Two riders tore though Arendelle as fast as their horses could go. All around people line the streets as he rode on. One of them yelled out to the people. "The battle has begun! The battle has begun!"
One of the riders made for the city square where most of the people gathered. The other raced for the castle. Because the battle was so close to the city a network of curriers had been set up to deliver news to the city and to the castle. A rider could get from the battlefield with news to Arendelle in an hour at full speed. When he news was delivered he could get a fresh horse and head back out. Multiple riders were in place for this.
The one that went to the city square would give a dispatch to the mayor who would read news of the battle to the people. The one that rode to the castle had far more detailed dispatches. He rode into the courtyard and ran into the castle and relinquished his weapons to the guards before entering the war room. He walked inside. "Your Majesty. I have news." He bowed.
The king nodded. "Thank you corporal." And took the dispatches. The young man then left to get a new horse and return to the battlefield. The king looked over the papers. "General Nohr reports the battle is underway. Two Army brigades and the royal marines have broken though the first defensive lines with ease and are pushing forward." His military advisor looked over some reports and moved some figurines around a map they had set up. Things had started better then expected.
The king looked at the map then said to his advisors. "I need to attend to some important matters. If something urgent is needed send Kai for me. I will be in the family wing."
His advisors looked at him confused. "Forgive me your majesty. But what could be more important then this right now?"
The king smiled a little. "Nothing I can truly explain General Kinsler. But trust me, this is of the utmost importance."
Four Cannons went off sending their ordinance into the enemy defenses. Smoke and the smell of gunpowder hung over the battlefield as the battle raged on. Men in both sides fought desperately for what they believed would be the future of Arendelle.
The stories that were told of the princes heroically leading their men in gallant fashion all while swashbuckling their way past countless opponents with ease where lies. All damned elaborate lies.
The reality was a blood stained hell. Across the battlefield cannon and musket shot off with deafening thunder. The sounds of shells howling an exploding filled the air. The whizzing of the bullets and the whistling of arrows chimed in. Answering those sounds was the sound of steel on steel on hand to hand combat. To top of the nightmare chorus was the screams and moans of the wounded and dying all across the battleground.
Here you would find no dashing princes or nobles. Those that joined in hopes of glory would leave when they got their first taste of real battle. Many of those who remained would often lead from behind content to take credit for what their men and commanders did. Only a few would truly lead their armies to great victory.
Princes and Nobles also soon found out that all the fencing they took in the palace was only one lesson they needed for real combat. Even without the advent of gunpowder to many random things could happen on a battlefield for a single sword to protect you. An Arrow could end you at any time. While fighting another opponent in close proximity to other men and enemy could take advantage and drop you from behind. Even the blade of one of your own men could find you by accident among all the chaos. Then there was the condition of the battlefield itself. Many a great swordsman had been killed while dueling when they tripped over a body and found themselves in a very vulnerable position. Even getting past all that there was the fact that facing a trainer was so very different then an enemy who very much wanted to go home alive, and in a choice between him or you, he was going to do everything he could to make sure it was him.
Then there was the whole reality of killing another person. Even if it was the enemy. No one could kill someone while looking in their eyes in close quarters combat without it affecting them in some way. You could compartmentalize it by putting it with your duty or defending yourself and brothers but it would always have that darkening affect.
"Give em hell boys!" An officer shouted as a volley of musket fire was poured into the enemy ranks.
Like most other Nations Arendelle's military was quick to adopt gunpowder weapons once they came along and they witnessed their destructive ability. However, it was still a developing technology so they still supplemented their forces with bows, crossbows, swords, and various pole arms. Even though rifling was new and only in few of the muskets it had rendered armor obsolete a couple decades ago. Only the heaviest of plate mail could stop most bullets but it made the wearer to slow and still vulnerable to the impact from a bullet. Shields were still used on a rare occasion but mostly for protecting high ranking officials.
