The Marshal finished making his rounds through the infirmary and started back towards his quarters.  As he walked, his mind retraced the battle which had concluded just hours prior.

———–

“Shield wall!”

He roared, his unit collapsing in and raising a protective barrier.  The sound of a thousand arrows rained down upon their shields like a summer storm upon a tin roof.

“Knock!”

Another torrent of arrows shattered against their shields.

“Draw!”

The wall upon which they stood trembled against the siege munitions which pounded it.

“Loose!”

The shield wall dropped to reveal the archers behind.  Hundreds of arrows soared from atop the wall, finding purchase in the oncoming army.

“Shield wall!”

Another wave of arrows splintered upon their steel husk.

Ladders slammed against the stone wall and their enemies began to climb.

“Fan the wall!  Let no enemy find refuge upon the wall this day!”

Arrows streaked past the defenders as they made haste to spread across the wall.  As their enemies neared the top of the wall, the Marshal rested a foot against the top rung and looked into his enemies eyes.

“Not today.”

The ladder toppled backwards and its climbers plunged, broken bodies landing at the base of the wall.  It wasn’t long before the rest of the ladders followed; whether kicked or set ablaze, not a single attacker found a foothold atop the wall.

Engines of destruction entrenched on the horizon continued to hurl siege munitions with deadly force against the northern wall of Westguard.  As the last ladder fell, the northern wall of Westguard trembled, rocked to its very foundation by the siege.

“On me!” He roared once more.  “Retreat to the courtyard and form a bulwark!”

The northern defense rushed down the tower stairs and flooded into the courtyard, preparing for a final stand.

Shields at the front, casters and archers at the rear.  The position afforded them the liberty of a bottleneck and open ground to rain hell upon their enemies.

A moment of reprieve amidst the fierce combat.  The Marshal surveyed his forces.  Some wounded, some exhausted, and some concerned that they were forced to retreat when the battle was far from over.  He saw such concern on Caelryn’s face.

The Marshal placed a plated hand upon her shoulder.  “Do not worry, Caelryn.  The battle is far from lost.. and I have a plan.”

As he reassured her, the fear in her eyes visibly dissipated.  She steeled herself with renewed resolve and prepared to face the oncoming force once more.

As the northern wall crumbled and the enemy army breached, he raised his sword high, his words echoing for all to hear.

“We have lost one home.. we will NOT lose another!”

Arcane magics erupted from behind the bulwark, Janderius its source.  Unbridled wrath streaked through the enemy army and wrought incredible damage.  Esreiella called upon her own life force to summon fel magics that tore open the sky, controlled chaos ripping apart the enemy lines in their approach.  Jade lightning crackled in the air as Wei commanded, zipping throughout the enroaching army leaving them dead on their feet.

When the moment was right, he gave the order

“CHARGE!”

The bulwark pushed forward as the casters continued to dominate from afar.

Cyric, new to the notion of fighting under the maltese cross, wasted no time committing his daggers to the cause.  He was quick, nimble, and and asset to have on the battlefield.  Enemies dropped at their feet through his lightning fast movements.

Caelryn, still green behind the ears by the Marshal’s standards, fought with a ferocity known of the Worgen kind.  She was a strong warrior and the Marshal knew that.  Though her full potential had yet to be unlocked, she too was an asset on the field.

Their advance was only slowed by the sheer number of enemies before them, but it was only a matter of time before their enemies lay dead on the cold, hard, northern grass.

The damage they had wrought on their enemies was beyond measure.  True to the cause, however, the mercenary leader emerged from the back lines, stepping forward to parley with the Marshal.

“Your cause is folly.” He sneered. “Lay down your arms and we will grant you a swift death.”

The Marshal’s resolve was unbroken. “You chose this outcome, and you shall suffer the consequences of your actions.”

The mercenary leader charged the Marshal as his mercenary bodyguards engaged his flanks. While Cyric and Caelryn held the guards at bay, Jarrick engaged the leader in one-on-one combat.

His hubris blind him to the Marshal’s martial prowess and the battle was over as quickly as it had begun.  A swift parry staggered the mercenary leader and the edge of Jarrick’s shield connected squarely with the center of his face, a sickening crunch echoing through the battlefield.  As the mercenary leader stumbled back, Jarrick’s blade sliced clean through his neck, his head rolling down the hill and his body slumping at Jarrick’s feet.

It was then that the mercenary army realized their loss and signaled for an informal retreat.  What was left of the enemy force scattered into the woods far beyond the toppled walls of Westguard and any siege engines were left abandoned.

Westguard’s defense did not give chase.

The courtyard cleared and Jarrick made his way to each of his comrades.  Some had been wounded worse than others while some suffered from extreme exhaustion.  Regardless, the day had been won, and Jarrick made sure that each knew the integral part they played in the defense of their home.

———–

As he arrived at his quarters he placed a gauntlet against the heavy oak door and pushed it open, closing it behind him once he had entered.

Piece by piece he removed his armor, carefully racking it until the morning when he would clean it and then visit forge to repair whatever damage had been done.

Each piece told a tale of the most recent battle.  An arrow reflected, a sword held from flesh, or perhaps a dagger unable to find purchase.  He took pride in keeping his armor clean and well maintained for this very purpose.

One piece, however, stood out above the rest.

His breastplate had received a significant blow from a heavy sledge right where his ribcage was.  Not only was this apparent on the breastplate itself, but from the massive bruising he had sustained underneath.

He finished racking his armor and moved to the cupboard, drawing a mug.  He poured ale from the small keg nestled in the corner of the room but did not drink.  Instead, he placed the mug on the wooden table nearby and moved to the torchlight where he could examine the bruise he had received.

A thick, prominent scar ran through the bruise, starting at his abdomen and ending at the same spot on his back.  Absentmindedly he closed his eyes and traced the scar with his finger as his thoughts wandered.

The scar was a souvenir that General Drakkisath had given him so many years ago that had nearly brought him low.  A souvenir that reminded him of his father who had died so many years ago at that same mountain during the Battle of Blackrock Spire when he was just a boy.

A souvenir that bore upon him the realization that life is fleeting and not all warriors are lucky enough to grow to be old men.

He exhaled deeply and opened his eyes, pondering his thoughts for a moment more before returning to the table and grabbing his ale.

Author Jarrick
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