“Look to your weapons!” he shouted as he hurdled towards the group. “They are not far behind me”! Quick as flash, considering how tired he looked, the young man spun around toward the growling sounds of wolves and the clanking of armour, drew his bow and notched an arrow.
He was a young man around 18 by the looks of him, dressed in worn dark grey leather armour, with two short swords strapped to his hip. He looked over his shoulder, “if we have to break for it, head back that way to the small hill a half mile back. That will be where we regroup, this lot coming are in no moods to take prisoners”.
He quickly counted the arrows in his quiver, and muttered, “damn. Only seven. Guess that will have to do”
Feldard grunted at the mans’ assumption that he could order the group about. As for looking to his weapons, the crossbow had been loaded and cocked at the ready since entering this cursed and forsaken forest. The crossbow was currently pointed towards the stranger. “Who are you? What are you doing this deep in Dymrak?”
The surrounding unnatural stone sent the medley of clank, crack and growl in direction-less echo. Stephan could not help but glance backward along the path as the bouncing sounds tricking him into suspecting some emanated from there.
In a flash, an arrow was nocked in Stephan’s bow. He quickly looked about for any amount of cover. Not much. But he was able to step quickly off the path and kneel behind a narrow stone trunk and a bit of sparse rock tangle which once lived as a wan bush.
Mentally, he checked that the light stone was in his left pocket. “Yes, I felt it there only a minute ago,” he thought to himself. He might need it in this dimmed battle.
As the riotous combined sounds got closer, it became more clear that the they were coming from around the bend up ahead, as the young man said. Stephan drew back his arrow, waiting for a target.
The enemy of my enemy is probably, well, close enough for now, thought Hasan. Besides, Feldard looked to have the situation well at hand. The goblins, however, were a different story. A large group was coming. Hasan moved 20 yards off the pathway as quickly as possible. He would protect the group’s flank, and try to assure that no goblin could flee the encounter and warn the tribe.
“No time for introductions and pleasantries Master Dwarf, your traditional enemy is to your front”. As soon as a Goblin or Wolf appears around the corner, the young man with precision releases his arrow and notches another to his bow.
The newcomer reminded Maruc of a vivacious version of Nicolai, looking more stressed than wounded. He couldn’t help warming to him. Without a word Maruc shouldered his shield, noting with disappointment the chipped enameling and a burred groove on its rim. He readied the familiar weight of the chain-flail.
“Well, Miklos. This is more your thing.” the irony of their surroundings was not lost on the cleric.
“Gentlemen!” the mage called loudly. “What I’m about to try, none of you, or I, have ever experienced. I know the theory. I advise averting your gaze this is going to be bright … and loud!”
The mage estimated the ignition field area. If he placed this right, everything from him to the bend in the road some fifty to sixty feet away would be engulfed. Nerve and timing were everything.
Metal clad goblinoids with snarling faces yelled curses with spit and bile as they surged into view though the brittle forest. Yawing wolf maws with huge red tongues filled the air with the clamour of bloodlust and hunger. Forest dust filled the air as they approached with terrifying speed. Miklos almost forgot what he was doing. The familiar flit of arrows and the heavy twang twang of the crossbow brought him to his senses and he blurted out the first syllables of the spell…
A huge goblin with a notched two handed sea axe broke away from the charging line straight at Miklos. Maruc started to meet the foe, but was brushed aside which a contemptuous back hand slap. The brute’s eyes met Miklos’s, and it grinned. The seconds stretched as the dreadful weapon swung up and down
Squeezing his eyes shut Miklos finished the spell. The landscape froze in a blinding monotone tableau. Then came an awesome crack of thunder.
Then an eerie silence. Miklos opened his eyes. The goblin was gone. The wolves and their goblin riders had been virtually incinerated—a dozen crispy corpses all together. The narrow path through the stone forest had provided the perfect trap, forcing the goblins to come at the group in a line. Miklos could not have asked for better conditions for the first lightning bolt launch. One of the wolves was still alive, managing somehow to avoid the center of the energy blast. It shook off its dead rider, yelped and then ran away.