Vaetrion Castle, Eastern Caraca, Netheron.
The sun had been over the horizon for only four hours that night, a warm breeze blew in from the ocean, and the stars shone brightly in the night sky.
The soldiers on the walls would never have expected an attack at that time, it wasn’t an ideal time, it was not dark enough to slip by unseen, and it was too early for the guards to begin dozing off. As a result the watch wasn’t as strict as it would become later on, and the guards and sentries were being as sloppy in their work as they could without being caught.
The grounds between the castle wall and the keep were filled to overflowing with small white tents in which slept the half of the Duke of Cazerones army, trying to get as good a rest as they could before they marched south in the morning, planning on rendezvousing with the Earl’s army.
Cazerone gazed down at the silent white tents from the high balcony.
One of the Earls messengers had come to him that morning, bringing him the message. They were to meet him and his army at Teracula, three days from now.
Cazerone sighed, it had been an unexpected and very pleasant message, he had believed until then that he was the only noble left to defend Netheron, and he was relieved to find otherwise.
He knew that without the Earls help he would never be able to meet the Halavarde army gathering to face him on the plains; he knew that without the Earls help, the lands that he and his ancestors had ruled for countless generations would fall to enemy hands.
He stroked his beard silently gazing down at the castle wall, tiny specks of light moving about on it marking sentries, and then beyond, at the moat and castle gardens, huge well kept, open gardens, the perfect defense against any ambush.
He turned, his cloak fluttering about him, lifted his hand off of the gilded wooden rails and paced back into his office, his heavy boots clicking against the marble floor. It had been a long day, planning, counseling, and readying for the coming battle, and hopefully war. But he still had a couple of hours of work to do that night, signing dispatches, and doing some last minute thinking mostly.
Down at the gate the six sentries on duty where wide awake, kept so by the watchful eye of a sergeant. They all wore burnished plate armor, a long white cloak, and all of them carried a heavy halberds in their hands, always at the ready position, each also had a short sword at his belt, and a thick, heavy shield on his back.
Behind them loomed the massive portcullis, drawbridge, and gates, black in the darkness, and before them lay the moat, still and silent.
The attack came so quickly the men didn’t even have time to cry out.
All of a sudden three of them sank noiselessly to the ground, every chink in their armor bristling with arrows; the other three didn’t even have time to notice before there was a flash of movement, the moat rippled, and when the sergeant glanced down to check on them again, three mutilated bodies greeted his eyes.
The arrow that that sunk a foot and a half into his chest was only a second too late and it failed to stop his alarmed cry.
The men on the walls were on edge, what with the knowledge they would soon be going to war, something very few of them fancied doing. So the instant the sentries on the walls heard the dying cry of the sergeant at the gate, the wasted no time in screaming for the alarm to sound, before charging for the gate towers.
There was only a seconds delay between the cry of alarm and the below of the horns in the castle towers, the entire castle was awake in an instant, men running about, not understanding what was going on.
YOU ARE READING
The Soul Forge.Fantasy
Book one of the Netheron Chronicles. Welcome to Netheron. A land on the brink of a war in which it has no hope; it's ancient protectors have returned to their own lands, and the land is now left virtually unprotected, helpless in the hands of a m...