As a newly spurred knight, I had been issued with armour and weapon, along with a mount and lance. I had decided to start my quest for glory by heading towards the city of Andor, I found it likely that within its walls I could find compatriots with which to adventure and earn fame for myself. Even if lacking in potential comrades-in-arms, surely someone within a city of this size would have use for a knight.
I was travelling through the mountains near Andor, when I rounded a bend in the path and saw before me a band of ruffians dressed in leathers and looking down the path towards me expectantly.
“Oh goodie” I mumbled to myself, disdainful of the idea of sullying my weapons with the blood of these wretched rapscallion – for surely these were mountain men, intent upon lightening passerbys purses.
I prod my horse forward, taking heart in looking at things in a new light “ ah well, at least this will be a good workout eh Star?” My horse snorted beneath me and tossed his head as if in contempt. I chuckled to myself. The bandits, for surely this is what they are, had begun to pick themselves up from the dirt and ready themselves. One of them sticks out to my eyes, he wears a silver metal mask of a design I am not familiar with. He carries two hookswords as well as an oversized spear I am unfamiliar with. He appears to be the leader, or at least a man of import amongst these thieves, as he directs their movements with curt words and an aura of command.
A wretch steps forward as I bring Star up short several horselengths from the group. “good day sur, could ye perheps spare sum coin for a man down on ‘is luck?” I notice the slightly rusted and heavily notched axe upon his back, and the gold hoop in his ear. “I’m afraid not my good man, I’ve barely a pence to my name, and that must first go to my horse.” The man replies, “surely good sir, as a blessed knight, fortune rides with ye, and you can surely spare something for the likes of us.” I grow tired of this charade, many of the members of the group are anxiously fingering weapons. “I am afraid that all I have for you is either kind words, or a swift death. I ask that you please stand aside.” The bandit grins evilly, revealing crooked and broken teeth “now there’s no need for talk like that milord.. heh heh heh” he backs towards the group, keeping a wary eye on me (as well he should, insignificant peasant). As he reaches the main group he draws his axe and rolls his arm around to loosen it.
I scan the crowd, looking for any amongst them who are worthy of my steel. I find them wanting… I shall have to educate them on the folly of accosting a knight in this manner. I spread my arms out wide, shield strapped to one, lance held in the other. I raise my voice in the manner I was taught. My voice drops several octaves, into a tone of command, one that demands attention, regardless of its audience. a voice thata can be heard ringing over the chorus of battle, of steel on steel, of metal cruncing into bone and the sound of flesh being sliced to pieces…
“I am a humble worshipper of sigmar, a knight who rides in his name.” I announce in this voice. “I have no quarrel with thee, but if you do not stand aside, surely it shall mean your deaths.” I pause just for a moment.
I am known to the creatures of this world as Gideon, the rolling thunder of the mountain peaks. Knight of the Order of the Hammer-Commet. I give you one last chance to save your lives, or feel my wrath.” I chuckle inwardly, ‘may as well start making a name for myself’ I think to myself.
[SIZE=”1”] The fact my monicker as ‘rolling thunder’ came as much from my belly and my snoring just as much as the sound of Me charging down a foe is irrelevant….[/SIZE]
My piece said, I clap down my visor and walk Star back in a circle, adding several more horse-lengths between myself and the mob. They seem angered by my words, angered, arrogant, and ready for a fight.
The mob begins to move forward, moving slowly but picking up speed, obviously intending to bowl over my mount and I through overwhelming numbers.
They’ve obviously never seen what happens when armoured cavalry charges foot troops – another lesson I must teach them.
I spur star into a trot; picking out my targets and planning a path through the group. I see the man with the silver mask hanging back from the crowd, holding his massive spear. He seems confidant – overly confidant.
“well I’ll fix that right now!”
I dig my spurs into Star’s flanks, driving him to a full length sprint. The sound of his hooves echo through the mountain air, like rolling thunder, a storm gathering on the horizon. I lower my lance and couch it beneath my arm. I begin to make the thousands of minute adjustments necessary to bring the tip of my lance through the chest of my target, and the man beyond him – and mayhap the man beyond that. My lance points directly at some poor sod in the front of the mob, driving towards him like a thunderbolt. Closer…..
