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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Raven

The RavenWhen I had crossed the Stirling and fulfilled my commission, I found myself at leisure within the army camp of my own kind. It was there that my predictions for the coming battle—correct, as it turned out—were first formed. Watching the slovenly Hugh de Cressingham eating put me in mind of a pig at a trough; if he had known he was fattening himself up to be flayed by the dwarves and worn as a sword belt he would no doubt have been put off his dinner. And Surrey was a self-serving man with heavy-lidded eyes, skillful only at snoring in his bed, not planning battles.

But despite the arrogance and overconfidence of their leaders, the cavalry were still a sight to be seen, arrayed in their gleaming armour and bestride their powerful mounts. The horses stamped and steamed in the cold morning air as the army began the crossing at Stirling Bridge, and the knights held their lances high, anticipating they would soon be plunging them into a dwarven rabble and returning in time for a light lunch.

I’d seen the dwarves in their camp and alone thought otherwise. They were no rabble. I took one last look at the mighty army heading for oblivion, wrapped myself in a dark cloak and headed south.