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Metal clanks

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Antoine de Moil closed his visor with a clanking sound and hefted
his large two-hander once more to meet the next tide. From the left
and right of the slits in his helmet, he saw the halberds being lowered
to meet their foe. "For the lady men, this bridge shall never be crossed
as long as we stand firm!"
The men greeted their lords words with praises to their deity and the
bashing of swords on shields from the hinterline.

The sweat already pearled down Antoines face before they where upon him.
He and his men had already been fighting for two hours. Their foe was not
the best fighter, far from, but there where many, they where relentless
and it often took more then one blow to finish one of. And the slightest
moment of carelessness could be ones' last mistake. His two squires and
half his men had already met such a fate. With only two dozen men left
under arms and a handfull of farmers armed with bows and pitchforks they
would need a strong resolve and the Ladies' blessing to come trough the day.

The yelling and the praises grew louder as the front of the mob stepped onto
the bridgeend. They enclosed very slowly, with grasping hands eager for the
warmth of the flesh of their opponents. Pitching shrieks of pure terror
gasped from the mens' mouth as they stabbed and jabbed succesfull at the first
of the walking dead within their reach. Most hits where merely scratches upon
the dried skin and exposed more reason for concern when slices of meat fell
away to reveal even more rotted meat below infested with maggots. A few of
the monsters where toppled or hacked apart when the oppertunity arose.
Those who toppled where trampled merciless by their kindred.

But the pack was to tick and eventho already ten had been felled, their relentless
hunger caused the defenders to shuffle backwards slowly, eventho the dead
could not reach them yet. A pair however passed by the blades of the halberds and
Antoine had to step forward with his massive twohander to decapitate both
in one fell swoop. But more and more Antoine had to step in, as did one of the swordmen
to stab or hack at the monstrosities. Slowly more and more inches of the bridge
where given up to their foe. The first to fall was a halberdier, dragged down by
his ankle by an undead mother who crawled her way beneath the shafts unseen.
The woman, whom had both legs shattered took a clean chunk from the halberdiers'
leg, and as he went down, others joined in on him. His cries fading in the grumbling
sound of the foe. A sounds that was lowpitched, but so fearfull, that it seemed
it was all a man could hear. Slowly but surely more men fell and shuffled backwards
untill the frontrank where the only ones still on the bridge.

As the other end of the bridge was reached, the men opened their formation slightly to
cover the flanks better, this gave Antoine more room to swing his sword. The first one
looked more to a cadaver of bone then the others, but he accepted Antoines blade in
his skull as good as the next man. Antoine kicked the knees from another with his steel
boot wich resulted in a terrifying crack as the body tumbled over. His sword swinging
with less coordination as fatigue set in and eventho Antoine wanted to scream out to
the Lady loudly, he could no longer muster the strength that was so swiftly dwindling.

For at least a half more hour, the battle raged on. The time was way past dusk. The
peasants had long since fled the scene. Of his soldiers a mere half dozen still stood.
Antoine himself just felt deadtired, his breathing as fast as his pulsing heartbeat,
his armour proved impregnable to the zombies' claws and crude improvised weapons.
But, the monsters had been slain. His armoured hand slowly rose to open his casket,
allowing Antoine to suck in more breath. Antoine leaned on his sword, barely surpressing
a smirk as he considered the Lady may have watched or the future anals mentioning
his bravery.

"Excusez-moi monsieur." The voice was full of vigour, something he and his men now lacked,
and spoken courtiously, something surely any peasant lacks. As Antoine slowly turned around,
he wondered what fool of a noble had hidden himself up till now, or was cursed with such
timing as to miss all chance for glory. But as Antoine faced the man, his mouth fell silent
just as he was about to reply the greeting. He saw the man alright, a knight indeed,
in full armour. But he was not alone. There was one more like him, and a mortal with a large
staff grinning amused and...countless skeletal forms. "I said: Excusez-moi!" His tone now
pitched higher and slightly showing anoyance. Antoine replied with a brief yes and nod, but
the word came out more shocked and fearfull then he intended, the assembly before him bathed
in the first rays of Mannslieb and was as if a spectacle from Chaos, altough these guys would
not have to bow down to their cruelty.

