Note: This story is easiest told through anthro form. The story itself may have some minor errors as it is was mainly put together to give a sense of fighting and formation. This is only the Prologue and Act I.
When I was young, my mother told me stories of our history. Stories of the Guardians that created the land I call home. It always intrigued me to know how we came to become so powerful in the world.
The first two would be the Guardians Sirus and Aegis. Two siblings whom founded Aegius; the capital of the Winterlands. Aegius was named after Aegis who was killed during an invasion from King Capria of Capricanis. Sirus would later avenge his sibling and invade Capricanis, slaughtering the town and all of the Capricians.
As the decades went on, our country changed from a Kingdom to an Empire and finally, the Three Houses of Power.
The house of Aegis, Sirus, and Cyprus. These houses bound our society, culture, traditions and even growth.
One such tradition that would lead my elder sister, Valkyrie, into the Legion. Not by choice, but by blood and birth.
Act 1 - Valkyrie
4th Wintherai Legion
"I, am a Warborn. By birth, I was destined to wield the sword in the name of Sirus and shield in that of Aegis. I am one of many and from the country I call home, I serve until my life in done. My name is Valkyrie of Aegius. 4th Legionary Warborn."
Chapter 1: Warborn
Blazing fireballs flew through the sky and crashed down against wooden pallisade walls, setting them on fire. Projectiles flew out from behind the fort in massive volleys in attempt to suppress the advancing army of Uhona griffon warriors. Many fell to the ground dead, while others attempted to push on only to be struck by another volley of arrows.
Valkyrie, a Wintherai Legionary of the 4th Legionary Cohort, watched over the walls of the fort as arrows shot past her head. Looking over the vast army of Uhonians, Valkyrie would spot the Warlord of the opposing army: Thymius. Thymius was a griffon and one of the great leaders in Uhona and a vicious fighter. Stories have it that he slaughtered fifteen Wintherai Vanguards. Others have him pitted against an entire legion. Of course these stories were just that and the warlord would die like any other.
Zirria, the captain of the 4th Wintherai Legionaries, mustered up the cohort by the gates awaiting to sally out. The Legionaries eagerly awaited with swords and shields ready for combat as more volleys of arrows would be shot out from behind them by archers.
The gates were quickly dropped to the ground as the cohort rushed out in a formation. Once they were outside of the fort, the gates were brought back up.
The cohort lined up and spread out as to keep the front of the fortress defended before an order was shouted out. In a group, the legionaries unlatched the javelin that was slung around their backs before holding them up, reeling back, and finally threw. The first wave of Uhonian warriors were pelted and driven straight into the dirt while the groups behind would continue the charge straight into the legionaries.
Valkyrie was in the front of the defensive line, bracing as Uhonian warrior griffons held shields up and spears out. The Uhonian warriors dove into the line of shields and tried to break through the line. Valkyrie stumbled back a bit from the sheer force of one griffon warriors' weight against her shield. To the side of her, spears struck through the gaps of the shield wall and struck some of the second line of legionaries. Falling to the ground, the third row would move up and replace them. The warrior still bashed into Valkyrie's shield, attempting to strike the legionaries behind her. The War horse tilted to the side with her shield as to open a bigger gap on the opposite side of where the Uhonian spear entered. She then took her sword and slid it through the opened gap and pierced into the side of the foe. Following up, she would lift herself upwards to push the corpse off her shield and regain composure in formation.
The line held for a solid minute, going back and forth on the open terrain with no clear victory clear. Captain Zirria took a whistle and blew it. The second line of legionaries would move up and trade places with the first. Valkyrie stepped to the back of the formation where it was much quieter, though the sound of battle still raged on.
From the back, the archers fired arrows into the air, making a perfect arch into the cluster of Uhonian warriors. Siege engines flung giant boulders into the forest line where the Uhonian ballista and catapults were firing from.
An order was finally given to cycle to the third row of legionaries as well as forcefully push the warriors back to the treeline. The legionaries pushed back against the Uhonian warriors to the forest lines while the archers kept adjusting the arch and firing.
Thymius watched the entire battle from atop of a hill. Noticing that the battle was not in their favor, he called for the rest of the army to fall back. The second in command raised a war horn and blew out two quick signals.
Hearing the signal, the Uhonian warriors turned tail and fled towards the forest. The archers were sent ahead of the line to fire upon the runners. Valkyrie and the rest of the legion would go around looking for injured soldiers on both sides. She came across one legionary soldier who caught an arrow to his side. Valkyrie leaned down to inspect the injured soldier. The soldier could was breathing faintly and gasping for air. The arrow had pierced his lung. Valkyrie checked his tags.
