and Saeunn raced toward the base of the southern hill, where the slope wasn’t
quite as steep as the opposite side. Elec observed that there were at least six ogres. They stood one and a half
times the height of a human, with heavily muscled arms, and bloated bellies.
Their skin was an unhealthy yellow, with patches of hair in random places and
blemishes all along their skin.
had never seen an ogre before, though he had encountered a creature born of
giant-blood. Even so, seeing several of the creatures face to face made him
reach a new level of fear. They moved with a speed that belied their disfigured,
swollen bodies. He imagined the force with which their mighty blows would
strike and it made him wince involuntarily.
uneasily quaffed a potion. He felt he would need every advantage that he could
muster if he was to survive this encounter. He knew that if he took the wrong
combination, the effects would not overlap properly, but the particular
combination he used now he had perfected over many years.
charged the nearest ogre bravely and almost slipped on a snow patch, but caught
herself and kept going, not even breaking stride. She and an ogre collided and
there was a loud thud as her solid form hit its somewhat bulbous frame. The
ogre’s head snapped back as Saeunn used the hilt of her sword to slam into it,
cracking its skull, while deftly avoiding the ogre’s heavy fist. The creature
landed in a heap—it was dead before it even hit the ground.
turned on another. Elec watched her fight with a grace and willingness that
made him feel more inadequate than usual. She was his complete opposite with
regards to self-confidence, he realized, and he could not help but be impressed
by the remarkable barbarian woman from Chansuk.
large rock just missed crushing Elec’s head and he quickly returned his
attention to his own role in the battle. He decided to go in the same direction
that Saeunn was heading. He wanted to stay close to the barbarian woman for
What is that!?
Elec wondered as he caught a glimpse of something across the valley on the
northern hill that looked like a murky rift in the planes. He shook his head,
dismissing the sight as possibly a side effect of one of his elixirs or a trick
of the sunlight. Perhaps even the slow-falling snow was deceiving him….
it was, he had more pressing issues to deal with. He ran quickly, trying to
keep pace with Saeunn. She was forcing the ogres at the top of the hill to refrain
from lobbing rocks at the elf momentarily, and at least forcing them to reset
their positions. That would buy him some time.
had cornered two more ogres now and was forcing them into defensive positions
with her well-placed and aggressive swings. There was no subtlety to the
barbarian woman it seemed. She simply relied on brute force and innate skill.
ogres began to maneuver her in between the two of them and Saeunn either didn’t
realize it or didn’t care. Just as they were about to complete their move, Elec
arrived and forced them to change their strategy. The ogres both sneered and
gurgled something unintelligible at him.
other ogre swung a club at Saeunn that she parried with her greatsword, burying
it deep into the wooden weapon in the process and stopping the blow entirely.
She immediately kicked out with her left leg into the kneecap of the ogre,
knocking its leg back on the slick surface and causing it to fall forward,
giving her an opening. Saeunn reared back with her newly-freed greatsword, and
struck a killing blow to the back of the ogre’s head, knocking it to the ground
and its final resting place.
had taken the attention of the second ogre and he was now madly dashing to and
fro, dodging its blows, and trying to avoid the creature’s club as it made
divots in the snow around him. He saw a tree behind him and formulated a plan
as the ogre swung wildly and with such force, that to connect with a single
blow would surely spell death.
dodged behind the tree as quickly as he could, forcing the ogre around its wide
base slowly enough that it did not see Elec climb the low hanging branch on the
opposite side. The ogre peered around
the base of the massive tree trunk and realized too late where Elec had
ogre cried out in anguish as it felt the sharp end of a blade plunge through
its back. Elec drove the blade in hard and thrust with all the momentum and
might that he could muster. The sword sank deeper into the ogre, through its
lungs, and out the front.
rode the beast for several seconds as it fought to remove him, until finally,
it collapsed to the ground with a solid thud. Elec dove from its back toward
Saeunn who had just disposed of her foe.
it was a good thing too, as three more ogres had come into view, somehow
finding a less treacherous way down the hill than Elec had initially considered.
Elec thought in a slight panic as he removed yet another potion from its
housing on the bandolier and drained its contents.
could not see where Rose had arrived atop the hill, and so he returned his
attention to the stunned orc on the ground, now only a few paces from him. He
made a few movements with the hand that still clutched The Repentant, rubbed his braided beard and uttered an incantation,
asking The Watcher, the god of the skies, for a blessing of aid.
if the clouds themselves opened up, a massive bolt of lightning exploded out of
the sky and landed directly on top of the prone orc, incinerating it and
leaving a scorched patch of soil in the snow-soaked ground around the orc’s
charred remains. Garius slung his holy warhammer upon his back and searched
quickly for a path up the hill in order to aid Rose in dispatching the archers
emerged from a shadow directly behind the first archer, using the element of surprise.
