He was 21 the first time he died. The ringing of steel on scale mail, screams of men and boys, arrows whistling in the air resonate throughout his memories as he replayed the battle over and over again in his mind while he slept, looking for advice from all the dead eyes he sees in his dreams on what he could have done better on the battlefield. No matter what he can correct though, they never come back and perhaps that is for the best.
They fought bravely, fearlessly and died an honorable death, like a true Dragonborn should. Every one of those soldiers will be cherished by their people and by Bahamut, the Platinum Dragon for their valiant exploits in battle.
The army, led by the young but fearless and honor bound Prothero, was advancing on the retreating enemy quickly through the wooded area. He could taste victory on his serpent-like tongue as night fell and he decided it was time for a break. The young warlord ordered his men to set up camp once they reached a suitable clearing in the forest.
Prothero could see his breath in the chilly night air as his men rested for the night and he constructed a shelter from heavily leafed branches that he tore from the trees surrounding them. Many sought comfort next to a blaze they created shortly after setting up camp before Prothero noticed it and issued a command for it to be extinguished. “Fires create light. We will be easily spotted and roasted on the same fire used to betray us. I do not feel like being dinner tonight. Do you? Put out the flame and you three patrol the area to search for any scouts. Be quick about it.” he ordered. “Garrosh, a moment, if you will?”
Garrosh was second in command, behind Prothero and his closest friend. They had risen through the ranks together and had both been considered to lead this expedition, along with a few others, but Garrosh had passed on the opportunity knowing Prothero was the better leader, much to Prothero’s surprise. He always thought them equal and capable Dragonborn. When news of his promotion to leader reached him, he sought for Garrosh to celebrate, but he was no where to be found. That still troubled him.
Garrosh entered Prothero’s shelter and went through the motions of the salute, even though Prothero had warned him not to when they first set out. The Dragonborn salute consisted of balling up your right hand, bringing your arm across your chest and giving a slight bow. This was mandatory when greeting anyone of a higher rank.
“You wished to see me, Prothero?” Garrosh said as he finished the salute. “Yes. Come, take a seat” Prothero responded, gesturing to the bare ground with a smile.
“I’ll stand, if it pleases you.”
“As you wish. I wanted your company before the battle on the morrow since we could not properly celebrate before setting out and may not get another chance after.”
“What requires celebrating, sir?”. The look Garrosh gave him was flirting with contempt but Prothero gave him the benefit of the doubt and ignored it.
“The chance to win back our honor, of course!” Prothero said, smiling broadly, revealing a row of jagged teeth.
“We have not won yet sir. Perhaps it might be premature to celebrate so.”
“Yes, you’re right. We shall celebrate on the morrow, after we are victorious! Go, get a good nights rest before we march. Tell the men we leave at sunrise.”
“As you command, my lord” he replied and bowed out of the temporary shelter.
A heavy fog hovered over the ground as the sun crept over the horizon, spilling sunlight across the recent darkness and into Prothero’s hovel. He had been up for hours, meticulously planning the battle that was sure to come today. He used a fallen branch from a nearby tree to draw his army, the enemy and how the battle will unfold into the dirt and then with a quick swipe of his hand, the slate was clean and ready for a new plan. Victory was achieved after every rendition and he could see no fault in any of his planning. He could hear his army stirring restlessly outside and knew it was their time for glory.
Rising from his seat with confidence, Prothero made his way out of the makeshift shelter to rally his men to battle. The sunlight embraced his muscular body, bolstering the scarlet in his scales and eyes to a new level, making them shine with a haunting beauty. The sudden warmth from the light washed over him and expelled all the remaining chills and worries he had for the day forthcoming. “Today is a glorious day to die in battle.” he said to himself, taking a deep breath and exhaling towards the heavens.
Lowering his head, he was proud to discover his fifty soldiers standing at attention, silent as ghosts in the fog, readily waiting for the order to march. Summoning the courage of Bahamut, Prothero began the speech he had been reciting before every drawn battle, hoping to inspire confidence and fervor into his men.
“Men! Our lands have been tainted. Our honor stolen by these vile creatures! They came into our homes, murdered our people and expect us to let them get away?! No! We chase them no more! Today, we win back our honor!!”
Three fiery cheers erupted from his people when the short speech was concluded and Prothero’s heart began to race as adrenaline coursed throughout his body. He gave the command and his men started to march in the last known direction of the enemy with great intensity.
Their march was cut short when a half dozen arrows sailed into their group from three different directions. Two infantry were struck in vital areas and they fell to the ground, remaining motionless. “Ambush!” Prothero bellowed out, searching frantically for the owners of the arrows but he could only see his men and the fog. Damn the fog!
A dozen more arrows whistled from the unknown, many connecting, and more men toppled over with stifled screams. They had to get cover but where? The arrows seemed to be coming from all around them. Prothero knew he had to do something and quick. He gave one more glance for any sign on which way to go but again found nothing. He decided to gamble and ordered the entire army to charge to the East.
The gamble had paid off. The only foes they encountered were 3 goblin archers. Prothero charged the nearest one, knocking it down and slamming his great ax down with great vigor. The metal tore through the light leather the creature wore and opened a deep gash across its chest. Crimson blood rushed towards the newly opened wound, soaking through the garb of the now lifeless minion.
Garrosh had charged another goblin a few feet away and defeated it with great efficiency. He was known as a great fighter but always seemed a bit on the wild side. This allowed him to strike with amazing accuracy and strength but caused him to lack discipline, as their previous meeting had shown.
With two of his goblin allies slain, the third turned to run into the forest but Prothero was faster and charged it down quickly, knocking this one down as well and causing its life force to seep into the earth with a thunderous attack.
Suddenly, five orc brutes emerged from the forest and surrounded him. He could not see them through the heavy fog before it was too late. Prothero inhaled deeply and used his dragon’s breath on three of the enemies. Electrically charged breath exited his mouth and struck one of the orcs, igniting small fires on his clothing and dealing lethal damage to him. The other two targets dodged it with deft reflex and used the moment to attack an opening in Prothero’s stance.
One of the orc’s sword clanged against Prothero’s scale armor but did not penetrate it as the other one charged him and struck successfully. The other orcs closed in on Prothero, weapons drawn, excited by the success of one of their comrades. Frantically searching for an ally of his own, Prothero rushed the nearest orc and knocked it over, swinging his great ax down and connecting with the enemy’s face. A sickening crunch was the only audible noise.
The remaining adversaries used this opportunity to attack Prothero with great precision, bringing him down to his knees. Blood escaped from his new wounds but he was determined to give them a glorious fight. He got up and shifted to his left, swinging hard at the foe to his left. Metal met leather as the orc gave a shriek and fell over dead.
Two more swings connected against Prothero and he gasped for breath while falling down. Only now could he hear the battle raging around him. The sound of steel colliding with metal, flesh and bone was louder than ever. The screaming seemed to go on for hours.
Darkness began to cloud his vision, relieving him of all his pain and a sudden peace washed over him. Prothero accepted this death and closed his eyes, drowning out the remaining noise.