"Vicreir of Veletii" she continued on.
As with the oath and the legion's written code, Valkyrie sheathed her sword and took out a small sharp dagger with Wintherai engravings on the blade. Pressing it gently to the neck of the wounded soldier, Valkyrie would thrust forward and plunge the dagger into his neck. Closing her eyes tightly, she mumbled some words under her breath before swiftly pulled the dagger out.
"That was only one of many..." Valkyrie spoke to herself as she stood back up and gazed upon the vast field of bodies.
The attack on the fort had the soldiers encamped there more wary of night raids. The night shift guard's numbers were increased and the torches around had been doubled as to create a wider area of illumination.
Valkyrie was put on first watch. Her job was to keep watch during the first few hours of night before the next shift is up. The war horse stood at the top of the pallisade walls, leaning into her spear as she gazed over into the darkness outside of the torch illumation. Her mind kept going back to the first soldier she had mercy killed. It was usually nothing to dread on as she had done so before, but it never gets easier. She just hopes that if she was ever in such a situation, her companions would make it much quicker than she had to Vicreir.
The night passed and the 2nd shift took over until morning.
Valkyrie was up with her tent companions eating away at the food provided by the legionary cook. After breakfast, while the 2nd Legion took down the fort walls, the 3rd and 4th would begin to head North.
The Legions were to rendezvous at the docks of Veletii in the Northern part of Wintherai. Valkyrie marched alongside her cohort; Soldiers that she had been with since she was born into the Legion. All of them Legionary soldiers and all of them Warborn.
Chapter 2: Skirmish of Veletii
The rain pelted the ground while soldiers matched through the wet muddy ground. The 3rd and 4th Legion had been tasked in suppressing a rebellion in the town of Elverna while the 2nd Legion would press to the East.
The Elvernians were a faction to the North East of Wintherai. They consisted of griffons. They were well off in terms of technology and weaponry, but lacked a port. They had just recently became an enemy of Wintherai after the new King was appointed. King Elry, son of King Kadric who was a good friend of Wintherai before he was assassinated by his own son, Elry.
News had it that the Elvernians were marching on Veletii.
The city of Veletii was surrounded by cleared plains for farming and a few miles around was the forest line. The walls of the city were heavily fortified and had siege engines mounted on each watch tower.
The army marched towards the Northern part of Wintherai to the Elvernan Peninsula. Upon stopping near the outskirts of Veletii, the Legions settled down and made camp near the forest line. The garrison in Veletii would be defending against the Elvernians but be reinforced by Captain Zirria and Captain Tarus' Legion.
Valkyrie had been tasked to do scouting along with Yusvei and Pevai. Both an archer and vanguard respectively as both Yusvei and Pevai were griffons. These three soldiers had been picked due to their experience along with the weapons they held with their divisions.
Valkyrie had a sword, not very long but light and made of strong steel, and shield with her Legion's standard displayed on the front. Yusvei had two crossbows with him; a light repeating crossbow that fired two bolts in quick succession and a heavy crank crossbow for long distances. Yusvei also had a short sword as his side arm. Pevai carried a halberd that had a nasty hook on the back of the weapon's head as well as a sharp pike point on the opposite end of the shaft.
Wintherai had many customs and military traditions. Sentry Scouting would be one of those pre-battle traditions.
Scouting: A scout sentry would usually consist of a group of three good soldiers to go off and scout out the opponent's encampment. If one scout sentry were to run into an enemy sentry, they would quarrel. This was one of the ways to test out the average might of the opponent as well as tactical methods.
The three had been scouting along the forest line for some time before they heard harsh voices and shouting. Raising her arm up with an open hand, Valkyrie would perk her ears up. Quickly, she pushed her hand downwards as a signal as the three dove to the ground. The voices came closer and closer. Valkyrie kept her head down as the shifting sounds of foliage were heard right on top of them. It was an Elverni sentry consisting of two missile griffon soldiers with javelins and two griffon pikemen soldiers. They were shouting at each other in want seemed to be an argument of some sort.
Valkyrie, taking advantage of the situation, would slowly unsheath her sword. Yusvei steadily aimed upwards at one of the javelineers with his crossbow. Pevai already had his halberd shifting outwards near the legs of one pike soldier.
