"Gather the men," he instructed. The reticent man obeyed and quickly retreated down the stone archway. Before him lay the interminable Shombershond Plains, magnificent in its many patches of colored grasses and its sparse but stunning twisted Kuoni trees. However, the captain's gaze was not admiring nature's beauty, despite his high vantage point from the fort's walkways. He was vigilantly watching the landscape, which was abound with the infamous King's soldiers. Their ominous presence frightened him; if they attacked, his small force would be crushed with alacrity. Only a few of his warriors were adroit at fighting and experienced in combat. Most of them only knew the rudimentary skills with a blade. He had lost over half of his company taking this fort! How could he stand against a force five times larger? His heart racing almost as fast as his thoughts, he turned his back to the King's army. In an attempt to calm himself, the long-haired man took a deep, shuddering breath and took a step forward so as to be able to address the gathered army inside the fort's courtyard.

"Lads!" he announced to the throng of simple warriors before him. "You have fought with me courageously against the evil ivy that has plagued this land, and I am forever grateful for your sacrifices. Together, we, as the inhabitants of the Oppressor King's realm, tried to wrest this land from his tyrannical rule. He conquers a new territory every day, yet still lusts for more; he demands complete obedience and submission from his new citizens." He cleared his throat and continued in a slightly deeper voice. "He thinks most of them are incapable of threatening him and his kingdom. Does he speak truthfully?" Angry roars of disapproval and vulgar slurs damning the belligerent king resounded forcefully off the gray stone walls.

"Cahil has not yet returned to us bearing the Southern Force in his wake. During his short absence, our enemy has assembled a formidable force in an attempt to intimidate us. It seems that he has gotten word of our presence and our capturing of his fort. As I see it, we have two choices: we can flee like the cowards the Oppressor King believes us to be or we can prove ourselves a threat to him and his rule! How say you? Do you fight or do you flee?"

Shouts from the gathering of men erupted around him, shouts from men who were dying of dehydration and hunger. Their needs would be satisfied, for they thirst for blood and have been starved of the sight of dead soldiers for too long. "Then we stay and fight!" he bellowed. And pray, he added in his own thoughts, that the annals of tomorrow say that this was not a victory for the King. The gathering of the armed followers separated and hastily began to prepare for the battle. Without the Southern Force, we have very little chance of surviving longer than two days.