Prince Exandraltrius Gartia was the commander of the army that came back from the western frontier. When news of their arrival reached the court, many commanders were utterly surprised. He was dispatched to fight a battle that was considered a certain defeat. He had returned with two thirds of his army no less. He went to his room in the keep with his retainer. He rested for the day.
He was called to the royal court the following day. He was bestowed with the title of war forged, the highest title that was given to a warrior for achievements in battle. He was then asked to merge his army with the north east flank. That flank had suffered heavy casualties 4 days ago. He got up and asked what his role was to be in battle. He was asked to stand by as there was no army in need of a commander. He walked out of the courtroom and gave a speech to his army telling them to fight for the castle town. Exandraltrius then walked out of the keep with his retainer, and walked into the stable. They sat there with their horses grooming them until the evening. They talked in detail about how the siege would pan out. Having come to the conclusion that the castle town would fall in three days at most, Exandraltrius asked Rutgere Welkins, what do you want to do then? “It is in your shadow that I have found light milord.” “We are discussing of times when I shall no longer be your lord Rutgere.” “Indeed, such a day seems to be near. But know it already as you may, it would still be a pleasure to live in your shadow. Am I to presume that you would consider that an annoyance?” “If I and you had met in the streets playing hide and seek or in the fields, harvesting rye or in the barracks with spears, Rutgere, what is it that you would address me as?” “Only too much, milord, have I heard you hail such bonds between equals forged naturally by the necessities of man as the fabric that keeps the world together. But neither you nor me has experience in the first hand of such a relationship as I was raised as your retainer and you have forever been a prince to this country. It would be presumptuous of us to comment on such a hypothetical.” Rutgere said as he chuckled lightly.
The mood of the conversation at this point was bright, almost cheerful and, in ways, laid back. After tending to their favorite horses a little more, Exandraltrius looked at their other horses, knowing fully well that they will not be able to sneak out more than one horse each. Rutgere even offered that he will ride Exandraltrius’ horse out of the castle walls, but the prince laughed it off, calling him stupid for such a suggestion. They then walked back to their rooms as Exandraltrius told Rutgere to go get permission for a night patrol to better understand the situation around the castle town. They got dressed in full plate armor with mail and gambeson underneath and rode out of castle town. This, the youngest prince of this kingdom was not so much as given escort as they rode out. It was well within expectation though. They rode out into the forest. They wanted to still witness the success of the siege though. Exandratrius wanted to see with his own eyes the end of the kingdom that brought him up for closure. They tied their horses at the foot of the high cliffs South of the castle town and climbed up to witness the burning of the town. The horrors of war were probably all committed. Death and despair were without doubt abundant in those streets. This was surely the end of the kingdom.
They then got on their horses and rode along the cliffs until they reached the path that led South into the hills. It was the grassy bank of a stream where they woke up the following day. They had nothing on them. Their armor, their horses and absolutely nothing else. “Are you lost in a sentimental monologue likening the early morning dew to our predicament Exandraltrius?” Rutgere said without any hint of hesitation. “Exandraltrius, yeah, that indeed is my name. Sounds good alright. So, then, what now?”