History of the Snowberg Army: Chapter 3
Written by Lady Lorita diSiena as an Italian prose story. Presented at the War of the Roses, AS40
You have heard the tales and songs about old heroes of yore. I will tell you about new heroes.
There once were three kingdoms: The East, the Midrealm, and Aethelmarc. Every summer, without fail, the Midrealm would invade Aethelmarc and try to bend that kingdom to their will. And every summer, without fail, the East would come to their aid.
But this year, things had changed. This year, King Alaric of the Midrealm, stung by years of harsh defeat, wielded vengeance like a hammer. With sweet words and sweeter bribery, he convinced the armies who normally fought under the East’s command to change allegiances. By the time the king of the east realized what had happened, it was too late. War was quickly approaching, and he was vastly outnumbered.
In the western march of the East Kingdom lies the Barony of Concordia of the Snows. Concordia is ruled by Baron Baltasar, a noble Pelican mighty as steel, and his elegant and wise Baroness Lucia. News came to Baltasar about the betrayal of the East, and it angered him. He called upon his friend Sir Kai, Baron of our neighboring Bergental. Kai and Baltasar command the Snowberg Army, and it did not take long for the two leaders to agree on what they had to do.
Baltasar gathered together his half of Snowberg. “Our alliances will not be bought,” he told them. “Go to the Eastern army and fight alongside them. Fight hard, fight bravely, and above all fight chivalrously, and make me proud.”
And they did. They marched bravely into battle, knowing full well that their chances of survival were small. And at that war, heroes were born.
Like Robert, man at arms to Sir Tommaltach. Robert had never before fought in a great war, but when he spied King Aleric approaching, he challenged him and singlehandedly drove the king away.
There was also Jean-Paul, who up until recently had only known the blades of fencing. Assured by his friends that his new spear was just the same as a ten-foot schlager, he went with Snowberg into battle and fought valiantly as long as he could.
Angus McKerr, one of Snowberg’s leaders, was so swift and stealthy in the woods that it seemed like he was everywhere at once. This confused the Midrealm fighters so much that by the time any of them figured out where he was, it was just before Angus’s sword came crashing down and removed them from the fight.
Then there was Cedric. Cedric became trapped against a wall and found himself surrounded by Midrealm fighters. His comrades thought he was doomed, but Cedric would not be taken so easily. Every time the members of Snowberg looked in his direction, they saw Cedric cutting down enemy after enemy. When he finally was overcome, the bodies of dead Midrealmers were piled high all around him. To this day, skalds continue to sing his praises.
Brave Rutiger sent his entire quiver into the Midrealm’s forces, each arrow finding its mark in the chest or head of a foe. But Fate is a fickle creature, often with a cruel sense of humor. Just as Rutiger was putting down his bow and reaching for his sword, an arrow fletched with the cold black of the Midrealm caught him.
But his death did not go unavenged. One of Snowberg’s commanders saw the archer who had taken down Rutiger standing in the castle and sending a shower of arrows into the midst of the battle. He also saw that the enemy had been careless enough to leave his quiver hanging from the battlements. One swift blow with a polearm, and another shower of arrows came, this time harmlessly to the ground. And so was named that day another hero: Tomislaus the Quiver-Gorker.
Then, things took a turn for the worse. Sir Ankara, a truly fierce knight of the East, came to Sir Kai with news that the Eastern banner had been captured. She asked him to help her recover it. Kai knew that the banner must fly over the army. When the two returned sometime later, worse for the wear but carrying the banner high, they too were hailed as heroes.
Every warrior of Snowberg, and every warrior of the East, fought that year as an army three times their size. Unfortunately, they faced a foe four times their size, and the war was soon over. At the end, the kings of the armies that had allied with the East, now smaller and badly worn, stood high up on a dais and spoke to them. Every king looked down upon the soldiers and gave thanks and praise for their great efforts, save for one. The king of Lochach refused to stand on the dais.
“You are my brothers and sisters, I must be among you,” he said, and walked in the midst of them. “I am honored to fight with you,” he said.
Those that were left of Snowberg broke camp and returned to their homes. And when the fighters from Concordia came back and gave their reports, Baron Baltasar was proud.
Now, these new heroes will have tales to tell. Perhaps their tales will start with the words of King Kelson – “Outnumbered four to one, so to the food court we did run.” Or perhaps, like those who came before them, they will sit amongst their friends around a campfire, with a mug of their favorite beverage, and tell the stories that all begin the same way: “I shall not sit! There we were.” And they know, as all warriors know, that even if they are outnumbered five to one, they will return to fight again the very next year.
©2005 Melissa Schuman