Later That Night
The crisp night air bites at Ronlin and Jakardros as they crouch near a small fire. Sitting on the other side of the flame is a tall muscular Shoanti man. Despite the cold he wears no shirt or armor, revealing tattoos that almost completely cover his chest, back, arms, and even shaved head. An enormous warhammer rests up against his leg. Barely visible at the edge of the faint circle of light emanating from the fire, the large form of the wolf Lobo along with Kibb the firepelt cougar shift impatiently waiting for sleep to set in.
The quiet whispers of the men around the fire are interrupted by the faint snapping sound of a breaking twig. In a flash Lobo leaps to his feet, growling towards the direction of the sound. A moment later a large spear streaks through the air narrowly missing the wolf and landing beside Kibb.
“Ambush,” Ronlin hollers. Then, in one smooth motion, he notches an arrow to his longbow and sends it whistling back in the direction the spear came from. “Black Arrows – defend yourselves.”
In an instant the small clearing becomes a flurry of activity as the other Black Arrow members scramble to grab whatever weapons and armor they can. As they do, a group of ogrekin fighters comes barreling out of the trees heading directly toward the fire. Leading the charge is a disgusting looking humanoid creature with a deformed right hand. Surrounding him is a pack of vicious hounds that immediately veer off towards the wolf and cougar. The sound of snarls, barks, and the occasional howl begin to fill the air. Bowstrings twang as Ronlin and Jakardros match each other shot for shot; releasing a flurry of arrows into the rapidly advancing ogre spawned force. The tattooed Shoanti man charges forward with a rage filled bellow, his massive warhammer swinging around him at dizzying speeds. He strikes out at a nearby dog, caving in its skull with a single massive blow.
As the deformed and now deceased beast skids across the grass, a sickly green energy begins to surround it. In the glow of the mysterious magic, a much shorter frail looking man is revealed. Like the barbarian, he is covered in tattoos which highlight his freakishly bony frame. Dark purple and green paint adorn his body making his figure look like that of a skeleton. As he finishes a series of intricate hand gestures he speaks loudly in an indiscernible tongue. The hound’s eyes begin to fill with the green energy, as its very form seems to absorb the magic. The beast slowly stands back to its feet, a green glow seeping out from the hole in its skull where the hammer struck. It slowly looks back at the painted man before charging towards one of the other attacking hounds, a ghoulish howl echoing from its throat.
Back near the fire, Akkar now stands beside Ronlin and Jakardros adding his own bow fire to their steady volley. As he releases an arrow, he speaks a single word in elvish. The arrow bursts into a bright red flame leaving a glowing trail through the night sky. Finding purchase in an ogrekin’s shoulder, the grotesque creature begins to scream in pain as the flames burn away flesh.
The burning arc of light momentarily illuminates the battlefield. The soft glow reveals Bhavock who wields a greataxe larger than he is tall. Fighting beside him is Vale, the same dark skinned man that the dwarf was insulting only a few hours prior. Vale fights with a pair of hand axes and combined with Bhavock’s greataxe, they chop and carve their way through a second group of ogrekin who emerged moments ago to attack the camp from the opposite side. Despite the brutal efficiency with which the pair wields their weapons, one larger ogrekin manages to send Vale sprawling when he catches him on the side of the head with a massive hook shaped weapon.
“Fuckin’ half bred filth!” Bhavock shouts as he slams his greataxe into the back of the foul creature’s leg, severing it off at the knee.
Spinning back the other way, the dwarf positions himself directly in front of his comrade’s unconscious form. The remaining four ogrekin grin wickedly as they begin to descend on the lone warrior in front of them. As one of them leans forward to swing his crude looking club, two silver glints pierce through the center of his chest. The humanoid monstrosity stumbles sideways as an agile looking woman flips up and over his now drooping right shoulder. At her side are two wicked looking daggers that drip with fresh blood. She twists effortlessly in mid-air, before slamming the daggers into the creature’s neck. Continuing her momentum forward, she carves a double line of crimson through his neck and down into the rib cage before finally pulling the blades free and landing silently at his feet. A thick spray of blood splashes the woman’s dark clothing along with the dwarf beside her.
“About time Hellian,” Bhavock says wiping blood away from his eyes. “I was startin to worry I’d have to kill all these fucks myself. Hate to steal that sick joy you get from slittin throats.”
“Yer shuch a genleman,” Hellian slurs back.
“And of course yer drunk. Why am I not surprised.” Shaking his head, Bhavock charges back towards one of the remaining three ogrekin, axe at the ready.
