Chapter Thirty Six

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Lord Borlay's caravan could be seen creeping up the road from behind the throngs of deciduous trees that separated them from the smaller host feigning as the Silent Brotherhood. The count came back at just over one hundred armsmen from the scouts of Lord Idris. Despite his smaller host, Lord Idris was not concerned about the coming attack. He had Baelon and his men, which would account for most of the kills, and he himself would be riding amongst the ambushers. He glanced over to the horse next to him that lacked a rider. Instead, draped over the back of the horse was the thinned figure of the sage, Imra. She was still hooded and gagged and her wrists were bound to her feet by a rope that ran under the horse. Another rope secured her to the improvised saddle, leaving her little room to move and no room to reposition.

He looked to his left and nodded the nearest soldier over. "You will stay with the sage until the ambush is over. Do not move her, do not touch her, and do not speak to her. Is that clear?"

The soldier nodded and reined his horse next to hers as Lord Idris moved to where Baelon sat atop his garron. Baelon hated riding and it was expressly written upon his face as the lord moved his steed close.

"Your man ready on the far side?" The lord asked the squat man.

Baelon nodded. "They await our signal. Once the arrows fly they will attack."

Satisfied, Lord Idris moved within eyeshot of his lead archer. He raised his hand shoulder level and waited to see the same signal back from the archer. Once he saw the return signal he turned his attention to the caravan. It took them only moments to move into the zone he had predetermined and he lowered his hand. Arrows from men on both sides of the road flew into the caravan, skewering men and horses, embedding into the walls of carriages. Baelon called the charge moments after the arrows took flight and within seconds Lord Idris and his host were upon the larger force.

Chaos struck the tree lined road as the sounds of battle overtook the eastern forces of Bondary. The clash of steel rang out into a melody that was all too familiar, yet undeniably unique. Lord Idris rode into the throngs of battle, his curved sabres on his back and his hair pulled up into a ponytail. He dropped off of his horse once he crossed onto the road and dodged a wild overhand swing from a Bondary man in full mail armor. The broadsword smashed into the packed dirt and the lord put a boot onto the hilt and kicked it out of the man's hands. He placed his outstretched palm in the man's chest, sending him flying through the air and crashing into a tree some twenty feet away. Screams of agony erupted from behind the lord, and when he turned he saw that Baelon's wolves had come. They burst out from the foliage faster than most men could register, and were tearing the throats out of Lord Borlay's men as they stalked through the caravan.

Lord Idris kept moving through the battle, finding men that would challenge him and putting them down in various ways, all without drawing his swords. A man with a large pole axe came at him, thrusting and swinging it madly. He side stepped the first thrust and then ducked under a crossing swing, leaving the blade to catch only air. The next thrust he caught the pole as the blade rushed past him, and wrenched the weapon out of the man's hand and discarded it on the ground. He moved forward with a large step and slammed his hand into the man's throat, crushing his wind pipe. Lord Idris caught his head between his forearm and bicep and twisted, violently snapping his neck and dropping him dead to the ground.

A sword crossed just in front of his face, merely missing the lord's head as he took a step back. The soldier advanced with the calculated swings of a seasoned swordsman. Every movement was controlled, planned, but he was unaware of the skill of his opponent. The lord feigned a misstep and faltered to the left, leaving an opening for the swordsman to cut him in two, but he dropped below the thrust at the last second and rose just above the blade with his left arm parallel to it. Grasping it near the hilt he dove over the top of it, spinning over to the left and landing on the other side of the swordsman. When he hit he wrenched the sword out of his hand, his blood streaking the blade as it fell to the ground. After losing his sword the man produced a knife as he lunged for the lord, catching his arm with an errant swing of the blade.

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