The Flight of The Draykes
After the first day of open marching, we were forced to switch to night marches which significantly increased our traveling time.
Patrols were crawling over the land and a few hours before we marched, our scouts would slip away and eliminate the enemy patrols before we would quickly make our way beyond them.
The downside to this was that we were being tracked quite easily.
The upside to this was that we were being tracked quite easily.
Because it didn’t take a genius to realize that my uncle’s viscounty was our only choice to flee to since it was directly the next frontier garrisoned territory after Draconis City.
That meant we could only have enemies behind us and in front of us.
Which was bad, but at least better than being surrounded in all directions.
Plus, the lack of villages and towns that played strategic importance for the Kingdom of Leon was now a source of relief to us.
We didn’t have to deal with the garrisons of the villages and we could hide off the beaten path and continue after we had beaten off the flies of the enemy.
Which we did, every single day and night.
Looking around the hidden clearing that we had chosen for our rest today - somewhat earlier than usual - I spotted Damon and walking over to him, I sat down and coughed softly to announce my presence.
Startled, Damon looked up before noticing me and flashing a short smile, “Hail Faustus!”
“Hail Damon! What’re you doing?” I asked curiously.
Wincing, he lifted up his foot and showed me the bottom of it and I winced in commiseration.
His foot was bleeding from blisters and sores that lined it running from his toes to his heels.
“Marching?” I inquired, before feeling like an idiot for asking.
“Marching.” He replied with a grimace.
“How are the rest?” I asked after hesitating.
Gesturing around, Damon gave me a proud look and said, “Worse than me and as silent as me!”
Looking around, I saw the truth in his words. Most of the seedlings were grimly bandaging their wounds with strips of cloth torn from their clothes.
I waved at Ares who was among them, who responded with a grin. I gestured, inquiring about his condition, only for him to raise his hands and pat his chest as if to say, “I’m fine and good! Worry about yourself”
Looking down at myself, I grimaced, and then I looked at the rest of the seedlings.
Many of them looked quite downtrodden and poor, dressed in the rags of their fine clothing as they were but intimidating also when the command for falling in formation was given and their armor was put on.
Grunting, I stood in the armor that I hadn’t taken off yet because experience had taught me that an attack could come at any time.
After all, prepare for the worst and act for the best. A lesson that had been drilled into me by Teacher in the few months that he had trained me.
Also, to be honest, after the training runs with the weighted disk leather armor that was basically a very heavy sack, this march with genuine leather armor that was much lighter was nothing in comparison.
But one thing remained constant, the stench of sweat that I emitted back then and the stench of sweat that I emitted now.
The only thing that had changed was the stench of blood mixed in with it. That and the fact that most of the soldiers smelt the same way that I did and after the initial day, you quickly became used to it.
Falling into formation beside Damon who had followed me, we waited for the signal to start marching for the fourth day today.
Only to hear a commotion as one of our scouts from behind came running as fast as he could toward the clearing.
“Baling sheep” He shouted out as the password.
“Baling shite,” Nodded the guard at duty before chuckling, a chuckle that was wiped off as the scout urgently called out, “Enemy at the back!”
Striding forth, Galen held up his hand to silence the scout before taking his arm and guiding him to the makeshift command center.
There the scout spoke animatedly and the more he spoke, the more Galen’s and the rest of the Knights' expressions darkened.
Finally, they turned around and looked at us, the seedlings who were shifting about anxiously.
Grimacing, they turned back to talk amongst themselves, and finally, Sir Leonidas said something that made them all fall silent.
Nodding heavily, Sir Patrick gave his assent - following which everyone gave their own assent.
Turning toward us and walking with a heavy tread, Sir Galen came to the central part of the clearing and cleared his throat.
Quickly, everyone fell silent and Sir Galen spoke softly,
“The enemy is at our backs as I’m sure you might have heard. They number close to two companies of men and are all made of professional army soldiers. We are outnumbered but not outclassed, given that we have so many knights and castle guards in our company. However,” He trailed off before squaring his shoulders and standing taller,
“However, the enemy is in front of us too. Another 2 companies within a rudimentary fortification located two hours away. We could go around them, except that they guard the water source.”
Murmurs broke out at this and everyone quickly checked their canteens only to pale.
Continuing on, Sir Galen said, “We will still avoid the water source and take our chances because it simply is not worth it to assault a fortified place with so few against so many. The problem is still the two companies behind us because they are catching up at a pace far faster than we can march!”
“If we do not go to the water source, the tracks that we have left behind will lead all four companies straight to us and we may not survive the ensuing fight. As such, I have decided that we shall take the fight to them!” He said, ending with a shout and a clenched fist raised to the sky.
Muttering ensued before it turned into a subdued growl and then a silent roar as fists and weapons were raised to the sky.
Turning smoothly, we turned our backs on the setting sun and faced the encroaching darkness, and clutched our weapons tighter.
“Move out, Draykes!” yelled Sir Galen.
So we moved. To face the enemy who had double our numbers.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried.
Worried about the many men and women that I had come to have a sense of camaraderie with.
Men and women who might not live past tonight.
But we are soldiers.
We are Draykes.
We will fight.
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