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We dug the trenches in the cover of dark, arranging the pike-men in rows of semi-circles. Soldiers accompanied the pike-men with sharpened swords. And then we waited.

By morning, the charge was on the way. We heard the pounding hooves, the roar of running men. I gave the signal. The roar turned to screaming and pained whinnying as the pikes jabbed at the charging horses. In my own trench I smelled fresh blood and sure enough, streams of red blood flowed in, seeping into the earth. We would be covered with blood and mud.

"Now!" I shouted.

We emerged from our hiding places, swinging right into the soldiers. Rider-less horses trotted like lost ghosts. Men and women in the livery of Fazalur and our gold and crimson fought with fists and blades. I sliced off the arm of a young soldier in black and white, and he howled, blood spurting. There was no time for sympathy. I swung my sword and his head flew off. Then I found myself sinking my blade into the guts of another soldier. The screams and shouts mingled in a blur with the scent of blood and guts.

Someone tried to snatch off my helmet. I kicked him off. Another soldier rushed at me with a blood-stained pike. I ducked and bowled him over, stabbing my sword tip into his neck. He died, spasming violently.

I saw a flash of silver and Vanyel fending off a group of soldiers. Lisbet was cutting off heads and limbs. She was doing well.

A black war horse galloped towards me. Fazalur.

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