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247 Pax

19th July 1574

"They are breaking!"

As informal as it was for a report, considering how those words came from one of the first army soldiers who already saw a fair bit of combat in the last few weeks of his life, I didn't dare to disregard them. 

And it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my own observation yielded exactly the same results!

With the lines of enemy troops long broken and mixed together, most of the invading army was stuck between the constantly firing line of fortifications on one side, while the distance at which they could remain constantly decreased with the muzzles of my reaper guns slowly reaching the limit of how low they could be lowered.

Deprived of any means of retaliation, enemy soldiers could only desperately climb to their hopes, either trying to escape through the hail of bullets that cut them off from the forest, only to be shot down by one of the more vengeful soldiers of mine in the rare case of someone actually managing to go past the curtain of bullets.

On the other hand, those closer to the marketplace fortification than the illusionary safety of the open fields continued their attempts at scaling the defences, only to be shot down like if they were some kind of wild wolves, by my men hidden behind their covers.

In the end, at such close distance, there was absolutely no advantage to my rifles over the muzzle-loaded one that my enemies were equipped with. In most of the skirmishes, only a handful of meters separated a soldier of mine from the warrior of Ostros. Yet even if the accuracy was already equalled at this point, the actual greatest advantage of my rifles came into the equation.

Their rate of fire.

While my soldiers were sitting down on the fortification behind covers while reloading once in a while, during the fighting, they didn't even need to properly aim, as just hovering their barrel towards the general direction of the enemy was just enough to pull the trigger all the way up to the base, allowing the gun to empty out its entire magazine, before said soldier would go and reload his rifle away.

Considering how all kinds of armies required sizeable storage of gunpowder to supply their troops, I wasn't all that worried about the consumption of the ammunition, that was quickly reaching the point where any further fighting would simply stop me from engaging in any other battle.

Yet when given such a great opportunity to sap the manpower and overall strength of my enemies, I couldn't just let go of it because of such a silly reason! In the end, the more enemies I killed right now, the easier it would be to recover Tarnow, resupply there and start the perilous journey to the east!

"PAX! PAX MEN!"

Due to some kind of miracle, despite all the fighting, shouting, crying and exploding that was going off across the entire line of fight, the voice of this man could be still heard both by me and by my soldiers standing behind their covers. While I couldn't confirm whether all of them heard it, seeing how my people were stopping their onslaught one by one as if worried about hitting that strange person who was witty enough to enter the battlefield in order to stop the fight.

"Hold your fire!"

Seeing how allowing the uncertainty to seep even deeper into the bones of my people, I simply realised that allowing this momentary break in this war was the best choice I had right now. If the Ostros troops were to continue their attack, my people would instantly see me as a compassionate man, willing to stop the carnage when the situation arose, while my enemies would take the mask of unemotional monsters, willing to invite more and more death into Commonwealth lands, just for the sake of achieving their convoluted aims!

Yet as much as I was worried about the potential specific abilities of my enemy after seeing to what point they were capable to push their people during our first fight, I could only admit that I was either mistaken or that strange force didn't work without its caster in the proximity, because just like my soldiers who stopped shooting, the enemy troops simply sat down on the ground, using their firing sticks not as weapons but as support for their tired bodies!

"Pax!"

Only now, after the battlefield calmed down a bit, I finally managed to find the position of that courageous man, who singlehandedly managed to stall the entire fight.

And to my surprise, it was damned Kalen, in most likely stolen robes of a monk, marching through the field littered by corpses with nothing but a huge cross in front of his head! For a moment there, I thought that my eyes were deceiving me, as I couldn't find any logical explanations to how he was capable of entering the battlefield while the curtain fire was still cutting away the huge group of enemy soldiers from the open fields that separated them from the forest, nor how his voice was capable of breaking through the insane noise of battle, yet seeing how he somehow managed to achieve whatever was his aim, I could only rest my back against the nearby wall before taking a few deep breaths to calm myself down.

"Invite the monk in… Or rather, call him to the gate."

As happy as I was to see him all healthy and alive, his appearance was important from a different reason. Keeping the last task that I gave to him, depending on what he would say, the entire course of my future actions would be affected!

Yet rather than keeping me waiting, Kalen most likely knew what kind of importance the news that he most likely was bringing would have for me, so by the time when I approached the small standing point above the gate, he was already waiting there for me.

"Mike… The news at the Bathory place was true. Muscovites really did attack!"

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