The man who adressed him had his visor open and his sword sheated. He stepped forward, clapping
his hands slowly whilst his eyes trailed from Antoine, to his sword and the field
of some two-hundred corpses. "Bravo man! Very impressive!" His clapping grew louder untill,
mere moments later it abruskly stopped. By now the man in glistening armour stood a few feet next
to the recovering Antoine who followed his every move as if dumbstruken. A beautifull armour
with Signs in crimson and gold of dragons and Lellies stood immobile, still gazing at the
bodies. Yet, it kept adressing Antoine further with a mere glance: "But mon ami, have you saved
your strength a bit? Or wasted it all on the final glorious outcome?" The man paused for a moment
letting the challenge sink in, but due the lack of reply, he turned his gaze at Antoine fully
and went on: "Because it is not done yet."

Antoine knew he was no match now for any man able to wield a blade, he gasped and raised himself
very slowly to let his lungs regain their fullest of capacity and regain some fitness
His challenger laughed loud, and anoying, like a childs laughter gigling over being
tickled. "Take your time monsieur, but your peasants here will pay for your time."
With a sign of his hand, the other armoured vampire raced forth in an eyeblink and sliced the
head clean of the nearest man-at-arms before the man had a chance to raise his halberd.
Another ran away from the scene, but failed to get far as something ripped trough his abdomen
and chest. As the mutulated body fell to the ground, the humanoid amongst the group lowered
his staff. The other men-at-arms readied their weapons, but stood their ground, tossing glances
for guidance or action to their lord.

With a sighting strengthened by both hate and fear, Antoine raised himself and his sword,
ready to accept the challengers' request. "My, my..one who does care for his peasant rabble
it seems. How uncommon." The vampire turned to one of the soldiers still standing and nodded
to the engulfing darkness beyound the bridge. "Go then, your lord here bought you time."
The men needed no second chance, and not one stared back to linger on the fate their lord will
have to endure or prove himself worthy of.
The vampire watched the men race of towards the safety of the darkness, stepping in a semi-circle
around Antoine."They seem to be not so caring for you however mosnieur."

Peasant rabble indeed tought Antoine, following every move the vampire made, uncaring for his
allies as to make certain that at least this arrogant twat would get what was coming to him.
Antoines' breathing grew deeper, mustering his courage and strength to hack this monster to pieces
with his large two-handed sword. An effort that went not unnoticed by the vampires keen senses.
"Monsieur!" His tone polite, yet as if taken an insult. "Where is your chivalry? Perhaps we can start
by proper introductions before we begin hostilities, non?"

That was the last drip for Antoine. Introductions? Ill carve my name in your skull he tought
before he levelled his sword to the fullest and stormed onto the vampire with a savage warcry.
The sword arced where the vampire stood, but the vampire was faster, and the sword shattered some
flesh of a lifeless corpse that layed on the ground, followed by a dry tud as it sank a few inches
into the dry ground. The vampire took some spacing and unsheated his own magnificent sword.
"Youth these days have no manners left!" But the Antoine took even more offense to the words, he
an experienced knight of many battles, insulted by a second-rank villian aspiring boy-knight?
His sword swung horizontal at the vampires belly, but fell short as the vampire nimbly darted
backwards. The swing was followed by another swing and a trust, but none connected.
The vampire had not struck once, nor even bothered to deflect. The vampire stood still, his sword
in one hand losely and pointing to the ground with its tip. Antoines quickly regained strength
once more spend as he panted heavily."Stand still you little insect, so I can send you and all
your minions to whatever cursed hole you crawled out of!" His words where heavy, forced due his
exhaustion. The vampire merely smiled broadly: "Fine, I shall not move, if you wish it so."
With a loud grunt and one last effort mustering what strength he had left, Antoine raised his
greatsword over his head, ready to cleave his foe in two. But the vampire was faster,
his rightboot slid forward and his arm outstretched in less then a heartbeat.
"I have not moved monsieur." A wry smile blossomed upon the vampires' lips slowly.
The magnificent sword had been trusted with a powerfull blow trough the open visor of Antoines
helmet, trough the leftcheek, to come to a halt with the tip a mere inch past the back of the helmet.
A look of shock, pain and surprisse upon Antoines face as he felt his lifeessence drain from him.
Blood started to flow over his lowerlip and his sword slid from his hands, then his eyes sank away.
"I am Tybald de Lusigny you nameless cur. Next time, at least pretent to be of noble blood.";
Tybald snarled at the dead man. He then placed his boot upon his belly and used the lever to push
the body from his sword. Antoine fell on the ground with a brustle of clanking metal.
 
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