The Dragon King
Copyright© 2015 by Allan Kindred
"Sir!" a soldier says, shaking Christopher violently.
"Yeah." It is still hours before sun up.
"The enemy is advancing."
Christopher jumps up still holding Caitlin's hand, the one she still has left, and she wakes up for the first time.
"I kissed her and pointed Sara out to her, and told her that I'd be back soon."
She asks, "Where is Katarina?"
"I'm sorry, babygirl, but nobody has seen her since after the first battle. I'll be back when I can." and then Christopher hugs little red haired green-eyed Sara before leaving the medical tent.
"You couldn't see them, but you could hear them coming. They were coming slowly and methodically.
"It started grating on my nerves, so I decided to have our remaining one hundred and eleven cavalry personnel charge, but not before the catapults fired their latest supply of arrows."
One volley is all it takes, and the catapults are no longer a factor.
The wizards have spent the last couple of hours making two more huge bags full of the flash and burn powder.
Christopher orders "Put them on the two biggest catapults, light and then fire them into the enemy formation. Close your eyes." Christopher passes on down the line just before two massive explosions go off within the ranks of the enemy.
A hundred people burst into flames and start running around causing great panic. Even though daylight is not the favorite time of trolls they can function just fine in it, but this new focused light intensity blinds many of them for a spell.
The Shadow Brigade cavalry hits soon after that, though Christopher orders their archers to continue firing until they are out of arrows. The effect is profound.
"I'm sure just by percentage of chance, that several of my people had to be killed by our own fire. I had no idea the size of the force arrayed against us so we had to give it our all."
Before this day is over one side or the other will be victorious. If the Allies lose, Christopher knows his nation will pay the greatest price.
"We could not fail."
Because it is so hard to tell the passage of time in the dark, Christopher doesn't know how long he fought with no allied forces near him. He knows the key to victory is to stay organized and not to panic. Several minutes after the initial slam into the lines, once again the berserker within him takes over.
Christopher has chosen a quarter horse over the unicorn this time, and it is a good thing because before he even becomes cognizant of it he is fighting on the ground. As is normal the hours just before dawn are the coldest, but Christopher feels nothing but his warm blood running out of him.
Somewhere he has picked up another sword, and he is windmilling through the enemy ranks. Christopher turns, parries and thrusts his sword so many times that it appears to him that he is in a ballet dance coming home.
"I want to go home."
"I don't really know why I said it or where it came from, for I really wasn't thinking it because of the battles raging around me, but for some reason I had just decided what the rest of my life was going to be. I would go get Gabby and return home."
The sun was just making the battlefield visible. The battles were so confused, and on more than one occasion when a soldier blinks their eyes to focus in the growing light they realize it is one of their own they have just killed.
There is no way to get order over the chaos that reigns. All you can do is keep going, because if you stop you die. Christopher thrusts out with both of his swords in opposite directions and he feels them find the enemy. He whirls in a great arc laying waste to anyone near him.
Off to his left he sees a herd of unicorns plow right through the biggest enemy group that is still fighting as an effective force. Christopher sees several unicorns go down. He runs over there and engages the enemy to help them. Soon he is reinforced by a group of minotaurs.
"I fought on and on and on, and in one of my lucid moments I started to notice that some of the soldiers fighting at my sides were the girls of my personal guard. Several were still on their centaurs, but most were not. After the first battle their numbers had dwindled to sixty-five. Now I couldn't see a dozen of them."
Christopher doesn't know if it is pure exhaustion or what, but the fact that he sees his girls in lethal battle right near him where he can do something about it if he needs to, refreshes his soul, his beaten, battered and bleeding soul.
Christopher feels the berserker drain from him and clarity of stunning proportions overtakes him, as he calls his guard and any other allies to his banner, "Come, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fight with me."
The sun is higher in the sky then he remembers it. Everywhere Christopher looks is carnage. The forty people he has managed to gather back into a cohesive unit is being very effective. After the unicorns take care of the last effective fighting force of the enemy, this flank starts to crumble.
