Ector rode his horse along the lines of men in battle formations. Long bowmen lined ten deep behind the thick rows of spearmen in front. Per Merlin’s advice, all swordsmen were held back, and the cavalry were placed behind the swordsmen. The fluttering of the flags broke the silence as Ector looked at the mass of men opposite the field. He couldn’t make out one man from the other, but the sight of so many men made him unease.

Orders were shouted from one battalion and then another. He turned to see Merlin and the King of the Hundred Knights ride up to him. The King of the Hundred knights was covered in armor, some parts painted white and others black, the surcoat was covered with a sword for every knight. “You think these hair-lipped bastards will try to parlay?”

“Doubtful my lord,” said Merlin, “These men are here to conquer. They have the taste of blood in their mouths, and talking a peace is not something they came to do. No, these men came to fight.”

“Then we should charge them, and break their spears and skulls open for the birds and beasts.”

“Not yet, we must still talk to them first.”

Ector then spoke, “But you just said they won’t sue for a peace.”

“They won’t, but we buy some time. Until the moment is just right.”

Ector wondered what Merlin meant, but The King of the Hundred Knights seemed to trust Merlin without question. Though Ector assumed this was due to the King’s head being covered by this helmet. Merlin gestured for Ector’s herald to follow, with the dragon’s head in hand. “Come, let us greet our guests.”

About a dozen riders accompanied the kings as the Viking leader and his retinue came to meet them. The man wore an assortment of armor, a jigsaw of trophies of previous victories. Each man with him wore black hoods that covered the Norse helms on their heads. Ector was more embarrassed at the lack of effort made to frighten the Viking’s opponents, but he held his tongue.

The King of The Hundred Knights spoke first. “What business do you mongrel knaves have in our lands? Have not enough business with your own people in the frosty North?”

“Ignorance and ego will get you nothing with us,” said the Viking leader, “We have come for land, and gold, and women, and anything else that we wish to claim. These lands belonged to us before, and by the gods they will be so again.”

The dragon’s head grew brighter as the Viking spoke, then Ector spoke, “These are bold words for one who has yet to win the day. And all you’ve fought so far are defenseless women and children. Not exactly proving the mettle of men so proud to claim their warrior prowess. Or is that how you measure yours?”

The Viking king leaned in, “Do you know you you’re talking to? I’ve killed better men than you.”

Ector answered coolly, “I’ve slain giants, woverns, and several of your ‘warriors’. You scare me as much as newborn pup.”

“You will pay for your insolence you ravenous…” bellowed the Viking king before one of his men stopped him and pointed to something off in the distance. The Viking lord looked to where the man was pointing, and was soon overtaken with fear. He dared not speak, as if he was looking into the eyes of Lucifer himself. The rest of his retinue appeared to show fear at what Ector now saw were a group of riders coming towards them.

One herald carried a black flag with a golden lion clawing at a crescent moon. These warriors were covered in armor more uniformed than their peers. Though there was still a lack of refinement to their appearance, there was an air of honor and prestige that emanated from them. The men at the head had a magnificent suit of armor, each plate embroidered with scenes of war and battle, and his helm was shaped to appear as a lion. The man with the lion’s helm spoke to the Viking in their native tongue, but the Viking lost all of his power and authority.

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