Kill Them All
Lorist decided to let the convoy continue on its original path as he agreed with Charade's rationalization: the convoy was only passing through the area and not intending to fight for the right to rule the place. Besides that, the convoy was being escorted by an elite military force. Based on the military might they had, Count Cobry would definitely think twice about whether he would attack them, as, if he ended up being crippled from all the casualties he would get, wouldn't that open up an opportunity for the other scheming nobles to cause him even more grief? They believed that the count wouldn't make such an irrational decision.
Charade also said that if the count didn't give them any trouble, they could also trade weapons with him so that he may be able to unify the lands under his rule more swiftly. As for the livelihood of the other nobles, it didn't have anything to do with the convoy. No matter what kind of person Count Cobry was personally, it didn't matter much to Lorist and his gang as they were only passing through the area.
That reasoning had Lorist convinced to take the original route that they had planned. Potterfang also mentioned that given the family's forces, there was no need for them to fear the insurgent groups as they were mainly concerned with fighting the count. As long as they didn't band up together to attack the convoy, Potterfang was confident that he would be able to protect its safety.
However, Lorist didn't expect that he would actually run into such an arrogant and brutal bunch that didn't even bother to communicate before they attacked, much to his anger and dismay.
The convoy was divided into three battalions, namely, the vanguard battalion, the main battalion and the rearguard battalion. The vanguard battalion had up to 100 carriages with Yuriy's scout cavalry squad and a company of pikemen traveling ahead of them. Their task was to ensure the safety of the area in front of the convoy and notify the ones behind them about the best road to take or where to set up camp as well as prepare the appropriate measures for the defense and safety of the convoy.
The main battalion had 600 four-wheeled horse carriages that transported the convoy's provisions, weapons and equipment as well as the family members of the soldiers. It was guarded by Terman's knight brigade, a company of crossbowmen, the heavy-armored battalion, a company of pikemen as well as 160 other guards.
The rearguard battalion had up to 100 carriages with only Dulles's carroballista unit and a company of pikemen guarding it. The main reason for that was the condition of the muddy road they traveled on. To prevent any damage to the carroballistas, such as having their wheels stuck in a pit, the former two battalions served to stamp the roads flat and sturdy by traveling ahead of the rearguard battalion. The main role of the rearguard battalion was to provide support for the carriages that needed maintenance and transport some miscellaneous baggage, such as the stuff they had taken from Viscount Mestre's castle. The people from the viscount's castle were also escorted by the rearguard battalion.
Having crossed the hills that marked the border between Baron Charles's and the other nobles' territories, Lorist instructed the convoy to be on high alert. On the first day, the journey went smoothly, but there were reports from pikemen that stated that some people have been sighted inspecting the convoy's campsite from afar. Lorist ordered for the crossbowmen company to make defense preparations and kill anyone who entered the camp. Fortunately, no such incident occurred during that night.
Noon on the second day since leaving the border, Dulles who was stationed at the rearguard battalion, reported that there was a group of people who followed the convoy from behind. Lorist instructed him to ignore them if they had no hostile intentions and let them do whatever they want. On that day, the convoy traveled more than 30 kilometers.
The third day since their departure, they passed through an abandoned town along the way. The buildings were noticeably burnt with many walls broken down and stained with soot and blood. From time to time, pieces of rotten body parts and shattered bones could be spotted on the grassy ground by the roadside.
That day afternoon, when the main battalion was passing through a forest, 100 mounted men equipped with leather armor and pikes charged straight towards them.
The main battalion with its 600 carriages stretched around 1.5 kilometers from head to tail with Lorist at its front. Upon hearing about the approaching horsemen, he brought Terman along to the encounter site right away. This happened the moment they were about to travel across a small hill.
Given that the main battalion was the middle section of the convoy, its security was managed by one of the senior students of the Dawn Academy. Seeing the 100 men galloping towards them, he brought three others on horseback and signalled for them to stop so that they may engage in negotiations. To show his sincerity, he didn't even bring his sword with him and ordered his attendants to not be in defensive formation.
Usually, when one was met with such a situation, one would stop and get off one's horse and send a representative, given that the convoy wasn't their enemy and there was no need for them to engage in conflict.
The group of horsemen slowed down, much to Lorist's relief. However, when he was about to get off the horse to get closer, something unexpected happened.
The horsemen quickly arrived before the senior student and a loud whistle could be heard. Two large nets were tossed by some of the horsemen and the senior student was trapped and was pulled off his horse. The hundreds of men then continued riding forward, stamping the senior student into meat paste. The three attendants of the senior student were also caught off guard and got impaled to their deaths...
The horsemen let out a loud cheer and started killing everyone within their sights. As there were only around ten pikemen who were patrolling that section of the convoy, they were all obliterated within seconds.
The whole place was pure chaos with a few carriages that carried the family members of the soldiers banging into each other. Screams of terror and cries of agony constantly echoed in the air.
One of the horsemen grabbed onto the hair of a girl on a carriage and pulled her out savagely, before stripping her naked, pinning her on the ground and taking his pants off. He was actually about to commit such a bestial act in broad daylight.
