The Final Assault
Count Cobry was currently raging nonstop outside Geldos City...
Ever since he sent out the pike cavalry squad to deliver his request for more supplies, he had been experiencing an inexplicable feeling of worry from the depths of his heart as if it was foretelling the misfortune that was to come.
The situation of the battle he was in wasn't ideal either: of the 2000-odd farmer soldiers rallied by his vassal noble families, almost 500, a quarter of the total number, had already perished. On the other hand, his five pike cavalry companies and garrison troop regiment had only sustained tens of casualties for the past two days and still maintained their battle power.
During the past two days, he had conquered three more strongholds and only five still stood in their way. The farmers he relied mainly on to conquer the strongholds were already on the verge of revolt as their numbers diminished quite quickly and the money just wasn't worth that sacrifice. Whenever they received orders to mobilize, they would loiter around and waste as much time as they could until they were pressured and forced to act by the pike cavalrymen.
Count Cobry knew that he couldn't keep this up, given that the knights from the vassal noble families were giving him odd looks, as if they believed that the count was only using this opportunity to try to diminish the strength of the noble families that served him.
With the remaining supplies in their camp only able to last them for three more days, the count started to worry about the absence of any communication from Geldos City after he sent his troops back there two days ago. This shouldn't be the case! Geldos City is not that far away from the Motz Hills and it would take 8 hours at most to get there on horseback! My pike cavalry squad should have been able to make it back here with the response from Geldos City about when the resources and supplies would arrive! Something must be going on.
Unable to continue waiting, the count decided to return to the city after giving it some thought. He left the remaining supplies to his garrison regiment and gathered the knights from the other families for a pep talk to encourage them to continue guarding the camp until his return.
Count Coby then brought his five and a half companies of pike cavalrymen to Geldos City with the intention of replenishing their numbers over there. At the same time, Lorist had just completed his matters at Williamiles Castle and was on the way back to Geldos City with Josk and Terman's knight squad.
During daybreak, the count arrived at the gates of Geldos City with his soldiers and breathed a sigh of relief after seeing his family flag still flying on the flagpole. He then instructed some people to go request for the gates to be opened so that his exhausted men may rest after a long day of traveling.
Little did he know that no matter how loudly the soldiers announced the return of the count and requested for the drawbridge to be lowered and the gates to be opened, the garrison troops on the walls of the city made no indication of doing so at all and instead started cursing back towards the soldiers below and even armed themselves with their bows as if they were going to defend the city from invaders.
At first, Count Cobry was quite satisfied with how alert and careful the soldiers who guarded the city was being. But after half an hour, he noticed that something was off and saw a large group of people showing up at the city walls led by Freiyar, whom he had imprisoned for being unwilling to serve him.
When Freiyar announced to the count that the city was under his control, Count Cobry thought that this was all just a bad dream. Nowhere in his wildest imaginations would he think that a prisoner like Freiyar would be able to take over the city. The raging count then pointed towards the flag and asked why it wasn't taken down if the city was truly under his control.
Laughing in an embarrassed manner, Freiyar told the count that he had forgotten to use the flag to wipe his ass after going to the lavatory as he had way too much things requiring his attention. He then apologized for neglecting the flag and assured the count that he would have someone take it down to be used at the lavatories.
In response, the count was enraged to the point where his veins were almost going to pop. One Gold ranked son who stood by his side started cursing back at Freiyar and said that despite how well the count had treated him, he still dared to go against the count when he was away from the city like a savage who doesn't know how to repay other people's favors.
Losing his temper, Freiyar instantly cursed out loud. "You call killing my adopted mother and imprisoning my family and I a favor? You're so sick and deluded!" Not wanting to continue the conversation, Freiyar ordered the bowmen to fire and the Gold ranked son got wounded by three arrows as a result. Had it not been for the pike cavalrymen who protected him fervently, the count would have lost his life there and then.
Leaving tens of corpses of the pike cavalrymen near the city gates, the count managed to make it out of the bows' firing range unharmed. He quickly ordered his soldiers to log and construct siege ladders in preparation for attacking the city.
However, the count had forgotten an important fact, that was the pike cavalrymen companies that he had brought with him were formed only recently from the people at laborer camp and wasn't the ones who had accompanied him during the years he masqueraded as a bandit. The moment some of them recognized their comrades at the city walls, they started to chat with them and got to know that their families members were in safe hands.
