Location: Near Shindar Fortress
Formendacil wrote:So Oris Del Grakken was planning to resurrect his family's fortunes? Maybe he was serious about becoming a power...
"Let's get back to the men and plan our attack," said Elbadar. "I've seen enough."
"We need to strike quickly, with force, and withdraw quickly, before the enemy can rally. Furthermore, we need to ensure that if forced, we can withdraw back to Shindar fortress ere they can cut us off," Elbadar was saying as they returned to their men.
"We need to split them up," said Mask. "And lead them in diverse directions, so as to allow the bulk of our men to slaughter them one or two at a time."
"How?" asked Elbadar.
"My shinobi will do it," said Mask. "Wait here, and soon enough a force of the enemy will coming this way."
And collecting his dozen or so shinobi, Mask melted back into the trees.
"All right," said Elbadar to his Dragon Masters and the Daimyo's samurai. "Prepare to attack and destroy a smaller force of the enemy. Any Fright Knight is a legitimate target. The enemy Dragon Masters can be differentiated from ours by the green dragons on their shields." There was a rippling murmur through his men. "Form up!"
How the shinobi did it, Elbadar never did really understand, but half an hour later, the Fright Knights and Dragon Masters had fanned out in various different directions, in groups of about sixty. One came, as predicted, right down at them, being led astray by Mask and one of his shinobi. The two shinobi slipped into the ranks of Elbadar's men just in time for Elbadar to give the order to attack.
With about a hundred and ten men behind him, Elbadar led the charge at the Fright Knights ahead of them. The Fright Knights seemed almost unprepared, and were pretty much slaughtered, with little loss on Elbadar's side. Once again, watching the samurai around him fight, he remembered why the Ninjarian-Dragon Master war had been so bloody. The samurai were warriors of great skill. But watching his own men, he had no reason to complain, he decided.
"Quick!" came Mask's voice behind him, "my men are leading another party this way. It will be a tougher one. These are Dragon Masters, not Fright Knights."
Quickly, Elbadar marshalled his Dragon Masters and the samurai into position, ordering the samurai out of sight, into the trees. Then, lit up by the light of flame-wreathed blade, Del Grakken came into view with a contingent of Dragon Masters.
"Elbadar!" spat Del Grakken. "You look a little undermanned there, with only thirty men! This will be a pleasure, indeed! Tonight, men! Tonight we destroy the one who's tried so hard to sell us out!"
"Hold position!" Elbadar ordered his men calmly. "Swords out!"
As Del Grakken and his men bore down on Elbadar's, Mask and the Samurai came back out of the trees, and surrounded the attackers.
"Form a circle!" Del Grakken ordered. He raised to his lips a horn, summoning aid.
"This is bad," said Mask, who had somehow appeared at Elbadar's side. "There is a group of Fright Knights only a short ways to our rear. We must cut our way out immediately."
Elbadar nodded, and gave the order to start moving, avoiding Del Grakken's men as much as possible. But things weren't going well. Soon not one, but two companies of Fright Knight had advanced on them from the sides. Elbadar's men were outnumbered 3 to 2, and if any other groups showed up, it was only going to get worse.
"Cut your way out!" ordered Elbadar. "Back to the Fortress!"
Forming up, his Dragon Masters and samurai thrust their way through the Fright Knight ranks, and out of battle, but at great cost. Perhaps half their men were left behind.
"Keep going!" shouted Elbadar. "We have to make Shindar Fortress ere they do!"
It became a race. With a headstart and greater desperation, Elbadar's troops pressed on, but Del Grakken's men, fresher, were right at their heels. It was only a shower of arrows from the few defenders of the fortress that slowed down the enemy enough to allow Elbadar and his men to slip in and bar the gates.
"That wasn't good," said Elbadar, panting.