The Flight of The Draykes
“What are the terms of your... parley?” Inquired Sir Galen exaggeratedly.
“You and your men leave and I will compensate you for your losses.”
“They’ve already compensated me, so you’ll have to think of something different,” Sir Galen said indifferently.
The voice fell silent for a minute before it spoke again, “I will grant you one thing that is in my power.”
Quickly Sir Galen replied, “A ship and these fine people to crew it.”
“You jest Sir,” Came the reply tinged with anger.
“You jest that I am jesting,” said Sir Galen, seriously.
“Do. Not. Test. My. Patience. Sir Galen,” said the voice, fury unmistakable.
“Save it, Jacob. Both of us know that we’re at an impasse. Give me something good and I’ll consider your conditions. But first, you need to show us your sincerity,”
“If you walk away, I promise to let everyone except for my nephews free.” Pitching his voice, my dear uncle shouted.
“As for my sincerity? You have two hours to consider the decision.” Saying so, the sound of horses walking away came and Sir Galen climbed back down with a grim face.
Jerking his head toward the gate, he said, “You heard the man. What now?”
Red in fury, Sir Patrick with a sharp voice spoke out, “We cannot hand Aaron and Faustus to him.”
“You can’t... but I can.” Said Sir Galen as he looked calmly at my brother and I.
“Yo-You!” Exclaimed Sir Patrick as he pointed with his index finger.
Counting off on his fingers, Sir Galen softly spoke, “I have 4 gold ranks and, including me, that makes 5. You have one, and two for a total of 2 gold ranks and both of you are heavily injured.”
“Tell me, what is stopping me.”
Peacefully, my brother and I stared back at him.
“I remember the terms for our agreement being that I would deliver you to safety, and safety was where Jacob Drayke was. Well, guess what... Jacob Drayke is outside and you’re ‘safe’ now.” He continued, as he jerked his head toward the gate.
Glowering at us, Sir Galen hawked and spat to the side before cocking his head at us. “No words of refusal?”
Slowly, my brother spoke, “What words are required between brothers in arms.” as he met Sir Galen’s piercing gaze which softened as he used both his hands to muss up his hair.
“Bal, I knew this mission was a death trap from the moment you Baling threw that badge at me. I knew it and it’s taken away Little Zave from me already, along with Knani and Cyrla.”
Compassionately, my brother walked over and put his arm around the man, who pushed him away angrily.
“You know I wouldn’t sell you out to that Balakash outside, but you damn well should know that we’re in a prickly place.”
“How prickly,” my brother asked with furrowed brows.
“They have 8 gold ranks, a weaponmaster, and your uncle - along with a troop of 2 platoons,” Sir Galen hissed.
Pacing around, he continued,
“We have...2 invalids, 4 hale gold ranks to their 8 gold ranks. I can take on a weaponmaster for a short while... which leaves your uncle. If he’s a weaponmaster, we’re screwed. Never mind that we’re outnumbered on the basic soldier level too!” Sir Galen cried out as he held his head in his hands and moaned.
“Why did I take this mission, why? Are the fates mocking me? Was I not calm for so long,” he raged as he shook his fist at the air.
Calming down, he sucked in deep breaths before turning around and dispassionately saying, “The way I see it, we’re baling in deep shite. I don’t know where your uncle even got 8 gold ranks from but I’m guessing that he was on Alastor’s side a long time before Alastor even began the shit that is going on right now.”
“So the only question is, how much should we sell our lives for…” Sir Galen said with a twisted smile before continuing, “I say, we sell our lives for two of their best people’s lives each. A fair trade I would say...do you not agree?”
Calmly, my brother spoke, “We will not sell our lives, but we shall collect interest. I will fight a gold rank by myself.”
“And I,” Sir Patrick said, heavily, “Will fight two of them.”
“You don’t have to, I’ll take one of them,” the Teacher said as he stepped forward.
“Count me in,” Grinned Faaris.
