The Knight of Flowers
Loras rode his destrier back down the line for the fourth time. He was eager. His knights were impatient. He had left Renly's embrace early in the morning to ready himself for a battle, for his first battle. The vanguard was ready near five thousand knights and horses armed and armored and ready to crush this would-be-usurper like his father had crushed King Robert at Ashford. All they needed was the dawn, for when the sun rose the battle would begin.
Loras turned to ride for a fifth time this time he let his mount walk slowly as he watched the fleeting bits of mist twist in the predawn gloom. Soon I'll prove myself, soon men like Tarly will no longer look down on me simply for being born too late to fight in the rebellions. Shouting and cheering drew Loras' attention to the right flank where the Baratheon stag had just positioned itself. Underneath the great banner Loras saw Tarly, Emmon, Robar, Brienne, Lady Stark and best of all Renly. Loras smiled. Renly will watch me wipe out these traitors. Everyone will see my true mettle.
If Renly was at the right then dawn was not far away. His lover had always been a late sleeper. Loras tugged on the reins pulling his stallion around and rode to the center of the vanguard where his captains waited.
Still smiling he approached his captains. "My lords, the dawn approaches so let us be ready. At the sound of the trumpet let us be off to smash these rebels. For King Renly!"
"For King Renly!"
His captains had departed leaving Loras alone at the head of five thousand men, standing in a mist shrouded field. He stared east towards the enemy, towards the dawn, towards glory. His squire waited on him a trumpet at the ready. Loras shifted in his saddle, he suddenly needed to piss, to shit, to drink, to hold Renly one more time. Breath Loras breath you've trained for this for your whole life, you're ready and nothing will stop you. The sun peaked above the horizon, for a moment Loras could see the little trenches and palisades Stannis had built to protect his fishermen. Then the light blinded him.
Loras raised his lance, kicked back his spurs and let his destrier lunged forward. "Now! For King Renly!"
Obedient as ever his squire sounded the trumpet, the sound of which was quickly drowned by hundreds more instruments, thousands of shouts, and tens of thousands of hooves.
Now this this was what battle should be, the feel of a horse beneath you, a lance in your hand, and army at your back, and an enemy to kill.
"Renly! RENLY! KING RENLY!"
Now as he rode closer he saw it was not mist that covered the field below Storm's End, but rather it was smoke rising from the trenches and pits before Stannis' host. Loras turned in his saddle to face his van. "KILL THEM!" he cried, a shout that was quickly followed by the chivalry of the south.
The enemy responded as one. "OURS IS THE FURY! STANNIS KING!"
He turned again towards the enemy and saw that the plain which had seemed so wide only moments before was now almost all behind him. The hill upon which Stannis' army was arrayed stood before him. His quick eyes caught a shadow in the ground and, guided by instinct, he urged his stallion into jump and easily avoided the poorly hidden trench, though others behind him were not so lucky. Another trench and another and another and dozens of small pits meant to break the legs of a horse.
Along the slopes of the hill loomed lines of palisades near six feet tall and behind them hid the fishermen of the Narrow Sea armed with clubs and shortspears and tridents. Loras laughed as he rode, he was so close, soon the killing would begin. Suddenly several sections of palisade collapsed. Loras' eyes were drawn towards the nearest as he urged his stallion toward the gap. The fools can't even make a proper wall. As he rode closer he could now see that past the breach was some kind of long metal barrel and gathered behind it was a dozen men, some of them foreigners by their dress, and all save but one had covered their ears, and that last man held a gently smoking brand. That was all Loras saw before the world was consumed by fire and smoke and blood.
It suddenly dawned upon Loras that he was lying face first on the ground. Where's my horse? With great difficulty Loras struggled to his feet, he saw the head of his horse sitting a few feet away. He laughed it just looked so funny. He laughed so hard he started crying. His left arm felt queer. His sword he needed his sword how else was he supposed to fight? His sword was gone but there was half of one on the ground that would have to do. It took an eternity for Loras to take up the sword, an eternity punctuated by cracks of sound, the hiss of arrows, and gouts of flame. Something hit him. It hurt blood began to pour from a wound in his stomach. A maester he had to find a maester. There's a maester in the camp. I must go to the camp. Renly will laugh when he sees I've gotten blood and dirt on my armor.
So Loras turned and walked away from the battle, he walked through a field of the dead and the dying. Man and horse alike lay dead, their bodies ripped apart as if an army of giants had descended upon them. That thought made Loras start laughing again.
