My second build for the heroes guild, and final leadup to my GC4 entry.
The Lost Patrol:
When Andared arrived at the eastern border of Garheim, he had spotted several Loreesi ships not more than a few miles north. The ships were landing on the beaches just northeast of Mikithdar. War ships...
The storm that had been brewing over Roawia was about to unleash it's devastation on all the lands. The walls of Garheim's great cities might withstand this army from Loreos, but the smaller villages would be left in ashes by the growing tide.
It was then that Andared had resolved that it was his task to stop the Loreesi invasion. If Garheim fell, Lenfald would be caught between the anvil and hammer stroke of Loreos.
With no horse and meager supplies, Andared struggled to match the pace of the fresh Loreesi troops. For every step he took they seemed to gain three more on him. Nevertheless, Andared trudged on, fighting against despair. While he traveled along a secondary path, he heard the sounds of a band of men traveling not far behind him.
"Bandits!" Andared hissed under his breath.
Taking a quick look around, he dove off the path and ducked behind a bush, praying they would not see him.
"Are you sure we're heading the right way?" The first voice carried around the corner of the cliff.
"Of course I'm sure," a second voice snapped. "This road leads northeast, so it has to converge with the main road eventually."
Andared held his breath, remaining motionless while the men passed by him. Though his body was still, his mind was racing. Those accents were familiar to him. Daring to take a peak through the bush, he saw the dark red cloaks of Loreos.
"You know," the apparent leader of the group quipped. "If you hadn't gone elk-hunting, we would still be with the rest of the army."
"Well!" the third one openly displayed his wounded pride. "Excuse me for wanting something more than crusty bread and beans at every meal!"
The leader only grunted at this, continuing his pace.
'So, these men have become separated from their company...' Andared thought to himself.
This was his chance. The Loreesi army was far ahead of him by now, the only way he could catch them is if he knew were they were headed. He had to capture and interrogate one of these men.
Standing up, he fell in behind the patrol and stalked his prey as he had done so many times before in the forests of Lenfald. Step by step, he trailed his target, until he was within a few feet of him. Three against one weren't good odds, but he thrived in the element of surprise. Now just an arm length away, he gripped his spear to steady his nerves...
"I really don't think--" the Loreesi was cut off in mid sentence as the tip of a spear slid through his armour and out his chest. Falling to his knees, he choked out a cry before falling to the cold snow.
"Haithar?!" The other two Loreesi spun around, gasping at what they saw.
Andared wasted no time. Drawing his spear from the Loreesi, he swung it in a wide arc in front of him. The suddenness of the maneuver caught the Loreesi off guard, and both stumbled back. But now their military training began to take effect. They took a defensive stance by keeping their shield out in front and wielding their sword above it, ready to parry any assault.
Seeing this, Andared bent down and grabbed the fallen Loreesi's sword. With a mighty heave, he cast the sword at his opponents. The Loreesi used his shield to deflect the blow, but it's distraction had given Andared enough time to close the distance. Grasping his spear with both hands, he raised it in the air and slashed down at the Loreesi's chest. But as the man moved his shield to stop the blow, Andared cut his motion short and struck through thin air, using the momentum to throw him into a spin. Before he could recognize this new assault, the Loreesi was struck in the head by the butt of Andared's spear.
The ferocity of the blow sent the Loreesi straight to the ground, unconscious. However, before Andared could turn to face his final opponent, he was already on him. The Loreesi slashed Andared across his left shoulder. While the chain armour kept the blade from going clean through, the wound went deep, and sent Andared sprawling to the ground.
His attacker gave him no respite, raising his sword to slash into his chest. But just before the strike found it's mark, Andared drew his spear up to shield him. His hands shook as the wood splintered and finally cracked in two from the blow.
Now Andared was defenseless, and his hands grasped around for anything to shield himself. The Loreesi spat on Andared in contempt and drew his sword back one last time, preparing the coup de grace. Andared, however, had not consigned himself to defeat. Grabbing a fistful of snow and dirt, he hurled it in the eyes of his opponent. The man's hands went to his face as he reeled backwards. Andared followed up with a kick to the man's legs. He stumbled and fell, dropping his sword. Taking advantage of his opponent's temporary blindness, Andared crawled to his feet and lunged for the sword. By the time the Loreesi was back up, he found himself staring at the blade of his own sword, just inches from his neck.
"Let's not make this any uglier..." Andared said, waving the sword threateningly.
The man groaned and lay back in the snow.
"I am short on both time and patience at the moment, so you had best listen." Andared began. "I need to know what your mission is in Garheim. Where are you headed?"
The Loreesi sneered at him for a moment, then realized he had no other choice but to talk if he wished to live.
"S-s-supposed to...supposed take Havenhill. P-p-prince Jarius says he needs a staging point to attack Mikithdar."
"And is that where your army is headed?" Andared inquired.
"N-n-no," the man replied. "Our company was meant to take out the watchtower of Havenhill before the main force arrived. If we didn't capture that tower first, the entire town would be warned of our attack."
Andared's countenance was grim, as he realized the plans of Loreos. Without the watchtower, the people of Havenhill would be slaughtered. Moreover, Prince Jarius would have a base from which to assault the capital of Garheim itself.
"What else do you know of this?"
The Loreesi gave him a wide-eyed stare. "Nothing, more. I've told you everything, I swear! You'll let me live...won't you?"
Andared shrugged, then struck the man over the head with a small rock. The blow knocked him unconscious. Grabbing the weapons of the Loreesi, Andared hid them in the snow a fair distance away, then made his way to the watchtower of Havenhill. The one thing that stood in the way of the conquest of Garheim...