They were wights out of nightmare, dream apparitions made flesh. He did not know what they sought or why they had come. They approached on huge
snorting beasts, black and chestnut destriers that were bulky as draught horses but bred only for war.
They were tall figures, most of them wiry and gaunt and malnourished beneath their metal suits and thick animal pelts. Some wore loose woolen
trousers, others wore leather pteruges, studded and varnished, with their tanned legs visible beneath; unwavering legs, knotted, sinewy, and inured to
the endless march. The legs of men who tread ever forward to meet their foes and victims, never back. At every swaggering step they clinked with
rusted chain and lamellar; it was a repellant, frightful sound. Their dented corselets were made of small sewn plates of wrought bronze, partly
covered in brown patina and yet still bright and terrible in the sun. A few of these men spurned cumbersome metal, though, and were garbed in dark
linthorax, hide, or studded leather. Their faces were obscured by cruel masks, some simply cloth coverings, others metal and depicting the anguished,
furious expressions of fanged beasts out of some dark tale. The best among them wore long sashes adorned with countless blood-encrusted scalps, some
raven, some chestnut, some blonde, some fiery red.
They were bearded, all of them; unkempt, dark, wiry beards that spilled out from beneath their dreadful masks and helmets. Their faces could not be
discerned, but a man would die happier not having seen the scarred, pocked, wind-burned countenances that would likely have greeted him. The
grotesque, noxious odor that wafted from their bodies could wilt flowers; they reeked of stale sweat, bitter ale, and something unidentifiable,
redolent of death itself.
These men were baleful and arrogant, with their sauntering, heavy gaits and their harsh voices. Something about them, about their presence, gave the
impression of sorrowful, utterly grim indifference to life. Their black thoughts and megrims were truly alien to most sane men, only found in those
who have toiled in the practice of killing and strife and war for far too long. Drest hated them almost as soon as seeing them; miserable creatures,
violent and treacherous like wolves and yet almost pitiable. They were savages, not the noble sort, but the sort quick to kill a man for sport and
drink wine from his broken skull.
Their weapons were the worst sight of all- fell tools that would loosen the bowls of grown men. Cruel spiked billhooks used to tear a man off his
horse. Shining steel swords and scimitars, some wickedly curved, others kopis-like with a heavy forward swept blade, others straight and double-edged.
A few among them carried the falx or the sica, scythe-like polearms with only one clear purpose: rending flesh and cleaving limb with a single wicked
blow. Then there were the clubs, hammers, and maces, the terrible maces. Iron things, inordinately heavy, whipped around to build momentum and then
flung wildly in an arc. They could shatter wood and bone, and crumple metal like parchment. Many also carried spears, interminably long sarissas with
wide, flanged points. None carried bows, but many wore satchels containing heavy javelins. The javelins were like pila, carefully fashioned to bend
and deform on impact, making their removal from armor and flesh far more difficult and painful.
They spoke some guttural, jarring tongue that frayed a man's nerves just to hear. The words, fell and bestial, were only fit for the description of
war and death. Even were they speaking of roses, the mere sound of their language would change roses into thorny briars, calm blue seas into heaving
swells, and the laughter of lads and maidens into the cackling of thieves and whores.
Continued at a later date....
edit on 14-4-2016 by Talorc because: (no reason given)