“I will show you to the Baron. ” Guntlaf said, raising from the chair inside his small tent. “Thank you. ” The cavalryman, who wore the yellow and blue uniform of westergard’s hussars replied, following the cuirassier. He couldn’t help looking in disdain the long old-fashioned braids which shown below Guntlaf’s helmet. “The squadron seems to be in an unexpected good condition. ” The hussar said “My men try to put a brave face, but most of them are wounded. ” Guntlaf replied, silently cursing the unexpected visit of the hussar.
He, as leader of the Eastmark cuirassiers, had carefully lied about the casualties fter the battle with the soldiers of Arendelle which had allowed to take the two hills that guarded the access to the western path. When Guntlaf had received the order to charge up the slope, he suspected that something weird was happening. A experienced commander like Valsroom wouldn’t have waste a valuable unit like the cuirassiers without a good reason. The assault had worked very well and the cuirassiers has suffered fewer casualties than expected, although they had paid a heavy toll to take the hills.
Guntlaf with the connivance of the doctor of the regiment, who was also from Eastmark, magnified his losses nd simulated that the regiment was broken. But now, the unexpected visit of the hussar, who was an aide-de-camp of the King, asking to see Heorg the Baron of Arendelle’s Southernmost Valley, put at risk that lie. Guntlaf asked inwardly if he had to order three of his men to ambush the hussar during his return and kill him. “When could I go with my men to the South? We are useless here and some of them need better medical attention. ” “I don’t know. Count Valsroom didn’t tell me anything about this point.
But I think that they count on you to guard the prisoners. ” Guntlaf nodded. He was sure that neither Valsroom nor Hans wanted them to go to the South. After the assault, he had noticed strange movements in the forces of the Southern Isles’ army that confirmed his suspicions. His scouts informed that one regiment of infantry and some cavalry had installed its encampment in a nearby valley. Officially, they would be used as reinforcements for the army, but its position was perfect to block the way of the cuirassiers towards the main road which connected Arendelle with the Southern Isles.
Has Erling risen up against them? The cuirassier thought. The sly and lever Count of Eastmark was willing to revolt, but he didn’t have the resources to do it. Has he obtained the money and started a revolt? That would explain Valsroom maneuvers. In that case my men are necessary in the South. The veteran cuirassier realized that the hussar looked at him as if he expected and answer.
“Excuse me, I didn’t heard you. ” “I asked about the Baron. King Hans is interested in his current state. ” “He is dying. According to our doctor a common man would have died the same day of the battle, but he is strong and stubborn. “The King wants to use him as a way to obtain the urrender of his fjord. The regiment which disembarked there has encountered an unexpected resistance. Under the command of the Baroness the garrison took refuge in the old castle and she refuse to surrender the fortress. Guntlaf couldn’t help smiling. “Why don’t they shell the castle? It is an old castle and it would be quickly destroyed by the cannons. ” “It’s out of reach from the ships and the Admiral from Weselton doesn’t want to disembark the cannons without permission from the Count. ”
Guntlaf nodded and laughed. And the Count of Weselton, that old weasel, will delay his reply until the war is ver. One thing is to transport soldiers and a very different one is to use their cannons against a castle. ” The hussar seemed uncomfortable, but Guntlaf was already engrossed in his own thoughts. That ships would be a way to transport my men to the South. But he knew that he couldn’t take the risk. Although he was sure that Eastmark was in revolt, he can risk the lifes of his soldiers just because he had guessed it. Two volunteers had left to the South disguised as civilians. They will try to reach the Southern Isles’ territory and discover what was happening.
They ad sworn to feign to be deserters even if that meant to be hanged. Guntlaf and the hussar reached the improvised field hospital. The seriously injured soldiers were in carts the rest in tents. The cuirassier entered in one of the carts, which had a guard in front of it, followed by the hussar. The cart stank with the smell of infection. Herolf was lying in a pallet which wasn’t big enough for him. He was deathly pale and breathed with difficulty. A man, clad in the uniform of Captain of Arendelle’s infantry, was at his side, leaning toward him. The Baron weakly said something and his body suddenly relaxed.
The captain closed his eyes using his left hand. The hussar noticed in that moment that the right arm of the officer ended in a stump with a recent bandage on it. “He has stopped suffering at last. ” Guntlaf said, removing his steel helmet from his head. The Captain nodded. “He had been delirious the entire night. ” “What did he said when we entered? ” The hussar asked. The Captain shrugged. “I think he was muttering the name of his wife. ” “I will allow some of your men to wear arms during his burial. So you will pay your last respect. ” Guntlaf said as he turned to go out.
Maybe we could bring him to his fjord. His wife would like to take care of him, once she surrenders the castle. ” The hussar said. Guntlaf turned his head and looked at the hussar. He was about to reply but the Captain was quicker. “He is a Baron of Arendelle not a trophy to be shown. ” “He should have carefully considered his actions. If he wouldn’t faced us, he wouldn’t be dead and his wife wouldn’t be in a difficult patch. ” “Perhaps you should carefully consider your words. ” The Captain replied, raising and confronting the hussar.
The hussar disdainfully looked the stump at the end of the an’s right hand. What are you supposed to do? ” “I only need my left hand to deal with you. Soldiers who wore his uniforms in such good condition haven’t usually been hardened by training nor combat. ” Guntlaf couldn’t help smiling. The hussar wore a fine uniform of the best quality and its state reflected that the campaign hasn’t been too hard for its wearer. The hussar put his hand on the pommel of his sword and was about to reply, but the Cuirassier interrupted him. “Let the Captain some time to train with his left hand and follow me. ” He said the last words n commanding tone of voice and immediately left the cart.
