His opponents were lightly armed and armoured, mostly the Albion natives. They were giants amongst men, closely related to the men of Eraine though much less educated. The only people that could stand shoulder to them were the Ku-han. They were dangerous but they were hardly invincible.
The battle had started predictably. Each side’s scouts had begun to engage. At this point it had become obvious from the placements that the enemy had their main force hidden in the very centre of the valley, where the woodland was thickest. It was, Ambrose admitted, the best tactic even if it was obvious. That wood was notoriously difficult to move in, even for infantry. A cavalry charge was impossible.
Ambrose had immediately ordered two companies to the northern flank and another two to the south to come in and hit the undisciplined enemy from both sides to panic them and then, as they moved, ordered the commencement of the bombardment of the forest. The trebuchets lifted rocks covered in flaming, oil soaked rags into the air and they sailed into the forest. Soon the central woods began to blaze. At that point Ambrose felt something was wrong, this was too easy for one of the Masquerade’s deployments.
It took precious moments for him to realise what, exactly was wrong. The flames were burning unopposed in a valley that had a stream running through the centre. There was no enemy in the central forest. Cursing his own stupidity Ambrose bellowed furiously for runners to catch the four infantry companies and have them return, and for the longbowmen to burn down the entire woods, not just the centre.
The orders came too late however. Within an instant the natives burst from the northern woods. Nearly four-hundred, dressed head to toe in camouflage and wielding weapons dulled with soot. Through clenched teeth he watched the battle from afar, powerless to stop his men being slaughtered despite their superior armour and training... to their credit, the casualties to the natives were well above half.
The moment the attack had begun, however, the cavalry had begun to move. By the time the natives were done they were just in time to watch a tide of steel crash down upon them. He smiled as he watched them wiped out. from the reports, that should have been the main force. Which meant the enemy commander was now relying on reserve and scouting troops.
“Sir!” a messenger cried as he burst through the door flap of the command post. “The hawk division is arriving, and have brought reinforcements.”
“Good... that should make clearing out the rest of these barbarians a great deal easier. Have them dismount and meet in the assembly area the moment they reach us.”
It took them almost no time at all to arrive. Within minutes their captain arrived, A man by the name of Derrick. He saluted briefly and moved towards Ambrose. The seasoned knight almost missed the slight movement that the captain made.
He dived sideways as the imposter captain slashed out his blade from his scabbard. Within an instant Ambrose’s own blade, forged from the finest Erainian steel, was held low in front of him. So this was the masquerade’s plan? He had to admit, it was impressive trick – he had managed to infiltrate the hawk contingent up to the level of captain. Still, a battlefield assassin wouldn’t be good enough.