CHAPTER 57: BATLLE OF THEA MOOR
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEA
The ship rocked hard and sometimes my grandmother puke to the vast ocean. Our passage to Alan is blocked, by the Althea so road travel is impossible.
So we chose the sea route to go to our family friends now that we are running for our lives, after the battle.
The House of Orleans, a great family friend in Vangua, who have been assisted by my father many times in the past.
Troubles and troubles visit my family, like there no end in sight of our calamity. Does heaven have no eyes!
I could not help but despair in my current predicament but one day, I vowed to make myself a greater man, than my father and even Arial the Dragon.
I will be known someday.
Harald! They will cheer! Harald! will they fear! Harald! will they love! My determination solidified after all the bitter experience I have encountered.
‘Son are you alright ‘
‘I am fine mother.’
In this ship it is cramped but if fits us. Good enough that it can fit us as we ran far away from the tragedy that befallen u.
‘I will look at your grandmother, son’ my mother said and quickly she went to the cabin to help my grandmother.
She is worried about Grandma, after what happen to grandfather.
I began writing of my eyewitness account in the diary, and my own perspectives describing what happen at the fateful day.
The battle has started. Or at least about to begin, one of the bloodiest, if not cruelest in Dostov. At long last, the decisive battle is here.
My grandfather is all but ready to prepare his march invigorated after his long rest and he is ready to march to the North and as it was his intention to proceed, escorted by the King Joseph, the Pretender of royal countenance, but what I can see in hindsight, at least now, that I can see him in proper light after all that happens in the battle that follows, he is impetuous and rash, kind of reminded me of myself and my past.
His vassals, escorted then by their loyal banner man has arrived at the destination, some affording us the main army with the necessary supplies.
The weather had become favourable, not as I predicted, and though still cold, the snow had disappeared, and a dry wind which had prevailed for some days had rendered the river Leep near the Thea Moor, the passage of which was considered the most formidable obstacle to my grandfather march, fordable.
And this is taken to be a sign of great tidings.
My grandfather army move in motion, and after a short march, halted on the moor of Thea, about five or six miles from the river Leep.
He then formed his army into three divisions, each about half a mile distant from the other, and in this order they advanced towards the Leep.
Singing and dancing they all are, confident of an easy victory.
The left division, which was the largest, crossed the river while the other division followed, with great zeal to bring the Pretender to the throne and restore the line of the Original line of royalty and at the same time to establish a Lucellian Orthodox King.
In their passage across the river Leep, harsh and fast the currents, the men were up to their waists in the water, but, with the exception of the loss of a few of troops and knights, who were carried away by the stream, because of their heavy chainmail and equipment no terrible accident occurred.
I was in the back, preparing to guard and replace my grandfather, should he fall in battle.
I make no conversation, not with my grandfather, nor the Pretender. It is not my place, and not what I believe.
I fight because my grandfather fights. Family. That is what it is about for me. We are all solemn, fatigued.
Fatigues and labours from the great campaign from the South, and the numerous inconveniences to which the soldiers had been subjected from the beginning, only their faith and honours, perseveres upon them, to march on this dreary path, walk the passage of rivers, and endure the cold and snow that surely will show itself to us, but the near prospect they now had of meeting the Terrisimite forces army upon their own soil, and of putting an end to the war by one bold and decisive blow, absorbed for a while all recollection of their past sufferings.
‘This is it’ some of them will whispers.
This is where they are, they will sang in great hall and tavern after the battle, singing of glory and victory and great people they killed and capture.
That they were there watching as they rise the old line of Kings to the throne and be revel in the pride of being there while other men seeks hiding under their thatched roof, that they, the soldiers, were there risking their lives, fighting in great battles and emerge victorious, their song sings by bards and minstrel, while writers will write their story of valour which will in turn them not but a Knight but a man of immortal in the ink of writers and the song of bards.
The reason my grandfather went here is for the King benefits.
By drawing Terris Quinn here, who is known to lead his army here, it was generally supposed that the King could meet him on more equal terms than at other places, not to mention he have many more supporters here and inspire the other lords to join him if he appears to be courageous.
And the King suddenly halted his advance and shouted with a loud yells
‘Drums the beat and the pipes as I march to victory’ he yelled and the soldiers cheered, and the lords and the Knights.
They are underestimating the Quinn’s to much.
I, of course hope that the King wins but underestimating an enemy will prove to be disastrous for any King, Prince or commander.
Which is why I have an alternative planned already if the King loses today. I know of such feelings.
Of underestimating an enemy only to beaten by such prejudice and notion. Arial, Lisa, Kyle ,Helia…all prove of my immature worldview.
Hearing the orders, the drum were beat, the pipes are played with rousing melody to encourage men to fight, and the lords come, for it is the summoning to arms.
The King in horseback, stride in front taking the lead while my grandfather defers to the King, led them out to undoubtedly the battles of their lives.
My grandfather chose Thea Moor, for the field of battle.
