Natas peered through his visor as the rain spattered into his eyes. Water trickled into his breast plate, making him uncomfortable. He looked to the skies, seeing nothing but dark clouds for eternity, informing him the weather would never let up any time soon.
How could it be so cold?
Didn’t his army march north where the land knew warmer climes? It gave him yet another reason to hate the Nusalleans and their king.
Riding immediately around him, six of his senior officers, sat upon their mounts. Like them, he wore the lacquered black breastplate and crimson cape of his elite, the Black Eagles. Instead of a helmet with metal wings, he wore an enclosed helmet with open bat wings.
His black stallion trudged along a dirt road rutted in the wild grass from years of traffic by merchants driving wagons. It made for good progress for all of his cavalry in the lead. However, he had to slow to his column to an intolerably slow pace as the road became progressively sloshier for his archers and infantry.
His lead scout galloped back. He looked vastly different than the paler Nusalleans. Men everywhere on the continent called them “Originals;” born in the wild, roaming the land before the white men came in their longships. The rider wore the uniform of his scouts, a flat domed helmet with a black band around it, and a short sleeved mail shirt. Scabbarded on his belt, he wore the standard Vindavian sword and service dagger. Added to that, he also had an assortment of traditional weapons. Wooden spears and a few curved throwing sticks called “boomerangs” were attached to his horse’s harness.
When he first employed them, his NCOs chastised them severely for being out of uniform. Natas allowed them the privilege of their additives, as he recognised their unsurpassed ability as trackers.
The scout reined his horse, sliding the beast to a halt on the slick ground. He faced Natas, water running from his dark skin and black ringlets at the edges of his helm. Snorting water from his flared nostrils, he shook vigourously, ridding himself of excess moisture.
“My king, a league onwards and we will be in sight of the river. We have a turn of the glass of light left to us. Do you wish to make camp for the night?”
Natas shook his head.
The scout slapped his fist against his chest and bowed his head, before turning to ride off ahead of the column. Natas’ army suffering the wet and cold were of no consequence to him, only reaching the Pentraca River. When they stop by the banks, his men could light as many fires as they wanted to warm themselves. All that mattered was, that by morning he could cross the river and effectively start his war with the northmen.
Almost three turns of the glass later brought them to the river’s edge. Black Eagles set to work, unfolding his tent.
“Put up the command pavilion first,” he rasped.
His voice had an unholy gurgling quality as a result of a jilted lover attempting to end his life with his own service dagger. It left a livid scar on his throat. As a result, he ensured the woman regretted her actions over a period of days.