Riding On GambitMature

Melchior followed Bishop's pointing arm and watched as a large force of Stahll's troops withdrew from the melee at midfield and marched toward the egress.

“That's a good four thousand men, putting us two to one at best.” Les said.

“He's attempting to break through.”

The Duke shook his head. “What a fool you are, thinking he would rather face my archers.”

“With your cavalry we can push straight through to him now. End this with me.” Melchior said with fervor, his fist smashing into an open palm.

“No. I will not sacrifice my men for your responsibilities. Your orders were to ensure Stahll did not survive this campaign. Mine were simply to agree to go to war with him and draw him out.” The Duke signalled his men and they began to return to their position at the front of the line. “You're on your own Melchior.”

“I should have known I couldn't trust a coward like you.” Melchior said as the Duke's party left. He then turned to his three captains. “Take the riverbank, try to get to Rook before the melee begins.”

“And if we can't?” Asked Bishop.

“If you can't get there before it begins, assess the situation and do what you can to get through. It's imperative that you regroup with the cavalry and push them up to Stahll's position.”

Les shook his head. “You're not doing what it is I think you're doing, are you?”

“I have to kill Stahll.”

“I have a feeling you're only going to kill yourself.”

“I'll meet you in the melee with Stahll's guard.”

Les cast a concerned glance to his commander. “Melchior.” he said, just before the hooded man had trod off. “You'd better be there.”

“Don't worry Les, who else is going to save your sorry arse?”

Les laughed, but cut it short with a stern glance to Bishop and Blaine. “Let's go.” he said, pushing his rouncy toward the riverbank in as good a gallop as she could muster.

They parted ways, Melchior racing toward the melee below and his three captains pulling away toward the south west.

The Duke's reserve troops watched in awe at the sight of a lone rider blazing toward the meadow. As he cut down the slope, he heard their cheers, and the clatter when they raised their weapons and struck steel to steel in respect for what they thought was unbridled bravery. Even the horses of the mounted men bucked and whined at the want to thrust themselves into a gallop; their riders struggling with the excited steeds.

All the while, unbeknownst to cheering men, Melchior was cursing to himself. He held to the reins of his courser, struggling to remain atop her and fought the fear boiling in his mind. “For all of heavens sake, Melchior, you're going to get yourself killed.”

The End

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