The Battle Of Lierkist

This history recounting the Battle of Lierkist is taken from the work 'The Latter Days of Royal Sigard' written by the bard Demier the Grave. Demier survived the battle besieged inside the city and was taken prisoner as a member of the royal court of Sigard. In the three years of imprisonment he spent in the dungeons of Castle Proudmoore preceding his execution Demier assembled the only complete and reliable history of the battle, and the Earl of Galastry ordered it bound and preserved in the royal library after his death.

Penned upon the thirty-fifth day of winter, thirteen hundred and seven of Hanna’s count.

And on the fifth day a great army arose on the horizon to the north of the city and marched upon the walls. By Sunset of the sixth day they had made their camp forward of the besieging force, just outside of arrow-shot of the very walls of the city, and the golden pavilion of William of Galastry was clearly visable from atop the towers of the merchant’s quarter. And we, who were gathered in the city, heard their horns calling to one another, and saw their banners flapping in the distance, and were sure that the siege was preparing to end. Lord Unduin, who commanded the walls, expected attack within the week, once the army had rested and raised new siege engines.

Preparations were duly ordered and the Lord Steward himself inspected the walls. Lord Aaron was duly optimistic before his soldiers, but in court later that day made preparations to go forth from the city and parlay with the Earl of Galastry rather than unduly waste the lives of his men and prosperity of the city. Under a banner of truce he rode out, and was met by a party from the men of Reddown. While I am not privy to the negotiation that took place it seems that the Earl would accept nothing short of unconditional surrender, and Lord Aaron, unwilling to accept such a condition, returned to the city and ordered that his armour be brought to him and girded on.

After the hour of the midday meal on winter’s fortieth day we were aroused at court by the awful ringing of the spears of the men of Reddown against their iron bound shields, and from upon the walls to which I hastened I could make out their battle lines marching over the fields, amongst them great wooden towers rising and seeming to move toward us. Their war cry reached us as they closed, a rhythmic chanting to which they marched. I could not help but wonder if the Goblins with which they had made war at our side only a few years before had felt the terror I did at their advance.

The Reddown infantry came under heavy fire from the archers on the walls, but their broad shields and greater numbers meant that this did little to halt their advance. They reached the walls, where they pushed up long ladders, but the men on the walls pushed these clear and poured vats of flaming lead down upon the heads of the men below the walls. Then came the wooden towers. They lowered great drawbridges down onto the walls from their faces and men in the leather breastplates of the Downers poured forth and the fighting was thick and close on the walls. One of the towers fell, alight, amongst the ranks of the Downers to the flaming arrows of our archers just short of the walls, and the stench of the men burning in it hung in the smoke over the gates.

The two great towers flanking the gates of Leirkist, long famed as impenetrable, poured out men in heavy clinking mail, and they quickly cleared the walls around the gates, then descended and massacred the defenders of the gate from within, then opened the gates to their infantry. The men on the walls, in danger of being surrounded, were ordered back onto the islands, myself in their number, and behind us the bridges were burned by the same flaming arrows that felled the war-tower. Those Downers who had crossed the bridges harrying the men of Sigard found themselves trapped among the enemy, and the grey-clad ranks broke into a disarray to slaughter them.

From the barracks of the island of spears I saw the Downer cavalry, arrayed around the personal banner of the Earl of Galastry, ride through the city gates, but we remained safe, with the bay’s waters barring access to the inner city and the mighty navy of Sigard only a few miles down the coast surely annihilating anything that might try to offer relief from the sea and keeping our rear and flanks secure. For a day and a night arrows picked off soldiers who grew too bold and drew away from the shelter of the city’s buildings from either side. However at dawn of the next day great barges of flaming tar drifted down the coast and into the midst of the inner city. The thick smoke in the air made it hard to breathe, and as more and more arrived they began to set sections of the city alight, and destroy the intact bridges and obscure everything from view. The first we knew that the enemy had forded the river under cover of smoke was when hooded men with cloaks around their mouths and noses appeared among our number and began killing. No banners could be seen and I saw a Downer soldier with one of our horns sounding commands to our men that led them into ambush after ambush. Confusion reigned among the men of Sigard, and only I, with Lord Unduin’s personal retinue, escaped to the safety of the palace. The Steward raised a banner of surrender from the palace’s highest tower, and the day was lost.