To the South of Vergoldeten....
As the column of purple and black moved forward, the men of the Black Brigade of Prince Arnold's force sang their favorite marching song of late, the mingling of their voices rising on the air as the afternoon sun continued to ward off some of the season's chill. Their boots tramped a rhythm upon the roadway, while afar the handful of mounted scouts could be seen appearing and disappearing over the hills or into the woods, returning with reports and then vanishing again.
With Vergoldeten in distant view, the men of the Black Brigade wheeled efficiently into battle line each in turn, advancing to the beat of drums and the cries of their officers and NCOs. In the distance, they could hear the sounds of similar actions the other side of the hills they now advanced towards, and the first stray crackles of scattered fire as the scouts of Arnold met the scouts of Asgar, the thin screen driving off the enemy scouts to prevent their advance beyond the hill.
Meanwhile, to the west, Brigadier Wim Gronenborn of Asgar's force worked to get his own troops into battle line to face the expected engagement, and hurry them into motion towards the hill that had quickly become the decisive point of the field. The undulations of terrain and the eagerness of Shannon's Irish Guard on his right were beginning to separate his line out into a slight echelon, the leftmost battalion lagging behind.
Fortune was not with Asgar's forces this day, as the Black Brigade topped the rise in excellent order, disciplined troops opening up volley fire upon the still advancing troops of Asgar. With the 7th Musketeers on the left lagging slightly behind, the 8th in the center were to take the brunt of the opening volleys from both the Emerich and Potente Musketeers, while Shannon's Irish Guard traded volleys with the elite Schwarze Eber Fusiliers on the right. The advance was checked, and under the withering fire of two full battalions, the 8th stalled, wavered, and finally broke in disarray, leaving a gap in Gronenborn's lines that the 7th was proving still too sluggish to fill. There was hope at least on his right, as Shannon's regiment continued to hold their ground against the Schwarze Eber.
Elated with his initial success, Brigadier Färberböck of the Black Brigade pushed his musketeers forward, bringing the lagging 7th under threat at last. As Brigadier Gronenborn moved in to whip the 7th into action, Shannon's regiment shined as they executed a wheeling movement under fire, closing the gap with the 7th on their own and again engaging the Emerich Musketeers from their new position. This seemed to give the 7th strength, an opening volley from their guns giving the Potente Musketeers something to consider.
Meanwhile, the sound of heavy firing to the North forced the commander of Asgar's forces to consider his position, and the potential of finding further enemies approaching his resilient but weakened command. Discretion, it is said, is the better part of valor. With Shannon's regiment suffering mounting casualties and the Schwarze Eber Fusiliers shifting position to threaten their flank, Gronenborn assessed the situation and gave the order to withdraw, conceding the field to the Black Brigade. For his part, Färberböck was content to claim the field and shift his forces northwards towards the town, his scouts already alerting him to the even larger battle shaping up to the north....