"An army of giants like from a tale of Garth Greenhand!"
Loras stumbled through the smoke laughing as he went. But then there was no more smoke. The shock of it made him fall. He wanted to stand but he suddenly felt so tired and the grass was so soft, surely it would be alright if he just slept for a few moments. He lay on the grass breathing slowly he chuckled again as red bubbles came out of his nose. Oh there was Renly wearing his green armor and that ridiculous helmet. Loras smiled at his lover, he tried to stand up again but he couldn't, his left arm wouldn't do anything. So he just looked at Renly, smiled. "I love you."
And then he closed his eyes.
Lord Renly made a magnificent sight to be sure, with his emerald armor, jet encrusted cloak of cloth-of-gold, and antlered helm. He was flanked by Sers Emmon the Yellow and Robar the Red, with Brienne the Blue riding behind holding his great banner, the crowned black stag of Baratheon on gold. Of his greatest lords only Randyll Tarly remained with Lord Renly, glowering over the dishonor he had suffered in not being passed over for command of the van in favor of Ser Loras the Knight of Flowers, the other lords had already left to their respective commands.
Renly mounted his war horse. "Lady Stark how kind of you to join us on this fine morn."
"You had not left me much choice," Catelyn paused. "My lord."
Renly frowned at that but made no comment. "Come my lords let us make haste for there is a battle to be fought this morn." He spurred onwards through the camp.
As Catelyn followed Renly in a winding path through the heart of the camp she saw some last few knights readying themselves, sharpening swords and axes, squires securing armor and saddling horses, all this done in the ruins of what must have been a truly terrible revel, empty barrels and casks, the remains of pork and venison, and pools of vomit. The sight of so much waste made bile rise in her throat. While the knights of summer feast my son storms the castles of the west, but these knights of summer will learn what true battle is soon enough.
Those knights who were late in their preparations bowed low as their king rode past, this seemed to spur them onwards as they redoubled their efforts to arms themselves and to join their brothers-in-arms outside the camp, on the wide field before Storm's End. Renly seemed willing to stop constantly to speak with these latecomers trading tall tales and jests with them before riding another dozen paces only to stop again. Catelyn saw Tarly begin tapping his saddle in impatience if possible his glowering deepened even further.
At long last Renly's wandering path led them out of the the camp following a small path, worn by countless thousands of men, along the reverse of a wide low hill. Renly then led them into an ascent to take up his position on the right of his host. The great host of the south waited on their king, and from here on the hill Catelyn could see almost the whole of the army of summer, she saw the golden tree of Rowan in the center, the black nightingales of Caron on the left, the green turtle of Estermont in the rear, and the golden rose of Tyrell in the van and almost everywhere else. It seemed for every stag there was a rose.
And then they waited for dawn was not yet here. The shuffling of men and horses seemed cold and awkward. A few times the men tried to start a song, but no matter how bawdy or ribald, the voices would soon wither and die. Catelyn shivered not from the cold but from anticipation, this was somehow worse than the Whispering Wood.
And then the sun rose. "Gods," swore Ser Wendel. Catelyn could not help but agree twenty thousand men armored and ahorse shining in the morning sun made for an awesome sight. Rank upon rank of steel plate and raised banners and men so many men. Their lances made a forest of half the plain. Against this Lord Stannis had rallied his men along a low ridge north of Storm's End with his back against the sea. It seemed he had made some manner of fortification, likely trenches and a small palisade, but the rising sun and a fog of smoke made it hard to see any details . Catelyn knew this was a strong position but it would not be enough. Stannis is outnumbered more than three to one, his paltry force of sellswords and levies cannot stand against these knights of summer. Renly will ride them down and kill his brother and then he will destroy the Lannisters and then he will come for Robb.
Horns blew and trumpets sounded, startling Catelyn out of her reverie, as the van led by Loras Tyrell let forth a mighty shout and surged forth across the plain, their hooves like thunder. Wendel Manderly, Hallis Mollen and the rest of her guard cried out in jealousy as did the rest of Renly's host. Do they truly wish to join in and start such a slaughter?
Renly laughed. "Look at them ride my lords! I feel almost sorry to hold you back from earning fresh glory."
"Not much glory in riding down fishermen your grace," said Emmon Cuy.