Another horseman grabbed a baby from its mother's embrace, causing the mother to leap forward in a desperate attempt to save her child. The horseman merely laughed and tossed the baby to another one of his mates, who readied the tip of his pike and let the baby land onto it, before letting out a wild, ghastly laughter, obviously elated at his accurate 'catch'. The baby stopped crying right away and the young mother stood there unmoving, as if she couldn't believe what that which had just happened before her eyes. It was not until the horseman who took her baby grabbed her when she snapped out of it and gave his arm a huge bite. Screaming in pain, the horseman lifted his pike and nailed the mother down to the ground with it and trampled all over her body on horseback with his mate.
Another white-haired old man could be seen desperately shielding his grandchild from harm. One of the horsemen rode over and used his pike to nail both of them to the ground before brandishing his sword and lopping off the head of the old man.
The actions of the 100-odd horsemen had managed to create what many would consider a hell-like scene within minutes...
Lorist, who was still on his way from the small hill, was so enraged that he felt like his blood was boiling as he prompted his mount to go faster, leaving Terman and his knights far behind. It was then when the rest of the convoy started to react to the attack, with Potterfang mobilizing his troops and heading to the place where the attack occurred.
As he approached, Lorist let fly several javelins, nailing down the two horsemen who were trampling around the body of the young mother and her dead infant.
Just as the savage man's member was about to penetrate the young girl's body, a javelin sent him flying for three to four meters from where he originally was and pinned him securely on the ground. That horseman desperately clutched on the javelin before gurgling out blood nonstop and writhing on the floor in pain.
Having only brought a quiver of 12 javelins with him, Lorist managed to kill 12 horsemen before they noticed his arrival and started rushing towards him.
Drawing his longsword, his first slash severed the head of the horse as well as the whole upper torso of an incoming horseman. Blood gushed out unceasingly from the neck of the headless horse with the man who was cut in half still alive and letting out screams of pain while clawing about insanely on the ground.
One of the horsemen who followed behind the first one was greatly startled by the sight in front of him. But before he could react, Lorist's longsword swiftly melded through his neck like a knife through butter, sending yet another head flying through the air.
The third horseman aimed his pike forward and charged forcefully towards Lorist, who twisted his body on horseback to an inexplicable angle in response. The pike passed through the space where Lorist's body once was hitting nothing but air. A sword flashed as the two horses dashed past each other and the third horseman fell off his mount with a huge opening in his chest.
The fourth and fifth horsemen tossed a net towards Lorist. Seeing it land on him, the two laughed gleefully. However, as they were about to pull it in, they only heard a low grunt before feeling an irresistible force pulling them forward instead, sending them flying towards Lorist. He actually managed to use his internal energy to turn the tables and pulled his adversaries towards him.
At that moment, the pike that the third horseman had intended to pierce Lorist with was still airborne. Lorist used his right foot to hook it up and held the pike in his hand before using it to make a fine kebab out of the two horsemen who were flying towards him.
Within but an instant, five people died without being able to put up a decent fight. It was then when the rest of the horsemen noticed the fearsome adversary who had just arrived. The leader of the group whistled loudly and tens of other mounted men surrounded Lorist from a distance. Given the length of his longsword, he couldn't lash out at the horsemen who circled him and attempted to stab him with their pikes. At that moment, he was trapped from all sides.
The loud sounds of the horses' hooves thumping on the ground intensified as Terman's men approached. They split into two units with one going for the horsemen who were surrounding Lorist and the other charging at the direction of the other horsemen. Twenty of the enemy soldiers instantly fell to the lances of the charging knights, with only two of the knights suffering light injuries thanks to their excellent defensive equipment. In the midst of the chaotic battle, Lorist grabbed at a random pike that was coming at him and impaled a few more of the enemy riders with it.
The 100-men-strong horsemen group was only left with 60-odd men. Upon seeing Lorist and Terman's fierce counterassault, they banded up and started retaliating as well. Having already been enraged by the scene before them, Terman and his fully-armored knights all rushed toward their enemies with bloodshot eyes and quickly incapacitated the incoming horsemen. With a longsword in his left hand and a pike in his right, Lorist rushed towards wherever the enemy was and began slaughtering away without holding back, causing ten other horsemen to die by his hand.
The pained cries of man and beast intermingled as the attackers crumbled. Never did they expect for the convoy's forces to be that powerful. In only a few moments, only 30 of the original 100 were left. The remaining foes understood that they have run into an insurmountable wall and quickly turned to retreat. At that moment, Yuriy's scout cavalry squad came over with Reidy, Charade and Patt to offer their support.
With a dark expression on his face, Lorist got off his horse and jumped onto another one that Reidy had brought over. He instructed Charade, "I'll let you handle this place. Let Terman and his knights help you out."
"Where are you heading to?" Charade asked.
Lorist responded by pointing towards the 30 men who were escaping as he radiated a murderous killing intent. "I'm going to kill off every single one of them, even if I have to chase them till the ends of the earth!" He then rode towards the escaping men without waiting for a reply.
