With the battles mainly focused at the area surrounding the main gates, the initial discrete units of soldiers were nothing in the face of the might of the mercenaries. However, after 15 minutes the warning horn was blown, a squad of Northland Army soldiers had already rushed over to reinforce the gates. Given the number of mercenaries who fought in no orderly fashion, the squad of Northland Army soldiers didn't last long and many of them were assaulted by the mercenaries and had no choice but to resist defensively until more of their comrades came.
Sounds of killing and blades clanging rang out on top of the walls as well, signifying the purge of the defenders of the walls by the guards and family soldiers who were led by Waxima. The mission that was given to him by Lorist was to eliminate all enemies that were stationed at the wall to take control of and defend the other gates within the town so that not a single enemy could escape. As long as nobody ran out of the town to report to their main force which was attacking Maplewoods Bastide, Lorist would have more than enough time to finish dealing with the soldiers within the town.
After another 30 or so minutes, sounds of well-coordinated steps could be heard as three squads of fully-armed Northland Army soldiers marched to the town gates in three neat rows. A few Silver ranked knights at the front looked at the wide-open town gates from a distance as well as the two wooden sheds beside it that were set aflame. Around 300 leather armored troops of the Norton Family could be seen suppressing the rest of the Northland Army soldiers who were desperately fending for their own lives. By the time the enemy reinforcements arrived, about 100 leather armored Norton troops split off and headed their way...
The few Silver ranked knights let out breaths of relief as they thought that the number of enemies heading for them were not numerous. Taking into account the three squads they brought with them, they would have no problem dispatching the group that was headed for them. The Silver ranked knights rode to the side of the street on their mounts and one of them raised his riding lance towards the leather armored soldiers and ordered, "Longbowmen, prepare... Ugh..."
One javelin had nailed the knight and his mount onto the ground out of nowhere.
"Fire!" A voice resounded in front of the three Northland Army squads all of a sudden as soldiers appeared above the two buildings by the roadside with their bows fully drawn. Arrows hailed down densely from above with numerous javelins between their barrage towards the three squads of the duke's soldiers, causing their formation to disintegrate completely. The longbowmen formation was hit the worst: having been attacked without having enough time to react and retaliate, half of them perished instantly from the rain of projectiles while the lucky survivors balled up in fear on the ground.
The rain of projectiles continued for three volleys and it was followed by a voice screaming out, "Kill!"
Near 100 silhouettes jumped down from the buildings and joined the mercenaries who were on their way from the gates in a bloody massacre.
It was indeed a massacre as the soldiers of the Northland Army who survived the volleys of arrows and javelins had lost all their will to fight. They didn't regroup after the initial attack at all as the Silver ranked knights that were leading them had all died from Lorist's javelins. Coupled with the terror they experienced from being suddenly ambushed by the soldiers who showed up on the buildings all of a sudden, all they could think of was defending themselves individually and running away as soon as possible to preserve their lives.
The mercenaries who leaped down from the rooftops sealed off all the escape routes and engaged in a pincer attack with the mercenaries who were rushing over from the gates against the Northland Army soldiers that were sandwiched between them. Regardless of whether they kneeled down and begged for mercy or resisted, they were killed by the bloodthirsty mercenaries who regarded them as nothing more than small, mobile chests of gold coins for them to claim.
A few torches from the walls could be seen gradually being lit and the sounds of killing gradually subsided. The torches twirled multiple times in the air to signify that the gates have already been secured and that the enemy guards were completely eliminated.
Lorist looked at the twirling torches from afar and started counting in his mind; there were more than 100 guards on the walls. Including the 20 plus I personally killed, it would total up to around 150 people. The guards within the gate corridor that were killed also numbered more than 10, and more than 150 soldiers rushed at the mercenaries when they saw them approaching. Taking into account the three squads that later arrived as reinforcements, there should only be around 100 enemy soldiers remaining within the town out of the original 700 or so as well as the Gold ranked knight stationed here to protect the place. Weird, why hasn't he shown up yet? Did something go wrong?
"Reidy, let's go," Lorist said as he jumped lightly down from the second floor of a building and landed on the ground as lightly as a leaf.
Reidy, however, took a roundabout route and jumped onto a lower rooftop nearby as he was carrying two quivers of javelins on his back. He even got some blood and mud splattered onto him as he hit the ground.
Paulobins appeared out of nowhere, bringing over tens of war horses with him. He said on horseback, "Milord, I found a stable nearby..."
Lorist and Reidy picked one horse each and mounted them. Reidy also called for a few double metal armored guards to follow Lorist and him.
"Paulobins, send someone to give Waxima a message. Tell him to lead two squads of family soldiers to guard each of the town gates respectively. Also, have him bring some guards to regroup with me. You will be leading two squads of family soldiers to collect the weapons and spoils and switch out the training longbows of our men for the proper ones you find," Lorist said.
Knight Hennard could feel nothing but a severe headache after having consumed huge amounts of alcohol on that night.
