Woodland was unusually quiet, perhaps because of the raucous bandits traveling along the path, or, perhaps it was the Terra Sylvans creeping through the woods that quieted the wildlife. Captain Shayen raised her hand in the air, signaling her squad to stop. Each of them ceased moving, waiting soundlessly for the next order.
At a gesture from Shayen one of the Terra Sylvans cupped his hands and whistled a birdsong, signaling the rangers. Rhiannon heard the whistle and nodded to her band of Rangers, silently they slunk into the woods, bows out and arrows ready. The bandits had set up for a midday break in the heart of Woodland, a deadly mistake.
Tilly and Wren took up positions first, glancing at each other they could see the glint of excitement reflecting off of each other’s eyes. They watched the other rangers slip into position, they were now all around the bandit camp and the bandits had no idea. Each of the rangers were ready to defend their home.
Captain Shayen and her squad were now waiting on the path, a ways up from the bandits but close enough to hear them. Shayen stood in the front, with Damien on her right and Danaskel on her left. Her squad waited behind her, in varying levels of rest. Ladrona shifted restlessly, itching for the fight to begin, Edward and Evanlyn stood in contrast to Ladrona, quietly talking to each other and calmly waiting for combat. The rest varied, but each of them were prepared to give their life if needed, in defense of Woodland.
Rhiannon decided the bandits were as relaxed as they were going to be. She smiled as she watched them carelessly laying about, weapons and shields cast aside. Their numbers made them arrogant. A group of bandits this large had very little to fear from local militias. But they had never met a Terra Sylvan. They had no idea they were trespassing on the land of the Order of the Rose.
Rhiannon drew her arrow back, sighted, and let it fly. The arrow flew true, striking her target right in the heart, he was dead before he hit the ground. The other rangers rapidly loosed their arrows, raining death on the bandits. The bandits scrambled for their weapons and shields, forming up in a circle they attempted to protect themselves. The Rangers fired and moved position, constantly making the bandits guess their locations. The bandits overcame their surprise and began to prepare to charge into the woods.
The moment the first bandit had screamed, Shayen raised her sword in the air and called out “for the Glory of the Rose!”. Her squadron bellowed “to the Rose!” And they all ran down the path, slamming into the bandits with the force of a battering ram. The Rangers only fired at the back of the group of bandits now, in fear of hitting their own people. As they ran out of arrows they faded into the woods, heading to hidden caches they grabbed their swords and other equipment and formed up with Shay.
After the frantic scuffle went for a few minutes, both sides pulled back a little bit and measured each other up. Some Terra Sylvans winced as they felt cuts and bruises, but none had died. The bandits could not stay the same. Over a third of their force laid in the dust, never to rise again. They formed strong lines and prepared to charge into combat when they heard cries of fear from their back lines.
Their backline was turning around to face a new group. Kane led this group, fury blazing in his eyes as his duel rapiers cut through the bandits. He was a blur of orange and black, a harbinger of death for the bandits. Fighting in the line with him was a gentleman that almost seemed out of place, his silver beard marked his age. Dubhglas had a form and poise that seemed out of place, and yet the bandits dissipated before him. Each time he struck, a bandit reeled back, either dead or injured.
Ulvade also led the charge, the wolf emblazoned on his chest seemed to howl for the bandits’ blood. Other Terra Sylvans followed, fighting for the lives of their brothers and sisters in arms. By this time over half the bandits had been killed. Some of them began running into the woods, hoping to escape. They never made it out. Many of them never saw their killer, Veron. He glided through the woods, cutting down any bandit that attempted to escape.
Others forced their way through Kane’s squad and started to run back the way they came. They encountered Renald and Don standing side by side. Large intimidating men, Don used a buckler and sword to combat the bandits and Renald used a rapier and deathstick. No bandits made it past them. Eventually, the few surviving bandits surrendered and were turned over to the local authorities.
As the sun set on Woodland the cry “To the Rose!” echoed through the woods. The Order of the Rose will always be there for Woodland.