"Too true Ser Emmon, too true. Alas my brother is too poor to field a host worthy of your valor. I suppose we must make do with the dregs he has brought. No matter today Stannis, tomorrow Joffrey! All the pretenders will fall!" Renly's lords laughed alongside him, all save Lord Tarly who seemed oddly worried.
Catelyn turned from the jubilant Renly towards the glum warrior. "What so ails you my lord?"
Tarly frowned as he peered forward, shading his eyes trying to get a better look and Stannis' camp. "This is wrong, Stannis is no fool, he wouldn't fight unless he thought he could win. But I am not sure what his plan is," he snorted. "And the boy has neglected to maintain his formation."
Catelyn returned her view to the van, now half way across the field, what was once a tight mass of horse and men had spread out into several smaller clumps all racing towards the blinding sunlight and smothering smoke that shrouded Stannis' host.
Parmen Crane rode towards them. "Come now Tarly, it's not so bad as that men should be eager for a fight. Why I bet half the rebels have already fled or shit themselves." This roused another bout of mirth from the lordlings, save from Tarly only glowered more than ever.
Catelyn took that moment to ride further down the slope, away from the lords, she gazed towards the sunrise, towards men who were doomed to die. Was I always so melancholy? Or did losing Ned change me? The van was within bowshot of Stannis now. They look so small like one of Bran's toys.
A sound like thunder filled the air bringing with it a shocked silence from the knights of summer. Catelyn knew not what this sound had come from, but she knew where, it had come from the host of Stannis Baratheon. The sun was still too low on the horizon and the smoke to thick to let her see what was happening, but she could just make out a half-dozen bursts of flame appearing from the midst of Stannis' host.
"What in Seven Hells was that?" Asked some lordling amidst the murmuring behind her.
This wind blew the smoke inland hiding yet more of the battlefield and with it the entierty of the van. Barely a moment had passed when a second sound filled the air, just as loud as the first but somehow sharper and less deep. Seconds later more smoke shrouded the field thickening the clouds which hid the van from sight. There were fifteen thousand men watching the field and none made a sound as more cracks filled the air almost, but not quite, covering the screams of men and horses.
Something stirred in the smoke provoking a chorus of cries until they saw it was only a horse, a horse with no rider, a horse galloping away from the battle. Silence returned as the horse ran through the gap between the right and the center naught but fifty paces from where Catelyn waited. It was covered in blood.
A second blast of thunder came from the field and the smoke thickened. Now more shapes stirred in the smoke, a man with only one arm wielding a broken sword, a horse carrying a headless and armless stump in place of a knight, men who seemed uninjured but walked as if brained by a mace, and other men who ran or rode as if demons from the Seven Hells pursued them.
She looked towards where Renly had been only to see him riding forward into the smoke. Lord Tarly seemed to shake himself. "Dickon!" He called and his squire rode toward him. "Find Lord Estermont, tell him that his grace has commanded that he rally these cravens."
"Yes my lord."
But before Lord Tarly could do anymore another crash of thunder filled the air, and Catelyn saw something queer as if the gods had decided to take a quill and draw a line through the air. The line flew straight through the smoke, through the air, and into the center of the host where it sent men, horses, steel, earth, blood, and bone flying through the air.
Men and horses alike began to scream, some men turned to flee, while others, Renly among them, began a screaming charge. A dozen more lines crossed the sky sending fountain of gore into the sky like crimson offerings to a cruel god.
Tarly had ridden up beside her. "Gods be dam-"
If Randyll Tarly ever finished his curse Catelyn never heard it. Her eyes were somehow filled by both darkness and light, while sound louder than anything she had ever heard filled her ears, and she was idly aware that she was falling. No. That she had fallen. Her wrist hurt. Her eyes hurt. Her ears hurt. Why does it hurt? Who am I asking? As her vision cleared she saw Randyll he was bleeding, she tore her gown for a bandage, ignoring the pain in her wrist, ignoring her tears. When did I start crying? She tried to stand, but her legs wouldn't work right, so she crawled towards the southron lord, and tried to staunch the bleeding.
"Too much blood," Catelyn tore more of her gown. "Too much blood." Randyll was sobbing so She rubbed his head trying to calm him, "Too much blood. Everything will be alright. I'm here. Too much blood."
"Too much blood."
"Too much blood."
Then a massive blast of sound like nothing she had ever heard threw her to the ground. Catelyn laid on her back watching smoke and earth rise high into the sky and then the earth began to fall.
