“Nothing strikes sheer terror and unease into the hearts of men that the sight of the banner of the Crimson Wings. The white background contrasts the sheer black crow, outstretched wings coated with the blood of the enemy. These men are the men of legends. All have tasted battle, been bloodied in war, endured the rigors of training, and had the doctrine of honor, courage, and loyalty ingrained in their minds from day one. Waves upon waves of enemy forces can smash into the Crimson Wings front lines, and they will be tossed backwards through the sheer determination of these forces. It is said that wherever the Crimson Wings march, the crows fly overhead, knowing that their namesake will provide a feast through their ferocity.”
Historians tell of a battle that raged ages ago. The names have become muddied in the lost tomes as they pass from the written word to the spoken tongue. None know the reason that stared the conflict, or the names of either side that raged for two years. All that remains is the story that came to pass on the final night of the siege. Forces faced each other across a blood soaked, battle scorched field. This site will be known in the future as the Capital City of Alnwick, in the County of Osthelia. Crows wheeled overhead, ready to begin their feasting. Black smoke and ash from funeral pyres stained the air. Neither soldier had seen the sun in ages, or smelled air that didn’t stink from the dead and dying. New recruits may have composed some ranks of either, but every single man that stood there had been bloodied in the war. No one was a stranger to violence now.
The vanguard of the defending army stood ready, their force alone facing the enemy. It was a token force, not even half the size of the opposing force. The main body of the defending army lay ready behind the castle walls. It was a foolish strategy, vastly different from their enemy. They attacked as one massive body, no need for a vanguard force or cavalry. Like a tidal wave crashing against a cliff face. Eventually the ocean wears away the rock. The Lord of the defenders held to traditional tactics, and only the will and determination of the men had allowed them to hold the opposing force at bay. They were outnumbered, and should they fail, they would be slaughtered to a man. The vanguard were brothers in arms, together from the very beginning of their training. They had all lost brothers in this war, and slowly the rage had been building inside them. They wanted revenge, to make sure their brothers didn’t die in vain. Bloodlust coursed through the vanguard now, and tension hummed through the ranks, and their weapons were ready for the next taste of blood.
Trumpets rent in the air, and the battle began. The vanguard surged together into a circle of shields and swords. The enemy force converged around them in a storm of violence and death. The battle raged for hours, and slowly the vanguard began to lose more brothers. The commander couldn’t ignore it any longer, he refused to lose any more men. And the enemy would pay with their own blood. He let out a bestial roar that his men instantly echoed, and deep within the fought with reserves of strength and ferocity that they didn’t know they had possessed. The true slaughter began then, and sudden fear ran through the spines of the enemy force. Their commander called a halt and reformed their ranks. The terror grew as they watched the vanguard force in front of them.
The only intact from the pages of history reads thus, “The vanguard stood in front, naked blades in their hands, gleaming scarlet from their enemies. A mere tithe of five hundred men, stood unflinching in the face of certain doom. The enemy force of over fifty thousand felt terror as they observed the small group. Their white cloaks shredded and billowing in the wind behind them, stained red. The crows wheeled overhead, and their calls seemed to favor the vanguard. The vanguard commander stepped forward, and raised his blood covered blade into the air, and the men screamed in defiance before charging. The crimson stained cloaks flew behind them, the crows cried out eagerly, cheering on their brothers below. The enemy watched as death was borne towards them, carried by crimson wings.”