Roderick sat on his horse next to Dracia. She wa, standing up slightly in her stirrups as they looked over the hills in the distance. The tenth bell would toll in the town soon, meaning any moment, the invading armies would be upon them.
“We will lead the initial charge?” asked Lord Ethen, looking at Dracia.
“Yes, you both follow me. Once I am in the thick of the soldiers, I will dismount, but you two should stay on your horses. Try to keep me covered for as long as you can. Ethen, you stay to my front, and Roderick, to my back. Keep my sides clear as I will need a path. Once I have done what I need to do, I will remount.” She continued to stare into the distance.
“We will need to watch for arrows in the sky,” said Roderick, stroking his horse’s neck.
“We have serval Elites who are very gifted with the wind Mystic. They are staying back a bit, their only job is to watch the skies,” said Dracia. “We have covered all we can. We just have to see this through now.”
Roderick watched his High Captain. She appeared as she always did before a battle, steady, intense, and ready. While other times, Dracia could be casual, humorous, even flippant, before a battle she was everything a High Captain needed to be. She sat so still in her saddle, it hardly seemed real. Her horse, likewise, mimicked its rider. It’s sides only slightly moving with each breath. They could have been carved out of stone, some beautiful ancient sculpture of a woman warrior atop a mystical horse.
“There,” Dracia whispered. “They are upon us.”
In the distance, Roderick heard the bells start tolling from the large clock in town. He looked out in front of him, seeing a large group of soldiers coming their way, some on horseback, some on foot. The second bell tolled out, and Roderick could only see where the group began as it crested a few hills over. The third bell tolled out, and he could see the line stretched well beyond the widths of their own lines.
The fourth and then the fifth bell, and Dracia unsheathed her sword. Roderick heard the sound of 400 Elites unsheathing their swords around them as the sixth bell tolled out. He unsheathed his own at the seventh. Dracia turned to Roderick at the eighth bell.
“Stay with me, Roderick. We will come out of this like we always do.” Dracia raised her sword.
“I am with you, Captain,” said Roderick as he readied himself to send Magni on their way forward.
The tenth bell tolled out, and Roderick could see the vast group was only one hill over. Dracia slashed down her sword and urged Aarit forward, Ethen and Roderick following just behind her. He could see the rest of the Elites start their charge behind them, moving as almost one, in a large black wave. They rode forward, their horses making their way quickly up the hill, managing to keep their footing against the rocks and slick grass as only horses of the Sentinel could.
The front line of the enemy came closer and closer. Roderick could see there were at least four lines of mounted soldiers, followed by many lines of soldiers on foot. As they approached the front line, Roderick looked up to see hundreds of arrows over their heads. He rode on, trusting the Elites from the back to do what they were told. As he got ready to collide with the front line, he saw arrows being sent back from where they came, only a few making it through as Dracia raised her hand and sent five into five different soldiers in front of them, all of them falling off their horses.
Roderick meet the front line, swinging his sword and taking out the man in front of him. His horse collided with the next soldier’s horse in line as Roderick swung his sword, the soldier blocking his first attack. He swung again and then again before he found his mark and the soldier fell from his saddle to the ground.
Roderick looked up to see Dracia a few lines ahead of him. Ethen was by her side, and they were both slashing their way through the last line of mounted soldiers. Roderick quickly made work of two men on horseback, catching up with Dracia as she rode through, taking out men on the ground with her sword, her horse rearing up slightly to kick a couple away.
They all three made their way through lines of soldiers, taking out countless numbers with their swords and Mystics. Roderick was aware of his fellow Elites throwing fire, wind, and loose stones from the ground all around them. The sounds of dying soldiers surrounded them, as Roderick saw blood start to mix in with the green grass on the ground below.
They fought their way into the very middle of the lines. All-round them, men and a few women fought with elements, swords, and spears. Roderick heard a few horses squeal in distress. He did not look to see if it were enemy or Sentinel equines. He kept focused, staying close to his High Captain, making a path all around them.
