General Sid - Cover

General Sid

Copyright© 2021 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 26

There was a chill in the autumn air that night. Sid, Fred, Gregor, Dragos, Sebeson, Connor, and Barson were seated around the campfire; each staring into the fire. The smoke from the fire would occasionally blow in Barson’s direction and his eyes kept tearing up. It was time to discuss the events of the day and to plan for the future.

Gregor said, “Thanks for your warning about Jameson.”

“What happened there?” Sid asked.

“Jameson wasn’t going to attack until he knew which way the battle was going. It looked to me like he was going to end up attacking us, so I beat him to it,” Gregor answered with disgust evident in his voice.

“You’re sure of that?”

“I sent orders to him to attack four times, but he kept sitting up on that hill watching our men dying below. If he had moved when I told him to go, the battle would have been over after an hour. Dragos would have only had a tenth of the casualties,” Gregor answered. He tossed a small chip of wood into the fire thinking he would have liked to have thrown Jameson in there rather than the wood chip. It would have been much more satisfying.

Furious at learning of the treachery of a man who his father trusted, Dragos asked, “What did you do to him?”

“I went over to give the order personally the fourth time. When he ignored me, I cut his head off. There was a little bit of a ruckus, but my men gained control over the situation with the help of Jameson’s second in command. It seems that the Captain of his troops was rather embarrassed by the actions of Jameson,” Gregor answered watching the wood chip burst into flames. He was disgusted by the entire affair with Jameson.

“I thought that would be the case,” Sid said shaking his head. He sighed and said, “I’m sorry to have put you in that situation.”

“There’s nothing for you to be sorry about. You warned me about the possibility as soon as you learned of it. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here,” Gregor said.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Dragos asked indignant at having been left out.

“How would you have reacted if the intelligence was wrong?” Sid asked.

“I’d have demanded that you apologize to him.”

“Sid would have apologized to him without your demands. I guess the real question is if you would have confronted him with it prior to the battle,” Sebeson said looking over at Dragos.

“I probably would have,” Dragos admitted.

“You would have found that he would have attacked our forces rather than wait as long as he had. Instead of us sitting around here discussing his traitorous behavior, we’d have all been dead or slaves,” Sebeson said.

“How do you know?” Dragos asked believing that they would have handled the situation.

“That’s how Danny Sun was killed and I was taken prisoner,” Sebeson answered.

News about how Danny Sun had been defeated sparked Sid’s interest. Sitting up, he asked, “What did happen there?”

Shaking his head, Sebeson said, “Danny Sun had been approached by Holland to support his campaign. Danny agreed and the two groups seemed to be working together well. The two armies campaigned separately with Holland fighting in the West and Danny fighting in the East. They kept taking more territory. It wasn’t long before the supply lines started getting rather long and Danny started to have supply problems.

“There were raids against his supply lines and he couldn’t seem to prevent the raiders from knowing exactly where the wagons were. He set up caches and would return only to find that they were empty of goods. It seemed like an inside job, but Danny couldn’t find the culprit. When supplies got too bad, he pulled back to regroup and re-establish his supply lines. That helped for a while, particularly when he started getting supplies from you.

“On a military front, things appeared to be going well. Every time Danny engaged the slaver army, we were very successful. Holland was reporting the same kinds of successes in his campaigns. The problem was that it seemed to me like the enemy had far too many troops. We’d engage the army and kill or capture thousands of men. Holland told us about engagements with the slavers and reported similar numbers. Still, every time we turned around there were thousands more of the enemy facing us on the battlefield.

“Danny was beginning to get suspicious and sent a man to watch Holland. I think that man was captured and confessed to Holland that Danny Sun suspected him of misreporting the body counts. As I said, I only think that. I don’t have proof of it.

“It came down to a major battle in which the enemy was supposedly trapped between our forces and Holland’s army. We took the field facing the slaver army. Holland’s army was supposed to engage the enemy from their left flank. When the battle started, we found Holland’s army was attacking our left flank. Somehow, he was on the opposite side of the battlefield from where he was supposed to be. From what I later learned, he moved his men behind the enemy we were facing to attack us from the other side.

