Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hakaar - Chronicle 23.2 - And Experience

We moved quickly over the plains. Danin, regardless of both his girth and his height, he was positively graceful as he flowed over the landscape. I heard Tagaern call out from behind for me to wait up, he was already panting with the effort.

Another time, my friend. I thought.

"The driver appears to be dead, but the passenger is alive. I can see three orcs moving to him. I am not sure I'm seeing this right, but I think those are giants on the horizon." Silah was calling out the battlefield as she saw it.

This was part of what came about as Duncan repeatedly put my ability to push Silah out of my head to the test. I failed, repeatedly, but then Silah had started tapping into my senses as she had done before, but then then gave me information I may see—but not necessarily be paying attention to—on the battlefield.

Giants? I keened my eyes towards the direction that the orcs wielding rustic blades were streaming from.

I had never seen a giant before. Sure, I had seen the summoned titans, but giants?

A slight chill ran up my spine as I watched these towering beasts; one with a massive bow and another further out wielding something menacing. The giant with the bow was lobbing out arrows that looked like short spears at a furious pace toward the wagon. I grit my teeth. We would have to take any advantage of cover we could to stay out of sight of that brute.

"Don't worry, your friends are with you." Silah's voice eddied through with a practiced concern, "The man at the wagon is looks very bloodied. He might not last if we don't get there before they do. What are you going to do?"

I'll think of something when we get there. I thought.

I was still deciding on what was next, considering the battlefield was evolving as we moved.

"Two archers near the … large archer and another large one coming up from behind. He's carrying something big." Silah called.

I could see her inside of my head, standing in what looked like a bright silver chainmail dress, something that would have been impossibly heavy to wear, my vision was spread out in front of her, lighting up the usually dark cavern of my mind. She was musing over the scene, pointing at the forces as she called them out.

I'm fine. Just call them what they are. I thought, annoyed at the attempt to put me at ease.

"Are you sure? You seem particularly sensitive to all this." I felt a smirk ease from her, rising just above the pounding of my blood and footfalls.

I glanced over both shoulders. We were all here. Floki and Tenner were bringing up the rear. He seemed to be looking for cover to launch arrows from. Sig had cast a spell and was now hovering in the air.

"Poor Tagaern." I heard Silah whisper, "The battle will be done before he even gets here."

Want to give him a horse? I grinned slightly with the thought.

There was a slight huff from her, but, surprisingly, it seemed like she briefly considered it.

Massive arrows rained down on the wagon as the man ducked behind it. One burst through the cover and struck him, opening yet another wound. Silah was right, he was in a very bad way.

Arrows continued to pour over the wagon as we got in range, the two orcish archers had moved up near the well armored giant who was smoothly picking targets and launching the arrows downfield. He was terrifyingly proficient. The second gigantic brute was well on his way toward the wagon now I could readily make out the huge, brutish maul he was carrying. It might have been a tree with a mass of fused metal strapped to it.

The giant archer launched more arrows at the wagon before turning his gaze toward us, taking a well placed shot at the hovering Sig. I watched him writhe in mid air as the shot landed, then he winked out of sight. The massive arrow dropped to the ground out in front of me where Sig was hovering just moments earlier. I was concerned for a moment, then remembered his disappearing act from just last week in the old mines.

Bromm dodged one of the massive arrows and reared up with his musket, levelling off a shot at one of the orcs who had nearly reached the wagon. Flesh and blood ripped from the orc, but he didn't slow his pursuit.

"An archer is down." Silah reported.

I glanced over to see one of the orc archers crumple under Floki's rain of arrows.

I finally closed in on the wagon, flanking the man that I recognized as the man who delivered the wagon full of spirits from the Meadflower Distillery out of Dowry. He had just drunk a thick, syrupy liquid from a small vial, bringing some color back to his cheeks. He had a look of concern as I approached.

"I'm here to help. Stay behind the wagon." I shouted.

He was wielding a decent blade and shield, a man who had been tested in battle, but he was still very hurt. Even after my command, he held his shield high, showing no signs of relenting. Danin closed in as well, standing in front of the man, facing the two Orcs. I moved around the back to the remaining orc who was trying to flank us.

The orc was huffing toward me, his dark yellow eyes squinted as he scowled at my mixed countenance. I stepped from the cover of the wagon and roared as I drew Silah down through him. The blade sliced through his collarbone then popped through several ribs before it stilled deep in his chest. His eyes were suddenly wide, his mouth agape, drooling as he looked down at the blade before the light in his eyes began to fade. I roughly yanked the blade free as blood pooled around him. It was then I noticed a collar with a long braided leather cord attached to it.

"Interesting." Silah mused at the sight as I paused on it, her voice quavering as she recovered from feasting the orc's life energy.

An arrow from the remaining orc archer sunk deeply into me as I pulled back. I winced at the hit and immediately ducked behind the wagon.

The wagon itself gave me an idea. The horses were still attached, one still stirred while the other had succumb to its wounds. I blasted through the wagon pole with the greatsword, freeing it from the attached horses, allowing me to push the wagon on it's side as a shield from the onslaught of arrows. I half expected Silah to complain, but it didn't seem to make a difference to her.

