Red Sickle Massacre
The Red Sickle massacre has set the reputations of the Outriders as a mercenary group that is not to be trifled with, a reputation of uncompromising brutality. Whether or not that is an accurate description of the Outriders has been the subject of many a hushed conversation.
The events of the Red Sickle massacre have been discussed in taverns and around camp fires since that fateful day, some retellings are more exaggerated or laced with bias than others.
In the camps surrounding the captured town of Baerlon there was one group of mercenaries known as The Red Sickles. Shortly after they enlisted into Mardero’s army their village came under siege. They begged the forces of The Gate to turn back and help them defend their wives and children, but Mardero had more pressing concerns and their pleas were ignored. Consequently, the Red Sickles lost their village and their loved ones. As a result of this, they became angry, hopeless and bitter men, with nothing left to live for they spent their time in the encampments sowing seeds of rebellion and dissent. Mardero became aware of their insubordination and dispatched the newly formed Outriders to quell their revolt.
Hunter, Hawk and Toothpick made their way to the Red Sickle camp, keeping their thirty strong Outrider force at a small distance so as to avoid a threatening appearance. Hawk and Hunter were keen to discuss matters reasonably with the Red Sickles, avoiding bloodshed if possible. Toothpick however, as was often the case, was impatient for combat and keen to follow through on the task assigned to them by Mardero.
Upon arriving at the camp they were greeted with open hostility and despite Hawk and Hunter’s best efforts of friendly negotiations things did not transpire as they had wished. In the time that has followed this fateful day stories of the events have varied greatly as to what actually happened. There are some who believe the entire Outrider force swept down upon the camp without warning and there are others who more correctly believe that negotiations broke down and the Outriders opened fire on the Red Sickles. The truth of the matter, despite rumours to the contrary, is that perhaps believing that there were only three Outriders, as it appeared to be, the Red Sickles opened fire on the three commanding officers. A baluster was discharged and although the bolt narrowly missed all three of the men, it struck and killed Toothpick’s mount sending the Shael into what can only be described as, a blood rage.
From that point on everything descending into chaos and death. Toothpick tore blindly through the ranks of the Red Sickle forces, Hawk, having no clear idea as to the numbers they were facing, called in reinforcements. The waiting Outrider troops descending on the camp of woefully ill equipped mercenaries and decimated their ranks. Some of the Red Sickles, with nothing left to live for, fought until their last breath. Others, fearing for their lives, fled. Despite Hawk’s best efforts at reasoning with them, his words of diplomacy went unheeded and for his troubles he received a savage cross bow bolt to his eye, permanently blinding him. Hunter likewise wished to reason with the Red Sickle company but was equally, though not so brutally, assaulted. Of the commanding officers, Toothpick alone remained unscathed, drenched in the blood of the fallen Red Sickles he finally made his way to the leader of their mercenary cell, who lay on the ground near to Hunter. Finding him to be willing to fight to his last and with nothing else to live for, Toothpick granted him a quick and merciful death. Sparing him the torture and crucifixion reserved for those of the Red Sickles who survived this bloody rout.
As the cries of battle died down, the Outrider company were suddenly aware of the horror of the day. Their enemy had been tragically ill equipped, poorly trained and heavily outnumbered. It was a cruel blood bath, a massacre. The spirit of victory was a weak wraith that evening, as the bodies of the fallen Red Sickles were piled and burned and the surviving mercenaries were taken away to be brutally executed, their meagre possessions left behind only served to highlight the pitiful nature of this hapless company.
Even the Shael warriors, Toothpick and Dagor were bitterly disappointed with the worthlessness of their fallen foes. It was a shallow, bitter victory which will leave its mark on the reputation of The Outriders for many years to come.