Return Of The Bulls
Chapter IV: To The Forestmen
The Black Falcons now fled. With the assassin dead and their forces depleted by enemies also flying the Black Falcon flag, they were demoralized and confused. They fled without a backward glance.
The other Falcons, Barbod, Jainess and the eight remaining Bulls cheered. They had won, barely.
The Lone Falcon approached the triumphant Barbod and asked, “Where too now, Lord Barbod?"
Barbod spat up blood.
“To Isaac.” said Barbod.
He went to the front of his man.
“We will march to Isaac, leader of the Forestmen. I have allies there, and they will give us refuge, defense, and possibly reinforcements.”
“Din’t ya’ ‘ear?” a soldier spoke up, “Isaac is dead. The Forestmen now are ‘eld in ‘ee arms of a one-eard blaggard named Bjarn.”
There was a long silence.
“Lord?” the Lone Falcon asked.
“Bjarn.” Barbod said simply.
“Cap’in?” a Bull asked.
“What are we waiting for?” Barbod said, “Let’s head out!”
“Go do what you want, but I thought you were like your father. Didn’t he teach you when to fight and when to run?” Jainess asked him.
“Bulls don’t run!” Barbod yelled at her.
“Then I guess your father wasn’t a Bull!” she turned and started to walk away.
The Lone Falcon looked at the young female Bull. She seemed to dislike anything Barbod did. He stepped forward.
“Lord Barbod has no army, he has to land, he has no people. If the Bulls attacked the other Black Falcons now, they would be obliterated almost instantly. A general has to make hard choices when to fight and when to run and regroup. This time is now. It is not dishonorable plan your attack and lick your wounds if it means the difference between victory and defeat. I believe Lord Barbod is making a wise choice.”
“Aye, let us go to the Forestmen!” agreed a Bull.
“Yes, let’s!” shouted another.
“We shall proceed to the Forestmen.” Barbod commanded firmly, “If you don’t like it, go and join the bloody Falcons!”
Barbod lead his troops into the forest, side by side with the Lone Falcon.
“Amazing, ain’t ‘ee?” Barbod heard a Bull talking behind them, “Lost ‘is crown, ‘is kingdom, ‘is father, ‘n’ still ‘ee marches on.”
“Aye..” came another Bull’s voice.
Barbod smiled, and continued to walk, but suddenly a wound re-opened in his knee, where Faolan had struck. He fell to the ground.
“Lord?” the Lone Falcon asked.
“I’m fine!” Barbod snapped, trying to regain composure. He regained his footing, and walked on.
The sooner they found the Forestmen, the better.
Much later, Barbod’s troop was now deep in the wood and lost.
“Where is he?” Barbod asked out loud, not expecting an answer.
“C’mon mate! we’ve been goin’ at it fer hours. Why ‘aven’t we found the blaggard yet?” a Black Falcon asked.
“Usually you don’t have to find the Forestmen in a forest. Usually, they find you.” Barbod said, still walking.
There was a long silence before Barbod, the Lone Falcon, and their men finally stopped.
“We’ll rest here.” said Barbod, pointing to a small grassy plain.
“You two!” he pointed at two men, “Go get firewood. And some of you find food. No matter what, stay with a partner.”
He began to walk away.
“Where are you going?” asked the Lone Falcon.
“I smell like the gut of a steer.” said Barbod, smiling, “For the first time in a long while, I'm taking a bath.”
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