A Vain Salute

Hrosskel raised his axe high as the knights thundered past, in the hope the gesture would be echoed. A sign of respect from those so honoured by his Lord would make his men view him as their leader after Gellvax had fallen in the last raid. They rode by without even looking at him, their horselike steeds dribbling thick strands of gory spit between their jagged teeth.

warriors-resized

He cursed, the sound muffled by his helmet. His breath steamed out into the freezing air and the rime cracked beneath his heavy boots. Next to him Helvar chuckled quietly, his standard flapping as he marched alongside Hrosskel. The skin was freshly stripped from the leader of the village they had razed a day or so before and the stench of the untanned flesh was putrid, even in the chill air.

command-resized

“Ignore the ones who ride into battle for their greater height inspires them to greater arrogance. Now, if you had thrown the axe at them, you may have caught their attention.”

Hrosskel snorted bitterly at the skull-masked warrior’s taunt. Next to him Ernmund raised his brass-bound horn and loosed a mighty blast, at once heartening and terrifying. Hrosskel welcomed the sound, as it promised a new battle was near. He would prove his right to lead these men in the bloody furnace of combat through slaughter and cruelty.

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