A War of Brothers
Part 1: Knighted
Walking to the throne room of Taragom, Warrior-King of Angamer, for his Knighting, made Cadet Deen of Fandor think about what would happen in his years of Knighthood. He hoped to be posted on the border, where there was something to be done, or maybe join the garrison at Geldor, the city of the Mages. He himself had no aptitude of magecraft, so he had always been fascinated by it. At last he reached the chamber doors, where the guards nodded and let him in. At first the size and beauty of the room dazzled him, as he had never been in here before. After standing, amazed, at the entrance to the room, he finally realized what he was here for, so he went forwards towards the Warrior-King. When he reached the throne, he knelt before the Warrior-King. Taragom drew his sword and said aloud:
“ Do you, Cadet Deen, swear to serve and protect the Kingdom of Angamer with your life?”
“Yes” Replied Deen.
“Then I dub thee 'Sir Dean of Fandor, Knight of Angamer'. May you serve well”.
As soon as these words were said, one of the Warrior-King's servants came forward and gave the shield that was to be Knight Deen's to the Warrior-King.
Taragom then gave the shield the Deen, saying:
“Use this Shield well”.
In the festivities that followed, Deen received many congratulations, and was honored back at home as First Knight of Fief Fandor. His brother might have held his position, had he not turned traitor during his Knighting Ceremony and killed the previous Warrior-King. Once the Warrior king was dead, he had fled the Kingdom and now led the armies of the eastern lands that were harassing Angamer's borders. Deen hated his brother because of this, and vowed that he would become a knight and end his brother's kingship over the eastern lands.
After a month at home, he received a letter from the Angamer High Command, stating that he was to be poster on the border of Angamer and the Eastern Provinces, in Fort Gerholm. Deen rejoiced at this posting, as it had been what he had hoped for all along. Finally, he thought, a chance to get at his brother.
As Deen rode to his posting on his Warhorse, Donaveta, he talked with his best friend from the training Academies, Arliem. They were both positioned at the same post. Arliem was one year older than Deen, but he was not quite as good of a swordsman. Instead, he was an excellent shot with a bow, being able to shoot two arrows in two seconds and make one split the other. If he had to draw a sword in melees, Arliem used a one handed 3 foot long short sword in one hand, and a hunting-knife in the other. They made quite a pair when fighting, with Deen coming up in front with his custom built Long sword, which was nearly five feet long from pommel to tip, and Arliem providing cover from the back. They had each only fought one battle, when the Warrior-King wanted to take some cadets with him to the battlefield. He had taken six cadets with him. Deen, Arliem, and one other cadet were the only ones that came back, and Arliem barely made it.
While in the middle of a friendly argument over who had better skills overall, an arrow whizzed overhead and struck Deen in the chest. Luckily for him, he had his traveling armor on and it only pierced one inch into his body. However, the arrow was coated with nufaffle, an herb to make people sleep. Arliem took out his bow and looked for the culprit. He found it in the form of 12 men slowly climbing out of the bushes. He quickly notched an arrow and set it flying. It hit one of the men in the face, arrowhead driving into his brain. The man fell, screaming and twitching. Arliem quickly set loose another arrow, this one hit a man in the chest, the man stopped in his tracks and looked down to see blood pouring out of the wound. He then looked up and fell down, dead. Before Arliem had time to send another arrow up, he was interrupted by a call from Deen:
“ Go, Arliem, they will not hurt me! They bear my brothers markings!”
“ But, Dee...?”
“ Just go!”
And so Arliem went, dodging arrows sent at him. Deen looked at his friend one last time before he fell off Donaveta. Distressed, Donaveta quickly ran after Arliem. Deen's last view before he passed out was of two of the men making a stretcher to carry him to his Brother.
Part 2: Captured
When Deen awoke, he was in a magnificent four-poster bed, in a place that he had never seen. On the wall was a portrait of his brother, and inscribed into the portrait were the letters Duke Brinser, 128. He smirked and fell asleep again, the effects of the drug still on him.
When he woke up later on, he noticed the man sitting close by his bed. When his vision cleared, he finally saw that it was none other than his brother, Brinser. Deen lunged for his brother, yelling:
“ You double crossing little piece of cr...!”
His voice trailed of as Duke Brinser drew his dagger.
“ No one insults the duke,” he said calmly.
“ You're no duke, you're only a traitor to the King,” retorted Deen.
“ You'd better watch you're tongue, so I won't have it cut off,” replied Brinser calmly, “And that would be such a waste, wouldn't it?”
At this Deen fell silent, though he still fumed.