During the tens of days he was at Wildnorth Town, he had experienced the time of his life. Never had he dreamed that in the rural corner of the Northlands, there would be a small paradise like Wildnorth Town. The citizens of the town were all rather wealthy with every one of their households having meat and wine, not to mention being fully-furnished. Aside from the gold and silver ware the soldiers pillaged from the houses, he even found some silk clothing that belonged to the citizens he massacred there: most poorer dominion lords didn't even have the opportunity to enjoy such luxuries.
They really are far too wealthy. Even that dogshit herbalist's family has a secret room that kept over three chests filled with imperial gold coins to the brim! Each of them had 50000 gold coins! Based on only that, my guess is that the four great families combined together have up to 200000 gold Fordes in currency only, and that doesn't include the gold and silver ware they have which number among the hundreds. Needless to say, their house decorations were worth quite a lot as well and the amount they have is enough to fill up three large rooms...
The Lord Duke really made a huge profit this time... That was what Hennard kept saying all the while he was at the town. Even so, he also got his share of the riches as well. Apart from Knight Chevany, who Knight Hennard thought was a stubborn old fool who refused to glean the slightest riches for himself, Hennard and the other Silver ranked knights intentionally recorded a slightly lesser amount of items and swiped them for themselves. The Gold ranked knight himself got around 30000 gold Fordes while each of the Silver ranked knights had around 10000. Those transactions were all kept secret from their leader Chevany, because they thought that he would definitely hand all the things they took to the duke as he believed that the duke would reward them for their efforts in the end.
Tch, everybody knows that the duke wouldn't give us much anyway. It would already be considered extremely generous for him if he gave us 1% of all the things we took. That was the main reason Hennard was willing to let the issue of swiping the wealth for themselves slide and also didn't force the soldiers to hand up the gold and valuables they took from the other households, so long as they also gave a part of their loot to the Silver ranked knights that led them. After all, things were better if they were shared and that would encourage the soldiers to better follow their orders after all.
It sometimes occurred to Knight Hennard that the Norton Family were a bunch of idiots. They think that everybody would fear their reputation as the Family of the Raging Bear just because they have a bear on their insignia? I really don't understand why they would allow their own subjects at Wildnorth Town to act so freely like this... Other dominion lords would levy a tax simply because their subjects used the leaves of the trees within the dominion as fuel, whereas the Nortons only asked for 10% of the harvest from the citizens of this town and didn't bother to tax their other income-generating practices like fishing, hunting and trading... This truly is quite appalling...
The ones who are dumber than the Nortons would be these folk at Wildnorth Town... Even though they have such a benevolent and generous dominion lord, not only did they not pledge their undying loyalty to him, they even drove him into a corner and refused to listen to the lord's orders. To think that they would rebel and conspire with another power just because of their over-ambitious plans of wanting to receive a noble title... To Hennard, while the Nortons were the enemies of the duke, the citizens of Wildnorth Town who betrayed their dominion lord were even more dastardly, causing him to be feel justified in killing them off without even batting an eye. He even believed that it was only right for a Gold ranked knight like him to punish traitorous citizens like that even if they were women and children and that it didn't go against the chivalric code at all.
After killing off all the men, elderly and infants of the town, all that remained of its folk were three types of women. The first category were girls aged from 10 to 15 which were extremely popular in the slave market. Some nobles with girl-raising fetish would spend a huge sum to purchase young girls like that so they can train them into their personal maidservants. The second category were for virgin women of age 15 to 20 which, needless to say, fetched a tremendously high price as well. The third category were the married young women and they were the favorite of the soldiers who would use them to release their pent up feelings and stress and were free for the soldiers to toy around with however they liked. Even if they caused one of them to die, they only had to pay a small penalty fee as those women didn't sell well on the slave market and the duke didn't want anything to do with things that won't bring him any significant profit.
After getting a huge haul from occupying Wildnorth Town, Knight Hennard and Knight Chevany got into an argument. Hennard believed that it was best to send the loot back to the duke to placate him for the moment and take their time to settle the Norton Family. However, Knight Chevany was dead against it and said that since the duke's orders were to eliminate the Norton Family specifically, the loot they got from the town was only a second priority and that the duke would only be satisfied if they were sent back after the Norton Family was defeated.
Since Knight Chevany was the main commander of the expedition, Knight Hennard could do naught but follow his instructions and let him lead 3000 troops to attack the Norton Family while he stayed behind at the town to enjoy himself without even bothering to take note of Chevany's battles. To him, if Chevany's attacks succeeded, he could claim half the credit for guarding the town. If it didn't, that might cause Chevany to retreat to Wildnorth Town and once again reconsider Hennard's advice to send the loot back to the duke before continuing on with the conquest. In the end, Hennard believed that the stubborn old Chevany would be rebuked by the duke for not sending all the riches back in the first place while he would be credited for securing the loot and making sure that they ended up in the duke's hands.
