Previously on Game of Chops:
Elsewhere in the War of the Five Teams:
The forces of Queenstone blunder outside the Bloody Gate. Phillisport freezes in the snow against the Mountain Clans of the Rockies. The Guard of President’s Landing pays a heavy toll to cross Lord Jeter’s lands.
Four contenders remain within a battle and half of each other. As their rivals struggle, no team seizes the initiative to secure a lead. Will the war stay this close until its end?
Now Phillisport marches on Queenstone. For each battle, only one may win, and one must lose. Can the Knights of the Chop take advantage?
Having been routed by the forces of the Red Waste at the gates of the SunTrust Stronghold, the Knights of the Chop marched north. They marched in search of new purpose, and they marched in search of redemption.
They found only rain.
The constant downpours slowed the march to a crawl. Horses and wagons bogged in the muddy trails. Rivers overflowed, turning even the shallowest of fords into a treacherous endeavor. At night the water dripped through the tents. The men started fires to stay warm, but the sparks sputtered amidst the soggy logs.
Upon arriving at the banks of the Ohio, the army came to a halt. Though the river raged, Lord Hand Snit insisted that the Knights could cross safely. If they were to reach the shores of the Erie Eye where Clevelenhall stood in time, they needed to travel quickly. Ser Brian the Bold, Ser Julio, and Nick No One, among others, volunteered to brave the crossing.
The first Knights made their way across. But as the minutes passed, the current grew stronger. Many made it across safely, but the rush of water carried some knights downstream. Through the downpour, those that had crossed could not see what had become of the rest, so they marched onward, praying to Tiger that their brothers would rejoin them soon.
By the time the Knights arrived in the fields outside Clevelanhal, they learned they had were a day late for the battle. When the melee began, it was clear that the Knights were tired and outmanned. Some of the best fighters, including Ser Freddie and Ser Acuña, were still missing after the crossing. The loyalty of the Second Strings remained in question. Nevertheless, the Knights had no choice but to fight.
Always the veteran leader, Ser Julio took command. For four bouts he served well, but just like his prior battles, the fifth enemy charge was not so kind. The Clevelanhal soldiers began to anticipate the Mound Guardsman’s attacks, and before long, Ser Julio was forced to retreat as the Knights of the Chop lost control of the battle.
Ser Parsons of the Grapefruit Tourney took charge of the fight, but he failed to display the precision that earned him his knighthood. Unable to stop the Clevenhal charge, the enemy consolidated control.
Subtle attacks by Nick No One and a resurgent Ser Mac were not enough to overcome this deficit. The Knights lost their fourth battle in a row, and the more impressionable commonfolk wondered if they would ever win again.
Later that same evening, the Knights of the Chop regrouped to press their attack once more. Ser Acuña and Ser Freddie, along with much of the army, were still missing.
After earning the job while filling in for the unreliable Ser Newk, Ser Touki took charge for the Mounds Guard. Without some of his best fighters, the young knight was quickly overwhelmed. Before long, the Knights of the Chop were completely surrounded by the forces of Clevelanhal. The commonfolk watched in despair, knowing that the War of the Five Teams was all but lost.
Without the strength needed to fight their way out, the Knights simply bided their time. They patiently avoided attacks, and just tried to poke at the enemy to keep themselves in play. This enraged Ser Bauer, the commander of the Clevelanhal forces. He grew increasingly frustrated with each failed charge, and he soon tired. Unable to finish off the Knights, Ser Bauer was forced to retire and leave command to less disciplined mercenaries.
With their numbers depleted and time running out, the knights knew they wouldn’t last much longer.
But suddenly a horn sounded, and they heard the thunder of a cavalry charge. The lost heros had arrived at last! The Knight of Flowers, Ser Dans, Ser Freddie, and Ser Acuña raced across the field and plowed into the Clevelanhal ranks. Stunned by the assault, the Clevelenhal commanders were slow to respond. Shocked and scattered, their armies retreated back to the dark towers of the ruined castle.
After a string of costly defeats, the Knights were once again victorious. But there was no time for a respite as the enemy forces were already regrouping for a final defense.
The next night, the Knights of the Chop met the enemy forces outside the castle once more. At full strength and reinvigorated by victory, the Knights wasted no time.
The wildling warrior Josh Son of Donald rushed into the Clevelanhall ranks with abandon and cut a swathe through the Clevelanhal ranks. With enemy lines in disarray after multiple charges, the rest of the Knights followed the wildling into the breach. The enemy was no match for such a vicious onslaught, and the battle quickly appeared to be in hand.
Meanwhile, Ser Fried continued his stellar defense. Though early in the campaign, he has been one of the best defenders in the Thirty Kingdoms, and many whispered that he might claim the role of Lord Commander.
The Second Strings served with honor and fortitude, hoping to prove loyalty and regain trust.
As night fell over the gathered armies, the Knights of the Chop stood victorious among the debris of a successful confrontation. With the campaign temporarily saved after teetering on the brink of disaster against the Red Waste, the smallfolk breathe a collective sigh of relief.
With morale swelling after snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, the Knights march back south to the shores of the Ohio amid the deserts of the Red Mountains. Deep in the hills lives a mysterious house- an old house of First Men dating to the Dawn Age of the Thirty Kingdoms. Though once a prominent force, they have fallen on tougher times during more recent wars.
One Knight stands as tall as the legendary warriors of old: Ser Votto, the Sword of the Morning. Ser Votto has long been one of the finest knights of the Thirty Kingdoms, his prowess and honor respected by opponents and commonfolk alike.
The Knights’ Mounds Guard must be both deadly and precise, as Ser Votto is careful to pick his battles and strike only when he must.