Sunset -- Montijo
Tonight was a night for feasting and merriment, the celebration of a victory hard won and gratefully achieved. Throughout the allied camp men swapped tales of heroism as they ate and drank and remembered their fallen comrades, and the small Dubhaine enclave was no different. For though Lady Brigdha was but freshly risen from the wound she suffered in the thick of the morning's melee, a melee in which two thirds of her men had fallen driving the An Najaf colours to the fore, still none could resist the infectious mood of Lady Rhidhana's Ironsides.
For two whole days of slaughter and mayhem the young noblewoman had lead her horsemen with the selfless heroism that had once been the mark of her house, and many a grizzled warrior remembered the name Dubhaine and the fell fury that accompanied it.
And so it was that even as the battered remnants of the An Najaf Yeomanry nursed their wounds, their spirits were buoyed by heady wine and even headier tales of how as Marshal Pothead had been cut down by one of Prime Minister Meristenzio's Praetorian Guard so it was that Lady Rhidhana spurred her horse into the thick press of men about him, laying about with her sword as the Ironsides carved a path through the Elven ranks, and with a fearsome cry cut down their standard bearer and lifted the colours from his dying hands.
Salute followed salute as the wine flowed freely and the plates were never emptied of the fine Sirion viands that were the victors' spoils, and as the wine flowed so the stories became ever taller and the toasts more outrageous.
"Here's to the Manticores, the finest army this world has ever seen!" Porthir swung his arm upwards in salute, slopping the heavy red wine liberally from his cup as he did so.
A hush fell across the camp and all eyes turned to old Yfain, that grizzled mountain of a man who in his youth could cleave both horse and rider with a single stroke of his axe. The grin which his face habitually wore had the hunger of a wolf in the glare of the fire-pit.
"It's right a man should be proud of those he fights alongside," he drained his cup in a single gulp and wiped the runoff from his braided beard with the back of his hand. The firelight caught the hints of copper still lurking amidst the grey and made them glint like flames.
He stood, a poor description for in truth his mountainous bulk lurched skyward like a finger upthrust against the very gods themselves, and lifting his axe above his head he let loose the most ferocious roar that any man in that company had ever heard a human larynx utter. The sound rumbled like thunder, stabbed like lightning, rolled like the earth quaking.
"Today you whelps may have earned your spurs, so I'll forgive your foolish boasting, but I was a Lion and I have seen battles that would make your blood run cold and your bladder run all the way back to your mother's skirts!"
"THE LIONS!!!" he roared out loud, and as one the company toasted the memory of that ancient band of brothers against whom no mortal force could prevail.