It has perhaps been the longest few days in my two centuries of life.
Galloway ordered us to lead the left flank of the attack into Rhuobhe. Govannon was to command the forces assembled there and the men were jokingly calling us “Govannon’s Six”. Each of us paired off with a force battalion of men numbering in the hundreds. Miri and I were to lead one of the faster moving battalions while the others worked from the back to better plan for the chaos of the coming battle. When all our forces were prepared, we met the army of Ghealles on a rolling plain by the edge of the forest. The armies sized each other up and the generals stared at each other from across the plain. It was then that we got a good look at the elven general. The others wondered who might lead the army of the Manslayer…but the golden hair and the familiar way he held himself could only belong to Ceallach. My father led the army against us.
A pitched battle was fought. Men and horses died around us and at times the rain of Sidhelein arrows seemed to be unending. Battalions on both sides broke ranks, but our middle held. Five Sidhelein heroes were captured. Their forces were routed and their final remaining battalion threw down their weapons in resignation that they either surrender or be butchered by a superior force. Though some of the battalions were badly wounded, we didn’t loose a single squad.
Govannon gathered our forces to celebrate, but we were quickly joined by Galloway. The other fronts succeeded in their own assaults and he wished for us to accompany him in his vanguard.
We were to ride into the very heart of Rhuobhe and take the fight to the Ghealles themselves.
The way was long and we were ambushed by Sidhelein bladesingers in what the humans describes as an unnaturally heavy mist. We became separated in the mist and the bladesingers used our confusion to their advantage. It has been a long time since I fought any from the school of the Striking Serpent. We eventually beat them back taking a single prisoner. He proved to be uncooperative and when he found out who I was…I will only say that Ceallach told them about his “dead daughter” and that prisoner was dispatched of quickly and brutally.
We moved on to an ancient elven city in the heart of the forest. The army began to sack the city while Kenrik directed them not to burn down the forest and city around us. I tried to get the remaining Sidhelein to run, but alas some were lost. Our looting of the city was thorough. We were about to move on when we heard a voice from above us in the walk ways between the tree houses. Tall, menacing, and with a mane of black hair; Rhuobhe Manslayer stood above us and mockingly called to parlay with Galloway.
We looked at apprehensively at each other for a moment as Galloway climbed the ladder to the walkways above. We followed behind him quickly.
The Manslayer and Galloway talked as if they were the only two there; referencing something that happened far in Galloway’s past. Galloway, caught of guard, demanded to know how the Manslayer knew so much about him. Something about him slaying a dragon.
We watched the coterie around the Manslayer tensely and waiting for them to act on some unseen signal. Eoindeln stood among those gathered against us. Galloway drew his sword and told us that the elven wizard held a book and we should get it and get out as fast as possible. Rhuobhe drew his twin longswords made from a matte silver metal. Chaos erupted around us.
Miri led the charge against the elven guards and we tried to focus our magics and attacks to the wizard and those guarding her. Eoindeln covertly tried to help us, or at least not harm us in our attempts to battle the Manslayer’s guards. We quickly outmatched and started to realize how bad things were going for us. Majid tried to heal Galloway’s wounds, but they smoked and burned rather than healing. The onslaught became to much and Charles Galloway fell before the Manslayer. Just as the Manslayer was about to deliver the killing blow, Galloway shifted slightly and chose rather to fall to his death. Enraged, the Manslayer turned on us. I stepped forward to try to give the others enough time to grab the book and get out of the city. Rhuobhe looked down at me and said that my father would be happy to know I died fighting against the cause. The wounds from the Manslayer’s swords were like nothing I had encountered. It was as if I could feel my life ebbing from my body. As everyone else disappeared into the surrounding forest, I made a break for the edge of the woods. I knew that I would not be able to make it in time, but a parting arrow in my back knocked me into the cover of the forest were I was able to meet up with the group.
Wounded in both body and pride, we limped back to the army’s encampment. The rest of the men burned and looting in their retreat headless of their safety or ours. We arrived back to the encampment dodging questions from the senior staff. We met in Galloway’s tent and started to pour over the book we risked out lives for as well as Captain Galloway’s personal log and diary.
We looked to each other with a sense of sadness and apprehension.
Charles Galloway, famed mercenary captain,our employer and friend was dead.