“Shara, you look like you have seen better days.” Lord Haliz said as he welcomed a more than worse for wear Lord Shara into his tent. It was clear to him that Shara’s attempt to take back his castle without help did not go as well as he had wanted.
“That is not the half of it. I never even attacked the place. He came to me, and you can see the results for yourself.” Lord Shara was glad that he had come across Lord Haliz’s men first. Even if he was not close with the man, it was better than seeing someone that would make fun of his situation. He could imagine Lord Ganz would have been more than happy to do so. If he did not predict the same outcome for Ganz to have already occurred at this point.
“He had the men to spare for that? And you are alone, which means you separated from Lord Ganz. Did that happen before or after the battle?” Lord Haliz had to ask. If Earl Fiton had enough men to take on both Shara and Ganz together whilst defending several castles at once. It was clear that they would need more than the few lords that they had brought with them if he was adamant about defending sieges.
“No, we both separated to try and take back our own strongholds. Though I cannot imagine that Lord Ganz will have had much success.” Rather it would severely hurt his ego if Lord Ganz had taken back his castle where he had not only failed but lost most of his men in the process.
“That he has not met up with us yet says that Earl Fiton at least does not have the resources to attack both of you at the same time in different locations.” Lord Haliz would have rather given up and gone back to get more of the men he had left to maintain the tenuous balance with Alima Shuluk’s forces. Other than Shara, Ganz and himself there were only 5 lords that had taken a portion of their men back to retake their lands from Earl Fiton.
“For our sake, I hope Lord Ganz will have been able to retreat with more men than I.” Shara’s army really did not end up well after that battle. With over 200 men either captured or killed, his could barely be called an army at this point.
“Do not count on it. That attack dog will only be beaten into submission once the battle starts. At the very least we have Earl Damaz with us. He is nothing if not determined to get revenge for the ‘harm’ that was done to his son.” Haliz scoffed a bit at that. It was not like the boy was actually run through with a sword. Not to mention that he was handed over as soon as the garrison surrendered.
“Well, he is a slight bit on the protective side when it comes to that dullard.” Lord Shara had to agree. Not that he minded in this case since it meant that Earl Damaz had brought as many men as he could reasonably spare with him to take back his town and castle.
“Now that I think about it, have you received news about the castles Earl Fiton took whilst we were making our way here.” Lord Haliz asked because Shara and Ganz had rushed ahead. There was a reasonable chance that the news had passed them by.
“You mean he took more?” Shara shook his head. It seemed that Earl Fiton was more ambitious than he had thought.
“Yes, he took a castle defending the eastern road to Damaz and one to the north of the town too. We lack any news of the Iron Fortress.” Lord Haliz updated Shara on the scale of the enemy that they were facing.
“No news is good news I suppose. I sincerely doubt that even the Fiverian King could take the Iron Fortress by scaling the walls.” Shara nodded as if that was to be expected. The castle built into the side of the Brimstone mountains was originally called as such due to its proximity to several large iron mines but after several wars with Fiveria over the past few centuries, it lived up to its name in a different sense. The castle had never once been taken, by protracted siege or direct assault.
“That it is. Now how about you and your men rest up well tonight. Before Earl Damaz finds you and gives you an earful for losing to what he calls ‘that f****** Fiverian coward’.” Lord Haliz shook his head as he said that. If there was one thing that he would not call someone that invaded a Grand Duchy on his own as an Earl it was coward.
“I can imagine he has been irascible. Then I will take you up on that offer.” Lord Shara agreed to that. He definitely needed to sleep after retreating at top speed for so long.
“Sire!” A voice came from outside of Haliz’s tent.
“Enter.” Haliz recognised the voice to be one of his knights and responded immediately. Of his two knights, neither liked to bother him with something unless it was pertinent that he knew about it.
“ It seems that Earl Damaz’s scouts have sighted Lord Ganz’s army coming our way.” The knight reported.
“What shape are Ganz’s men in?” Haliz asked. This was probably the most important question.
“From the looks of it there are relatively few of them and they are barely marching in formation.” The knight replied.
“Not in formation? Ganz may be an attack dog, but there is no way he would let that slide. Just how badly was he beaten?” Shara commented, having not left the tent before the knight came in to report.
“I have a feeling we will find out soon.” Lord Haliz looked grim. It would seem that it was something more than just being defeated.