Chapter 4, Part 1 ......................... Last Stand
| Chapter 5 Part 2 draft The southern Passage. The Last Stand
The King of the West Andor shielded his eyes from the afternoon sun. He had been riding the front lines since the battle began before dawn, often leaping from his war horse into the fiercest combat. The Queen and his two daughters stayed close to him, they had one purpose; to protect their King. They wielded narrow, razor-sharp swords held high as they rushed into battle. They did not carry shields. They were not afraid. The Royal Women were strong and fast, flashing silver and gold as cheetahs in the sun. The women were girded in light armor; leather, chain, cuirass, and helm.
Harold wore heavy plate armor gilded in gold, a shining steel shield on his left arm, and in his right hand a hardened steel long sword, few blades could match it and in the King's hand, it seemed a living thing. His mount, Cambion, covered in chain and plate was filled with rage and prepared to attack and kill. The king saw a breach in the line and he charged straight into the enemy front ranks. As man and horse plunged into the mass of enemy footmen the King's great horse spun in circles knocking men back, kicking and trampling others to death. Harold found himself fighting alone like a madman his sword flashing right and left; blood running down the blade.
He was not the largest or strongest man on the field. Yet for a stout man with a substantial middle girth, Harold moved with dazzling agility. The Vendel warriors wondered at this King who fought boldly with his men while their King stayed far from the front. This King, Harold, was the greater and the enemy ran before his presence.
The King now wheeled Cambion around and rejoined his own ranks, the breach was closed by the women of the Royal Musketeers backed up by hundreds of longbowmen. He looked for his wife and daughters but could not see them in the battle. It did not matter, the King fought on.
King Harold called out to his bannermen, 'Unfurl all the flags so that the enemy may see us better!"
The air was pervaded with the smoke of the musketeer's matchlocks and cannons. The grass beat down to mud and muck slick with blood. The battlefield was all confusion; men attacking, others defending, and all about knots of men engaged in close combat. The noise and stench were overpowering.
King Harold caught site of Lord Christin, Second Captain of the Guard, he rode to her and there on the ground lay the Queen, a company of soldiers encircled the body.
Harold dismounted, he ignored his wife's body; he had no time, he spoke to Christin.
"You must go to the high ground and take command of the army."
"But where is Admiral Andrew?"
"He lay dead over there." Harold motioned to a body on the ground. " You are now First Captain. You have my confidence, I must stay here in the front of the battle."
"Sire, the Queen still has life in her."
"Take the Queen with you. Do not despair, help may yet come" ordered the King and then he disappeared into the fighting.
Harold fought with his Old Guard, the most veteran warriors of the Royal Guard. He knew them well, each by name. He would not move from this place, his battlefield experience told him this is where the heaviest blows would fall.
Lord Christen stood atop the hill so all could see the Captain of Guard, soon she was joined by the Queen, who was battered and bandaged yet standing, leaning on a flagstaff bearing the royal banner. This news spread through the ranks quickly and gave courage to the army. Lord Christen was trusted by the soldiers, thus, they knew that they were not leaderless and all could see their beloved Queen Mary was yet alive and undefeated.
Alone in command Christen put away her emotions and created a well-ordered defense. When at last the army could move no more a circle was formed around the hill where they had brought the wounded the day before. Shoulder to shoulder, shield to shield the last 10,000 stood as 40,000 Vendel warriors swirled around them; if this was to be their last day then they would make it a long day. Christen smiled, the men and women of the Highlands still stood fierce and proud. Regiment and company, rank upon rank the army fell into its formation. There was no panic, no disorder, just a silver sea of muskets, swords and spears, arrow points and armor.
The Kings Captain said to the wind, "This will be a good day."
Lord Christen called out to those about her atop the hill. They were her commanders, messengers and a small army of wounded.
"I wish the King were here to see this. You are the army of King Harold, I have never seen the like. It is an honor to be with you this day. I would be nowhere else."
Christen knew at the end these would be the last to fight and fall. She was proud to be one of them.
A memory came to her, "All the wise are sentimental, it makes then neither old nor fools." something Jonn once said.
Christen now realized it was true. Maybe all hope of victory was not yet lost.