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David Taylor, 08 Feb '13

Hodder Lee stared down from atop of his ill tempered destrier. Long banners snapped in the wind around him. Their trailing fabric, being little more than delicate wisps of gossamer, were dyed in the same piercing blue that bleached the sky and had been proudly decorated with the scattering of silver starbursts that marked his house. The sigils were his, as were the men gathered around them.

Each of his many soldiers was garbed in armour that shone in the afternoon’s high sun and wore long azure cloaks that draped loosely around their shoulders. Lithe spears were clutched tightly in their hands, polished meticulously so that they gleamed in the golden cascades of light, and curved swords hung from their waists; ready to flash in spraying showers of blood.

Gazing out over the goblins, orcs and trolls that had gathered in mass before him, Hodder Lee knew that he could not fail as the beasts sought to take all that he had. He grimaced and lowered his heavy lance as the loud ringing of trumpets sounded out across his ranks. The army gathered before him bayed back with retorting jeers and gibes; dropping their own spears behind stark banners of black and red.

Never being one for words, Hodder Lee found that the speech his men expected of him was reluctant to spill off his tongue. But it did come eventually. His words, lies all, were brief and to the point. They were splendid, easily worthy of the ears of knights, and promised glorious honour and the dream of an afterlife that was to die for.

Hodder Lee’s face was blank as his men lapped up the words, cheering as he fuelled their desperation for their valour and inevitable deaths to mean something other than the meaningless ownership of land, and he began the charge forward.

Ten thousand strong, the soldiers behind Hodder Lee followed him with a deafening roar that rose high above reason and thundered towards the waiting monsters as a blanket of their poisoned arrows blotted out the sun.