Someone was shouting at her. "M'lady! M'lady!"
"Ned?" Was Ned here? Here to take her back home, back to Winterfell, back to their babes. But no it was Hallis Mollen. He was shaking her. Randyll wasn't sobbing, she was. Randyll was dead. His waist ended in a mass of blood and gore. Bile rose in her throat and came out covering herself and poor Hallis.
"M'lady we must go!"
Catelyn stared at the northern warrior. Her face hurt, Hallis had slapped her she remembered. She closed her eyes and mustered all her strength and nodded. She tried to stand but she collapsed, so instead Hallis picked her up and carried her back down the hill towards the camp. Ser Wendel waited for them with horses, Hallis tried to put her in a saddle but she fell again. Hallis cursed and mounted with the aid of another Catelyn sitting before him like a child.
As Hallis spurred his horse away from the battle Catelyn immediately started to slide off.
Hallis grabbed her and shoved her. "Grip it! Squeeze with your legs!'
Catelyn felt a chill come over her. "I. I can't. Oh gods I can't." She shuddered tears sliding down her cheeks. "I can't feel my legs."
Davos had, by the command of King Stannis, taken command of a company of dragonmen on the left of the host. The dragonmen were all lowborn like Davos himself was once, drawn from the farmers and fisherfolk of Dragonstone and the other isles of the Narrow Sea. They had all been trained in the use of the new weapons that the foreigners had brought with them and later sold to King Stannis.
It had not taken long for a the foreigners to teach the smiths of Dragonstone to make more of these weapons when for whatever reason most of them had declined to return home with their comrades. The weapons were strange things like an odd mix between a club and a crossbow what they were called in the twisting tongue of the foreigners he knew not but the men, and Davos himself for that matter, called them and their larger crueler kin dragons. Fear not my lords, the king had said, like Aegon before me dragons shall win me my kingdom. Those words Stannis had oft said in one form or another ever since they had sailed from Dragonstone to lay siege to Storm's End. I worry his grace means to convince himself of that as much as he means to assure our confidence.
Hunkered down behind the palisade and smothered by smoke rising from the smoke bombs, which lined the trenches and filled the pits working hard to hide King Stannis' smaller army from the rebels, Davos could only see a few dozen yards in either direction. Too his left were rank upon rank of dragonmen, and behind them levies armed motley mix of spears and axes and bows and crossbows, and in reserve the household knights of Celtigar, Velaryon, Bar Emmon, Massey, and Baratheon. But to his right lay the great behemoth of the dragon called Balerion which like it's namesake it was of monstrous size. Crewed by a squad led by a foreigner Balerion would be lucky to manage a shot a minute but it would fire a ball of iron the size of a mans head or else be loaded with enough scrap iron and nails to build a ship.
The men beside Davos had trained for long months to be able to shoot twice or thrice a minute, slow very slow compared to the archers who stood higher on the hill or even the Myrish crossbowmen on the right, but when each shot would go through chain or plate like it was a wool shirt it didn't matter. Almost worse than the shear power wielded by the dragons was the noise and the fire, combined this had been enough to grant them their nickname, and like their namesakes the sound and fire was often enough to send men and horses running, particularly if they'd never encountered dragons before. Just like the men who had taken the field opposite of Davos. But they were so many, at least twenty thousand if they were a dozen. Long odds for the six thousand men his king had brought.
Davos heard the sound of prayers from down the line. He turned and saw Septons Merrik and Cerrik, twins from Claw Isle, walked the lines offering their blessings to those who kept the Seven, but in their wake like a red shadow lurked the lady Melisandre, she offered similar prayers for those converts she had won amongst the men of Dragonstone, men like his son Mathos. Davos thanked the gods that even though the king gave her permission to burn her nightfires and sing her prayers and preach her faith and that even after Queen Selyse had converted, that Stannis had not been swayed from the Seven. Before he had set sail Maester Cressen had confided in Davos that he had planned to poison the red woman if she had succeeded in converting the king. Davos had been shocked by the duplicity of the old maester, but he could not condemn him. The mere presence of the red woman set Davos' teeth on edge. As Davos watched she turned to look at Davos seeming to have sensed his staring. He quickly turned away looking back across the field.