Among the ranks of the attacking Arendelle force shells burst and musket fire and arrows where exchanged along with hand to hand fighting at some points. Among all this Corpsman Sambo ran along looking for the wounded and trying to treat them and get them out of the line of fire. All around him the scream could be heard among the explosions as he slid to a stop beside a downed man with an arrow in his torso. "It's ok I got you, I got you." He reassured as he examined the wound and applied bandages around the soldier to help stop the bleeding. "It's ok it looked like it missed anything major and it's not too deep. Don't move too much and do not take that arrow out or you will bleed to death. The doctors will take care of it."
Sambo ran along the lines hearing mini balls zing by as he attended the wounded. When he reached Lt. Slovak's Company he saw Ian first and his heart jumped into his throat as he saw Ian engaged sword to sword with an enemy soldier. He ran to assist but it turned out not to be needed as Ian turned out to be a far more skilled swordsman and dispatched the enemy. He breathed a sigh of relief as he saw Ian turn back to the men.
"That's it keep up your fire lads! Show them no one threatens our home!"
Sambo began to run up the line again but a shell struck the ground close by and he was knocked back off his feet and thrown onto his back. His head rang but he was able to sit up and quickly looked over himself and saw luckily there were no shrapnel wounds. As he stood he saw Ian look at him concerned then also sigh in relief and shouted. "Watch yourself there I don't have time to carry you to the back of the lines."
Sambo managed a slight smirk as he proceeded on. About 25 yard up the line he encountered Erik who was giving orders to a courier. "Tell Kemper I need artillery fire on that tree line." He pointed. "If we don't clear that they will have us in a kill zone when we try to advance." He grabbed another courier. "Find Capt. Meclemore and tell him I need his companies' assistance in clearing this tree line, he's further up the ridge and has more of a downward firing angle."
Sambo took a glance out over the battlefield. The regiment had taken this small ridge almost two hours ago and now had a downward firing angle on the enemy forces. Sambo was no officer but he know these rebels where not extremely well trained or experienced. If they had been they would have put up far more of a fight before abandoning this highly important position. As a result the regiment had taken far fewer casualties then expected so far. The battle seemed to be going well off to his left further down the battlefield he could see Army brigades pushing forward as the rebel forces where becoming trapped against the sea. This just made bigger problems for them as a Navy task force was there to prevent escape and was bombarding the rebels with their guns. He also knew is that these rebel forces were likely to become more desperate and stubborn. Facing defeat and charges of treason might just embolden some of them to fight to the death rather than surrender.
Sambo helped several more wounded men as he made his way along the line and came across Captain Meclemore with the battalion commander Major Arband. From behind him the sound of Kemper's cannons resounded as they sent shells into the narrow tree line.
James was talking to the Major. "Sir Lt. Slovak is requesting our fire on the tree line to help break the rebels holed up in it."
"Agreed" The Major replied. "As soon as they begin to break the Battalion will charge it we need to close the noose around the enemy."
"Understood sir pre….AAAAA Dammit!" James yelled out as a mini ball slashed across his arm.
Sambo ran over to James but he held up his hand. "I'm fine just a nick."
"Alright but let me take a look after the battle don't want it getting infected." His smile of relief faded away. "Look out!" He drew his pistol and fired knocking down an enemy soldier who had just rushed their position along with several others.
Sambo turned and saw James doing what he did best. James carried with him in battle a long spear with a long thin blade on it that could slash and stab. His friends always teased him for carrying it instead of just using a sword but not one could question he was a master with it.
When they had taken care of the few attacking troops and resumed to fire on the tree line along with the artillery barge the saw several troops begin to break and run. Then they heard the bugler sound the charge.
"Alright men forward! Move quickly and clear that tree line." Erik ordered as he pointed his sword as his company joined the battalion in the charge.
The king was lost in his thoughts as he made his way to his destination. It was true he probably should be in the war room at this time. But this was to important to not take care of. Besides he trusted the men in the room to deal with the situation. All the military personal in there had far more tactical experience then he did. He was only there as a formality and as an observer. And if the worst happened and the rebels somehow prevailed and moved on the city he would know about it and they could get the family to safety.
It was an unlikely scenario. They has discovered the growing rebellion before it could grow to large. By all accounts clearing the rebel army and ending it was almost certain. Still they small possibility made him shudder. Trying to get his wife and daughters out through the secret passageways while being persued by the enemy was not something he wished to experience or wish upon his family or any of the staff.
