Two seasons. He’d been trapped in two for two. Damned. Seasons.
They had been productive. In addition to rallying the defense of Runeheim and executing the battle plans flawlessly, he had gruelingly drilled Sir Knut and his men. For months. For months they had drilled. This formation, that formation. The movement, that movement. How the enemy might attack differently. How to leverage terrain better. How to get into and out of kit faster. How to form up lines faster. How to dig ditches faster.
The Lord Marshal’s force hadn’t been green, but they’d been little more. Having avoided the bulk of the fighting, they’d grown fat on the barley and meat of Runeheim. And because of that, they were soft.
So they ran drills. And mock battles. And drills. And mock battles.
He trained the Lord Marshalls troops and the Templar forces. He taught the various commanders how best to leverage their own abilities. He taught the Council how the logistics of war operated. For months, for longer months than living memory, Sven stayed in one place. His battles became negotiations over drinks, politicking in dark corners, clandestine meetings and coded messages.
He made deals for horse. Deals for wars. Deals for archers. Deals for more. Was this a better use of his time than leading from the front? Who could say; certainly not him. What was certain was things were starting to happen now. One of the most prominent commanders of the Cold Hands had joined them, and would in time, fall under his command. Ingvar was ready for promotion. The Branded had unofficially demarked him as their leader. They had a single cause, and so much of the previous miasma of bad blood and foul thoughts seemed to have blown clear.
Things were making a turn for the better… which no doubt meant that something dark and evil was coming. Something unsavory. He could feel it in his bones. With Spring not yet done, he once again made war with a pen. He drafts letters to his Knight Commanders, Vindicta, the King, the Templars, everyone. They’d had a good season, nothing more. No lasting victories had been won. They needed to stay vigilant. They needed to stay thirsty. They needed to keep clamoring for aid and supplies and men. They had a toehold, finally, but little more.