The smoke seemed to grow more solid as the light grew behind him. The enemy seemed to grow eager Davos heard bits and pieces of song flutter over the field and when the sun rose it was greeted by cheering and trumpets and the endless pounding of thousands of hooves. The rebels came quickly not quite a gallop, they would save that for the final stretch, but still too quickly for Davos. The thundering hooves and trumpets and shouts grew louder and louder. Davos heard them start a chant.
And as one the host of Dragonstone shouted back. "OURS IS THE FURY! STANNIS KING!"
Davos saw one knight at the front, his armor bedecked in sapphires and silver, jump across the first of the covered trenches. Some of the others followed his lead but more were unprepared and Davos watched as forelegs snapped and tripped making horses scream and send riders into the grass to be trampled by their comrades. Then they met the second trench and the third and then the hundreds of smoke spewing pits.
Despite the traps the great wave of shining steel pressed on, now met by arrows and quarrels from archers and crossbowmen, causing yet more men and horses to scream their last breaths, but the charge continued. Still leading the horde was the knight is sapphire and silver, who Davos now recognized from the many many tourneys of King's Landing as Ser Loras himself. Loras passed by a banner stuck in the earth, Davos turned to his men. "First rank ready dragons!"
With practiced hands the soldiers lifted the hand-dragons to the arrow slits while bracing the long barrels in against their shoulders. Davos had used the weapon once and it had bruised his shoulder for nearly a week. It would be even worse for these men not only would they fire dozens of times in the battle but they had loaded three of the small lead balls instead of the usual one. Davos did not have to wait long for the long loud blast of a horn. "FIRE!"
Dragon and hand-dragon together belched death at the rebels the deafening thunder of Balerion and her siblings roars drowned out the hand-dragons comparatively smaller cracks. For a few moments Davos stood stunned, though he was not alone in that reaction near every man in the host was still. Tis one thing to hear a few dozen or even a hundred crack at once but for a dozen dragons and near half-a-thousand hand-dragons at once? What horrors has Stannis unleashed?
Davos shook himself as the smoke began to drift away, blown farther inland by the morning breeze. "Come lads there is yet more work to be done. First rank back, second rank ready dragons." The first rank pulled back to reload, dutifully pulling out ball and wadding and powderhorn to begin the slow process. The second rank advanced in place of the first again waiting for the command. Davos could already hear other companies up and down the line beginning to let loose more death but Davos waited a moment. "Mother have mercy on you and may the Father judge you justly. Fire."
The second rank unleashed a volley and, at Davos' command retreated allowing the third rank to advance. The third rank unleashed a volley. Then the fourth. Then the first, having finished the painfully slow business of reloading, fired a second time. Davos wasn't sure if he could really hear the screams or if they were only his mind playing tricks, but he was certain that they were there nonetheless.
The dragons roared again sending great cones of scrap metal and nails through the rebels, that was the signal. "Stop! Stop shooting!" Davos yelled. "All ranks reload and return to formation."
With a sigh Davos faced the smoke smothered battlefield. As the ringing in his ears faded he began to hear the faint sound of footsteps. A shape appeared in the smoke, a shape that soon resolved itself into that of a man. The man, a wealthy one going by the rubies in his helm, staggered forward shaking all the while. He held out his empty hands. "Mercy," he cried. "Mercy."
"Aemon," Davos called to one of his sergeants. "Have two men take him to the rear."
"Yes Ser," intoned the massive silver haired dragonseed in his typical monotone.
As the smoke cleared, blown farther inland by the morning breeze, more and more of the carnage was revealed. This was not a battle it was a massacre.
In some places the rebels had nearly reached the palisades only to be ripped apart by the triple-shoted hand-dragons wielded by the men of Dragonstone. The numbers of the dead were staggering, hundreds at least perhaps over a thousand, lay broken and bleeding on the field. Some of them had fallen to wounds that were deceptively small others had lost heads, arms, and legs or else were missing whole chunks out of their torsos almost as if some massive shark had taken a great bite. Or a dragon.
"Aemon, take a dozen men and find any men who are still alive down there take them to the maester. Or if need be grant them a quick death."
Aemon lumbered down the slope gripping his own hand-dragon, a different sort than what the common soldiery used, rather than a long thin tube to be loaded with a single ball Aemon used a shorter blunter weapon with a cone shaped tube that shot a dozen small balls with tremendous power. Davos had heard the men calling them thunder-dragons due to the loud boom they made instead of a sharp crack.