Charade shouted towards Reidy and Patt, "What are you guys waiting for?! Go follow him quickly and bring a few more horses and javelins with you! Also, get Yuriy and his scouts to go support him as well!"
The chase only lasted within half an hour before Lorist managed to catch up to the escaping horsemen as they were slowing down due to their mounts having run out of stamina. While they could still travel at a slower speed, it was far from their maximum performance when they were in their peak condition.
Having just gotten on a fresh mount which has yet to be tired out, the distance between him and his prey narrowed ever so gradually.
It was at that moment when a few of the horsemen who were lagging behind decided to turn over and face Lorist. Either they had already accepted their fate and wanted to put up a last fight, or they had not seen Lorist in action on the battlefield moments before.
Even though there were two quivers' worth of javelins hanging by his mount, Lorist didn't intend to use them as he felt that killing these fiends with those would merely be giving them a swift, painless death. Within his mind flashed the images of a head that was full of white hair flying through the air and a despairing young mother looking at her child impaled upon a pike, along with the numerous other corpses that laid unmoving back at the convoy. Lorist's eyes were currently bloodshot. Now that the fiends were slowing down, he felt an uncanny patience as he prepared to make these humanoid demons regret that they were ever born into the world.
"Agh!" cried a horseman as both his upper limbs were sent flying through the air with his body tumbling down his mount, contorting in agony. Lorist carefully maneuvered his horse around the corpse so that he wouldn't die instantly from being stepped on.
"Ugh!" Another horseman's voice rang out as Lorist forcefully parried his pike and used his own pike to pierce through the horseman's chest. Lifting him up from his horse with the pike, Lorist carefully lowered the it so that the impaled man wouldn't slip off the tip and dragged him along the floor, causing him to continue letting out ear-piercing wails.
Another two horsemen flanked Lorist from both sides with their pikes aimed straight at his body like insidious vipers. Within an instant, Lorist's silhouette vanished from the horseback and the pikes only pierced through air. Under the impression that Lorist had already got off his horse, the two horsemen turned their heads downward to look, only to see Lorist appearing on horseback yet again like a phantom. With an explosive slash, the horseman on his left was severed into two at his waistline and screamed in sheer terror. The horseman on the right let out a more heart-wrenching shriek after both his legs parted from his body with his horse also cut into two. The blood gushing out from the stumps of the slashes dyed Lorist and his horse crimson red.
The fifth horseman let go of his pike and sat on his horse unmoving, with both his hands clasped as he begged for forgiveness and mercy. Without a change in expression, Lorist leaned downward and picked up a pike from the ground, rode forward with it in hand, and thrust it into the horseman's mouth through the back of his head. Since you bothered to beg for mercy, I'll let you die a painless death, Lorist thought as the horseman's lifeless body slipped from his horse.
The sixth horseman had long been scared shitless upon seeing Lorist cut the horsemen that flanked both his sides into halves and he instantly turned tail to run. But in time, his horse slowed down to a much slower pace. He quickly noticed that Lorist had started approaching him from the rear. No, it was more like Lorist was riding his horse at a leisurely speed without any rush at all. Seeing a ghastly sneer appear his bloodied face that revealed two rows of shiny-white teeth, this horseman was frightened to the point of desperation and charged forward with his pike unexpectedly.
Lorist stretched his hand out and grabbed the incoming weapon and gave it a strong pull. Using the hilt of his sword, he knocked on the back of the head of the horseman and caused him to lose all his ability to resist, lying slumped and unconscious on Lorist's horse's saddle. He then took the nets they brought with them and fastened it to the horseman's neck with the other end tied to his saddle and threw the man to the back of his horse before resuming his pursuit.
Everytime he caught up to a group of horsemen, he would use that cruel method to make these damned souls hope that they would be granted death and eternal rest, further causing the horsemen in front to want to grow ever more anxious. Some even pierced the rears of their horses, hoping to jolt them to increase their speed in the face of injury and death.
However, the horses soon collapsed from complete exhaustion with the weapon still stuck to their rear ends and no amount of beating could bring them to life again.
Lorist slowly approached the enemy with his horse dragging the long dead chunks of the corpses of the doomed horsemen. At that moment, Lorist appeared to be smiling serenely, but his mind was rapidly devising a method to cause his adversaries the most amount of pain before killing them off. He truly hated the assailants to the utmost and he had not a single iota of empathy or mercy to spare on them.
Seeing the nightmarish being gradually creeping up to them, the horsemen looked at Lorist's bloodshot eyes with a despairing expression. Knowing that no salvation would come to them, they all cursed Lorist loudly in unison before gritting their teeth and plunging their pikes into their own chests.
Sol, they even committed suicide, Lorist thought as he cut the dying enemies into half before resuming his chase.
Leaving the small forest, Lorist noticed a military encampment not far away while the remaining 8 horsemen suddenly regained their vigor and started shouting loudly towards the camp as they started stabbing their mounts from time to time with their weapons.
Not a single one of you will be able to escape, Lorist thought, after which he prompted his horse to gallop faster to continue his onslaught.