Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The battle for Middale - part 3

Again, apologies for anyone if anyone doesn't like the portrayal of their character I've included.
It seems I can't finish things even when I want to. Looks like this will go on for at least one more day.


Lahsaa hit the dirt hard, seeing stars as the orcs heavy mailed fist collided with the side of the mages head. The greenskin had gone beserk as Lahsaa shattered its sword which dripped with some kind of foul ichor and had glowed with a deep blood red and seemed to want to tear the mage apaart with its bare hands. Already it had swatted his staff away from him like it had been a twig and he hadn't even had chance to reach for the silver dagger before one of its ham-like hands had connected as it swung the wild punch. Scrabbling to the side to avoid having his back broken by its ironshod boots, Lahsaa scrabbled behind a tree and pulled himself to his feet. He was out of power - he had expended both of his magic rings, his active - bolstered as it was by his sorcerer powers - had ran dry and the ebb of new power was much further off than he could want. Consequently it left his body feeling drained and heavy and it was with some difficulty that he managed to dive to one side to avoid the bull-like charge of the foulspawn.
His fatigue cost him and he stumbled as he sought to find his footing again. The orc was in him with a speed that the mage wouldn't have thought possible and he was dropped to the floor and strong hand at his throat holding him down as the orc kneeled over him, driving one heavy knee into his stomach first. Lahsaa tried his best to gasp for air - but both being winded and throttled made the task almost impossible and he fought to pull the orcs hand away from his throat as best he could. At least until the orc punched him hard in the face.
Explosions of colour burst behind his eyelids and blood errupted from its nose as he dimly heard a crack over the roaring in his eyes as he fought for breath. Body wracked with pain, no power - and with too much ferrous metal on him to cast even if he did have any - and with seemingly none of his friends around to save him it was all the Kharachian could do not to give up the fight. His vision started to blur and grey and as the orc caught him another backhand all strength left the mage and his hands fell away from the orcs massive fist. Tears stung his eyes, there was no breath to shout for help and the blood flowing from his nose helped to choke him as it foul his mouth.
Desperation took him and his eyes stopped seeing the snarling face of the foulspawn as his friends rushed across his vision, each of the Einherjar, Eir, Nick, Rowan, Elenor, Kalrock, Valvossa, Ophelia... so many things that he had wanted to say to many of them that he had never taken the time to say and now, now he would never have a chance. This - it seems - would be how it ended. Nothing big, nothing fancy, nothing that anybody might remember him by, but by being choked to death in the woods, while a battle against the largest foulspawn army ever raised raged not twenty meters away on the other side of the treeline.
Something in his mind rebelled against the idea and somehow he found one hand closing around the handle of his silver dagger, sheathed at his back. He fought as unconciousness threatened to take him, flashes of red exploding across his vision as he managed - with some last vestiage of strength to pull the enchanted dagger clear and swing it up. The orcs blinked, the snarl not leaving his face as if not realising it now had a dagger stuck in the side of its skull. It's grip tightened briefly around Lahsaa throat, causing him to gurgle in pain as the last breath way choked from his lungs and it collapsed to one side as Lahsaa finally lost conciousness.

Air burst painfully into his lungs, setting his chest afire as he awoke suddenly with the sweetest, most agonising breath he had ever taken in his life. Pain ripped through his body, dimly aware of a gasp and suddenly he found himself lying down again and someone hugged him. The jolt caused him to black out again briefly and when he opened his eyes again he picked out several blurry shapes standing above him at least two of them looking relieved.
"Come on Lahsa', now is not the time to be laying around." the voice was obviously Llaminusian and it was only when he was dragged to his feet as he fought against his body to be anything but dead weight did he realise it was Arya.
Another figure joined his support on his other side and he realised it to be Rowan, concern etched on her face. In front of him was Skade, who was digging through a pouch on her belt as if looking for something. "Of all the things we've fought, it would be almost embaressing for you to be killed by a simple orc." she tutted, pulled a pair of potions out and pouring them down his throat, The pain retreated quickly and strength returned to his limbs enough that he wasn't completely reliant on the two women at his side for his vertical basis.
"I'm counting this one." Rowan murmered as they started back towards the main site of battle. "I fetched Arya and Skade to find you - I saw you get forced away from us into the woods but was too far away to help properly."
"Wha' 'appened?" Lahsaa managed to cough out as they started to dodge around hundreds of bodies lying between them and where the defenders battleline was picking itself up.
"The Jarl took down one of their big chiefs. It came charging across the field and met his axe - it seems that with his head was the heart of most of the army and they turned and fled... But 'Ati saying that they haven't gone far and something else seems to be stirring them up." Arya replied, her voice uneasy.
"Fell magics are on the air Lahsaa. I think what really leads them is still to show itself." Skade said with a glance back at him, carefully not treading on any of the fallen.
"The Swan is going to have her work cut out for her today." Arya noted, catching site of Saga kneeling before one of the piles of bodies, hood up, holy symbol clasped in her hand - her prayer to the God of the Dead for the souls of the fallen too quiet for anyone but herself and Kharach to hear.
"She's not the only one who can send the souls of the fallen on Arya, the priests with us can share some of the duty - it's about time some of them did." Skade shot back darkly.
"How many have we lost?" Lahsaa croaked as he noted the bodies being dragged into two piles - a larger haphazard pile for the orcs while the fallen defenders were laid out seemingly more respectfully, weapons in hand.
Rowan sighed heavily, her lips moving as if reciting a list of the fallen. "The heaviest losses have come from the militia that were raised, but at least a dozen adventurers lives have been lost as well as..." she exchanged an uneasy glance with Arya and Skade.
"Bjorn lost an arm fighting a pair of ogres." Skade relieved the Huntsmaster the duty of telling him. "He was caught alone surrounded by foulspawn, he was a pile of bodies that put him several feet about the ogres heads before they dragged him down and near tore his shield arm off. He still managed to kill both of the beasts but it was only due to the miracles of the white lady that he didn't bleed to death." Lahsaa shook his head in disbelief, his mouth agape. "He's still determined to rejoin the fight if they come back." she followed up with a smirk.
"He's fine Lahsa'," Arya said, spotting the mages shocked look. "He was making comments about how the Jarl would survive without him there to feed him and wipe his arse for a few days."
Finally they found the back of the line where physicians were busy rushing back and forwards tending to wounds. To one side, bodies were laid out, some with white cloths covering them like a shroud - others had black cloths laid over them.
Around one body in particular a group of Crowan's were knelt, deep in prayer.
"Vau finally found his end." Rowan said, her gaze fixed and unblinking as her free hand found her holy symbol. "He was laid low by a score or more of trolls and orcs and no one could reach him in time to heal his wounds - but it seemed that even Kharach wouldn't claim him without allowing him one more fight. He stood with his armour falling off him, the tattoos covering his body shone with a holy light. He was armed with nothing save his longsword and he used it to cut a bloody swathe through their ranks. Even when they tore his sword out of his hand he still killed more than three score with his fists. It took most of the church about twenty minutes to dig him out from under the pile of bodies that that had created."
Lahsaa was eventually sat down, his entire body seeming to creak as it did so, and a physician fussed around him to tend to his wounds and clean the blood off his face.
Far above the group as they continued to talk quietly and bring the mage up to speed, the sun started to dip below the horizon, setting the sky ablaze.
In the distance the foulspawn horns blared rallying them all together.
The camp started to move with an added urgency to get as many battle ready as possible - this day, it seemed - was far from over.

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