Valkyrie acted first as she jumped up following up with a slash across the back of the knee of one griffon pikeman. The other three soldiers were completely startled and froze as this occurred. Yusvei pulled the trigger and a bolt quickly and swiftly shot through the neck of a javelineer. Yusvei got onto his feet and shoulder dove into the other javelineer, tackling them to the ground. One of the sentry soldiers would raise his pike in attempts to strike at Valkyrie, but was pulled to the ground by Pevai who yanked his halberd back after hooking the Elvernian Pikeman's leg. In two swift movements, Pevai's halberd was pulled back and thrusted into the back of the pikeman.
Valkyrie raised her sword with two hands and swung it downwards into the griffon's torso, Yusvei had slaughtered the javelineer he tackled as he pulled a knife from the chest of the corpse.
Valkyrie cleaned off her blade and checked the bodies for any sort of note or information that would tell them about the movements of the Elvernai army. Nothing of importance was found.
Disappointed, Valkyrie exhaled slowly and got up from the body search. She twirled her hand around quickly signalling Yusvei and Pevai to follow. They were not too far from the camp if an Elverni scout sentry was out patrolling the perimeter.
The Wintherai scouts would swiftly rush through the forest to seek out the Elverni camp. Reaching a small opening in the forest, there was a camp fire and two tents accompanied by at least five Elverni warriors.
Valkyrie raised her arm up slowly before she pointed to Yusvei, made a 'two' signal with her fingers, then pointed to a tree overlooking the camp. The griffon nodded and crept towards the base of the tree. Yusvei unclipped two sharp metal claws from his utility belt and slid them onto his own claws. He would strike it against the bark of the tree and pull himself up, climbing the tree. Valkyrie turned to Pevai and pointed with all fingers to one Elverni pike griffon sitting on a stump near the edge of the clearing. Her hand then made a quick fist as she turned it over and gave a thumbs down. Pevai lowered his head and begin to move towards the pikeman from behind pulling out his halberd at the same time
Valkyrie unsheath her sword and unstrapped her shield from her back before standing up and slowly making her way out into the opening.
There was a shout from one of the soldiers who drew a sword on Valkyrie, pointing it in her direction. The others got up from their seats and grabbed their weapons. The pike griffon by the edge of the opening began to stand up but was pulled into the foliage behind him, disappearing as the chaos distracted the others.
Valkyrie confronted the rest of the four soldiers. Having two swords pointed at her and two pikes, the war horse raised her shield and hit the hilt of her sword to the side of the shield twice. Just as the end of one of the griffon's pikes was about to skewer the mare, a bolt zipped out of nowhere and plunged into the bird's neck. The second pikeman would look to where the projectile seemingly came from and stopped in place as a 'thud' was heard. The pikeman had dropped his weapon, and held his throat before falling into the mud. Finally, Valkyrie took her shield and with a quick lunge, would angle it so that the bottom of her shield would face the soldier before forcing it forwards and smashing it into his chest. Dropping the sword, the soldier stumbled back. Valkyrie's sword made contact with the base of the head, decapitating the soldier. The head and helmet hit the ground and rolled as the body fell.
Pevai searched through the tents while Valkyrie rummaged through the baggage. Pulling out a letter, Valkyrie read through it. Contained in the letter was a message to all scouting parties to hold around the fort until afternoon of the next day.
"Yusvei." She called towards the tree she ordered the marksman to.
The griffon dropped down to the ground on his paws, sliding his crossbow across his back. Valkyrie handed him the note as he approached. Yusvei took it and read the message before folding and pocketing the letter.
They then grabbed anything else that could be of use such as some of the food and baggage before heading back to their encampment.
Back at the Wintherai encampment, Captain Zirria gazed at Veletii.
"Captain." Came Valkyrie's voice as she, Pevai and Yusvei approached the gates of the pallisade walls. Zirria tore her gaze from the city and motioned for the guards to open the gates. Valkyrie and Pevai entered back into the fort and set down their spoils for the other soldiers to go through and sort.
Zirria approached Valkyrie.
"Status report?" Zirria barked.
"A few sentries. Taken care of. Note stating for all Elverni scouts to encamp separately around the main encampment for protection." Valkyrie replied with speed.
Zirria raised an eyebrow.
Yusvei took out the note and handed it to the captain.
Zirria nodded and turned before heading back up to the watch tower.
Valkyrie breathed in before slowly exhaling and making her way to the baths. It would be a long night for her before tomorrow.
Chapter 3: Battle of Veletii
Valkyrie awoke to the sounds of marching. She got out of her bed and grabbed her gear.
