Winter Night Massacre
Having been taxed heavily for the whole day, the pike cavalry unit felt extremely worn out especially due to the tug of war match during the afternoon. Being the elite soldiers of Count Cobry, never once have they been assigned such a laborious task. To add salt to injury, given that the camp was on higher ground and they were pulling it off the slope, when the battering ram came crashing down, the 40 of them who couldn't react in time got ground into meat paste along with their mounts. This incident had further incited the already fervorous rage of the pike cavalry soldiers.
Now that the main gates have finally been opened up, they rushed directly into the camp filled with killing intent. A company and a squad of pike cavalry joined up together to a total of around 600 men and prepared to rush into the camp and slaughter anything in their sights to release their pent up frustration and rage, thinking that nothing could stand in their way.
After entering the main camp, the cavalry soldiers all got into a charging formation with 500 Silver ranked soldiers ready in the vanguard as they knew that the enemy had tens of knights who also have had their Battle Force awakened.
However, not a single soul or thing could be seen within the camp, save for a path that was 10 meters wide that led into the middle section of the camp. Some of them felt that something was off. The soldiers riding in front eventually slowed down to a gradual trot. They were unable to stop completely because there were six hundred more people following behind them. Gradually, the soldiers slowly filled up the 10-meter-wide 'corridor' like sardines in a can.
The pike cavalry could all feel that something weird was happening. They had imagined that they would be greeted by the familiar sight of the tents once they entered the camp and had wanted to use their enemy's blood to wash off their humiliation. However, all they could see was the 3-meter-tall walls surrounding them on both sides blanketed by a layer of snow . The pike cavalry could naught but continue onwards on the corridor path.
The skies started to darken once again as the snow gradually fell, blurring the vision of the pike cavalry quite significantly.
"Check these walls out and tell me what they are," someone instructed.
Two soldiers nearby poked their pikes toward the walls and said, "These are wooden walls, sir."
"Weird, they couldn't have possibly gotten so much wood from within the camp..." said one troubled soldier.
"Continue onwards. I refuse to believe they have enough materials to build such a long corridor."
Not even one of the soldiers could have imagined that the 'walls' were actually carriages placed on both sides with their bottoms facing each other horizontally to form a corridor-like structure, an idea though of by Charade. Even though it wasn't perfectly sealed and there were occasional openings here and there, they usually weren't big enough for the pike cavalry soldiers to pass through.
Some of the soldiers attempted to topple the walls, but their efforts ended up in futility. Even though the walls would budge a little after being pushed, the sides of the carriages that served as a stand on the ground gave them even more stability when compared to normal wooden divider boards because of the larger base area.
As the soldiers at the front approached the end of the corridor, they could see a wooden platform in the area in front of them. Suddenly, countless torches lit up at the same moment, illuminating the whole area within.
Upon seeing the spectacle in front of them, the soldiers at the front instantly turned pale.
Finally, someone started shouting out loud. "It's... It's a trap! Quick... Retreat!"
On top of the wooden platform was a group of black-armored soldiers in a square formation equipped with jet-black shields and lances. It was common knowledge that cavalry troops wouldn't stand against heavy-armored troops such as those when they lost the advantage of charging. However, that was not the main threat the pike cavalry faced. The light from the burning torches reflected off the 12 ballistas, causing them to glimmer in a chilling manner in the midst of the dark night...
The pike cavalry instantly erupted into chaos. Some wanted to go back the way they came only to find that it had been blocked off by their own comrades, who were unaware of the situation at the front. To add fuel to fire, there were 2000 or so garrison troops following behind them.
Dulles's excitement instantly soared as it was finally his turn to show off the might of his carroballista unit. Seeing the crazed pike cavalrymen, he waved his hand and shouted, "Release!"
Initially, the 6 ballistas on the second floor of the wooden platform let out a thunderous sound as their strings snapped forward to propel the ballista darts at breakneck speeds towards the enemy, instantly skewing them alive and causing a wave of blood to surge out of their impaled bodies. After that, the other 6 ballistas on the lower platform fired while the ballistas above reloaded. The cycle then repeated itself......
The 12 ballistas fired 20 volleys in total before they stopped due to their strings being overly worn out. The last volley completely paled in terms of power and accuracy of that of the first.
Standing on top of the wooden platform, Dulles himself was stunned at the effectiveness of the unit he commanded. He could smell the thick iron-like smell of blood that lingered in the air and see the corpses of the cavalrymen and their mounts clustered together. The 12 ballistas have fired 240 darts in total, wiping out the majority of men who emerged from the carriage corridor. The first darts even pierced through 5 to 6 men in one shot! Currently, only tens of the enemy were still alive and standing amidst their fallen comrades.
"Ueergh!" That was the sound of a soldier of the heavy-armored unit vomiting from witnessing the bloodbath that had just occurred in front of his eyes.
"Heavy-armored troops, onward!" ordered Potterfang. Having long been baptized by the blood and corpses battle after battle, the sight in front of Potterfang's eyes did not disturb him in the slightest.
"Ooeergh! Barf!" More soldiers of the heavy-armored unit started vomiting one after another.
"Heavy-armored troops! Charge forward!" shouted Potterfang again. He was suddenly reminded that his current heavy-armored unit was comprised of mostly new recruits and was far inexperienced than battle-hardened soldiers that he had once commanded in the Whitelion Legion. If he allowed them to take their time, it was entirely possible that more of them would start vomiting and decrease the overall efficacy of the whole unit.
