|03-06-2004, 09:03 PM||#1|
Rith Traven tightly clutched the handle of his sword as he watched the waves of green and black advancing in the vale ahead. And behind the wave, the sun rose lazily in the morning sky blinding him. He raised his hand above his eyes, shadowing them. At least, they would die in the sunlight.__________________
He stood on a small boulder overlooking the plains. Behind him was Grand Hamlet, the last intact village of the region. Ahead of him was a great plain filled with waves of green and black silhouetted by the rising sun. His men and himself had gathered in an open field near Grand Hamlet, ready to meet the challenge.
Whatever vegetation had been there had now been chopped down and formed into crude barricades and palisade walls. A poor attempt at defensive structures, but that was they had.
He turned to Grand Hamlet, the town he had been ordered to protect. The women and children had been told to hide at the safety their houses provided them. They didn't had time to flee; it was too late when the scout had arrived and warned them. They were all going to die.
Once or twice, he would see the silhouette of a child or a woman looking at the plains by the window, but only for a few seconds. He brought his gaze to his men; practically none of them were trained soldiers. Most of them were just peasants, farmers, that had been given a sword and told to go and fight for their village and their lives. They weren't given much choice.
Of course he had given them rudimentary training before the battle. They could manage bows and arrows after generations of hunting. But the swords and spears were totally different. He had a lot of troubles teaching them how to swing a sword without chopping the heads of their own townsmen. Not an easy task. They had managed at first, but stabbing a wooden target is much easier then stabbing a real, breathing enemy. Especially when the enemy in question is swinging an axe twice your weight.
They all knew that none of them would make it past this day. At least they would die defending their home; they would die for a purpose. Even though they didn't really choose that purpose. War. You chose nothing, it just happened.
Traven turned back to the advancing wave of green and black and disgust filled him as the wave's components came into view. It was an advancing army, green was the color of their flesh and black was their armor. They were nightmare creatures, mockeries of the human form. A heavy jaw lined with fanged teeth, their nose flat and doglike, dominated their jade-fleshed faces and their small eyes were filled with hate. Orcs.
Traven turned to his men. â€œThere is no point in me hiding it from you!â€? He shouted at his men. â€œThe Orcs outnumber us ten to one! They are better trained and battle hardened!â€? He sighed at his words and saw his men's fear and despair rising.
â€œCan't we run? Flee in the forest! There's still time!â€? shouted one of the peasants. Traven shot a glance at him. All around the men were nodding in approval.
â€œRun?! Where?!â€? Traven replied. â€œIf you want to run then go! I won't stop you! But I for one would rather die weapons in hand and facing my enemies! Instead of dying running with a spear in my back!â€? His words had just the desired effect. His men shifted uncomfortably but none of them made a move to flee. â€œYou can all flee if that is what you wish! But you'll never get far enough! They'll catch up on you! And then, whether you're here or there! It will make little difference! We're all going to die here! These open fields will be our tombs! But if we have to die! Then I say WE GIVE THEM HELL BEFORE WE DO!!!â€? Traven yelled at the mass below him. A general cheer erupted after his words. His men waved their swords and spears and axes above their heads, shouting their war cries and bashed their weapons against their shields.
The Orcs approached the humans quicker and quicker, then breaking in a small jog. Their weapons and dark armors shone in the rising sun, and as they closed in the distance separating them and Traven's men, they let out a deafening roar that rocked the ground beneath them.
The soldiers around Traven let out a cry of their own, and as the green creatures smashed their way into their roughly made barricade, they let out volley after volley of arrows. The first lines of the creatures stumbled and fell, and were immediately trampled by those who came behind. Another volley, and another rank of the monstrosities fell. Yet, it seemed that their number was endless and for every one that fell, two would replace them from the mass that followed.
Traven roared and charged waving his sword above his head towards the advancing mass of greenskins. His men followed closely, although not as willingly. Traven crashed in one of the beasts and threw him to the ground. With a swing of his sword, he cut three of the Orcs and ran through a fourth.
Traven had no intentions of dying here without bringing at least a dozen Orcs with him. The bastards would pay dearly for this victory.
Traven sidestepped a clumsy lunge and responded by removing the culprit's head. About him battle raged, death cries mixing with valiant cries. Traven ducked an axe whipping where his head had been only moments ago, he plunged his sword in the Orc's belly, through the armor.
The Orcs were everywhere. He heard the moans, the screams, and the desperate pleas for help and of pain. And he hated himself for drawing them all into this, but it was the only way.
A club clanged against his metal breastplate and he was thrown to the ground. He shoved his sword in the club-wielding Orc's belly. It fell down, howling, Traven finished it with a thrust to the throat. He tried to stand but found that he couldn't. His left foot lay trapped under the body of the massive Orc.