Dashing outside of the tent, she saw the cohorts marching out of the gates. The siege engines were being pushed out to the top of the hill that overlooks the field they were to meet armies. Valkyrie tightened the straps around her gauntlets and unsheathed her sword. She took the middle part of her blade and gently knocked it against her steel brafers as they clanked with each knock. Picking up her shield, Valkyrie joined her cohort's formation at the back right. Centurion Calibris was at the front barking orders. He then motioned with his sword to move out. The cohort moved forwards to join the rest of the legion outside of the fortress gates.
A war horn blew out one long blast and all cohorts moved forwards to the battlefield.
At the same time, the Elverni army was moving to the middle of the fields too. They had two groups. One which pushed up a giant siege tower and ladders, and the other with spears and shields. Valkyrie inspected these two groups and figured that they were going to push the legions back while sieging the city.
"Listen up you lot!" shouted Calibris.
"We have two groups of these barbarians against two legions and a whole garrison in the city. Now I do not know about any of you children, but I think this is mere child's play. So if you can not kill at least fifty of these practice dummies, then you may as well be working in a brothel!"
The speech was quite impressive to many as they straightened themselves up and stood still for a few moments. Then upon the raise of a sword, Calibris marched the cohort forward. Getting closer as they entered the field of battle, sounds of muffled clanging and shouts came from the opposite side. The Elverni army was also advancing forwards.
"Javelins!" Zirria shouted from the middle cohort. Every Centurion in the rest of the nine cohorts repeated the command. The front three rows if each cohort sheathed swords and grabbed the javelins on their backs, holding it up at the ready.
The armies got closer to each other. The Elverni general shouted a command and the front row of soldiers who held long spears crouched down and held their shields up, covering themselves. The second row would then hold their shields up before they began to throw axes at the legion. Before anyone reacted, a few legionaries in the front would be hit and fall.
"Javelins away! Defensive formation." Shouted Zirria.
Immediately the cohorts would respond as a loud sound of metal shuffling could he heard across the battlefield from them lifting their shields up. Valkyrie, being in the back would hold her shield up above her head.
The Elverni soldiers would keep throwing the axes but to no avail. A command was given for them to stop. The front line stood up and began to advance with pikes drawn. It was a wall of death coming right for the Wintherai legion. Just before they made contact, Zirria would shout a command.
The entire legion, Valkyrie included, all opened up the shielded shell to reveal javelins before chucking them into the cluster of Elverni pikemen. The javelins collided with the pike soldiers, taking out a huge row of them. The Elverni attempted to compensate for the front row losses by having some from the second row filled in for the front, however they were met with another volley of Javelins.
"Shielded charge!" Zirria commanded as all cohorts were commanded to charge forwards, shields first.
The initial charge was devasting, knocking Elverni to the ground or disrupting the other rows as the main three rows were not able to lower their pikes in time.
Valkyrie kept running with her shield in front of her and sword in her other hand. She rammed into a pikeman, knocking them to the ground. Quickly, Valkyrie made a quick thrust down at the soldier before turning to find more of her cohort. The Elverni pikemen pulled out their swords and began to fight the legion face to face.
Turning around, Valkyrie saw herself face to face with another soldier. A young and healthy looking Elverni griffon. He held a sword and round shield in his claws, face guard down in front to protect his beak and chain mail armor along with leather.
Valkyrie herself had light armor consisting mainly of a tabard, leather and some steel shoulder armor and steel greaves.
Valkyrie glared at her opponent through her steel helmet covering everything but her eyes and some areas near the mouth to help her breath. She lifted her sword and set it on top of her shield as she aimed the end of the sword at her target. The griffon would clash his sword to his shield and made a loud war cry before attempting to strike out at her side. Valkyrie side stepped it before she attempted a quick stab herself, but it was knocked away by the round shield. Following up the parry, the griffon slashed at Valkyrie's head. Quick to react, Valkyrie raised her shield to block the blow. The two soldiers faced each other, walking in circles trying to get an angle at each other for a bit. Eventually, as Valkyrie blocked the griffon's sword, she was surprised by the round shield being brought up and knocked it out of her hand. Her shield flew off and into the battle.