Dracia caught his attention and nodded to him. Roderick moved to her back as Ethen brought his horse around to her front. She leaned down, whispering to Aarit before he circled around and slowed to a walk. Dracia hopped down from the saddle as Aarit moved away, kicking out at a few soldiers who were near him. He came to walk next to Roderick horse, keeping in between Roderick and Dracia.
Roderick worked to keep any soldier away from Dracia’s back. He slashed out and struck at two before sending a blast of wind to throw back several. He looked behind him to see Dracia fight briefly with a soldier next to her before she plunged her sword into the soldier’s chest. She turned and sent a flame at another soldier, making him move back as he was burned.
She had a clear field around her for a time, and she sheathed her sword. She took a deep breath. and yelled out, “Elites, clear the way.”
The Elites in their area finished with every soldier they were battling before urging their horses away from the area. Roderick and Ethen stayed where they were. Roderick moved his horse back and forth, keeping soldiers from her back, as Ethen did the same to her front. After Roderick took out a nearby soldier, he turned to see Dracia throw out her hands.
Two large columns of flames shot out of her hands that were out at her sides. She turned and closed her eyes before opening them and shooting out a gust of wind that swirled all around. Roderick held on to his horse, feeling the power of the gust almost unseat him. The wind met with the fire and swirled it all around, taking out a large swarth of soldiers, burning some, and slamming others into the ground.
Dracia whistled and Aarit rode to her side. She jumped up on him and pulled out her sword. “Elites, forward,” she yelled as she rode over the bodies of the soldiers before her, heading out to the lines in front of her.
Roderick could see that these soldiers in the back looked fearful and unsure. Many looked like they would like to flee as they had seen what had happened to those in front. He was sure the black wave of horses and Elites coming their way did not help them to feel comforted.
At that moment, Roderick had no doubt they would be successful. As he slashed through the lines in front of him and saw Dracia throw out wind and fire next to him, he knew the number of soldiers around them was dwindling quickly. They fought on as he became aware of more and more Elites around them, working to encircle the remaining enemy forces.
The fight was not short, and it was not easy. Roderick was becoming aware of how tired he was becoming. He paused for one moment to wipe the sweat off of his brow due to the sun overhead and the fire that swirled all around him. A few of the trees on the hill had caught fire, and the grass all around him was burnt. Still, he fought on, knowing he could not let up. The tide was starting to turn, but it could turn back in an instant. They had managed to circle up most of the soldiers into one area, but the soldiers continued to fight. They had tightened their lines and it became difficult to make much progress on horseback.
“Roderick,” yelled Dracia to get his attention. “Dismount and follow me.”
He nodded and pulled up Magni, whispering to him to get clear, before hopping off of him. He turned to find Dracia already on the ground with her sword out in front of her. She pushed out her hand and a blast of wind pushed through the soldiers in front of her, throwing some aside and creating space. She moved ahead, her sword swinging out in front of her, taking down two soldiers who tried to meet her.
Roderick caught up with her and fought by her side. They performed their familiar routine of taking down soldiers and covering for one another as each threw Mystics and swings in turns. Roderick quickly found his rhythm fighting by her side, guessing where she would go, as she seemed to know the perfect time to cover for him or pull him to her other side.
They fought to the middle of the largest group of soldiers, both moving constantly. Roderick felt himself get hit a few times by a fist or sword hilt, but he kept on his feet. He looked over to see Dracia had a cut on her face, and her hair was coming loose from her braids, but overall she seemed well and much stronger than Roderick felt.
“We need to end this,” said Dracia as she backed into Roderick, turning her head towards him.
“What do you want to do?” asked Roderick.
“We just need one more show of strength to take out as many as we can, and scare the rest into surrendering. Maybe we can get some answers if we take a few alive,” said Dracia as she ducked, allowing Roderick to stab through a soldier coming at her.
“What are you planning?”
