A Sword of Roses, The Vesting

Da, Domine, vitutem manibus meis ad abstergendam omnem maculam: ut sine pollutione mentis et corporis valeam tibi servire. (1)
From the north, an unholy wind blew. It was the wind that carried the scents of fire and destruction through the mountains and glens of the North. Charred flesh, both animal and human, fouled the air from beyond the Wall, the ancient Roman symbol of division of civilization and barbarian. The barbarian wind carried all the dread promise of war with it, towards the heart of the realm.
To the south, always to the south. Briton was won and lost in the North, no matter how many faux magistrates and governors presided in the South. Rome knew it, separated the two realms with the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. Arthur knew it, and tore down the wall with extended hand, winning the support and oaths of the barbarian and Irene battle chiefs. Now, with the physical wall destroyed, Albion had pulled her defenses to the Forest Sauvage.
It was here, where the northern wind parted the mists on the man-made mountain that was Castle Excalibur that they gathered.
A healthy band gathered in the chill morning courtyard, a riot of clothing and colors. Some wore fine silksteel with arcane designs, others wrapped in the mightiest of metal. Slung across the shoulders of most, and on the shields of others hung the emblem of Fourth Wall… four swords on four rooks of gold and green.
“Kneel before the Lord our God, and receive your blessings,” a voice rang out. All knelt but one. “You too, Mertel.” The gathering laughed as Mertel grumbled and knelt.
The cleric before them, a British man, was attended to by two other Britons, friars both in their heavy cloth habits and robes, and two other clerics, highlanders both, Phantasee and Bregor.
The Britton cleric raised his hands and declared in a loud voice: “Behold! My lord is him who they call Jesu! To him and him alone I swear fealty, he is the Shepard and the Lamb of God, Son of God, hear our prayer.” And then he spoke in the Roman tongue as the two friars placed a long white linen robe over his chain mail, the golden cup adorning its chest.
Impone, Domine, capiti meo galeam salutis, ad expugandos diabolicos incursus. (2)
A belt of gold and steel was wrapped around his waist.
Praecinge me, Domine, cingulo puritatis, et exstingue in lumbis meis humorem libidinis: ut maneat in me virtus continentiae et castitatis. (3)
A shield bearing the swords and rooks was strapped to his left arm as his right was held high with benediction.
Merear, Domine, portare manipulum fletus et doloris: ut cum exultatione recipiam mercedem laboris. (4)
Bishop Eurians, pastor of the Fourth Wall, lowered his arms and drew his mace. “Lord, endow me with the garment of salvation, the vestment of joy, and may the dalmatic of justice ever encompass me!” he yelled, and was met with cheers as the Fourth Wall rose to their feet, and all of heaven rose with them, angels and saints alike lifting their arms and souls and strengthening their voices in psalm until the psalm became a chant, and the chant a single word…
HUZZAH!! (5)
They ran in small groups. This was to be a scouting party and a relief column for the defenders at Caer Berkestead, an outpost in Pennine Mountains. Carrying fresh weapons and supplies from Camelot, under the speed of song, they sped through the hills and valleys. A battle lay before them.
“Mids,” spoke a few of them. Surely, the unmistakable shape of Troll stood on the horizon, their wicked and crude war machines arrayed around the massive gates of the fort.
Barlyic called for a halt as the groups came to a quiet halt. A few hand gestures were shared and they took up again, their moves now with dread purpose. “Recognize them?” whispered Cochese.
Fleur smiled. “Does it matter?”
Nergal chuckled softly. “We’ll check the corpses later.”
Kinelen nodded, his flute spinning in his hand. “But for now…”
A sound. Unlike none other, it was a sound of God and angels alike, but no war song or psalm or prayer ever made such a note. It was like a call of heaven itself, and no barbarian ear failed to strain for its call.
“FOURTH WALL FOURTH WALL” They surged forth, their moves precise, their enemies blank faces could have been stone or blank for all they cared. The enemy began to awake from their forced diversion, but the crucial ground had been gained and the battle was joined.
A Norseman swung his shield as Mertel rushed the center of the fray, seeking the diminutive feature of a Dwarf, but the mercenary deftly sidestepped the clumsy attack. Much like he had with Barlyic the night before, he spun on his heel, his knife a blur in the crisp morn, not missing any mark and smoothly parting the Northerner’s mail shirt. Blood squirted from the back of warrior as he squealed in pain and fright. Right behind Mertel charged Wade Cunningham, his hands gripping an ancient partisan. Holding the weapon as if a club, he stopped to face the warrior.
“Excuse me,” and he lopped off the Northerners head.
“EXCUSE ME?!?” laughed Cochese.
Mertel smiled but ran on, his entire world at that moment was the small man with his hands above him, crying out in their gruesome language to his gods.
“Eir, giv oss mod at st

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