Chapter 248: Taking the Fight to Them

“Glad that the Marquess is punctual.” Braydon commented as he looked at the 500 men that had been sent south by the money grubber. They had agreed on the next two after they met days and two days later it was. The Marquess’s men had already come to meet him at Damaz, and given that it was just after noon, if they were quick, they could make it to Roan.

“It is more likely to give you no reason not to pay the rest of the money you owe him.” The man next to him commented.

“Still as distrustful as ever, I see.” He said that but after meeting Marquess Serchi, he could not really say that he disagreed. When it came to money the man was as meticulous as he was careless about his noble duties.

“So you are leaving then?” The captain asked. He was sure that Braydon was interested in finally battling on the field rather than in sieges after the past few weeks. He would have to stay behind as Braydon had asked him and his mercenaries to defend the castle next to the town and to be on look out for enemies who had decided to attack Damaz directly rather than go through the castles in the south. Whilst less convenient, there were small roads that could be used to get to Damaz without going through the castles that they had taken.

“As soon as my horse is ready.” Braydon did not need to say anything more for one of the garrison members to start making his way to the stables to tell them of their new lord’s decision. 

“You already have your new subjects whipped into shape.” Came the idle comment of the mercenary captain. It had barely been any time at all since Braydon had taken over the town, garrison and all, and the garrison was already treating as if he had ruled the place for years.

“From what I can gather it was their previous master that was fond of whipping people into shape. I am merely taking what was so graciously left for me.” Braydon was more than a little thankful that the previous lord was not all that popular amongst his subjects, it had and would continue to save him a lot of potential headaches.

“Sire!” Roan saluted.

“No need to stand on ceremony, we will be busy starting tomorrow.” Braydon had already sent the new additions to set up camp. Once they were in place, he would be able to move with his own men to attack the two armies that he had received reports about.

“So we are going to take the fight to them, my lord?” Roan had so far refrained from doing that in hopes that the enemy would lose patience and attack first, though that was getting less likely as time passed.

“It is clear that despite rushing ahead of everyone else they have been cowed by how well defended these castles are, otherwise they would have attacked before today.” Braydon did not want to take his chances and wait since they did not know when there would be more rebel lords returning to deal with the fire he had set behind them.

“Do you trust Serchi’s men to defend our castles?” Roan asked. Since they were essentially mercenaries but even less trustworthy it was an important question.

“I trust them less to fight a field battle, they are here to look intimidating and hold that banner, not fight.” Braydon said as he motioned towards the Serchi banner that was flying above the camp they were setting up outside of the castle walls. That they were Serchi’s men was the most important part about them.

“Fair enough.” Roan nodded, he would rather not test whether they were paid enough to actually fight for his lord. Their presence would hopefully be enough of a deterrence for the rebel lords.

“Which of the two do you think will be more of a problem?” Braydon asked, since Roan was the one who had been keeping tabs on the lords that had arrived first, he most likely knew which one was going to cause more of a headache if left alone.

“Probably the one who is trying to hide from our scouts at the castle south of here. He probably intends to wait until the rest of the lords turn up and assault this castle and attack there at the same time.” The fact that he was trying to hide at all hinted that he did not want to be seen until he attacked. And the only time that that would matter was if men had to be removed from that castle to help elsewhere.

“Does he know we are aware of his presence?” Braydon asked. That was probably the most important part. 

“I am unsure. At the very least he has not moved his camp or come out in the open, but given that we have intercepted his scout, he probably should be aware.” Roan was unsure how skilled the lord was since he was a newer part of Braydon’s domain. Rhydian would probably know since he had been a knight of Braydon’s father and had fought in Shuluk before but he was guarding Braydon’s territory in Fiveria and it was a bit late to ask him now.

“Then we should assume that he does and just attack him normally. It is not like he has particularly many men in the first place.” Braydon had decided to just attack like that since with Serchi’s men guarding one of his castles, he would be able to use more of his own men in attacking the rebel lords. 

“Then I will have the men prepared to set out first thing tomorrow, Sire.” Roan saluted and left to prepare the men that would be accompanying Braydon.

“Well let’s see how good Shuluk armies are then.” Braydon said to himself. He had seen how their garrisons performed but there was a difference in kind between a castle garrison and armies that had actively been taking part in battles and skirmishes for the better part of 2 years at this point. He would be lying if he said he was not interested.

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