Then there was the matter of Elsa.
Trying to escape with two frightened teenage daughters would be hard enough. Making the idea even more frightening was the fact that one of those daughters possessed magic powers she had trouble controlling. Especially when she became emotional. What would happen if they were forced to flee? Elsa would probably loose all control out of fear. Who would she be exposed to? How would the guards and staff respond if it happened in front of them?
No! The king shook his head clearing those thoughts from it. That was not going to happen. The army would prevail and everyone would be safe. He was sure of it.
He reached his destination. He raised his hand an knocked softly. "Elsa?"
There was no answer. He opened the door quietly and looked inside. Across the room his daughter sat looking out the window. It was clear she was upset. The room had a chill to it. The walls has a light frosting over them. He slipped inside the room and closed the door gently behind him. As he approached Elsa he noticed she had a tear running down her cheek. He walked over to her and spoke gently. "Elsa?"
Elsa jumped a bit and looked at her father then burst into tears. "I'm sorry papa. It's all my fault!"
The king wanted badly to hold and comfort his daughter. But he knew that would just make things worse. Instead he sat down across from her at the window. "What do you mean?"
"The battle." She sobbed. "You have to hide me away because of what I am to keep everyone safe and now they don't trust you. And now all these people are going to die."
"No Elsa, that's not true." The king assured her.
"Yes it is." She said. "I went to get a book and I overheard what they said about me. They cant trust me. Now they are fighting about it."
"Elsa Count Snider would do this one way or another. He is just making an excuse. He was wanted power for himself for years. If there s anyone to blame it's him." The king said gently.
"But what about our soldiers?" Elsa said as the tears continued to flow and freeze. "I don't want anyone to die. Many of these men are barely older then me. And how will they feel fighting for a princess who stays locked away and isolated?"
The king smiled gently. "Ever since Colonel Davis restructured the castle guard from nobles sons with no experience to seasoned and experienced soldiers from the army I have gotten to know out soldiers well. A couple of weeks ago I even met two young men who are out there right now. I know from their service records they are incredibly loyal to Arendelle. You're right they are barley older then you. One of these young men I promoted to lieutenant and he cant be more then five years older then you. Yet even though he has never laid eyes on you and knows nothing about you he would fight for you to the end."
"Why do you think that?" Elsa asked looking at her father.
"Just something I saw in him." The king replied. "In fact in getting to know the guards in the castle I know that even though they have never seen you they still will protect you."
Elsa sniffed a little. "How do you know they aren't just putting up a front. You say council members do it all the time."
The king smiled. "Let me tell you about the Arendelle soldier."
The Marine Regiment charged forward. A hail of gunfire was discharged from both sides. The two forces soon clashed in hand to hand combat as the Arendelle forces pushed forward as the rebels tried to hold their ground.
"Despite them being battle hardened I have found many of the soldiers to be engaging and charming. Not like a politician. More genuine. They do what they have to keep the people safe. They enjoy seeing the people of Arendelle safe and happy. Makes what they do worth it to them." The king smiled as he spoke to Elsa.
James led his men forward. He pointed his spear directing them as they advanced. In battle James fit the description of dashing with perfection. He fought the enemy his movements powerful and quick with a sense of gracefulness to them. His body and spear makes circles and loops around as he fought. His longer blonde hair tussled around. He still managed to keep his charming grin even in combat. Full of confidence in himself and his men as they advanced. He seemed unconcerned about the danger to himself as he engaged the enemy his blade clanging with theirs until he defeated them only to move on to the next.
"But how do you know they will not fear me. Or hate me for staying locked away?" Elsa asked looking in her fathers eyes.
"Because they are also fiercely loyal." The king replied gently. "They love Arendelle and have sworn to protect the crown as well. That includes you. They may not understand why you hide away. But there are many things about the government they don't always understand. That does not bother them though. They will fight and defend Arendelle, her people and her rulers because to them it is the right thing to do and how Arendelle will survive."
"Forward men! For King and country!" Erik yelled his sword drawn as he raced forward. He fired his pistol then proceeded to engage the enemy with his sword. He was getting too far forward again but that did not bother him. He was going to make sure this rebellion ended today. They would not threaten his home anymore. He was also determined to make sure as many men from his command returned home as well.