“ Aaaah, that's getting better now, isn't it?” the Duke asked, “but I won't let you have a chance to insult me again. I only want to offer you a deal, a deal that could make you the Warrior-King of Angamer. But, of course, you're loyalties are to the King already, so you would not betray him would you? But, will you still be loyal to him if I give you command of my army of warrior-mages, which are unstoppable, of course. So what is it, will you take my offer, or should I send you to the dungeon to rot?”
“ You shall not have my allegiance. I would rather make an allegiance with a poisonous toad. As if your mouth is any different,” retorted Deen.
Deen then spat onto his brother fancy robes. Brinser wiped the spit away with a grim face.
“ Fine then, to the dungeons you go. And let me remind you that no one has ever escaped,” said Duke Brinser calmly. “ Guards, take him away!” he yelled.
One of the guards came forward and whacked Deen on the head.
When Deen came to, darkness prospered. There was barely enough light to see 3 feet ahead, not that there was much to see anyway. But there was a shape somewhere ahead, just barely visible in the dim light. Deen stumbled forward, still not quite awake. The blur eventually turned into an old man, with a long pointed hat which was bent in the middle. Deen studied the man for a bit, then ventured to ask,
“ Excuse me, but what is your name?”
“Name? For now just call me Mage. Who are you?”
“ I am Sir Deen of Fangorn, Knight of Angamer. My brother is Brinser,” replied Deen.
“Aaah. So you are this knight I heard about, this one that would save us all.”
“ Who's “us all?” Anyway, I can't get out of here so I don't know about the save us all part. Duke Brinser may be a traitor, but he is known not to lie,” said Deen.
“Pah, the Duke lies all the time. There is a way out. I just need the help of all the others.”
“But who are all the others?”Deen asked.
“My other personalities, of course!”
“This guy is weird,” thought Deen, “weird but helpful.”
“ Do you have all your personalities collected Mage?”
“ Yes, yes, almost. Alllrrright! We are ready!”
Mage screwed up his face and began muttering words. Suddenly, Deen had his sword and traveling armor, and a hole appeared in the seemingly solid wall. Deen gasped and began to walk forward. Before he entered he turned around and said:
“Thank you, Mage, I could have never escaped without you.”
Mage answered, “Oh stop all this nonsense. Run along.”
Deen ran into the tunnel, saying thanks again as he ran.
Part 3: Recovery
When Deen reached Fort Gerholm, he was on the point of collapse, mainly because of dehydration and barely having had any sleep for a week. When he reached the gates, he told the guards his status and rank, and they let him through. Two medics came forward and took him to an infirmary, where he fell asleep, bloated, after drinking 3 gallons of water. His last sight was a medic reaching over his head with a hand encased with green flame.
When he woke, he was in the infirmary reserved for knights. He saw many other knights in other beds, sporting a variety of wounds. He palmed the round Folej which magically summoned a healer. One came in.
“How are you feeling, Sir Deen?” she asked.
“Very well, considering how I felt yesterday,” Deen replied.
At this the healer looked uncomfortable. She said, “Sir, you've been sleeping for 4 days.”
“Oh, really. Do you think I can I get out of bed?” Deen asked.
“Sure, If you're feeling up to it,” she replied.
“I do feel up to it,” Deen stated.
Deen got out of bed. He saw that there was a white cotton shirt, a leather jerkin, and beige pants. He also saw that his sword and dagger were on a belt, and he put that on too. Deen walked out into the sun and stood there, perplexed because of the bright light. He decided to walk to Headquarters. When he walked inside, he saw the general's clerk reading a letter, and he ask if the general was in. The clerk nodded, not taking his eyes from the paper. Deen walked around the desk and went to the general's room. Before he went in he took a breath. When he looked in the door, he saw General Vinc talking with another man. The man was Arliem. He let out a gasp. Then he walked to the desk, holding his breath and grinning. When he got to Arliem, he leaned down and asked
“How's everything going?”
Arliem, recognizing his voice, spun around and jumped out of his chair. He stared at Deen, his mouth hanging open. “How's everything going yourself!?”
Arliem demanded to know what had happened, but the general wanted Arliem to finish his report about the abduction of Deen first. The general told Deen that he looked forward to seeing him later. Arliem and Deen decided to meet in the mess and talk about his escape over lunch. Deen walked around for a bit, then decided Arliem would almost be done by now, so he made his way to the mess.
