FROM: General Debinani Rahl
RE: Chronicle Two – The March on Yew
The March on Yew
It was winter when we found ourselves in the employ of Lord
Daithomir, a minor noble who had made his home in a small
keep north of the mountains. He had paid us extravagantly
to march into Yew, secure it for Lord British, and to wipe
out all the miniature child-empires that had been forming
in the area. Didn’t sound like a difficult proposition, we
had three thousand foot and half that of heavy cavalry, and
I don’t think The Society has ever had as much magical
talent as we have now.
As soon as we started seeing the tell-tale logging shacks
in the wood, I ordered Bravo Company to establish a
palisaded camp while I took Alpha Company forward into Yew
to establish a presence in the town proper. We knew there
would be some resistance, it was to be expected in a
pacification operation so far from the Imperial Center, but
I expected the town to go easily and quietly and just have
to fight guerilla engagements for the next six months or so
rooting out insurgents. What we discovered when we arrived
in town took us all by surprise.
With the town less than a mile away, we had yet to see any
inhabitants. I sent Myca’s unit up ahead into town to make
sure we were at the right spot while I deployed the rest of
the company for an assault. I figured if the 1st couldn’t
spring a trap for us, no one could. I was sitting astride
my horse, trying to survey the formations when Dawg rode up
beside me with one of those looks on his face. I hate it
when those wizards have those looks on their faces.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Thah keed…heez gots another one of thoze funny fahlings.”
“Great, me too.”
“Nah, Cap’n, thees onez importahnt.” He touched the side of
his nose dramatically. I imagine it was supposed to mean
something. I looked over to the small band of combat mages
preparing their arcane trappings for the coming fight. The
kid was there, a little aside from the rest, cinching up
his armor and checking the string on a tattered old
crossbow. He looked as wet behind the ears as he was,
pieces of roots and herbs hanging in little pouches
scattered all over his person, clumsily trying to stay on
his horse and at the same time get his shit together. But
when the kid got a gut, the kid got a gut, and hell will
have anyone who ignores it.
I dismissed Dawg so I wouldn’t have to keep smelling him
and pulled the formations tighter. I planned on marching an
unshakable needle of death into Yew and not spreading out
till I knew it was secure. We began the march over the
It wasn’t until the first men in the line were reaching the
crest when my communication crystal to the Warders started
screaming bloody murder…literally. One of Vodyanoy’s
corporals was screaming into his crystal, screaming about
being ambushed, it was nearly impossible to make out, there
was a lot of fire, men and women screaming, all I could
tell is that they were in trouble. I quickly ordered the
2nd Roughriders to break off from formation and ride hard
and come into the town from the south. I looked at my mages…
I need every one of them close except…..
“Rahl!” I yelled at the kid.
“Go with the Roughriders, it’s time to bail the Warders out
for a change.” He grinned and saluted and rode with the 2nd
off into the woods. Dawg looked at me like I had lost my
mind, sending the kid in to provide magical support, I
glared him back into his saddle.
We crossed the rise and could see the Yew proper, nestled
among the hills. It was deserted. There was no smoke from
the chimneys, no people in the streets, nothing. Not even
the 1st. We marched on towards the town as quietly as a
thousand men could be, and then they appeared.
All at once, hundreds upon hundreds of Dark Elves appeared
in the forest in that creepy way that they do, bows poised
and ready, completely surrounding us. My men were good, the
immediately formed a five-tier circle, the cavalry freeing
up from the infantry to maneuver. Everyone moved perfectly,
fast enough to be efficient, and just slow enough as to not
be blatantly provocative. There would have been a tear in
my eye for the perfection had I not been soiling my armor
in surprise at the DarkRychen’s silent appearance.
For a time, all was silent save for the occasional muffled
sound of thunder coming from the direction of the Abbey…
that must have been where the 1st was pinned down. We
stared at the elves for quite a time. There was a few of
their kind amongst our ranks, but I didn’t dare seek them
out to ask anything, lest my actions turn the standoff into
a slaughter. Yet, we had a job to do, and the Society does
it’s job. I looked over to my Lieutenant and he nodded,
slowly and inconspicuously raising his comm crystal to his
lips and warning Bravo Company of our ambush. He nodded
back that the message had been sent and understood. It was
time to go to work. I stood in my saddle.
