Part 6 - Barbarians at the Gates
The others that stayed behind began to search for Friar Brian. They may little progress until they got word that he was to be burned as a witch in the town square. The good news was that they knew where he would be. The bad news was that he would be surrounded by Germanic warriors and the witch-finder.
Getting close was not difficult as crowds had gathered. They scoped out the location of the guards and the witch-finder. When the pyre was lit, they made their move. Larenzo and Quinton attacked the warriors to draw them off. No one expected anyone to be crazy enough to jump into a burning pyre to save Brian, but that is what William did. With Danel providing him some resistance to the flames, he plunged into the fire, cut Brian’s ropes and carried him to safety.
Once he and Brian were free of the fire, the others retreated. They rendezvoused outside of town and began to make their way towards Payern.
Already at Payern was Kristen. She spoke with Sir Nerovens about what had occurred and what they had learned. The knight ordered his Sergeant-at-Arms to muster the troops. The next day, a small army departed Payern, heading towards Marteus. The Nephilim were reunited on the road.
When they reached the river, they were concerned that the barbarians would see them coming and warn the forces in Marteus. So in the evening, the Nephilim and a small group of others swam across the river and attacked the encampment that guarded the crossing. They were able to prevent everyone from escaping.
Neroven’s force then made its way across the river and headed north. In mid-July, they attacked Martues. The occupying force was routed and forced to flee the city.
The rejoicing was short lived however. It was only a matter of time before the barbarians returned in force. The town began repairing the walls and establishing new fortifications.
A couple of days later, the barbarian forces began to arrive. Soon numerous encampments began to form outside the city. The raiders began to cut down trees and construct catapults.
In the night, the four Nephilim lead raiding parties into the enemy’s encampments, killing raiders and sabotaging siege engines. It made only a small dent in the enemy forces, but every little bit would help.
When day broke, the barbarians began their attack. It was clear by the size of their force, that without help the city would not hold out forever.
Sir Nerovens assigned them a wall gap to defend. The Nephilim and their fellow defenders held the wall as best they could. They were vastly outnumbered, but the wall gap was an effective choke point. They repelled wave after wave until finally the attacker broke and began to retreat.
Nerovens called for pursuit, and the city defenders charged from the walls to overrun the fleeing enemy. They did not get very far when they saw another barbarian force as large as the first. Nerovens was about to call for a retreat when a loud horn sounded. Galloping in from the northwest was a large cavalry force flying the banner of Austriasia. The knights slammed into the flank of the barbarian force, sending the barbarians into confusion. Nerovens pressed his attack. Soon Austriasian footmen joined the battle as well.
The battle raged on for nearly an hour. In the end, the Germanic raiders were decimated and forced to retreat. The barbarian threat was ended.
The Nephilim stayed in Marteus for a few more days to help with repairing the defenses and joining in the evening celebrations. But soon it was time to return home to Pulton.