Somewhere in the distance, someone yelled, â€œWolfriders!!!â€? A scream that ended in an abrupt gurgle. Now, Traven tried more frantically to remove the Orc's carcass. He slid it off, and jumped to his feet, only to hear a terrible howl, followed by the clatter and scraping of paws. Traven glanced over his shoulder to see a gigantic wolf charging towards him.
â€œRun! To Grand Hamlet!â€? he shouted at his men. At once, they all started running to the village at full speed. Being chased by giant wolves often helped improving your running capacities.
The wolfrider was then followed by another, and another, until a whole hoard of them were chasing Traven's troops.
The Wolfriders were gaining on them. Their leader, a huge Orc clad in black armor and armed of a sword the size of Traven himself was leading them, mounting a wolf twice the size of the others. And that was a lot to say.
Maybe if he killed the leader, it would bring the other Orcs moral down, Traven thought. â€œTo the village!â€? he yelled at his men. He turned on his heels and prepared himself in defensive position, waiting for the huge beast to get to him. He just wanted to give his men enough time to get the hell out of here.
The Orc captain seemed surprise by the audacity and courage of this puny human. Who was he to dare challenge him? He would teach him a lesson. He was going to regret his folly.
He raised his gigantic blade, already bathed in blood. And charged straight for Traven shouting madly.
At once Traven realized what a mistake he had done. Who was mad enough to stay in the way of a charging wolfrider? Traven knew he had no chance, but he couldn't run now. He could see it into the wolf's eyes now, the wild ferocity contained within. The wolf drooled as it loped closer, and closer. Traven stared into death, and watched it grinning madly back at him.
Traven clutched his sword tightly and waited for the opportune moment. Meanwhile the wolf got nearer, and nearer. And it leapt.
Traven fell to his knees, lowered his head and raised his sword above his head, holding it with all his strength. The wolf impaled itself on the blade in its landing and Traven rolled to the side avoiding the huge creature's fall. Anyone under there would have undoubtedly diedâ€¦ flattened.
The Orcish captain had been thrown off its mount at least ten feet away and landed painfully on the hard ground. He laid there for a moment, not dead but trying to register what could possibly have happened. Nothing came to mind.
This moment of hesitation was all Traven needed. He drew his sword from the whining wolf's chest and leapt at the Orc. He reached him, raised his right foot and crushed its head on the rocks below. Pieces of what the Orc used for a brain splattered around the impact point and on his boots.
He stood there for a moment. He had single-handedly defeated a wolfrider killing both its rider and mount. He made a mental note to tell his friends. And then he rememberedâ€¦ he was in a battlefield.
He shot glances all around him and happily noticed the stunned expressions on the wolfriders' faces.
Now the green-fleshed creatures were on top of them, the wave of jade and darkness smashing among the human ranks and hacking their way into the village. Already they were entering houses and the screams of women and children could be heard in the distance.
â€œTo Grand Hamlet!â€? He yelled. He picked up a few stragglers who had remained behind with him and ran to the village. Traven and his men hacked their way into the village through the Orc ranks.
Traven furiously waved his sword about him with all his might slaying surrounding Orcs. All around, his men did the same, rushing back to the village running through the jade ranks swinging their swords about them. And the scraping of paws could be heard behind.
They reached the village slaying all Orcs they found inside only to be welcomed by the flames and the destruction all around and the Orcs closing the distance between them.
Traven rallied his men around him in the town center. About fifty of them were left. What were fifty men against a thousand Orcs?
He rallied them quickly and did his best to assemble them into a defensive position. Spearmen at the front ready to take in the assault. Swordsmen and axemen behind, ready to charge, and the archers at the back.
The Orcs smashed into the human ranks, crashing on the shields and impaling themselves on the spears. The archers let out volley after volley, putting down any Orc unfortunate enough to linger in the path of the whistling arrows.
They hacked their way through the human ranks and slaughtered all who stood in their way. Traven and his men were pushed back to the eastern wooden palisade of the village. Stuck. There was nowhere to go.
The Orcs carried on their advance waving their axes and shouting their war cries. All around him, Traven saw his men falling, their blood being spilled on the soil they had made their home on. He couldn't stay here, it was lost, they were all dead.
He ran through a nearby Orc with his now-crimson blade and cut the head of another.
Traven glanced around him, making sure that no Orc could see him. He sheathed his sword and grabbed a hold of the top of the palisade. He pulled himself up drawing whatever strength remained in him and jumped over the wooden wall, landing in a pack bushes below.
He raised his head making sure no one was to be seen, and he ran to the forest, his wounds aching and bleeding badly.
As he ran, he felt his blood leaving him. He couldn't bear the pain. It was to hard. A trail of blood ran behind him in his path. He walked clumsily now and tripped over an old branch.
Behind him he heard the victorious cries of the Orcs. He shot a glance at Grand Hamlet, or what once was Grand Hamlet. And a shiver ran down his spine as he saw the black smoke filling the skies.
Grand Hamlet had fallen, and captain Rith Traven was the only survivor.
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