“Gather around me, warriors!” Nishan shouted to the heights of heaven. “Gather around your general and heed my words!”'Gather around me', 'gather around your general' is essentially repetition. The addition of the word general isn't really required.
I would consider something simpler such as:'Gather around (closer?) my warriors and heed my words' Nishan shouted from his vantage point,
On the fertile banks of the Seventh River, hundreds of men and women heeded his call.I am really not sure about the imagery you are creating here. I have been in a hangar with less than a hundred people and it is hard to hear one person making a speech. In the open standing high on a hill I struggle to see how Nishan could make his voice heard to hundreds.
Each performed an about-face to watch the commander’s addressal.It is also hard to imagine that every person in a group of people numbering in the hundreds is facing the same way.
Adressal is the wrong word.
You listen to rather than watch a speech.
Nishan rooted himself on a great hill overlooking his arrayed armies.This is one of things I would normally ignore as too difficult for me to explain, but 'rooted' isn't used like this.
A midday sun cast his forces out in the verdant fields beyond the Seventh in a shimmering haze.It might just be me, but this sentence doesn't make sense.
The Scarred Child bellowed into the gust. “Listen with intent!This is the wrong use of the word 'intent'
A warrior always knows his enemy! A warrior always understands himself! A lesson taught to each of us from early childhood! An army that does not understand itself is not an army at all! It is a herd of sheep, doomed to slaughter!I think you should remove this. A warriors purpose in life is to kill what they are told to. There is no need for the peusdo psychology.
“Do you know yourselves!? For who are we if not the Children of Carth!? Are we not all sons and daughters of the greatest civilization to grace the continent of Khios!? Are we not all brothers and sisters born into a shared manifest destiny!? Has our ancestors' blood not fed these heartlands for centuries?I feel like this speech could be shorter as overall this part doesn't seem to add much.
“Do you know your enemy!?” Nishan cried out in askance.As mentioned before this is the wrong use of the word 'askance'.
“Scarred Child.” A member of Nishan’s command retinue approached from behind.Another thing I would usually ignore as too difficult to explain, but I think you should drop use of Nishan's nickname. With his name being so short I can't imagine anyone wanting to use a longer version. If he were called scarface, or cyclops I could see why, but Scarred Child is a bit of a mouthful
“Shall we answer these fools with Carth’s wrath?”This question seems more than a bit redundant considering the rousing speech and the fact they are stood on a battlefield.
Gaze across the field and watch them stand against you!”
Telling his troops to look across the battlefield and watch their enemy is a bit 'flat', or anticlimatic I feel. Also I feel that telling his troops to watch gives a sense that Nishan and his troops are somehow separate from the action.
Something like: 'Look across the battlefield and see how they dare to challenge you.'
might work if you keep the speech at this length.
The general gazed across the fields and spotted hundreds of crimson and gold standards billowing in the wind.
The use of the word 'spotted' lends an accidental vibe to this sentence. That is, it comes across as Nishan is surprised to see the opposing army standing in front of him.
The standards were scattered across the forces of the Children of the Sun - thousands strong.
I don't think you need two sentences that refer to the banners. Having said that their are hundreds of banners I would take it for granted that they weren't huddled together.
He noted the gargantuan city on the horizon, positioned safely behind his enemies.
I am not sure about this sentence to be honest and normally I would just ignore it. A city is stationary, but saying that it is positioned safely behind his enemies gives the impression that it has a choice. Also as Nishan is just about to attack it seems odd for him to be thinking that the city is safe. The enemy are stood in front of the city would suffice.
Nishan continued. “For too long, have the Children of the Sun been allowed to prosper within Carth’s lands! Once, we would have called them brothers! They were steadfast against the barbarian hordes… they were resolute against kingdoms both rival and upstart!"
You have made the Children sound very helpful here, so it becomes less clear why they are being attacked.
The sound swelled in volume until it became a deafening barrage of noise
“But what does any of that matter, when loyalty begins to waver!?
A deafening barrage of noise that Nishan could be heard over!
Should we honor those who would show their backs to their betters!?
I am not sure about this sentence. Showing your back to your betters is not an expression that means anything to me. It comes across as if you have misused the phrase 'turn your back on'.
“Sound the horns!” Nishan commanded. “Take to the field! Seize victory from Tu'shik's ruin!"
“Scarred Child.” A member of Nishan’s command retinue approached from behind. “Shall we answer these fools with Carth’s wrath?”
