The Desert Battle

Blood flew as Ansvar ended the life of another of the foul lizard folk. The sun had just crested the dunes. The Crusaders that Ansvar rode with had descended into the desert valley in search of the Dragon. Its minions were falling by the score. The Crusaders of the Eight Virtues had proved to be a formidable force against this reptilian rabble. Their mettle evident in the efficiency with which they fought. The clinical precision of the raid would not last however.

As sun reached fully over the edge of the valley, the light was cast in a red hue. With the devilish rays of the hot sun came death. The Crusaders looked up at the ridge. Ansvar, following their gaze, immediately recognized the blood red banners of the Crimson King. The warrior knelt in the sand and prayed to the Five that he may acquit himself well against the battle he knew was ahead. Taking up his halberd, as in slow motion, the world became a blur of fire and pain. The first meteors struck the lines of the Crusaders before they knew what was happening. Uthrac, Great Lord of the Crusaders, called out to bring his Soldiers in to line and face the new threat. It was too late.

A wave of warriors, bearing the war paint of Ebris, was driven before the Red Kings own Council of Mages. The Dope-warriors, as they were called, led the vanguard and splintered the defenses of the Crusaders, barely losing a man in the process. Ansvar found himself at a run from the battle, following the bulk of the Crusader forces as they tried to make an escape or find the space to regroup. Biting his lip, the warrior turned back to his attackers. The first Dope-warrior following him went down to a solid blow. The next closed too quickly and the great weapon could not recover. The fiendish Dope-warriors converged on Ansvar, buying the Crusaders precious if futile time to run.

Dragging himself from the pile of bodies, beaten and broken, Ansvar yet lived...as his eyes readjusted and he wiped away the blood he discovered the Dragon itself was to be his savior. The Dope-warriors and the forces of the Red King had all but defeated the Crusaders when the Dragon had burst among their ranks. Now it was they who fought for survival.

Ansvar staggered into what was left of the Crusaders, hidden behind a rocky outcropping. The wisdom of Uthrac had established way points long before the battle was ever joined. Quickly the Crusaders rearmed from what weapons and armor they could find and prepared the counter assault. Timing being critical so as to capture the Red King’s forces between the Dragon and the Crusader army. The Crusaders, dirty and bloodied, strode from safety with purpose as their lines once again formed...

The Red King smiled behind his crimson mask, he had held his reserves strategically, letting the Dope-warriors take the brunt of the fighting. Even now as the Dragon was being killed by a thousand cuts, the Red King MeKuShu casually flicked his wrist to the South West, sending his army of Death to receive their returned guests. The second battle would not last long, the resolve of the Crusaders and Ansvar himself waived as the lines met. The hesitation was all that was needed for the Council of Mages and the Dope-warriors to punish the Crusaders. The battle was fierce, however short...the Red King pondered a moment, watching his alliance pick the field clean, a hit of sadness hidden in his gaze. With a flick of his hand, the summoned mount he was on, descended from the high perch overlooking the valley. He had recognized the warrior in the midst of the Crusaders from the Old World, the one they call Ansvar, clearly an omen of things to come...sacrifices would have to be made...
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