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by Bruce.
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2253000
Off to the Pavillion Uprising.
Chapter 2.

Sir Foxley stopped just in front of the men. "If you wish us to pay a toll to pass through your land, then I will accommodate you."

         "You will accommodate us by giving us all your money. Pass that satchel down and you can be on your way."

         "I need to dismount to unhook the satchel strap from under the saddle. But I'll not do it while you have an arrow pointing at me. And if you shoot me now the horse will bolt and gallop to town and you will see none of the gold."

         "Gold, Gold you say. We surely are lucky today." The man motioned to the archer to drop his bow down. The archer responded by moving the bow to the side and off-target. As soon as he did Sir Foxley raised his pistol and shot the archer in the head. The horse reared up and bolted and the three swordsmen scattered in panic. Morgan took the opportunity to throw his dagger taking another one of them down.

          Morgan and Baldwin advanced towards the two bandits and Morgan retrieved his dagger. "You have two choices," Morgan shouted. "You can go back in the woods and live, or you can stay here and die. I can drop one of you with this dagger before you even see my arm move and that would leave two of us onto one. Also, our horse rider has re-loaded his pistol and is on his way back. So what's it to be?"

         The two bandits looked at each other and turned and hurried off. "That was very generous of you, Morgan."

         "Generous indeed, Baldwin. Like they said, this is their lucky day but not for the other two."

         Baldwin struck the archer's bow three times with his sword and then snapped it in half. Sir Foxley came back. "Good work, men," was all he said and they set off once more for the village.

* * * * *

         Morgan and Baldwin collected the rest of their payment and went to rent a room at a tavern in a nearby coastal town. It had been a week since the battle at Winton Bridge and Baldwin and Morgan were starting to get bored. “Not much going on in this country now the crooked Count is dead,” Morgan said. "The Baron said he wasn't even a proper Count."

         “Maybe we should go to the dock and see if we can get a ride on a ship to Advent. Worst ways we could do a bit of bounty hunting for the Advent militia until something else comes along.”

         They arrived at the dock and were pleased to see that there were three ships in. “Look, the one at the end is flying the Duke of Lovat’s flag,“ Morgan said. “Worth a look.”

         They walked up to the ship and two of the men who were with them at Winton Bridge were on their way ashore.

         “What’s happening?” Baldwin asked.

         “The Duke’s leaving tomorrow for the Pavillion Uprising. He’s got fifty men on board and another hundred and fifty at Blouton near the border of Pavillion.”

         “Pavillion Uprising, what’s that about?” Morgan said.

         “The president died without a son to take over so it fell to his brothers’ sons. One of two cousins took over but the other cousin is not happy and wants to overthrow him. Families eh.”

         “Sounds good,” Morgan said. “We’ll go and have a word with the Duke.”

         “We will all be pleased to have you two with us.”

         The two men went aboard the ship and were stopped by a seaman. After clearing it with the Duke, the seaman took them down to the Duke’s cabin. “Good to see you again. I was wondering where you two were.”

         “So!” Morgan said. “Were you going to leave without us?”

         “I didn’t even know you were here. Nobody told me. But you can be sure I'm glad to have men of your calibre with us.”

         “So, what is the uprising about? Something to do with a family feud we are told.”

         “Yes, two cousins, one country and they both want control. Now, one is no better than the other in any way but we are being hired by the one who is not in control. It is our job to defeat the other cousin’s army and appoint our cousin to the presidency.”

         “So there is no good cousin and bad cousin?” Baldwin said.

         “No. Just one is paying us and the other is not.”

         “So it's just about money,” Morgan said.

         “As always, Morgan,” the Duke said. “As always, you should know me by now.”

         “What about our payment?”

         “Eight gold coins each. It's a lot more than the others are getting so keep it to yourself. Four now and four when the job is done. We should be back here in no more than two to three weeks.”

         “I’m in,” Morgan said.

         “And me,” Baldwin said. “So are you the captain of this boat?”

         “No, and it’s a ship, not a boat. The Captain’s in the main cabin. I just hire the guest room in the ship when I need it.” The Duke poured some wine into three goblets. “Let’s drink to our success.”

* * * * *

         The ship arrived at Blouton two days later. The Duke and his men marched twenty miles to a large residence where the rest of his troops were camped in the grounds.

         “Has the man got no warriors of his own?” Morgan asked the Duke.

         “Only about twenty and he likes to keep them around him.”

         “So his cousin has two hundred men and he has twenty. Are you sure we are on the right side?”

         “Morgan, we are on the side that's paying us. When we have dealt with the other cousin’s ramshackle army our man will take control of the country. I am going to see him now to make sure there are no changes or developments. You sort yourselves into one of the spare tents. We will march out at dawn tomorrow.”

         The two men walked out amongst the tents. As they walked through they acknowledged some of the men, all of them private warriors hired for their fighting skills by The Duke of Lovat. Some were skilled swordsmen, some were archers and a few were good at both. Some of the men were friends, some they knew only vaguely and some were strangers.

         “There’s the cook’s tent,” Morgan said. “Let’s get something to eat and turn in for the night.” He looked at some of the tents in rolls on the grass. “The Duke said there were plenty of tents but he didn’t say we had to put them up ourselves.”

         They were woken the following morning when it was still dark. They dressed and gathered their belonging and made their way to the cook’s tent. As soon as they left the tent men began taking it down to load onto a donkey cart. A mass of men stood around the cook’s tent. “Might give this a miss,” Baldwin said.

         One of the leaders saw them and called across to them. “Baldwin, Morgan, come over here.”

         The old friends shook hands. “Don’t queue up with that rabble the leader’s tent is round the back. You can sit in comfort and get served at the table.”

         The men chatted about old conflicts and a short while later the Duke walked in. “All you leaders gather your men together ready to move. Baldwin and Morgan, you can come up the front with me.”

         The men set off and after half an hour Baldwin turned to the Duke and asked. “Do you know where the enemy is, Duke?”

         “Yes, and they know we are coming as well. I have it on good knowledge they are marching straight to meet us.”

         “And when will we engage?”

         “Probably in a day or two. We went over the border nearly as soon as we left camp, so we are in their territory now.”

         They marched until it was nearly dusk with only a few little breaks and then set up the camp in a clearing in the woods.

         “Can you two scout ahead later and see if there is any sign of the enemy?”

         “Yes,” Baldwin said. “But we’ll grab a couple of hours rest first.”

         Two in the morning they were roused by a warrior and they set off into the woods. Forty-five minutes later they walked halfway down a bank and were looking across at the enemy camp. “Looks about the same size as our camp, Morgan. By the number of tents, probably about two hundred men.”

         “Yeah, and they have plenty of sentries out. Let’s hope the few sentries the Duke has put out is enough.”

         “I’ll count the tents,” Baldwin said.

         Morgan laughed. “Don’t you trust your own estimation?”

         “Yes but...” Baldwin stopped mid-sentence. “I heard something.” The words had just left his mouth when some armed men started running out from behind a line of bushes. Not knowing how many were following, the two men decided to make a hasty retreat and hurried back up the bank pursued by an unknown number of hostile warriors.

The Flashes. Chapter 3.  (18+)
Scouting the Enemy.
#2145804 by Bruce.

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