Under the pale light of the moon, Ronlin surveys the skirmishes around him. Despite being caught mostly unaware, the combat prowess of their two squads seems like it will be enough to drive the attackers back. To his left he sees Smaud the barbarian slam his heavy hammer through the chest cavity of a prone ogrekin. Slightly behind Smaud stands Vut the necromancer, who continues to assail his foes with a variety of dark arcane magic. Three of the ogrekin hounds have been reanimated to serve as Vut’s personal attack dogs. Combined with the ferocity of Lobo and Kibb, the other ogrekin pets all lay dead. Their initial task complete, the wolf and cougar have since turned their attention to helping fight the large ogre spawned brutes.
As he glances to his right, Ronlin sees Bhavock and Hellian fighting fiercely to protect a downed figure clutching a pair of handaxes – Vale. A flash of light from behind Ronlin causes him to spin around as the entire clearing is momentarily illuminated. There stands Braden, the man the other Black Arrows call “the Viper”. Heavy shield firmly held out in front, his mace now glows with a radiant light as he begins trading blows with a deformed ogrekin wielding a vicious looking cleaver. The glow sheds its soft light onto another human man who stands back to back with Braden. Kaven, the youngest of their company, fights gingerly with a rapier and small dagger. Ronlin watches as the young man expertly thrusts forward, skewering a wounded attacker who was attempting to strike at the Viper from his exposed flank. With a flick of his wrist, Kaven slices open the creature’s bowels, spilling their contents onto the grass at his feet.
With the immediate danger subsided, Ronlin’s stiff muscles remind him just how sore and tired he really is. As he turns to address Jakardros and Akkar, the air crackles with the hum of arcane energy. Everything goes white as a pulsing pain shoots through his body driving him to his knees. Pushing through the pain, Ronlin raises his gaze to the far end of the clearing. Charging through the trees is an attack group much larger than any of the other three that originally struck the camp. At their center walks a disgusting looking creature that seems much more ogre than human. Its horrid visage twists savagely as the air once again fills with arcane energy. Ronlin watches in horror as a red-ish colored ray lances out from the fiend’s fingertips catching Smaud full in the back. The moment the ray strikes him, the Shoanti barbarian slumps to the ground. Seeing the arcane magic narrowly miss him, Vut turns to confront the ray’s source. As he does, two spears sail out from the newly arrived attackers. Flying true, they punch through the necromancer’s torso sticking firmly into the earth behind him. While his limp form slowly slides down the wooden shafts, the green energy filling his thralls snuffs out and they fall to the ground lifeless once more.
“Fools” a harsh voice cries out. “We are to take these pathetic fighters back to mother…alive. You know the plan. Do what you want with them but we do not kills them!”
Emboldened by the shouts of their leader and the appearance of their remaining brethren, the other ogrekin begin fighting with a renewed frenzy. Ronlin watches in horror as a sizeable boulder, tossed by a particularly large ogrekin, knocks both Kaven and Braden to the ground. Their bodies lie motionless – but the severity of their injuries is impossible to determine from this distance. Not far away Bhavock, Hellian, and the still prone form of Vale find themselves surrounded. Twin blades and a hefty greataxe strike out again and again, but each blow landed from the butt end of the creatures’ spears drives the pair to their knees a little bit harder. Finally a wild swing from a club strikes the back of Bhavocks head and he slumps to the ground. Mere moments later, Hellian is grappled and restrained by the ogrekin behind her.
As Ronlin struggles to get back on his feet, he feels warm wet breath on his arm. A large grey shape pushes up against his torso bracing him into a feeble standing position.
“Lobo,” Ronlin says teeth clenched tightly in pain. “Hide. Follow wherever they take us. Stay hidden till I call you. Go”
Shifting his weight to stand a little taller, Ronlin watches Lobo disappear into the trees at the edge of the clearing. Looking down he sees Akkar lying motionless, the gentle rise and fall of his chest the only sign he is still living. Beside him, Jakardros slowly staggers to his feet, bow in hand. Shifting his gaze forward Ronlin sees four ogrekin soldiers charging towards them, swords and spears at the ready. Ronlin gives a slight nod towards Jakardros as they both aim and release an arrow in perfect harmony. Despite the throbbing pain wracking their bodies, both arrows fly true landing a hairs width apart in the throat of one of the half human abominations.
As Ronlin’s shaky hands begin to notch another arrow, it slips from his grasp falling to the ground. Bending down to retrieve it, Ronlin stands back up just in time to see the flat side of an ogrekin blade descending towards his skull. A sharp pain overwhelms his senses as everything goes black.