He killed, his sword shearing, shield and horse a ram, pushing in, and further in, opening a space by force alone for the momentum of the men behind him. Beside him a man fell to a spear in the throat. To his left, an equine scream as Rochert's horse went down.In front of him, methodically, men fell, and fell, and fell.He split his attention. He swept a sword cut aside with his shield, killed a helmed soldier, and all the while flung out his mind, waiting for the moment when Touar's lines split open. The most difficult part of commanding from the front was this--staying alive in the moment, while tracking in his mind, critically, the whole fight. Yet it was exhilarating, like fighting with two bodies, at two scales.
The Regency,' said Laurent, addressing the troop, 'thought to take us outnumbered. It expected us to roll over without a fight.'Damen said: 'We will not let them cow us, subdue us or force us down. Ride hard. Don't stop to fight the front line. We are going to smash them open. We are here to fight for our Prince!'The cry rang out, The men gripped their swords, slammed their visors down, and the sound they made was a roar.
The shock of collision was like the smashing of boulders in the landslide at Nesson. Damen felt the familiar battering shudder, the sudden shift in scale as the panorama of the charge was abruptly replaced by the slam of muscle against metal, of horse and man impacting at speed. Nothing could be heard over the crashing, the roars of men, both sides warping and threatening to rupture, regular lines and upright banners replaced by a heaving, struggling mass. Horses slipped, then regained their footing; others fell, slashed or speared through.
The next night, alone in the tent, Laurent said: 'As we draw closer to the border, I think it would be safer--more private--to hold our discussions in your language rather than mine.'He said it in carefully pronounced Akielon.Damen stared at him, feeling as though the world had just been rearranged.'What is it?' said Laurent.'Nice accent,' said Damen, because despite everything, the corner of his mouth was beginning helplessly to curve up.[...]It was of course no surprise to find that Laurent had a well-stocked armoury of elegant phrases and bitchy remarks, but could not talk in detail about anything sensible.
(Dorothy) Dunnett is the master of the invisible, particularly in her later books. Where is this tension coming from? Why is this scene so agonizing? Why is this scene so emotional? Tension and emotion pervade the books, sometimes almost unbearably, yet when you look at the writing, at the actual words, there's nothing to show that the scene is emotional at all. I think it is because Dunnett layers her novels, meaning that each event is informed by what has come before (and what came before that, and what came before that) but Dunnett doesn't signpost in the text that this is happening, leaving it to the reader to bring the relevant information to the table