“I need to get closer to the stream over there, and I will need you to cover me for a minute. It will take me a little time to work out what I need to do in my mind.” Dracia took out a soldier coming at Roderick by willing two large stones to smash his head.
“Let’s do it then,” said Roderick as they both moved as one towards the stream, taking out soldiers as they went.
When they got to the stream, Dracia threw out her hands to send a pillar of fire towards a group of enemy soldiers facing them. She looked at Roderick and nodded her head before sheathing her sword and closing her eyes. Roderick stood in front of her, ready to face any soldier that came her way. He heard Dracia taking deep breaths behind him, muttering to herself.
Roderick swung his sword as two soldiers came at him. He took them both out before meeting the sword of another. He pushed his free hand out, sending the man flying by wind before he swung his sword and hit another man in the chest who was running at him. More and more soldiers were running towards him, and he wasn’t sure how long he could protect Dracia before he would be overcome.
“Move to my side, Roderick,” commanded Dracia loudly.
Roderick struck out at a soldier close to him before he walked backwards and stood at Dracia’s side. He looked at her to see her eyes were still closed. She had pulled her hair free from its braids; it flowed around her as though she was standing in the wind. She opened her eyes, and the sun shining in the west caught her wide brown eyes perfectly, making them appear as though they were shining gold. Roderick put down his sword and stared as she lifted her hands. The stream behind her rose up and formed what looked like hundreds of tentacles, coming out from the banks and reaching towards the soldiers.
The water tentacles picked up small groups of soldiers, raising them high into the air as Dracia kept her hands up. The soldiers fighting stopped and looked up with fear in their eyes, seeing their fellow soldiers screaming as the water took them higher and higher. Roderick heard Dracia exhale loudly as she threw her hands down. The water slammed to the earth, soaking everyone as the soldiers were smacked hard into the ground, all lifeless and broken.
All around Roderick was the noise of hundreds of swords and spears dropping to the ground. He looked out and many soldiers had fallen to their knees. Others had taken flight. A few still fought on but were taken out by Elites swiftly. Roderick turned to see Dracia had fallen on her knees, her hands on the ground and her head down as she took deep breaths.
Roderick walked to her side and kneeled by her, putting his hand on her back.
“Captain, are you well?” he asked with concern.
She nodded in response, continuing to take deep breaths. Roderick looked up to see Ethen jumping off his horse. He kneeled in front of Dracia, raising her head gently with his hand under her chin. She looked at him and nodded.
“I am fine,” she said as she slowly stood up. “I just needed to catch my breath for a moment.”
“All is in hand here, it seems,” said Ethen as he and Roderick straightened up. “I would say we have a little under one hundred prisoners and many who took flight.”
“Those that surrendered should be taken to the Fortress and kept in the cells underneath so we can question them later. Those who fled should be found and killed,” said Dracia.
Roderick nodded and walked over to some Upper Elites to give them the orders. After he had spoken with them, he moved to walk back to Dracia when two Elites came galloping up on horseback. The rode straight to Dracia and stopped suddenly.
“High Captain, the river, soldiers have crossed it somehow,” said one of the Elites breathlessly.
“Darron and the others are fighting, but they are being pushed back towards the village and the palace. He asked that we come to find you and bring back help,” said the other Elite.
Dracia’s eyes grew large and her breathing increased, but Roderick watched as she set her mouth into a hard line and nodded. She whistled, and Aarit came running out from some nearby trees to her. Roderick whistled as well, and Magni was at his side quickly. He mounted and saw Dracia had climbed up on her horse.
“I need all who are of the right flank, the rear guard, and the advance guard to come with me. The rest stay here and see to the prisoners,” said Dracia yelling.
Roderick heard her command being passed on by the Upper Elites as Ethen found his horse and mounted. Dracia looked at Roderick with a grim expression and then took off, her hair flowing behind her as she rode towards the palace. Roderick looked at Ethen before they both urged their horses forward, following her.