“CITIZENS OF YEW!, ” I yelled to no one in particular, “WE
ARE THE BLACK ROSE SOCIETY!,” Little bit of a rustle, at
least our reputation was intact,” Lord Daithomir, acting in
the august light of Lord British has sent us to place the
city under martial control until such a time as treasonous
factions forming can be eliminated.”
I looked around at the faces surrounding us. Some were a
little shaken…most weren’t in the true elven tradition. I
looked down at my Lieutenant, he looked up at me and
mouthed the word “abbey”. I nodded.
“PEOPLE OF THE SPIDER!,” I continued, ” YOUR LANDS ARE NOT
IN QUESTION HERE, GO BACK BEYOND YOUR BORDERS AND LEAVE THE
TOWN OF YEW TO HER RIGHTFUL RULER!” They must have heard
the disdain in my voice, I’ve never been very impressed
with British in general, but he paid well.
When two armies are at a standoff, the slightest cough is
sometimes enough to start the slaughter. I make it The
Society’s business to make that first cough as loud and
disruptive as possible. Thus the daemons that Dawg and Tree
had been summoning for the last several minutes sprang into
existence and roared off into the elven ranks. The battle
had begun. We began pushing the troops north towards the
Abbey and our missing men, but with wave after wave of
blade-whirling elven death plowing into our ranks the going
was slow. We lost a lot of men, but our lines held as the
square pushed forward. The mages were kept busy healing key
points in the line and bathing the enemy ranks with fire
whenever they had a free moment.
The bloke commanding the elves knew which way the wind was
blowing, so he let us go where we wanted to, pulling his
troops around to our rear to try to force us to move faster
than we would like to the abbey, and then, the ocean. I
would have loved to see the look on his face when a
thousand heavy cavalry from Bravo Company slammed into
their arses. At that point it was all over. The elven ranks
scattered to the four winds under the pincer and I left
Lieutenant Thelonius to clean up the mess while I took ten-
score cavalry north to the Abbey.
I’ve been a soldier all my life, and seeing as I’m quickly
approaching my sixtieth year, I’d thought I’d seen every
horror that war has to dish out. I was wrong. The Abbey was
the site of a slaughter, quite a few dead elven warriors
were present, but more disturbing was that the field was
littered with piles and piles of dead women and children.
In the center of the carnage sat Myca and the handful of
his best troops remaining. A short distance off sat the
kid, badly cut and burnt over the body of an elven priest
or mage. There was no sign of the Roughriders. When I
approached the kid to see if he was still alive he looked
up at me.
“This chap here…he…he did something to make the women and
children hiding in the Abbey to rush us. There was nothing
we could do but fight for our lives….they….um…they….” The
kid broke into tears. I ordered the surgeon to take a look
at him and I went over to get the Warder’s report. Myca
looked up at me like I had asked him for a weasel.
“Well Sergeant?” I pressed.
He pointed to the kid.
“I vant him in my unit as part of the reinforcements.”
Now, rest assured I didn’t like his tone, but Myca’s a
difficult man to argue with on the best of times, arguing
with a Myca covered in the blood and gore of women and
children is downright impossible. I gave the undisciplined
upstart the only rebuke I could come up with.
I’m not sure if Daithomir’s going to want Yew after this
escapade, seeing as we pretty much decimated half of it’s
population. I didn’t allow the rest of the men anywhere
near the abbey, and I ordered all involved, especially the
1st, not to talk about it. I can see them out there now,
twenty of the roughest men I’ve ever seen and an upstart
kid, sitting around their cook-fire drinking like there’s
no tomorrow. Who knows, maybe there won’t be? I’d feel just
fine if I didn’t have to remember the day.
About three hours ago a relief force of Skara Brae regulars
arrived to relieve us. Typical. Hire the mercs to do all
the dying and send the “relief force” less than a day
behind. I’m really starting to hate British and his
cronies. They brought word that our current contract’s up,
and is due to be renewed fall of next year, however the
Imperial Plenipotentiary of Vesper has asked us to come and
breathe down the necks of some religious fanatics that are
causing him problems. Heh. Must be messing up the scenery.
I’ll probably accept his offer, it’ll be like a paid R&R
for the men.