The day before, Knight Chevany went back to the town and told him about the unfruitful battles as well as the casualties they incurred from being ambushed. He also warned Hennard to raise the defences of the town. While Hennard appeared to agree on the surface, he didn't take any of Chevany's words to heart because he thought that the Nortons were already being really defensive and the 300 or so mercenaries they hired were not that fearsome in the first place. To him, as long as the Norton Family's men were carefully kept within their bastide, the mercenaries they hired to do the surprise attacks outside wouldn't be able to continue their ambushes for long. Without the mercenaries' support, how could the Nortons even cause any trouble? As for the construction site at Morgan Hills, it was even simpler to deal with: as long as they conquer Maplewoods Bastide, the men over there would naturally surrender and the duke's forces didn't even need to send a single man to attack it.
Hennard also thought that Chevany's plan to use the supply convoy to bait for the Norton Family's forces into attacking them was nothing but a joke. Even if you are going to ambush them, do you think that you'll be more familiar with the terrain than the mercenaries? If they discover your men when they are in hiding, then they simply just won't attack the supply convoy. That way, all your plans will be for naught. However, Hennard did not mind lending Chevany the 300 longbowmen as he believed that a few hundred mercenaries would never have the guts to attack Wildnorth Town.
Currently, Knight Hennard took residence in the most luxurious mansion within the town that he had heard belonged to the leader of the Mollin Family. It's so laughable... For commoners like them to even mimic nobles and form families of their own without even considering whether they're worthy of being called as such... Having slaughtered all the people within, Hennard occupied the mansion without hesitation. Given his status as a Gold ranked knight, he was allowed to bring his personal attendants and servants along with him into battle. That was why he didn't require any of the original servants within the mansion. Apart from that, he picked four great beauties from the younger women within the town to wait on him.
The eldest of the four beauties was a maidservant that one of the garrison squad leaders had purchased for a high price while the other three were descendants of the four great families. With the four women as his companions, Hennard spent his days in Wildnorth Town with ultimate bliss and joy. Just that night, he drunk himself into stupor and rolled around in bed with the four naked beauties.
All of a sudden, the door to his room was hammered onto urgently as a man called out loudly, "Sir... Sir! Wake up!"
Hennard snapped out of his drunken daze and curled his arms around the four women who were startled awake from the knocking while copping a feel in the meantime. Annoyed, he grumbled, "What are you doing screaming out loud like that? What's going on?"
The knocking finally stopped as the man outside said, "Sir! There's an enemy attack! They're already within the town!"
"What did you say?" The slightly hungover knight pushed the beauties away and got out of his bed. Without caring about the fact that he was nude, he opened the door and said, "Did you say that the enemy infiltrated the city?"
Looking at the grand mansion, Lorist thought, we're finally here at the spot where the last enemy is located. He knew that the house used to belong to the old fellow of the Mollin Family as Supervisor Kedan had personally told him about the it in detail. Thinking back, Lorist had wanted to send someone to infiltrate the town before. However, within a few short months, everything had changed so much. I'm willing to bet that the old Mollin fellow didn't expect that his own family would have this kind of ending.
The doors to the mansion opened and a metal-armored knight walked out with a group of other knights. The knight had a sword which radiated a golden blade glow while the other Silver ranked knights behind him held out their swords which emanated a silvery glow.
"I am Knight Hennard! Who dares to challenge me to a duel?"
Lorist dismounted and drew the longsword he had slung on his back as he walked forward.
"Milord..." Waxima said worriedly. Given that he didn't know about Lorist's battles in the past, he was really concerned as his lord was about to face off against a Gold ranked knight.
"Don't worry, milord will kill him like a chicken in no time," said Reidy as he stopped Waxima who was about to rush in and fight in Lorist's stead.
"That is the new family leader of the Norton Family," said one knight who had met Lorist once before when he accompanied Baron Camorra to Maplewoods Bastide.
"Oh..." mused Hennard as he started to look more energized. If he were able to take down the family leader of the Nortons, then he might have a chance at rectifying the whole fiasco which he had allowed to happen. Looking at the Norton Family soldiers that surrounded them, it was the only path he had left.
"Kill!" roared the Gold ranked knight as he waved his sword and sent three semilunar golden blades of light in Lorist's direction before he stepped forward speedily.
With a flick, a swipe and a flash of his sword, Lorist disintegrated the three light blades before he paid attention to the incoming knight and identifying the countless openings he had. Given his shoddy footwork, it seems that he is still under the influence of alcohol and is unable to grasp his center of gravity properly. Sigh, there's no honor in defeating an alcoholic like him...
Lorist casually dodged Knight Hennard's strike and planted his knee firm into the abdomen of the knight.
"Urk!" Hennard instantly collapsed onto his knees as he started vomiting nonstop without being able to catch his breath. With his sword cast aside and him wriggling on the ground as he vomited, the knight looked quite pathetic like a curled up shrimp.
"Tie him up," Lorist ordered, before he turned his gaze to the men who came with the knight.
With a loud clang, the knight who had met Lorist before dropped his sword and said bitterly, "I surrender..."