In the middle of the night, a messenger arrived at the campfire.
The king called upon the people of Northwich to Break the siege of La Longi.
The messenger detailed the most effective route. Under the guise of a student, he had ascertained that there was no loyalty to the king in Silverfinch so it would be avoided. They would resupply in Veigmanshire if necessary.
Emerson Berengar, Thane of Northwich sounded the horn and the men Northwich armed themselves. The O’Hagan, upon counsel of the Man with the Shepherd’s Crook were already assembled.
The Shepherd’s Crook Man spoke. “Emerson Berengar, I have a word to speak to these men.”
He appraised the men of Northwich and the O’Hagans.
“I look today at fine battle hardened warriors. You will go to war, and the armaments of the enemy will not prevail. What you fight are vile imaginations. It is the enemy whose foolish heart is darkened. We have faced such and enemy before. When this is over, there will be great light!”
The leader of the O’Hagan agreed. “Aye.”
Shepherd’s Crook Man Continued.
“Emerson, you have brought the 16 here to raise families and start a new life. Lead them in wisdom and you will break the siege.”
He turned to the 16. They were armed in pequin hide, spear and shield.
” There is no bondage to the free! We had our times of Silence at the Gallows and were read our Last Rites to no avail! We will cast down and destroy every imagination!” You will burn the board, the enemy will fall, and your last words to them will be ” king me! I am free!”
The 16 roared in approval, beating their shields with their spears. All played draughts and bore the brand of Last Rites and Silent Gallows.
A blood curdling scream shook them. It was Ahusaka and the Heron men. ” you speak of battle. We will partake in the war party.”