“We might have been able to hold things together, but for one problem. Holland’s army had been hiding another army behind his. When the battle started our right flank was being attacked by an army we didn’t even know about.”

Sid listened to the story and could see how the battle ended. Shaking his head, he said, “It must have been hell out there.”

“You can say that again,” Sebeson answered.

“Who was leading the fourth army?” Sid asked.

There was a long moment of silence while Sebeson considered the question. He finally said, “It could have been another part of the slaver army or it could have been Jameson. I never really saw who was in command. I can say one thing though; they weren’t wearing slaver army uniforms.”

Gregor swore and said, “There’s no honor in this enemy we’re fighting. They take slaves by drugging men in bars. They destroy villages to carry off farmers. They don’t honor agreements or the honorable forms of battle.”

Wanting to know the depth of treachery they were facing, Sid asked, “Do you think we should talk to the young Captain who took control of the army after Jameson was killed?”

With a look in his eye that suggested he was really interested in performing the questioning himself, Sebeson asked, “Who will you have question him?”

“Normally I would send Masterson, but he’s away helping Colonel Lee,” Sid answered opening the door for him to volunteer.

“I had heard that you were working with my little brother,” Sebeson said with a shake of his head. The announcement immediately got the attention of everyone around the fire.

“Your brother? He said that you were cousins,” Sid said surprised by the revelation.

“He’s always saying that,” Sebeson said with a laugh. He added, “I think he believes that since everyone assumes that we’re cousins that one day we’ll have a chance to meet on the battlefield as opponents. It’s not going to happen.”

Barson asked, “You’re brothers? How come he’s called Masterson and you’re called Sebeson?”

Sebeson burst out laughing and said, “My little brother used to call himself the Master of Battle and he called me the Second Best Son. After a while, all of the kids were calling him Masterson and were calling me Sebeson.”

Connor shook his head and said, “I can’t see Masterson running around like a kid.”

“I take it he’s still his normal arrogant self,” Sebeson said with a grin.

“He’s mellowed under the influence of Sid,” Connor said gesturing in the direction of Sid.

“I find that hard to believe,” Sebeson said.

Shaking his head at the revelation concerning Masterson, Sid knew that the news about the treachery of the enemy was the more significant problem. He said, “We have a major problem that has to be resolved and quickly.”

“What?” Sebeson asked.

“Some of the men I sent to support Danny Sun are already working with Holland. I’m pretty sure that he’s setting them up for a massacre. We need to stop his plans from coming to fruition,” Sid said.

“Who’s in charge?” Connor asked trying to remember who had been sent out to support Danny Sun. With so many men joining the army it had become impossible for him to keep track of them all.

“Hunter,” Sid answered looking over at Connor.

“He’s a good man. I’ll never forget his battle at Hunter’s Crossing,” Connor said recalling the man.

“He’s one of the originals,” Barson said feeling a little pride that he was also a member of the original group who left the Jones Citadel with Sid. So far, ten of their number had fallen in battle.

“We’ve got a lot of our original force, there. I sent Albert there to support him with siege weapons and to help set up their supply line,” Sid said.

Barson knew that Albert was there, but hadn’t thought about it until Sid had mentioned it. Olaf was providing some support in the rear and watching over the women that Sid had rescued. There were times when he really missed having Olaf around. He said, “I’ll go with you when you are ready to take care of Holland.”

“No, you’ll head back to help Olaf set up a better supply line,” Sid said.

In the morning, Hunter paced to and fro in front of the fire waiting for the patrol to return. They were a half an hour late. He glanced over at the man seated by the fire. He strode over to the fire and squatted down. Staring at the flames, he said, “Matt, it looks like last night’s patrol won’t be returning.”

Looking over at the commander with an unreadable expression on his face, Matt asked, “Do you think they were ambushed or did they desert?”

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