She precisely slit the green-skinned orc’s throat, dropping it to the ground
softly. The second and third orcs noticed her just then, dropping their bows in
unison and struggling to draw their swords.
used that opening to kick out at the closest orc, hitting him squarely in the
abdomen causing him to double over. Then she hammered down with Zaedra in a reverse-grip and skewered
the back of the creature’s head, knocking it firmly to the ground.
third orc had gotten his sword out and she sensed that her end was near if she
didn’t move. They were still positioned directly under a tree, so she stepped
into its voluminous shade and moved through the shadow realm to end up behind
orc, however, did not sense her as it looked closely into the shadows trying to
discern her whereabouts. She stealthily drove the tips of both daggers into his
back in unison, penetrating the lungs and leaving the orc lifeless as he
gurgled something in his native tongue.
removed the daggers and then suddenly felt a sting in her left shoulder that
radiated pain down her entire arm. She looked to see what it was and noticed an
arrow protruding from her shoulder that passed right through and below her left
clavicle. She whipped round to see another orc approximately fifty paces from
her that she had not noticed earlier.
tried to step into the shadows once more, to use the shadow realm to hide her
from her enemy, but could not concentrate as another arrow penetrated the flesh
on her left thigh. She fell to one knee under the ensuing pain and then there
was blackness. Her last thoughts were of failure.
and Saeunn exchanged grim looks as the three ogres bore down on them.
ideas?” Elec asked as he quaffed another potion, drawing a quizzical look from
Saeunn, who did not quite understand the elf’s ways.
Saeunn remarked bluntly as she once again charged headlong into the onrushing ogres,
wild-eyed and ready. Her shock of long blonde braided hair bounced from side to
side behind her as she charged.
nodded in agreement, more to himself than her, as Saeunn had already taken off.
jumped feet first into the center of an ogre’s belly, knocking the wind out of
it. As her momentum continued, she knocked the ogre to the ground, landing atop
it, using her muscular legs and an incredible sense of balance to remain upright
upon her fallen opponent, falling to her seat atop its chest.
got her feet under her again and slashed her greatsword in such an arc as to
dismember the second ogre on her right flank in the process. Its head rolled away
and its massive body fell to the snowy ground, blood heavily staining the white
snow where it landed. She stood atop the other and stabbed at its head, but the
ogre managed to wiggle out of the way of her blade. It retrieved its club,
striking her in the side, knocking her to the ground this time, and losing the
grip on its own club as it followed her trajectory.
ogre stood, rushed her, and was upon her by the time she regained her footing.
The creature smashed its fist into her left temple, knocking her senseless as
she stumbled back a few steps.
was blinded with her bloodlust and could hardly feel the pain.
shook off the blow, ignoring the wound that had opened up, and refocused as the
ogre was bearing down on her once more. Its club, which resembled a tree-trunk,
was gripped tightly in both its massive hands.
swung the club wide and Saeunn parried the strike with one of her own. The two
foes matched blow for blow and parry for strike for a few rounds of swings,
neither tiring nor slowing for a second. It was a fierce and hard fought
was able to position herself better and eventually managed to kick the ogre in
the groin, stunning it and giving her an opening. She swung on a high-to-low
swing that spanned the creature’s right-facing shoulder, across its body, and
ending up coming out at the left-facing hip. Her blade cleaved through flesh
and bone, never stopping once along its deadly path.
ogre stood with a look of disbelief in its black eyes, trying to hold in its entrails,
as its life blood gushed out onto the snowy ground.
cried to the god of war in victory, allowing the bloodlust to fuel her, and
looked around for another foe to vanquish in The Champion’s name.
tightened his grip on the hilts of his weapons and followed after her, hoping
that his elixirs would last the remainder of the fight. They were performing
well so far, he noted, but the durations were lessening.
ogre headed directly toward Elec and he could no longer give consideration to
his needed improvements. He considered an idea. He tossed Daegnar Giruth into the air and spoke a magical word in the ancient
elven dialect. The blade seemed to freeze in midair and held fast. As the ogre
neared him, Elec sprung toward him, and used the ogres arm to launch himself
into the air. He grasped the hilt of the blade and pulled himself up as the creature
lunged, passing directly beneath him instead. Elec spun around in a complete
circle, continuing with his momentum to launch himself onto the ogre’s exposed
landed with a thud, forcing the ogre to stumble forward. It fell with its arms
outstretched, sliding forward on the slick ground. Elec grabbed the ogre’s head
and attempted to hang on, but could not. He slid forward now unexpectedly and
came to a stop just as the ogre unsteadily got to its feet. Obviously dazed, it looked around for its
club, but could not locate it.
ogre snarled at Elec, showing its rotting yellow teeth behind its curled lips.
It charged him, covering the ten paces very quickly. Elec tried to spring away
in a dive, but lost his footing and slipped. The ogre slammed into him knocking
the air from his lungs, but Elec managed to remain standing, unable to fall
backward under the slippery ground. The ogre swung a series of mighty blows.
Elec dodged the first one, was grazed slightly by the second and was hit hard
in the face and head by the next two, which sent him sprawling to the ground.
Another blow followed but he tumbled backward away from it, and fell to the
hard, wet ground. Keeping his eyes on the charging ogre, he crawled backward as
quickly as he could until he finally backed himself into the trunk of a tree.
