A few hours previously, the troops of
Charles, prince of the Teks, had drawn up their
battle lines against the Oscar army led by the
Duke, who were fighting for King Greg. What was
at stake was the entire future of the Oscar
monarchy. Charles was the latest in the line of
claimants to that throne and had come and raised
his standard. He gathered together a large army
among the Tek clans and marched south to take
Oscar. The army marched as far south as Dragonis,
and indeed might well have taken over the
country had they not lost their nerve at the
last moment and retreated to what they
considered was the safety of the narrow mountain
But the delay was to cost them dearly.
King Greg and his supporters soon rounded up an
army of Osborn and Oscar regiments, and even a
number of Tek troops loyal to King Greg who did
not like the prospect of a young, erratic and
blood-thirsty fighter on the throne.
result was this battle. It was an unequal
contest right from the start. Despite the
lion-like courage of the Teks, the iron
discipline of the Oscars and their deadly
firepower wiped out row after row of the
charging Teks. Eventually, flesh and blood could
stand no more of the withering musket and cannon
fire from the Osborn and Oscar lines. The Teks
broke ranks and started to flee the battlefield.
The Duke gave the order to pursue the Teks and
give no quarter. The Oscar troops, angered at
the attempted takeover of their country needed
little inducement and chased the fleeing Teks
through the narrow mountain valley.
fleeing Teks was a small group from the Zubin
clan and their followers. Cross, the leader of
the clan was badly wounded, and was being
supported by the young Alex. Beside them as they
struggled along, half dragging the tall,
white-haired clan chieftain, was Alex's sister
Kris. Normally a pretty, red-headed Tek girl,
her face was smudged with dirt, her beautiful
red hair in a mess. She had followed her father
and brother in order to see the expected victory
of the Tek army. Instead, she had just arrived
in time to witness a disaster. Now all three
were fleeing desperately from the red-coated
They hurried up a winding, rocky
path, and turned a corner to confront two
Oscars, each with musket and bayonet at the
ready. Kris flung her arms around her father's
neck and pulled him to one side, as Alex drew
his long sword and leaped forward to do battle
with them. The first Oscar lunged forward, his
long steel bayonet stabbing towards the center
of the Tek's chest. Alex was too fast for him.
He jumped aside and with one glittering sweep,
his great sword swept upwards. The soldier,
slashed from thigh to ribcage, slowly collapsed
back into the heather as his companion aimed his
musket at the Tek. There was a puff of smoke and
a loud report. The musket ball missed Alex's red
hair by about an inch, and the Tek raised his
sword again and sprang forward yelling the Zubin
war-cry. The startled soldier dropped his musket
and with one glance ran back along the path.
When Alex started after him, Kris called to him
to stop. Alex paused while the soldier scurried
away over the hill. He turned back angrily. "Why
did you do that ?" he said.
here with father."
"But that soldier will be
bringing back reinforcements," said Alex.
we'd better get out of here quickly," said Kris.
Alex turned, looked down at the dead soldier at
their feet, and nodded. He turned back to this
father and helped him on his feet.