Cyprus took a deep breath. He had been woken before dawn by an out of breath scout who had brought dire news. Slovenia’s troops had been mobilized. Her entire front line was on the march, bearing down on their position.

“If the scout is correct then it appears that the enemy is aware of our Lord’s movements.” He was addressing the hastily gathered Captains of Jordan’s host. They were seated around the council table in the High Lords tent.

“There are four cohorts of pikemen and archers heading directly for our left flank. Now, this is either a tactical fluke or there are agents of the enemy among us who have informed the Countess of our Lord’s activities.”

He looked closely at the faces of the assembled men, looking for any sign of deceit. All he got were the bleary eyed features of men who had spent the previous night boozing and whoring.

“We have squandered our tactical advantage!” He shouted, banging his fist on the table. This got a suitably startled reaction from the Captains. “Wake up you fools! We must protect our flank at all costs. If they cut us off from the General we are lost.”

“With respect, Cyprus.” One of the Captains spoke up, “My men fight for me. Lord Jordan doesn’t sway the morale of the men under my command.”

There was a chorus of cursing and shouting at this. Cyprus stood up and bellowed for silence. When they settled down again he spoke with a quiet intensity that forced them to lean forward and concentrate on his words.

“The board has been reset. We were poised on the edge of victory but now our King is exposed and their Queen bears down on us with all her might.” He looked down at the Captain who had spoken of his men. “I do not doubt the resolve of your men, but without the banner of Jordan’s guard they are nothing more than a gang of men amongst other gangs of men. Tell me, what use is a gang against an army?”

“Each of you will spare five of your fastest riders. Have them armed and ready to ride in the hour. They will break off from the main flank and locate Lord Jordan. He will need capable knights to break through Slovenia’s pikemen. Fifty riders flanking the flankers might just work. Hopefully we can salvage something from this farce.”

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