Lore: The Battle for Kyhlo (Part One of Three)
Year: 1052 AE
Mordakai placed his calloused hand on his daughter's cheek then lifted her chin so he could look into her eyes. They were a beautiful golden brown, just like her mother's.
"Don't be sad, Devona." He smiled at her, trying his best to sound reassuring.
"I'll be back before you know it. I promise."
Devona wrinkled up her nose and wiped a tear out of her eye. "I know, Daddy," she said.
She was always so brave. Only five years old, but she already had the makings of a proud warrior.
"You mind your mother, and keep some stew warm for me," he said, hefting his hammer. "I have to meet the rest of my guild."
Mordakai kissed his wife and daughter goodbye then lowered his head under the low brick archway and stepped through the door into the streets of Kyhlo.
Shortly before sunrise, the scouts had reported that the Zealots of Shiverpeak had mustered and were marching on Kyhlo.
Mordakai stood beside the crimson and gold banners affixed to the poles atop the castle walls. The sturdy fabric snapped in the stiff breeze, and the crest of Ascalon's Chosen—Mordakai's guild—shone proudly in the afternoon light. This had been the third time in as many days that the Chosen had been called out to defend the city. It was a huge responsibility but also a tremendous honor. Only the strongest guild held the castle—only the best in the land.
The first reports had mentioned only a small force, but as the day wore on they had heard word of a marching platoon of more than fifty. Mordakai gripped his hammer as he thought about that number. Even with the ramparts and archers patrolling the crenellations, the guild was still in for a tough fight. Not everyone would live to see another dawn.
A trumpet sounded from the watchtower.
Mordakai raised his hand to his forehead to shade his eyes. In the distance, just on the horizon, a line of red dust rose into the air.
"They're here," said one of the archers on the wall.
The other rangers standing nearby nodded their understanding, not taking their eyes off of the approaching red cloud.
"Let them come," said Mordakai. The big warrior spit on the ground. "They will fall, like all the rest."
His words seemed to steel the men around him.
Heading down the stairs, Mordakai stepped through the open portcullis and passed through the line of warriors assembled before the castle.
In that short time, the Zealots had transformed from a distant speck into a fully formed army. Mordakai could already make out the forest green and ice blue of their guild banners.
The big warrior thought back to that morning as he had said goodbye to Devona. He'd made a promise, and he intended to keep it.
Donning his helmet, Mordakai took his place at the head of his team. "This castle belongs to Ascalon's Chosen." His voice boomed out, reaching all the men and women within a hundred yards. "And it's going to stay that way."