The King’s army started from Metzl and went up the Lacey River. They would cross the Taterbo Mountains, and then cross the Tonk Plain all the way to Newcastle in the Northland.
As night fell, the army was stationed near the swamp on the upper Lacey River.
The Lacey River, like the Doma River, was one of the five main long rivers in Legrand. It originated from the Field Mountains, ran northward through the entire northern region of Legrand, and finally flowed into the icy sea of the very north through the port of Banmore Fort, flowing through almost a quarter of the land of Legrand.
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In the King’s tent, battle maps were spread out one after another.
In this war, the entire army was divided into three divisions. The King himself commanded the central army led by the Iron Rose Cavalry, and would go straight north to take the shortest path——the same path that the Duke of Buckingham took when he rescued Newcastle. The army on the left was led by Earl Henry, and the army on the right was handed over to General Roger.
The King’s appointment of commanders was somewhat unexpected.
The main reason was that no one thought that the King would appoint Earl Henry as the commander of the left wing.
General Roger was a veteran. He followed William III to conquer Newcastle, and he was familiar with the terrain of the Northland. Moreover, he was the first person to choose the Iron Rose in the “Rose Crisis”. It made sense that the King appointed him commander of the right-wing army. But Earl Henry was different.
Earl Henry chose the White Rose amid the civil strife during the “Rose Crisis”.
At the time, he was a new royalist.
And, he was a new royalist who had done a good job. The military command of Grand Duke Grice himself was far less outstanding than that of Earl Henry. During that civil strife, Earl Henry conquered many castles. If it wasn’t for the return of the King, who was to say he might not be able to continue to expand his victories.
The King’s appointment of this great nobleman who had tried to overthrow him to such an important commanding position was really unexpected.
However, this did make many lords breathe a sigh of relief.
Many of them once stood on the side of Grand Duke Grice during the civil strife. After the “Rose Crisis” subsided, the King’s several disguised liquidations of their assets made them quite worried. But the King appointed Earl Henry as a commander of the expedition, which showed the King’s attitude:
He didn’t intend to perpetuate the hatred of the Civil War, and he didn’t want to completely suppress them because of their choices in the Civil War.
Earl Henry became the commander, which made the lords’ attitude towards this expedition more optimistic. The King’s attitude undoubtedly showed that as long as they could contribute to the suppression of the Northland rebellion, the old accounts of the past were likely to be written off.
General Sheehan asked the King privately about Earl Henry.
The King was looking at the map, and when he heard General Sheehan’s inquiry, he asked General Sheehan to look at a place on the map.
General Sheehan looked along where the King pointed, which was Posey County, which crossed the border with Newcastle.
“Towards the rebellion in the Northland, the one who most hopes for it to be pacified immediately is none other than our Earl Henry.”
The King smiled.
The choice that others saw to be magnanimous was actually very natural for the King.
Posey County was a territory under the name of Earl Henry. There were a large number of Legrand and Northland trade fairs here, which were almost equivalent to half of Earl Henry’s economic lifeline. After the outbreak of the war, merchants fled south, and the economy of Posey County was hit hard. Moreover, in the past ten years, there have been considerable personal conflicts between Earl Henry and Prince Will of Newcastle.
Both sides were sparing no effort to expand the territory they occupy on the border.
Before the rebellion broke out, there were many applications for rulings on land disputes between the two parties piled up on the King’s desk.
So what if Earl Henry used to be a new royalist?
He wanted to fight a war, to pacify the Northland. Whoever possessed outstanding military talents, whose interests were related in the outcome and thus was absolutely impossible for him to betray, then the King dared to appoint whoever was the commander!
“Instead of worrying about our Mr. Henry, let’s worry about our enemies.”
The King said flatly.
“The rebel army is waiting for reinforcements.” The King stared at the map and slowly made a judgment. “The main force of their army is now stationed in one place, and there has been no movement for a long time. Who will come to support them?”
There were a total of seven small states in the Northland, and now there were three that have joined the rebellion.
This did not mean that the other states were loyal——some of them were fence sitters, waiting for the outcome of the war to become clear. And some were waiting for the right time to join.
So, who would come to support the rebels?
Except for these three states that have already rebelled, the strength of the other four states was not strong, and they were not even comparable to some of the larger lords in Legrand. But the King did not take them lightly.
“Ports, ship routes…..overseas.”
The King’s fingertips slid all the way across the map of the Northland, and finally stopped on the coastline.
General Sheehan blurted out, his expression suddenly becoming solemn.
Mercenary armies were extremely common nowadays.
