“Ambush! Everyone, ready yourselves!”
With those words, the remainder of your host springs into action. The baron dismounts and joins your ranks; everyone arrays themselves in an impenetrable shield wall. Suddenly, a wooden log swings down from the trees, smashing into the ranks. The shield wall crumbles as soldiers are knocked to the ground, and then, out of nowhere, rocks and javelins begin raining down on you from all sides! It’s thanks to your formation and discipline that you are able to withstand the assault.
After the initial barrage is over, your assailants finally appear from the woods and charge you. A brutal melee ensues, with swords clashing, spears breaking, and axes chipping at shields. In an orderly fashion, your company deals with the brigands one by one until they can no longer contest you and begin fleeing for their lives.
With a nod, the baron turns to you in approval. “You did not fail me.”
As you smile at him, the same creeping feeling of darkness washes over you. After this whole ordeal, you are left to wonder if you really made the best choice or not.
Once the bandits are routed, the baron gathers the host again. “We are going straight to their camp. Follow me! The prisoner we captured revealed their whereabouts.” Everyone quickly arrays themselves in column formation and begins marching again. Only once you near the camp, does everyone spreads out again. The baron waits for you to get into position, then gives the order. “Attack!”
And with that, his soldiers spring into action, slaughtering every brigand they encounter, be it man, woman or child.
You witness the whole thing from the sidelines. Disgust overtakes your entire being. The baron, on the other hand ,cannot stop grinning. Finally, he must be thinking. The thorn is out of his backside.
After the deed is done, you return back to the town, the only sounds the stamps of marching feet around you. The baron awards you personally for your service and honorably discharges you; your freedom has been earned. You return your equipment to the quartermaster and then set off along the road that brought you here. As you pass by the mountain, one thought constantly troubles you…
Was it really worth it?