The King, certainly, if not sure and confident and in high spirits, smiles and grin, like victory is in front of his eyes, and drew his men up in the battle across the moor, which is about a half mile broad.
This moor, Thea Moor, which is a heathy flat of considerable extent about five miles from a city called Arveness forms the top of a hill which, rising , dies gradually away in the direction of Queens.
The ascent to the moor is steep on both sides, particularly from the shore.
In pitching upon this ground, King Joseph acted on the supposition that my grandfather would march along the moor, which was better fitted for the free passage of his army than the common road between, which was narrow and inconvenient.
In expectation that my grandfather will advance, King Joseph sent forward on the road to Queens some parties of horse to do some reconnaissance, to scout enemy movements, and trails, but they could observe no appearance of any movement among the royal troops.
Then the King advance and chose one of the most unfavorable terrain that he could have choose.
My grandfather who was delayed after fighting some splinter forces of the royal army then finally arrived at Thea Moor and he sees the ground that the Pretender has chosen.
My grandfather objected to it with great vehemence.
Even though the place is interspersed with moss and some hollows, the ground was generally too level, and consequently not well suited for the operation of our army.
My grandfather, therefore proposed to look out for more eligible ground, and at his command I and some Knights from King Joseph personal guard were sent about to survey some hilly ground on the south side of the water of Leep, which appeared to the Ser Knight to be steep and uneven, and of course more advantageous for army.
The Ser Knight was sure of it but I was not.
The ground was rugged and boggy, that no cavalry could act upon it, that the ascent on the side next to the river was steep, and that there were only two or three places, about three or four miles above, where cavalry could pass; the banks of the river below being inaccessible.
I told of my concerns to my grandfather, that if Terris Quinn is here and the King is goaded into attack we might be looking at defeat here.
But my grandfather opted not to listen to my counsel.
On receiving this information, Lord Deen, who is a great friend of my grandfather proposed, that the army should cross the water of Leep, and draw up in line of battle, upon the ground which had been surveyed; and that, should the King of Dostov, Terris Quinn not venture to cross after them and engage them upon the ground in question, they might watch a favourable opportunity of attacking him with advantage.
‘My lord, we should wait for other lords to come and bolster our ranks’ my grandfather advises the King who is eager to war and battle.
His resolution is strong and resolute.
‘I will attack the Terrisimite forces, even with a thousand men. Such movement and boldness’ the King argued ‘will encourage our army and discourage the enemies while doing the opposite and waited, will discourage if not weaken our army morale.’
I believed it stems, from an inferiority, there existed, it seems a large part of his belief and desire to shun the Terris army and portray an image of a strong leader, most abundant charisma and unquestioned authority.
So that night he calls his lords and after intense debate and argument, they decided to attack the Terris camp, surprising the Terris army, to pursue this war in a swift manner and end it as such.
Lord Deen once again voice his support for the King ideas and how happy the young pretender to be supported, overjoyed to the points of tears, immediately embraced the lord that is present.
I was informed late that night.
Had the army been in a condition to sustain the fatigue of a night-march of ten or twelve miles, the plan of a night attack was unquestionably the best that could have been devised under existing circumstances.
If surprised in the dark, even supposing the Terissmte force who is led by King Terris to have been on his guard, a night attack appeared to afford the only chance of getting the better of his superiority in numbers and discipline, and of rendering his cavalry and infantry, in which his chief strength lay, utterly useless.
But our army is starving. Bordering on starvation. Fatigued. Bordering on death. And miss their home, with great fervent longing.
Like the sun miss the moon.
Consequently such an army is not able to perform such a fatiguing march.
To appease their hunger a single biscuit was distributed to each man, but this pittance only increased the desire for more; and hunger getting the better of patience, some of the men began to leave the ranks in quest of provisions.
In spite, however, of the deprivation under which they laboured, the army was never in higher spirits, or more desirous to meet the enemy; and it was not until all hopes of an immediate engagement were abandoned that the men thought of looking out for the means of subsistence.
And this is what leads to the messiest affair.
Large number of men departure from the army, who, ignorant of the intended march, not at a fault of course, for they were not included in the meetings and the greater plan, went off towards the nearby villages and cities and adjacent places to procure provisions and quarters for the night.
The lords and Knights were immediately dispatched on horseback to bring them back, but no persuasion could induce the men to return, who gave as their reason for refusing that they were starving.
‘Kill us, but we will not return until we got some meat in our bellies, some ale to water our parched throat’ They said with great defiance.
They deserted and by all means, defected and King Joseph the Pretender loses 3564 troops being about a third of his army.
This occurrence, this completely unseen circumstances completely changed the aspect of affairs, and the initial plan, and every member of the meeting who had formerly advocated a night attack now warmly, some vehemently opposed it, which is my grandfather
But like a King he is stubborn.
Joseph, bent upon his purpose, resolutely insisted upon the measure, and said that when the march was begun the men who had gone off would return and follow the rest.
And so he marches with those who would follow him.
My grandfather bent on fulfilling his honour took up his banner and marches while at the same time making sure no one knows about this secret march.