As big as the war between Bressi and Legrand that lasted for hundreds of years, as small as a private war between families, mercenaries would be active on the battlefield. Compared with the slow recruiting speed and complex conditions of the knight army, professional mercenaries who were not bound by knight morals and have strong fighting skills were often more popular in wars.
During the period of William III, the then warrior queen Eleanor had brilliantly used mercenaries from near the Hopeless Inner Sea on the battlefield.
At that time, William III and the Duke of Buckingham led the army to face Bressi’s expeditionary force, and a rebellion broke out in the south of Legrand. Queen Eleanor hired an army and they entered from the southeastern port. While the rebels were looking in front of them, they suddenly encountered a blow from behind.
Queen Eleanor and the mercenaries carried out a dual attack from the front and back, and put down the rebellion in the shortest time.
However, the price was not cheap.
Queen Eleanor even had the jewels removed from her own crown to pay for the mercenaries.
“If they are waiting for overseas mercenaries to arrive, then they would stick to one place and not rush forward.” The King pointed at the port of Fort Banmore, which was the closest to Newcastle, “Ice-free port.”
The estuary of Lacey, the port of Banmore Fort, was a big port known as an “Ice-free port”!
“Land here and go along the river. Even an army that is not familiar with Legrand’s northern geography can arrive at the battlefield accurately and quickly. After the two sides converge, they could then go south and take Newcastle.” General Sheehan quickly made a prediction, and he looked up at the King, “Your Majesty, who do you think they will hire?”
The King stared gravely at the map.
He slowly gave an answer.
“The Gulundi heavy cavalry!”
General Sheehan was slightly taken aback, and subconsciously remembered the small group of mercenaries hired by Grand Duke Grice outside the city of Truu.
The Gulundi heavy cavalry could be said to be the pinnacle of knights’ fighting power today. They were the shadows on the earth and the gods of death on the battlefield.
General Sheehan had witnessed the battle between the King and the Gulundi heavy cavalry. If the King hadn’t cleverly used the natural terrain traps in the geographical environment, then Grand Duke Grice’s plan to assassinate the King would not have failed! But even so, the King paid a heavy price, and only a few of the oath knights who followed him survived.
The royal oath knights already represented the most elite knights in Legrand to some extent.
If a large number of Gulundi heavy cavalry joined the battlefield, it would turn the whole battle situation on its head!
“I will lead the cavalry first.”
The King stood up, and he reached for the cloak draped over the back of the chair.
“You and the follow-up troops keep up.”
“What about you? What are you going to do?”
General Sheehan suddenly had a bad feeling.
The King replied succinctly, then lifted the curtain and went straight out.
On the slopes of the Lacey River some distance from Newcastle.
At this time, the sky was slightly bright, and the Duke of Buckingham had already led the army to arrive here. There was a sparse forest and some bushes bordering the slope. Here the cavalry waited, and the woods provided some shelter for them. Both men and horses were silent.
When the horses breathed, large puffs of white air spewed out from their noses, while the knights were like cast iron.
Beside the Duke of Buckingham were his followers for many years.
The subordinate asked the Duke of Buckingham in a low voice, “Why did you think to intercept so early?”
The Duke of Buckingham glanced at him: “The rebel reinforcements are coming soon.”
“What?” The subordinate was slightly startled.
The Duke of Buckingham nodded slightly, indicating that he heard correctly.
A long distance away, after the Duke of Buckingham arrived at Newcastle, he made the same judgment as his nephew: the rebel army had reinforcements, and it was very likely that they had hired the Gulundi heavy cavalry.
While at the castle, however, the Duke of Buckingham did not speak out about this judgment.
——After a great battle, facing a dilapidated castle, the most important thing was to maintain hope and morale. Instead of letting the soldiers fall into despair and fear in advance.
The prestige of the Gulundi heavy cavalry was too terrifying.
In addition, the Duke of Buckingham believed that the rebel army’s siege of Newcastle during these days should be to pave the way for the Gulundi heavy cavalry. The Gulundi heavy cavalry were invincible on the frontal battlefield, but when facing a siege of a castle, one had to do more than just charge.
As long as the rebel army captured Newcastle, they could ride straight down and sweep across the land when the Gulundi heavy cavalry arrived.
Therefore, after receiving the news of the failure of the siege, Prince Will would definitely dispatch troops quickly and continue to attack Newcastle.
The Duke of Buckingham’s “replacing defense with offense” tactic was actually just a statement to appease the commanders.
