Charge of the Heavy Brigade

Switching gears entirely.

-=-=-=-

Lieutenant Commander Ryud Slate had little enough patience on normal days.

He wasn’t the biggest dwarf around, wasn’t the strongest, tallest, or even the most heavily scarred, though he carried plenty of scars from plenty of battles.

He did, however, live up to his name.

When he had initially signed on with the Ironforge Warrior Corps, Private Slate was simply called “blank Slate”, or even just “blank.” He was the finest soldier around, did exactly what he was told immediately upon being told to do it. By sheer tenacity he had slowly but surely climbed the ranks, eventually being promoted to Knight-Captain shortly after the invasion of Khaz Modan.

It was there that he began to truly earn his first name.

Pretty much everyone referred to him as Lieutenant Commander Rude these days, which was technically phonetically correct, so he couldn’t really fault anyone for it. Except the odd low ranking trooper who managed to spell it “Rude”, anyway.

Ryud spat. He did that a lot.

His massive war charger shifted under arm, snuffling quietly.

“Easy girl,” he gently patted his horse, “There’ll be more’n enough killin’ fer both of us soon.”

With one gloved hand, he slowly traced the massive scar that crossed his face. He had nearly died in the Second War, some lucky grunt had gotten lucky with a sword and nearly taken his entire head off. This was, in truth, why he spat. The injury had healed funny, causing him to salivate far more than usual. Or it was magic due to the blade being cursed or some shite, he had never been able to find out.

He liked the latter idea better. “Curse of Permanent Moderate Inconvenience” sure sounded like something a warlock would do.

The speck he’d had his one remaining eye on was getting closer. He could make it out to be a hippogryph, the brown and white colors of an Argent bred beast. Bearing straight at him.

“About feckin’ time.” He spat.

The hippogryph descended rapidly, making one tight circle before landing impossible hard on the packed snow next to him. A massive bear of a man in heavy, dark blue and gold armor sat on the back of the flying creature, the tabard of Stormwind prominently displayed on his chest.

“Yeh got anythin’ interestin’ tae report tae meh?” Slate spat out.

The paladin nodded. “Main thrust is stymied, shut down by those giant skeletons mentioned in the field reports earlier, sir. Lines broke not two minutes ago. The Scourge are making a serious push for our siege engines sir. Your orders are simple, sir: flank the casters and crush them. Hopefully that’ll allow us to get in air support, or at the very least force the zombies to pull a few super skellies back to stop your advance. Here’s the tac field, static. We don’t have active mage support, sir.”

Ryud took the unnaturally thick paper, quickly eyeing over what information it did contain. “Seems feckin’ suicide tae me. Aboms on the righ’, an’ looks like they ‘ave garg support tae boot. Well feck me sideways, an uncovered cavalry charge intae that?” His face twisted into a grin. “I’ve ‘ad worse.”

The paladin nodded. “I’ve got three other battalions to report to, sir. Good… good luck out there, sir.”

“Oy, what’s with all the feckin’ ‘sir’ crap? Yew ‘aven’t called me ‘sir’ since ye were a Knight. We’re both Lieute-”

“Not anymore, Commander Slate.” The paladin smiled.

Commander Slate grunted. “Well ain’t that just feckin’ peachy. Promote me just in time tae kill me. Jes’ like ol’ times, eh Adam?”

“Wish I could be there, sir. Smash something for me, will you?” Adam saluted briskly, nudging his hippogryph into the air. It took off and rocketed through the air far faster than such a creature had any right to.

Commander Slate spat. “Feckin’ paladins. Ain’t got no respect for the laws o’ physics. Right then!”

Turning his horse around, he shouted at his company.

“Lissen up, ya damn drunk hooligans! We got ourselves a target, a whole buncha squishy mages tae make one with tha ground. Holy Rollers! Form up!”

When the invasion of Northrend began, Slate commanded a full Squadron of four hundred heavily armed and armored cavalry, among the absolute heaviest the Alliance had to offer.

Now he stood with slightly less than two hundred at his back. He received reinforcements now and then, but nowhere near the numbers he needed or anywhere near often enough.

He spat. Not that it mattered. Whether he had five at his back or five thousand, it made no real difference. A long as he had Minty, some armor, or something sharp to swing, he would keep right on fighting until death took him.

He knew every single damn cavalryman under his command felt the same way. Even that one night elf with the mohawk. Crazy fucking bastard, that one. Lost his mount, all his weapons and a shield to a death knight once. So he had simply ripped the death knight in half with his bare hands.

Naturally, everyone called the elf “bear hands” these days. It fit.

His helmet slid into place with a satisfying clunk. He unholstered a massive javelin from Minty’s side armor, and thunked the shaft against his helment.

Slightly less than two hundred thunks echoed his own.

“Come on, girl,” he whispered to Minty, “Let’s go crush us some skulls.”

Minty snorted eagerly, gently picking up speed.

There was no war cry. It just wasn’t the Holy Rollers style. Besides, it was a tactical disadvantage. Scourge didn’t know what fear was, defeating the entire point. Conjuring up images of lost loved ones was more than enough morale for most of the Rollers.

They were just happy to be following orders from someone who actually knew how to use cavalry possible. Slate had lost count somewhere in the Second War the number of times some idiot commander had tried using cavalry for a frontal assault.

The rumble of the Holy Rollers followed him.

He spat.

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7 Responses to Charge of the Heavy Brigade

  1. 2sw33t says:

    Great piece, I love the “anticipation before battle” stories, Braveheart style.

    One thing that stood out for me tho that you have to keep an eye for (in my opinion) not to do is this: “…some lucky grunt had gotten lucky with a sword…” 2 times the same word in such a fashion and proximity isn’t “pretty”. Other that that, great story!

  2. Plyrx says:

    I noticed several time that you mixed up the adjective/adverb form of a word. Was that intentional?

    Your portrayal of the Dwarf accent was utterly flawless, though. Extremely fun to read.

  3. GHOSTKID says:

    I’ve been enjoying the stories since you started this site. It just occured to me that I have yet to let you know that they are bringing me joy and entertainment. Please forgive my manners, or lack there of.

    I have no specific criticisms or tips. I have, however, felt the writing has gotten better with each story.

    Please keep up the good work.

    Ghost

    PS Any chance of you returning to WoW? I miss seeing you online and miss your quirky green comments…(used ‘miss’ twice because I couldn’t think of another word that would have been right).

  4. Markos says:

    Thank you for giving an Alliance soldier some actual character! There’s a lot of this which could be done in WoW, and hasn’t been. I mean, if this guy were my leader? Hell yes I’d work under him. Why? He may not be the brightest of the bunch, and he probably doesn’t appreciate anything I can do as a mage, but you don’t survive a “curse of moderate inconvenience” and losing an eye all the while managing to become a Commander of a group with such a badass name as the “Holy Rollers” without having some fucking balls and the ability to do what you need to!

    Honestly, they gave all of that character to the Orcs… Who are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but humans are US! Do we really want them to be a bunch of bland nobodies with the most insanely bland “For the Alliance” battlecries and voice acting which makes them sound like nobles on the field of battle for the first time? No, we don’t.

    • Markos says:

      Aaand I am a moron who just realized my initial assumption WAS correct.. and that this is a dwarf. The mention of him riding a horse threw me off, damned racial only (unless you have the proper reputation) mounts.

      My rant is now useless. Ridicule away.

  5. Adam says:

    excellent work!

    i think it gets better and better with each and every story.

    (you can whine all you want about my improper capitalization blah blah. you’re just succumbing to the effects of my “Curse of Permanent Moderate Inconvenience”. after all, i am a warlock (: )

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