The time from lunch to dinner was hard to recall later, partly because of joy, and partly because of what happened. Deen did remember Arliem's reactions to what he said to his brother, and the old mage he met in the dungeon. Arliem's eyes widened when Deen told him about the tunnel. Arliem also told him two things. One, he was promoted to sergeant, and two, that the general wanted to see Deen as soon as possible. When Deen was in bed, he decided he would go to the General first thing in the morning.
Deen could taste the tension when he walk into HQ. He saw the clerk packing up. This time the clerk actually notice him.
“Hello. I am Quir Hashan of Irabii. How do you do?”
“Hi Quir, is the general available?”
“Yes. When you come back I have something for you.”
Deen walked to the generals office, thinking, “What in the gods does the general want me for?” He soon found out.
The general was leaning back into his chair, smoking a pipe and reading a report from another fort. Deen snapped to attention.
“At ease, Sir Deen. How is the recuperation going.”
Deen, thrown back by the informal comment took a moment before he answered: “Good sir.”
“I am promoting you to commander, and I am giving you command of this fort and her army. Good luck,” and with that onetime general Brock Vinc left the room.
Deen looked around at his new office. He decided the first thing he would do was tell the 300 troops stationed here. He left his new quarters and went to see Quir.
As Deen walked in, he saw a long package in Quir's hands. It looked a lot like a sword. Then it struck him. It WAS a sword.
“ I must give this to you. Every commander of a camp must receive a sword from the former commander's clerk,” Quir said.
Deen took the sword and drew in from its sheath. It was shining silver, like a mirror in the sun. There was a big opal at the tang, with smaller jewels and decorations on the hilt. It was 5 feet long, yet it was as light as a feather. Deen put the new sword on his belt once he had taken his old one off.
“How did you know I loved opals,” Deen asked.
“It just felt right to me”, Quir answered.
“Here, take my old sword for yourself. It has gotten me through many tense situations,” Deen said, offering his sword to Quir.
“Thank you very much. Judrest okk trogentashk.”
“Judrest okk trogentashk,” Deen returned.
Deen sat in his cabin, looking over his sword. He had told Arliem and the troops his intentions and had shown Arliem his new sword. He now drew it again, looking at its deadly splendor.
“I dub thee DenrWestle (“Thorny Fist” in the ancient tongue). We have some justice to deal out.”
Part 4 Infiltration
“What are we doing?!”
“Who are we fighting for?”
“The King of Angamer, Sir!”
The steady beat of of the soldiers marching and singing almost made Sir Deen of Fandor forget where he was going to. Of course, it was hard to forget because Deen was marching with 800 troops to destroy his brother. Brinser had betrayed Angamer 5 years earlier, When Deen was a year away from being knighted, and Angamer had been at war since. The soldiers and himself had been marching for 2 days, and they were expected to reach their target tomorrow morning.
Sitting in his tent, at the center of the circular formation of tents, Deen began writing letters to his family to explain what was happening. He hoped he would be able to return. He really missed his little brother Rair, and his sister Flamet, as well as his parents.
“Angamaaaaaar!” yelled 1st company of fifty soldiers, as they charged towards Duke Brinser's army. The armies stood in the Fields of Blood, with Brinser's castle in the background. Deen wasn't part of the main group. He was with his handpicked group of 14 commandos, and his mission was to infiltrate the castle. They snuck towards the serfs' entrance, disguised as commoners seeking shelter from the battle. Since most soldiers were fighting, security was lax, so sneaking in wasn't very hard. Deen thought that he could probably yell out his intentions and nobody would hear him.
The group of Commandos snuck up to Brinser's command seat, which was located the top of the main tower, so it gave an excellent view of the battle. The stairs up were covered with guards, so Deen and his second in command, Janert, decided that they would climb up the tower and enter a room at the top of the staircase. Deen led the way, and when he reached the top of the tower he looked around and saw that his army had defeated the first line of defense. “Arliem is really good,” he thought to himself.
Deen was the first over the wall, where he drew DenrWestle and charged to the five guards patrolling the entrance to the command room. The guards were stunned for a moment, and Deen used that opening to bring his sword around in a wide arc, chopping his sword into the first guards side. He ducked a diagonal swing from another guard, then drove DenrWestle into the second guard's heart. As soon as the blade went in, it was out again, just in time for Deen to swing it up to block a strike that would have cleaved him, head to crotch. By then the other commandos had strung their bows and shot the rest of the guards. One, two, then three fell with arrows in their chests.
