The end of this little story arc... Enjoy.
If you've enjoyed it, hated it, have critisms whatever, please comment either here, on twitter or on Facebook. It would be greatly appreciated.
Oh - it's the longest single bit of writing I've done for a long time too. =]
"No way! You've got no chance Ragnar. I'm not going to stay here while the rest of you fight on the front line." Rowan shouted angrily at the General. "You can't order me around, my place is on the front line with the rest. Someone else can stay."
Ragnar shook his head, staring impassively at the woman from the borderlands. "It's my fucking army and I am ordering you. And Lahsaa and our witch. You're staying back here to protect this rear camp. I need some good peoplle back here to make sure that those injured stay alive to get back up and fight. I'll make sure that a few of them get through so you don't get completely bored."
"No chance! My place is in the fore of the battle!" she insisted, drawing herself up to the fullest, yet still only reachng the tall Llaminusians chest.
"No. It's here. I'm telling you it's here. Call it payback for Berwickshire, whatever you want, you're staying here." Ragnar scowled, his fists clenching at his side.
"Ragnar, Rowan... this isn't the time to be arguing amongst ourselves..." Lahsaa interjected standing between the pair. "Jarl, is there no way she can join the front line? Surely there must be someone else who can stay back here if you're insisting some of us do?" his voice had a bitter edge to it as if he wasn't happy at staying back anyway.
Ragnar glanced at the three in front of him, Rowan, Skade and Lahsaa. The huntsmaster was seething, her fists balled indignantly at the order; Skade didn't look to happy about it either but seemed to have accepted it quietly - which slightly unnerved the Jarl and Lahsaa - as ever - seemed to be stuck in the middle of different groups of his friends trying to smooth out a peaceful resolution to conflict again. The General sighed, and pulled a hip flask from one of his pouches meeting Lahsaa's eyes briefly before offering it to Rowan. "Fine." he said, an angry edge to his voice.
"Fine what?" Rowan questioned suspiciously taking the flask and drinking from it. Ragnar smirked.
"If you want to be pissed at me I don't care. You stay here and protect the wounded." he said sternly, holding her gaze as he snatched back the hip flask, tucking it away and walking off.
"Yes General!" Rowan replied seemingly without realising, clapping her hands to her mouth. "You bastard! What on Arda have you done?"
"Nothing I wanted to. Potions of compulsion are expensive." he frowned as Lahsaa and Rowan both shouted protestations. "QUIET! I've put you here because I need you here. I'd rather have you up there with me. Now shut up, and do what I tell you!"
Rowan fell silent, though Lahsaa could see the strain in her face as she tried to speak hatred for the Llaminusian burning in her eyes.
The Jarl disappeared into the crowds quickly as the warhorns of the foulspawn sounded and a roar came from the distant end of the battlefield.
"Bastard..." Rowan coughed out, when she was able to speak again, turning in disgust to prepare defences in the healers camp as Lahsaa stared in the direction Ragnar had left.
The battle had scarecely rejoined and already the defenders in the healers camp had work as scouts from the surrounding woods came out dragging several wounded. "Goblins! Right behind us!" they shouted tearing past Lahsaa who had taken the side nearest the trees.
The mage had picked up a short spear and shield at some point, determined not to burn through his magic as he had done yesterday and rushed forward weapons raised to cover their retreat.
"Lahsaa! Get your ass over here!" came a shout from inside the tree line and he rushed forward to assist. Under the cover the the leaves above Elenor stood alone with her bow, unleashing a storm of arrows into the ranks of goblin scouts that rushed through the trees. The mage rushed to her side as she fired off the last pair of arrows and drew her sword. "Tralda... it's about time you showed up. Why aren't you in the battle line?"
Without the hail of arrows raining on them the goblins rushed forward to be met with thrusts from the short spear and the ranger swinging a sword and axe with deadly proficiancy.
"The Jarl had me, the witch and the Huntsmaster stay to help defend the healer camp." the mage grunted, kicking away a goblin who stuck to the spear a little too long, batting another away with the shield. "How's it going out there?"
"It...ugh..." Elenor stumbled as a goblin clubbed her from behind, dropping her to her knees. She reversed her grip on her sword and ran it under her arm into the greenskins chest, hacking it down as she stood for good measure. "It's not going well. They've brought out even bigger orcs - only the Seven know how. They're encased head to foot in black plate armour and they're at least as strong as an ogre. There's only a few of them but they're causing havoc."
Lahsaa ground his teeth together as the goblins - with more than three quarters of them now wormfood - turned tail and fled back towards their own camp. "Ragnar's handling it but - we've a handfull of knights left, at least one Crowan priest has called his final battle... Hati and Bjorn have gone through at least four trollstrengths and sixteen vials of swiftdeath oil each, Kavat's on one leg... One flank is being held by the school of Enchantment after Nysa managed to finally bring out fourteen automata that she'd been hiding away..." Elenor took a deep, shuddering breath. "It's madness out there Lahsaa. Adventurers that retired long ago have joined the fight as well... everyone is using absoutely everything they have and still there seems to be no end to them."