Left with only her sword, the war horse held it up right as the griffons sword came down. The steel clashed together, creating a spark. Valkyrie shoved the sword away, her sword guard catching his blade and forcefully pulling it away from his own control. He stumbled to the side before recovering and immediately dove at Valkyrie with his sword. Valkyrie dove to the side with a roll and followed up with a quick lunge slash at his side. It hit him and blood was drawn. He squaked in pain before dropping his shield and clutching at his wound. The Elverni glared at Valkyrie with flames in his eye as he advanced on her. Raising his arm to strike at her, Valkyrie closed the distance in a few seconds, shoulder bashing into him and grabbing his sword wrist. She twisted him around and used the end of her sword to smash his chest with the combo of her leg sweeping his legs. The griffon fell to the ground, stunned and helpless. There were no second thoughts as Valkyrie quickly took her sword and drove the blade through his throat. Choking for a few seconds as blood flooded his beak, he would die almost instantly. Valkyrie retrived her sword before engaging in combat with another.
Catapults threw rocks at one another ballista projectiles smashed into the ground where the massive fight occurred. It seemed like an even fight between both factions. The Elverni were able to regain their pike wall in the back of the initial battle line before they began to advance. The Legion slowly fell back into formation with shields held up defensively.
On the other front, the siege towers and ladders were on the walls already. The Elverni were making their way onto the walls with much success as the 3rd and 4th legion was held at bay playing defensive. Defeat seemed quite certain as there were no new orders being given. The Centurions held their positions as the pike wall closed in on them.
Valkyrie was in the front with a shield she had picked up from a dead companion and her sword. She was breathing quite heavily and tired from the initial charge and fight. The pikes finally closed in on the cohorts, beginning the assault. Many soldiers had been hit through the shields and fell to the ground, causing gaps in the defense. The army was being picked off and eliminated by dozens.
"Advance! Advance!" Calibris shouted to the other Centurions. The cohorts would slowly advance in on the pike wall. The front line of the legionaries would take their swords and jab at the pikemen. The wall of pikes became less effective as their target was too close. Valkyrie slowly raised her shield and took a jab at a pikeman, hitting them in the leg and forcing them to the ground. Centurion Calibris followed up with his own sword to the griffon's neck.
"Keep it up!" Calibris shouted encouragingly. The soldiers would keep doing the same thing. Injuring an Elverni pike soldier and then finishing them off before the Elverni could retaliate to the gap.
They got smarter to the tactic and aimed as the first attack would occur. Valkyrie reached out with her sword and slashed the stomach of an Elverni before Calibris would follow up. This time however, a pike drove into the centurion's side, skewering him in place. Calibris' cohort stopped in place. The pike was then retracted, pulling Calibris in front of the defensive formation. He laid there, motionless with a huge gaping wound in his back from where the end of the pike exited. Valkyrie quickly took his place and motioned for the second line to move forwards. The second line of the cohort moved up one pace replacing the first row that would move to the back of the formation.
"Advance!" Valkyrie shouted, picking up a fallen Elverni pike. She reoriented the pike to face outwards and began to strike at the Elvernian pikemen. Other legionaries followed suit and picked up the fallen Elverni pikes and using it to their advantage. The legion became a defensive shell with spikes, as it drew back the pike wall and massacred many.
"Offensive formation! Et Avium!" Valkyrie commanded before standing up and throwing her pike like a javelin. It drove into a griffon and pinned them to the ground. The rest of the cohort threw their pikes at Elverni and drew swords.
The legionaries spread outwards and began the slaughtering of the pikemen whom had no formation anymore. Turning her head around, Valkyrie saw the other cohorts being driven back and almost routing.
"Let us help our soldiers!" She shouted with a point of her sword to the pike formations. Being attacked from the back would devastate the Elverni pikemen as they fell like wheat to a sickle until the entire pike wall was routing or completely eliminated. The entire 4th Legion was now able to maneuver. They grouped back up under no specific commander.
Valkyrie took the reigns.
"Ferro Cohort! Take the siege towers down! Provigius Cohort. The Archers!" she kept giving each cohort an order. Having no other commands or orders to follow or plan, they obeyed her.
Ferro Cohort took over an Elverni battering ram before turning it on the siege towers. Immediately, the tide of the battle turned and Elverni began to route back to the forest. Gyuai Cohort would run them down to the end while Devai Cohort had torched their encampment.
It was only an hour or so before the battlefield was completely empty from Elverni. Only the Wintherai legion and corpses of both sides littered the area.
After the battle, the 4th Legion returned to Aegius to be replenished. Valkyrie would be promoted to Captain of the newly formed 5th Legion while the 6th would he led by Captain Wyvern. The two would be tasked with heading back to Veletii until further orders were given.
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