Every soldier in the encampment marched within the hour. Thousands of soldiers poured out of the Glasshorn fields and towards Elmon. It would take days of marching to arrive, a journey Rohl wasn’t looking forward to. His arm ached, and his body already felt weak, it would be an unpleasant journey for all involved, especially for Rohl who hadn’t had a chance to truly rest in days. At least he had been given a horse to ride as part of the general’s main entourage of blessed soldiers. Two other blessed soldiers rode alongside Rohl, Theodore blessed of Idis and Lucy chosen of Anat.
Rohl was sure he’d have collapsed after the first hour if he’d been made march alongside the professional soldiers. Instead, he got to ride alongside the general and lieutenants as they strategized a plan of attack. All he could do was ride and wait, wait for the battle ahead and pray that those he cared for were okay. He would give anything to make sure that the defences held, that his family were safe and that Ell had not been forced into the fray. All adventures could be conscripted during a monster attack and this was definitely a situation that called for it.
They marched for the remainder of the day and well into the night. Only when it became too dark to safely march did they stop and rest for the night. This rhythm repeated itself often, long days of hard marching to the steady beats of drums, followed by quiet and tense nights. Rohl barely spoke a word to anyone, not that any of the soldiers were in a talkative mood anyhow.
Battle made everyone tense and solemn, they knew what was at stake and what they were up against. They knew that some of them would die. A fact that haunted Rohl, he had asked for their help and they had come; their deaths would weigh heavily on him. All he could do was make the cost of life as low as he could.
On the fourth day of marching, Elmon appeared in the distance. The magical barriers had fallen and the outer gates were under attack as defenders fought valiantly to hold the walls. The march quickened and the soldiers prepared for battle. Formations were ordered as the army got closer to the battle; it would not be long now.
The 4th legions march was not unspotted by the enemy, an enemy far smarter than normal monsters, an enemy that turned, organised, and prepared to meet them. There would be no charging into unprepared backlines for the 4th legion today, but a charge into a waiting force of monsters. A force full of everything from trolls to manticores, even a few small hydras could be seen amidst the enemies forces but fortunately nothing of master or divine ranking except the sacrilegious beast itself.
Ranks upon ranks of infantry rushed into formation, forming a firm line of spears at the head of the army. The archers and mages readied themselves from behind the safety of the spear wall, once the forces closed they would be ready to unleash volleys onto their enemy. The cavalry began flanking to the side. But most importantly the general readied his men, lieutenants and the blessed for the upcoming battle. It would not be long now before the lines closed and the tension was almost visible.
The general rode through the centre of his soldiers, clearly visible to every soldier on the battlefield, a leader visible and willing to fight side by side with his men. Rohl was by his side, he was a much less reassuring and intimidating figure.
“Your report was accurate, I shall order the advance but first do you remember what I told you during our first meeting,” the general spoke to the hesitant Rohl.
“I remember bits and pieces sir.”
“I said your blessing could be a significant boost to an army, with that in mind, you’re going to give a rallying speech and infuse every soldier that listens with your blessing. That is my order.”
“I don’t know how to do a rallying speech, sir,” Rohl replied as he looked over the battle-ready soldiers, trying to think of anything that could inspire these men to victory.
“In the past, generals have always tried reminding soldiers what they are fighting for, what evil they’re here to stop, that is my advice. Now get on with it before the men’s spirits break,” the general commanded, clearly not wanting the morale of the men to break as they started at the force of beasts that would surely attempt to rip them to pieces.
“Yes sir,” Rohl replied, unable to break himself out of the respect the general’s presence commanded. The horse he was riding seemed to take the generals cue and rode between the ranks of soldiers until Rohl was at the front of the army. His body racked with nerves and anticipation.
Not that he let the soldiers see that as he equipped his silver cloak, no doubt its magical enchantments would prove useful in what was to come. It was all he could do to focus himself as he attempted to come up with an actual inspiring speech instead of something flimsy or depressing. A half-hearted roar of agreement and charge from the soldiers would crush Rohl’s already flayed nerves.
With his horse in position, Rohl began calling upon his blessing attempting to lace it into his words, his soul, and the very air around the soldiers.
“For countless years, the Felldom and their horrid creations have feasted upon us, for hundreds of years our father’s, mothers, sons, daughters have been nothing but cattle to these creatures. But that ends today, today we deal our first blow against them, we kill that beast, retake not only our land but our pride as a nation. Men of the 4th legion, it is our honour to retake that pride. Now, who’s with me!” Rohl shouted towards the awaiting soldiers, lifting his sword as he did so. He gave the soldiers one last look of confidence before turning and charging. The men of the 4th legion were right behind him, empowered by the power now flowing through them.