On one side, there was the count who was preparing to attack the city in a fit of rage. On another, the soldiers felt relieved when they got to know that their family members were alright. That's why the count's men came to a tacit understanding to resist the count's orders as best they could and took a whole afternoon to construct only 3 siege ladders at an excruciatingly slow place.
The fuming count angrily caned a few of the men that he thought were slacking off and appointed tens of other soldiers who resisted orders to be the first ones to attack the city.
The result ended up almost knocking the count out form vomiting too much blood. The soldiers he had punished to participate in the first wave of attacks used the ladders they brought to climb up the walls without any resistance from the city walls' defending troops. The moment they got on the walls, they tossed their weapons to the ground and hugged their comrades before starting to curse at the count.
Within a flash, the pike cavalrymen that had made their way up the walls surrendered to the enemy and even helped to pull the siege ladders they brought with them up the walls. The count who had just witnessed such a scene spat out a mouthful of blood with his face red with rage.
At that moment, the count's other Gold ranked son started cursing towards the city walls in an even more vulgar manner when compared to the former son who had been injured by three arrows. Seeing the count faint from bloodloss, and the pike cavalrymen seeming too tired to be able to accomplish anything, the Silver ranked illegitimate sons ordered for the mounts of the soldiers who had surrendered to the enemy to be killed and butchered to make some meat dishes to fill the rest of the men's stomachs for the moment. Having been traveling at a rapid pace without rest for the whole night, the men were all hungry and spent.
After that, the brothers discussed how they should placate the pike cavalrymen. Among the 600 soldiers they had, the ones actually loyal to the count numbered below 50 and were mostly old soldiers who had followed the count for years.
By the time the count regained consciousness, he was faced with two choices. Attacking the city was no longer an option as he couldn't predict how his pike cavalrymen, who were on their verge of changing sides, would react. The first choice he had was to return to the camp at Motz Hills to rejoin his garrison regiment and bring the whole army back to retake the city. The only drawback to this plan was that his garrison regiment would probably run out of food by the time they made their way back to the city. The last thing he wanted was for his desperate soldiers to turn their backs on him.
The other choice he had was to retreat to Williamiles Castle where he could temporarily stay to rebuild his army and regain his power. However, that amounted to giving up on the garrison regiment he left at the Motz Hills as well as Geldos City. But, he believed that as long as he could get into contact with the rebel-sweeping forces who were at the western mountains, he would be able to take everything that he had lost back.
When the count was pondering on which path to take, sounds of horses galloping from afar could be heard. It seemed that a group of soldiers was incoming from the path that led to Williamiles Castle. The return of Lorist and Josk with Terman's knight squad only served to entrap the count at Geldos City.
Josk approached the count's men at a distance of 30 to 40 meters away and tossed over three heads that landed at the feet of Count Cobry. Upon seeing the three heads of his illegitimate sons who were stationed at Williamiles Castle, the count felt that he had been struck by lightning. The deaths of his sons could only mean that Williamiles Castle had already fallen under the control of the enemy.
Seeing Marksman Josk turn away to head back to Lorist's side, the count stood up and headed towards them before stopping ten meters away. Staring at Josk with a savage look, he turned his gaze to Lorist and said, "Who are you and why are you going against me?"
Sitting on horseback, Lorist looked at the well-built 60-year-old man with strands of white hair on his head, who had taken the northwestern area by storm, and said coldly, "I wonder if I should address you as Count Cobry, or Redbeard, the bandit whose infamous name and savagery is well-known throughout the Bodolger Province?"
The count shivered uncontrollably and revealed a shocked expression on his face. He then calmed down without refuting Lorist's accusations and continued as he pointed to Geldos City and then to the three heads that were on the ground, "Who the heck are you? Is this the result of you plotting against me? You've managed to cause my Cobry Family to sink into such depths..."
"Plotting against you? Who do you think you are? Don't tell me you've forgotten your sins already. When you were masquerading as Redbeard, the people of the merchant convoys you raided were all killed without mercy; women and children were no exception either. Did you think you would be able to live out the rest of your life in peace just because you disguised yourself when you did all that? Today, my arrival signals your end. I will uproot the whole Cobry Family just like the way you did to the other nobles in the area, and kill all your male descendants..."
Seething hatred could be felt from Lorist's words. He signalled for Terman to come over and pointed towards the raging bear badge on his chest and said, "I'm sure you've seen this insignia before on the two red wooden boxes in your chambers. My Third Uncle had intended to present those boxes to the girl that he loved. However, the convoy he led had met with the bandit Redbeard and not a single one of them survived. All these years, my family has been searching high and low for this bandit. Who would've expected that the attack on my convoy by your troops would finally lead me to you...