Just to clarify why I think the Carth’s wrath question is redundant.
He understood that there would be no turning back. He understood that every warrior under his command knew this too.
Another sentence I am not too sure about as it isn't really clear to me what you are trying to portray. I don't understand why Nishan would be considering turning back.
I think what you are saying is: Nishan knew his order meant the death of many of his men and maybe himself.
“Warriors of Carth know themselves and their foes, and these so-called Children of the Sun are no kindred!
Previously Nishan was asking if they knew themselves, now he is saying they do. This makes the speech a bit circuitous and somewhat repetitive.
Nishan lifted his helmet off his shoulders and allowed his unkempt raven hair to breathe a little.
Why has Nishan removed his helmet just as he has commanded his army to take to the field? It gives the impression that Nishan is relaxing rather than preparing to fight.
He craned his head to look his lieutenant in the eye. To his credit, the subordinate officer did not flinch from Nishan’s grisly and scarred visage. Nor did he look his commander in the left eye, shut by a permanent scar.
I am not sure about this as it causes me to think too much. Is this the first time that Nishan has met the lieutenant? Nish is called the Scarred Child, so how much of a surprise is it that he is scarred?
“You might as well, Yervant.” Nishan cackled at his subordinate,
This might just be me, but I don't like the use of the word 'cackle' here. Cackle refers to a shrill laugh, or a noise similar to that of a hen laying an egg.
who bowed apologetically after glimpsing his face. “Enough bowing, boy, you’re a member of the Scarred Child’s retinue. You bow only before the senate and the standard of Carth.
This is a strange reaction and I find the issue you have created concerning Nishan’s scars to be 'odd'. Are people not meant to look at Nishan? Does everyone bow if they accidentally look at him?
Teach these zealous fanatics a lesson in humility instead!
Why do they need to be shown how to be humble? What is that they have done to indicate they are arrogant?
“They shall learn that their Solar God shall break as any other weakling deity before the barrage of our cannons!”
Something like:'They shall learn that not even their God can save them from our onslaught.' might be simpler and easier to understand.
For their God to break under the barrage it would have to be there.
A weakling deity is unnecessarily descriptive and slightly confusing. By adding the word weakling you have diluted what you were trying to imply. That is, you are implying that the cannons are only good enough against weak things. Do God's have a physical presence in your universe?
Yervant erected himself and slammed his chest with a mailed fist.
This is not how 'erected' is used. Erect means to lift up, or set upright. 'We erected a flagpole'
“Your command is my oath!”
Your wish is is my command is a well known and understood phrase. I am not so sure your version is as easy to understand. An oath is just a promise or a statement. 'I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth...' for example. I am not sure that a command can/should be turned into a promise.
He turned to the signal bearers on the river bank. In one hand alone, he lifted Carth’s standard for them to see.
In one hand alone is unnecessarily descriptive as 'one hand' already describes something singular. I get the impression that you are trying to say that Yervant is strong, but that message doesn't come across clearly enough if that is the case.
Several minutes after the signal bearers executed their duties, a blistering volley erupted from the fifty bombards arrayed across the fleet’s port side.
I am not sure about your use of the term 'bombards'. You have been calling them cannons up until now, so I don't see a good reason to change to such an archaic term.
Nishan turned his gaze toward the fleet of Cogs anchored on the Seventh’s vast waters. Several minutes after the signal bearers executed their duties, a blistering volley erupted from the fifty bombards arrayed across the fleet’s port side.
This might just be me overthinking things, but I think you have let your knowledge of modern warfare seep into your writing.
A cog is a particular type of ship that was popular until the 14th century. Cannons firing from the broadside of a ship didn't become popular until the 16th century. Whilst a mortar (bombard) could be used they fired forward rather than broadside and wouldn't be used on a single masted cog.
The whistle of cannon shells hurtling overhead quickly dissipated out of earshot.
Again this might just be me overthinking things, but the first naval cannon capable of firing explosive shells didn't appear until the 19th century. Also I think this could be another example of modern thinking creeping into your writing as I don't imagine a low velocity cannonball made much of a sound.
Before the first ranks of both armies could clash into one another, the earth heaved and erupted beneath Tu’shik’s armies. Nishan could not even wager a guess as to how many Children of the Sun were torn apart from the volley.
Shells of a calibre that would make the ground heave and could be launched from a ship definitely didn't exist in medieval times.