Chapter I: The First Battle of Mist Vale.

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The Reach, one year ago.




Wind, always wind in this part of the Reach. It howled through the valleys and mountains with a force not unlike a wave crashing on stony shores. Arry had to shake his head more than once to keep memories of home from distracting him from his current tasking. It was not idle pleasures that had brought him or any of the other knights and warriors to this bleak place. They were here to ambush a party of raiders, and if the Red Knight had any say in the matter, each and every one of these Nords would have a quick trip to Sovengarde awaiting them. The band he was part of was, to say the least, quite varied. Of the Bretons, he was among the two dozen or so knights, most of whom wore heavy plate armor, over half were from his native Daggerfall, and each of those were sworn to his house, wearing the crimson cloaks and stag crested shields of the Whents. The others were mainly from the border villages, stout men for a certainty, but not as well equipped as his own. His remaining kinsmen were mainly scouts and men-at-arms, probably fifty of the latter and perhaps a dozen or so of the former, again half were wearing Whent colors. His brother was rather generous with his manpower, especially when it came to the needs of the Covenant, not that Arry particularly cared for being sent off to the borderlands, but once he saw the burnt villages, dead women and starving children, Breton and Reachman alike, it had certainly hardened his resolve, and he'd wasted little time in gathering a larger force. Even a few Reachman had joined his company. The rest of the force was made up of Orcs, proud warriors all, garbed in their traditional armor and lead by his old friends from his days as a squire. All told he had nearly two hundred souls, Breton, Orc, and Reachman alike, all waiting in this misty vale for the Nords to return. They had split into two camps, the Orcs had taken the rocky southern slopes, the boulders and stones so large that no one would see them coming until it was far too late. The main force, he'd encamped behind a pair of hills that guarded the eastern roads, that led back into High Rock proper. He'd tracked the raiding party to this area, the Reachman scouts had confirmed it for him, and even spotted the Nords returned. From his combined reports, he was facing anywhere from one hundred to two hundred Nords. Formidable warriors, but Arrelac himself stood as tall as a Nord, and he still had a trick or two up his sleeve. A pair of battlemages rounded out his company both were from the areas affected by these savages and both were sound combatants, but Arrelac would not unleash them just yet, timing was everything, and he fully intended to draw the Nords fully to him before he sprung his trap.

A shrill whistle broke his focus, the another. The watchers has spotted the main band, and distantly, even Arrelac could hear the clamor. Clearly his enemy wasn't expecting anyone to be here. "Time to draw steel men" he said with a commanding tone, nodding to his sergeants and picking up his helmet as the camp became a quiet hive of activity. He sent a runner to the Orcs, and mounted his destrier, a large grey stallion barded in steel. His beast had an ill temper this morning, which suited the knight just fine, soon enough he'd turn that anger on the Nords. The foot troops took up position on the crest of the hill, archers on top while Sir Arrelac and his knights stayed behind along the road. If this went to plan, the Nords would charge his men on the hill, once committed, Arry would lead his knight around and along the road, taking the enemy in the flank and hopefully forcing a retreat, which was exactly when the Orcs would strike from the rocky outcrops, cutting off the Nord's escape, if the northmen didn't retreat, no issue, the Orcs would still attack and they would put every last Nord to the sword.

Sir Arrelac held his shield close, and unsheathed his blade in a slow movement. There would be no need for lances today, they would need to get in close, the main reason for the charge was the break the flank, that and his knights wanted blood, they wanted to feel steel on flesh as they dealt today's justice, and the Red Knight hardly blamed them. These northerners were about to pay for their savagery. A horn sounded and told him that the battle had commenced, yells and cries of fury came over the hilltop as steel blades and arrows flew. The Red Knight lifted his sword high, then pointed forward, and on that silent command his horseman formed up and began the charge, weaving around the base of the hill and following the road, just as he had predicted, the Nords had attacked in full, though their numbers were more than he'd anticipated. It hardly mattered, their ranks were in chaos, and he smiled under his helm when he saw the telltale signs of the battlemages handiwork, fireball after fireball streaking down the slope, bursting in the midst of the northmen. Mere seconds from contact and the world slowed down, his sword arm came up and back, his blade flashed down like slow lightening, red gore spattered down the blade as he and his brethren smashed into the northerners like a hammer. The charge had it's intended effect, the Nords scattered before them, relieving the press on the main line. Arry slashed, stabbed, slammed his shield into one man's face, breaking his jaw and leaving his nose a bloody wreck. He was in his fury and he knew this well, as were his fellows. They pressed the Nords back and further into the vale with a rout.

But the Nords were warriors at heart, and soon the knight's fury had become their peril. The northmen rallied and charged back, axes and swords held high, and without the momentum of man and horse pressing them forward, Arrelac and his knights soon found themselves hard pressed. Arrelac himself was soon unhorsed, a massive Nord leaping though the air and tackling Arry, the momentum carrying man and horse to the ground in a crash. The northerner raised his axed to finish his quarry, but one of Arrelacs brothers swept past, blade taking the raider's head from his shoulders in one clean stroke. Sir Arrelac himself fought to his feet, using his shield as much as his sword, bludgeoning and cutting his way free and away from the main press of northmen. Arrelac was brave, but he was no fool, alone and on foot he wouldn't last long surrounded by his foes, with his horse down his best hope was to fight his way back toward the main cluster of Breton foot. The Red Knight silently cursed when his sword caught halfway in his latest challenger's shield, undaunted, Arry slammed his shield into the man to make distance, then tossed it aside and drew his massive claymore, a gift from his brother with the family stag on the pommel, Arry made didn't even give the blade a flourish before he raised it above his head and brought it down on his foe with crushing force, cutting through the man's shield and taking his hand with it. The Nord cried out in pain, lunging forward, but it was for naught. Arrelac sliced level, cleaving across his enemy's chest before ending his misery with a downward arc that spit his neck broken the man's collar. The Red Knight put his foot on the corpse and wrenched his blade free, spotting a another Nord, he engaged again, not that it mattered at this point, already Arrelac could see panic among the northmen, the Orcs had arrived, and even on foot, Sir Arrelac could see that the Nords were being taken apart by his allies, this battle had already ended. All that mattered now was to send as quell his wrath by killing as many as he could.

And the Red Knight did.

Things died down quickly once the Orcs arrived. The Nords fought on for a time, but, their situation was hopeless, and soon several started throwing down weapons and surrendering. Arrelac allowed it. He would march them back through the villages they burned, he would let the survivors see their tormentors in chains, he would tell them of the fate of the rest of the raiders, and when he reached the nearest castle, he would lock them in the dungeons for the local lords to execute at their leisure, either that or he would do so himself in Wayrest, for all the public to see. Those that fell were buried together, swords and helmets marking their graves, he gave any notable loot to the Orcs, whom he had arranged to be granted land for a stronghold nearby, soon it would take an army to breach this vale, and the Covenant would be all the safer for it. As a last touch, he left a large pole proudly depicting the arms of the Daggerfall Covenant atop the hill and above the graves. Once all had been seen too, and the wounded and slain of his own company treated and laid to rest, Sir Arrelac led his warriors west and south again, making their way back to Wayrest.......