Another minute passed as the dragons were reloaded and fired sending another gout of smoke and death towards the enemy. On the very edge of hearing Davos could detect more screams rising from the foe. Only a few seconds had passed before Aemon ran out of the smoke his squad following him.
"The enemy have returned?" Davos asked.
The sergeant returned to Davos' side. "Yes Ser."
And then Davos began to feel an all too familiar tremble in the earth as another wave of horses and men and steel began to charge. This time Davos couldn't see the signal banner or the effect of the trenches or even where the enemy was.
"Not that it matters," he muttered. "So many of them you couldn't miss if you tried."
Davos squinted into the smoke trying to judge if the time was right."Damn it all, first rank ready dragons."
As before a quarter of the company readied their weapons, and themselves, behind the palisade.
"Fire." As before smoke and fire and lead was released and a second later a screaming horse plunged out of the smoke sending a bleeding rider head first into the ground. He didn't move after that.
The second rank replaced the first and fired again into the smoke. Now there were clear shapes moving in the smoke, men, and even horses, so maddened by death and horror that fear had loosed its grip over them. A few managed to reach the palisade trying to cut or smash their way through or climb over it. They were shot down by either the myrish crossbowmen, Davos own dragonmen, or else cut to pieces by the household knights led by Ser Rolland Storm who were now moving to the front. Davos lent his poleaxe to the fray chopping and stabbing at any hand or arm or leg or head that reached past the wood.
What had once been ordered ranks firing became chaos as each dragonman loaded and shot as fast as he could, those who tried to move to far up the slope who brutally beaten back into line by screaming sergeants. Save for Aemon he had no need to scream only to scowl and point with his thunder-dragon.
Davos found himself fighting shoulder to shoulder with Justin Massey, the smiling knight had commanded a company of dragonmen down the line from Davos.
He grinned at Davos. "I thought I'd join you Ser Onion. I can't let you earn all the glory."
"You didn't know? Here the fight is fiercest! Haha!" With that Massey stabbed his sword through the visor of a man whose surcoat bore a red hunstman, blood spurted covering the face of the laughing knight.
"Fiercest? Mother have mercy."
Almost as if the gods had decided to punish Davos for daring to bring their attention to this hell, a section of palisade gave way to a dying horse. The poor beasts rider, a knight in blue armor, leapt and landed with the skill only a lifetime of training could accomplish. A dragonman shot him in the head. Still his bravery let his brothers in arms carry through the breach hacking and cutting and smashing and stabbing with axe and sword and mace and lance. Some ahorse some afoot but it mattered not as the sheer weight of them pushed the defenders back. Davos found himself fighting for his life as a sword armed knight with a tree on his surcoat came for him screaming of a hate beyond words. Massey saved Davos' life a single elegant thrust under the mad knights arm piercing his heart.
And then he saw him, still astride his destrier, his emerald armour untouched by arrow or ball, his great cloak like a wave of gold, and his antlers shining in the morning light. Renly. he looked like the Warrior himself come to slay any who would challenge him. Davos could almost feel the host of Dragonstone flinch back against Renly's magnificence.
Renly raised his sword his stallion reared in triumph and then his breastplate disappeared in a shower of blood. Smoke and fire and thunder had killed the false king. For a moment there was silence as all men stood shocked, all men save for Aemon who calmly began to reload his dragon.
It was at that moment when silence filled the field that King Stannis revealed his final trap. Although Dragonstone was not so famed for its mines as Casterly Rock mines it had all the same, mines that brought iron and coal and brimstone and dragonglass from the sometimes still molten depths of the Dragonmount. Miners had come with the host at Stannis' command and at his command had dug tunnels and chambers, not under the walls of Storm's End like most sieges would have but instead under the fields around the great fortress instead. Under the fields which were now covered with Renly's host. The tunnels and chambers had not been left empty either they had been filled with barrels of black powder. And now they had been lit aflame.
The explosion was beyond words like all the dragons who had ever live or had ever been forged had all decided to roar at once. Earth and rocks and men were sent hundreds of feet in the air only to fall back upon the ground crushing men beneath. It was too much. Where there had once been a screaming horde of killers was now a mob of terrified men. Some fell to their knees, in prayer or surrender or mayhaps simply too shocked to stand, Davos couldn't tell. Some simply ran away. Some began to shout their loyalty to Stannis. Others decided actions were louder than words and began to cut down their former companions. In the end it didn't matter what they did for the battle was won. Stannis had won.