The bandits are but a few strides from me now….
Time slows down and seems to speed up all at once. I continue to adjust the aim of my lance, keeping it in line with the man’s chest. I see many of the bandits begin to draw back their arms, preparing to swing…
Out of the corner of my eye, I see the man with the mask attaching a length of chain to an apparatus on his upper arm…. Curious.. the other end seems attached to the blunt end of the spear…
In a riot of sound, screaming, and the crunch of flesh and bone, my charge connects with the mob of bandits. My lance punches through the chest of the man I aimed for, as well as the 3 men behind him – 4 men in one charge- I gloat. I let the lance fall from my hand as their blows rain down upon me. Axes, swords, spears, they all glance away from my armour and shield. I rear Star back, having him lash out into the press with his hooves. As he breaks bones beneath his mighty legs, I reach across my back and grab my battle axe (mounted combat against knaves such as these is not task for my hammer). I begin to reap, spurring Star onwards, driving him to lash out at the mob again and again whilst I scythe my axe back and forth through the bandits, felling at least a man with every blow.
After an eternity that lasted only seconds I break through the trailing end of the mob and slow to a cnater. Star is lathered in sweat and pants beneath me. My axe is covered in gore, and I keep an eye on the man in the mask as I turn to survey my handiwork.
There are few bandits left alive, a wide swathe of destruction marks my passage. The remaining bandits do not look very intent on approaching me through the lane of human slush I have created; Even if I were to turn my back.
Acknowledgeing my victory, I walk Star back amidst the human wreckage and pluck my lance from the dirt. I turn towards the leader, the man in the mask, and say to him “surely it is folly to continue this massacre. Allow me to pass and the rest of you may keep your lives.”
I hear a strange choking sound coming from behind the mask, which has a grate across the mouth. After a moment I realize this insolent peasent is LAUGHING!
“if you be so brave, sir knight” he rasps from behind the mask, “face me. Ride me down as you did my men.”
I am more than happy to oblige. I spur star back into a gallop, quickly covering the ground between me and the man in the mask. He does not panic, he merely picks up his oversized spear, hefts it over his shoulder and with a mighty heave and a grunt of effort hurls it at me…
The oversized spear crunches into Star’s chest - completely destroying his momentum and sending us both crashing to the ground. I land hard and bounce… twice. I struggle to my feet and turn to observe the tragedy that I know has occurred.
My horse, Star, lies upon the ground; drenching it with his life’s blood. The oversized spear sticks out of Star’s ruined chest. I turn to face the man in the mask, who is winding in the chain attached to the spear, drawing out from my mount’s chest, along with the majority of his innards.
I take stock of my own situation: bruised? Oh certainly. Anything broken? Only my heart. My weapons and gear? Anything not crushed by Star should be fine, my lance is ruined (I landed on it). The rest of my equipment is in passable shape for the task at hand, though my axe is somewhere near the cliff face.
I ignore the grief, that can come later. Death before dishonor. I speak to the man “ye killed my horse.” I state plainly. He winds in the rest of the chain and yanks the oversized spear from Sar. “ye killed my men” he says, mocking my speech.
The fool does not understand. I am a Knight. I. need. My. Horse.
I draw my hammer.
I stride towards him, fury threatening to overcome my self control.
I cover the remaining distance in three long strides, hammer raised to dash out his brains upon the earth. He blocks my swing with his spear, but I break several of his fingers as the hammer skids down the length.
I hook my weapon under his and pull, tearing it from his grasp as he fumbles around his pockets for something. He finds it before I can put him down. He laughs that metallic rasp again and throws it at the ground at my feet, it explodes into a blinding cloud of smoke, completely obscuring him…
When the smoke clears, he is gone….
The sun will be setting soon, I turn and admire the beautiful vista before me with ashes in my mouth. I see Andor on the horizon, and a small town much nearer to me, I should be able to make it there by nightfall….
I will find you, man in the mask, and I will kill you.