The enemy knows like Christopher had known in the first battle, that to just run back is certain death. Even though he can't tell who is winning the overall battle, he can tell that Shadow Brigade is pushing them back here. Instead of continuing their push, he has his group turn around and head back into the melee to both reinforce their surviving fighters, and to reform up so they can move as one unit, crushing all resistance in their path.
Everybody is covered in blood, whether it is theirs or somebody else's Christopher can't say, but most likely it is both. The ground has become so soaked in it that it is seriously starting to hamper movement. On more than one occasion Christopher slips to the ground getting a face full of mud and blood, just to find out that he has barely missed getting his head decapitated.
At some point Christopher takes a wound to his right arm and can no longer wield the second sword. It drops to the ground. A big man comes at him with a massive two handed battle ax, and Christopher barely gets his sword up to deflect it. The ringing hit makes Christopher drop his sword. As the man is preparing to bring his ax to bear again he has four different swords stuck in him from every direction.
Somebody hands Christopher his sword and tells him, "Here, you might still need this." Christopher never does find out who that was. He doesn't even know if he survived.
The sun is nearly directly overhead now. They have been fighting for almost five straight hours. One minute there is no clear victor, and then the next the enemy breaks and runs. Christopher will learn that the northern army has broken through and is coming to their defense.
"There was no way in hell I was just going to let the enemy run all the way back home after what they had brought to the world."
An enemy cavalry officer rides by retreating at full speed, and as he goes by Christopher pulls him off of his horse while using that same momentum to pull himself up. Christopher has seen people at the fair do it when he was a kid, but he is rather impressed with himself, especially with an injured arm.
Christopher rides straight into the retreating enemy and continues the attack. Apparently the northern army's cavalry fared better than Christopher's, for a couple of minutes later they join him in chasing the enemy.
Christopher thinks he hears some people trying to call him back, but he is going to have none of it. If Christopher thought a well-trained enemy force was a danger, these people in full panic mode come closer to killing him accidentally.
"I had no qualms about killing unarmed enemy forces. The more my savagery exploded, the more the northern force backed off. I don't know how long I had been alone, but I was still battling and chasing the enemy all the way to hell if need be."
Bless their hearts. Apparently the dragons had come to the same conclusion that Christopher had, that the time for mercy has long since past. He never notices when it happens, but once it is obvious the enemy forces have been routed, the dark dragons fly off with their dark magi and priests.
"I made a promise right then and there that they would not be allowed to go unpunished for this."
The Dragons of Light are now systematically engulfing the retreating army in flames of hatred. Any that seem to escape their blasts soon fall to Christopher's sword. Christopher can't remember the last time he has come upon a soldier with a weapon, but he keeps killing them anyway.
"I fought on and on with the dragons all around me. It wasn't until I had been riding for what I thought must have been about twenty minutes without finding any enemy that I realized it was getting dark. Later I would find out more than a day had gone by."
Christopher pulls up and stops. The horse he had commandeered is limping and has blood coming out of his mouth. Christopher dismounts him and takes his saddle off and lets him go. He is not the enemy. He is no more than a slave, which the dark forces have tried to turn the whole world into. Starting with this continent of Krokaw first, but the blood of this now free continent saves the rest of the world from experiencing the horrors of the last year or two.
Christopher walks and stumbles until he finds a stream, then he falls into it.
"Oh god, this feels good. Wait, maybe this wasn't such a good idea."
Christopher's breath is sucked from him and darkness takes him.
Christopher awakes when it is still dark, but somebody has made a huge fire nearby, warming him and allowing some sight. As Christopher blinks his eyes into focus he sees that sleeping dragons surround him. He sits up and turns around to find Ember at his back.
"I scooted myself backwards until I was leaning back on Ember."
Christopher looks around and meets the gaze of the lord of the dragons, Tristan, the platinum dragon. He bows to Christopher in an honor that he still isn't sure he deserves.
He offers, "Young king, it will be my honor to fly you back to the main camp."
Apparently Christopher had chased the enemy so far that he had chased them right out of his country and a couple stretches into his allies' to the east. Never even realizing when he left the Westlanders Plains and went into and through the Gojin Forest, and then when he went over a bridge and the Trend River. At a normal pace it would take many days to get this far. Christopher is stunned that he doesn't remember the flight, which must have been a blur of rage and power.