Curious Allure (FT excerpt Old North)

The Hunnic attack on Metz came in the early morning hours of the next day. The city had one full day to prepare for the attack and remove the citizens who couldn’t stand and fight.

Because of Petra’s information,  Arnold decided to keep Stev where he was. He could be of some help and the odds of Stev being killed by his brother were not likely to happen when Repo had other — more important things on his mind, he wasn’t the one who wants Bleda dead.

Repo’s anger matched Atilla’s when he found out that they had figured out his well planned surprise. He needed the girl and the instrument containing the celestial component.

He concluded that there was no use tracking her down in the usual places, they all had a forewarning and he must use his mind to outwit them.

“Line them up.” he ordered his men.

The few soldiers were lined up and questioned, then murdered one by one.

Speaking to a group of fifty captives he announced. “I will continue this method of interrogation until someone tells me where the wizard Merlin, and the girl Indico have gone.”

The needless slaughter of the captured soldiers continued, the town was now completely overcome. The number of captives doubled then tripled. Twenty more were slaughtered on the spot. A voice was heard from the crowd of one hundred men.

“North, they are headed north.” the man was dragged out in front for all the captives to see.

“Bring him to the Emperor, and kill them both.”

The crowd reacted and tried to run as they were all mowed down by the arrows released from the Huns that raced back and forth on their horses.

He stopped the rampage they waged on the city. “Mount up, we ride north,” Repo ordered.

The four hundred man army had traveled about fifteen miles and set up camp for the night. The scouts returned with the horror story from the Huns attack on Metz.

“They are in pursuit, and moving at a rapid pace, they will soon be upon us. They will attack our rear flank and pick us off one by one unless we stand to defend ourselves.”

“The King must continue on ahead with Merlin and the woman.” Rawley announced.

Knowing the King, Durmot argued that the King would never agree to such a thing.

“You may look like the King but you are not the King!” an angry Flex argued. “You don’t have his military mind, you will be killed and then the real King would have no home to return to.”

Flex made sense but it was a tough call.

Merlin suggested a charm that could way lay the enemy, it will make them think we are in full capacity and halt their forward drive.

“What would that do? They would only be confused for a few moments then continue on and catch us in the same fashion we discussed earlier.” Rawley argued.

“How far will they follow us?” Indico asked.

Flex already knew the answer. All the way to hell!

“I will stay behind.” Merlin decided. “Take the King, the woman and two hundred men and make haste, we will do our best to stop them.”

The army split and the King continued north to Votadin with his contingent.

“We will only have a short time to fortify the castle, send eight of your fastest riders ahead to warn them of the impending attack and stock up for a siege.” Dumont addressed his Knight.

Flex tried to calm Indico who had left Rawley behind without so much as a goodbye. “He will be following along behind us, Indico.”

“If he is still alive.” she replied.

The King grasped the instrument for good measure, it was strapped on to his arm and bound across his chest. He thought about the one pressing issue that he presumed everyone was thinking, how would his fortress stand up to the Hunnic onslaught when the Century Old Fortress at Merk fell so quickly?

Merlin disappeared into the trees that lined the road leading from Gaul to Brittania. The Celtic army was braced for battle and Merlin was working his magic.

The approaching enemy army knew they were close, but Repo thought they should have reached them by now. He grew suspicious over the changing weather, the rain was causing wafting low ground cover and visibility was poor.

The initial attack came from the sides, the cross bows at first made an impact, the Hunnic frontal attack was not suited for these conditions, it was not an open plain, but the advancing horde continued lobbing arrows and hitting their mark.

The second wave of the Celtic attack followed along behind the Huns led by Repo, losing men left and right.

Stev had avoided the scene back in Gaul and was riding in the center of the pack that managed to get through Merlin’s creative warfare. He was resolved to kill Repo, after the scene back in Metz there was no reason why he should be left to continue his murderous campaign.

Before the massacre Stev didn’t think he had it in him to murder anyone, but Repo had to be stopped. Stev still had the element of surprise on his side. He knew once he made his move the rest of the Huns would be right there to kill him as well.

Merlin and the remaining host followed along behind the Huns using hit and run tactics to thin out their numbers. Attacking and retreating with Merlin’s mist camouflaging their effective method.

Stev detected the actions at the rear of the guard. He thought it was strange that the decimated Metz fortress would be able to send out a force of men to follow them. He had an idea that it might be the King they were now pursuing, who had his men double back and attack from the rear. He slowed his pace trying not to bring suspicion on himself, when he saw the chance he veered off into the trees and turned back to see what was coming up behind the Hunnic warriors.

While he waited to see the enemy in action attacking the rear of his own army, a voice rang out.

“You must be Stev.”

He turned to see the young man that history had never forgotten. “Merlin?”

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