Smoke lingered in the air, stinging the eyes and burning the lungs of the three hooded figures making their way through the burned wreckage. Three days earlier, Sir Glennian and his companions had seen a column of smoke rising from the distant forest. Upon reaching the source, the foresters found an abandoned village, looted and razed to the ground…
A harsh cough escaped from Glennian’s throat. “Be careful there!” he shouted to one of his companions. “The roof on that house appears to be mightily unstable!”
Glancing up, the forester quickly vacated the burned house. Advancing toward Sir Glennian, the man scratched his head, “Who in Roawia would have done this?!?!”
“I haven’t the slightest idea…unless….” Glennian trailed off. A sudden flash of color in one of the buildings caught his eye. With a flourish of his emerald cloak, Glennian began to sprint toward the burned home. The dwelling’s door had previously been reduced to ashes, and the rickety, charred roof allowed a great deal of light to reach the soot-covered floor. As Glennian reached the house’s doorway, he saw, protruding from the floor, an Outlaw spear draped with a waving flag of the Queen’s colors.
“No! It cannot be!” Glennian and his men stood aghast. A deep, boiling anger churned within their chests.
“But…why?” There seemed no plausible reason for the senseless burning and looting of a harmless Lenfel village. Thus far, the Queen’s takeover had been primarily political. Certainly, her troops had confiscated many of the populace’s weapons and tools, and they had forced many to flee from their homes, but their takeover had been mostly bloodless and met with little resistance. Glennian could see little reason for the destruction of an innocent village…Glennian blinked. A bright light seemed to be shining out of the building’s crumbled chimney. Stepping around burnt furniture, he reached over and pulled some of the bricks loose from the fireplace. Concealed within Glennian found a torn sack, spilling over with several dozen pounds of gold!
“Aha!” Glennian shouted. “This explains it! Word must have gotten out about this stash of gold, which, I’m sure, would draw all the Queen’s soldiers stationed anywhere in Lenfald!”
Splitting it between them, Glennian and his companions stuffed the gold beneath their cloaks. “Well, we certainly won’t let them get any of it.”
Something else had been bothering him. In all their searching around the village, none of the foresters had come across any dead bodies. Which must mean…that they had all been taken prisoner.
Four hooded figures stole quietly through the dense Lenfel underbrush. All were well armed, bristling with bows and arrows, swords and axes.
They came to the forest’s edge, where it opened upon a monolithic stone fortress. For a hundred years this castle had been the home of Lenfel lordship, but it was now in the hands of the pretender Queen.
Sir Glennian and his companions set arrows to bowstrings as they approached the massive wall. One forestman pulled a grappling hook from beneath his cloak. With a mighty swing he tossed it up and over the parapets.
Quickly, stealthily, the four Lenfel woodsman scaled the stone wall, leaping over with bows ready and swords drawn. The outlaw guard pacing the ramparts had barely enough time to scream as an arrow caught him in the throat. Glennian leapt into the courtyard below, brandishing sword and deer emblazoned shield. Several more queen’s men were cut down before an alarm was raised, flooding the courtyard with outlaw soldiers.
“For Lenfald! For Roawia! For Freedom!” the Lenfel forestmen cried as they fought desperately for control of the castle. An outlaw crossbowman braced himself against the castle wall, aiming at Sir Glennian’s whirling form. Just as he was poised to fire, a sharp-tipped Lenfel arrow stuck in his chest. He sunk slowly to the ground.
Here're a couple of my most recent LoR builds and stories.
Soli Deo Gloria!