The scouts that had dragged the injured back into the camp came running over, a fresh pair of quivers with them. "Guild protector - here, we restocked for you." one of them said, handing over the arrows to which she nodded her thanks before they took off back into the woods.
"I have to go Lahsaa. Stay safe."
"And you." Lahsaa said, a note of desperation in his voice as he dropped his weapons and hugged his friend of so many years tightly. A brief aura of magic surrounded Elenor and her weapons briefly as the embrace broke. "Tralda be with you."
"Tralda be with all of us. I don't see many other ways that this is going to end well if not for her." she returned before disappearing into the undergrowth again.
Lahsaa glanced at his hands, thumbing each of the rings with his thumbs before collecting his spear and shield and heading back for camp.
"So! You puny humies are puttin' up a decent scrap! Maybe it's time I came out to play!" the voice bellowed impossibly loudly over the defenders, passing over them like a strong wind with a hint of rotten meat to it. It seemed to have a kind of echo to it - as if spoken by two mouths at the same time.
"What in the name of the Seven is that?" Lahsaa exclaimed, unable to see over the melee to find the source of the noise, looking up from bandaging Skade's leg.
"It has the smell of death about it, death and evil power... perhaps their leader has made themselves known at last?" the Llaminusian replied, a forlorn, distant look in her eyes.
"I am Kor'gresh Two Mind! This horde is mine! And my patience 'as worn thin with this little fight oomies! It'ron is mine! You 'ave nothing left to throw at us!"
"Another stinkin' ogre! With two heads so he's twice as ugly! You think you impress us? I am Jarl Ragnar Morkai! General of all of Ithron's armies. We're here to say fuck you to your foulspawn you shit! We'll be fighting to the last!" though the Jarl's voice was impressive enough to be held back in the healer camp, it was like a child screaming at a parent in comparison to Kor'gresh's boom.
The ogre magi laughed, booming over the line and causing some men to stagger. "Quite puny human!" it roared and clicked it's fingers like the crack of a falling tree.
Skade and Lahsaa - both recognising the sudden rush of magic - cried out futilily as if to stop as it Ragnar was nearly flattened by a rapid flurry of spells. His defenses and protections broke in seconds and he dropped to one knee.
"What was that?" Skade demanded incredelously, meeting Lahsaa's eyes.
"That... that was just a mute... but about fifty of them cast in one go... " Lahsaa stammered, his eyes were wide, and he had gone white with shock. "Whatever that is... I'm not sure the entire guild of mages together could stop it..."
"Lahsaa!" Rowan's shout snapped him out of it as she came running over. "Is there anything you can do about this potion? I must join the fight! I must!" her entire body seemed to tremble as she fought against the potions effects, desperate to help with the fight.
The mage opened his mouth as if to speak, but closed it again quickly. His eyes refused to meet hers and he gave a slight shake of his head. "No..." the reply was almost a whisper.
"... You... you're lying!" she said angrily.
The was another bellow and Lahsaa turned as another wave of power flashed over the left flank. He blanched as bodies flew into the air and screams carried on the wind. Letting out a long and shuddering breath again touching both rings.
"I'm sorry." he said softly, unloading the weapons he was carrying onto the floor and shedding his overrobe to be left in his shirt, trousers and plain green robe.
Kneeling next to Skade he hugged her tight. "Thank you. For everything Skade. Words can't convey just how thankful I am to you."
The Llaminusian met his eyes and understanding flashed between them, as she caught site of the magical artifacts on his hands. She nodded to him as he stood.
He turned to Rowan, who eyes him suspiciously not returning his hug as he embraced her. "Lahsaa, what are you doing?" she asked suspiciously.
"I think I'm about to win our game." he said, tears pricking the corner of his eyes. "Stay safe Rowan." he broke and turned to the battle line.
"Lahsaa! What are you doing? Lahsaa!"
The mage broke into a run, drawing his silver dagger and running it across the palms of both hands so they bled. Ahead, magic built up again.
Kor'gesh bellowed with laughter at the humans before him reeling from his magical assaults. "So... you lead this army of oomies and stunties and elf things?" it demanded, drawing itself up - towering over Ragnar as he stood again.
Unable to speak, the Llaminusian hawked up phlegm and spat at the ogre, raising his axe.
"Haw haw haw... you keep your word... you fight to the end... But... if I kill you, then I kill the guts of your army..." it raised both of its arms, "And afta my boys have eaten what they want, there'll be nothing left to stop us owning everythin'."Dark and powerful magics drew around it - visible even to the untrained as a vortex of black energy swirled like a hurricane around the ogre. "Time to die!" it bellowed, unleashing its spell.