I caught sight of Tagaern, who was getting close. I was watching the large arrows fall toward him, tearing through him as he got closer. I grimaced with each gut wrenching thud that penetrated his armor. He was bleeding heavily already. I waved at him to take shelter behind the wagon, but he continued to push forward, blade and shield at the ready.

Danin was tending to the passenger after he had taken some more blows from the incoming orcs. A shot rang out from Bromm's pepperbox and I could hear the sounds of engagement out of sight around the edge of the wagon. As I moved around the edge, I could feel the ground shaking as the towering giant with the maul had moved within a stone's throw away.

Floki and Bromm had focused their fire on the two approaching orcs. Danin struck the orc that had targeted the passenger, landing a cruel blow with his axe, but it remained standing. Each of the approaching orcs had these same tight leather collars, the braided ropes trailing behind them.

They must be captives. I thought. Forced to fight for these giants.

"And they're dead either way. At least they're going out fighting." Silah said flatly, then she sounded excited, "Siggy is floating above the archers!"

I moved to engage the last of the orcs, but as I did, Tagaern slashed through the last of them, sending the remaining orc gurgling to the ground. The passenger was laying on the ground and Danin knelt over him with Tagaern looking on. Danin sent out a burst of healing energy, closing up some of the wounds of everyone close. Unfortunately, it was far from making either the passenger or Tagaern whole.

"Balrick, will you live?" Tagaern reached out a hand to lift him to his feet.

"Aye.Thanks." The grizzled man had a mane of white hair that was streaked with blood.

"Oh my." Silah whispered excitedly, "Look what Siggy did!"

The orcish archer had taken an arrow from Floki, but it was the hulking beast that had slumped, falling forward, his eyes closed. I shook my head in disbelief.

"And the last orc archer is down." Silah said as Floki's last arrow laid him flat.

My skin was crawling. Floki was out of sight and away, but still hitting with pinpoint accuracy. His arrows had been flying over my head this whole time and I didn't even know where he was. The thought made me anxious. And with Sig's demonstration of power with the well armored brute. It gave me a new respect for both Floki and Sig. I was glad they were on our side. Tenner was bounding towards us. He'd finally allowed his wolf get into the fight.

"He's the last one." Silah said, her voice even, I could feel a smile followed by the sensation of her tracing her hands down my shoulders as she directed me to the encroaching giant.

The brute's weapon was enormous. I was horrified when he swung at Tagaern. There was a sickening series of pops as a blow from the side caught the already blooded man. His face was a ghastly pale, like he could see his end coming quickly. I had only just met him. It seemed ill-fated that we would have had such a short time together. He still stood, hands turning white from the intense grip on his weapon and shield.

Tenner approached and, on the backswing, the giant targeted the wolf, crushing it with a well placed blow. Luckily, the wolf survived the blow, but also looked close to death. The giant, unable to quickly bring the maul to bear quickly enough, kicked a foot at Tagaern but failed to connect. I moved to flank the massive being while Tagaern and Balrick struck with their blades. Arrows were also dotting the beast, as Floki focused all of his effort on the remaining foe.

Sig called out to me, and I looked up toward his voice.

"That one won't be down for long! Get a swing in and get over there before he wakes up!" His robe was bloodied, but I could see that the thrill of success lit up Sig's face.

I nodded to him. I could feel Silah bracing for the kill before us.

I slashed at the exposed back of the brute, laying open a gaping hole along the side of it's gut. There was a thundering bellow as blood and fat oozed readily from the wound. Silah shuddered, relishing the impact.

"One more should do it." She said with a sigh.

The bellowing brute looked for the source of the hurt and brought the maul down on Balrick, splashing his head and crushing his body into the ground. He kicked toward Tagaern again, but only managed to hit air.

It should have been me. I thought, clenching my teeth. It was supposed to focus on me!

I drove the blade into the Brute's back, shouting at it to get it's attention. The greatsword bit deep, gore and viscera gushed from the wound, slicking the battlefield, but the brute still clung to life.

"You need to get over to the other one!" Sig called out to me. "Quickly! I don't know how much longer he'll stay down!"

"No, no, no… he's not dead." Silah stammered, her voice filled with aching, "Don't leave. Don't!"

I was torn. But, my moment of hesitation was my answer as Tagaern thrust his blade deep penetrating the brute's vitals, causing it to shudder and sway, finally succumbing to it's injuries, rolling forward, almost crushing Tagaern and Tenner.

I gripped the nearly panicking Silah and moved toward the slumbering, well-armored giant. I laid the blade to its thick throat and swung with all my might. It's eyes snapped open as the blade caught on the thick neck bones, and the Giant grabbed at its throat, blood gurgling through. It took another well placed blow to remove its head entirely.

Silah trembled quietly in my hands.

"I … I saw its memories." She said, pausing a moment to recover from the rush, "This one had come through an Ether tree, today."

(Get to know Akeron.)