The Battle of Mallorey, also known as the Massacre of Mallorey by the Ostians, was part of the early campaign conducted by the Kingdom of Vesryn during the Ostian War of Independence. After a successful incursion as far as Bellmare and Summershore, Lord-Lieutenant Austyn Preston was sent on the orders of Lance Captain Adair níc Chollaigh to bring the southern hamlets and towns under Vesryne control. Taking a small detachment, Preston led his men southwards for two months, reaving and plundering from hamlets on his way to the major village of Mallorey. There he met with resistance in the form of the local militia, reinforced by the local army garrison under the command of Ostian Captain Trystan Birchwood.
After the battle was won, the Vesryne forces infamously hunted down the deserters and prisoners of war and executed them by drawing and quartering them across the village. Preston personally ordered the burning and pillaging of the town and its populace, and allowed very few civilians to leave, and even then only to bring gruesome tales back to the Ostians.
Months leading up to the battle
With supplies running low and a large army requiring countless amounts of supplies, on the first month of 1355, Lord-Lieutenant Austyn Preston of Redgrave was sent to the south to procure supplies for the army. After achieving initial success in his efforts, he was tasked with shoring up further supplies and support from the local loyalists and peasants for the war effort. Taking a squadron of griffon cavalry and an army of troops taken from the reserves, he rode his men through dangerous enemy territory with the ultimate goal of reaching Bourbette in the south.
However, due to dwindling supplies and a lack of winter clothing, the men were forced to make a detour, and plans were drawn up for the army to make their way to the village of Mallorey. Preston detached three groups of scouts from his main vanguard, and sent them to scout the villages and towns ahead of the army. Only two returned, leaving vital information to the Vesryne advance behind. These documents were retrieved by local huntsmen belonging to the hamlet of Windywithle, who instead of returning it back to the Vesryne invaders, made their way to the Mallorey garrison, informing the Captain Trystan Birchwood of an imminent attack.
This effectively drew the frontlines for the battle to come.
The Vesryne force crossed the Brandon river from northern Summershore into Windywithle on the third harvest of 1355 C.E. The advance was smooth and steady until later in the month, when an Ostian force attempted to bar their way. The Vesryne were camped around 3 miles south of the Brandon river, where they had crossed a day prior.
Shortly after dawn, a small number of Ostians appeared near the forests on the edge of the Vesryne camp, and a flight of the griffon cavalry under Flight Captain Clifton were sent to chase them down. While they gave chase to the enemies, the rest of the Ostian skirmishers appeared over the crest of the ridge and began pouring downwards towards the camp.
These men were the flank of a 300 man force. Prompted into a premature attack by the advance of Clifton, they took the Vesryne camp by surprise as they rose for battle. However, as soon as the lines met, the Ostians realised that the camp had been prepared for hasty defence, and archers on the riverbanks began raining longbow arrows down on the attackers. An army detachment and two squads of crossbowmen and Vesryne men-at-arms moved up to the hill, opening up across the advancing Ostians, who realised soon that they were taking heavy fire on both their flank and front of their force. They wavered and then withdrew back into the hills, returning to to hamlet of Windywithle. There they gathered the peasants and landowners and retreated even further to the village of Mallorey.
The day of the battle
The next day, Preston brought his army towards Mallorey. Facing a staunch garrison heavily entrenched on the far side of the Brandon river, and the villlage of Mallorey straddling the water there, Preston called for engineers from his army corps, and awarded them the task of constructing four large trebuchets. They spent a week cutting down the thick Ostian oaks, and constructed on the hill across the river four monstrous trebuchets. They were so large and domineering that the soldiers began to name them. By the time of the battle, they were called Elmar, Orwyn, Burne and Halton in that order.
On the day of the battle, Preston sent his men across the only bridge remaining across the river. They were met on the other side by fierce resistance as expected. Using large oak tower shields, they advanced more men across the river until a substantial force awaited on the other side. Then, when the Ostian regulars were tied down, Preston gave the order to send the griffon cavalry under Clifton against the Ostian flank, commanded by Captain Birchwood. They first routed the Ostian skirmishers before breaking into small detachments and smashing into various points of the militia line. This charge broke the Ostian rear and caused them to rout. Birchwood's camp, which had been left unguarded, fell to the charge. In the ensuing conflict, Flight Captain Clifton hunted down Captain Birchwood and fought him to the death in single combat. It is said that during the enemy retreat, the griffon cavalry were ordered to round them up and take them to the town.
The massacre of Mallorey
After the battle, Preston gave the order to draw and quarter any soldiers who had survived the battle, and to draft any civilians or militiamen who would prefer the choice. Countless other civilians were massacred and raped by the ensuing period of looting. It should be noted that the men of the griffon cavalry did not partake in the looting, instead returning to Bellmare. Flight Captain Clifton was awarded a large bounty for the slaying of Captain Trystan Birchwood. After the war, Lord-Lieutenant Austyn Preston was tried for his crimes by Queen Esther de Laurelay and found guilty. He was hanged at Hawkrun prison until death.