The Army was in an absolutely miserable state. It was barely even an army anymore to be fair. The trip to the Blightlands took over a year in total. The army was ready to get there, but shortly after arriving, the army was attacked and slaughtered by the biggest mercenary force that Casmir had ever seen, and king Ateus was missing. He was cut off during the retreat and what was left of Casmir's band of original 150 was about 8 men, 4 horses, and a broken wagon that had long been abandoned.
The troops had been hiking for months, and troops were deserting every week. 3 months ago they had about 80 men. Of the ones who hadn't left or died, 2 of the remaining had trench foot and were starving, 1 was riding an exhausted horse and hadn't eaten in about three days, and the rest were praying for a miracle.
It was cool outside as a few drips of rain fell onto Casmir's shoulder-piece. It hadn't rained in weeks, and this would be the first bit of water in over a day. As the rain began to come down, the men slowed and stopped at a dip in the field and filled their damaged canteens with the fresh water. If the map was correct, the men were getting close to Bhathairk, almost a continent away from Molthal and the bandits that tried to slaughter them.
The horses huddled up as the knap-sacks they carried were unrolled and pieces of a large tent were pulled along with a few wet logs. The group was setting up camp on the edge of a prairie, on a long deserted trail, near some trees.
"Krol, Umieram z głodu. Please, let us hunt." The man was wearing barely rags with a fur cloak sat above the ripped tunic and warped steel of what was once functional armor. He held his dried hands together begging, his stomach audibly growling.
Casmir held his hand on his head, rubbing his temple. He and his sergeant were in the best shape. They were still filthy and unbathed, and yes they were starving, but their blades weren't completely dull and their armor, though dirty, was still in fair condition. "I know you are hungry, I myself forfeit my last bit of meat to Ricci," he glanced up, lightly blessing the name of his deceased friend. "We are near Deer territory. Do we have any rope left?"
The man pondered for a second, "I believe I have some strands in my horse's satchel. And I know Philip has a good strand in his."
The entrance to the tent lifted as another man in hussar armor stepped in, hair soaked and armor covered in water droplets. "Krol, the other tent is up and the rolls are prepared. It is flimsy, but it will hold for the night."
Casmir nodded and the turned to the man. "Get your blade, and grab the rope from Philip's bags, we are going to get some food." The man nodded as Casmir turned to the other who had just plead with him, "Aleksy, you will eat tonight, but you need to gather the others. Start a fire and collect some water."
"Of Course Krol, thank the gods for your mercy."
Casmir nodded at the man and then motioned for him to leave as he stood from his seat. He walked to a thin wooden crate that sat on the ground, laying on a pelt to keep it from the mud. Casmir opened approached it and reached down, twisting a key and popping open the trunk and pulling out a sword. He ran his finger along the side of the blade, clearing what appeared to be some dried blood from it. The blade was beaten to hell, but she still shined. Casmir slowly stood and sheathed the sword before exiting the tent.
As he stepped out into the rain, it pelted his face. There was a dim lantern glowing near the horses. As Casmir approached his horse, he quickly hopped up, swinging over his leg. He looked around and spotted the other hussar walking towards his horse.
"Julek, daj spokój!"
The man hurried, hoping upon his horse and rode off after Casmir into the darkness.
After about an hour the two returned with two does and cooked for the men, drinking and eating before falling asleep.
First thing the next day, the group gathered their two tents and began their march, reaching the city by mid day.
Casmir stood outside the gates, men behind him. This was it, this was the end of their long trail. As the gate lifted, the men marched through, horses on lead behind. The city was alive with the hustle and bustle of beings going about their daily routines. The men quickly made their way to the bathhouse, cleaned, and then dropped their horses at the stables. They would stay for a few days before gathering some coin and hopefully having enough money and food to hire some ment.