The Earl of Oxford urged his men forward, wanting to settle the local force before the inevitable arrival of the Duke. The veteran mercenaries in the wood were doing their job though and company after company of archers were sent back to face them while the light horse were ordered forward to screen the knights from the arrows of the Federate light horse. Eventually the deployment was complete and the Earl signalled for a general advance but it had barely started when trumpets and loud cheers announced the arrival of Duke Bedwyr.
As the Federation lancers rode on and deployed, a young warrior, glittering in gold from his old fashioned winged helmet to his stirrups, rode forward from the ranks.
Muttering quiet curses to himself, the old Duke ordered his men and set them to foiling the enemy's plans. He sent the Herdsmen to circle the village and harass the enemy rear while the rest of Lancers and Light Horse kept the enemy cavalry busy.
Those infantry were making little headway though. A prolonged struggle at the barricades was bloody for both sides but the packed ranks of spearmen were not best suited for attacking over such broken ground under a shower of spears, throwing axes, rocks and whatever else came to hand.
To the south, the mercenary Goblins had finally dispersed the last of the Midlish rearguard and had advanced from the woods, adding their arrows to those of the Herdsmen who galloped past the enemy's flanks to trade shots with the Midlish bowmen.
Both armies were near exhaustion as the sun sank towards the horizon and the town was not yet taken. The Earl knew that more Federate forces would be marching through the night to meet them and even if his army captured the town as dark fell, he had lost too many men and too much time for the raid to go farther. It was time to pull back into the pass and either entrench and call up reinforcements, or head for home.
As the Midlish pulled back, the villagers spread out, bringing succour to the wounded. To the Duke's great relief, the rash young Prince, who had been his guest when word of the raid had come, was only wounded. He would live to ride again, hopefully at the head of his own people.