Tiqual

The New Star 1.4

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The muster took place at noon the following day.

My father had his round shield, spear, sword, bow and his dagger. On his head was the steel helmet worn by my grandfather before him. He went around the houses in our triarchy of the village, knocking on the doors. With varying degrees of reluctance, the families came out, each with at least one man for the levy. Every household in our village owned a horse, and each man led his own. When everyone had assembled in the street, we all walked together to the plaza we had left the night before. There was only the slightest amount of conversation the whole way.

Torru was there, already upon his horse and dressed in full mail. With him were the men levied from his own household and those from Darro’s levy. Darro himself was conspicuous by his lack of armament; as a priest, he was barred from the levy. He wore his usual wobbly black crown and embroidered robes.

The levy from the other farm plot arrived shortly after our own, and the leaving ceremony got underway. Lord Torru took a horn and blew a long, high note upon it. My father looked at me and my mother.

“I’ll come home, I promise,” he said. He stooped down and hugged me, then kissed my mother. He mounted his horse gestured for the other men of our farm plot to do the same. The levies of the three triarchies of the village joined that of Lord Torru’s household, every man now mounted and lining up three abreast with Torru himself facing them from the front. They were thirty-three altogether.

Darro then walked up and down the line, blessing each man in turn whilst Torru spoke.

“Men of Plannasi,” he said. “In the name of Ferralo Annisenfal, King of Landisilo and Lord of Landisi, I make it known that I intend to levy you to the King’s army. If any person present knows of a lawful reason why any man selected for the levy should be exempted, speak now.”

There was a long pause. Silence.

“None have spoken against their levy. Do you swear to fight for your Lord and you King to the best of your ability?”

The levied men said in unison: “I do, Lord.” My mother took my hand and squeezed it. Lord Torru continued.

“Do you  swear to remain a part of this levy until you are released by your Lord?”

“I do, Lord,” said the levy.

“Do you swear to obey commands given to you by your Lord and your King?”

“I do, Lord!” cried the men, more forcefully.

“Do you swear to do all within your power to destroy any foe the King may name?”

“I do, Lord!” the men yelled at the top of their lungs.

“Then I, Torru Kerranda, Lord of Plannasi, levy every selected man to the King’s army. May every man do his duty.” Torru lifted his spear to the sky, turned his horse to face the Capital Road and levelled it at the horizon ahead. “March!” he cried and the men set off. The rest of the village clapped as they left, the sound mingling with the clatter of the horses’ hooves on the plaza. Two young women kept pace with the lead horses, scattering petals upon the ground before them. The applause kept going until the last man had left the plaza. The fighting men were gone.

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