"Oh Lord Count, you must be surprised to find out that the rebel-sweeping corps that had intended to prey on our convoy had been wiped out entirely and some of the troops that had surrendered to us revealed that Redbeard had been you all along. One of them even mentioned that he recognized our family insignia from the two boxes you have in your room... That's why I have come for you."
"You are from the Norton Family of the Northlands..." stammered the count. He could recognize the insignia from the time when he raided their merchant convoy. He even remembered that he had lost one Gold ranked and one Silver ranked illegitimate son from that incident. The people of the merchant convoy who went all out to fight until their last breath had left quite an impression on him. That was also the reason why he kept those two boxes as a memento.
Now that the evidence had been presented in front of him, there was no point for him to deny the allegations any longer. Staring hard at Lorist, he smiled and said, "So what if I was the one who did it? I've raided far too many convoys in my time. Now that you've come for retribution, I'll definitely entertain you. Let's see who will emerge out of this alive."
The count then turned away to walk back to his soldiers with Lorist not bothering to stop him at all. Count Cobry then donned his armor and got onto his horse before he pointed his lance towards Lorist's forces. Behind him, his illegitimate sons and the senior soldiers who were still loyal to him got on their mounts and arranged themselves into a charging formation.
Lorist waved and ordered calmly, "Anyone who's not at the Silver rank may fall back. For those who are, follow behind me and get into a charging formation."
Josk and Terman rode to Lorist's back and subsequently, Terman handed Lorist a pike for his use. The various Silver ranked knights also lined up neatly behind Josk and Terman.
Including Lorist who was at the very front, there were 27 knights in total, who were lined up in a triangular formation. On the opposite side, there were 58 cavalrymen including the count.
During that moment, everyone outside the city stopped whatever they were doing jointly paid attention to the spectacle that was unfolding before them. The atmosphere was heavy and grim with nobody daring to utter the slightest sound.
At the same instant, Lorist and Count Cobry began their charge and the two groups of mounted men rushed towards each other at breakneck speeds.
Lorist's pike let out no blade glow while Josk, who was behind him, had a golden blade of light emanating from the point of his pike. The rest of the knights including Terman all had silver blade glows shining out from the point of their riding lances.
Only seeing one golden blade of light from the ranks of his foes, the count felt elated and trailed his lance that was also letting out a golden blade of light towards Lorist. It seems that the twerp over there is not even a Silver rank... As long as I manage to take him down, I will definitely be able to turn the tables of the whole situation...
In the blink of an eye, the two groups collided and chaos soon ensued...
Count Cobry brutally thrusted his golden lance towards Lorist's left arm with the intention of knocking him off his mount before finishing him off.
In response, Lorist flicked his pike upward and caused it to collide with the lance. The golden lance was knocked horribly out of trajectory and Lorist's pike swiped in quick succession towards the count's upper torso, causing him to fall off his mount with a dumbstruck look on his face. With but a swipe, the count who had not yet fallen to the ground was once again knocked flying into the group of frantic soldiers before he landed ten or so meters away. Two stab wounds could be seen on the count's shoulders as he lay on the ground squirming and screaming, unable to get up.
Lorist then rejoined the chaotic battlefield while thrusting and slashing with abandon. In but a few moments, tens of cavalrymen had lost their lives to his pike.
After Lorist went to and fro the battlefield three times, not a single cavalryman remained on their horses. However, only 10 of the 26 men who had followed him were still mounted.
Terman waved for the Iron ranked knights who had retreated further away before the charge to come and help out his dismounted men. As for the enemy soldiers who had yet to die, they were graced with a swift, merciful slash that spared them from having to experience further pain in the face of death.
Terman soon came over with a bandaged left arm to report their status. There were 8 heavily-injured soldiers with 14 others lightly-injured including himself. That was partly thanks to the armor they had been equipped with that provided excellent defense. As for Count Cobry's side, the men who had followed his lead had all but perished, including his 6 Silver ranked illegitimate sons. The other Gold ranked son had fought with Josk until the last moment only to die as well. The only person who was still alive after all that was Count Cobry himself.
Seeing the count who was groaning and groveling on the ground in pain, Lorist said, "Have a cross constructed. I want to nail him to death on top of it..."