An explosion of energy errupted around Ragnar, throwing bodies to the sides. Cries and shouts rose up, some unintelliganle, some desperate for the safety of the Jarl.
The defenders looked on anxiously as the smoke gradually cleared and were aghast to see Lahsaa standing in front of the Llaminusian, a barrier of green energy surrounding them both.
"What are you doing Lahsaa?" Ragnar demanded, finding himself able to speak as the barrier slowly faded.
"What's dis?" the ogres twin heads each cocked to the side in a different direction as Lahsaa stepped out of the protective barrier.
"Your end, ogre!" Lahsaa's voice was weak and he barely managed a croak as he fought for his body not to tremble in abject terror at the ten foot monstor before him.
The ogre, and his followers behind him who had all stopped fighting to watch, all roared with laughter at the site of the man in nothing but cloth with a small silver dagger in his hands. "You? You're ending me?" it bellowed with laughter. "There's no way! I'll crush you like a bug!" it flicked out a wrist as a barrage of spells crashed against Lahsaa. He raised his arms in a cross before his face, the pressure of the spells forcing him backwards across the blood soaked grass. Regardless, his defenses held, though he was left breathless by the end of it.
The ogre almost looked impressed.
"So... the little oomie 'as some power?" it conceded, "But I don't think you can do that many times... I can still crush you."
"You think?" Lahsaa gasped, raising his dagger and slashing his other palm so both now bled freely before returning it to the sheet at his back.
"Oi! I'm the one that's sposed t' make you blood oomie! 'ow stupid are you?"
The mage smirked, blinking at the magi through tears. "Not as stupid as you." he raised his hands, forcing the palms of his hands together as they fought with other to touch like similarly charged lodestones. When they finally did touch, the air seemed to stand still for a very long second, before an explosion of magic errupted around Lahsaa. The rings disintergrated entirely as a great rush a power flowed around Lahsaa's entire being. Everybody on the field recoiled in away from it as the soulfire arced around him like lightning.
"Wha... What the...?" the ogre roared, aghast.
"I am Lahsaa Nethir, mage, Kharachian, Einherjar... and your end ogre. Your magic is weak and your army weaker..." dark green fire blazed around his shoulders, his feet seemed to not touch the floor any more as if the soulfire held him just above it. "You have brought death and distruction to this country and it stops here. We stop you, as we have stopped so many before you." his voice was more powerful than the ogres had been and seemed to touch each of the defenders, making them stand taller, dispelling their pain, filling them full of hope and pride and power. "And now we stop you!"
The ogre roared its defiance and unleashed a hail of magic at Lahsaa. The humans eyes blazed and he raised a hand. The spells rebounded and around the ogre his foulspawn army shattered as bodies exploded into fine black mist. Lahsaa gestured hard and unleashed his own magic - the ogre seemed to hang in the air for a second before being thrown backwards at an impossible speed, scattering more of his army. The foulspawn started to panic, and siezing the moment and bolstered by Lahsaa's power Ragnar raised his axe high. "INTO THEM! SEND THEM ALL TO KHARACH! FOR ITHRON!"
The army charged as the ogre picked itself up now behind the entire line of its army. It turned with a roar, looking for Lahsaa, only to find the mage next to him. Another barrage of power, dropped the ogre to his knees, writhing in pain before he was thrown - with a gesture from the mage - into a rock wall which exploded with the force.
The ogre staggered as he stood again snarling at the mage as he with his own gesture dozens of weapons from fallen orcs and trolls rose into the air and streaked towards the sorcerer. Lahsaa's counterspell managed to take out some of the weapons, shattering them into shards of metal and rock but he wasn't quick enough to destroy them all and those that remained struck him again and again. He vanished suddenly from in the middle of the beating he was taking, appearing first at the ogres left then - when the magi commited the weapons to strike where he had been, directly before it. Battered, bruised and bloodied Lahsaa met the eyes of the left head and with a snarl flung his arm up. The ogre couldn't react in time and the head disappeared in an explosion of gore and bone. It shrieked in pain, falling to its knees and clutching at the stump of the neck.
"NO! I CANNOT LOSE! MY HORDE WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!" it roared in defiance at the man who stood before it.
Lahsaa stared at it, without pity. "You are broken ogre. Your horde is broken. And this is your end."
"Its yours too." it spat. "The magics yoo are usin' is tearin' you apart."
Lahsaa blinked away tears, his jaw set. "I know." he snapped his fingers and the ogres body was torn apart as magic tore through it again and again. It shrieked in agony up until its very last breath and when the magic was finished - all that was left was it's head.
Lahsaa gasped in agony as the magical aura faded rapidly - the power he had called on all but spent. His legs collapsed beneath him and he fell to the ground as each breath burned in his lungs. There was a flutter of wings as a raven landed beside him, watching him through dark eyes.
"Looks like now is my time..." he murmered as his eyes flickered closed...
Yes. Seriously. That's it. =D