Ned and his fellow soldiers settled down in the camp. A light wind swept over the soldiers as Ned built a small fire using his flint and steel. The flames warmed him and he ate well. Afterwards, he cleaned the short sword and arranged his kit so he would be ready at short notice in the morning. He had a broken sleep, thinking about Kroll. It was time for revenge.
At first light, Ned rose and took a deep breath. He saw the other men readying themselves for the fight. Ned opened a bag and pulled out the wolf pelt. He wrapped it over his leather-clad shoulders and bound it tightly to his upper arms. The wolf head slipped into position and Ned looked through the snarling teeth once more. With bags strapped to his back, he ensured his sword and knives were easily accessible. Before the order to move out came, Ned knelt down and spread mud across his face. He was ready. It was the day of battle.
The infantry lined up on a hill overlooking a vast valley. To the rear, a small hamlet called Snookford scattered either side of a meandering river. The King’s army numbered upwards of five thousand men and Ned was too far back to see the enemy. Archers were strategically place behind the infantry and knights brought up the rear. Soldiers at the fore faced the Malaxian military might on the opposite side of the valley. Malaxians shouted war cries and beat swords against shields, the noise reverberating across the valley. Although the Malaxians could not match the numbers of the King’s army, they had prepared their whole lives for this moment. And they faced only a conscripted army. Victory was theirs to lose. And they knew it.