zaria, Ildock and Konia mixed together like brothers in a family house. No weapon, nor shield lied on the ground showing who was whom. Marauders have collected it all and sold it to weapon smits, so the blood can be washed away and sold to poor peasants that struggled keeping their homes safe in this dark hours. Hoofs ambled around the disfigured bodies, cold faces filled with maggots and worms. Sun baked blood turned black on their naked corpses where wounds portrayed their horrible death.
In that place, I was the only soul living, until an archer rose from the high grass and shot an arrow in my horse’s eye. Beast prompted on its back legs and threw me away like a training doll while screeching and jerking its front legs before it fell down to its death. Archer waited a good twenty minutes for me to get on my feet, but I never stood up. He was surprised when a blade pierced the high grass he was hiding in and ended in his guts. Good thing I crawled, or he would put me down for eternity.
– You will not win. – he growled in pain as he was slipping to his death.
– I got the last kill. The Ildock already won. – I said walking away.