What he really wanted to do was to intercept and kill Prince Will, and then lead the people of Newcastle to move forward to occupy Prince Will’s original residence, thereby defending against the heavy cavalry of Gulundi who might arrive at any time.
“They are coming.”
The Duke of Buckingham suddenly narrowed his eyes and said coldly.
The subordinates who had cooperated with him for many years, understood and raised the flag to signal preparation for battle.
The knights put down their lances, ready to charge at any time.
“This bloody damn weather.”
Prince Will cursed under his breath.
The cavalry was in the middle of the team, the infantry was used as the left and right wings, and in the middle of the large group of people were siege ladders, trebuchets and other large siege equipment and heavy vehicles which were moving slowly.
From time to time, Prince Will looked back at the vehicles moving forward slowly, wishing to give them a few whips to make them move forward quicker.
He received the news that the Gulundi mercenaries had already boarded the port by boat, and those heavy cavalry were paid by the day. Every day they remained hired, the money of the rebel army flowed out. The flow of money even made him, the prince, tremble.
However, seeing that the Gulundi heavy cavalry was about to arrive, Newcastle, which was planned to be captured, was still in good condition.
“That damned Duke of Buckingham.”
Prince Will took a deep breath and cursed under his breath.
But when thinking of the Duke of Buckingham, he subconsciously tightened his hands.
When he was young, Prince Will once met the Duke of Buckingham on the battlefield, and after he lost that battle he was unwilling to touch his armor for an entire year. The members of the Rose family were all lunatics on the battlefield.
“Are you afraid?”
A young man’s voice sounded beside Prince Will.
The muscles on Prince Will’s face twitched, and a trace of indistinct anger flitted across his face, but when he turned his head, he smiled respectfully: “As expected of my lord, you are so keen.”
Beside Prince Will was a priest in a white robe. His face was extremely handsome, but this handsomeness was a bit odd——it gave people the feeling of an angel walking directly out from a mural. This priest was a supporter of the Holy Court who was personally greeted by all the leaders of the Northland Rebel Alliance.
Prince Will had speculated in private about the identity of this white-robed priest.
An adjudicator from the tribunal? Didn’t seem like it, the tribunal was marked by a black robe.
Knights Templar? This was even more unlikely, this person had no armor and no longsword.
Then he was someone of the Holy Court?
Prince Will once asked his royal brother in private, but his royal brother refused to answer, only saying that He was strong enough to withstand thousands of troops.
Prince Will noticed that his brother used “He” instead of “he”.
So Prince Will maintained respect in front of the white-robed priest since, and this time when he attacked Newcastle, the white-robed priest also participated. However, Prince Will still had doubts in his heart——the white-robed priest only brought three sealed iron carriages, and nothing else.
Was he…..or He, planning to turn the three carriages into thousands of troops?
“The enemy is coming.”
While Prince Will was lost in his thoughts, the white-robed priest beside him suddenly said lightly.
Prince Will reined in his horse abruptly, looking forward suspiciously.
In his field of vision on this early morning, the branch of the Lacey River flowed quietly from the left side, and there was nothing but a sparse forest shrouded in light mist.
Just when Prince Will raised his head, the white-robed priest beside him silently retreated to the three carriages in the middle of the army without anyone noticing, which was completely beyond the reach of human beings.
At this time, smoke and dust rose from behind the sparse forest on the opposite slope.
Prince Will turned his head and saw that the white-robed priest was no longer by his side, and he swore. Unable to spare any extra thought, he yelled.
“Enemy attack! Defense!”
Just as his voice fell, a long horn sounded from the sparse woods opposite.
The rebel horses were frightened and began neighing. War horses were more sensitive creatures than humans, and they intuitively sensed that the enemy was approaching. And at this time, on the slope, amidst the flurry of kicked up snow, the enemy swooped down. The infantry on the left and right had marched overnight and at this time, they could only set up their shields in a panic and gather to prepare for defense.
From the snow and dust, hundreds of scarlet Rose Royal banners formed a surging wave of blood.
Prince Will’s heart suddenly jumped.
The nightmarish battle in his youth came back.
He roared hysterically, raising his shield tremblingly but retreating back, trying to hide in the middle of the army.
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Beside the carriage in the middle of the army, the white-robed priest raised his head and stared forward quietly, his pupils were strangely clear, as if it were a mirror, or as if it were the sky, and the world was reflected in his pupils.
“It’s the Rose family…..the dragon slayers?”
He said softly.
The voice was drowned in the noise.
The royal flag had arrived, and the cavalry of the Rose family charged with fury.
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