The Morghun Host (title image)

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The Battle of Lundy

It had been agreed, at the Heartland Games of 1103, that the Empire would face the Dragon Faction and it's allies on the Saturday afternoon of the Gathering of Nations of that year. And so we did.

The previous evening, we had called forth the spirits of Cymrija and Erin to aid us against our foe, and before we left camp to fight the Empire, several of our warriors drank potions that imbued them with the powers of some of those creatures. One of them was my own Lieutenant of the Housecarle, Floyd Pippin. As we marched to the designated battlefield, he came up to me and told me that the Fianna, the Werekin of Erin, were lending him their powers. I told him to be careful, and not to let the hunt run him into trouble.

We reached the battlefield to find it a sloping field, and that the Empire had already chosen their position and formed up. To my surprise, rather than form at the top of the slope, gaining the advantages of high ground, they had set themselves up on the right hand side of the slope, and were now, en masse, shouting the litanies that Scullion had drummed into them a thousand years ago. We were informed that we were to take the left. Our scouts estimated six or seven hundred Empire troops, and, at the top of the field, wearing black lorica and his Imperial purple Sash, and surrounded by his red-tabarded Praetorians, The Dragon Knights (an ironic name, no?), was the Emperor himself.

Command of the battle had been passed from Warmaster Owain to Brandin, his Ard Caellach, at the tactical meeting last night. It had been decided that were we to fight formation to formation, we would get ourselves very quickly despatched. We had therefore decided to do what we do best - skirmish. A wall of Dragons and their allies would break into three, the central section remaining still, and the left and right flanks coming around in a pincer. We had agreed that to charge the Empire would be suicide, and that we would bounce off their sheild walls to no great effect.

Stone Talon had been assigned to the left flank, and so we formed up, and readied ourselves for an uphill run to get around the Empire's side. On top of the ridge, two men appeared, wearing the colours of the Empire, and very quickly ran back out of sight. We sent a half dozen scouts to check what was going on, and they came back followed by a over a hundred of the Empire's legionaries. Stone Talon and the Entire left flank started to move uphill to try and close the gap so the Empire's reserves could not build up speed when they ran at us.

It is at this point that things began to go wrong.

Looking back on it, it didn't go as badly wrong as it appeared at the time. From slightly further up the hill came a cry of 'Charge!', which started the motion of the flank towards the main body of the Empire. This meant that our entire flank was open, and we could be easily outflanked by the Empire's reserves. The Morghuns and more of Stone Talon arrayed themselves in a desperate attempt to stop ourselves being completely flanked as the Empire began to sweep down from the hill.

The reserves came around into what had been the back of our line moments earlier, but in doing so, they had opened a gap onto the plain at the top of the hill. The Dragon flank saw its opportunity and charged through the gap, gaining the advantage that it had been after. In the time it took the Empire's heavy flank formations to turn to face us, we were already among them, our swords and axes ringing out our defiance. The Reserves now had to run back up the hill to reach us, and that slowed them enough for us to mount a successful defence and repulse them.

It was about now things really went wrong.

As we dealt with the reserves, the main body of troops came up the hill, and we set to defending ourselves against them. As we did so, we failed to notice the Emperor and his Dragon Knights cutting a swathe towards us. They hit, and suddenly the floor was littered with wounded.

Some of our number had the sense to hit the floor, and after the Emperor and his troops had gone, we picked ourselves up, and began doing what we could for the wounded. Shortly after, the Emperor returned, again cutting a swathe through any that delayed his troops more than momentarily. I saw Bison, Eomear's Champion, stand in front of a unit of legionaries, and batter them into a bloody pulp until sheer weight of numbers took him down. As they passed, I ran down to where he lay, and picked up his body. Delryn saw my burden, and sprinted to Bison's aid. He called upon Steel to close the ogre's wounds, and I did my best to fix the rents in his armour, but as Bison regained conciousness, he told us to stop. Bison informed us that it was his time to die, and that he already knew that he would not leave this battlefield alive.

I have seen people say this before, and then find they survived and had stories to tell of how the battle went, and their heroic escape from death. Bison said it not as a boast, but as a certainty. We told him that if he was going to go out, he would go out with a feat of bravery that would live in people's memories forever, and not assaulted from all sides by cowards who only went for him because they outnumbered him. He was going out fighting the Emperor.

Bison agreed, and we finished patching him up as best we could. We didn't have long to wait, for as we turned from Delryn, the Emperor and the Dragon Knights once again swept into view. Bison and myself began running towards them, and with a roar like an enraged Cthon, Bison drew back his poleaxe and swung it levelly into the Emperor's chest. The Emperor staggered under the blow, and Bison began swinging more blows in, as the Dragon Knights closed in.

The Legionaries once again followed their master, and I was beaten to the floor, and when they had gone, I once again picked myself up off the floor, and looked around the broken bodies lying on the floor. I spotted Varg, lying in a heap, his poleaxe still in his hands. I went over, and hauled him to his feet, and headed in the direction of a group of Dragons I could see on the brow of the hill, and who I recognised as being able to heal Varg's wounds. As I did so, I felt two enormous blows strike me in the back, and heard the laughter of an Empire trooper. The weight of the blows knocked me to the ground, and should have killed me, but I survived, and lay there, inching my hand towards my knife should the legionary come at us again.

But he did not, and as I remained still on the ground, the group from the brow of the hill came to assist us, but the legion came across into my field of vision and attacked the healers. The legion marched off, and a few more black clad figures marched towards us. They appeared to be searching the bodies, and once again, my hand strayed to my knife, and as the questing hands of one of these men touched me, I heaved myself up, and placed the point of the knife against his throat. He explained he was a healer, and that he was checking to see whether any of these wounded carried healing upon them as his power was almost exhausted.

I released him and told him to heal those of the fallen which I pointed out - our healers. As they got to their feet, they healed more people, and we began to reassemble ourselves into some kind of unit. As we were completeing this task, another contingent of the legion apporached, as did Grandmaster Mage Floris Cullen. Seeing the approaching legion, and (I assume) deciding we were in no fit state to fight them, but that we would probably stand our ground and try to take them anyway, Floris cast a spell of Fear in our direction, and we were forced to run.

Once we had ceased our flight, we found another group - the remnants of Shield Talon, still led by a grim faced Kellen - and formed up with them, before seeing the banner and the captured Dragons leave the field under Empire guard. Our hearts heavy, but our honour still intact, we too left the battlefield.

Source: C.J. Bateman

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