The sky was painted orange. The light played across the clouds, and cast that splash of color along the landscape beneath it. This light stretched the shadows of trees and other objects across the ground, making them seem almost jagged. Quite a large number of these shadows were moving.
The horses' hooves clacked as the hit the ground on a steady rhythm. Due to the large number of them, this created almost a chorus of clopping hooves. At the head of the group was a white mare, a young and sturdy horse clearly well-cared for. On her back was a girl, no older then sixteen, wearing armor with a flowing white and gold cape. Her armor was pristine, cared for with exceptional attention, shining in the light of the sunset. Though she had never been in any serious combat before now, the level of care to her armor would not falter even after doing so. It was a symbol of her office. To do any less would be to disrespect that office. Her hair was blonde, eyes purple-blue, and skin pale. Her features bore a grim expression as her gaze was fixed ahead on the darkness of the forest.
Bandit King Jeremiah. That was the name that the man they rode out against today had taken for himself. He led a band of thieves and criminals, vicious bandits who had pillaged even small villages by this point. They had preyed upon the innocent. They had killed the defenseless to claim their belongings. And their leader had the gall to claim himself a "King". Reports told of how he had cut down soldiers sent to destroy his band. Of how he had sent dying men to their villages just to mock them shortly before his attacks.
But the simple fact was that these weren't just mere bandits.
Jeremiah, regardless of what he called himself now, wasn't just the 'Bandit King'.
The rebellion of five years ago had fallen. Anzel Cazt lay dead and buried. But still fragments of his forces remained. Some had been wiped out, imprisoned or killed. But this Jeremiah, and no small number of his bandits, were reportedly one of the remaining shards of the shattered rebellion. Their banditry was not simply their means to accrue wealth and supplies, but a deliberate spit in the face towards the people of Thaln.
So, it had been decided it was time to put this to the test. To destroy these vicious and cruel men before they could take more innocent lives. Thaln's soldiers were unable to eliminate Jeremiah, but the legendary Iron Rose Knights...
Fanilly gripped the leather in her hands tightly. They had to win. She had to prove she could do this, and they had to destroy such cruel, wicked bandits. There was no question of it. The bandit's camp was not far off, not even too distant from the road. The Bandit King's brazen attitude had grown, leading to little fear from his band of criminals at remaining so close.
The smallish knight looked back over her shoulder.
"It won't be much longer that we will need to proceed on-foot," she said. Indeed, horses could only go so far off the road. Tangled roots and stones were certainly not the ideal terrain to navigate on horseback, there was no reason to risk losing one of the loyal animals to a broken leg.
The strategy was a simple one. To position themselves around the camp, advance inward, and destroy it. While the bandits were unusually powerful and no small amount were veterans of the War of the Red Flag, an attack by the famed Iron Rose Knights when they unprepared could surely eliminate them. But Fanilly was unsure of her ability to lead them to that victory. It was undeniably the outcome that should
occur, but a thousand outcomes for failure had already played and replayed within her head. No matter how unlikely they may have been, the anxiety was still gnawing at her heart like persistent vermin.
But she didn't only
feel doubts, even if it was a struggle to reassure herself.
Even though she doubted herself, deep down, Fanilly felt that the Bandit King was more of a braggart then a powerful warrior. He had likely exploited whatever advantage he could to take down the soldiers sent to eliminate his band of thieves. Even knowing they had been part of the rebel forces, the fact remained they were still bandits all the same.
Her knights were prepared.
Fanilly could only hope she was as well.@Raineh Daze@Rune_Alchemist@Psyker Landshark@Pyromania99@HereComesTheSnow@Saiyan@The Otter@Crimson Paladin@ERode@Psychic Loser@Richard Horthy@Aeolian