Once outside Guntlaf put on his helmet and waited a few seconds until the hussar, seething with anger, went out of the cart. “I want satisfaction for what he had told me. I’m nephew of Count Valsroom and he won’t allow something like that from low born prisoner. ” “Do you think that dueling with a crippled would. ” Guntlaf started to say, but he stopped talking when he noticed that one of his patrols had returned and two men clad in strange uniforms were among his cuirassiers. One of them was a short and bulky man, in his early fifties, bald and with a reat scar running across his face from the chin to the left eyebrow.
The other was a young man, but it was difficult to determine his age since his face was too young for the size of his body. “Why wear these men arms? All prisoners must be deprived of their weapons. ” The hussar said looking at both men who wore their swords at their side. “Because we aren’t prisoners. We have willingly meet your soldiers. ” The young man replied. “They wouldn’t have even seen us otherwise. ” The bald man calmly added. “We found them in a nearby mountain. I think they came from the North, through the western path. The sergeant who commanded the patrol said. Tell me. Isn’t that an Eastmark’s battle flag? I saw it from the mountains. ” The young men asked looking towards the squadron’s banner flying in the middle of the encampment.
The Eastmark’s hawk was clearly visible on it. Guntlaf was about to reply when a sudden thunder interrupted him. Everybody in the encampment looked towards the North. A great winter storm swirled over the mountains. They saw the winds, sweeping snow along, advancing like a wall. “Antanas! What the hell is happening? ” The bald man asked. “She is using her powers! I feared that she would do that. The young man replied, looking in astonishment towards the storm. “He didn’t seem very pleased. ” Lord Howard Halkett said. Allan Halkett looked in the same direction than his uncle trying to find out of whom he was talking about. They were in the bridge of his frigate.
Allan had gone to the ship to check its condition after the last storm. It had been snowing for three days and Arendelle was covered with a thick white layer. “Are you talking about the backstabber? I suppose that sharing the scarce free space of a warship like this with the brother you etrayed isn’t pleasant. He finally said, looking at the gaunt figure of Stephan, brother of Konrad former King of the Souther Isles until he was imprisoned and replaced by Hans. “I’m talking about him, but l don’t believe his elder brother is the reason for his mood. Look at him! What is he doing? ” Allan looked in surprise at the Southern Isles’ diplomat. He was leaning on the rail looking towards the mountains to the South as if he tried to see something in the dim light of the dusk.
“He seems to just enjoy the landscape. I suppose that it is a way not to see his brother. “He is looking at the storm. Halkett replied. Allan realized that Stephan’s eyes were looking fixedly towards the great storm clouds behind the mountains. The unnatural storm had suddenly appeared three days ago behind the mountains and had quickly spread. Arendelle had suffered under the snow, but it was easy to see that it was far worse behind the mountains. Allan’s eyes widened. “The Southern Isles’ army! ” “Correct. ” Halkett said with satisfaction. “A storm like that on summer must came from the Snow Witch and the position of the clouds said that it is directed against the Southern Isles’ army.
She dares to use her powers against people. ” “It’s a proof of her desperation. Mullon is also aware of the implication. ” “Do you think she can defeat the Southern Isles’ army. ” “I don’t know, but it our duty to be ready for it. ” “What do you mean? ” “We must make sure that the Snow Witch is neutralized. ” “If she defeated the Kingdom of the Southern Isles, how would you manage to do it? ” Alan replied raising his eyebrows. Lord Halkett waved his hand towards Arendelle. ” They will do the dirty work. Allan saw the soldiers from the Northern fjords in the port and guarding the access to the castle.
When the Northern Barons had arrived to Arendelle, they expected to catch Kai and the garrison by surprise and take control of the castle. Instead they have found the castle gates closed and the garrison and all the prominent people and their families inside. Kai had even send couriers to warn Queen Elsa, but the Northern patrols which had disembarked previously to control the access to Arendelle had managed to catch them all. Anyway the snow had blocked all the paths towards the south and it was impossible to send a mail to Queen Elsa or receiving any news from the army.
Are you talking about Clarence and Ebbe? If Elsa won, they wouldn’t dare to do anything. ” “They will, if they are supported by the people. Bishop Bodo was smart enough to hide when the Northern Barons arrived. So he isn’t in the castle, but in the village and the people is very worried by the storm. They fear a return of the great cold of the last summer. ” “And what is supposed to do Bodo. ” “When troubles arise, people seek answers and Bodo will give them some. He is celebrating a mass right now. His idea is to pray for the end of the storm, but I’m sure that he will inspire other solutions to the mob. They will guess that Queen Elsa is using her powers against their enemy. ”
“They are afraid, their leaders are inside the castle and Bodo is using all her influence to turn them against the source of the storm. ” “And will they give support to the northern Barons to overthrow Queen Elsa? ” “I think in something more definitive. ” Allan’s eyes widened when he understood his uncle’s words. “Killing a Queen. A King or a Queen is a sacred figure. All the countries in Europe agree on that. ” “Taking into account that they are monarchies, it’s perfectly normal. ” Halkett replied. “But she has used her powers to destroy an entire army.
Event Mullon will turn a blind eye on her death. ” “Are you going to handle this? I don’t believe that Clarence nor Ebbe are able to made it, but it would be very dangerous for you to handle it personally. ” “I have another candidate to handle this issue. ” Lord Halkett replied looking at Stephan, who still was leani the rail, looking towards the South. “That’s why you didn’t allowed him to return to Westergard. ” “He doesn’t want to return. He knows that he is far more useful here, defending his brother’s interests, besides which if his brother is defeated, he knows that he will safer here. “