He engaged a rebel soldier. Their swords sparked and rang as they dueled. While they fought the rebel yelled at him. "Why risk it? Why risk your life for a King who hides his family away from all. The heir to the throne sits in isolation and we shouldn't worry?"
Erik fought hard but answered. "It's not our place to make those decisions. Princess Elsa is crown princess and I do not concern myself with any personal issues she may have." He gritted his teeth as he fought. "No one is being hurt my the families behavior. The man you follow would risk the lives of everyone to gain power. He is a threat and so is everyone who follows him." He struck the rebels blade aside and thrust his sword into his chest. "A threat I will not allow to continue." He twisted the blade nd pulled it out and the rebel fell. He turned back to his men.
"Forward boys! Lets show them how big of a mistake they made!"
Elsa frowned. "You make them sound so different then normal people."
The King chuckled. "They are different in many ways. But they are still regular people. They have friends and families that they love dearly. They are just willing to risk their lives so their families and their friends families can stay safe."
Ian charged with his men fighting hard. He promised Pricilla he would return home safe and he had every intention of keeping that promise. However just because he was an engaged man did not mean he could shirk his duty in any way. He had his own men to worry about and they had family and loved ones to get home to as well. He fought on the love of his life motivated him to fight onward.
"Of course even though they are called upon to kill and fight they are still capable of great compassion." The king said
Sambo ran across the battlefield dodging shells, bullets, and arrows to treat the wounded. He would fight when necessary but that was not his goal on the battlefield. Death would claim many this day. Sambo was going to do everything in his power to steal some of those back. He ran from one downed man to the next treating injuries and saving anyone he could.
Ian stood and began to run with his men toward the tree line. The rebels panicked and fired a wild volley and several men fell around him but sill he advanced. Most of the rebels had fled at the sight of the charging regiment but several stood firm and hard to hand fighting broke out. Sounds of metal on metal and blade piecing flesh filled the trees as they fought desperately. Ian engaged the enemy fighting hard thrusting his sword into a rebel soldier and looked around to check on his men and Saw Erik not far away also engaged slicing another enemy then barking orders to the men. Erik was a master with a sword and it seemed no rebel was a match in hand to hand with him. But this was not just a hand to hand fight. Ian saw a rebel soldier lift his musket and point it at Erik. Ian yelled an rushed the enemy and rammed his shoulder into him just as he pulled the trigger.
Erik turned his head around as a bullet logged itself in the tree right next to his head. He saw Ian thrust his sword into a rebel on the ground a smoking musket on the ground next to him. He nodded to Ian and mouthed "Thanks." Ian nodded in return. Erik turned his attention back to the situation. The trees where cleared so they pushed the rebels out completely, but he looked back and saw some where reforming for a possible counter attack. "Alright boys let's give them one more push!" He ordered as the company pushes forward again.
Ian went forward the sight of the Arendelle troops shocked the rebels who believed they would stop at the tree line. Ian urged his troops on as the rebels broke again and ran knowing that the battle was nearly won with the Arendelle forces pushing them against the waiting Navel force. "Forward lads! For victory and Areaachhhhh."
Ian's voice stopped in his throat and he stopped in his tracks becoming instantly dizzy and stumbling. His vision blurred as he staggered a warm wet feeling on both the front and back of his neck as he suddenly found himself gasping for breath and choking as he fell to the ground watching blood form around him.
Erik was ordering the companies attack when a few of the breaking rebels fired a volley at the approaching battalion. He happened to be looking right at Ian when his neck opened up front and back from a bullet piercing though it and Ian staggered and fell dropping his sword. Time seemed to slow down as he watched his friend collapse calling his name his voice hollow in his ears. He ran towards him and held him trying to stop the bleeding. "Come on Ian don't do this!" He pleaded as Ian tried to farm words and the blood covered Erik's hands and uniform. "Medic! Sambo!" He called out in desperation as Ian's eyes began to lose focus. Sambo slide next to him
"Ian, Ian!" he yelled as he tried to stop the bleeding. Then looked helplessly at Erik with sad eyes "There is nothing I can do." He resigned.
