Florian the Fallen – Deserter Knight

US$6.00

A vanguard of the Duke’s Army that was initially sent to quell the outbreak. A thousand men were torn apart within an hour of arriving in Canos’ south side, leaving Florian and a handful of survivors who retreated to safety across the Favian River. Though they were welcomed with chains as deserters. Florian and his comrades were then forced into the next wave, with his hand chained to a banner, told that wave he would instil courage in his comrades this time, so they would not waiver, nor retreat again.

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Description

The full story

Florian the Fallen – Deserter Knight

Raised in Canos from a young lad, Florian’s father was one of the Duke’s retainers, instilling a martial life in Florian from a young age, where he learnt to use a sword years before he could learn to read or write. Though for Florian, the gift and love of reading kindled a fire within him that training and fighting had never done. He no longer wished to follow in his father’s footsteps as a warrior, but wished to write songs for the theatres of Breach Isle and study as a scholar and poet within Canos University. Florian’s family would not have it, and he was ridiculed for such suggestions, for he was still a sound fighter and his father would say he would be wasted singing songs for the commoners in taverns instead of keeping them in line with sword and shield.

Thus he was inducted into military service in the Duke’s retinue, though kept a journal on his side with dozens of poems and prose he had written during his service there. Often his days were uneventful, filled with training and sparring, for Draksborne had not been at war for centuries, and their last great battle was at Elen Estel over half a century ago. He had hoped his service would soon end, and he could pursue his dreams as a great writer when he was finally discharged, even if it were nigh a decade later than he wished.

Though that dream seemed to crumble in his mind when Dragonblight took hold of Canos’ southern side, the affliction turning much of the population into rabid monsters, with the Duke forced to raise his retinues and levies and send them into the plague-stricken streets to contain the illness and enforce Martial Law. Florian was a vanguard with sword and shield sent in at the front, though the first attack their forces faced was from the rear. The shouts of his commander were quickly quelled as plague beasts, monstrosities and afflicted citizens made a coordinated strike against the column of soldiers, tearing them limb from limb in bloody carnage. Florian and a few others in the vanguard fled as their comrades all around them were scattered, panicked and mercilessly slaughtered.

Those he fled with were able to fight their way through the southern districts and secure a small rowboat to make it back over the Favian River to safety. There they were greeted with chains, branded deserters and put on the front line of the next wave. Florian’s arm was chained to a towering banner bearing the sigil of Draksborne. He was told it would ensure he and his fellow deserters could not waiver again. Once more they were sent to their deaths, though Florian endured again, having a moment of prescience and awakening as they entered. Dragonblight had entered his body and awoke his mind, a voice within holding dominion over him and his actions, spelling a future of promise for him and his fellow Men. As the second wave was cut down, Florian was spared by the other afflicted, and became instead an elite knight marching to the beck and call of Bastian.

Though his mind was beginning to dwindle, the songs and poems of his journal still rang clear in his mind, and even across the river those holding quarantine at the broken bridges could hear the singing and prose of the mindbroken knight chained to the battered banner. Now he stands guard at the destroyed Bridge of Triumph, his burnt and battered banner ominously waving in the wind, as he stands across, staring at his comrades guarding the other side, filling them with dread as his unflinching body bends not to arrows nor to the flickering flames of pyromancers trying to drive him from his post. He has chosen his mark, and will not leave it for aught now.

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