The Day of A Soldier
(326 Dolefaren 376)
I’ve never really been much for words. It was dawn, two years ago today when we engaged their forces on the battlefield. Our unit had been sent to the outer clans of Zoluren to check out rumors of Goblins and Ogres raiding the villages. We knew from experience they had a tactic of hit and run. Goblins are not the type of warriors to go for extended melees. As we passed the Tiger clan border, there was a feeling of unease, many of our unit were newly trained pikemen of his Majesty’s service. This was going to be a routine patrol, or so we thought.
We arrived at Wolf Clan by mid-afternoon. Everything appeared as it should have. There were trade carts on the road, villagers, even children playing games in a nearby field. We split up into smaller squads. Jonas, our squad leader, took us north of the clan to the edge of the forests. As we emerged the sight we saw caught us all off guard. There it was, the rumors were true. Two full regiments of Ogre warriors preparing their march. There were no signs of Goblins, so many of us believed the reports of them joining forces to be false. We had not been seen yet, so our leader took us back into the forests to rejoin our unit. We dared not use the gwethdesuans for fear the enemy would also be monitoring. The typical Ogre doesn’t wear them, but we knew their leaders would be listening. Having caught up with the unit, we informed them of our findings. There was no way that one unit of pikemen could engage two full regiments of Ogres. We were clearly outnumbered. We all knew that we couldn’t leave the town unprotected. His Majesty had just commissioned new commanders and they were forming their own units, we knew help would not arrive in time. We were the frontline warriors.
Our leader made the decision. He was a student of the Kaith Khalor after all, and knew that we could not let these Ogres overrun the clans. Once the battle engaged, a call for aid would be sounded, but not before. Jonas knew that if we sounded the alarm now, the Ogres would speed up their assault in full force. No, it was decided to let them believe they had the element of surprise. The tension among the unit was noticeable, but everyone knew their duty. We quickly began to move the children and elderly indoors, making sure they knew everything was going to be all right. As trade carts crossed into Wolf clan territory, we advised them of the situation and told them either to find shelter or return to Crossing proper, in hopes of bring more reinforcements before it was too late.
It was the proverbial calm before the storm. All the squads took up a strategic position to cut the forces off before entering the Wolf clan. A few in my squad wondered if they would pass us by and head straight for Tiger clan. Many had homes there and were nervous they couldn’t defend them. Jonas knew they would strike here first. The first engagement would be here, and he was right. It was dusk when the first sounds of war drums were heard. I tightened the grip on my weapon. The sweat pouring down my face almost blinded me at times. They arrived in wave after wave and started to position their forces as their chieftain Naarg entered and surveyed the area. With a fierce grunt, he ordered his Ogres to take the clan and we sprung from our positions with a war cry of our own then engaged the Ogres.
The battle raged on for what seemed like anlas after anlas. Many good pikemen lost their lives that day. Only Jonas, myself, and K’yren survived from a squad of fifty pikemen. The reinforcements from Crossing proper arrived to save the day and drove the Ogres back. It was the first of many battles that would be fought in the clans. We gathered our wounded and began the long journey back to the barracks. Along the way, children were seen standing at the gates of Tiger clan, just watching as we marched by. I remember this elderly Gor’Tog woman, standing next to them and bearing a tattered flag of Zoluren. Word had spread faster than an exploding gaharzen of the first battle. All I could do was continue marching, thinking about all the lives… all the friends I lost that day.
I have since retired from service. I still speak with Jonas on occasion and heard he was promoted to Keep guardsman. I traveled back to Wolf clan yesterday. There were children playing in the fields. There were traders arguing with the commerce minister. The only signs of battle could be found by someone who was there. The trees have started to re-grow, the crumbled siege towers are all but gone, but the memories will always remain.