The King trusted Lord Deen to be the front and the Lord rode with great speed with his army.
An hour later, almost near the moor, the march is halt. In front of us tens of thousands of men is waiting for us.
From afar we can see, the banner of Lord Deen. He has betrayed us that is my thought.
Joseph who is on horseback, rode forward immediately towards the front, to ascertain the cause of the halt and shocked to see Lord Deen there, cozying up with Terris lords.
His face says everything. Anger and dejection.
‘RETREAT!’ he yelled
And retreat we did. But Terris will not let us retreat easily. And the battles begin.
The dawn is approaching, and the dawn greet us with cold and great storms that lashes upon us as snow and rain billowing blowing against us.
Before long the troops engaged in melee battles. The arrows came like hail rains, killing and piercing amour.
The cavalry rides with thundering roar and causing frightful break ups among those inexperienced in battle, but I urge my men a 400 man under my charge to go forward.
The cutting and slicing and there was many brave deeds performed by my troops all the while we are trying to retreat.
I kill the enemies force like I was killing flies.
But it is true and I realize this even from the onset of the battle, that Terris Quinn has a large army, numerous lords that supported him, and a disciplined and well-fed army on his order and a large number of my troops eventually, fell in their own pool of blood.
The dead lay on all sides of the battles as the cries and the screaming of pain wounded men, rang in my ears.
You could see some riderless horse running and jumping in the battlefield as if he is mad, overcome with hopelessness,I presume.
‘The battle is lost’ I said, almost like a whisper.
My mother. My grandmother. I can’t and will not perish here.
My army has fallen only left 10 in what must be a great slaughter at its best as the enraged Terris mow and killed with no mercy, their zealous effort seems to me, so maddening, that no mercy will be given, if I were to fall to his capture.
They are all insane, fills with bloodlust.
They must be insane to do what they are doing now, what a bloodbath, what horrid images that I saw that day in that battle.
I could not find the words to express my feelings.
Even Hell could not be this dreadful. Terrible words will be spoken of this day. The battle of The Moor.
Woes betide anyone who falls into the enemy hands. Such brutality and violent wars. I retreat as I ride to home.
My plan is already set and we will survive. It seems my ambition to be influential here would be hard.
I would seek protection in other Kingdom.
I fought hunger, of great pain, as I realized blood is dripping from my shoulder.
An arrow lodged in my shoulder, blood dripping but I ride and I return home and quickly I force my grandmother to leave their house for I believe that my grandfather have die in the battle.
I never knew what happen to the King after I retreat.
I closed the diaries.
I only knew what happens to the outcome of the battle a few weeks after the battles from some tavern and in some port.
A well supplied Terris army, and violent and brutal if I might add, led by Terris Quinn defeated the King Joseph, betrayed by the lords he embraced, and trust.
A pawn for foreign nation who did not send him any reinforcement. A tragic King
A tragedy but an inspiration for minstrel and bards who have already began singing the Song of the Pretender.
In Dostov history, this is the bloodiest battle ever fought.
I see it during my retreat.
The forces of the King are well beaten but the next resulting cruelty should not have been done and unwarranted.
They were killed and after that those who surrendered were buried alive, some were slashed in every part of their body, others were beaten to an unrecognizable bag of flesh and blood.
The bloody aftermath went on for weeks as the King, Terris Quinn order all his royal guard to capture all the families of those who rebels against his rule and throw them all in gigantic vat with boiling oil, gigantic pot constructed and in the palace as the enemies lord, my grandfather companion had to watch as their sons, daughters, babies were thrown and suffer with great pain and torment.
Their wife is raped in front of their eyes and they will watch as the King slit their throat in front of the Lords. And only then the King will kill them.
But what had befallen the Pretender is much worse.
He was bring to the capital and stripped naked, paraded around the city.
And as he is naked, the King with great pleasure and a terrible laugh cut of his manhood for all to see and stuff it at the King mouth and force him to eat it.
Even the common folk is disgusted by such action but they do not dare to defy the King
Then he give the Pretender King his excrement to eat and even though he tried to resist he was binded in the Square with iron chains with great and powerful guard guarding the podium constructed to embarrass him, and he was force fed Terris Quinn excrement and puked giving off a very revolting smell.
Then and only the, battered, weak, and have lost any will to live, Teriss ended the Pretender life using a very brutal punishment.
He set out a hungry wolf upon him in a tight prison as the wolf maw his flesh and lick his bone and the people say that Teriss Quinn was laughing maniacally in his castle walls as he administer the punishment.
No longer will any lords dare challenge him.
He meant to destroy any thought of such rebellion ever happening again. Bardent and Tuca claims to not support the King.
And so ends probably the last rebellion to the Vern Lucelian Orthodox claim to the throne.
And my grandfather?
Fate has something more merciful fate in store for him, for he died in the battle, protecting his liege lord, dying the way he wanted it to end.
And so, here I am, running from a cruel King, to the House of Orleans where I will also meet my betrothed Emilia.
I hope this time my luck would be prevailing as the ship bravely sails.