Deen quickly strung his bow, then knocked the door open with his foot. He drew immediately and shot one of the guards in the chest, then he moved forward while shooting a second in the head. The rest of his team filed out, shooting until every last guard was dead. Only one guard was able to shoot an arrow, which hit Deen in the leg. He swore and yanked it out. Brinser had just become aware that Deen was leading the commandos. He got up slowly.
“I demand a Duel,” Deen said calmly.
Part 5 Duel
Arliem could not recall any battle so pitched. He swung his sword, then continued through with his hunting knife, opening two deep gashes in an enemy's chest. Arliem looked around. Men killed men, Brinser's soldiers v.s. Deen's soldiers. He whirled around, and walked toward Commander Hon'jib.
“Tell the troops to continue the attack! I want that castle in our hands!” He yelled to be heard over the clanging of swords.
Just then an arrow came whizzing towards him. Arliem drew his sword and cut it in half. He missed the other arrow that went into his chest. He dropped his sword, and staggered to the healer's caravan. The wooden vehicle looked like a hedgehog. He sighed. He knew he was out of the battle for good.
Brinser could only gape for a while. Then he came to his senses and drew his own sword. Brinser's sword was 4 feet long, and was a half and half, or bastard sword.
“May those be your last words!” he spat.
Deen swung his sword around in a horizontal swipe, but Brinser ducked and brought his sword up into a guard. The clang that they made reverberated around the room.
“Guard the door!” Deen yelled to his companions.
Brinser used this moment to break the lock and swung his sword into an upward diagonal strike. Deen jumped away just in time and felt the sword cut the air where he just was. Brinser staggered back, caught off guard by his powerful swing. Deen used that opening to step in and attack overhead. Brinser blocked, but only just. They stood there, face to face until Deen brought his knee up into his brothers balls. Brinser doubled over, clutching at his privates. Deen lunged in, trying to stick his blade into Brinser skull, but Brinser moved just in time. DenrWestle sunk into his shoulder instead. Brinser swore and staggered over to the other side of the room, making for the window. Deen was not about to let his brother jump out. He threw his sword. Such was the force of his throw that the sword went into Brinser's chest to the cross guard and the tip clanged into the stone wall behind him. Brinser stared at the sword in his chest, then at Deen. He fell onto the ground, sword hilt clanging on the ground. Deen flipped his dead brother onto his side, and pulled the sword out, cleaned it off, then doubled over and vomited. He had never done something like that before, and he never would do it again.
The team just walk down the stairs, as by now the castle was taken. When they got out onto the conquered battlefield, there were bodies everywhere. It looked like about ¾ of Deen's people died. He saw a commander walking through the bodies, checking for survivors. Deen walked over to him, recognizing Hon'Jib.
“Where is Arliem?” Deen inquired.
“General Arliem took and arrow the the chest . He's in the caravan that looks like a hedgehog,” Hon'Jib said grufly.
“Is he alive? Can I see him?” Deen asked.
“Sure,” was the reply.
Deen sighed. Hon'Jib was known for not wasting words. He went to the caravan anyway. Arliem was in a cot near the back. He had his covers off to his hips, and his chest was heavily bandaged. Arliem smiled when he saw him.
“I knew you would make it,” he said weakly. It looked like it pained him to talk.
“My brother is dead. You might be too. Get some rest,” Deen said.
“An arrow... an arrow hit me. Cut the first one. Missed the second. Maybe I will sleep. Later friend,” and with that he fell asleep
Part 6 Aftermath
Deen was sitting in the communal room in the central building to Fief Fandor. He was, once again, explaining his “The Battle of The Eastern Lands” to his siblings, which now numbered three. His mother had given birth to a second boy, Tuskain. He was Deen's favorite brother, because he reminded Deen of himself when he was that age. He had just gotten to the part where he started his duel with Duke Brinser when his soon-to-be wife, Kiara, entered the room. Something did not seem right in the way she stood. She asked him to come to her.
“What is it?” Deen asked.
“Arliem wants you.”
Deen immediately packed up, then saddled Donaveta, and rode to Drellstown. When he got there, the guards let him in, and he met with Aliem's mother. Something did not seem right with her too. She led him to Arliem's study. He was hunched over a document, reading carefully.
“I have just gotten a report. You are needed on the southern border. It seems that King Aind has a lust for land. He is invading Angamer.”
Deen was shocked by this. Two wars in 6 years! Taragom really has bad peace karma.
“When does he need me?” Deen inqired.
“As soon as possible. He is giving you the command of the third company, the same one you commanded at the Battle of the Eastern Lands. You are also general again,” Arliem answered
Deen rode back the next day, told his family, and said goodbye. He gathered up his armor, and began the long ride south.