Both friends knelt there and held his hands as he tried to gasp out. "Its ok bud we got you." Erik said.
Ian managed to gasp out "Pri..tell…sorry." then he stared wide eyed up to the sky. Sambo bowed his head and said a few words and Erik closed his friend's eyes. "Its ok rest my friend. We got this. We will bring you home, Hero."
James slowly lowered his field glasses. He had seen Erik suddenly break off and understood why. He saw both Erik and Sambo kneel besides Ian and from the way they reacted he knew his friend was gone. Unfortunately now wasn't the time to sit and grieve he had a job to do.
"Captain any signs of Snider or any of the Rebel leaders?" The Major asked him
"No sir" he said continuing to scan the collapsing rebel lines for signs of them.
The king stood. "I need to get back downstairs. But remember my precious daughter. This is not your fault. It is the fault of people who couldn't have enough. They want everything and are willing to destroy many lives to do so. If there is anyone you should fear it is them. They will hurt you just because your in the way to the throne. But don't worry. Our Army will prevail and protect us and all of Arendelle. I am sure of it." He managed a smile.
"Alright papa." Elsa said softly. She had stopped crying but still looked out the window. She still felt this was in some part because of her. She was just glad she wouldn't have to see the fighting up close.
Erik stood. There would be time to grieve later right now he had a job to finish. "Come on Sambo lets finish this so Ian didn't die in vain." Sambo nodded and went off to assist the wounded. Erik scanned the field seeing the rebel lines break on all fronts and the regiment moving to push them against the sea.
Over the next hour the Arendelle forces broke the rebel lines and many started to surrender. The Marine regiment was holding position along the right flank in order to keep them from escaping around when Erik noticed something through his field glasses. Horses and riders fleeing the rebel lines and heading for the coast. Judging from the look of them this had to be some of the rebel leaders. He ran and grabbed a horse and climbed on it. "Hayah!" jerking the reins as the horse galloped after them. He saw James and just managed to yell "James! rebel leaders!" and point as James grabbed a horse and followed. He also saw a cavalry trooper on horse and called for him to follow. The three pursued the two rebels who both turned and fired pistols at their pursuers. One of the shots hit the Calvary private and he fell off his horse. James an Erik couldn't stop right now to assist though. Erik drew his pistol and fired shooting one of the rebels off his horse as well. The rode past him given his uniform he was just escorting one of the leaders. They chased him down the road near the water into what appeared to be a hidden cove away from the naval forces. They could see further out a small ship waiting and a lifeboat waiting by the shore. The rider got off his horse quickly but James and Erik jumped off their horses and ran up to him. Erik had his sword drawn and James had his spear ready. James looked at him and said with surprise. "Snider?"
"Actually its lord or count Snider to you." He said with a sneer.
"I'm pretty sure you lost that title when you betrayed Arendelle and killed many of her young men in a failed rebellion." Erik replied coldly.
"Failed rebellion? You think this is over?" Snider laughed and stared at Erik
"It sure looks that way your army is defeated and we have you, its leader in custody." Erik glared at him as he approached
"You honestly think I'm going to surrender to some… some commoner?" Snider stared in disbelief not seeming very concerned.
Erik replied coldly "This right now this Commoner far out ranks you, a traitor. And there is no way you could defeat myself much less the both of us." He added.
"My ignorant young Lieutenant I have no need to defeat you in hand to hand combat. I have this well in hand." Snider smirked an crossed his arms
"Yes it sure looks that way. You know I may just volunteer for execution detail just so I can ask you how well in hand you have it then. Now do me a favor and please resist the King prefers we keep you alive but he never said I couldn't hurt you." Erik said with a slightly malicious tone.
Snider just stood there an smirked with his arms crossed.
"Smug to the end I suppose. Ok I may just enjoy thi….."
Erik was stopped by a sudden sickening sound of metal piecing flesh as he felt a sharp pain in his back and through his chest as he looked down as a narrow blade protruded from him the edge slicing part of his heart. He gasped for breath as he begin to grow cold and the world around him dimmed as he fell to the ground.