Most of the troops did end up rushing forward in the end, only leaving behind several who were still in the puking their guts out.
In actuality, there wasn't a real need to deploy the heavy-armored soldiers as the remaining cavalrymen had already lost all their will to resist. Potterfang also lost interest in the battle after ten or so of the enemy were killed and ordered that the remaining soldiers be captured alive instead and relieved them of their equipment. After that, he led his units towards the corridor where sounds of battle could be heard.
While the pike cavalrymen suffered such a huge loss from the ballistas, the garrison troops that followed behind them did not fare much better either. Initially, they were assaulted by 400 or so crossbowmen without being able to fight back as their bowmen could not grasp the location of their enemy. The convoy's crossbowmen all hid behind the carriages and fired their bolts through the small openings. Being shot at a close range, the bowmen couldn't retaliate at all.
The remaining garrison troops could only surround themselves with their shields, but that did not stop them from the incessant torrent of crossbow darts.
The ground between the carriages was littered thoroughly with corpses. The snow that fell from the skies eventually froze the blood on the ground, creating a thin layer of bloody ice.
Having nowhere else to go, one of the count's sons who commanded the garrison troops ordered them to retreat immediately. At that moment, the walls near the entrance of the camp quickly collapsed: these were made of normal wooden separators instead of carriages. Terman and his knight brigade quickly rushed in and barred the way of the garrison troops. And behind him were hundreds of pike infantry troops who brought with them many wooden barricades and quickly erected a simple defense perimeter around the area.
At that moment, Loze was already in combat with the Gold ranked commander and both of them were quite evenly matched. Terman on the other hand led his knights on a rampage through the corridor, causing many soldiers to fall beneath his lance.
Several garrison troops soldiers attempted to escape from the spaces between the walls that could fit a person in, but shortly after they did that, their pained screams resounded throughout the area. Even one of Count Cobry's Silver ranked sons suffered the same fate. What they did not know was that two senior academy students and several pikemen had been stationed there just to take care of the soldiers who slipped through the gaps.
When Potterfang's heavy-armored troops rushed to the middle of the corridor, the already battered garrison troops finally despaired, with some dropping their weapons and kneeling down to await the inevitable and others struggling desperately to make their last stand. They were either killed by swords and spears or shot to their deaths by incoming crossbow darts.
Lorist gave the order to Reidy and Patt, "Pass down the order to spare anyone who drops their weapons and surrenders and kill the rest who resist."
Without delay, multitudes of garrison troops within the corridor quickly let go of their weapons and kneeled down in subservience. The battle was already over. Loze had managed to take the head of the Gold rank illegitimate son by countering after taking a sword blow to his shoulder. However, he was still energetic enough to wave that head around while laughing heartily. Potterfang on the other hand was worried as there should have been another Gold rank within the ranks of the enemy just now.
What he did not know was that the other illegitimate son had been pierced by one of the ballista darts at the very beginning when he was sandwiched between the soldiers to his front and back at the corridor.
At that moment, smoke could be seen rising from outside the walls of the camp, signifying the rebel-sweeping corps's camp being set on fire from the assault launched by Yuriy's light cavalry troops. Not long after, Yuriy sent a messenger back to report that the enemy camp had already been taken over and also mentioned their discovery of over 2000 prisoners who lacked food and other basic necessities. He was currently awaiting Lorist's order on how to deal with them.
How did the 2000 prisoners come about? After questioning a few of the surrendered garrison troops, Lorist came to know that the prisoners had been captured by the rebel-sweeping corps after they had taken down a mountain fort that belonged to the rebels to be used as slave laborers.
What should I do with them, thought Lorist as he shook his head with a bitter laugh. "I guess I can only bring them here for now since they wouldn't be able to survive given the night there without resources. They might just freeze or starve tomorrow in the snow if I leave them be. Send Reidy and Patt to go look for Charade and inform him about this issue. Let Terman and his knights as well as a company of infantry pikemen escort the people here and don't forget to collect the wooden boards they used as shields on the way. They will make good firewood to warm us up during the night."
He also instructed Charade to set up a couple of more tents at the northwestern area of the camp and start a bonfire there so that the 2000 captive youths would be able to keep themselves warm throughout the night and be provided with some wheat porridge. After that, he also got them some garments to stave of the chilling winter night air.
The northwestern area of the camp was originally intended for the 400 captives they liberated within the camp and the people who came over with them from Mestre Castle as well as the vagabonds that had ended up tagging along with the convoy. There would be nowhere more appropriate for the 2000 captives to be allocated to in the camp other than there.
The mutters of the men could be heard as they entered the gates of the camp. However, they eventually quieted down with nobody daring to even take a loud breath as the first thing that had greeted them was the grim sight of the bloodstained roads. Beside the path were multitudes of bodies stacked up together. The enemy soldiers who had already surrendered were currently stripping off any usable equipment from the bodies and stacking them on top of each other after that.
The 2000 young men crossed the crimson red path without uttering a sound and only managed to regain their vigor after they arrived at the northwestern area of the camp. Lorist was satisfied with the shock the men had been given from seeing the corpses as he was worried that the prisoners would make a ruckus and cause trouble for the convoy.
The snowflakes continued to fall gently to the ground, covering it with a snow white veil of tranquility.
Within the camp, bonfires were burning bright all over. Standing in front of the large tent, Lorist looked at the falling snow before exhaling deeply. Now that the slaughter fest was over, he wondered what other battles the convoy would have to partake in on the way to the Northlands.