League of Unsavory Gentlemen

The Faithful Steward

“FOR JUSTINIUS!” cried Brukesh J Brukesh as he raised his great axe high into the air, his mighty war horse rearing as the host behind him roared in answer. Pleased with their collective candor, the Steward of Fort Justinius the Great wheeled Vhagina about and dropped his axe arm, pointing it towards the assembled force that had taken the field against the Paladins of the Rangelic Bardicon. On that signal, they charged.

The High Horsefuckers of the First Gnomish Church of the Rangelic Bardicon had foreseen this day, when one or more of the heretic lords of Nameless would send a sizable force against their stalwart company. But the non-believers failed to perceive the depths of their devotion to the Bond Breaker; their brotherhood had been forged in captivity and tempered by the righteousness of the Great Miser’s teachings. Fort Justinius would never fall, not while men of faith defended it.

Brukesh J Brukesh, so rechristened after the Great Deliverance, urged Vhagina into a gallop down into the basin where the enemies of the Ceaseless Singer had come to face them. He led a force ten score strong; while most were foot, there were enough mounted soldiers with him on the left wing to be considered a cavalry unit. The battle cries of the Justinii reverberated throughout the valley as they descended to meet their foes; their mighty standards, bearing the sigil of Fort Justinius the Great, a great black steed in tactical withdrawal upon a field of purest white, flapped in the slight breeze.

In front of them, the unbelievers were descending into chaos. The archers were concentrating their fire on … well, that was difficult to ascertain, but their arrows were certainly going for naught. The van had gathered into one incredibly long and incredibly indefensible line for Justinius only knew why, and, unless Brukesh J Brukesh’s orcish eyes deceived him, their meager reserves were already lying on the ground in supplication.

Truly, this is a sign from the Hallowed Accountant, he thought. He raised his axe arm once more, this time signaling for the horse to charge straight into the enemies’ center; one decisive blow should be more than enough to shatter their single line. He kicked Vhagina’s flanks, spurring his steed to greater speed still; his fellow paladins followed suit.

Fifty feet … forty feet … thirty feet … the blasphemers were close enough now that Brukesh J Brukesh could see the fear evident upon their faces. This battle had been decided before it had even been joined. He yelled once more as the blood frenzy came upon him … and then he spied something else, a sight he had not thought he should ever behold again in his lifetime. Could it really be …

“COMPANY, HALT!” he roared, pulling hard at Vhagina’s reins; the stallion reared up on its back legs in response. The rest of the horse did the same; the foot soldiers slowed to a trot, their war cries dying upon their lips as they followed their commander’s gaze up into the sky. The basin, a cacophonous din just moments before, fell into an unnatural silence.

“The prophecy!” someone behind Brukesh J Brukesh shouted at last, and in his heart, he knew this declaration to be true. For above him, as had been foretold by the Supreme Buckaroo of the First Gnomish Church of the Rangelic Bardicon, was the Dragon Disciple Reborn, descending from the very heavens upon the back of his marvelous flying steed. “The prophecy!” cried another member of the Justinii, then another, and then another still, until all had taken up the call. “The prophecy! THE PROPHECY!”

Still in shock (and awe), Brukesh J Brukesh dismounted from Vhagina and fell to his knees in worship as the Divine Funkiller came to rest upon this now-sanctified ground. As if one, as if compelled, the other Justinii did the same. He heard rather than saw (for his unworthy eyes were fixed upon the earth) the Immortal Nag approach him; his skin became gooseflesh as the Holy Retreater laid his golden hand upon his base shoulder.

“Rise, Brukesh J Brukesh,” said the Glorious Ranger and he did as bidden, powerless to resist the words of his god returned. “And rise, my friends, rise all of you, for my need is great, and this hour is most dire!”

The Justinii and their captain snapped back to attention with practiced ease. “JUSTINIUS!” they cried once more, raising their weapons in salute, and the basin echoed with His great name. It seemed there was still work to be done here and he and his comrades would see it done, of that Brukesh J Brukesh was certain.

The Prophecy has been fulfilled, he thought, trying to choke back tears. The Dragon Disciple is Reborn.

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