***Editorial Note*** this narrative story was originally posted in sections along with a detailed battle report. As the length of those reports got to be a bit excessive I opted to remove the narrative bitz and lump them into a separate post here along with some of the images.
The dust caked Louis' throat as the marched. The feet of the men and horses in front of him stirred the dry dust from the road surface, and the rest of the column quickly became coated with the fine powder.
...And still they marched.
The Marquis had gotten himself, and the Grand Armee, into a spot of trouble, somewhere off to the east. And now Louis and his comrades were tasked with bailing him out of his mess.
Rumors had trickled back through the villages about the viciousness of the fighting, along with a trickle of wounded and broken men. Occasionally a dispatch rider returned to the garrison with official news and orders from the Marquis himself...
It was just such a rider that brought the order that had set Louis' unit in motion along with the other companies of men from the Garrison of Rhenes. He and the other tired, dusty, men had been in motion, seemingly non-stop, for the past three days. They marched from sun up till nearly dark passing through tiny villages, rich pasture land and rolling hills. Their halberds and shields growing heavier with every step. Ahead, to the east, there was war, but here the late autumn sun shown on fields ripe for harvest.
As it grew dark each day le Sergent had found them a field or copse to collapse in. No fires were lit. Hard bread and a hunk of cheese were the only sustenance they had, though Louis had managed to procure a mug full of the fortified wine that one of Toby's boys carried in barrel on his back. Both food and beverage were wolfed down quickly before Louis fell into exhausted sleep, the aching of his blistered feet temporarily eased by the potent wine.
The next morning found them on the road again. They were approaching yet another small village, really just a cluster of a few buildings and their associated fields. Louis and his fellow halberdmen were in the middle of the column with a small cavalry unit and a unit of archers with their deadly bows to their front. Behind were the unit of spearmen, the Rouge Cerf (Red Deer or Bleeding Harts) and finally Toby's lads with their hunting bows and potent wine.