"The most of the men has been gathed my Lord."
"Well then, let the crusades begin. We shall either cleanse this world of the great steppe bandit plague, or we shall fall with our swords."
*Narrator* And so the brave men and women of Calradia approach their doom.
Looking back over his soldiers, Emperor Gaius of the Calradian Empire sees that the point of no return has been reached. They are already surrounded by the howling wild ones.
He can see then steel-clad faces of the brave men and women that have resigned to give their lives in the hopes of a free Calradia.
But not everyone is so resolute. Amongst the veterans and seasoned warriors, there are the new recruits and the fear cannot only been seen, it can be heard and event smelt at this point.
Friends helping helping to steady each other while some throw up.
"Indeed, this is not a pretty sight" Gaius said to his closest companion. Alayen the Smith looks around before turning to face his Captain and friend. "And more reports from the lookouts. It's worse than we thought. There are dozens of unsuspecting merchant caravans out there, walking straight towards their end."
Gaius turns to face his commanders. "It's been a pleasure to serve with all of you, and shall we fall here today, know that we are securing our place in heaven. Godspeed!"
He turns and nods the guidon bearer who proceeds to lift a great horn to his lift and blow it.
All the commands give each other a final look before turning their backs towards their respective units and shouting "DISBAND! Get in formation you lazy slobs, It is time to hunt!".
Gaius waits a while with his army while his commanders set out to chase down the closest Steppe Bandit parties.
Alayen turns to him. "I think it's been enough time now my Lord. We should get started too."
*Narrator* In the beginning, everything went well for Gaius and his men. His commanders got rid of dozens, maybe even hundreds of parties over the next few days, but little did they know that the worst had yet to come.
"... my Lord, my Lord!" Gaius turned around on his steady steed to see Alayen come galloping up behind him. "my Lord! We have sighted a grand bandit army over at the southern crossing. Some of our commanders have already engaged while others are still on the way to suppor them."
"Alright, inform the men, we are riding to help them." Gaius said with a fierce look in his eyes.
"At once my Lord" Alayen quickly rode off and Gaius could hear him bark orders and the surprisingly calming sound of shuffling soldiers getting in formation.
*Narrator* If this was a story, then this would be the battle where our hero vanquishes the bandit scourge forever and lives happily ever after... but this is not a story, and life isn't always so simple.
brrrROOOARRRRR. The familiar sound of the battle horn came suddenly and unexpected.
Gaius could hear Alcha the Outcast shouting towards him. "We are ambushed my lord! They outnumber us at least three to one."
Gaius responded immediately, trained by years of hard battles. "Battle formations!" He shouted loudly. His voice reaching far and wide, a necessary trait for a successful commander. Under his breath he sighed quietly. "X marks the spot I suppose".
*Narrator* And so they fought, until they could no longer stand, until they could no longer even hold a sword. Hundreds fell, but luckily for Gaius and his men, it was mostly the bandits that did the falling.
With their renewed strength of freed prisoners bolstering the ranks, they continued on to aid the allied army fighting the grand bandit army. Things were looking grim however, as the friendly numbers shrank by the second.
Gaius looked down from the hill overlooking the two armies clashing, his army ready to support their allies. Another great battle was about to begin... no, not begin. It had already begun.
He raised his trusty polearm with his good arm. "CHARGE!"
*Narrator* And so the Steppe Bandit crusades continue. And who knows? Maybe our heroes will even survive to tell the tale, but that's a story for another time.