“Me too,” said the older gold rank guard with a kind smile tinged with a hint of ferocity.
“Me three,” said the only female gold rank knight among them.
Looking at Sir Egon, my brother raised an eyebrow in challenge.
“Bal take you. Of course, I’m fighting a gold rank too!” Sir Egon swore.
Sir Chase smiled mischievously before saying, "I have one arrow which I can put into whoever is asking for it!"
Looking incredulously at the invalids who were gleaming with fighting will pouring out, Sir Galen wiped his forehead before weakly saying, “At least dig your graves first or if you don’t want those, cough up all the gold you have so I can at least profit even if you conk off.”
Everybody nearly fell before laughing out.
Laughter that reached outside where Uncle Jacob furrowed his brows and discreetly tapped his forehead before nodding.
Growing serious, Sir Galen said, “That’s the gold ranks being accounted for and tied up. What about their silver ranks?”
With a pondering face, Sir Egon was about to answer when he looked past us and his voice caught in his throat.
Turning back, I too felt choked as I saw men and women, wounded heavily and yet garbing themselves in their armor with fire in their eyes.
Nodding at us, they continued arming themselves, with undying will burning wildly.
“I... I don’t think we have to worry about the silver ranks,” Said Sir Egon, with a trembling voice full of emotion.
“Tough balakash’s you Draykes are, I’ll give you that,” Sir Galen swore as he raised a discreet hand to wipe his eyes.
“Orders, Sir!” came the quiet question from the ranks of valiant soldiers lined up in front of us.
“What else! We fight! With everything we have!” cried out Sir Galen to a muted ‘hooah!’.
Then he shouted out, “Bal, take them, let out your voices. Let them know who we are,”
With thunderous roars that shook the ground, the gathered soldiers crashed their weapons against their shield and bellowed.
The bewildered captives inside the tent began shaking as they were escorted outside and then trembled in relief as we took them outside the gate under the flag of the parley.
“You have made your decision?” Asked Jacob Drayke heavily.
“We have,” Galen said calmly.
“So be it.” My uncle said as he seemed to grow smaller all of a second.
Sir Galen went to turn around when he heard the words, “Wait!”
Pausing, he waited as my uncle straightened up to stand, towering over him.
“I will not go easy on anyone in the battle to come. You would do well to remember my words.”
Saying so, my uncle waved his hands and ripped off his cloak, and a repressed aura began circulating around him.
Sir Galen stiffly resisted the aura before answering in kind and walking back to our camp with a heavy tread.
The gate closing behind him. He took a deep breath before he called us together again.
“We have a few minutes left of the parley time. Thoughts on defense?”
Everyone looked at Sir Leonidas in unison, who nodded and said, emphasizing the word, “Sally.”
Dumbstruck, everyone looked at him.
Sally meant leaving our secure fortifications and attacking the enemy outside.
Sallying, while burdened with so many wounded men, was tantamount to suicide.
Hesitantly, Sir Patrick opened his mouth to say something to that effect when Sir Leonidas raised his hands and said,
“Let the most heavily wounded man the ramparts. Give them all the ammunition we have except for the javelins.”
“The rest of us knights will charge into the common soldiers, if and only if, the enemy sends them in first. We will charge right when they are about to assault the ramparts and we will kill as many as possible while charging at our respective enemy knights.”
“The rest of the assault team will focus on engaging the enemy beyond the ramparts, fighting defensively to maximise the potential of our ranged killing zone.”
“This is the best plan I could think of, but plans are just plans. They are liable to fall apart in battle.”
“Thoughts?” He asked with a finality in his voice.
Shaking our heads, we went to communicate the same with the soldiers that would be laying their lives down in battle.
They listened, shocked at first, before death-defying grins crept onto their faces and they bared their teeth.
Lions do not sit inside their den waiting for the wolf.
They go to beard the wolf in its own lair.
And we are Draykes.
We will fly and take the fight to them.
The Flight of The Draykes.