This is it!
Elec thought, trying to cover himself as best he could. Nowhere left to go….
then he saw past the tangles of the ogre’s greasy, matted hair to glimpse a
figure airborne heading toward them, a huge blade angled down, poised for a
drove her greatsword straight through the back of the ogre, skewering it and
killing it instantly as the sword tip angled through its huge belly and into the
tree trunk. The ogre fell limp, held up only by the angled blade, its tip
buried in the base of the tree.
stood there, allowing her adrenaline to dissipate.
she suddenly and wildly looked about for the elf, a look of dread upon her face,
thinking that she might have just killed him
too in her rage!
Saeunn cried desperately, not wanting to peek around the bulbous ogre’s weight
to see if the elf, too, was pinned to the tree.
here,” came a voice from above her. On a bough of the tree lay the battered
form of Elec, blood dripping from his eye and lip where he had been pummeled
soundly by the ogre. “I really need to work on homing my combat skills…,” he laughed,
coughing up some blood in the process.
gasped and then smiled wider than he had ever seen her smile before. Then she
did you…?” Saeunn let the question hang, obviously relieved that he was alive.
swallowed hard, wiped some blood from his brow and pointed at a unique ring.
can use this to teleport on occasion, assuming that the charge has been restored,”
he smiled. “Luckily, it had,” he added with a laugh. “I haven’t really timed
it. I just know it takes some,” he paused and spat some blood, “time to
grabbed another elixir and quaffed it sloppily, spilling some on himself and
cursing a bit. His hands were shaking.
are you feeling?” Elec asked Saeunn, assuming that she had taken a few hard
blows. “I have some potions that might help you.”
have been better,” she flatly stated, now weary from fatigue.
Elec said as re-corked the top of the elixir and tossed it to her. “Drink the
rest of that and you’ll feel better. It speeds up the healing process. I
couldn’t open this a minute ago,” he pointed to his left eye, which Saeunn markedly
watched heal before her eyes.
As he slowly climbed out of the tree and got
to the ground, he noticed the left side of the barbarian’s head was bleeding
badly through her sash. He removed another vial with some kind of ointment from
your sash,” Elec instructed her and she did so, revealing a large laceration in
the side of her head. Elec considered how she was still standing.
poured some of the liquid out onto her sash and dabbed at it, rubbing it around
on her forehead until it started to coagulate.
don’t have a lot of this left, but I know where to pick more of the root that I
craft it from,” Elec said as he gestured at the very tree that he had been
sitting in. He absently plucked some of the leaves and stashed them in his belt
pouch as he spoke. “Tie this back on again and let it be. It should be fine by
you, Elec,” Saeunn responded, truly amazed at the resources of this white-eyed,
should check the others!” Saeunn exclaimed, and with that she was off and
running, at full speed from her first step.
was all Elec could muster to keep ten paces back.
got to the top of the hill just in time to see an orc deliver the second arrow
that bit deeply into Rose’s hamstring. As that registered, the visage beneath
his helm shifted to resemble that of seething rage.
approached slowly, clutching the handle of The
Repentant firmly once more and with purpose. He held the hammer high in one
hand beckoning The Shimmering One and asking for protection while he crossed
the snowy ground to the orc responsible for the ruination of his friend and
response to his prayer, a shimmering aura surrounded his body, forming a protective
barrier that made the arrow slow and fall harmlessly away. As he walked toward
the archer, he chanted the verse over and over with vigor, growing louder with
each step as The Repentant glowed
with holy energy.
continued to cross the ground as the stunned orc realized he could not
penetrate the defenses with his missiles, and so, retrieved his sword from his
now stood in front of the creature and dismissed his personal fortification
spell. Propelled by an anger that he could not quite comprehend, he invoked an
incantation initiating a spell to once more call forth the necromantic powers
of the degenerative plane. Uttering an offering of prayer to The Reaper, he
extended his hand with an open palm toward the orc’s frame. But unlike so many
times before, this time he felt a satisfaction in tapping that dark power.
orc attempted to stab at him, but the Inquisitor infused such vast amounts of
physical pain upon the orc, that he dropped the sword mid-swing, and his body
wracked and convulsed in agony. The orc fell to his knees. Garius continued the
incantation, inflicting such suffering on the orc that he finally fell to his
knees, before dropping face first into the snow. His life force was completely
drained from his body, as it was absorbed now into the Inquisitor. Garius
Forge’s frame shone with energy as he felt the necromantic power dissipate,
storing it temporarily within his own body.
turned from the ruined orc and ran as fast as he could beneath the weight of
his armor toward his fallen friend. Garius reached Rose and threw his helmet
off, revealing a grim expression. He cared for this woman clearly much more
than he’d even known, he realized at that very instant. He clutched her arm and called upon a surge
of regenerative energy, redirecting what he had stored within himself and using
it to channel healing directly into her wounded body.
shall not be taken from me that easily,” Garius muttered aloud as he continued
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