Even as they left their campsite she was looking back, as if she didn’t want to leave it behind. She sighed as it dropped out of sight and turned her head back to the road, catching his stare as she did.
“What?” she asked bluntly.
“nothing,” he smirked. He watched her eyes go flat and she turned away.
A few days after, they had passed into Albion. It was hours before they came across the remains of one of many battlefields that they would cross in their journey. Men lay mangled by steel or bled dry by arrow wounds. Some of them were charred beyond recognition. The carnage was evident along the highway. Of course, control of the road system would be of vital importance to both the crown and the rebellion.
William could tell that despite her outward visage of calm, this place disturbed her. He could feel her emotions leaking into him through her magic. Although she was powerful she had obviously never learnt the art of secrecy. He caught her eyes lingering on several corpses.
“Is this your first time seeing death?” he asked softly.
“No,” she said spitefully, “but this is the first time i have seen such idiocy. Why? Why was all of this necessary? Wolves kill for food; other creatures kill to defend themselves or even their territory. But it is only ever a few, two packs of animals at most. How many lay dead here? Hundreds? Thousands? What madness inspired this?”
“Honestly,” William felt, his voice catching in his throat as he felt the despair radiating from her, “i don’t know.”
Sir Dean Ambrose watched from his field fortifications as the battle progressed. Scouts and runners kept him informed of all the developments around the battlefield. This time the rebels would be smashed. They had showed themselves as heretics, embracing the ways of magic that had been solely limited to the sisterhood who, under the divine watch of Nilda, would not falter and fall into corruption.
Karenshire valley was not the most ideal site for a battle in his mind but it would have to do. The dissidents were using it to sneak men and supplies past Albion’s patrols that, in their ignorance, feared the valley as cursed – something the rebels had used to their advantage. Since not many patrols returned from the valley the rebels had used the curse to cover their murders in a shroud of superstition. Well, he thought, that trick ended today.
He commanded Albion’s royal lions detachment. Three hundred fully armed knights on horseback, another five hundred on foot and six hundred trained longbow men. Trebuchets had been deployed along the eastern side of the valley to provide fire support along with the longbow men with another cavalry regiment belonging to the hawk detachment on its way. The terrain was dense at the centre of the valley, choked with trees that barely scraped their existence from the infertile ground... so the use of missile fire was limited.