They were few – some thirteen of them ranked upon the icy field – but in their breasts beat the hearts of many.
Beneath the red-black banners of the Dragon Standard the Bladezillas gazed across the frozen lake. No longer would they suffer the shame and fear of seasons past. No longer would they suffer themselves to be besieged. Distant horns sounded the advance and months of regret-like-hunger poured forth. The Bladezillas would make hilts of their hearts!
Wave after wave of mad assaults from the Bladezillas break upon the Mad Ferrets, those unflinching man-beasts hidden behind towering padding that deflect all but the surest arrows.
Twice the Ferrets cleave through the too-thin wall protecting the Bladezillas’ Priest-King, Patrick The-Wall-That-Walks, and twice do they fall back only after inflicting grievous wounds. On the distant hill a manic laughter echoes, confident that no reply can be made. “I have halted the progress of nations!” the Ferret goalie shrieks. “I am the disappointment of Ages! Ages!“
A break in the fighting – whether minutes or hours, none are sure. William, Captain-General and survivor of the First Year, leads his brothers on charge after glorious charge – their sticks rise only to fall again, repulsed by the dread certainty of a foe bereft of need. Equal parts patience and arrogance, the enemy awaits an end they believe is all but certain. Baron Martin, Knight-Chronicler and veteran of the Havoc Wars, adds ink to tear-stained pages he can scarcely read through unbearable anguish.
Shrugging away his desperation, William again closed with the enemy, weeping even as at last his blow finds purchase. A goal reached. A glimmer of possibility.
The heathen redoubles their fury! How much can the Bladezillas endure? Outnumbered 4-1 but still they advance, their outrage made tangible in the songs of their ancestors. The Ferret goalie bends unnaturally, a thing of cartilage and flesh which will allow no arrow to pass. Madness! Yellow-black armour dented, entire plates hanging from tattered leather, yet all are defeated. Earl Hewson, The Break-Shot, and his household clients under Justin Doyle and his famed warhammer, Philosopher, are repulsed again and again, their skates dulled on the defensive walls erected before them.
A breach! William, taking up the cries of his kin, with sorceries long thought lost, fires through the arranged host. Brilliant geometries of light. Sun-bright lines written in fury! Another goal and their enemy’s advance falters, crumbles.
“DO YOU NOT SEE?” their Captain-General cries! “HE FALTERS! TAKE HEART, BLADEZILLAS, AND TAKE AIM!“
Stephen Halverson, First-of-His-Blood, raises a gauntleted hand forward and it seems the ice moves beneath the boots of his men, such is their speed. Suddenly alone, knee deep in fallen Ferrets, Stephen plunges into the enemy flank that only moments before was barred to him and, ahead of the horns recalling those with strength enough to defend, Stephen finds himself alone among banners of Yellow and Blue. He strikes at the anvil-heart of the enemy! Glorious purpose!
Day, and night, and day again, and still no end to the bloodshed. One last charge! The-Wall-That-Walks‘ banner is taken up by Sir Shannon, Sire of Kingdoms, so that the assault might try one last time! But it is simply not enough.
Hearts and swords blunted, the Bladezillas hear the final horn peal over the ice and heed the call to retreat. Despite the loss today, their cohorts cry from above, we still live! Live to fight and live for glory!
Are we not the people of prophecy, they ask themselves? Did we not bear the Pollardian Sceptre for untold generations, waiting for Him to return when our need is greatest?
Did we not defeat the Dark Pope, Ron?
And how they rejoiced when Lord Richards’ greed-lust was rejected, his mad rule ended at the tip of Van Hussen’s greatsword, Sticky. The very tip in the face of their greatest foe!
“We live, brothers! We live and we make good our promises! Next week broken beginnings meet… Broken Heroes…“