Brother Superior, the Grand-Master of the Brethren, climbed wearily onto the rocky outcrop. The faces of the surviving Brethren looked at him, hope still in many of the weary eyes.
It had been two days since the battle of Crabgrass Meadow. He had chosen their last battlefield well, with a single narrow crossing of River Hogan and set his forces on the high ground of Mount McManus. Sadly he knew his own impetuousness had cost them dearly. Since then they had been retreating further and further.
He took off his helmet and wiped his head with his hand. Then looked into the faces of the men before him.
“Brothers and fellow Brethren, it is with a heavy heart I stand before you. You have all fought hard and well. I have just come from speaking to the Treyine General and have reached an agreement with him. The Rock will now become part of the Treyine Empire.”
He paused while this news sank in. A few murmured disbelief, but most just looked blankly at him. A few even seemed to look relieved, which he could understand.
“The Red Sun still has a purpose for us.” He began again. “ Although we will no longer run the border area, we shall still have a presence. Treyine will allow us to maintain our chapels and preceptories, but in a much reduced state. No chapel may have more than 20 Brother Knights and 100 Brother Sergeants at any one time. We must also pledge our loyalty to King Edward IV.”
Again he paused while the murmuring died down.
“I know this is a bitter pill for many of you to swallow, but we will still be able to do bring the Sun's light to bear and protect this land from the Goblins and Orcs. If any of you cannot do this, you have a choice. The prisons of Treyine or Brother Blitzenhosen is leading a party into Zog-Rot and on to Naz-Goth to set up a new land for the Brethren. I myself have given my word to the Treyine that I shall return to them and act as hostage for remaining Brethrens' behaviour. Thank you for your bravery and loyalty. Continue to do The Sun's work and may It's Light shine on you whichever way you travel.”
With that Brother Superior climbed down, mounted his horse and rode towards the Treyine camp in the distance.
The terrain consisted of a large hill on the Treyine left flank that was never a feature of the action. A smaller hill lay in the centre of the Brethren deployment zone. An unfordable river crossed the battlefield. It could only be crossed at the bridge. Other than these features the terrain was largely flat.
The Brethren had chosen to place their infantry on Mount McManus, while the cavalry waited to catch anyone unwary enough to try crossing the bridge. Naturally, the Hykar ponywomen obliged by galloping across the bridge, ribbons streaming in the wind and cavorting lasciviously in front of the Brethren, whose vow of celibacy might have wavered a little that day. Sir Geoffrey Chambers led his own mercenary knights and the Troplian Equites over the bridge somewhat more sedately, but with no less determination.
Battle was joined. The Brother Knights and Sergeants eagerly joined the fray, knowing that they outnumbered the enemy at this time. A small unit of peasant archers also advanced on the Hykari ponygirls, who only noticed them at the last minute.
Sir Geoffrey fought off the Sergeants, who could not withstand the assault of his hardened mercenaries, while simultaneously holding his ground against Brother Superior and the flower of Brethren chivalry. The Tropilian Equites acquitted themselves less nobly and many died trying to cross the river. As this fight was going on Sir Alaric Fitzhugh was following the dashing Sir Geoffrey across the bridge and two units of mercenary handgunners were also manoeuvring to cross the bridge. Meanwhile the arrows of the Hykari slatterns had driven off the peasant archers.
The fighting was hard in front of the bridge. Sir Alaric drove off a unit of Brethren just as the other unit rejoined the fray. Brother Superior's own Brethren Knights charged once more at Sir Geoffrey and crushed his knights, who were now exhausted. They routed and Brother Superior pursued right into the first unit of handgunners who were now on the bridge. Their guns crashed. Knights and horses fell, but it was not enough. The handgunners were ridden down. Flushed with success, Brother Superior lead the charge into the second unit of handgunners, who were also ridden down, but again at the cost of some knights and horses. The charge continued towards a line of stout Treyine yeomanry. The yeoman archers loosed their arrows at the oncoming knights and this final volley was too much for them. Brother Superior's horse spooked and ran from the arrows. His knights followed and the Brother Sergeants joined the rout.
With the Brethren general and knights gone, the Treyine army formed up into column and began to troop across the bridge as the Hykari valkyries raced towards the Brethren infantry on the hill. Screaming and baring their chests they taunted the Brethren. While they did so Sir Alaric was marching his band of stout hearts towards the men on the hill.
Sir Alaric reached the Brethren line in time to realise that a Cleric stood among the ranks of the spearmen. A blast of eldritch sunfire flew from the Cleric towards Sir Alaric but his squire dived between them, taking the full force of the blast. Sir Alaric was enraged and charged the Cleric and his men down. The force of his fury was too great to bear and the Brethren spears fled.
Another unit of Brethren heavy infantry could take no more of the Hykari taunting. The raced down the hill in pursuit of the bare-breasted myrmidons, panting slightly and feeling strange urges in their codpieces. Unfortunately, as they approached the Hykari swiftly rode away from them, drawing them from the cover of the hill. While they did this, Sir Alaric turned to his right and rode down the spearmen that now stood in his way. His wrath was not yet fully assuaged.
The girls danced around the unit that was chasing them, while Treyine longbowmen took up position to bombard the troops on the hill. Sir Alaric took advantage of the distraction caused by the Hykari to charge and rout the spearmen.
With the archers now flooding across the river, it became clear to the remaining Brethren that their position was untenable. They surrendered.
This was our second RRtK game and it went more smoothly than the first.
Magic feels very different and much weaker because of the reduction in range and the changes to the way that it is cast.
Massed missile fire is deadly. The Brethren general basically destroyed three units in one turn but was brought down in the end by the casualties already taken and the power of the Treyine longbows.
Skirmish troops seem more effective now too. They are able to run up to troops, harass them, draw them out of line and then evade more easily than they could previously, or so it appears.
Heroes are massively powerful. One hero can destroy a standard unit of infantry really easily with little fear for his own life. The Blast spell from the Cleric caused the only hit on the hero that any unit took. The main problem is their high armour class. The only way to defeat a hero with AC8 is to mob him with several units, which can prove difficult, especially if the hero dictates the pace of the game. The other option would be to shoot him to bits. Massed missile fire should be able to hurt a hero quite badly if you can bring it to bear.