In a group of a hundred they rode. Knights Templar on the high plains of Arathor.
Led by Lord Viodin, they have rode for five days, passing the Old Wall and the Ruins of Strom at Midsummer day.
They were riding to war. Light's most deadly executives. Steeled weapons of justice. Unforgiving outward and
devotional inside. They reached their destination the sixth day at dawn. On the hillside in the distance there
were tents surrounded by a palisade, glowing orange in the shine of rising sun.
«Here we go, you old bastards», the Highlord grumbled gleefully. «And just in time.»
Down the hill there was flowing a small runnel and on the other side of it, there was another camp.
It was larger, Arsim thought, but on the other hand it maybe just appeared like this because
the tents there were not placed in exact rows.
It seemed like a mess, tents out of coat and skin sprouted out of the loamy ground like mushrooms.
«By now we should have as many warriors as they do», he murmured and the Lord turned his head and stared at him
with his one eye. He smiled. «Yes maybe we do... who cares? One knight equals at least three of those filthy Orcs!»
If that's true, why do the knights with the silver cross need our help at all, Arsim thought.
The soldiers rode down the hills straight towards the upper camp. «Where are we, Mylord?», the knight asked.
«They call it the Highlands of Angurash. That means <plain of green hills> or something like that...
But today it will mean the Orcs' Death», Viodin stated. Then he suddenly turned his head to the right and gave
the men behind him a sign. «Banner!», he shouted. «Let them know we are finally here.»
Moments later they dismounted and were escorted to the largest tent, right in the middle of the fortress.
The men positioned themselves in four rows outise, only Arsim and Viodin entered the tent.
Inside, there were several men standing around a huge chair which almost appeared like a throne.
On the chair a man was sitting. His eyes were green, his hair was golden and he was wearing a magnificent armor
ornated with silver crosses. Viodin stayed three steps before him and so did Arsim.
«Sire, our allies have arrived. May I announce Highlord Viodin the Bearheart, grand champion of the
Knights Templar and his captain Ars... Assim Si.. Sy... Arsim Syfadin of Kriegestan.» The herald had problems with
pronouncing the full name of Arsim and he looked at the huge dusky man with a frown.
For one moment the knight wanted to tell him that his name was actually Arsim Saif ad-Din al-Qirajist'Ahn but then
he just bowed instead. Viodin saluted.
«Duke Wintermaul, we are glad to come to your defence. In this dark moment, we carry the light of hope to your men.
Let our orders fulfill the oath we have once sworn to each other.» Arsim looked up - and wondered.
This lad was not Wintermaul. He almost looked like him but he was a little younger and less charismatic.
Lord Viodin, who had never met the Grand Master of the Argent Cross before, could not know that he was talking to
somebody else. The knights standing around the young man had an amused mien by now.
«My uncle», he responded while rising to return the formal salutation, «can not be with us unfortunately.
For now the duke is residing in Gilneas, diseased. As his nephew and closest living relative, I am in command of
his knights. My name is Rurikon Honourstroke.» If Viodin was staggered by the words of this legendary crusader,
he did not show it at all. He just nodded and said smilingly:
«Will be a true pleasure to fight at your side, Sir Rurikon Longsword.»
And they were fighting alongside.
The battle began a few hours after.
A horde of orcish raiders had regrouped at the facing page and began to beat huge wardrums. It was not the first
time, Arsim has seen such a number of orcs, but for the first time he combated them with the sanguine cross on his
tabard. The symbol of the Knights Templar also embellished their bannar which was hold up right behind the centre
of their battle line where Lord Viodin was leading the men. Arsim and his footmen had dismounted and by now they
stood in eastern direction, near the riders of the Argent Cross. Their horsemen formed the flank of the
humans' assembley. Lord Rurikon led them. In their centre the white cross on black ground was hold up.
While the human knights had formed several battle lines outside the palisade, the orcs were already starting to
rush down their hill roaringly. They did not have any horses, but a few of them was riding on huge kodo beasts.
The leader of the orcs was called Sabokhan. He was the son of Renaz Venomfist and the new leader of his
clan. And that day, threehundred orcs had answered his call to arms, determined to obliberate the human
forces of Arathi. And in this moment, the two armies charged down the hills and clashed at the
bottom of the valley. The Argent Horn was blown, the wardrums were beaten and an utter confusion predominated
the dale and the runnel. Nevertheless, for Arsim, there was silence. Hundreds of men were shouting and crying
and dying and screaming and the noise must have been earsplitting. But in his head, all this was muted.
The only things Arsim focused on in the moment the two battle lines hit each other, were his own moves and the
moves of the enemy closest to him. He shouted something, emitted his battlecry loudly all over this mess, but
he did not even hear his own words. He avoided the hit of an axe and shirked from the stroke of a sword while
at the same time he pushed his own blade forward lancing the first orc of that wonderful warm summerday.
