The escape from Garleton and the subsequent march toward relative safety was exhausting. Trace was in good shape, but sustained forced marches were not something that mercenaries preferred. It was a good way to tire yourself out before a battle.
The camp was alright. There were enough latrines and there were enough supplies for him to replace the vulnerary that he had given away. There were even people willing to offer training. He had nearly taken Sir Hadrick up on that. Proper lance training was expensive. But, in the end, he had decided to take on a couple smaller jobs to help prepare for the coming battle. Taking a fort was never as easy as one would wish, even if it were only defended by bandits.
Thus, after hardly having time to confirm that Artemisia had survived and stuck with the group, Trace had rushed around taking care of one thing or another. He was not familiar with many of his new comrades. Time would tell who was worth knowing. And time waited just as long as usual.
The morning of battle arrived as soon as it could and Trace found himself arrayed among this strange group of allies.
There was little time to consider too much. The order to attack was given and a cavalry archer moved ahead just enough to line up a shot at the north most axe bandit. Trace knew that that opponent would be down quickly. Either the arrow would finish him or the others would. Trace's own first opponent would be the southern axe bandit. Yet, these bandits were different from those in Garleton. They stood with just a bit more confidence and had better footwork.
He wouldn't underestimate them. He paced himself so that he arrived slightly ahead of the group and swung his lance at full extension, hoping to strike the bandit's side or belly with the razor edge of the lance head. But, he knew the risks of over-extending. Before he even knew the results of his efforts he was already yanking the lance back to a half point grip that would allow him to engage more closely. He also made sure to mind his footwork and prepare to dodge any counter.
Yet, in the back of his mind lingered a worry. Could he evade the enemy archers?