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Three Lives part 3

by Ramield on Feb 01, 2015 at 01:42 AM}
“I had finished saddling Cara and armouring her when we heard a horn call. Ramield and I went to the mead hall to muster with the other troops, I with Cara in tow. The Thane Wulfrad gave a rousing speech, proclaiming how as we had driven these men off so many times before, we would do so again. I cheered with the rest of the small group of assembled men, because I guess that’s what one does when he doesn’t know any better.”

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Shouts rang around her and Amelthia added her voice to the crowd. The only change in Ramield’s expression was that from impassiveness to uninterpretable narrowed eyes as she ran a finger along the string of her bow which was slung across her shoulders. Amelthia was unaware of the change, as she was caught up in the pre-battle frenzy. She put her foot in the stirrup and began to mount but was stopped by a touch on her arm. Chiding herself, she remembered the elf beside her, whom she had promised to help but had forgotten already in the excitement. “Ah, uh, yes. What was it we were doing?” she stammered as she recovered her footing. The elf half smiled briefly before asking more seriously, “Is there a horse I can use?”
“I’m afraid not,” the woman replied, rubbing the back of her neck. “All of those you see are personally owned by their riders.” Amelthia looked forlorn up at Cara, dreading the thought that Ramield might ask her for her own mare.
“Then may I ride with you?” came the startling request. Amelthia, astonished having not considered the option, contemplated for a moment whether Cara would object to the extra weight. “I suppose…” Her voice trailed off, her words sounding more like a question than a statement. Ramield, her face unreadable as ever, motioned for Amelthia to mount. She did so, and as she was adjusting herself in the saddle preparing to give the elf a hand up, she felt the saddle shift under her as the elf grabbed it and vaulted up to settle in behind her. Her right arms held onto Amelthia for support while the other kept her bow at the ready. “At the start of the battle, go with your own discretion; however, there will come a time when I will direct you where I need to go.” The elf’s voice was steady, a fact that was reassuring to Amelthia. It was stable amid the clatter of hooves on cobbles, the creaking of leather saddles, and barked orders from various superiors. Though she was familiar with battle, the unknown tribe and the presence of the elf had shaken her.

Amelthia could hear her blood pumping in her ears as they approached the gate. Adrenaline amplified her senses. She was aware of every twitch, every murmur, the pungent smell of anticipation, and the calm firmness of the voice behind her saying, “Remember what I told you back at the stables: fight defensively; do not take any unnecessary risks. It is doubtful this town has faced any so ruthless as these, but I also doubt that the Dunlendings will be expecting such a resistance or think that their arrival was anticipated. They may turn back when they see that you all will not be taken so easily.”

By now they had reached the gate with the rest of the small company. Amelthia was sure she and the hooded figure behind her would be receiving many a sideways look had her comrades’ helmets permitted it. This mattered little to her though, for she was focused only ahead. The gate’s hinges groaned and screeched against their opening. Horses and men began to flow from its mouth forming ragged lines, a simple and familiar formation, yet clearly unpracticed. At Ramield’s behest, she made her way toward the right-hand portion and assimilated into a line.

The horsemen waited behind the crest of a small hill as Reord reported to Thane Wulfrad. He signaled to his lieutenant who led the small company of footmen around the left bank of the hill. The sound of their thudding feet faded into a momentary silence.
Suddenly, the yell of a charge filled the air above. Then came the clashing sound of metal on metal. Wulfrad raised his spear over his head to signal the riders to charge as his horse reared as if to encourage his brethren.

Amelthia tensed, her hands tightened around Cara’s reigns. The battle had begun.
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