And while the fight progressed he killed many more.
Rurikon and his men wanted to descend upon the raiders like a swarm of locusts upon a crop. They wanted to ride
amidst the right flank of the orcs, trample them down with their chargers and slaughter them with their blades.
But the orcs were prepared. With long sticks they impaled the horses, brought down the horsemen and then cut
them down with thir swords and axes. What was thought to be a glorious breakthrough across the opponent
battle line ended up in a disastrous massacre of horses, blood and riders.
The steed of Rurikon was hit by a lance in the breast. It pranced and tumbled lengthwise, entombing Rurikon among
itself. Somehow, the lad managed to escape the blades and hooves around him, creeping away from the body of his
steed. Uprising he was attacked by two giant orcs. He avoided the hit of a doublesided waraxe and blocked a
swordstrike with his right arm, holding the two-handed longsword Honourstroke in his left hand. The bracer
sustained but anyhow Rurikon felt his right side paralyzed. He whirled around, cutting down the axewielding orc
and at the same time he noticed a kodo beast charging into his direction from behind.
With a face contorted with pain he jumped sidewards and stumbled over a corpse. Honourstroke slipped from his left
hand and the spear of an orc drilled through his leg. The anguished cry of the Lord got lost in the mess of the
battlefield but suddenly he spotted a wiry orc with long black hair focusing him straight through all this chaos.
He turned around and his green eyes fixed him. Rurikon was lying at the back, incapable of getting up again.
Panic grew inside him. He groped for his sword and trailed back as slowly as the orc was walkin in his direction.
The hands of the orc merged into huge claws, dripping down poison. Sabokhan identified the leader of the invidious
human army and prepared to slay him.
And right at that moment Rurikon spotted Arsim.
Viodin fought like a berserker. His blood was enraged, his mind was sharpened and his moves were fluently.
In the centre of the battle line, he was aware of what was happening to the horsemen and he knew that this mistake
would most likely decide the battle. But he was a templar and that ment he would fight till death.
The code of honour made it inconceivable to withdraw and the rules of the Knights Templar prohibited to ransom
friars. So the only way to end a fight was winning or dying. And Viodin wanted to perish in style.
Furious he jumped forward, leaving the safety of the battle formation. Like a demon he screamed while lashing out
with the warhammer called Necrophobia . Like lightning he moved, bleeding and gasping like a wounded boar. One
by one he killed them. He ignored his own injuries. He forged his legend.
And then he felt it even before he saw it.
A hot pain flashing through his head and slowly spreading all over his body. Anything has hit him.
He remembered his hand, grabbing for his occiput, then there was only darkness.
Ready for anything, Arsim and his men had scratched along the opponent lines and were trying to go to the rescue
of the allied horsemen by now. Regrettably the orcs managed to push them back over and over again so they
could not come through. Arsim yelled, when a kodo beast trampled down some men only a few steps away from him.
Then three orcs involved him in a fight and separated him from his knights. Troublesome the warrior managed to
defeat them one by one and just wanted to close the lines again, when he heared somebody near him shout.
«You! Knight! Come over here!» Arsim looked around and spotted a man lying on his back in the runnel, which has
coloured red by blood already. A spear was sticking in his thigh and vigorous he pointed at Arsim.
Approximating the knight recognized that the dying man was Lord Rurikon with a serious wound yawning at his neck.
Horrified he hurried to help him to get up. But the lord fended his hands angrily and wheezed. «Stop it!
And listen to me. Take my sword. And give me yours.» Confused Arsim stared at him.
The Lord coughed up blood and held the Honourstroke out to Arsim. «Return the blade... to my uncle. Bring it to...
Gilneas. And do it now!» Arsim took the great sword and dragged the shoulder of the lord.
«You have to get up Sire. I will not let you die in here!» Rurikon didn't show any reaction. He just continued
lying in his blood and looked Arsim astoundedly in the eyes. «I... remember you. You know Alsender! So take a
horse and ride along to him. This is... most important. Do not fail us. I will be fine.» While talking, he started
to get up grindingly. With pain in his eyes he pushed Arsim away from him, took the templar broadsword and turned
around to an orc, arriving at the runnel right then.
«Tell him», he murmured. «I'll await him in Elysium.»
And Arsim rode off northwards.
Viodin regained consciousness amidst a heap of corpses. It was night and he had a terrible headache.
On his occiput there was a wound, becoming incrusted already. Obviously they have believed him to be dead after
the fight. Somebody has stolen his precious weapon, his mail shirt and his outstanding armor. Stunned he stood
up and walked across the cementery the orcish horde has left. Carelessly they have thrown the dead bodies one
upon the other and in front of this horrific sight the head of cavalry captain Rurikon was impaled on a stick.
Viodin looked away in disgust and trudged upwards the hill. One single thought occupied his mind:
Tell the Grand Master what happened today. And take revenge for it!